International J/24 Class Association

Irish J/24 Western Championship

June 20, 2017

Eighty five sailors on 16 J/24s from around Ireland gathered in Limerick with all provinces being represented at the two-day Yachtsman Euromarine J/24 Western Championship. Crews were welcomed by their host with a complimentary bottle of beer/soft drink supplied by Gala Supermarkets. BCS Crane Hire LTD made short work of lifting the boats in and out, much to the delight of all participants in this year’s Irish Westerns. The J/24 Western Championship weekend was characterized by great racing, fantastic sailing conditions and extraordinary hospitality by the Foynes Yacht Club. The Championship, which saw boats from all around the island of Ireland take part, culminated in a great two final races in southerly breeze of 25 knots with gusts up to 30 knots.

Day 1: The Championship dawned to overcast skies with a westerly 8-10 knots of breeze. Race area one, west of the clubhouse, was chosen, which paid dividend for anyone travelling the coast road during the races as they were sailing close to the shore at Mount Trenchard that made for a spectacular sight between Foynes and Glin. Finbarr Ryan of LRYC/HYC commented, “Race one, after battling with the pin end, the fleet headed left up the beat, hugging the shore, which led to several port-starboard incidents across the fleet. Both windward marks were incident-rich, with many suffering from tide and port raiders. Race two, HARD ON PORT nailed the pin end, hugged the shore, and led from start to finish, oblivious to the battles going on astern. A similar format at the front followed for race three. In race four, with an ebbing tide, eager beavers led to a general recall. HARD ON PORT was taken out at the start, leaving JELIGNITE, SCANDAL and JAMAIS ENCORE in a battle up the first beat. With the breeze shifting right and the tide having turned, the right side of the course was favored, catching much of the fleet off guard after the swelling flood tide. More pressure and an early gybe allowed JAMAIS to move from third to first & dominated the rest of the race to take the bullet. All the fleet were met with a pontoon beer reception which was a perfect finish to a great day’s sailing!” The day’s racing concluded with JP McCaldin’S JAMAIS ENCORE leading with Flor O’Driscoll’s HARD ON PORT from Royal Saint George YC in second, and in third place was Mark Usher’s JUMPIN JIVE from Greystones Sailing Club. The Silver Fleet was all tied with Howth YC U25 Keelboat Team joint first with Fergus Kelliher on JIBE from Tralee Bay Sailing Club, with Sinéad Enright and Dave Lane’s YAGOTTAWANNA from Royal Cork YC in third.
Day Two: For the second day of racing, PRO Raymond McGibney chose Race Area Two and set a course east off Foynes Island. The penultimate race got underway on schedule with JAMAIS ENCORE and HARD ON PORT dueling for the title. After a difficult first beat, only about 25% of the fleet flew spinnakers on the first downwind leg resulting in a big change in the leaders on that leg. In the testing conditions, HARD ON PORT fell outside the top three giving the title to the Lough Erne boat with one race to spare. The last race of the day got underway with a clear start with the boats taking the right hand side of the course gaining at the top. Three rounds of the course were completed with the Howth YC U25 Team leading from the start to the finish followed in second place by Flor O’Driscoll, and Finbarr Ryan on JELIGNITE in third. Battles continued throughout the rest of the fleet with JUMPIN JIVE from Greystones YC representing the east coast on the podium in third place.
Irish J/24 Class President, Flor O’Driscoll, commented with delight about the rejuvenation in the J/24 fleet, “This event had two newcomers to our regional events, the new Howth YC U25 Team on SCANDAL sailing a superb event and finishing first in the Silver Fleet, three points ahead of another newcomer Fergus Kelliher on JIBE from Tralee Bay Sailing Club. Third place went to Dave Lane & Sinéad Enright on YAGOTTAWANNA from the Royal Cork Yacht Club. The local contingent was led by GALA RACING from Foynes YC, coming in fifth in Gold & seventh place overall.” For more Irish J/24 Class information, visit https://j24ireland.wordpress.com/.

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