Neil Hegarty helmed “Phantom” to victory yesterday and won the Irish National Championship, with David Williams & Peter Bowring for the impressive 5th time. This brilliant Irish Team finished the championship in style after 4 days of wonderful racing in Dublin Bay, hosted by the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire.
The final day began with an 11am start in a stiff westerly breeze of 15 gusting 22 kts and the beginning of a strong flood tide. The excellent PRO Con Murphy set an intelligent line, with a slight starboard bias knowing that the fleet would all want to go left towards the port of Dun Laoghaire so as to catch the maximum tidal advantage. Whilst the “Phantom” team started well towards the pin end, the 3 boats who were still able to win a podium place, “Chimera” (Andrew Craig), “Little Fella” (Cameron Goode) and “Bear” (Martin Payne), all started nearer to the committee boat trying to take control of the fleet. However, as soon as “Phantom” reached the main advantageous current they were launched, leaving the rest to fight for 2nd place….
Tight racing in Dublin Bay after rounding the right-hand gate mark in final race.
The “Bear” rounded the top mark in 6th position but just ahead of “Chimera” and “Little Fella” and so the race was on to settle the runner’s up spot and 3rd overall. On the first downwind leg the wind increased to 20 kts and made the first leeward gate interesting, most boats opted for the right-hand mark so as to head left again for the current. A few teams took the left mark to keep clear air, but were soon to realise the left side of the course was favoured.
In the end after some exciting “tactical” covering and positioning it was the “Bear” helmed by Martin Payne, crewed by John Mortimer & Matt Walker who finished in 2nd place and were runner’s up overall. “Chimera” with Andrew Craig, Brian Matthews and Mark Pettit stayed ahead of “Little Fella” to take the final podium position…
Runner’s Up, “BEAR” a very happy Matt Walker, Martin Payne and John Mortimer.
The port of Dun Laoghaire has three magnificent Yacht Clubs and a superb inner harbour who’s high walls protect an area which offers the most perfect sailing for young sailors to hone their skills. It was a sheer joy to see so many sailing schools & clubs providing a host of activities on this wonderful venue. Ireland is a fantastic country to visit with excellent facilities and sailing opportunities. There are very competitive Dragon Fleets in Kinsale, Glandore and Dublin so why not consider a visit and experience the friendly atmosphere of the Irish way of life, you will never regret it…….
3rd overall, “Chimera” Brian Matthews, Mark Pettit & helm Andrew Craig (former IDA Treasurer).
Higher, Faster, Longer…………. Stavros.