Dublin's Gonzaga College beat Rathdown School to win the Lenister Schools Team Racing Championships after a thrilling 45 rounds of competition. Third overall were Kilkenny College from an entry of ten schools.
The inaugural event was run in fair weather last Saturday by the Royal St George Yacht Club whose Club Firefly dinghies were chartered for the event.
Some competitors were slightly rusty team racers at the beginning but within 10 races the young sailors had mastered the game with lots of one-on-one match racing and all starts bang on the line. The spirit of the event was of competitive fun with a bunch of very well mannered sailors enjoying the banter in the ribs and on the change-over vessel when not competing in the schedule of 45 rapid succession races.
The rapid skill progress was clear demonstration of the effectiveness of team racing in skill development.
Post sailing all agreed this is the start of more schools activity. This year sees the inauguration of Leinster Schools Team Sailing as an ad-hoc committee set up by Chris Craig and David Williams, both of whom have sons in St Michael's College who own boats, and ran this event.
There was 3 Wednesday afternoon coaching sessions leading up to the event, with teams of two competing. These were sailed in competitors' own Fevas with the NYC also providing their Fevas FOC. Gonzaga, the event winners, dominated the coaching. More coaching events are planned.
In other countries local authorities facilitate schools sailing but in Ireland it's up to Clubs and volunteers to service this growing and fertile market, for the general good of the Sport and Schools.
The top four teams qualify for the Nationals Schools Team Racing Championships to be run by David Harte in Schull - April 21st/22nd.
The final result is as follows :-
2012 LEINSTER SCHOOL TEAM SAILING CHAMPIONSHIPS - RESULTS
1. Gonzaga College
4. Belvedere College
5. St Andrews College
6. Mount Anville A
7. Mount Anville B
8. Loreto College
9. St Gerards
10. Loreto Dalkey