Light winds to make it interesting
SAILING:A TRICKY forecast for Lough Derg tomorrow could add an extra dimension to the outcome of this year’s ISA All-Ireland Championship final on Sunday as light winds are expected over the country.
A preliminary qualification round begins today to select three sailors from an assorted mix of classes before the championship proper gets under way in the morning.
Barely a couple of knots of breeze is expected though today should have good conditions with gustier winds due from Saturday evening onwards.
Results from tomorrow’s racing carry through into Sunday’s final, so while making the cut for the eight finalists will be crucial, conservative tactics and consistent results in the opening rounds will be needed to offset any vagaries of the light conditions.
Topping the list of eight sailors for today’s qualification round is Mark Mansfield of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, who is the 1720 national champion and a veteran of this “champion of champions” event.
A two-times winner and a runner-up on as many occasions, he should in theory at least qualify with ease against a mix of dinghy and keelboat helms.
Once tomorrow’s rounds begin, the mix of talented sailors becomes richer in a line-up that features defending champion George Kenefick, also of the RCYC and clubmate Peter O’Leary, who represented Ireland in the Star class at the London 2012 Olympics with David Burrows.
Olympian Ryan Seaton from Ballyholme is another ISA wildcard entry while proven one-design champions such as Tim Goodbody from the Royal Irish YC, nominated for the Irish Cruiser Racing Association ‘Class 3’ and Howth Yacht Club’s Ben Duncan is the SB20 champion (the former SB3 sportsboat class).
“You only really know when you’ve started the qualification round to see how people are doing before selecting who to cover,” Mansfield said last night. “But at an event like this, you can’t be sitting on people and you just have to sail your own race.”
Once again, the ISA Sailfleet J80 one-designs are being used which have been hailed as ideally matched and don’t favour light or heavy sailors.
“Lough Derg YC did a good job on the water last year and I’m expecting the same again this year,” said Mansfield. “We’re expecting Saturday to be very light, which will be especially challenging. Sunday will be a bit more straightforward.”
But the multiple Olympic veteran must still get past today’s series, which could yet prove challenging in itself.
“Hoping to do well on Friday or I’ll be home for an early bath!” he remarked yesterday.