Flor O’Driscoll and his crew on ‘Hard on Port’ successfully defended their Irish J24 Championship title at Lough Erne last weekend but they were pushed hard all the way by the two McCaldins, Mickey and son JP, from the host club.
The eight-race championship, sponsored by Waterways Ireland, was sailed in a wide variety of wind strengths, with rain showers a feature on both days and particularly heavy conditions for the final race.
O’Driscoll, from the Royal St.George YC but sailing out of Howth this year in readiness for the forthcoming Europeans there, started slowly by his standards with a 3rd and 4th while the McCaldins took it in turns to cross the line first. He got more into his stride in race three and five with bullets but had an OCS in race 4, ultimately his discard.
Andrew Mannion of Lough Ree YC sailing ‘Jeb Stuart’ won the fourth race comfortably while a former champion Stefan Hyde on ‘Kilcullen’ took the last race of the day.
With the McCaldins the only major threat, O’Driscoll sailed two tactically clever races to ensure that neither could overtake his lead, finishing second to Mickey in race 7 and one place (4th) ahead of JP in the final race (won by Stefan Hyde again). After discards, he had a 7-point margin of victory, a reward for consistently finishing in the top three in six of eight races.
The 16-boat event also included a separate trophy for the ‘silver fleet’ which was won by Javelin (Stan Bradbury) from Lough Ree YC.
Waterways Ireland Irish J24 National Championships – Lough Erne YC
1. Hard on Port Flor O’Driscoll RSt.GYC 17 points
2. Murder Picture Mickey McCaldin LEYC 24 points
3. Jamais Encore JP McCaldin LEYC 25 points
4. Kilcullen Stefan Hyde RCYC 26 points
5. Sayanara Martin Darrer RCYC 26 points
6. Jeb Stuart Andrew Mannion LRYC 34 points