The West of Ireland Offshore Championship's
, which were hosted by Foynes Yacht Club last week on the Shannon Estuary was a great success for the for the club writes Gerry Ryan.
The last time the championship's were hosted by the club 14 years ago, which is a long time to wait for such a prestigious championship. A total of 28 yacht's raced in four different divisions: Class 1, 2 and 3 and in the ever popular and growing White Sails Division.
The championship's are one of the top event's on the west coast sailing calendar, and vessels from as far away as Sligo to Fenit travelled to compete in the golden jubilee of FYC.
The weather during the week was mixed with the wind strengthening to force 4 on some of the days with a very wet day on the Thursday.
A total of one race was scheduled for Wednesday, where two were raced on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Officer of the Day, Liam Dineen set challenging courses for the event, and mostly all the courses were set in Olympic Triangular fashion, where racing took place west of Foynes Island concentrating between the Clare shore at Labasheeba and Mount Trenchard on the Limerick side.
Vantage points were taken up on the coast road leading to Tarbert and Ballybunion, where the public could view the superb racing that was on offer.
In his opening speech at the presentation of prizes FYC Commodore Tom Murray said that he was delighted so many boats from the club's on the west coast and especially from Iniscealtra from Lough Derg took part in the event. He thanked the committee, member's of the club and an Slua Muiri in giving assistance to the event.
Foynes Yacht Club took several of the top prizes with Andrew Bracken sailing in Class 1 IRC on Joyrider received the Clifford Cup overall trophy and the winning class trophy the Ita McGibney Cup. His crew consisted of David Taylor, who won the IRC National Championship's in Scotland, he also had Stephen Ferris, Steve Atkinson, Killian Glynn, Evan Tobin, who is a National Topper Champion, Annemarie Glynn, Dominic O'Sullivan and Eddie Bracken.
In Class 1 Echo, another Foynes boat, Dexterity received the laurels in taking the overall prize. Team Foynes were delighted with this win, and after the presentation a member of the winning crew described the win as 'fantastic'. The crew were Alan McEneff, Liam Madden, Ger Hobbs, Kevin Hoare, Rory Buckley and Jane Maher.
Ray McGibney, skipper of Dis-A-Ray took the honours in Class 2 IRC, which was a great achievement for them, especially because they were up against a strong fleet of participating boats.
A name synonymous with Foynes Yacht Club 'McCormack' did not let the side down, James McCormack, skipper of Alpara won the White Sails Division with his crew of Darragh, Cian, Jamie, Mary, Patricia McCormack, Anna Lowes, Chris McDaid and Mary Glynn.
Brian O'Sullivan on Reconnaissance from Tralee Bay Sailing Club won IRC and ECHO in Class 3, and Serendipitiy of Solent skippered by Robert Bourke from Inishcealtra Sailing Club won White Sails Division 1.
Class 1 IRC, Joyrider. Class 1 Echo, Dexterity. Class 2 IRC and Echo, Dis-A-Ray. Class 3 IRC and Echo, Reconnaisance. White Sails Division 1: Serendipity of Solent. White Sails Division 2: Alpara.
Overall winners in IRC
: Joyrider, Andy Bracken. Overall winners in White Sails Division: Alpara, James McCormack.