Race report – IOM Howth Regatta -
Light drizzle and wind south – south east 5-
In fact the drizzle was extremely light with the odd drop of water from time to time. As for the wind we did get the light wind in the forecasted direction but then it started to die off from 13:00 to almost not wind by 14:00 which barely allowed us to finish the last of the 12 scheduled races for the day which was won by Neill Suitor (IRL20).
Let's backtrack to the start of the day. Gilbert Louis and Jeff Kay organised this preliminary event of the Winter Series which details will be announced shortly. I nice warm up, if I may say on this cold winter day ! To a good North/South series ahead.
7 skippers including 2 from Northern Ireland, and Tony from Roundwood made up the fleet. We are lucky to have one of top Race Officer and international Umpire in Gordon who managed the racing like a Pro ! Keeping us on our toes, calling contacts and helping to educate skippers who don't have the international experience.
Gilbert layed up his usual windward/leeward course with the start/finish line in the middle and so we had all the ingredients for what promised to be a great Sunday racing in Howth YC.
Straight away Gilbert (IRL41, Spindriftsails, HYC) set the pace early winning 4 of the 5 first races. He went on to win 6 races and was never off the pace but a racing incident took him off as DNF on race 11 as he was fighting for top spot again. Stephen Fay (IRL87, HYC) who was making his return after a number of years away showed us he was not that rusty with his new boat a Cockatoo 08, finishing in the top 4 consistently. As expected we saw Brian (IRL99, EDYC) showing good pace early on bagging 2nd and 3rd places. Sily mistakes impeded his progress and he finished with mixed results, but never really much off the pace. One skipper that surprised the most was Neill (IRL20, Lough Erne YC) who, with an old widget show better and better pace as the wind disapeared, bagging 3 bullets in the last 3 races, a late charge that brought him up to the top splitting Gilbert and Brian, taking 2nd place overall.
Fergal (IRL52, HYC) paid the price for lacking time on the water in the first half of the regatta but then showed his real potential in the second half, battling for top 3 places in the last 5 races which shows how important time on the water is.
Des (IRL112) and Tony (IRL25) had a mix day, enjoying the day but struggling to find the pace, never very far behind the pack. Often finishing in the pack or just behind, and this is positive as it shows the level relatively homegenous. More practice will make that difference in no time.
After 12 races completed (incl. 2 discards) the podium was as follow:
1st Gilbert Louis, IRL41, HYC, Spindriftsails 14,5 pts
2nd Niell Suitor, IRL20, Lough Erne YC 25,25 pts
3rd Brian O'Neil, IRL99, EDYC 27,5 pts
I would like to thank everyone who made it, the skippers, the volunteers (A BIG thank
you Gordon), and Howth YC who as ever were great host. Looking forward to the up-
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