Boyd checks out Commodores’ Cup boat in Caribbean 600 race

Tom Murphy congratulates team-mate Maurice “Prof” O’Connell from Roxy 6 at the conclusion of the Commodores’ Cup at Cowes in 2010 which Ireland won. Photograph: David Branigan/Oceansport

Tom Murphy congratulates team-mate Maurice “Prof” O’Connell from Roxy 6 at the conclusion of the Commodores’ Cup at Cowes in 2010 which Ireland won. Photograph: David Branigan/Oceansport

 

to the Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup at Cowes, early indicators of form for the recently announced Ireland squad came from last week’s gruelling Caribbean 600 race.

Peter Rutter’s Quokka, which will be chartered to Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling of the Royal Irish Yacht Club upon returning to Europe in May, placed second in class two racing on IRC handicap.

Although taking line honours by 39 minutes, the class win was taken by Lancelot II after handicapping.

Boyd was on board on a familiarisation run in a race notorious for rough seas and short daylight hours despite the otherwise idyllic venue.

The Dún Laoghaire sailor will co-skipper Quokka with Dowling for the Commodores’ Cup and the duo are finalising their crew list before next week’s first training regatta closer to home next weekend.

Although normally sailed with a crew of 13, just 11 sailors are permitted for the event under new Royal Ocean Racing Club rules. A panel of 18 will be trialled over 24 days of racing and training.

Another team boat, Tarka 2 is being chartered until Quokka’s return, beginning with the first race in the Warsash Spring Series on the Solent next weekend.

“The majority of the crew will be long-standing club sailors with proven event experience, both Irish and British, with the latter recommended by the owner (Rutter),” Boyd confirmed.

While the two co-skippers are confirmed, their campaign manager is Maurice “Prof” O’Connell of North Sails Ireland, who had a similar role in Ireland’s successful team in 2010.

‘Tougher challenge’
“It’s definitely going to be a tougher challenge than four years ago,” cautioned O’Connell. “The fantastic aspect of four years ago was that the boats then were owned within the team rather than now when two of the boats are on charter and time on board is naturally more limited.”

Another change is the average weight for each crew-member must be 85kg, which O’Connell reckons will militate against selecting female crew, many of whom would be weigh significantly less, thereby requiring heavier counterparts to reach the target average.