This year the Greystones Open Ladies Regatta, as part of the ISA's WOWI initiative, was up against some strong sporting competition, coinciding with the start of the Round Ireland race from neighbouring Wicklow, and the Derby for race goers. As a result the numbers of boats were somewhat down on last year.
Notwithstanding this, the event was dominated by the asymmetric fleets with two junior Fevas and seven RS200 boats taking place. Sailors faced a constant force 4, with a building swell which made for challenging and invigorating , for those were sailing together for the first time, and those who were new to helming. However this this not deter the ladies and all bar one junior boat remained on the water for all four races.
The PRO, Gerry Cannon, has set up a well-designed course to cater for all sailing capabilities present on the water, and was ably assisted by four safety ribs, all of which were manned, by Greystones Sailing Club members who in the main, are also sailing instructors. They provided superb on water assistance in respect of any gear failure, fantastic encouragement to those who were a bit nervous, and very importantly captured on the water live action photos of the event.
Two novice adult sailors (Sheila Daly and Sinead) took to the water for the first regatta, having sailed Pico’s to-date, and took their first adventure into the highly responsive RS200. They experienced the exhilaration and thrill of racing combined with the speed and highly responsive nature of the RS200. Both Sheila and Sinead stayed upright and completed two races. No mean feat for their first time in a RS200.
There was great completion within the RS 200 fleet with highly competitive racing between the top three boats. There was only one point each, between the winning boat, second place and third place.
The winning boat helmed by Lisa Smith, ably assisted by crew, Kate Hayes, with the Hoolahan sisters, Sarah (helm) and Rachel in hot pursuit, followed closely by Sarah Byrne, who still managed to come third, having rotated her crews between Daphne Hoolahan (the Hollahan’s mother) and Trish Clery.
First in the Feva fleet was Katie Noonan and Grainne Allen with Jasmine Goode and Ciara Marmion taking second place. A special thanks to Ciara who was a great sport and got into the Feva for the first time to ensure that Jasmine got out on the water for the event.
Racing finished at 3pm and all the sailors and safety crews retired to Greystones Sailing Club. Prize giving commenced at 5:45pm with the commodore Rodney Beahan presenting prizes to all participants.There were swimmers awards for those who swam. The kind donation of Buff headgear provided additional prizes for the ladies for whom this was their first regatta (Sinead and Sheila) and we know they will be proudly sporting their new head gear on their next venture on the water. So thank you to Buff.
There was a BBQ (courtesy of Charley Clery and the ladies who provides the salads) to cater for the hungry sailors and safety crews and PRP with David Nixon and Rodney and Louise Beahan providing an excellent bar service.
A big thank you to all who participated and those who provided such excellent on and off the water support thus making this event possible – we look forward to hosting our next open ladies regatta next year and hope to see you there.
A donation is being made to Action Breast Cancer based on the donations made on the day by participants and others.