‘Nin’ leads way in Sovereigns

A second day of superb sailing conditions graced the 90-strong fleet competing in the Covestone Asset Management Sovereigns Cup at Kinsale yesterday.

‘Nin’ leads way in Sovereigns

Sunny skies, flat water and a breeze that built steadily to 15 knots from the west proved ideal for most.

In most classes, good local knowledge was vital due to the spring tides pushing from right to left across the course areas between the Sovereigns rocks and the Old Head of Kinsale.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, that extra know-how may have been of little use in the 1720 Sportsboat championship where 17 boats from Ireland the UK are competing in a battle that is especially intense amongst the top four.

That intensity is explained by the dominance of three of the four that are all steered by Crosshaven O’Learys.

After a strong showing on Wednesday, double Olympian Peter O’Leary has been ousted from the overall lead by his younger brother Nicholas ‘Nin’ who scored two wins and a second place yesterday to open a comfortable seven point lead.

Ben Cooke’s Smile & Wave from Baltimore Sailing Club, another O’Leary stronghold, occupies third place but only just as father Anthony O’Leary is in fourth just three points behind.

Whether O’Leary senior can close a ten point gap in six races on current form remains to be seen. However, a pattern of leaders is clearly established and only today’s fresher conditions offer a chance to upset the running-order.

Windier conditions will suit ‘Ant’ who, according to some observers has impressive downwind speed which could be decisive in today’s breeze.

“He shows a remarkable capability for snakes and ladders with phenomenal downwind pace,” according to Ian Travers of Kinsale Yacht Club who was setting marks on the 1720 course.

That forecast of extra wind could provide an upset for the quarter-tonners racing the same course today where Sam Laidlaw leads overall on Aquila.

Just two points behind, Rob Gray on Cote broke Laidlaw’s run of race wins in yesterday’s final race – just as the breeze was at it’s freshest.

“We seem to do better in the light airs so perhaps our luck will change when the breeze builds,” said a rueful Laidlaw ashore.

And in a further twist of irony, Gray is racing Laidlaw’s previous boat which is accepted to be the faster in windier conditions.

Although just eight in number, the ¼ tonners are experiencing a similar revival to the 1720’s, though are being treated as classics given their 30-year average age.

Restored to pristine condition and fully optimised to compete under IRC handicap, they are providing close racing on the water long after their original design rule, the IOR has expired.

Meanwhile, in the other IRC handicap classes, Class Zero has attracted a far larger turn-out than the recent national championships held in Fenit just two weeks ago.

Visitor Andy Williams on Keronimo is jointly tied for first place with Kieran Twomey of the Royal Cork Yacht Club on Gloves Off.

But Triuble lurks today when the event discard comes into force that will allow Richard Fildes Impetuous to recover from a premature start yesterday afternoon.

If his previous form holds, a three-way tussle for the lead going into tomorrow’s finale is certain.

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