Kilcullen Euro Car Parks
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Rigged by Masts and rigging Ireland
Supported by Howth Yacht Club
After a long season Kilcullen Euro Car Parks set off to the nationals.
Four weeks earlier some changes in the team were made, Time tide and family holidays wait for no one.
The new team had a short period and limited time to put together a training program to get up to speed to compete at one of the premier events on the Irish keelboat circuit and the last qualifying event for the 2012 worlds.
Karl Brady Bow (K25 Bow Man & HYC senior instructor )
Garvan O'Toole Mast man (fresh from an adult improver sailing course at HYC)
Killian Dixon Moved to pit and Tactics (K25 Team skipper)
Harry O'Reily Trim (K25 Trimmer and Etchells Skipper)
Graeme Grant Helm (K25 Coach and HYC head of training)
Boat handling was identified as the main focus for the team and this proved to be one of the most reliable weapons in the team's tool box. Tacking, gybing and spinnaker work was practiced hard over the few weeks leading up to the event in extremely intense 2 hour training sessions. Everything on the boat works faultlessly due to our improvements made to our rigging supported by masts and rigging Ireland.
We knew that boat handling alone would not see us achieve our goal of consistently finishing in the top 5. For this we used our recently purchased HYDE sails. Euro Car Parks and HYDE have given us the tools to go as fast as any boat in the fleet and to work on speed we used the local Howth Yacht Club racing and our only test event the IRC Class three Eastern that had several other J24s that we used to pace against.
The final weapon was the team, everyone bringing their own key elements to the equation that lead to such a successful event for the newly formed group.
The Wednesday before the event the boat had been prepared, cleaned down inside and out packed with everything we needed, class equipment , spares, tools the hull polished strapped down ready to go.
With our hire van picked up at 5pm on the Friday we were the last boat to arrive but the support of the class and Lock Rea Yacht Club saw us in the water and ready to go by dark ;-)
Team accommodation on the Dixons barge "Owl" an old converted keg barge and our host far exceeded our expectations, a great experience highly recommended for all.
The racing with a Moderate to fresh wind for Saturday and a very light Sunday forecast we knew that the race committee would be running all 5 races on Saturday and some prayer would be said for Sunday.
With no delay the first race saw us with a clean start in 12kn of wind. We were forced a little further left than we would have wished. And came into the top mark on port but managed to round in third, a risky manoeuvre at this stage in the regatta. Our conservative approach to strategy, tactics and good boat handling from the team saw us hold this position until the finish line having to crash tack to avoid a fellow competitor who exonerated themselves for the rule infringement but left us licking our wounds after a great race. But our worst result for the regatta 7th. J24 racing is very close so the slightest mistake can cost you dearly.
We had identified food and water as a big factor in our performance and immediately after the finish a quick sandwich and a drink of water.
Straight into race two the committee were not going to hang around today. With the wind trending to the left, Killian pointed for the pin a great start with one of our close rivals during the regatta S'Touche just to windward. We soon tacked of for the windward mark and followed them around in second place with a reasonable cushion to third. S'Touche held there lead all the way round despite several attempts to outwit them at every opportunity they would prove to be strong competitors finishing the regatta in 2nd but on this occasion they had started prematurely and were disqualified from the race giving us our best result for the regatta of 1st :.
The team were positively delighted, food, water and ready for more. Race three we started conservatively in the middle of the line with the bulk of the fleet opting for the committee boat. But with clear air and good speed thanks to the sponsors we found ourselves in the mix again at the top mark a great run with some superb gybes from the team and we gained a couple back to second behind s'touche but again we couldn't force them into a mistake but another second we were hitting the top 5 target and delighted with our performance.
Again some fuel for the body the wind was noticeably freshening at this stage and we discussed changing to the smaller head sail, no we had not tried it in training hadn't been windy, we wanted to avoid the unknown. The rest of the fleet agreed and the majority started with the genoa. A reasonable start saw us stick with the leading bunch up the first beat rounding in 5th but some clean boat handling at the top mark a great spinnaker launch and set followed by a couple of sweet gybes saw us back at the front behind S'touche and the eventual winner Jamais Encoure. 3rd And another respectable result.
The final race of the day saw a poor start and the wrong sail choice. At the top mark it was clear we weren't going to be with the first couple of boats. Probably rounding inside the top ten we were going to have to call on all the tools to get back into this one. With a fresh to strong wind a good launch and a couple of gybes we took a few places on the run and we were closing the gap on the bunch in front of us picking some more off up the next beat " looks like we will go round in 4th". At the final windward mark with a boat to windward we couldn't tack for the mark, we wait ready to go. Two boats on the lay line sail behind us we drop to 6th "blast" another boat sneaks in at the mark. The team forget it, water under the bridge we can make it up its only two places to achieve the goal. A fresh run with plenty of wind and we are still in the hunt but no heads role. A great bottom mark and we power out from under a boat great work. "Keep going" is the call from the rail use the speed "lay line in 10" lengths, setup "let's make it a good one" A small header "tack" perfect lay line we burn up the last few hundred meters 5th within touching distance of the next two. "Well done".
Great day for the team and very well sailed, just as after every race we look back identify any issues or problems talk through the solutions. All the teams improve over the course of the weekend and we have to keep up with them. Sorted, what about the boat, nothing, everything is good mast and rigging have the best of gear we don't want something failing to stop us achieving the top 5 place.
After de rigging we head up to the club for the entertainment and after racing crack. It's the first time I have gone into a club to be greeted by a cello /organ and violin playing a mix of old and modern tunes fantastic Lock Rea certainly know how to put on a show.
We are laying third equal points with S'touche and only 2 behind the overnight leader Jamais Encoure.
Three races scheduled for with a very light wind forecast to build slightly. Time for some advice head over to hard on port "what do we do with the rig?" with the advice on board and the rig tuned down to something like the top E on the cello from the evening's entertainment we head out for racing.
Its hot sunny and nearly no wind we won't be off to the fast and furious start we had yesterday. Eventually the wind settles as the clouds come in and we are away. A reasonable start but the wrong side of a big wind bend we were in trouble Crazy Horse were not and lead at the mark by a good margin, a strong performance from the team saw us fight back to 6th. A good result from a poor start! But most of the close competition is behind us suffering with the same problem, conservative isn't working!
A great start in the second race but we are still playing it safe up the middle of the beat and are struggling to hold any sort of form that we had the previous day but we are not alone, still keeping the two closest boats behind us and finishing 6th again.
It was all boiling down to the last race with 4 boats in with a chance of the win. Crazy horse had a poor start, S'touche in 2nd and we are in 3rd looking good but on the second run Jamais Encoure working there spinnaker hard just sneaked past and defeating us and the rest of the competition to tack the national championship. 5thand a great finish for the team 4th in the national championships one place ahead of our goal but disappointed to have missed out on a medal by such a narrow margin. Final results, Jamais Encoure 1st, S'touche 2nd, Crazy Horse 3rd and Kilcullen Euro Car Parks 4th place.
An Incredible event with a great performance from K25 and all the other competitors. A great club and fantastic class we look forward to more close racing next year at the world championships in Howth Yacht Club.
A massive thanks to the sponsors and supporters.
Dave Cullen Euro Car Parks
Gavin Doyle Hyde Sails Dublin
Billy Lafferty Masts and Rigging Ireland
Howth Yacht Club