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  1. A close Class C start in which sole Irish competitor 'Fools Gold' is racing

    A discarded result of 31 scored in race six yesterday has dropped Waterford Harbour's Rob McConnell sailing the Archambault A35 'Fools Gold' to 18th from 14th from a fleet of 49  in Class C of The Hague Offshore Sailing World Championships 2018. The Sovereign's Cup champion has a single race left to sail in an extremely competitive inaugural IRC/Offshore championships.

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    With yet another sunny day on the North Sea coast, and in a little gentler winds than in the last few days, another two inshore races were held in The Hague Offshore Sailing Worlds. The completion of the first race prompted a discard of the worst race score for all competitors, with the exception of the twice-weighted long offshore race. And as predicted, this action compressed and reshuffled the results in Classes B & C, making the race for the podium positions even tighter in these classes.

    In Class A the outcome of this event was clear even with one remaining race left in the series: Karl Kwok's Pac 52 Beau Geste (HKG) is the new Class A Offshore World Champion. Barring any major irregularity found when they go through the measurement process tonight for which they might be protested and penalized, this team cannot be caught in the standings. Composed of mostly Kiwis with a mix of other nationalities led by project manager Gavin Brady, the new World Champions are Jim Baxter, Nick Blackman, David Brooke, Chris Cowen, Matt Humphries, Matt Kelway, Patrick Kong, David Lenz, Spencer Loxton, Rob Salthouse, Dave Swete and Jim Williamson.

    It seems that even though they do not have to sail tomorrow since their discarded worst score is only the 1.5 points they shared with Outsider today in the first race, they will sail anyway just to have more time on the boat.

    With a 13-point lead in a 9-boat class going into the final race, Outsider may have a similar lock on the Silver medal position on the podium at the awards tomorrow

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  2. Big waves and breezy conditions made for fast, close racing

    Waterford Harbour's Rob McConnell sailing the Archambault A35 'Fools Gold' has moved up from 18th to 14th from a fleet of 49 after the first four races in Class C of The Hague Offshore Sailing World Championships 2018. The Sovereign's Cup champion has five races left to sail in an extremely competitive inaugural IRC/Offshore championships.

    Full results are here.

    In contrast to the past few days of light shifty winds, today's superb 12-17 knot southerly breeze made for fast and furious racing on all courses of The Hague Offshore Sailing World Championship 2018. And so even with a later 1300 start today, Principal Race Officer Peter Anink informed everyone two inshore races would be held to take advantage of the favorable conditions.

    The southerly breeze combined with a south-flowing flood current to bring even more pressure on the water as well as some big waves, so all teams had to be at their best to avoid being over early at the starts and running into turning marks. With an impressive crowd of 49 boats on the start line of the south course area, Class C was particularly difficult to control, but had only one general recall in the day's second race while the A and B classes in the north course area had no start problems at all.

    In the AB course area the High wind Triple Number rating option was selected by race managers for scoring both races with winds over 14 knots, while on the Class C course area the High option was used for the first race, and the Medium option for the second as the tide diminished in strength.

     

    Continuing to perform like a well-honed machine, the Pac 52 Team Beau Geste (HKG) sailed well again today and put two more bullets on the scoreboard. Skipper Gavin Brady had compliments all around about the event, the venue and the racing.

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  3. There's been a light air start to the The Hague Offshore Sailing World Championships

    Waterford Harbour's Rob McConnell sailing the Archambault A35 'Fools Gold' is lying 18th from a fleet of 49 after the first two offshore races in Class C of The Hague Offshore Sailing World Championships 2018.

    Full results are here.

    After over 24 hours of sailing in light air off the Dutch North Sea coast, the opening act of The Hague Offshore Sailing World Championship has now concluded and the leaders are now known in each of three classes before the second stage of inshore racing begins tomorrow.

    Scoring has been for a long race of 155 miles for Class A with a scoring gate at 70 miles, and a long race of 135 miles for Classes A and B with a scoring gate at 60 miles. Thus each class has two offshore races in their results: a short race worth 1.0 points weighting and a long race worth 2.0 points weighting.

