Royal Cork Commodore's Cup boats have edge


SAILING:TONIGHT AT 8pm up to a dozen boats depart Cork harbour en route to Dublin Bay and the start of a fortnight of intense activity for both inshore and offshore cruiser­racer fans.

The Royal Cork boats form 10 per cent of the fleet that will gather next weekend for the Liebherr Cruiser Nationals at the Royal St George YC. This new long-distance race will finish tomorrow evening in Dún Laoghaire, where pundits are tipping one of the three Royal Cork Commodore’s Cup boats competing as the most likely winner of the Irish Cruiser Racer Association’s (ICRA) inaugural offshore trophy. That’s no surprise as these crack teams have already received a weather and tidal briefing from their Commodore’s Cup weather guru Mike Broughton.

The Cork-Dún Laoghaire race is not the only offshore fixture this weekend. After two successful outings for the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association (ISORA) fleet, now at 20 boats and a 20-year high, tomorrow morning’s fixture starts on the far side of the Irish Sea at Holyhead for a race back to Dún Laoghaire. Competition to date has been keen and a feature of the series is the amount of new entries Commodore Peter Ryan has attracted from Dún Laoghaire’s white sails division.

Matt Davis sailing Raging Bull (a Sigma 400) took first place overall in the second race from Dún Laoghaire to Arklow sailed in blustery conditions last Saturday.Race officials expect both ISORA and ICRA fleets into Dún Laoghaire around the same time tomorrow evening.

Meanwhile, an expected 120-boat ICRA fleet will have the benefit of new facilities at the Royal St George if next week’s installation of 80-metre long pontoons goes to plan. Kilkenny-based company SF Marina Ireland are putting in place four permanent pontoons, weighing 252 tons each.

Buoyed by next week’s bumper entry ICRA are forging ahead with preparations for future championships too. Next year the event is heading to Royal Cork, in 2012 it will be staged by Howth Yacht Club, in 2013 at Tralee Bay SC, Fenit, and in 2014 it comes back to Dún Laoghaire, to the Royal Irish Yacht Club.

Insiders say it looks less positive ICRA will produce a second Commodore’s Cup team but officials have not given up yet. Ireland’s team for August all hail from Crosshaven and in a press release yesterday, the Royal Ocean Racing Club in London announced Cork ex-pat Jamie McWilliam will lead a strong Hong Kong team made up of former Irish Cup boats.

The annual DMYC two-handed Kish race takes place on Sunday. It is building on the double-hander class that has found a new home in the harbour at the National YC and with ISORA racers this year. Double and solo group president Olivier Prouveur is encouraging as many as possible to participate.

In Howth, Andrew Fowler and his crew won the Dublin Match Race Open last weekend. Due to high winds the event was shortened to a single day of racing and a single round robin for the nine teams ahead of the final.

In youth sailing there were celebrations at Blessington Sailing Club for Wicklow Topper ace Finn Lynch who received an Evening Herald School Sports award on Tuesday for his achievements in the class in Ireland and abroad.

The Ireland team has been named for the ISAF Youth World Sailing Championships which take place in Istanbul, Turkey, from July 8th-17th. In two years’ time this event, regarded as the youth Olympics in sailing, comes to Dún Laoghaire.

In Turkey more than 300 sailors from 60 nations will compete across eight disciplines. Ireland will compete in four. The team was selected based on performances at the ISA Youth Nationals in Schull and the Mitsubishi Youth Regatta in Dún Laoghaire.

IRISH TEAM:Mathew O’Dowd (Royal St George Yacht Club) in the Laser Radial boys’ one-person dinghy. Sophie Murphy (Quoile Yacht Club) in the Laser Radial girl’s one-person dinghy. Cian O’Regan (Kinsale Yacht Club) Scott Flanagan in the 420 boy’s two-person dinghy. Jane Butler and Jennifer Andreasson (Royal St George Yacht Club) in the 420 girl’s two-person Dinghy.