Howth Yacht Club hosted the ISA Youth Sailing Pathway National Championship and Optimist Trials over the four days from 31st March to 3rd April in varied conditions reports Emmet Dalton of HYC. The regatta attracted 192 entries across five classes from all corners of Ireland (plus a visitor from Italy) and produced Champions from seven clubs. Full results downloadable below.
Thursday's racing was delayed while the wind found time to behave and steady itself. The fleet wasn't too unhappy to wait in the glorious Spring sunshine before getting proceedings off. In the 420 Class, local favourites Elmes/O'Sullivan had it their own way with two bullets. The Laser Radial top spot was shared by O'Beirne (RStGYC), Durcan (RCYC) and Nicole Hemeryck (NYC). Over on the Topper course, the RStGYC was again dominating, with Jack Fahy burning up the course. Rush's Ross Morgan was definitely in a hurry on the Laser 4.7 course, leading by 6 points after Day 1. By the end of the day, the wind had picked up and a lot of tired faces reached the top of slipways, concentrating on the next race...to their dinners!
Day 2 fell victim to the element, with strong and increasing winds keeping the fleet ashore. Principal Race Officer, Derek Bothwell, was cheered by the competitors as he announced a day off. Cinemas and shopping replaced the usual windward mark targets.
With a window of opportunity in the weather, the fleets headed afloat on Saturday, hoping to catch up on the schedule with a few additional races. On the 420/Laser Radial course, four races were crammed, suiting Malahide 420 duo Gemma and Cara McDowell. The sisters closed the gap to the leaders and ended the day only a point adrift of Elmes/O'Sullivan. Radial and 4.7 gurus O'Beirne and Higgins never fell onside the top three for the day. On the Topper course, Carroll was fighting off a strong challenge from another Hemeryck, this time Ella who was only a couple of points behind. Almost a carbon copy of Day 1, Saturday saw some tired bones come ashore!
As the sailors were chasing around the race course, members and visitors did loops of the Peninsula in some spectacular cars, presented by Aston Martin and Bentley. HYC friends in Charles Hurst Motors spent a day showing off Vantages, Continentals, Rapides and, ideal for the Circuit Sailors, the new Bentley Bentayga. Rarely has the clubhouse been so full of grinning faces on a rainy day!
Going into the final day, titles could have been won or lost, testament to the incredibly close racing across a range of conditions. At the end of the day, the Champions filtered to the top and were presented with their medals by ISA President David Lovegrove and cheered by their fellow competitors.
Dougie Elmes / Colin O'Sullivan (Howth YC)
Girls: Champions Gemma and Cara McDowell (Malahide YC)
Conor O'Beirne (Royal St. George YC)
Girls: Nicole Hemeryck (National YC)
Michael Carroll (Kinsale YC)
Girls: Ella Hemeryck (National YC)
Henry Higgins (Royal St. George YC)
Girls: Heather Spain (National YC)