Three Irish crews set to take on Sonar elite
Forty crews comprising 200 sailors from 10 countries have gathered for the BMW J24 World Championships at Howth, Co Dublin. Photograph: David Branigan/Oceansport
Practice races for two world championships were held off the south and east coasts of Ireland yesterday as light conditions look set to dominate the coming five days of racing.
Three Irish crews were amongst the international fleet in the Sonar class at the IFDS World Championships at Kinsale Yacht Club that included medallists from the London Paralympics.
Tralee Bay Sailing Club’s Jacqui Browne, Amy Kelehan and Austin O’Carroll are also in action in the class that is likely to be dominated by London 2012 gold medallist Udo Hessels from the Netherlands and bronze medallist Aleksander Wang-Hansen from Norway.
Racing will also be held in the 2.4 metre single-handed keelboat and the Skud two-person class, with Ireland represented by Kevin Downing and Georgina Griffin of the host club.
Meanwhile at Howth Yacht Club, defending champion Mauricio Santa Cruz from Rio de Janeiro was taking no chances at the BMW J24 World Championships yesterday by scoring a “Black flag” disqualification for early starting.
The four-time winner held a top-three place for most of the race before heading for the clubhouse before the finish with around half the fleet. A steady light breeze marked the start of a forecast light-airs regatta that gets underway this morning.
A win for the Brazilian this week would surpass the record held by American Ken Read though stiff competition can be expected from contenders including Britain’s Ian Southworth.
Meanwhile, a Black Flag disqualification and two 20-something places contributed to Annalise Murphy’s seventh place in the Laser Radial class at the National Championships in Crosshaven at the weekend.