With a third place in the opening race being his worst result in the six-race series, JP McCaldin in Jamais Encore from Lough Erne YC was an impressive winner of the Mediagasmic-sponsored J/24 Eastern Championships at Howth over the weekend.
Even National Champion Flor O’Driscoll on Hard on Port couldn’t match the level of consistency that the northern visitors demonstrated while another feature of the weekend was the steadily-improving performance of the HYC K25 Team on Kilcullen Euro Car Parks who finished 5th overall.
Discarding an 11th in the first race, the crew – led by John Blake and with Cillian Dickson on the helm – clearly learned a lot as the days went on, culminating in top notch 2nd and 3rd finishes on the second day.
The Championship started on Saturday with four races in fresh north-easterlies and first blood was drawn by Howth’s Jibberrish (Fergus O’Kelly & others) whose gamble of a left-side long tack paid off handsomely for a sweet victory ahead of O’Driscoll and McCaldin.
Race two, three and four saw Nyah (Hyde & Deasy, RCYC/RStGYC) and Jamais Encore take turns to head the fleet, with Nyah winning two to head the fleet overnight. The fourth race highlighted just how competitive the fleet was, with 12 boats finishing within five minutes.
Fortunes were reversed on Sunday when Nyah had a disastrous 9th in the opening race and then a 4th while major rival McCaldin by comparison, had a dream day on the water. The fifth race in the series saw the Lough Erne crew win by a massive margin and while they only had to sail safely in the last race, second behind Hard on Port was more than enough to secure the Eastern Championship trophy with a margin of four points.
The Mediagasmic-sponsored event attracted visiting boats from Malahide, Lough Erne, Lough Ree, Lough Swilly, Royal Cork and Carrickfergus and was considered an outstanding success by the 13 crews, with much praise heaped on PRO David Lovegrove and his team for the quality of the racing.