Green Dragon tops Round Ireland fleet

 

SAILING:ALTHOUGH last-minute entry the Volvo 70 Green Dragon starts the Round Ireland Race on Sunday as the biggest and fastest of the 38-boat fleet, a light wind forecast means the overall handicap winner will likely be a much smaller craft.

Yachts from 30­foot upwards, including several past champions, are competing in the 700-mile voyage that will take up to a week to complete.

For the first time Ireland’s classic offshore race is benefiting from a Royal Ocean Racing Club weighted points factor of 1.2, the same as the Fastnet race, making it an important international fixture in the racing club’s season points championship.

It is perhaps one reason why there are only 15 Irish boats compared to 18 British. The balance is made up of boats from France, the defending champion from the Netherlands, and one American.

Green Dragon project director Cillian McGovern has confirmed Enda O’Coineen will be skipper.

The race starts off Wicklow pier at noon.

Meanwhile, three yachts will start the first Round Rockall Race from Galway, also on Sunday: Jamie Young sailing Killary Flyer, Barry Hurley on Dinah, and Germany’s Bank von Bremen, entered by Torsten Messer.

This weekend, Dublin Bay sailing Club is normally announcing prize winners at the end of its first series but instead it is counting the cost of losing six of its seven Thursday night races, due to the poor winds that have blighted the summer season.

Happily, last weekend’s Bloomsday regatta was run in squally conditions by the Royal Alfred, attracting over a 100 boats.

Hosted by the National Yacht Club, the event tied in with celebrations for the Water wag class. The oldest one-design dinghy in the world celebrated 125 years of racing with a regatta that ended with a sail past of the clinker fleet at Dún Laoghaire’s East Pier and a Victorian High Tea.

Northern Ireland sailor Alec Kirkpatrick from Belfast Lough won the Ruffian 23 National Championships after winning last Sunday’s final two races.

Neil Spain and Francis Rowan won the Fireball Ulster championships, the Dublin pair’s five-point margin belying the tight racing in the 20-boat fleet at East Down Yacht Club.

On fresh water, Flor O’Driscoll claimed the J24 Northern Championship in Lough Erne by one point from JP McCaldin in one of this season’s closest J24 finishes.

Antrim sailor Chris Penney won the Laser Leinsters held at Howth, while in Cowes, in a repeat performance, Royal Cork’s Anthony O’Leary, was second in the IRC one division in his Ker 39 Antix at a windy British National Cruiser Championships.

Today six Irish yachts compete in the Quarter Ton Cup.

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