South-easterly winds cause chaos in Dún Laoghaire Regatta

Jump Juice makes light of weather to complete hat-trick of wins in Class Zero

Boats in Dublin Bay compete in the Dun Laoghaire Regatta where winds caused the postponement of some classes. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

Boats in Dublin Bay compete in the Dun Laoghaire Regatta where winds caused the postponement of some classes. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

 

If Dublin Bay once had a reputation as a light airs sailing venue in mid-July, that moniker has been well and truly trounced after two days of hard racing at the Volvo Dún LaoghaireRegatta.

A second day of big wind, gusting to 30 knots but more relevantly from a south-easterly direction kicked up a lumpy seaway that caught the unwary.

Numerous incidents ranging from man-overboards to dismastings peppered the racing amongst the 409-strong fleet or those that ventured out.

For those that stayed incident-free, sail-handling amongst the cruiser-classes was critical but those that couldn’t or those that wouldn’t fly spinnakers saw their places suffer.

By evening, queues for the sailmakers’ collection point at Dún Laoghaire Marina had formed while boat-builders are likely to be kept busy after several collisions led to structural damage.

The dinghies and smaller one-designs were held ashore until the tide turned in the early afternoon that allowed more manageable conditions but, further out in the bay, the bigger boats were being challenged by the weather.

RNLI lifeboats from Howth and Dún Laoghaire responded to several incidents including two dismastings, man-overboards and lost steering.

Nevertheless, the results came pouring in from the 23 divisions racing on six course areas spread around the bay including the Howth area as well as coastal and inshore locations.

The biggest boats were started early off the Baily Lighthouse on their course off Howth and Ireland’s Eye. Conor Phelan’s Jump Juice from the Royal Cork Yacht Club delivered another two race wins to complete a hat-trick for the series to date.

Familiar battle

Also on the Howth course, a familiar battle has emerged between two Dún Laoghaire stalwarts that didn’t feature in the recent ICRA National Championships at the recent Sovereigns Cup in Kinsale.

Bon Exemple and Rockabill V, both from the Royal Irish Yacht Club, top the 16 boat Division 1 class with a point separating the pair in first and second place respectively after they each had a race win yesterday.

Tony Fox’s Gringo from the National YC holds third overall after the tie-break but with four races remaining in the series to leverage the standings further.

The Coastal IRC boats have one of the biggest classes with 25 entries. After George Sisk’s opening race-win on Thursday evening, it was Adrian Lee’s Lee Overlay Partners turn to perform in perfect conditions for this proven offshore racer.

The Cookson 50 footer with canting keel revelled in the conditions and finished the four-hour race 45 minutes ahead of Sisk on the water, enough to beat the smaller boat on the IRC corrected handicap time.

After Howth Yacht Club’s near whitewash of the Kinsale event two weeks ago, a smaller scale repeat performance is emerging in Division 3. Anthony Gore Grimes on Dux had to pull out of the Sovereigns Cup but this weekend leads the class ahead of club-mates Paddy Kyne on Maximus and Richard Colwell and Ronan Cobbe Fusion.

Overall lead

The Royal St George YC was doing a similar job in the Beneteau 31.7 class where Jean Mitton’s Levana has a commanding overall lead after straight wins in the series to date.

Amongst the dinghy classes, Irish Olympian Annalise Murphy was once again being led around the Moth course by her coach Rory Fitzpatrick in a repeat of their last Dún Laoghaire Regatta in 2013 that the pair enjoy when not training for her Laser Radial event at Rio 2016.

The development class has more than doubled in size and counts eight entries this week though racing yesterday was limited to inside Dún Laoghaire Harbour for safety reasons due to conditions on the bay.

Meanwhile, the protest committee was sitting late again last night after Thursday’s opening race for the bigger cruiser classes was scrutinised.

Course marks drifted off station on the South Course leading to confusion and crossing fleets in the choppy sea state. One skipper called the situation dangerous and said that the race should have been abandoned completely and restarted.

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