A whopping 98 RS sailors across the three fleets took part in a glorious if slightly windless Westerns in Lough Ree this weekend, comprising 24 400s, 14 200s and 11 fevas.
Many boats arrived on the Friday night to make the most of the lovely venue for the weekend. Saturday morning we awoke to a glassy lake and as we launched and drifted out a small breeze piped up. All credit due to the PRO Liam Moloney and his team who with infinite patience and much moving of marks managed to get two races away before finally drawing a line under it for the day.
In the 400s it was Alex Barry and Richy Leonard who were overnight leaders with a very consistent 1 and 2 , 2nd overnight were father and son pairing of Christopher and Niall Eames while newcomers Sandy Rimmington and Richy Harrington who had led to both first windward marks needed a bit of time to practise their downwind speed but still ended up third after day one. In the 200s Sarah and Ciara Byrne who had a 2 and a 1 respectively led from Sean Craig and Heather King while newcomers to the Feva fleet Zach and Ben McMullin counted two firsts.
Saturday evening was spent mostly in the bar after a fantastic meal provided by the club before retiring to tents and boats and campervans for the night.
Sunday had promised a little more wind and indeed it looked good early on. Out on the water some early wind shifts followed by a general recall for the 200s made for a lot more mark moving for the tireless mark laying team and it was only the Fevas who got away promptly on the first race. The 200s and 400s followed in due course and just got in a race before the wind died away completely. Have to say if there is a place to be hanging around between races Lough Ree is not a bad place to do it! No one was complaining as we drifted around chatting and assuming that was it for the day. Just as the sailors were beginning to give up, a small breeze began and built to be the best breeze of the weekend and the PRO got us started again promptly for race 4 of the series. There were two general recalls for the 400s in race 5 with Gareth Flanagan, Harrington and Rimmington and Eastern Champ Sean Cleary falling foul of the black flag. As the second race of the day was finishing there was roughly five minutes left to the deadline start time for the last race of the day, and with literally seconds to go the PRO blew the 5 minute for the Fevas signalling the start of sequence.
After 5 races Alex Barry was clear leader in the 400s with a 1,1,2,4 and discarding a 4, followed by Chris Penney and Simon Martin in second with Christopher and Niall Eames taking third.
In the 200s it was Sean Craig and Heather King who took the title with a very close fight behind him which up until the last reach to the finish in the last race looked like it could have been a three way tie for second, third and fourth. Stephen Craig and Conor Foley came out on top of the bunch securing second overall with Roy Van Maanen and Kevin O Rourke in third.
The Fevas saw local brothers Zack and Ben McMullin taking first overall with three firsts and a fourth to count. Second was Alison Dolan and Grainne Young followed by Greg Arrowsmith and Conor Little in third.
All credit to the Race management team for holding their nerve and patience to get in 5 races in such tricky conditions. Many thanks to Lough Ree for a very warm welcome and I am sure it wont be long till we are back there again. Full results below.