Irish crews in running for European honours at Cork Week
Inaugural Beaufort Cup for military and Emergency teams a resounding success
Royal Cork YC’s Antix, skippered by Anthony O’Leary, competing for IRC Zero Euro honours at Volvo Cork Week. Photograph: Bob Bateman
Friday morning’s final race in Cork Harbour will not only bring the curtain down on a reinvigorated Volvo Cork Week regatta but it will also see the first ever IRC European Champions crowned.
The regatta will also award a charity prize of €10,000 to the winning yacht of the inaugural Beaufort Cup, another new competition staged as part of the modest-sized five-day sailfest at Crosshaven.
Thursday’s all-in Harbour race did not count towards the IRC Europeans points tally which makes this morning’s climax all the more important. It means Irish crews are in the frame for Euro honours in four of the five classes. In 12-boat IRC class two, for example, Dubliner Paul O’Higgin’s JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI has won three of seven races and has only been out of the top five once.
Other IRC fleets are being led by yachts from other sailing centres drawn from across the Irish Sea at Dún Laoghaire, Howth and Swansea.
The success of Cork Week’s inaugural Beaufort Cup for military and emergency service teams has given an important boost to the biennial event because Royal Cork Yacht Club organisers see potential for further fleet expansion from this year’s 13-teams. If successful, it may well be that the cup will be a centre-piece event in four years’ time when the oldest yacht club in the world celebrates its tricentenary.
In solo sailing, Conor Fogerty continued his 2016 campaign last week with the inaugural Solo Offshore Racing Club (SORC) race, a Solo Fastnet, from Cowes to Fastnet Rock, finishing at Plymouth. The Howth sailor took fourth in class in his Sunfast 3600.
Two world dinghy championships set sail off the east coast later this month. In Dún Laoghaire, Saturday’s Laser Leinster championships will be a warm-up for next weekend’s Dublin Bay-based 2016 KBC Laser Radial Youth & Men’s World Championships at the Royal St George Yacht Club.
In Northern Ireland, the 2016 Topper Worlds at Ballyholme Yacht Club from July 23rd will see a strong international fleet with a large contingent from China.
It’s the first time that the Topper Worlds have been held in Northern Ireland in 16 years – they were previously staged at Cushendall in County Antrim in 2000.
An Irish Optimist under-15 team compete this morning at the Optimist European Championships in Crotone, southern Italy. Up to 250 are expected to race including Ireland’s seven-boat team: Fiona Ferguson (NYC), Leah Rickard (NYC), Moss Simmington (RstGYC), Hugh Turvey (NYC and HYC), Michael Crosbie (RCYC), Harry Tuomey (RCYC) and Conor Gorman (NYC).
After knocking more than two hours off the Round Ireland speed record in June, Damian Foxall is back onboard the Oman Sail trimaran attempting to break another record, this time a Transatlantic one from Quebec to St Malo. Foxall left Canada on Wednesday competing in the oldest west-to-east, nonstop, trans-Atlantic, crewed race in the world, a voyage of some 2,900 miles.