Pack closing in on Cotter

CORK WEEK 2010 passed its halfway mark with sunshine and light winds mixed with rain and a slow, rolling seaway off Roche’s Point as the results closed up in most of the 13 classes.

Richard Cotter’s Swan 45 Nemo of Cowes commands Class Zero but the chasing pack is gaining ground. A third place and a win for closed the gap slightly from second to first by a single point.

“We had a tough start to the regatta, we didn’t really get the results we were looking for — a bit unlucky and some mistakes,” said Andy Beadsworth, tactician on Dave Dwyer’s “But we’re getting it together now towards the end of the week.”

Opinions are mixed about today’s weather forecasts but the big boats move to the Trapezoid Course before tomorrow’s single Harbour Race finale.

“There’s plenty of opportunities left and we just have to keep the pressure on — if they (Nemo of Cowes) drop the ball, we need to be there to take it off ‘em,” said Beadsworth.

Dwyer and his team retained their overall British IRC national championship title in Cowes last month and are preparing to return there for the Commodore’s Cup next month alongside Anthony O’Leary’s Antix and Robert Davies Roxy 6. Today’s forecast of fresher winds will be especially welcomed by the Cork boat.

“Commodore’s Cup is just around the corner so this (week) is a pretty big deal for us since we’ve just re-moded the boat and not had any breezy conditions,” Dwyer said last night. “We’ve made big improvements in this sort of lighter stuff to where we’re really competitive but we don’t know yet how much we’ve paid in the heavy air performance to have achieved that.”

That said, Beadsworth would still also like the remainder of the event to be light as the boat’s speed is so promising in this weather.

Meanwhile, Dwyer’s team can look behind to Kieran Twomey’s Gloves Off enjoying a good week in third place overall,

“We had a reasonably good day with a sixth and a second so we’re up to third but with a lot of good boats behind us and two ahead of us so we still have a chance,” commented Mark Mansfield from Gloves Off.

“There was always breeze, it wasn’t shifting that much but it was very, very sloppy seas so keeping the boat going fast was the big thing, getting a good start and getting good lanes.

“Upwind, you just have to keep the boat going and keep the boat fast and powerful. Downwind is a struggle because the spinnaker keeps collapsing,” said Mansfield.

“There was a very big ebb and that was a huge issue. If you took your spinnaker down earlier to try and get around the mark, suddenly you’d be on (top of) the mark.”

As far as tomorrow’s final goes, the decider could be back to light winds and as numerous boats have discovered all week, get the tides wrong in light winds and it’s easy to run aground inside the harbour — good course information will be important.

“Certainly the locals will have a little bit more knowledge but it’ll depend on the wind conditions — if there’s breeze, then it’ll probably be the same for everyone but if it’s light, then the tidal situation will be quite important,” said Mansfield.

Good local knowledge started the week well for another local sailor as Robert O’Leary and his mostly UCC Sailing Club crew on Jeroboam demonstrated on Monday in J109 Eurocup class.

A third place and a sixth, which was discarded, brought the 18-year old skipper up to second place in the 18-boat class.

But two first places for Greg Burgess’ Blue Jay points to a considerable task remaining in the final four races of the series. “Don’t write us off yet,” said O’Leary last night in Crosshaven.

Elsewhere in the 13 classes competing at the event, Vincent O’Shea’s Class 5 leader Yanks $ Francs ended its run of straight wins for the week when Tom Crosbie collected the bullet on No Excuses yesterday afternoon for the Harbour Course in this 14-strong class.


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