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Head Case wins J/24 Irish Eastern Championship at Howth Yacht Club

by David Johnston 4 Oct 07:50 PDT 28-29 August 2021
2021 J/24 Easterns Championship © A.Blaney Photography

After a quick turnaround from a wet and wild Nationals in Sligo, eighteen J/24s descended on Howth Yacht Club for the WaterWipes® J24 Eastern Championship.

With plenty of both new and old faces, including a first J/24 event for both Rush Sailing Club and Malahide Yacht Club's K25 teams, the chance at some practice at the venue of the 2022 J/24 European Championship proved very attractive.

Forecast for Saturday was threatening to pose a problem with very little wind due. However, veteran J/24 RO Derek Bothwell insisted the fleet make its way out to the race area. This decision proved fruitful as after a short postponement, the first race was under way. With about 6-7 knots of breeze and a strong flood tide to fight, crossing the start line proved quite difficult to most boats.

However, following on from their National Championship success, Head Case showed the fleet why they will be the boat to beat with an impressive first race win. Jana helmed by Colm O'Flaherty of Sligo YC claimed second with Mark Usher and Jumpin Jive in third.

Head Case wasn't going to have it all their own way this weekend with J/24 stalwart Flor O'Driscoll nabbing a bullet in Race 2, with Head Case second and Jumpin Jive third. Race 3 saw K25 National Champions Kilcullen from Howth YC round the windward mark in first after an impressive first beat.

However, inexperience showed as they would have to settle for a sixth, with Head Case taking another race win, Jana second, and JP McCaldin of Il Riccio third. The final race of this glorious sunny day had it all, plenty of position changes at the front with some impressive downwind duels to boot. In the end Jana came out victorious edging out Head Case across the line, with Flor and Hard On Port occupying third just behind.

Saturday evening provided a variety of entertainment with the usual après sail socializing in the club, followed by a championship dinner which was enjoyed by all. With only one point separating the top two boats, it was still all to play for on Sunday.

A less desirable wet morning didn't deter some tired heads making it out to the race area for the final two races of the championship. With slightly more wind coming from the North East, race 5 got under way following one recall, with two boats succumbing to the U flag rule. Head Case put in another strong performance to claim line honours with JP's Il Riccio in second and Jana third. The final race of this year's Eastern Championship again went to Head Case helmed by Cillian Dickson with Flor in third. Special mention to Janx Spirit of Tralee Bay Sailing Club who have been proving why they are one to watch this year with a second place to cap off a great series.

Head Case were the overall winners of the weekend with Jana picking up second place followed by Flor and Hard On Port in third. LSYC's Crazy Horse helmed by Luke McBride claimed first Silver Fleet. Howth YCs Kilcullen claimed top U25 boat. A special presentation of the Traveller Series trophy for 2019 was presented to JP McCaldin for the 2019 season. A special thanks to WaterWipes®- the world's purest wipes- for the sponsorship to run the event.

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