Wexford Harbour Boat & Tennis Club was the unusual geographic location for this weekend’s ILCA Connacht Championships, however, a great choice for what was a spectacular weekend on and off the water. Unsurprisingly, entries were down somewhat with the ICRA’s running in parallel, however, a healthy 60 ILCA’s descended on Wexford for the weekend.
With very light winds forecast, organisers were forced to delay launch on the Saturday morning until a steady 8 knot sea breeze filled in from the South East in a gradually warming day. A perfect trapezoid course was set under the expert eye of Captain Michael Doyle who’s team worked tirelessly lifting a shifting marks while the breeze settled.
In the ILCA 7’s, new arrival from the ILCA 6 squad, Sam Ledoux (RSGYC), took advantage of his light frame to show a clean pair of heels, only to discover an OCS was waiting for him at the finish. Clubmate, Oisin Hughes duly took advantage, with another newly converted ILCA 6 squad member, Jonathan O’Shaughnessy (RCYC), in second, followed by master, Conor Byrne (RSGYC) in third. In the second and last race of the day, under a dying breeze, Ledoux once again showed off his boat speed and handling with a first place finish, with O’Shaughnessy in second and Byrne in third.
In the twenty two boat ILCA 6 fleet, Irish Sailing squad member, Sophie Kilmartin (RSGYC & MYC) was lying just one point ahead of HYC sailor, Charlie Keating who was in joint second with Daniel O’Connor of RSGYC after two races. Andrew Kingston of RCYC showed some serious boat speed with a well earned win in the second race of the day, which left him just one point behind O’Connor and Keating after two races.
In the twenty nine strong ILCA 4 fleet, Thea Daly (RSGYC) was overnight leader with recent Optimist Class converts and clubmates Caoilinn McDonnell and Marcus Shelley on joint points in second and third respectively.
Due to the continued dying breeze, sailors were ushered ashore after race two of the day to be greeted by a warm welcome, cold drinks and rugby in the bar.
With such close finishes on the Saturday, the stage was set for a very competitive Sunday. With races to catch up on, organisers were keen to get sailors on the water early for a 10:25am start. In an overcast and thunder threatening sky, the breeze was slow to build, but finally settled in a 5 knot north easterly for the first race of the day.
In the ILCA 7 fleet, Sam Ledoux yet again took advantage of the light winds with two first place finishes with clubmate Oisin Hughes finishing with two second places. Jonathan O’Shaughnessy held onto his overnight third place, but not without drama, as Conor Byrne who was leading the last race was pipped in separate match racing duels with Ledoux and Hughes forcing him into a third place finish and fourth overall.
In the ILCA 6 fleet, Charlie Keating came out of the blocks like a bullet with two first place finishes on the Sunday pipping Sophie Kilmartin by just one point with Daniel O’Connor in third place overall.
In the ILCA 4 fleet, Thea Daly held onto her overnight lead to finish first overall and one point ahead of Caoileann McDonnell in second and Lucy Ives in third.
Huge thanks to Rooster and Viking Marine for supplying prizegiving prizes which were thankfully received by all winners on the day. Massive thanks to organizers, Don Ryan and Eoin Thompson and of course, Race Officer, Captain Michael Doyle and his extended team for managing to get a full race series completed in extremely challenging weather conditions.
1st Overall – Sam Ledoux
2nd Overall – Oisin Hughes
4th Overall & 1st Master – Conor Byrne
6th Overall & 3rd Master – Gavan Murphy
2nd Overall & 1st Girl – Sophie Kilmartin
3rd Overall – Daniel O’Connor
4th Overall & 2nd Girl – Ava Ennis
6th Overall – Carlos Casanueva
8th Overall & 3rd Girl – Becky Lowney
9th Overall – Jessica Riordan
So 6 x RSGYC sailors in the top 10 of the ILCA 6 fleet
1st Overall – Thea Daly
2nd Overall – Caoilinn McDonnell
3rd Overall – Lucy Ives
4th Overall & 1st Boy – Marcus Shelley
6th Overall & 3rd Boy – Patrick Foley
8th Overall – Jules Start
9th Overall – Emily Cantwell
So, 7 x RSGYC sailors in top 10 of the ILCA 4 fleet