Sailing: Top crews face off for final two titles of season
Six keelboat sailors, nine dinghy sailors and one multihull sailor comprise invitation list
Top crews will be in action at the J109 National Championships in Howth, Co Dublin this weekend Photograph: David O’Brien
The country’s top crews are in demand this weekend at coastal and inland venues when two of the last national titles of the season will be decided.
Irish Sailing released the final line-up on Thursday for its All Ireland Sailing Championships on Lough Ree on Saturday. And the 16 invitees reveal some top crews are accompanying nominees from the world of dinghy, keelboat and multihull classes.
Defending champion Fionn Lyden will sail with west Cork clubmate and multichampion crew David Harte in the SB20 sportsboat.
Six keelboat sailors, nine dinghy sailors and one multihull sailor make up this year’s invitation list. But unlike previous years there is only one Irish Cruiser Racing Association representative when there usually is four.
Former Laser II world champion Noel Butler is crewing for Irish Dinghy Racing Association 14 rep Simon Revill while Radial Champion Aisling Keller has recruited Olympic Laser helmsman Finn Lynch as her crew. Dragon Edinburgh Cup winner Adam Winkelmann sails with Water Wag entry Guy Kilroy.
UK multidinghy champion Jim Hunt is sailing with GP14 champion Ross Kearney.
In Howth, although professional sailors are banned from the J109 National Championships there, some top amateur tacticians are in high demand in a bid to topple double winner Pat Kelly’s Storm on his home waters.
Eleven J109s are expected to contest the six-race event that is one of the most competitive one-design cruiser-racer bouts of the season where strong breeze is forecast off Lambay Island.
Noted dinghy tactician Marty O’Leary takes up his usual role aboard Storm for the defence, but due to the bar on Category Three sailors, John Maybury will sail with Killian Collins instead of Olympian Mark Mansfield on the chartered boat Jedi. Also from Cork Harbour, Rob O’Leary on tactics and mainsheet on board Andrew Algeo’s Juggerknot while Andrew Craig’s crew on Chimaera is bolstered by Brian Matthews and Nevan Powell.
Winning last weekend’s 33-boat Flying Fifteen National Championships with a race to spare on Dublin Bay cements David Gorman and Chris Doorly as the foremost Irish hopes for the 2019 World Championships due to be raced on the same waters next September. Last July, the National Yacht Club pair also recorded a fourth overall at the British Nationals on Strangford Lough – a result that means they are clear Irish frontrunners and, significantly, in with a shout at Ireland’s first world title win.
After the annual “final fling” for Dublin Bay dinghies recorded a buoyant turnout of 30 for an end of season fun race format at the Royal St George Yacht Club last weekend, the Dún Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club has quickly followed up with details of changes in the format for its long-running harbour winter Frostbite series, now in its 49th year.
After a survey, the club will attempt to run two shorter races each Sunday, outside the harbour when it is practical and include windward-leeward formats too.