by Louay Habib
Unsettled weather provided changeable conditions for day three of racing at Volvo Cork Week. The day started with bright sunshine and balmy conditions, causing a short postponement for many classes and light rain (honestly!) and a stiffer breeze was encountered during the day. With many classes now completing six races, the discard has kicked in and front runners have become more apparent. What is plainly obvious from the results is races and places are being contested by seconds. Volvo Cork Week is providing exciting, close racing and ashore the Craic is the same as ever.
Volvo Cork Week 2014
Fleet A, composing of the fastest racer cruisers, competing in IRC One and IRC Two took on the Windward Leeward Course, which was three miles south east of Roches Point. Once a northerly breeze had settled, the fleet got a clean start in Race 5 racing upwind towards the shoreline. The breeze was light and the first leg proved to be crucial. Peter O'Leary was calling tactics today on Marc Glimcher's Ker 40, Catapult (Baltimore SC). 'We crossed the line on starboard tack and tacked as soon as we could to head for the area of pressure on the right hand side of the course. The race was all about finding that extra pressure to get ahead of the fleet and into clear air.'
Peter's brother Nicholas O'Leary is tactician on Michael Boyd's Grand Soleil 43, Quokka (Royal Irish YC). 'Mark Mansfield on the wheel and myself were in total agreement that the right would pay.' commented Nicholas. 'We had both seen this scenario in the 1720 Nationals and it was clear to us.'
Volvo Cork Week 2014
Catapult scored their fourth win in a row in Race 5 and ended the day leading IRC One for the series by six points. Andy Williams' Ker 40, (Yealm YC) won Race 6, to move into second position on countback, from Richard Matthews Hakes 42, Oystercatcher XXX (Royal Burnham YC).
Quokka were unstoppable today, winning both of today's races to open up an 8.5 point gap for the series in IRC Two. Tony Ackland's Dubois 37, Dark Angel (Swansea YSC) is still in second place but a solid performance by Conor Phelan's Ker 37, Jump Juice (Royal Cork YC) has lifted the team up to third.
Fleet B, consisting of IRC 3, IRC 4, IRC 5 and the Sportsboat Class enjoyed three races on the Olympic Course, near Roches Point - with over 40 yachts racing on a tight triangular course.
In IRC Three, Pat Kelly's J/109, Storm (Rush YC) still leads the class after an intense battle. Robert McConnell's, A35, Fools Gold was the winner in Race 5. The intensity of the combat was evident by the top four yachts were only separated by an astonishing 12 seconds. Last year's class champion, Ian Nagle's J/109, Jelly Baby (Royal Cork YC) was the winner of Race 6 by just 23 seconds from Storm. However, the Kelly family racing Storm, finished the day on top by winning the last race of the day.
'The Olympic Course is a real test, especially the gybe mark, where yachts are converging for a manoeuvre all at the same time. Just a few seconds can make the difference between first and fifth.' Explained Joss Walsh, trimmer on Storm. 'The overall game plan was to keep with the yachts around us and try and compete with them for speed and avoid errors, which would be very costly. Pat Kelly has four sons on board, Storm is a real family boat but we are quite a heavy crew, which has made racing difficult in light conditions. We are all here to enjoy very competitive racing and a few pints at the club afterwards. We are here to win but having fun is just as important.'
Storm leads IRC Three by 10.5 points points from Paul O'Higgins Corby 33, Rockabill V, (Royal Irish YC). Jelly Baby is just half a point behind Rockabill V in third.
In IRC Four, Tim Cunliffe's Half Tonner, Insatiable (Royal Cornish YC) is the new leader having scored a 1,2,3 in today's three races. Paul Tingle's Corby 25, Alpaca (Royal Cork YC) has dropped to second place after struggling on today's Olympic Course. Peter Deasy's Bad Company (Royal Cork YC) had their best day so far, scoring a fourth and a win to move up to third in class. Ronan Fenton's J/35, Sky Hunter (Blackwater SC) finished the day in style, taking their first win of the regatta in Race 7.
In IRC Five, it is now six straight bullets to the boys from Cobh. Jason and Domonic Losty’s Quarter Tonner, Illes Pitiuises (Cobh SC). However, the team have had to fight for their supremacy, winning Race 5 by six seconds and Race 6 by 35 seconds. Kieran O'Connell's Quarter Tonner, Bandit (Royal Cork YC) had a consistent day to have a solid position in second place for the series. Frank O'Regan's Orient Express (Cobh SC) is the smallest keel boat at the regatta and lies third, just one point ahead of Lane and Enright's J/24, Yagottawanna (Royal Cork YC).
In the Sportsboat Class Robin and Ben O'Mahony's 1720, Spiced Beef still leads the class after scoring a third and a race win today but two yachts came into the running with excellent results today. Julian Cook's Viper 640, Oh No, won the first two races putting pressure on Spice Beef but a fifth in the last race means that Spiced Beef have a five point lead for the series. Denis Murphy's 1720, Aquatack scored three second places today to move up to third for the class, just a point behind Oh No.
The positive energy of the IMOCA Ocean Masters.
In IRC One White Sail, George Pettifor's Beneteau 36.7, Foxtrot had an outstanding day in Cork Harbour, winning both of today's races to become the new class leader. John Downing's Samba drops to second place, just two points off the lead. Peter O'Donovan's X-372, X Tension scored a second and third place today to move up to third for the class.'
Tom McNeice's Sigma 33, Minx III won both of today's races to open up a three point lead in in IRC Two White Sail. David Borry Crockett's Sigma 33, is second with Pat Vaughan's Contessa 33, Aramis in third.
Tonight's entertainment at the Royal Cork Yacht Club Event Village includes, traditional Bag Pipes from Sessiun Ceol followed by DJ Fadd Jnr, mixing the tunes after 10pm. Racing continues tomorrow.