Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Squib Irish nationals Howth 2015
28 teams turned up for the Squib Irish national championship, which was held 1 week prior to the UK national championship aimed at allowing competitors to practice on the venue plus giving the race team a chance to familiarise themselves with their new very impressive committee boat ‘star point’. What resulted was some fantastic championship sailing with varied courses and extremely close racing.
Of the 28 teams there were two English teams Nigel and Jack Grogan of Hyde Sails in 105 and Dick Batt and Pam in number 11 of Batt sails.
Race 1 was held on Friday evening and was conducted on a windward leeward course with 4 laps to be finished at the top mark again. At the top mark first time Dick Batt was leading, however he piled into the mark on port tack fouling John O’Driscoll 78, the Finn Olympic representative for Ireland at Atlanta. The Grogan’s saw this happening and sailed high on the spreader leg and with a better set than John managed to role him and sail on to a comfortable win. 78 ended up 2nd however were later declared OCS, which meant Dave Eccles and Phil Hutchinson 139 inherited 2nd and Sam Lyness and John Reynolds 824 ended up 3rd.
Day 2 was to be held in a range of conditions with 3 races scheduled.
Race 2 was to be sailed on the championship format course. Fergus O’Kelly and Jonathan Wormold 223 led at the top mark benefitting from a right hand shift. On the reach Dick Batt and Puffin were fighting allowing the Grogan’s to roll them. The Grogan’s then set off hunting down Fergus and managed to overhaul him to win race 2. 2nd were Quickstep 2 Aiden O’Connell and Ross Nolan, who were going fast and Fergus and John came in 3rd.
Race 3. With the Grogan’s getting of the line well but from the middle, it meant they were in the pack. They worked their way back up to 6th before doing turns for a Port/Starboard with 824. They managed to climb back again to 3rd but with all this going on it meant a tight battle had ensued with Vincent Delany and 78 John O’driscoll for the lead. John just edging out Vincent on the final reach.
Race 4. The final race of the day was dominated by a 3 way battle with Fagin 100, 78 and 105. The course was reset to a 4 lap windward leeward with finish line at the top mark.
For the whole Race these 3 boats changed position, and all held the lead at some point or another. On the final beat it turned into bit of a match race with a lot of covering going on. This meant the teams were distracted from 139 who had snuck by… Now the 3 teams who thought they were actually fighting for the lead were now fighting for 2nd! However, 139 thought there was one more lap and sailing for the windward mark not the finish line just above the top marks. At the finish 78 won, 105 were 2nd beating 139, after realising their mistake, by luffing head to wind.
Day 3 race 5 with the breeze the windiest of the regatta 12-20knots and 2 races scheduled all the Grogan’s had to do post a top 8 to win the regatta so this put the pressure on them. During the pre-start the committee boat end had looked favoured but with a minute to go that changed and there was bit a rush down to the pin for the boats that had noticed the left shift, but 2 minutes into the beat the wind was just lifting and lifting, the biggest shift we had seen all regatta. The Grogan’s were forced behind a fair chunk of the fleet – not looking good for winning with a race to spare! However, they managed to stay calm and sail and good final 3rd of the beat to round 3rd. Dick Batt was leading with 78 in 2nd. On the run 105 and 78 had a battle allowing Dick Batt to extend. The Grogan’s managed to escape from 78 up the beat and set off after Dick Batt. At the Bottom mark 2nd time Dick chose the unflavoured side, which allowed 105 to be with 2 boat lengths of Dick by the middle of the beat and then just edging out Dick by the top mark. On the run 105 extended by sailing down the right and Fergus in 223 did the same over taking Dick. On the final beat the Grogan’s were covering both Dick and Fergus to be sure of victory, which allowed them to close a little. 223 then pushed 105 hard on the run, but the 105 covering the left downwind to allow for the hook finish were always safe. 105 1st, 223 2nd and 820 3rd.
Race 6 with the Grogan’s sailing back to shore, not risking their boat in building breeze. 78 managed to win and take his tally of 1st place finishes to three. 2nd place went to Fagin, who were massively fast all regatta and 3rd 139, again up there.
1st Nigel and Jack Grogan 105
2nd Fergus O’Kelly and John Wormald 223 & Irish national’s champions
3rd Aiden O’Connell and Ross Nolan 820 & 2nd Irish
4th Vincent Delaney and Joe O’Byrne & 3rd Irish
Can’t wait for the nationals its going to be fantastic!