International One Metre
Irish National Class Association
2013 IOM Early bird regatta
13th January - Howth Yacht Club, Co. Dublin

It was a cold grey day that was awaiting the skippers of this early bird regatta. As for the wind it was rather light with an optimistic forecast for increase pressure in the afternoon. But at least it was dry, for now anyway.

So we got rigged up with the top rig and pretty quickly we were on the water. We decided to start the event from the 3rd pontoon of the marina which had a hammerhead, making it easier for all to sail their boat and defined the control area.

Gordon Davies agreed to be our OOD and Umpire. Gordon brings great official experience in the rules of model boat racing, having umpired at European and World model boat championships.

3 local sailors from HYC and 4 visitors from our new Northern fleet were ready to race. The racing started shortly after 10:30am with 6 races scheduled before a break. It was Des Dwyer with his home made Reggae who was on the pace from the start winning with impressive speed in these feeble winds. And Fergal Noonan/HYC was not going to be outpaced and also started to challenge Des for first places.

Behind it was Gilbert Louis/HYC who was leading the pack. Brian O’Neill/EDYC showed good potential with his wooden swallow. Tweaking his tuning to continuously improving his speed. Don Howes/EDYC also progressed throughout the day with his Ikon. Wayne and Bill were enjoying the day, taking it all onboard, learning each race. They were helped by other skippers. After all that’s what sailing IOM is all about, having fun and sharing the knowledge to get everyone up to speed.

At the break it was so close between the leaders, Des and Fergal that not even a full point separated them after 6 races. Although we had plan for more races the rain which became heavy pretty much killed the little wind we had so the decision was taken to stop there and go inside to get warm and eat something hot.

At the restart the rain had done some damage and Bill’s radio was giving trouble so that was the end of the racing for him. A real pity because he was coming greatly along. Nonetheless we hope he enjoyed the day and learned plenty.

We decided to move the racing area to get better wind and more visibility to all the marks so we moved to the last pontoon’s hammerhead. Rain had stopped and the wind was up a bit. As for the course we still went for a long enough windward - leeward course of c350m but this time with 2 laps. This gives a chance to catch up and made it more challenging for the leaders to keep the others at bay.

These conditions seemed to favour Gilbert’s V6 who very quickly accumulated bullets where Des is struggling to find the pace he had in the morning. Fergal however is still struggling with his rudder which, for some reason, doesn’t want to centre and he has to keep on compensating, but he keeps on finishing in top 3. Brian’s swallow won a race and Don was the second one to win another race and stopping Gilbert from doing a clean sweep of bullets in the second half of the day.

The suspense was on as Fergal and Gilbert found themselves on equal points, same amount of bulltets so it all came down to the last race to see who would come on top. The pressure was on and Fergal was leading when Gilbert was in mid-pack at the weather mark, but gilbert found good speed downwind and managed to take the lead on the second beat whereas Fergal was lacking speed as is he caught some seaweed in his rudder. For the final run to the leeward mark it looked like it was race and event won for Gilbert as he was comfortable in the lead, followed by Don and Fergal. Gilbert rounded the leeward mark first and it was a short beat up to the finish. But then when we thought it was all over Gilbert’s V6 suddenly slowed down and Don was catching up fast, to defend his first place Gilbert tacked on starboard to cover Don and in the process managed to free the seaweed from his rudder and now both were side by side but Don had the momentum and managed to pass the line first by what we can call a picture finish. Depriving Gilbert’s of a final bullet but not from taking the event.

Check the result table to see the full results of the day.

We would like to thank all skippers, Gordon our OOD and umpire and Howth YC for their hospitality to have made this friendly event a great one that everyone enjoyed.


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