Champion sailors aim for Flying start as national championships begin

Dún Laoghaire crew crowned SB20 National Champions at the Royal Irish Yacht Club

A fleet of 32 Flying Fifteen keelboats will contest the Irish Championships this afternoon. Photo: David O’Brien

A fleet of 32 Flying Fifteen keelboats will contest the Irish Championships this afternoon. Photo: David O’Brien

 

This afternoon’s first race of the Irish Flying Fifteen National Championships is a shot in the arm for one design class as the 32-boat fleet gathered at Dún Laoghaire shows buoyant turnouts are still possible when some of Ireland’s sportsboat fleets struggle to make double figures.

Today’s championship has attracted triple world champion Steve Goacher and Martin Grady from Lake Windemere for the three-day series at the National Yacht Club (NYC). Former Irish champion Seán Craig from the Royal St George Yacht Club has teamed up with Alan Green for the seven-race series that looks set to be a windy conclusion to the summer season.

Adding to this depth of talent are defending champions Andy McCleery and Colin Dougan of Killyleagh Yacht Club who head a six-boat Northern Irish team.

Winds are forecast to blow hard from the southeast at up to 30 knots, the racing limit for this 20-foot keelboat.

Host club interest focuses on two past championship winning combinations: Ian Mathews sailing with Keith Poole and Dave Gorman with Chris Doorly.

Royal Cork Yacht Club’s Neil Hogan sailing with Mel Collins won last Sunday’s 11-boat 1720 European championships in Cork Harbour. Second in the ten-race series was David Kenefick and third Anthony O’Leary.

Tricky conditions

Royal Irish Yacht Club

Rio men’s Laser trialist Finn Lynch took fifth overall at the Under 21 Laser European Championships in Murcia, Spain. Lynch counted two race wins in the ten-race event to be just 12 points off the overall winner and seven points from a podium finish in the 83-boat fleet. Last month Lynch finished fourth at the U21 Worlds in Holland.

UK visitors from West Kirby were the winners of the inaugural ‘Elmo’ Team racing trophy that attracted eight teams last weekend at the Royal St George Yacht Club. The Firefly dinghy-based event commemorates the late Graham Elmes, a dedicated small boat sailor who died tragically last year.

Plans to finish August’s abandoned Greystones Cruiser Regatta on October 4the have changed after organisers became aware of a competing fixture: Ireland v Italy in the Rugby World Cup. The regatta will now run on Saturday, October 3rd.

The Clipper Round the World Yacht fleet will compete for a new trophy in memory of crewman Andy Ashman (49) who was killed during a sail change on the first leg of the race this week.

The first race of Howth Yacht Club’s Autumn League is on tomorrow.

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