Sailing: It was the title defence that should have been two years earlier but the weekend nevertheless brought Ireland’s second victory in Cowes at the Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup-
After a week marked by uncertainty, Anthony O’Leary’s team extended a significant lead in the nine-team, four nation event.
An all-amateur affair bar the four professionals permitted in each squad that typically numbers around 30 sailors, the Commodores’ Cup is considered the true championship of IRC handicap racing.
Unlike the win in 2010, Ireland’s most significant in Cowes after four decades of continuous effort, this win was a different character.
While O’Leary returned with the ever-potent Antix, a contact through his Olympian son Peter brought American owner Marc Glimcher with the North American IRC champion Catapult to the new team.
Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling of the Royal Irish YC in Dun Laoghaire were brought on board to charter Quokka 8, a well-proven British boat that arrived with some British crew and a mix of Irish sailors including Nicholas O’Leary.
The comprehensive victory in Cowes was delivered through a mix of inshore and offshore courses with all held in challenging and far from ideal light winds.
Antix’s opening two race victories helped ensure that the team also won the trophy for the inshore series while Catapult also won best individual boat of the series which had been heading for Britain’s Cutting Edge until the penultimate race scuppered their chances.
Saturday’s foreshortened final inshore race was a sailing coup de grace, with Antix winning the one-hour race, Quokka placing second and Catapult fourth. The final winning margin was a massive 174-point lead while the next four teams were separated by less than 30 points.
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