No sails ruffled as Anthony O’Leary retains national title

All-Ireland sailing: Despite robust challenges, Crosshaven sailor glides easily home

In a full series sailed in building breeze on Dublin Bay, Anthony O’Leary retained his ISA All-Ireland Sailing championship title at the National Yacht Club. Despite strong challenges from small boat sailors, the Crosshaven sailor comfortably won the four-race final.

The silver salver trophy of the original Irish Dinghy Racing Association bears the engraved names of each winner since 1947, when the race was first sailed. The O’Leary family will now feature six times, all since 2008.

O'Leary was joined by Atlanta '96 Olympian Dan O'Grady from Howth and triathlete Cian Guilfoyle from the National YC.

Leading pack

Two flights were sailed on Saturday for the 16 representatives of Ireland’s biggest dinghy and keelboat classes. O’Leary topped his group in the afternoon, despite an ‘on-course side’ early start in one race that he successfully recovered from.

READ MORE

He was closely pursued by Howth's Cillian Dixon, the helm on his club's youth team who won the ICRA Class 4 national title at the Sovereigns Cup in June.

Alex Barry of Monkstown Bay Sailing Club, the RS400 national champion, topped the morning flight with three consistent second places. Those top boats were to form the leading pack in the final yesterday.

Pressure

As the southeasterly breeze started to freshen at midday yesterday, O’Leary led the first race but Barry piled on the pressure right to the finishing-line and forced the defending champion to take second place by a boat-length.

That set the scene for race two and O’Leary took the bullet this time. He followed with another second place and then another win in the fourth race.

“We definitely sailed better this time than last year,” O’Leary said afterwards. “We were comfortable out there and it was a great series.”

Barry went on to score 3-4-3 and took second overall, five points adrift of O’Leary. In fact in the final three races it was Dickson who had the edge but his opening race fifth place cost him dearly and he took third overall by one point from Barry.

Other notable performances over the series included Sutton Dinghy Club's Alan Henry for the IDRA14 class, who qualified for the final on Saturday without recourse to the repechage and placed seventh overall in the final.

Classic dinghies had other representation in the final when Rush Sailing Club's Patrick Dillon for the Mermaid class won a place in the final and was sixth overall.

David Branigan

David Branigan

David Branigan is a contributor on sailing to The Irish Times