Optimist Leinster Championships 27th & 28th June at HYC - frustrated by fog
Author: Des Flood Posted on: 29/6/09 Print Version


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The 185 boat entry for the Leinster championships had everything in place to be a great event. The new expanded hard space and slipway were ready to be thoroughly tested over the weekend. Glorious sunshine, a fun fair, RNLI displays and a pipe band competition had all been laid on at no extra expense but the event was to be hi-jacked by fog.

On Saturday racing was postponed until after midday due to a dense fog lying outside the harbour. Once Ireland's Eye could be seen the fleet was launched. David Lovegrove (PRO) laid an excellent course and got proceedings smartly underway. The sea breeze was easterly in direction and built steadily up to 14 knots. Fantastic racing conditions. Both the Junior and Senior fleets had general recalls before the black flag was broken out. However, as the race proceeded a new bank of fog was making its way down the Howth sound. The Junior fleet completed their race but the tail end of the Senior fleet was slowly swallowed up by the new bank of fog. The fleet was directed to return to shore immediately for fear of being totally engulfed in the dense fog. Indeed, the fleet was safely able to sail back up the shore line along the edge of the fog bank to the harbour.

No racing was held on the Sunday as the fleet remained ashore due to a dense fog. The event was abandoned at 1330. Indeed, Ireland's Eye did not become visible until 1545.

There was no prize giving. However, the representative teams traveling to the Europeans in Slovenia and to the French National championships were presented with their Green Life Jackets. Amongst those receiving their team gear was Tara Flood (Europeans) and Xander Morrison (French) both from HYC. See the gallery at for photographs.

21 Howth boats competed in the event which is a very encouraging sign as the fleet has begun to rebuild in earnest. Tara Flood (8th) scored best in the only raced sailed in the 66 boat Senior fleet. However, HYC had 4 sailors in the top 20 in the 75 strong Junior fleet with Aoife Hopkins (11th) showing great promise, Erica Ruigrok (15th), Nicholas Delamer (18th) and Fergus Flood (19th).

Peter McCann (RCYC) won the Junior fleet race, followed by Sandy Aplin (RStGYC) 2nd and Cian Byrne (RCYC) 3rd. The Senior fleet race winner was Seafra Guilfoyle (RCYC), John Durcan (RCYC) was 2nd with Aodh Kennedy in 3rd.

The 44 strong Regatta fleet, which combines coaching with some racing, was led by Head Coach John White who was ably assisted by Ian McSweeney, Rebecca Tyrell, Olive Rooney and Brendan O'Reilly, who acted as PRO. HYC sailors Hanna Blandford, Daniel Hoplins Robert Lush and Anna Colwell seemed to thoroughly enjoy the experience. The Regatta fleet also failed to complete a series. All results have been posted on the IODAI website

HYC has been asked by the Optimist class to run another event possibly in early September. So watch this space.