Close racing, tight finishes & plenty of place changing were the order of the day over the two days of the Charles Hurst, Jaguar Land Rover sponsored RS Elite Irish Championship.

Day 1:

With light airs forecast for Sunday four excellent races were held on Saturday under the expert eye of Race Officer Colin Loughead and his team.

Three boats Kin, Upfront & Storm dominated the day.

Kin (Simon Brien) showed a welcome return to form winning the first race and scoring a couple of seconds and a fourth to end the day in second place overall. Upfront (Jeff Ralston)  was at the top of the leader board with two firsts, a second and a third. Storm (Stephen Polly) completed the podium places with three thirds and a first place.

Outside the top three our furthest travelled visitor Swallow (John McRobert), together with Tuppence (Brian Corry), Toucan (Mike Vaughan) and Illegal (Phil Anderson) all showed form at various stages competing hard for 4th place.

Janice McCrudden’s recently acquired Bamboozled  (helmed by John Simms) stood out with an excellent performance  in race four when they lead round the first weather mark. Having been passed by Storm they held off the challenge of Upfront to score second place at the finish.

An excellent Class Dinner in Royal Ulster Yacht Club rounded off the day with nearly 50 competitors and guests enjoying superb food and the atmospheric surroundings of the Club house.

Day 2:

After a short period  drifting round Belfast Lough,  Race Officer Colin Loughead managed to get the fleet away first time for a 50 minute race in what turned out to be the last breeze of the day.

Conditions were fairly steady and the wind solid with Storm leading from start to finish followed home by Toucan and Illegal. In the dying breeze Tuppence came through in fourth place with Merlin (Angus McRobert) and Usain Boat (Richard Moore)  having their best results of the Championship in fifth & sixth.

Despite the best efforts of the Race Officer the breeze proved too variable and hard to find and the correct call was made to abandon race six.

In the end only three points separated the top three with Upfront (7 points) taking the Charles Hurst,  Jaguar Land Rover sponsored RS Elite Irish Championship from Storm (8 points) and Kin (9 points).

Toucan, Tuppence & Illegal all sailed very consistently with again only three points separating fourth to sixth place such is the competitive nature of the fleet.

An alfresco prize giving on the patio of Royal Ulster Yacht Club was enjoyed by competitors and club members alike with a display of Charles Hurst supplied Jaguar and Land Rover cars and  magnificent views of Belfast Lough the backdrop.

All eyes now turn to 2020 when Ballyronan Boat Club on Lough Neagh will be hosting the RS Elite Irish Championship for the first time.

1st Upfront 56 RNIYC Jeff Ralston,John Patterson & Robin Flannigan 2 1 1 3 -9 16 7
2nd Storm 37 RUYC & BYC Stephen Polly, John Gunning & David Kelso -3 3 3 1 1 11 8
3rd Kin 111 RNIYC Simon Brien, Jack Brien & Stephen Milne 1 2 2 4 -7 16 9
4th Toucan 64 RNIYC Mike Vaughan, Gavin Vaughan & TBC -7 7 4 5 2 25 18
5th Tuppence 19 SLYC Brian Corry, Karen Corry and Henry Greer 5 4 6 -7 4 26 19
6th Illegal 36 SLYC Philip, Clive Corry & Ben McKelvey 6 6 5 -10 3 30 20
7th Swallow 49 Ballyronan Boat Club John McRobert, Jonny McBride & Bill Fulton 4 5 9 8 -10 36 26
8th Bamboozled 17 SLYC John Simms, Janice McCrudden & Dave Anderson -12 8 8 2 11 41 29
9th Merlin 93 SLYC Angus McRobert, Keith Maxwell & Margie Crawford 8 -11 7 9 5 40 29
10th FullMarks 83 RNIYC Mark Brien, Mark Ennis & TBCMark Ennis & TBC -10 9 10 6 8 43 33
11th Usain Boat 82 RNIYC Richard Moore, Colman Byrnes & Gavin Briggs -11 10 11 11 6 49 38
12th b’Have 52 SLYC Mark Hunter. Dave Eccles & Rory Graham 9 (14.0 DNF) 14.0 DNS 14.0 DNS 14.0 DNF 65 51
13th Prodical 61 RNIYC Greg Bell, Sally Bell & Jony Millar (14.0 DNF) 14.0 DNS 14.0 DNS 14.0 DNS 14.0 DNS 70 56