Derek Bothwell, PRO, assisted by Ray McGibney of the host club at Foynes Yacht Club greeted the twenty boat J24 fleet on a beautiful sun filled morning with very little breeze. Being optimistic about a sea breeze filling in it was let known at the briefing that the fleet would be heading out to the start on time. Returning to the J24 fleet, International Judge Gordon Davies highlighted the importance of sailing being a self-policing sport and drew competitor’s attention to the new On the Water Judging System which would be enforced on the water today.
Brian McDowell, J24 President, who has been working closely with the Irish Cruiser Racing Association over the last number of months on the development of under 25 teams as a natural pathway from dinghies to cruisers, announced that ICRA was also supporting the u25 initiative by way of entry grants. These were warmly and enthusiastically received by all the sailors.
At an initially sunny but windless Friday the twenty-one boat fleet was treated to an ice cream on the water courtesy of the host club before the breeze was switched on for three frantic races.
Racing got underway in a light southwesterly wind. Finbarr Ryan’s Jelignite led the fleet to the windward mark, with the rest of the fleet hot on his heels and extended to the finish. Simon McGibney on Gala Racing finished in 2nd, with the RCYC Under 25 Team finished a very impressive 3rd on their very first outing, helmed by Tom McGrath.
Race two got underway in a freshening breeze, Stefan Hyde, Morris Johnson and Partners, led to the finish line, with the J24 legend Flor O’Driscoll, on Hard on Port in second and Jumpin Jive helmed by Mark Usher in 3rd.
Before the start of race 3, the wind shifted to a more northerly direction and moderated. Stefan Hyde took the honours again, with Sligo boat Crazy Horse, helmed by Tim Corcoran in 2nd, and local boat Darragh McCormack in 3rd.