Howth Optimist Sailors at the Connaught Championships - 18th/19th July
Author: Des Flood Posted on: 22/7/09 Print Version

Photo: Laura Hogan
Into the west went the Oppie sailors with boats, ribs, parents and kitchen sink in tow. Some camped, some stayed in B& B's and it's rumoured that one or two stayed in 4 star hotels (lucky things!). Galway Bay Sailing Club provided a fantastic venue for the event with spectacular views out over Galway Bay.

151 sailors competed on Galway Bay in a variety of wind conditions ranging from flat calm to gusts of 20 knots. The wind was generally from the West making the first beat against the tide very tough particularly when the wind died. Many were caught out whilst rounding marks due to the strong tide and many a penalty turn was taken.

13 Howth Sailors competed with some notable race and overall successes. In the Senior fleet, Tara Flood, recently returned from Solvenia where she represented Ireland in the European Championships, came 2nd in the Senior Fleet - Well done Tara!

Aoife Hopkins in her first Connaughts received a prize for 3rd in the Silver Fleet (13th overall) making a massive 16 place jump in her results from the Ulsters. Her well earned place was helped by an excellent 5th place in the last race. Erica Ruigrok (8th) also finished strongly with a 3rd place in the same last race.

Fergus Flood, put the pressure on his sister by winning the first race in the Junior Fleet and went on to achieve an excellent 9th position overall. This was a tough event for all the sailors, especially those new to the championship circuit this year, given the tide and shifting breeze but they should all be congratulated on sticking to the task.

Fergus Flood

Aoife Hopkins receiving her prize
Photos: Ian Dickson
Day One
Brought a shifting westerly breeze that continued to decline in strength as the day progressed. Indeed in Race 3 it went completely calm at one point. Difficulties on the slipway and a long beat out to the start line meant Howth sailors arrived at the start with only seconds to spare before the first race. Undaunted Fergus Flood achieved his first championship bullet in the 1st race and got the Howth Sailors off to a magnificent start ! Luckily 3 races were achieved on day one taking the pressure off the race committee for day 2.

Photo: Laura Hogan
Day Two
Dawned bright and sunny ( in time to dry out the tents from the heavy overnight rain). The first race of the day was abandoned as the wind died. However a new breeze soon arrived which steadily built during the day. Indeed, by lunchtime it was gusting to 20 kts and sailors were hiking out for all they were worth. Only 2 races were sailed

Overall results for our sailors were (Senior Fleet) : Tara Flood (2nd), Cillian McGreer (16th) and William Potterton ( 20th). Junior Fleet: Erica Ruigrok (8th), Fergus Flood (9th), Aoife Hopkins (13th and 3rd in Silver Fleet), Richard Hogan (39th), Isabelle Delamer (43rd), Nicholas Delamer (47th), Anne Potterton (50th) , Erica Markey (55th), Ben Jenning (57th). Daniel Hopkins was 11th in the Regatta Fleet.

The Howth Sailors had a fantastic time and are looking forward to returning the hospitality when the Leinsters are rerun in Howth on the 5th & 6th of September.

Full results can be seen on