O'Leary and Burrows still in hunt despite setback


SAILING:A BROKEN forestay cost Peter O’Leary and David Burrows a race in the overall standings in the Semaine Olympique Française regatta yesterday afternoon but the Star keelboat duo lie sixth in their 25-boat fleet and will race in this morning’s medal race final on the French Riviera.

Strong mistral winds have played havoc with the race schedule in Hyeres but O’Leary and Burrows, who are tipped for Olympic medal success later this summer, will take consolation that it was only their rigging that broke and not their fragile mast.

After not finishing yesterday afternoon’s race eight (of a scheduled 11) O’Leary and Burrows are now 22 points behind the Norwegian pair Elvind Melleby and Petter Pedersen in fifth. Britain’s Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson have taken a commanding lead of this event.

At home, forecasted strong north easterly winds may yet curtail tomorrow’s second race of the 119th Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) season but that didn’t stop last weekend’s season opener where a total of 360 boats were entered in 19 classes. There are a number of key changes to the 2012 programme that reflect the times we live in, including a merger of cruiser classes three and four.

Classes zero and one will start together this season. And in a further contraction of cruiser class activity the country’s biggest yacht club has decided not to run its annual cruiser challenge for 2012.

Cruisers three is now divided into an alpha and beta division but it remains to be seen how one of the biggest fleets in the bay, the SB3 one design sports boat, has taken a a fairly radical step and halved the number of DBSC Sundays in which the class compete.

The Dublin Bay Mermaid class is set to announce news of a Mermaid Voyage Home from Foynes to Skerries to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the design.

Varying numbers of the 16-foot open boats are going to sail in relays from Foynes on the Shannon Estuary around the coast to Skerries in North Dublin, stopping at notable sailing locations on the South and East Coast.

The 400-mile trip will take about four weeks and the extensive logistics have been planned and coordinated over the winter months.

In West Cork, local teams finished first and second at last weekend’s blustery Irish Schools Team Racing Championships in Schull.

Also this month, in team racing news UCD travelled to the home of British Team racing in West Kirby and came home with one of Ireland’s best ever results, a third overall at the British University Sailing Championships.

A blind sailor hopes to cross the Irish sea this summer just two years after completing the Round Ireland race and an unrelated freak accident that left him paralysed. Mark Pollock (36) and Belfast sailor Tiffany Brien aim to sail across the Irish Sea in order to raise funds for the Mark Pollock Trust and Belfast Lough Sailability, a disabled sailing charity.