As Volvo Cork Week prepares for its final phase, most classes are starting to tighten the standings for overall leaders though few, if any, crews are enjoying a slam-dunk series.
Yesterday saw breezy conditions accompanied by heavy showers or liquid sunshine.
The emphasis on a full racing programme kept the bulk of the 100-boat entry at sea for most of the day with many crews returning to Crosshaven in the early evening as the Ladies Day event enjoyed actual sunny weather at the Royal Cork Yacht Club.
This championship regatta looks set to go to the wire in all classes tomorrow.
Today sees the hallmark Harbour Race, that brings the main racing classes past Cobh and the backdrop of the town with St Colman’s Cathedral.
And while the outcome of this race counts for overall Cork Week trophy results, the IRC European Championship will not include this race, meaning some crews may opt for a rest day before tomorrow’s final round of races.
Two exceptions stand out in the rundown of the classes.
Tony Ackland’s Dark Angel from Swansea has continued to dominate Class One racing under IRC handicap with a first, second, and joint-second place for the day off Roche’s Point yesterday.
The Welsh boat now enjoys an eight and half point lead in the 11-strong division with Jay Colville’s Forty Licks from East Down YC leading the chasing pack in second with Conor Phelan’s Jump Juice from the RCYC in third overall though in turn almost 10 points shy of the leader.
After a run of top three results in the opening two days of the regatta, Paul O’Higgins Rockabill VI from the Royal Irish YC in Dun Laoghaire showed a chink in the armour yesterday with a fifth and sixth places in the first two races. Recovery of form and a second place ended the day on a positive note and as the discard saw off the sixth place, the Dublin crew retain their overall leader of Class Two.
However, their earlier 10-point advantage has been whittled down and Rob McConnell’s Fool’s Gold from Waterford Harbour is just four points behind and well within striking distance with just tomorrow’s racing remaining.
As fresher conditions reached the fleet yesterday, Rockabill might appear to have a slight weakness. If so, then the forecast of fresh winds for the final day tomorrow holds good prospects for O’Higgins in the 11-boat class.
The other exception to the tight standings is in Class Three where John Swan’s half-tonner Harmony added another two wins yesterday plus a second place for the series and has extended his lead over Paul and Deirdre Tingles’ Alpaca from the RCYC to six points.
Patrick Farcy’s French entry Cavok also had a good day in the class and trails the Crosshaven boat by one point.
Another showdown is already underway in Class Four where Paul Gibbons’ Anchor Challenge got the better of Howth’s U25 keelboat team for a second successive day though only by a narrow result.
Gibbons had two wins and a second place while rival skipper Cillian Dickson had an all podium day but was able to discard their third place as their worst score of the series. Anchor Challenge and Ireland’s Eye Kilcullen are separated by a single point.
Meanwhile, the three-boat class zero event has seen a new leader with each entry featuring once in the overall lead of the class since Monday.
Anthony O’Leary of the RCYC on Antix now holds the lead from Tony Langley’s TP52 Gladiator by a point.
Amongst the boats that opted for coastal courses every day, George Sisk’s Wow from the RIYC leads the bigger boats while Arklow entry Aquelina owned by the James and Sheila Tyrell trail by one point. Meanwhile, Martin Breen’s Port of Galway leads the smaller Coastal boats after winning the third race of the series to date.
In the non-spinnaker class, Tom McNeice on Minx III leads a trio of Crosshaven boats by five points though the event discard that comes into force after the sixth race today will tighten this group to a few points which could see Clive Doherty’s Phaeton take over.
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