Sailing: Four national IRC titles up for grabs in Cork Harbour
Fleet of over 60 from around Ireland bound for action at Royal Cork Yacht Club
Pat Kelly’s winning crew of Storm from Rush Sailing Club and Howth Yacht Club celebrate victory in the 16-boat RC35 class on the Clyde. Photograph: Marc Turner
This week’s Scottish Series produced two Irish class winners on the Clyde to make north Dublin clubs the pacesetters at next week’s Irish Cruiser Racer Association (ICRA) National Championships at Royal Cork Yacht Club (RCYC).
As ICRA announce its class divisions, cruiser-racers are taking to the waters off Howth for the Lambay Race today and Saturday, the last serious test before four national IRC titles are decided in Cork harbour starting next Thursday.
All four title-holders will be in action when a fleet of over 60 from around Ireland gather at RCYC.
Pat Kelly’s Storm, hailing from both Rush Sailing Club and Howth Yacht Club, came from behind on the last day of Scotland’s biggest sailing event to win the 16-boat RC35 class on Loch Fyne, Kelly’s first big test of 2017.
The Tarbert result was a long time coming for the Dublin J109. The Kelly-family campaign previously finished third in 2012 and 2015 but never higher, so victory was all the sweeter when they overhauled Scottish boat Kevin and Debbie Aitken’s ‘Animal’ on Monday.
Four Irish boats were in the top six overall in the 16-boat fleet going into the last two races and any one of seven were in contention.
Storm II was trialling new equipment in Scotland, a strategy that could yet make a difference in Cork harbour when Kelly comes up against John Maybury’s Joker II, a defending champion seeking a third class one title in-a-row.
The Rush boat raced with a new symmetric spinnaker set-up as opposed to the conventional J109 asymmetric rig. It’s a move, say pundits, that should make Storm more competitive in heavy winds but less competitive in lighter airs.
Howth Yacht Club also toasted success in class three when Stephen Quinn’s J97 Lambay Rules emerged as a winner by a single point. Quinn also won the event’s Rose Bowl awarded for the best performance in the IRC handicap classes in the series. The HYC skipper lifted the Causeway Cup for best Irish performance too.
This weekend’s Lambay Races will give some indication of who might win class three as four half-tonners will confront Quinn on home waters before making the journey south.
Multiple dinghy and one design keelboat fixtures were sailed on the East coast last weekend. With five boats able to win the Squib Northern Championships going into the final race at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on Belfast Lough it was Gordon Patterson and Ross Nolan who eventually came out on top.
At the Flying Fifteen East Coasts, at the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club, Strangford Lough’s Brian McKee and Ian McKee were winners in a 20-boat fleet.
On the same Dublin Bay race track, there was a repeat of last year’s results at the ten-boat Dragon East Coast event at the Royal Irish Yacht Club. Royal St. George Yacht Club’s Neil Hegarty in Phantom crewed by David Williams and Kevin O’Boyle retained the title.
In Wicklow, Ger Owens & Mel Morris were top of a 26-boat GP14 fleet at the Purcell Trophy off Greystones Harbour. The pair beat current world champion Shane MacCarthy on home waters in the process.