The Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta was a promising event for the J24 fleet, with 9 boats entered to battle it out for the title of J24 Eastern Champion. With a sizable fleet the J’s were been given their own start, making for exciting sailing. This is the second year the fleet has ventured to Dun Laoghaire for the Eastern Championships although this year saw more J24s competing: Bád, Crazy Horse, Cries of Passion, Hamilton Bear, Hard on Port, J Guevara, Jailbait, Jelignite and Kilcullen.
The last VDLR made for sterling racing as the wind was kind to all sailors, with Mediterranean weather the event went without any mishaps. With high winds and seas set for the first two days of sailing the fleet battered down the hatches and tried to finish with the same number of crew members it had started with.
Kilcullen had a lively start to event after their forestay came away from the mast on the way out to the race area. One crew member was hoisted up the mast as they raced to the starting line. One race proved to be enough for all involved as winds reached between 17-22 knots. Hard on Port started strong finishing in first place after day one.
Day 2 proved to be a waiting game for the fleet as the first race was postponed due to high winds, gusting up to 29 knots. After a long wait the race officer called for the AP Flag to be taken down and for sailors to make their way to the race course. All Js went with Jib for the two races as the wind began to pick up once more and the tide against wind made for rough conditions. Once again the crew on board Hard on Port finished in first place followed closely by Kilcullen. Spinnaker runs in race 3 pushed both the J24 and its crew to their max with many boats reaching top speed. Bád was forced to retire from the race due to the boom breaking as they rounded the mark and hoisted their spinnaker. Hard on Port put up a good fight but the under 25 crew on board Kilcullen finished in first with Hard on Port finishing in second.
Day 3 and 4 of the event saw a different set of skills needed as the wind calmed and the sea became settled. With winds between 7-11 knots all Js set up to Genoa and eased the rigging. With only three points between Kilcullen and Hard on Port for first place the next four races were all about catching those important wind shifts. Bád returned to the race course on day 3 with the second boom, determined to make up for a lost race. As the last race finished up Kilcullen had secured their victory with a finishing score of 7, Hard on Port finished in second with 13 points and the crew of J Guevara came in third with 20 points.
Written by Ciara Ryan