Ben Walsh from Skerries Sailing Club. Ben is 13 and is a sailor in the Senior Fleet, and he has written a Main Fleet report from the Nationals:
This year’s Nationals were hosted by Kinsale Yacht Club from Monday 30th July to Saturday 4th August. It began with the registration on Monday, with 40 in Regatta Fleet, 47 in Main Fleet Senior and 96 in Main Fleet Junior. With a total of 183 sailors entered in this year’s event, including 57 International sailors travelling from abroad to compete. It was great to see familiar faces like Calum from Hong Kong, Rory from Bermuda, Jim from France, the British Team and some new faces as well like Jan from Spain. The Opening Ceremony took place that evening at Charles Fort overlooking Kinsale Bay. There was a juggler to entertain everyone, he even tried balancing between Rory Caslin & Thomas Chaix arms, which looked more like them juggling the juggler! The Mayor gave a welcoming speech to all. The International sailors travelled to the Fort on the Kinsale Road Train and waved their country flags proudly.
Tuesday 31st July, with great eagerness and anticipation the event got underway. Everyone was looking forward to racing, Junior Fleet sailors launching first followed quickly by the Senior Fleet. With good winds the main fleet raced outside the Harbour with two races scheduled. The OOD decided to squeeze an extra race in , as high winds and big swells were predicted for the next coming days. The Regatta fleet braved the winds and raced in the inside Harbour below Charles Fort. We were all delighted to get the event and races underway.
Wednesday 1st August, we arrived early and rigged up, however the postponement flag was raised with a two hour race delay expected. The race committee launched to check the conditions off shore. By 1130 they decided to launch the Main Fleet sailors and stand down the Regatta Fleet. There were very big swells outside the harbour, with some sailors enjoying surfing the waves and others battling to stay upright. The Race committee tried to set a course but with such challenging conditions, they were forced to move the course and fleets inside the harbour. With shifting winds and limited space for the large fleet, racing was abandoned for the day at about 2pm. The early finish gave us a chance to take a walk to Aunty Nellies (sweet shop), watch the Irish team sailing in the Olympics and hang around with friends.
Back to business on Thursday. With plenty of wind the main fleet got four races completed outside the harbour. The Regatta Fleet also got four races completed in very challenging conditions inside the Harbour. At the end of the day it was time to hang out our sailing clothes and head to the disco in The White Lady night club. The music was very good and there were plenty of sailors dancing.
Friday brought the big swells yet again outside the harbour. This time the Race Committee decided to lay a course inside the harbour, and launched only the Senior Fleet. The Junior Fleet stayed ashore fuelling up on lunch and ‘Sundaes Ice Cream’. The Senior Fleet returned to shore with two races completed and an early finish to their day. Next it was the Junior fleets turn to race - they also completed two races.
Saturday, the final day of the event it was all to sail for, the weather conditions were light and shifty winds. The first race was slow to start with a general recall for the Juniors and wind shifts. As the Senior race got underway so did the extremely heavy downpour of rain, making visibility very hard at times and we all got very wet and cold. There was just one race completed.
With the event complete, we were all in great form, pleased with 10 races completed and generally pleased with our results. The prize giving brought the event to a close, with loud clapping and cheering. Well done to all those who won prizes and who sailed & competed in this event.
Finally a big thank you to all at Kinsale Yacht Club for hosting this great event, the Race Committee, to the volunteers who helped us launch & recover and most importantly to our parents who brought us to this event!David Carroll is nine years old and his home club is Kinsale Yacht Club. David has written the Regatta Fleet report from the Nationals:
Hi, my name is David Carroll. I just finished sailing in the Nationals in Kinsale. I was in the Regatta Fleet. I am 9 years old and started sailing this year. I first sailed in Baltimore in February, then in the Leinsters and the Crosbie Cup.
My club is Kinsale and the nationals were on here. My older brother and sister sail in the main fleet. They are juniors and I want to follow them into the main fleet.
I enjoyed the week sailing. It was windy a lot of the time and I found that a bit scary sometimes. I like the racing and the coaching. The best part for me is making friends. I met Conor Gorman at the Crosbie Cup and it was great to meet him again in Kinsale. One day it was too windy to sail and I went to the beach with his Mum. We had great fun. I also made friends with Tom Good, Robert Keal and William Lacy. I cant wait to meet them again at the next sailing. My cousin Robert Carroll sailed as well.
The sailing was great fun and I think I am a better sailor now. I didnt finish all the races as it was too windy for me sometimes. I think I will finish them all the next time.
The coaches were great fun and they showed me a lot of new things about sailing.
I was tired at the end but I really enjoyed it. I cant wait for the next event. My dad said it is the Connachts and that they are on in Malahide. That's in Dublin. I hope my new friends go as well and I see them there.
I hope all the sailors from the Regatta Fleet read this. David