The J24 fleet made their way to The Royal St. George Yacht club for the J24 Nationals, a three day event with 9 races scheduled to be held. Competitor began to arrive on Thursday 1st to set up rig and see what other competition was in store. With events held in Dublin bay in the past the J24 fleet were anxious to get out racing. With its easy access and its perfect sailing area the events attracted 13 competitors. With strong winds forecasted for the weekend the sailors prepared themselves for a challenging event.
With the starting gun for the first race at 11:55 on the first day the J24 fleet made their way to the race course to sail the first beat and get an idea of the best starting position. With westerly winds of 13 knots gusting to 16 knots and increasing throughout the day the PRO was sure he would fit all four races in a reasonable time. As always Howth Yacht Clubs Ireland’s Eye Kilcullen finished first over the line closely followed by Jamais Encore and The Royal St George Yacht Club’s very own Hard on Port crossing the line in third. With winds due to increases as the day progressed many sailors waited until the last moment to change from genoa to jib. With the winds oscillating the fleet became accustomed to a sight of a change of course as they rounded marks as the day went on. With four races held on day one it looked like Ireland’s Eye Kilcullen was a comfortable first with 4 bullets leading to a total of 4 points, with a total of 12 points on the first day it was Hard on Port in second and Jumpin’ Jive lay third overall with a total of 15 points.
Sailors prepared for a hard day of sailing on the second day of the event as strong south westerly to westerly winds of 20 knots gusting 28 knots and heavy rain was forecasted. After some deliberation the PRO and his committee hosted the AP flag to postpone the racing until further notice due to poor visibility in hope the rain would clear and allow the fleet to head to the race course. With the fleet land bound for a period of the time they began to talk of past events and exchange ideas and thoughts on sailing tactics. As wind against tide started to take effect the swell at the mouth of the harbour showed signs that the fleet would not be racing of fear of damage to both boat and crew. At 14:00 the PRO hosted flag to signal all racing was cancelled for the day. With sailors disappointed to not get sailing on the day, they also took a sigh of relief. The Royal St. George looked after the fleet extremely well with the J24 dinner that night.
With great food and conversation the fleet were high spirits and itching to get out racing on the final day. Some to hold their position and some hoping to gain some places.
As the final day approached and with north westerly to westerly winds of 14 knots and gusting up to 18 knots the J24 fleet made their way to the race course on last time. With no racing on the Saturday the PRO broadcasted that he hoped to fit in three races if possible. With excellently laid courses and perfect sailing conditions the three races went without any major problems. Once again Ireland’s Eye Kilcullen were unstoppable finishing first in all three races. When the fleet arrived back to the yacht club hauling out was done in a timely and organised fashion. The atmosphere around the club grew as people in the bar got a birds eye view of the de-rigging process of a J24. With a BBQ fired up the fleet were in top form after a perfectly run event. With seven races held overall each J24 discarded their worst result. After the points were calculated it was clear to see who has come out on top in the Gold and Silver fleet.
With a final total of 6 points the Irish J24 National Champion was none other than
Howth Yacht Clubs Ireland’s Eye Kilcullen helmed by Cillian Dickson.
Flor O’Driscoll and his crew from Hard on Port of the Royal St. George Yacht Club
finished in second place with a total of 20 points
… in close third was Jamais Encore helmed by JP McCaldin from
Lough Erne/ Sligo Yacht clubs with 22 points.
Within the Silver fleet the new K25 crew from Howth Yacht Club Johnny Bravo finished in first place with a final score of 24.
Mark Usher and his crew on Jumpin’ Jive finished in second place with a score of 36. While Gerry Gilligan and his crew on Jana finished in third with a score of 39. As the J24 sailing season now draws to a close for another year many J24 sailors will spend the winter months fixing and improving their J’s. With the Autumn league in Howth approaching we may see some J24 heading out for on final racing series. For information on this please refer to the Howth Yacht Club website.
By Ciara Ryan