Liam Shanahan not resting on laurels after D2D victory
National Yacht Club skipper has already declared for next year’s Round Ireland race
D2D winner Liam Shanahan’s on board his J109 yacht ‘Ruth’. Photo: Michael Chester
Dun Laoghaire Dingle (D2D) race winner Liam Shanahan showed the depth of his ambition yesterday when he was first to declare for next year’s Round Ireland race.
The ISORA champion sailed into the most westerly harbour in Europe as clubhouse leader last Sunday evening but overall D2D victory was not confirmed for nearly 24 hours as several in the 30-boat fleet were still at sea, becalmed in one of the most drawn-out editions of the 280-mile race.
Shanahan’s victory highlighted not only the potency of his J109 Dun Laoghaire crew but of J-boats in general. Five of the top six places were Js, relegating some top racers – including long-time race leader, Anthony O’Leary’s Antix – to the minor places.
It is also, in part, a consolation because, after four days of intense racing in June 2014, Shanahan lost the overall Round Ireland lead by just six minutes. And, as if to remind him that the 704-mile title still eludes him, Wicklow Sailing Club published its 2016 race date yesterday.
Shanahan and his nine crew – largely family – were first to sign-up for the Wicklow start next June 18.
A raft of one-design championships are underway this weekend. The 1720 sportsboat title will be decided in Baltimore, west Cork, tomorrow and in Cork harbour the J/24s are racing for southern honours. In Dublin, the Squib class championships are on at Howth and the Dragon national championships are being staged by the National Yacht Club.
Last weekend, Chris Helme of the host club was the winner of the 16-boat Ruffian 23 National Championships at the Royal St George Yacht Club. Dave Gorman and Chris Doorly won the Flying Fifteen Northern Championships, hosted by Strangford Lough YC.
Meanwhile, there is twice as many sailors in Ireland as there are members of yacht clubs, according to figures released by the Irish Sailing Association. The organisation has launched a bid to get 3,000 newcomers to “try sailing” this summer. A new website, trysailing.ie, gives 40 different ‘learn to sail’ venues in a drive to increase yacht club memberships.