#sywoc – University of Limerick, with Rob O'Leary as helm, have continued their winning ways into keelboats, emerging as clear winners of the trials to select Ireland's national representatives for the Student Yachting Worlds 2013 to be staged in France in late October writes WM Nixon.
UL have been on a run of success this year, as their team racers – captained by Ross Murray – won the national intervarsity opens from 26 teams in Fireflies at Tralee Bay five weeks ago. But the selection for the squad to go to the Worlds takes a different path, as it's fleet-raced in the ISA SailFleet J/80s, which will also be boat used this year at the Worlds.
The Irish selection trials were notably comprehensive, as they have been sailed in Howth over three Saturdays – April 6th, 13th and 20th. Despite April's unseasonably wintry weather, as the university racing was incorporated with the Howth YC Spring Warmer series, each day's racing got under way early. So though on two of the days conditions were to deteriorate to a gale before nightfall, the full programme was successfully completed.
Rob O'Leary and his crew started well, and were remarkably consistent. In a six race series with no discards, they notched a 1st and 2nd on all three days. As the final day's racing came up with a bit of Spring belatedly in the air, the UL team knew they had it in the bag provided they did better than a last place in either race. But for good measure, for the third time they gave it the old one two.
Irish representation will be strong at the Worlds, as defending champions UCD already have a place as of right. The series at Howth saw UCD2 shine on the scoreboard with second place, while DCU with Ryan Scott as captain placed third.
And it was a mighty busy weekend for the SailFleet J/80s, as Sunday April 21st saw all eight in full use for the ICRA Training Day, with more than a hundred participants from all over Ireland getting afloat for much expert advice, tuition and training on another welcome day of Spring.