Saturday 20th October – Dun Laoghaire Harbour, Royal St George Yacht Club
There was just a whisper of a building breeze as RS fleet launched from the George slip into a rather becalmed Dun Laoghaire harbour. Activity in the harbour built with the breeze during the afternoon with junior winter training for Lasers, Fevas and Oppies, sailing instructor courses, adult learners in Squibs and Picos, all close to the RS racing area.
PRO’s Barry O'Neill and Howth’s Paul “PK” Kavanagh had stressed the sportsmanship nature of the Sprint event ethos where the start, sailing the shifts and mark rounding would prove so key in such a shifty breeze. As the wind shifted, marks were moved and the reaches tightened, the race course demanded new tactics with each gun.
Superb race management allowed 12 races for all competitors with just enough time for a sip of water between the rolling starts. Valerie Kinnear and her team on the finish boat had their work cut out, with only inches and seconds separating the finishers of each fleet.
The start line was short, crowded and noisy with clear air hard to find. In the RS200s, local team Sean Craig and Heather King shot off in to the lead which was maintained throughout the afternoon with 10 out of 12 race wins. Second and third were valiantly battled out between three Greystones boats, Frank O'Rourke, Graeme Noonan and Sarah Byrne, all of whom had a mixed bag with no discards available, Sarah was squeezed out with Graeme just taking second and Frank third. 15 year olds Aaron Jones and Conor Cleary team managed to take a first from the more experienced helms, making their day and securing the Junior prize. Sarah and Ciara Byrne took first ladies.
In the 400s, Paul McLaughlin and Mick McKinley from Chusendall finally fulfilled their promise with a win over a strong fleet, with consistency combined with aggressive starting technique, which saw them rarely out of the top four in the no discard series. Emmet Ryan and brother James were runners up after finding their own personal dead spot of breeze in the final race. Gerry Cannon and Nicola Smyth showed great consistency all day to finish third.
All in all a very well run event and a fitting climax to a very successful season for the RS classes.
Please see here
for full results.