    After a start postponed until 12:30, each fleet started off in light 6-9 knot conditions that varied in strength and direction for the rest of the day and evening, reaching a high of about 12 knots at sunset before dropping again into single digits towards morning. With shifting breeze and currents at near springs in strength, it was a challenging night for all.

    "It was a good course and a good test," said Eddie Warden-Owen, guest strategist aboard Tilmar Hansen's TP 52 Outsider. "We did not have the sail inventory options that Beau Geste had, and had to make some compromises - like going west of the windfarm on the final long leg to the finish - but it was a good race with lots of elements to make it interesting."

    Outsider spent most of their race in lock-step behind Karl Kwok's Pac 52 Beau Geste, who won both races by a comfortable margin, with Outsider second and the Ker 46 Van Uden youth team in third, led by Volvo Ocean Race veteran Gerdjan Poortman and Dutch 470 Olympian Lobke Berkhout as coaches.

    The racing in the top of Class B closely resembled that of Class A, with two boats leading the pack and pushing each other throughout their 135-mile track.
    Claus Landmark's Landmark 43 Santa took an early lead and was clever to

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  4. The Round Ireland Race start where Niall Dowling's Baraka GP makes a perfect start then shreds her spinnaker....

    There was a stunning start to the 20th Round Ireland Yacht Race today when the Volvo race favourite blew a spinnaker moments after the 700–mile race began off Wicklow Harbour. See Race tracker here

    It only added to the drama of the colourful sailing spectacle that has attracted a significant international entry and hundreds of shoreside spectators plus a flotilla of support boats for the Irish classic offshore fixture.

    Round Ireland race start Baraka GP 3762Niall Dowling's crew deal with the shredded kite Photo: Afloat.ie

    There were perfect north easterly breezes and choppy seas for a fast start under spinnaker for the 55–boat fleet from the LE Orla Naval vessel. The race was under the command of race officer David Lovegrove, a former Irish Sailing President.

    Round Ireland start(above and below) A congested committee boat end of the start line Photo: Afloat.ie

    Round Ireland race start fleet 3794

    Noel Dowling’s 43-foot Baraka GP, hotly tipped for overall success, made a perfectly timed start to be placed at the favoured end of the 600-metre start line only to suffer damage to her sails seconds into the week-long race.

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  5. Yachtswoman Tracy Edwards reunites with the ‘Maiden’ crew to celebrate ahead of the 30th anniversary since they became the first all-female team to sail around the world. Dun Laoghaire sailor Angela Heath is pictured right in front row

    Yachtswoman, Tracy Edwards MBE, is reuniting her legendary ‘Maiden’ crew for the first time since 1990 when they became the first all-female team to sail around the world and into the record books. Th crew includes Dun Laoghaire sailor Angela Heath (neé Farrell) from the Royal St. George Yacht Club.

    The crew gained acclaim for their successes in the Whitbread Round The World Race in 1989-90, where they defied expectations and shattered glass ceilings; setting the best result for a British boat since 1977, which has remained unbeaten to this day. Their incredible story is currently being turned into a new documentary, produced by New Black Films. In honour of their reunion, the renowned sailors were treated to a private screening preview of the film currently in production, among family and friends at BAFTA in London.

    A story about guts, courage and determination, the documentary is set to chronicle the team’s 167-day, 32,018-mile journey around the globe, where they overcame icebergs, a tornado and five days without food. Their achievement shattered stereotypes, broke records and paved the way for women in sport and beyond. Tracy Edwards MBE, Maiden’s Skipper, said:“Today, for the first time since the end of the Whitbread, the Maiden crew are reunited. We spent nine months together during the race and shared a truly unique experience and bond. It has been wonderful to get back together and share our stories and enjoy watching a preview of the forthcoming documentary. “Back in 1989 many people did not believe that a group of women sailors could take on such a notorious challenge, and many wrote off our chances. We not only completed the race but did so in an impressive time, coming second in our class, ahead of many all-male crews.

    Our accomplishment reached beyond the world of sailing –showing that with the right support and plenty of belief, women can do anything. Over the past 30 years, the opportunities available to women have been evolving for the better. However, there is still so much to be done. Thanks to the generous support of HRH

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