Rob McConnell’s Scottish win shot in the arm for Irish cruisers

Dun Laoghaire-to-Dingle race next on the agenda for successful Fools Gold

 

When Waterford’s Rob McConnell completed some unfinished business in Scotland a week ago he brought the number of UK titles won by south coast boats to three already this season.

It’s a shot in the arm for Irish cruiser-racing that sees a buoyant fleet of over 100 gathering in Kinsale this month for the Irish Cruiser Racing (ICRA) National Championships.

Perfectly timed

Now, McConnell’s overall win of the Scottish series at Tarbert, after being runner-up in 2014, is perfectly timed to herald an intense month of cruiser racing on Irish waters, starting in a week’s time with the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race offshore fixture.

McConnell’s Dunmore East crew sailing the A35 Fools Gold crew will be competing in the biennial 270-miler that has closed with a starting entry of 36 boats, up six from back in 2013.

The National Yacht Club’s 270-mile Dun Laoghaire-to-Dingle (D2D) race is a season highlight on June 12th that two days later leaves the fleet conveniently positioned on the south coast for June 24th’s ICRA National Championships and Sovereign’s Cup at Kinsale harbour.

For 2015, the defending champion in the Dingle Race is the fleet’s oldest and slowest boat. Brian O’Sullivan of Tralee with the veteran Oyster 37 Amazing Grace, came good in the end in 2013 in a new breeze which knocked the clubhouse leader, O’Leary’s Antix, off its winning perch.

Annalise Murphy returns to London 2012 Olympic waters next week secure in the knowledge she takes Ireland’s single Laser Radial spot for this summer’s Test Event in Rio, following a successful trial at the Delta Lloyd regatta in Medemblik last week.

The Dun Laoghaire solo sailor dispatched four would be contenders in a stunning demonstration of heavy air boat speed to claim a Eurosaf silver medal into the bargain.

Despite the turn of speed though, the Irish 2013 European champion was unable to match Olympic Silver medal winner Marit Bouwmeester but she did finish ahead of Olympic Bronze winner Evi Van Acker in the 82-boat fleet.

Murphy meets both again on Monday when she returns to London 2012 Olympic waters off Weymouth.

Three years ago the Laser Radial Medal Race saw a four way shoot out for medals between China’s Lijia Xu, Bouwmeester (Holland), Van Acker (Belgium) and Murphy.

Xu went on to win gold and has since stepped away from the Laser Radial. Fourth place Murphy walked away empty-handed but posted Ireland’s top sailing result in 30 years.

In the build-up to Rio 2016 the women return to Weymouth for the ISAF Sailing World Cup next week, perhaps the most competitive outing yet of this quadrennial.

In one design keelboat news, John Driscoll and David Cagney took the Northern Squib Championship title last weekend at the Rodgers & Browne Irish Squib Northerns at the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club.

A total of 18 boats competed. Andrew Craig’s Chimaera topped a 13-boat Dragon fleet to win the East Coast Championships at the Royal St George Yacht Club recently. Second on the Dublin Bay race track was Craig’s club mate Phantom skippered by Neil Hegarty.

In the SB20s Jerry Dowling’s Bad Kilcullen from the Royal Irish Yacht Club emerged the winner of a breezy 17-boat Leinster Championships off Dun Laoghaire by a two point margin so he must be the form boat for tomorrow’s Munster title fight at Royal Cork.

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