For the first time in a number of years the J24 fleet made its way to Crosshaven, Co Cork, to compete in the J24 Southern event. Spirits were upbeat as the unusually high temperatures and perfect wind conditions on Friday made for impeccable boat launching.
The OD for the event, Ciaran McSweeney, was unsure if the four races would take place on the Saturday due to lack of wind throughout the day. As the OD went into the starting sequence for the first race it was clear that two of the boats would have a race of their own as they raced to the line from course side with spinnakers flying, unaware that when the OD said ‘half ten start’ he meant it. All boats favoured genoa for the first two races as the wind was settled at 7 to 15 knots. JP McCaldin and the crew of Jamais Encore finished in 1st in both races, with a comfortable 4 points between themselves and the two boats in 2nd place Hard on Port and YaGottaWanna.
The 3rd and 4th race for the event saw a number of boats favouring the jib as the winds picked up to 11 to 17 knots with high gusts. Many of the boats reached max speeds on the downwind legs as the wind howled behind them, making for exciting mark rounding. Once again JP and crew finished 1st over the line which put them as the winners of the event.
Sunday racing saw a different set of skills needed as the fleet raced in the harbour, difficult wind shifts and strong tides made for exciting racing. Although winds were set to be 11 to 17 knots with high gusts a number of the J’s went with genoa as the strong gusts would be lessened by the high hills in the surrounding area, while others stayed with jib. Gordan Stirling and the crew of Kilcullen finished 1st, putting them in 3rd place over all for the event.. The 6th and final race of the event saw all boats fighting to retain their places. Finbarr Ryan and crew finished 1st in the final race which marked their first win within the fleet.
Once again the atmosphere within the fleet was high as all sailors awaited to hear the overall results. The crew of YaGottaWanna skippered by Dave Lane was the winner within the silver fleet with a results of 21 points. The gold fleet winner with an overall score of 7 points was JP McCaldin and the crew of Jamais Encore, 2nd place with 13 points overall went to Flor O’Driscoll and the crew of Hard on Port and 3rd place went to the under 25 crew of Kilcullen skippered by Gordan Stirling finishing with 14 points. One final prize was given to the Finbarr Ryan and crew as recognition for winning their first race against the fleet.
It was bitter sweet for the J24 fleet as they said goodbye to Crosshaven and returned to their local clubs around Ireland. The next event for the J24s will see the fleet travel to Dun Laoghaire for the 6th Dun Laoghaire Regatta for the J24 Eastern Championships.
Written by Ciara Ryan