Light winds off Ireland’s Eye yesterday put paid to any notions of easy wins for the defending title-holders at the ICRA National Championships at Howth Yacht Club.
A fleet of 86 boats from more than 20 clubs around Ireland and Britain has gathered to decide eight titles sailing under IRC and ECHO handicap systems.
Most of last year’s winners from the Sovereigns Cup at Kinsale are present though the conditions are not as breezy.
One of the biggest upsets came from veteran yachtsman Tim Goodbody who has switched to a J109 from his long-standing Sigma 33-footer. Still named White Mischief, the Royal Irish YC crew placed second in the opening race of the day before going on to victory in race two in the highly competitive Class One.
Rob McConnell’s Fool’s Gold from Waterford Harbour Sailing Club lies second overall while defending class champion John Maybury’s Joker 2 racing with multiple Olympian Mark Mansfield is third.
Paul O’Higgins on his brand new JPK1080 Rockabill VI failed to find form in both light airs races, posting two 17th places in the 21-strong fleet.
Class Zero has just six boats competing but that didn’t prevent close results that saw Conor Phelan’s Jump Juice from the Royal Cork YC tie on handicap, a rare occurence, in the opening race with East Down’s Jay Colville on Licks.
The two boats both suffered gear damage in last year’s ICRA championships in Kinsale which was won for the class by George Sisk’s WOW! The defending champion lies fourth overnight while Phelan holds a narrow lead thanks to a win in race two.
Meanwhile in Weymouth, a better day yesterday for Ireland’s Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern brought the 49er skiff duo into medal race contention when they posted two sixth places for the day, boosting the pair to ninth overall.
However, Ireland’s sailors in the 49erFX and Laser Radial classes had similarly disappointing results for a second day as they lag towards the back of their respective classes.
Racing continues today for the fleet series across all classes. The top ten boats in each discipline will compete for the medal race final tomorrow.
This event is the latest World Cup of Sailing regatta and the final gathering for most sailors before departing to Rio and this Summer’s Olympic Games that start racing on August 8.
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