Conor Phelan confirmed champion after curtailed programme

Lack of wind off Lambay Island yesterday saw Conor Phelan’s score from Saturday’s full race programme stand in the ICRA Nationals that confirmed him as the new Class Zero Irish champion at Howth Yacht Club.

Counting three race wins, a joint first place and a third nevertheless only secured the win by a single point from Jay Colville’s Licks from East Down YC. Defending champion George Sisk from the Royal Irish YC placed fourth in the six boat class.

Class One saw a much bigger turnout of 21 boats and yesterday’s cancelled programme due to no wind meant John Maybury on Joker 2 from the RIYC retained his 2015 title won at Kinsale during the Sovereign’s Cup.

Maybury’s J109 design led a trio of sisterships at the front of the class and the Dun Laogahire boat also took the national title under Progressive ECHO.

Former owner Nigel Biggs was on the crew for David Cullen’s Checkmate XV who won the Class 2 national title under both IRC and Progressive Handicaps with a race to spare when the smaller boat fleets managed to sail one race yesterday before the light breeze died.

Defending champion Ross McDonald on Equinox from the host club could only manage fifth overall in the heavily Howth dominated class; 14 out of the 15 entries were from the North Dublin club.

Meanwhile, a win for Paul Gibbons’ Anchor Challenge from the Royal Cork YC wasn’t sufficient to alter the outcome of the Class 3 national championship that was won by Ken Lawless and Sybil McCormack on Cartoon.

Gibbons placed third overall for the series, just 0.3 point behind second placed Quest, co-owned by Barry Cunningham and Jonathan Skerritt. In turn, they had been leading overall going into the final race yesterday but were incorrectly called back by the race committee for early starting.

Cunningham and Skerritt later overturned the race committee’s error and were given average points for the series rather than the race win. That decision saw Cartoon clinch the title by a tight margin.

In Weymouth at the World Cup of Sailing for Olympic classes, Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern were best of a lacklustre Irish squad for Rio 2016 and even then, the 49er skiff duo squandered a fifth place overall in the medal race final that they were handsomely leading.

The pair crossed the finishing line without sailing through a course gate and were disqualified to leave them tenth overall.


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