Spectacular success for for Irish cruiser-racers in Scottish Series

Craig’s J109 Chimaera claims overall victory while Irish boats claim a clean sweep of four classes

 Andrew Craig’s J109 Chimaera from Dublin Bay: claimed the overall overall Scottish Series victory as Irish boats dominated.

Andrew Craig’s J109 Chimaera from Dublin Bay: claimed the overall overall Scottish Series victory as Irish boats dominated.

 

A clean sweep for Irish cruiser-racers in four classes of the Scottish Series on the Clyde this week was the perfect warm-up for when the focus of Irish Sea racing shifts south next week to the Irish Championships on Dublin Bay.

In a timely reminder of the strength of Irish IRC racing, Irish wins were recorded in IRC one, two, three and four and the Irish whitewash was topped off by overall Scottish Series victory by Andrew Craig’s J109 Chimaera from Dublin Bay.

Only third in a 10-boat East Coast Championship fleet a fortnight ago on Dublin Bay, Craig showed no signs then of the form that landed him the Scottish Series trophy on Monday when the Royal Irish skipper sailed a consistent no-discard series in the toughest IRC class of Scotland’s biggest sailing event.

Not only did Craig see off the local and much-fancied RC35 challenge led by Debbie Aiken’s First 6.7 Animal on home waters but the RIYC crew beat two Irish contenders in the 14-boat pack too; the defending champion Storm, a J109, from Howth Yacht Club and second overall Hijacker, a Ker 32 from Strangford Lough.

In the other divisions, Down Cruising Club’s Forty Licks (Jay Colville) was the IRC One winner, Jonny Swan’s Harmony of Howth Yacht Club went one better than in 2018 and was the IRC Three victor. Cork week winner, Carrickfergus yacht, ‘F’n Gr8’ (Rory Fekkes) was the IRC Four winner.

Swan’s Half Tonner returns victorious to his home port for the annual HYC Lambay Race tomorrow (Saturday).

With entries now closed for June 7th’s 100-boat Frank Keane BMW ICRA championships at the Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, rating bands for the four competing divisions are eagerly awaited because under new ICRA rating band guidelines, all boats of the same type will race in class.

A near 100-boat fleet by the Royal St George has been assembled, and eyes are peeled to see what advantage Tarbert winners may have gained over six races on Loch Fyne.

Nowhere will that interest be more intense than in the anticipated J109 battle in class one (expected to be double the size of the RC35s at the Scottish Series) where Craig will meet rival and clubmate White Mischief (Tim and Richard Goodbody).

Some stunning performances in the week’s final races saw HYC performer Jamie McMahon sail 11 points clear of his closest rival to clinch the Under-21 Laser Radial title at the Laser European Championships in Porto last Saturday.

It’s been a high-achieving month as he and his sister Eve both qualified for the Irish Youth Sailing Team to compete at the Youth Worlds in Poland this July – the first Irish sibling pair to do so.

Also, older brother Ewan (20), sailing in his first senior European Championships, came within six places overall of 2016 Rio rep Finn Lynch to set up the tantalising prospect of an Olympic trial for the single Tokyo berth later this Summer.

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