The Etchells Europeans were held in the Royal Irish Yacht Club Dun Laoghaire on August 25th, 26th and 27th. Generally conditions were good. Bit of light, bit of heavy which wasnít bad for DL. There was a bit of a problem with the 40 footers overlapping the race track on the Saturday but despite these minor hitches, the event was a complete success.
30 boats took part, the majority from Howth and the Solent, one from Liverpool, one from Cowes - Sweden and one from Italy in preparation for their Euroís in 2008. From the south, we had Andy Beadsworth, fresh from his world championship win with a new co-owner Tom Murphy, and Nils Razmilovic now a common face around here. We missed Richard and David Burrows due to exams but his bowman, Peter Coad took the middle slot on Dan OíGradyís boat for the event, taking the place of Redge Beshoff who couldnít make it because of a bad back.
The fleet was generally up to speed making it difficult if clear lanes werenít available due to a relatively short race track. Any loss of speed was severely punished. Matatu (Nils Chelsea 2) and Midnight Raid (Andy and Tom Spoogeman) dominated the first day, not so closely followed by Snowpatrol ( The Dan OíGradyís ), Mano (The Nolan sisters and Tom Fitznorton), Wobewhatever (Doug Flynn) and Freelance (Lawrence Mead). Spare a thought for Anthony Shanks who took on the jury single handed with the brevity of a true starboard tacker - on port. He did it, so no-one else had to. Thatís what real organizers do for their competitors.
Saturday night was the event dinner in the Royal Irish with fantastic food as ever. There arenít many YCís who can put out a spread like that consistently. It turned into a very heavy session with messers Murphy and Murnane fighting over the best pair of legs in the room. Legs were spread, no-one got hurt, no-one got laid and the chair has since been mended by the amazing staff of the RIYC, who even phoned taxiís for the competitors sleeping outside.
Sunday saw Dublin Bay at itís best with 2 Knots of tide, 5-6 knots from all directions. Nevertheless, the leader board didnít change and Matatu left the day only 5 points clear of Midnight Raid after the discard. Freelance was the only boat remotely in touch with the top two. Mano held their fourth, The Snowpatrol slipped, giving Dan A more ammo for his personal love affair with Dublin Bay.
On the water on Monday, Matatu did the necessary with a second, giving some lime light to Graham Baileyís bullet after he was deprived with an OCS on day one. It was a win with a race in hand leaving Midnight Raid in a respectable second. Freelance was third, with Mano fourth and top Irish boat.
It was a well attended, well run and successful event and it gives a good feeling to the worlds in 2010 where the fleet will move to the windier side of Howth head for the World Championships.