Ireland retain overall lead with 26-point advantage

Ireland’s team in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup retained first overall in the week-long series after a triangle-shaped, 118-mile course that lasted just over 16 hours.

The team returned a mixed set of results, Marc Glimcher’s Catapult winning the race on the water but corrected to third place on IRC handicap, Michael Boyd and Niall Dowlings’ Quokka 8 placing 11th, while team captain Anthony O’Leary was 20th.

Nine teams and 27 crews are contesting the biennial series that comprises a mix of inshore and longer offshore courses over seven days. Ireland now has a 26 point lead thanks to the 2.5 times bonus for the offshore race, while France’s Green and Blue teams moved up to second and third overall as a split in the fleet starts to emerge.

After winning both the opening races on Sunday, O’Leary was accepted the inevitability of the racing conditions on Monday.

“Our type of boat was always going to be punished in those reaching conditions,” he explained last night. “Yet, having that happen and still gain team points is brilliant — we avoided calamity.”

Quokka 8 had a similar result in the opening race on Sunday though without the multiplier effect, the damage was limited.

“To get through what could have been a serious banana skin is always a relief.”

A single, round the cans type course is planned for today but with an earlier start to allow for near calm conditions in the strong flood tide in the afternoon. Two more short races are planned for tomorrow, all counting for straight points.

Then the bonuses start again on Friday with a race around the Isle of Wight before Saturday’s final.

“Points wise, we’re only about a third the way into the event. We need to build on it. Saturday is still a double-point finale,” said O’Leary who led the Irish team to victory in 2010.

“There are so many things that can happen. It’s very, very warm yet there’s no sea breeze and the race around the Isle of Wight is the next potential problem.”

Both French teams in the runner-up places didn’t fare as well in the inshore races on Sunday so there may be potential to extend the lead further before Friday’s longer race. Either way, the series is far from decided.

“Those 26 points would disappear in a puff of smoke with one or two bad results,” said O’Leary. “On the balance of the teams that are here, we have a good bunch of guys that are focussed and set to deliver.”

By the end of tomorrow’s racing, two clear groups will have emerged comprising the contenders racing hard and the others who may not even be podium hopefuls.


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