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IOM Leinster Regatta at Howth Yacht Club

by Gilbert Louis on 19 Nov 2013 17 November 2013

Light drizzle and South to South East winds of 5-8knots increasing to 18-20 knots by 1500hrs was the forecast for what promised to be a fantastic Sunday racing in Howth YC. In fact all we had was the odd drop drip of threatening rain, but it never materialized thankfully. As for breeze, we did get the light wind forecasted, and from the right direction, but it started to die away rather than increase by 1400hrs - just enough to allow us finish the last of the 12 scheduled races for the day, won by Lough Erne's Neill Suitor (IRL20).

Let's backtrack to the start of the day. Gilbert Louis and Jeff Kay organised this preliminary round of the Winter Series (details of which is published on www.iomireland.org). Today was a warm up regatta ahead of the full winter's racing programme for the Northern & Southern One Metre Fleets.

7 skippers including 2 from Northern Ireland along with Tony Noonan from Roundwood made the trip and we were also very lucky to obtain the services of International Umpire Gordon Davies, acting as our RO for the day. Gordon managed the racing in his usual completely professional manner keeping us all on our toes, calling contacts, while at the same time helping to educate competing skippers on the finer points of rules interpretation as and when racing incidents arose during the day.

Straight away Gilbert (IRL41, Spindriftsails, HYC) set the pace early winning 4 of the 5 first races. He went on to win 6 races and was never off the pace all day apart from a racing incident which took him out of contention on race 11.

Stephen Kay (IRL87, HYC) making his return after a number of years away, showed he had not lost any of his tenacious racing skills sailing his brand new Cockatoo 08 by finishing consistently in the top 4 and winning Race 6.

As expected, we saw East Down's Brian O'Neill (IRL99) show good pace early on. Brian bagged a couple of bullets in Races 1 & 8 as well as numerous seconds and thirds, however several silly mistakes impeded his progress and he finished with mixed results but was never really much off the pace for most of the day.

One skipper who surprised the most was Neill Suitor (IRL20, LEYC) sailing an old Dave Creed Widget. Neill showed increasing pace as the wind disapeared, bagging 3 bullets in the last 3 races. This late charge brought him up to the top, splitting Gilbert and Brian, by taking 2nd overall.

Fergal Noonan (IRL52, HYC) paid the price for a lack of time on the water in the first half of the regatta but then began to get to grips with the top of the fleet's pace showing his real potential in the second half, battling for top 3 places in the last 5 races.

Des Dwyer (IRL112, HYC) and Tony Noonan (IRL25, RMFC) enjoyed the day's racing, but both skippers struggled to find the pace at the top of the fleet, however were never far behind, often finishing in the pack. More practice for both skippers should make that difference in no time.

The Irish IOM Association would like to thank all entrants, the volunteers (A BIG thank you Gordon), and Howth YC, who as ever were great hosts. After a day of close and hard fought racing in a gusty but dying breeze which was steady in direction for the most part, we are all now looking forward to the up-coming Winter Series.

Thanks also goes to the well behaved fleet, who promptly took their penalties for any racing infringements and raced with great sportsmanship.

Please see the Irish Class Association's website - www.IOMIRELAND.org - or the Class Facebook page.

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoClubBoatR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8R9R10R11R12Pts
1stGilbert LouisIRL41HYCV6131112131‑4(DNF)214.5
2ndNeill SuitorIRL20Lough Erne YCWidget42‑5344‑64211125.25
3rdBrian O'NeilIRL99EDYCStealth213‑523‑51425527.5
4thFergal NoonanIRL52HYCDicso55(DNF)43‑642332334
5thStephen FayIRL87HYCCockatoo 0834225136(DNS)(DNS)DNSDNS41.75
6thDes DwyerIRL112DMSBDisco‑6646‑7525653446
7thTony NoonanIRL25RoundwoodMcShee‑7(DNF)676777564661

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