Burgess leaves O’Leary feeling blue

A CHANGE of pace saw standings across the 13 classes tighten into two distinct groups: the outright battles for first place in some, and clear favourites in others. Light winds are again expected today while there will be possible near-gale conditions tomorrow.

The switch from Harbour Course to more regular courses brought the J109 EuroCup fleet into closer contact yesterday, as the 18 boats sailed to Slalom races East of Roches Point.

Overnight leader Robert O’Leary and his mostly UCC Sailing Club crew on Robert Prower’s Jeroboam slipped slightly in the standings.

Greg Burgess’ Blue Jay put his stamp back on the fleet with a first and second place while O’Leary found his work cut out as a third and a fifth dropped the class newcomer to second. Brian Moreton’s Juke Box is also a force to be reckoned with thanks to a win and a third place.

Another local boat ruled themselves out of the running for the class EuroCup after yesterday’s races as there is no discard available in their event.

“It was quite light air and our boat seems to struggle in the light,” said Killian Collins, tactician on Jelly Baby. “But we got a good start in the first race and got a fourth.”

However, the Crosshaven boat got caught out in a hole in the breeze in race two and the contest became “a bit of a procession after that”.

Collins’ sentiments towards the slalom course were echoed by Dun Laoghaire’s John Hall, skipper of Something Else.

“We had a good Harbour Race (on Monday) we got a fifth out of that and we were happy with that,” he said.

“But the slalom was very difficult in light airs and to be quite honest, not pleasant at all as it was just a soldiers’ race. They’re trying to give us variety but it’d be a great course if blowing 15 or 18 knots when it becomes a survival race with all the gybes involved.”

As far as O’Leary’s sudden arrival into the class, Hall is full of admiration for the teamwork of the college students and their ability to switch from one boat to another.

“When you’re a (good) sailor, you can sail anything and if the whole team moves on as a bunch, what’s the difference whether its A35, J109 or a Ker 39? It’s all the same!.”

The true test is likely to come today on the Olympic course where the points gap could start to open up between the leading the three boats and the remainder of the J109 fleet.

Meanwhile, the series for the Class Zero boats is starting to draw down to a three-horse race amongst the runner-ups to be challenger to Richard Cotter’s Nemo of Cowes that has opened up a nine-point lead.

Dave Dwyer’s marinerscove.ie holds second overall, while designer Jason Ker on French entry Inis Mor is third only after the tie-break and Kieran Twomey’s Gloves Off is 1.5 points behind. Anthony O’Leary’s Antix appears to be out of contention following a seventh and fifth yesterday.

Conor and Denise Phelans’ Jump Juice has a slim lead of a single point in Class One with Richard Fildes visiting Impetuous possibly the more consistent with two wins in the series so far. Irish Commodore’s Cup team small boat Roxy 6, a joint Welsh-Royal Cork YC entry holds third.

Outright leaders are very prominent in such divisions as Class 3 where John Moorehead and Chris Ferres’ Bengal Magic from Belfast Lough has three straight-wins to date; same for Vincent O’Shea’s Yanks $ Francs in Class 4 and Neil Kennefick and Joxer O’Briens’ Tiger in Class 5 who continues to hold Flor O’Driscoll at bay in his J24 Hard on Port.

Meanwhile, competitors have been responding to the smaller-sized event in Crosshaven this year.

“Congratulations to the Royal Cork Yacht Club, it certainly is a super event,” said Something Else’s Hall.

“It’s a bit more relaxed with less people here, probably going back to the first days in the seventies when we did the first Cork Week,” said Brian Mathews, helm on Philip Dilworth’s Orna, the White Sails class one leader.

“We had two very good races on the windward-leeward,” he enthused. “We had a one and two and our (main) opposition had a two and a one so we’re very happy and in with a chance.”


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