Sailing: Joker II delivers fourth straight national title for Maybury

John Maybury's Joker 2. Photograph: David Branigan/Oceansport

In spite of a two-year hiatus caused by cancellation of the 2018 event, John Maybury on Joker II from Dun Laoghaire delivered his fourth consecutive Division One national title at the ICRA championships at the weekend.

His was one of five major wins at the annual gathering of cruiser racing yachts that mustered a fleet of 93 boats from 24 clubs around Ireland.

An overall trophy was also awarded, won by Anthony Gore Grimes’ Dux from Howth in what would become a dual domination of the series by the Royal Irish and Howth yacht clubs.

Maybury’s win wasn’t at all certain on the first day despite winning both races back to back; the depth of talent amassed in his 18-strong division was too strong to write anyone off.

As if to prove fallibility, Joker II opened on Saturday with a 13th place and suddenly the event seemed wide open. But order was restored in the afternoon and he persisted, delivering wins and second places for the remainder of the series while the single event discard disposed of the weighty 13th place.

Maybury’s clubmate Paul O’Higgins had a tall order in Division Zero where 10 of the biggest entries sailed day-long coastal courses with a five-hour marathon on Saturday lasting 40 nautical miles.

O’Higgins placed third while Jay Colville’s Forty Licks from East Down Yacht Club won the race.

The pair ended on Sunday tied for first place and only won the title on the tie-break.

Meanwhile, a third Royal Irish YC entry won the smallest turnout of the event when Philip O’Dwyer’s Supernova delivered a second day of back-to-back wins to win the Division Four title. As for Howth Yacht Club, in addition to Dux taking a divisional title and overall event win, Michael and Darren Wrights’ Mata led the half-tonners at the front of the Division Two fleet to lift that trophy.

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