O’Leary back in overall lead

Class One entry Eos broaches in breezy conditions and choppy seas off the Old Head of Kinsale. Picture: David Branigan/Oceansport
Class One entry Eos broaches in breezy conditions and choppy seas off the Old Head of Kinsale. Picture: David Branigan/Oceansport

If the first two days of the Covestone Asset Management Sovereigns Cup were branded “champagne sailing”, yesterday was the cork being firmly shoved back into the bottle as fresh to strong winds took their toll across the 90-strong turnout.

As the breeze strengthened throughout the day, peaking around 25 knots, the bumpy sea conditions sent boats heading for shelter, many with a variety of breakages or bodily wear and tear.

Others had little choice such as Nicholas “Nin” O’Leary who had been leading the 1720 Sportsboat class.

When the backstay broke on T-Bone, owned by Tom Durcan and Clive O’Shea, their series was brought to an abrupt halt. Despite placing second in the morning race, maximum points followed for the two missed races and O’Leary & dropped to fifth place overnight.

That morning second place was to Nin’s older brother, Peter, who followed that race win with another two bullets in the afternoon and the double-Olympian re-took the overall lead with a 12-point cushion over visitor Tom Forrester-Coles.

Anthony O’Leary also moved into the podium stakes though today’s three races to wrap-up the series may be insufficient to depose his oldest son from the lead.

Apart from the various retirements from the Sportsboat class, just the top three boats in the quarter-tonners stayed afloat for the final race amongst these 30-year-old classics.

Sam Laidlaw on Aguila punched in two race wins plus a second for the day and with this form, probably only needs to sail one or two races today to win the class outright.

If wins by O’Leary and Laidlaw seem impressive, they can’t match the record of former Kinsale YC Commodore and 10-time paralympian John Twomey on Shillelagh in Class 3.

Six straight wins for the series in his Blazer 23 footer leaves him looking untouchable while Jamie Bergin and Brendan Foley on their J24 footer Jaws have also been consistently notching up second and third places though lack the points comfort to lay claim to the runner-up place before this evening’s prize-giving.

Twomey will be pleased regardless of the result because this week marks added time on the water in preparation for his seasonal and possibly career highlight when Kinsale YC hosts the International Disabled Sailing Federation World Championships at the end of August.

One of the most admired boats in the entire fleet is the overall Class Zero leader visiting from Britain. Andy Williams Ker-designed 40-footer Keronimo is cleaning up in the 10 boats of the class leading to suggestions in some quarters that a Class Super Zero might be needed — were there sufficient demand.

But Williams doesn’t have complete domination and lighter winds forecast today could yet see his five-point lead thin if the chasing pack led by Crosshaven’s Kieran Twomey on Gloves Off has their way. A full programme is expected today and with the drop in wind to more manageable conditions, the corks may yet be popping off the Old Head once more.

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