by Louay Habib
The fast high performance yachts racing at Volvo Cork Week enjoyed the unique Slalom Course today, the triangular course has an offset mark which forces the crew to gybe half way down the reaching leg, providing high octane manoeuvres in close quarters with other yachts.
Volvo Cork Week 2014
Marc Glimcher's American Ker 40, Catapult (Baltimore SC) was launched on the Slalom Course today, scoring three straight bullets. Catapult’s crew include, Royal Cork's Harry Durcan, the teenage national Optimist Champion, who was beaming from ear to ear. However it was far from easy for Catapult, which will be representing Ireland in the forthcoming Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup. Each race was won by just seconds with three high performance yachts pushing hard; Richard Matthews' Hakes 42, Oystercatcher XXX (Royal Burnham YC), Andy Williams British Ker 40, Keronimo (Yealm YC) and Anthony O'Leary's Ker 39, Antix (Royal Cork YC).
'That is the first time I have raced on a slalom course although it is an idea we have thought about back home in Maryland.' Commented Catapult's Geoff Ewenson from Annapolis USA. 'Conventional windward lewards are more tactical but this course is all about speed, boat handling and sail selection, which is more akin to modern yachts flying asymmetric sails and it is a very exciting discipline. We were by no means faultless today but we have got to be happy with our results and racing a new course set up was very refreshing, something we all enjoyed.'
In IRC Two, Michael Boyd's Grand Soleil 43, Quokka (Royal Irish YC) had another great day. Quokka won the first two race but dropped to fourth for the last race of the day. After four races, Quokka has a slender lead for the class from Tony Ackland's Dubois 37, Dark Angel (Swansea YSC). Conor Phelan's Ker 37, Jump Juice (Royal Cork YC) had a consistent day resulting in third place by the close of play. The intensity of the racing in IRC Two produced a tie for second place in the first of today's three races between Jump Juice and Dark Angel.
Fleet B, consisting of IRC 3, IRC 4, IRC 5 and the Sportsboat Class enjoyed three races on the Windward Leeward Course, three miles south east of Roches Point.Warm sunshine and stable conditions prevailed,with blue skies and fresh breeze coming off the land to provide a perfect classic race track.
In IRC Three, Pat Kelly's J/109, Storm (Rush YC) was in impressive form scoring a win and a second in today's races to open up an 8.5 point lead at the top of the class. Paul O'Higgins Corby 33, Rockabill V, (Royal Irish YC) sailed consistently well today to move up to second in class. Robert McConnell's A35, Fools Gold (Waterford Harbour SC) is third.
In IRC Four, Paul Tingle's Corby 25, Alpaca (Royal Cork YC) had a great day scoring two wins and a second, to climb to the top of the class. Tim Cunliffe's Half Tonner, Insatiable (Royal Cornish YC) finished the day in style with a win, to place the Cornishmen just two points off the lead. Ronan Lyden's Corby 25, Aurora (Royal Cork YC) scored two second places today to move up to third.
'Champagne sailing!' smiled Paul Tingle, skipper of Alpaca. '12 knots of breeze, a great course and really competitive racing. I just love Cork Week and today was a very special day to be out on the water. The Corby 25 is a step-up for us this season and she is a far more physical boat that we are used to, so in the last race, we were a little tired and let or concentration lapse but what a day! We are off for a crew dinner and can't wait to get going in the morning.'
In IRC Five, Jason and Domonic Losty’s Quarter Tonner, Illes Pitiuises had another cracking day, to win all three races and have the only perfect scoreline of the 100 yachts competing at Volvo Cork Week. Last month, Illes Pitiuises won the Corinthian Division of the Quarter Ton Cup in Cowes and look like they have brought that scintillating form with them to Volvo Cork Week. Kieran O'Connell's Quarter Tonner, Bandit had a good day on the water, moving the team up to second place above Lane and Enright's J/24, Yagottawanna. Dermott Foley's Anchor Challenge and Frank O'Regan's Orient Express posted good results today on the windward leeward course.
In the Sportsboat Class Robin and Ben O'Mahony's 1720, Spiced Beef still leads the class, having scored two first places today. Mike Relling's Viper 640, Viper scored their first bullet of the regatta to keep hold of second place, but by only one point, from Jimmy Nyhan's 1720, Salve racing.
John Downing's Samba leads White Sail IRC One by just two points, after winning the first of two races today. Sailed along the stunning coastline west of Cork Harbour the fleet enjoyed spectacular views in bright sunshine and a moderate breeze. George Pettifor's Beneteau 36.7, Foxtrot won the second race of the day to lift the team to second for the class. Whilst, Bryan Heffernan's Dufour 365, Aisling scored a second and a third to place third after three races. The Heffernan Family include two members in their 70s, who could not race in the spinnaker classes, a prime example of why the White Sail class is included at Volvo Cork Week.
Tom McNeice's Minx III and David Borry Crockett's Upstart are both Sigma 33S and the two yachts are enjoying incredibly close racing. Only six seconds seperated the two yachts in today's first race. Minx III and Upstart are currently tied for the lead in White Sail IRC Two. Pat Vaughan's Contessa 33, Aramis is third and a win in today's first race has lifted Clive Doherty's GK29, Phaeton to fourth.
Tonight's entertainment at the Royal Cork Yacht Club Event Village includes; Samba Corcaigh Walking. Who are afloat, playing Samba drums around the pontoons. Brazil made be out of the World Cup but the party is still very much going on at Volvo Cork Week!