Pre-Worlds : 1st - 5th August
The Pre-Worlds kicked off early Wednesday morning after two previous days of tedious measurements of boats. Six races were scheduled for the three day event, but only four were run due to lack of wind on Thursday. The predominant southerly wind proved incredibly shifty over the two days allowing for huge gains and big losses. Unfortunately the final result was an all British affair, as they took the first three positions. Rob Struckett and Inge-Lisa Hansen won the event. Ireland's leading boat was HYC crew Gerard O'Sullivan and Simon Pearson in fifth position.. Now it was time to really concentrate on the Worlds.
Worlds : 6th - 13th August
The Opening Ceremony for the biggest event in the Mirror Sailing calendar was a colourful and exciting event. The mixing of national waters was the official opening of the event with six countries competing, Ireland, Great Britain, South Africa, Sweden, Holland and Australia with a total of 105 boats. Let the games begin!
Sunday's racing saw a strong North easterly, gusting up to 18 knots, favouring the left side of the beat due to a wind bend off the land and the start line proved a critical factor throughout the event. Early regatta wobbles for both HYC crews proved costly during the opening 2 races. Myself and Conall Kinsella headed right and over tacking proved costly, rounding 40th at the first windward, but good boat speed downwind and clear air saw us finish 19th, Gerard O'Sullivan finished close behind in 26th. The second race wasn't much better, in fact it was worse. Gerard O'Sullivan and Simon Pearson finished 36th with ourselves just ahead in 31st. The overall standing had both boats mid table, but on the bright side light and variable winds were forecasted for the next day, which suited Conall and myself.
Monday's racing opened with a general recall and a postponement much to disgust of myself and Conall as we were easily in the top ten and sailing away from the fleet, as the wind filled in from the left side. However, after thirty minutes of waiting, a South westerly built up to about 7 - 8 knots. Another great start at the pin saw Conall and myself rounding 8th at the windward mark with many of our closest competitors behind. Great boatspeed and sailing in stronger wind on the right side of the course allowed us to round 6th at the second windward mark rounding. Many of the overnight leaders were dwelling at the back of the fleet in a dying breeze. The Australian duo of Nick Davis and John Collova (first fibre glass boat builder) were about 30 yards from the finish when the time limit ran out, which would have given us thirty extra minutes to finish. However, lady luck was not on our side. Thus three races were scheduled for Tuesday.
Tuesday's racing was postponed while a NW wind was building. It proved to be extremely steady and both HYC crews recorded their best result of the competition. We recorded a fifth and a sixth, whilst Gerard and Simon recorded a 13 and a 14. The overall table was looking a little bit better.
Wednesday's lay-day was cancelled and three more races were scheduled after much argument and threat of protests with the organising committee. A strong NE wind gusting 20 knots and threat of thunderstorms forecasted. Again the left side favoured contrary to the upper wind, but perhaps due to a funnel effect at the top of the course. An average day for myself and Conall, but Simon and Gerard recorded their best result so far an 11th. Myself and Conall found ourselves in the top ten going into the last day and only 6 points separated us from fourteenth. Gerard and Simon were lying in 16th going into the last day.
Thursday was rest day, thankfully. Oh and the leading Irish boats were 1st and 3rd, with father and son duo John and Jamie Clementson in 2nd.
And so it began, Friday the final day and the pressure was on to secure a top ten result in a 20 - 22 knot wind. The first start was postponed as the PRO decided to wait for two local boats. Anyway, we had a great start at the pin heading to the left side of the course. Hard hiking was called for and we managed to round in the top ten at the windward, but a mishap with the spinny pole cost us a number of places. We pulled back to finish 22nd.
The final race of the regatta was all about speed and hiking. Myself and Conall rounded second at the windward. Lightning pace downwind with fast planes secured second at the leeward mark which never seemed to stay in the same place. The mark dragged and the race was abandoned, Lady Luck was definitely not on our side. Eventually the race was restarted and Ross Kearney led throughout and crossed the finish line amid scenes of jubilation, as he and Ireland secured the World title. Gerard and Simon secured 17th overall, but a late and dubious Swedish protest cost them a place and finally finished 18th. Conall and myself finished 15th , after having to complete two 360's on separate occasions and secured 10th overall and a prize in the Worlds.
Ireland secured 1st and 2nd and the team prize. Thanks to everyone for their support throughout the season and hope to see new sailors competing in one of the most competitive double-hander fleet in the country.
IRL 69842: Ronan Cull/Conall Kinsella
IRL 70075: Gerard O'Sullivan/Simon Pearson
Event website : www.storsjoseglarna.com/index.php?pageid=4