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Local Favourites Relegated in 'George Invitational' Team Race Event

12th March 2012
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Local Favourites Relegated in 'George Invitational' Team Race Event

#TEAM RACING – The Royal St. George Yacht Club Team Racing Invitational was once Ireland's most prestigious team racing event. After a lapse of a few years, the club hosted a revived "George Invitational" on Saturday March 10th. One tradition remained unchanged, as the event was sailed in Firefly dinghies.

The seven teams could not have asked for more perfect conditions as the current elite of Irish team racing gathered for one day of intense sport. Competing teams included the Royal St. George, Howth Yacht Club, UL, UCC, UCD, TCD and a last minute wonder team, LGN. With a perfect 10 to 15 knot breeze blowing across Dun Laoghaire harbour from the East Wall and relatively clear skies the stage was set for a fantastic event.

The day saw the first use a new course aptly named the Starboard Boot. This provided 6 marks, instead of the usual 4, for teams to set traps and confound both their opponents and the umpires.

After an intial round robin, in which all teams sailed each other once, the fleet was split. The top 3 teams went up into a Gold Fleet and the bottom 4 went into a Silver Fleet. Both the Royal St. George and Howth Yacht Club teams easily topped the group but a re-sail of a race between UL and LGN was required to settle the 3rd place . UL won this race.

The Gold Fleet then raced each other twice in another round robin while the Silver Fleet raced each other once. The winner of the Silver fleet was then promoted to Gold, and the last Gold team was relegated for a further, deciding, round.

The Gold Fleet provided an exciting and technical display of team racing. Howth Yacht Club managed to narrowly beat both UL and the Royal St. George in the first half of the round robin. UL then lost to the Royal St George in a highly contested race with flags and umpire decisions flying left, right and centre! In the second half of the round robin a surprise upset saw UL defeating both the Royal St George and Howth Yacht Club and Royal St George losing once again to Howth Yacht Club. The Royal St. George, the favourites of the event were relegated to the Silver Fleet for the final round, with LGN promoted to Gold.

Howth Yacht Club put paid to any aspirations by the other two teams and soundly defeated both UL and LGN both times they met each team in the final round. With UL defeating LGN twice in the same round the results were:

Howth Yacht Club in 1st,

UL 2nd

LGN 3rd.

Royal St George easily topped Silver to take 4th

UCC 5th

UCD 6th

TCD 7th.

In conclusion, all competitors agreed it was probably the highest standard of team racing seen this season on. The event organiser, John Sheehy, the Royal St George Yacht Club, the umpires and volunteers are to be congratulated.

Next year the event will return to the traditional two-day format, with team racers scrubbing up on Saturday evening for dinner in the RstGYC dining room.

Lastly, good luck to Howth Yacht Club and Royal St. George who are heading to the Wilson Trophy in West Kirby in May. If the display of team racing just gone is anything to go by Ireland will be well represented at Europe's foremost team racing event. Incidentally, three of the umpires officiating in the "George Invitational" will also be travelling to West Kirby for the "Wilson".

Team racing continues in Dun Laoghaire with the Leinster Schools on 24th March and the Varsity Colours event on 31st. The Irish Team Racing Nationals will be sailed in Schull on 10th-11th November.

For more information regarding team racing contact: [email protected]

Published in Team Racing
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