With a forecast suggesting a little more breeze than Saturday but locals concerned that the sea breeze might neutralise Windgurus northerly 8 knots, cautious optimism was the order of the day. First the Class AGM had to be dealt with.
With a late entry arriving on Sunday morning, total entries were up to 50 and with beautiful sunshine and a good 8 knots the fleet launched to follow PRO Scorie Walls out into the Bay.
The first Race took a couple of starts, a few windshifts resulting in an AP while in sequence but the fleet finally getting away all clear under a black flag. With 3 races scheduled and a 3:30 HW, there could be no delays. Elmes (13982), Morris (14077) and Duffin (14130) all towards pin end. Gill (13915) on Committee boat end along with O’Tiranaigh (14116X) head out right. With event leader Owens (14076) heading up left centre, its clear right has not paid. Owens (14076) was first to weather mark about 10 boat lengths ahead of a close group. Best of the right hand boats is 15th O’Tiarnaigh (14116x) and Johnston (17th). The wind is steady 8 knots about 015 and Owens (14076) never looked back. He extended his lead at each rounding. A great battle ensued for the minor placings with Morris (14077), Duffin (14130), Elmes (13982) and Boyle (14116) all close contention. On final beat with breeze a little stronger up the middle, Owens (14076) was out right, but with 30 boaot lengths he was not to be caught. Second went to Morris (14077) with O’Connor (14036) taking 3rd from Duffin (14130), Corcoran (14047) and local boat Boyle (14116) in 6th.
Race 2 got going first time on a black flag, and with a healthy 10 knot breeze, the fleet approached weather mark and again it Morris (14077) showing well with Owens (14076) in 4th at weather mark. A few new faces showing with Dan O’Connell (13801), Shane McCarthy (14061) in the mix. Owens (14076) moved into the lead at the leeward mark with top 5 including Morris (14077), Duffin (14130), Corcoran (14047), O’Connell (13801) and McCarthy (14061) and Elmes (13982) very close. From here it was again a race for minor placings as Owens effortlessly moved clear of the fleet.
The next group of 15 boats were also having a great scrap, with 3 local boats Gill (13915), Johnston (13977), Boyle (14116) boat lengths apart. But up the final beat it was Owens who held off a resurgent Morris (14077) with McCarthy (14047) taking 3rd from Dan O’Connell (13801), Corcoran (14047) and Elmes (13982) in 6th.
With wind holding PRO wasted no time and had 3rd race underway with black flag from the start. Its again Owens (14076), Molloy (14133), O’Connell (13801) and Morris (140770 with best starts but local junior Johnston/White (13977) gets a cracker and is right up near the front as fleet heads out left side. Owens, O’Connell, Molloy and Morris around weather mark just ahead of Henry (13993), Duffin (14130) and Johnston (13977).
This race is far closer with Owens unable to shake off Molloy (14133) and O’Connell (13801) with Morris (14077) and Duffin (14130) just behind. Down final spinnaker leg, Owens gets himself out in front by a clear margin of 4-5 boat lengths from O’Connell (13801). Its been a masterclass from Owens and Melanie Morris and they have 3 bullets for the day. Superb racing all day from Ger, hardly a foot wrong and great to watch. Dan O’Connell (13801) held off Curly Morris (14077) to finish a good day for both.
With 2 races scheduled for Monday, Owens leads by 13 points. However as a mark of how close the racing has been, the next 5 boats are separated by 7 points so all will be vying for 2nd place with Corcoran (14047) ahead of Morris (14077), McCarthy (14061), Duffin (14130) and Dan O’Connell (13801).
David Lappin (Skerries SC) leads Silver fleet from Bill Johnson (Lough Foyle YC) and Alan Pinder (Mullingar SC). Tim Davies (Chelmarsh) leads Bronze fleet from local juniors David Johnston/Darragh White with James Ogg (Donaghadee SC)in 3rd. Classic fleet is still led by Stephen Parry (York RI SC) from Duncan Greenhalgh (Derwent) and local juniors Callum Maher/Saoirse Kelly.
The forecast for Monday is light, very light with Windguru forcasting 3-4 knots so will be finger crossed for racing. However we had a great days racing today with Ger Owens and Melanie Morris showing a clean pair of heels and are worthy leader after 5 races but with such a close run thing for 2nd, everybody will be hoping for some racing Monday.