Barry Byrne’s army set to retain Beaufort Cup on final day in Cork

Sailing: Defence Forces team deliver two podium results on ‘Joker 2’ on Thursday

Comdt Barry Byrne's Defence Forces team on Joker 2 stand on the cusp of retaining the Beaufort Cup as Volvo Cork Week prepares for its final day of racing on Friday.

After the event switched from coastal racing to inshore courses on Thursday, Byrne’s team managed to deliver two podium results for the day and leads the 16-strong event for military and rescue services by three points.

But there was a twist to the racing on the penultimate day when the Crosshaven RNLI lifeboat crew won both races on the Olympic-style course.

That result moves the local boat on Denis and Annamarie Murphy's Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo into third overall, two points behind Youen Jacob's J109 Juggerknot sailing for Baltimore lifeboat station.


The final race is due to have a weighted bonus so much will hinge on whether there will be one, two or the three advertised races for the final day.

For most of the week, the fleet has been held ashore under postponement until breeze filled in on the course areas.

Worst day

Thursday was the worst day for this, with delays to racing of more than two hours.

If Friday is the same, the event will be lucky to complete one race as the final day has a limit of no starts after 2.30pm.

Meanwhile, Denis Hewitt's Raptor from the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dún Laoghaire is the only faraway winner across all 11 classes in the event. Competing in the Coastal IRC event that only does offshore courses, the Mills 36-footer enjoys a 10-point lead in the 10-boat class and is effectively unbeatable.

Jay Colville's Forty Licks from East Down YC has also taken a more modest overall lead amongst the big boats of Class 1 IRC, and has a five-point cushion over Jonathan Anderson's Scottish entry El Gran Señor.

A late but impressive jump in form for Frank Whelan's Eleuthera from Greystones saw the Grand Soleil 44-footer win both races on Thursday.

Full entry

The full entry for the week is now sailing following the addition of 1720 Sportsboats and Dragon one-designs racing for their respective Southern Championships.

Unsurprisingly, Anthony O’Leary cleanly put away both races in the 1720 fleet to lead overall but the Dragon event has a more complicated leaderboard with a three-way tie for the lead.

Racing in this event continues after the formal end to the week and into Saturday for a six-race series.

The SB20 class decided their Southern Championship last weekend when Michael O’Connor from the Royal St George YC won the event that was a warmer-upper for the full Cork Week.

David Branigan

David Branigan

David Branigan is a contributor on sailing to The Irish Times