Dave Kelly’s Storm a favourite for Wave Regatta after Scottish success
Ireland’s newest sailing event combines a six-race inshore programme with the old Lambay route
Also setting the pace is Paul O’Higgins in the French-built JPK10.80 Rockabill VI
Dave Kelly’s J109 Irish champion Storm returns to home waters this morning after the successful defence of its Scottish title to make the host club entry a weekend favourite in the hottest class of this morning’s Wave Regatta.
Howth Yacht Club is rolling out Ireland’s newest sailing event off Ireland’s Eye, where it has managed to amass a fleet of more than 150 yachts to make it Ireland’s biggest sailing event at the first attempt.
But more than the biggest, it might also be one of the smartest, too, as the new formula breathes life into one of Dublin’s oldest sailing fixtures; the annual Lambay Race, dating from 1899.
The bank holiday event manages to combine inshore and coastal racing that includes rounding the Dublin island as a key part of the event. The Lambay Race will have a 1½ times multiplier to add extra spice to the historic course.
Combining a six-race inshore programme with the Lambay route has been a popular decision that has produced a quality fleet across three ratings divisions, to the extent that the regatta is being touted as an “East Coast IRC Championships”.
Depth of quality is most evident in class one, where there are no fewer than nine J109s competing in a 17-boat entry. Kelly’s Storm may well be the shoo-in but depending on conditions – they’re expected to be light but the arrival of a sea breeze is greatly anticipated – the pecking order could well be upset. A leading contender in this regard is the Waterford Harbour A35 Fools Gold campaign, skippered by Rob McConnell. The Dunmore East yacht, a 2017 IRC Welsh Champion, is the only Irish entry for the IRC Europeans in Cowes from June 10th. Also setting the pace is this month’s J109 East Coast champion Juggerknot (Andrew Algeo) and his club mate Paul O’Higgins in the French-built JPK10.80 Rockabill VI.
In a 26-boat class two, again, if a sea breeze materialises, Ross McDonald’s X332 Quinox is a likely front-runner. The Howth helmsman won last weekend’s 1720 European Championships on his home waters but again he has to contend with at least four well-optimised Half Tonners, all from the host club.
In another initiative, which also has its origins in Howth, Irish sailing has given the green light for a new under-25 age group national title to be awarded at next week’s J24 Irish Championships in Foynes. No fewer than seven under-25 teams are contesting the Shannon Estuary keelboat fixture.
As it prepares for September’s SB20 European Championships at the Royal Irish Yacht Club in September, Michael O’Connor’s Sinbin was the winner of the Irish class’s Northern championships at Strangford Lough last weekend. The Royal St George boat beat HYC’s Diana Kissane in Binn Eadair Racing while RIYC’s Gerry Dowling was third in Bad Kilcullen in the 14-boat fleet. Next up is the National Championships on June 29th at the National Yacht Club in Dún Laoghaire.
One month out from the start of the Golden Globe Race, Irish solo sailor Gregor McGuckin has announced a much-needed sponsor. Hanley Energy as headline sponsor guarantees McGuckin will be on the starting line in Les Sables d’Olonne on July 1st. The Dubliner will be the only Irish entrant in what will be a gruelling nine-month lap of the planet. If successful, he will be the first Irish person to sail alone, nonstop, around the world.