Three bullets for Patches

A report from RORC's MeesPierson IRC Championship

Friday June 3rd 2005, Author: Louay Habib, Location: United Kingdom
The first race day for the MeesPierson IRC Championships and with three races scheduled, the overcast light conditions did not seem to be ideal, but by 9am the sunshine broke through the low cloud.

Chief Race Officer Jamie Wilkinson commented: “We had enough water at the beginning of the day to get up onto the plateau and it seemed a perfect day to use the new format to get the races off five minutes apart. It was a nice day to start with, we had ten knots of wind and glorious sunshine. Everything seemed right and we did not have to move any marks or the start line. It was classic racing for the first two races. We were also informing the yachts who were too near the start line and as a result we only had one recall in the first two sets of races.

But by the end of the second race we were running out of water and the wind seemed to be going a bit further left, then the rain started and the wind shifted a good 20 degrees, it wasn’t an ideal race but that’s yacht racing.”

For one entrant Patches, the previous day will be long remembered in the Eamon Conneely household, the striking new black and white Transpac 52 was ceremoniously sprayed with champagne by Sinead Conneely christening her Patches.The TP52 is named after the townland of Patches in Connemara where the owner Eamon Conneely was born and bred.

The christening ceremony seemed to pay off for Patches as the TP52 helmed by Ian Walker with Shirley Robertson as tactician went on to win her maiden race, her second and then the third and final race of the day, making a clean sweep of bullets in class Super Zero for the MeesPierson IRC Championship. Patches sailed almost faultlessly all day with the minor exception of a late halyard release putting their huge asymmetrical kite in the water. Nick Lykiardopulo’s Aera and Kit Hobday’s Bear of Britain did their best to put the pressure on all day and were tying for second place going into the last race of Day 1. However a Z Flag penalty in the last race and running aground saw Aera drop to third overall.

But there are 62 other yachts in the regatta and they all played a part in a great days racing in the Solent. Lance Stevens' Sidney, the very first Bavaria Match 42 in the UK, were the most consistent yacht in IRC1 pulling together three second places however Eamon Rohan’s Corby 36 Mustang Sally leads IRC1 after discard. Their two firsts were well deserved but time will tell if there eighth in Race 2 will slow the Mustang down. Jerry Otter’s Exabyte 2 is also right up there and joint second after three races.

In IRC Zero 18 yachts of roughly the same speed caused some interesting and sometimes heated debates at mark roundings. Colm Barrington’s Ker 39 Flying Glove had a really good day at the office and lead a highly competitive Class Zero with two first and a second. Close behind in second place is Jonathan and Lisa Goring’s J/133 Jeronimo, only a point separate the two and tension was obvious at a top mark rounding in race 2 with a collision between the two narrowly avoided. However this class is still wide open with the brand new Mills 40 owned by Tim Costello and Leo Clifford’s Vespucci’s Black Sheep in touch with the leaders. Nigel Bramwell’s Swan 45 finished the day with a third to keep them in the hunt.

Okasama, a rather unique and graceful Marten 49 must be in line for the heartache moment of the day, leading by a street in Race 2, they were unfortunate enough to hit the penultimate mark of the course and the resulting 720 degree penalty marred what would have been a good result.

In IRC2 the J/39, Assassin leads (subject to protest) from Anthony O’Leary’s Corby 36, Antix. Peter Rutter and his Elan 37 Quokka is barely behind the front runners and the racing within the class is very close and Nicola & Lucy Macgregor’s Elan 40 Flair IV cannot be discounted after the first day’s racing.

In IRC3 the leaders sound like a love affair with David Pinner’s X332 Kiss and Adam Gosling’s new Corby 29 Yes! The two yachts were impossible to separate in the first race tying the knot down to the second. However the Royal Navy, in the guise of Gauntlet of Tamar, managed to gain some semblance of order in the last race and managed to come between the two leaders gaining a second place in race 3. However there is everything to play for in IRC3 with three boats tying for third place.

Results after 3 races:

1. Patches TP52 Eamon Connelly
2. Bear of Britain Farr 52 Kit Hobday
3. Aera Farr 52 Nik Lykiardopulo

1. Flying Glove Ker 39 Colm Barrington
2. Jeronimo J 133 Jonathan & Lisa Goring
3. Tiamat Mills 40 Tim Costello (DMYC/DBSC)

1. Mustang Sally Corby 36 Eamonn Rohan
2. Exabyte 2 IMX 40 Jerry Otter
3. Sidney Bavaria 42 Lance Stevens

1. Assassin J 39 Peter Jackson/Gary Shaffur
2. Antix Corby 36 Anthony O’Leary
3. Quokka Elan 37 Peter Rutter

1. Kiss X332 David Pinner
2. Yes! Corby 29 Adam Gosling
3. Gauntlet of Tamar Sigma 38 Royal Navy Sailing Association

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