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Bandon Co-op Squib Nationals at Kinsale Yacht Club - Mid-Week Update

by Alex Porteous 23 Jun 08:24 BST 19-24 June 2022

The 2022 Bandon Co-op Squib National Championships saw 54 Squibs converge on Kinsale Yacht Club. Launching on a cold Saturday afternoon under the strict instructions of Fiona and the fantastic onshore team, many of the fleet were appreciative of the woolly hats provided in the welcome pack and expecting cold and windy weather. And indeed it was the order of the day for the practice race and Race 1 of the event which saw strong winds and cold waves. The practice race, as is normal, was a short windward leeward course to get rid of the cobwebs and check out the conditions.

The record will show that it was Kinsale locals Colm Dunne and Rob Gill won the 'practice' race in Allegro. They stayed out to the right side and came home ahead of Portsmouth's Joe Henry and Roly Wilson in Bacchante VII. 3rd were last year's UK national champions in Harry VI, Mike Budd and Mark Greaves.

After a short break, things got serious and the fleet launched off the start line at the first attempt. The wind had eased slightly to 14kts and Race officer Peter Crowley and his team set a 3-round windward /leeward course.

First to the windward mark was Lady Penelope, Malcolm Hutchings and Andy Carley who held the lead from start to finish and won Race 1 of this year's Combined Championships, a number of the hot favourites were in their slipstream with much positional jockeying going on setting the tone that the rest of the week was sure to be a hotly contested event. The final run ultimately sorted the positions and it was the UK's RCYC from Burnham that had the podium 1,2,3. Following Lady Penelope was Lucky Counts, Jono Brown and Chris Agar whilst 3rd was Spoof helmed by Micky Wright and crewed by Alex Porteous.

After day one, the Irish Championship leader overnight was Allegro, followed By Outlaw with regatta Director Ian Travers and Keith O Riordan, and local Commodore Matthias Hellstern helmed Fifty Shades with Colm Daly crewing.

Sunshine and sunscreen were both needed for the second day in the Squib National Championships after Sunday's freezing cold conditions. Day Two had two races scheduled and the combined fleets ran out of Kinsale harbour with their colourful mace sails and spinnakers spectacularly enhancing the harbour.

Race one (race 2 of the series) started with a wind showing an easterly wind with about 8 knots, there was a very quick right shift that favoured those who had headed out to sea and it was Lady Penelope, Malcolm Hutchings and Andy Carley, who rounded the windward mark first and took a convincing lead. Following them around was another Burnham boat, Surprise (Duncan Grindley and Julia Batchelor) and Kinsale's Ian Travers and Keith O Riordan in third. Some changes occurred the following leg with David Wines and Keith Davies in White Magic eventually grabbing second place ahead of Surprise who took third place.

Between races, the race officer took the opportunity to shift the course round a number of degrees to track the wind which had swung further south. The Squib fleet was less well behaved this time around and the black flag had to be raised to curtail their enthusiasm. The second attempt at this start got the wise gurus of the fleet heading towards to the picturesque "Old Head Lighthouse" before tacking onto port.

This time it was Mark Hogan and Tom Jeffcoate who RicO'Shea'd off the start line alongside Spoof, Micky Wright and Alex Porteous and reached the windward mark ahead of the fleet. After a tight mark rounding, RicO'Shea sailed clear for the win whilst Spoof was able to hold off the challenge from Mike Budd and Mark Greaves in Harry VI down what felt like a very long run to the finish. The top Irish boat, Fagan was 5th in this 2nd race the earlier best in the Irish was Outlaw who came sixth in the trickier earlier first race.

The woolly hats were certainly not required on the third day as the forecasted rain did not appear and yet clouds kept a much sought after sea breeze away. After a long postponement the Race Officer was forced to postpone racing for the day. For the visitors and locals alike this gave a day to recover and explore the local amenities of Kinsale and its surrounds.

Today (Wednesday) saw the fleet head out for two races. Unfortunately the wind continued to not play ball and the fleet spent a few hours bobbing around and checking every wind forecast available. Once every option was explored and the committee boat had shared out their sausage rolls and wraps the decision was made to call it quits and head back to the club. We hear there is a decent breeze forecast for tomorrow and all the fleet are ready for the competition hotting up again once more.

Overall leaders in the Squib national championships is currently Ric O'shea leading Lady Penelope & Lucy Counts with the Irish fleet leaders being Fagin with KYC locals Outlaw and Allegro in close pursuit.

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