04 July 2016
The RS Elite Irish Nationals has just taken place Hosted this year by Carrickfergus Sailing Club. With frisky conditions and a lumpy sea, Royal North's Simon Brien Championship win was an impressive affair. Carrick ran a very impressive event, three races each day with race management by Ballyholme Robin Gray. Wind was strong on the Saturday with a lumpy sea. But Kin enjoyed a running battle with Foudafafa and Storm, finial taking the first race with Foudafafa 2nd and Storm 3rd, Races two and three were similar again Kin taking the podium however this time Storm falling into the second slot and Mike McIntire's Foudafafa third. Further down the fleet racing was tight with positions changing slightly on the previous race. With the races being turned round very quickly everyone was ashore by 3pm, this proved tricky for some as transport home wasn't until after the Class Dinner. The sun came out and drinks on the balcony came thick and fast. Carrick laid on a great meal and Marky Brien regaled us with his mandatory speech!!! A large Rib took the Royal North fleet crews across the lough at 9pm. At this point the smart play would have been to go home to the sofa, but no the bar was open and inviting. The boys staying on till closing time! On the Sunday the wind was a little lighter, for race four once again Kin lead the fleet followed by Foudafafa this time John McDowells Sea Breezes took third. Race 5 gave Foudafafa her first win followed by Storm, with Kin slipping into third and Jeff Ralstons Up Fronthaving a better day with a fourth. The last race again going to Kin, with local Carrick boat Ryan Wilsons Eclipse 2nd Foudafafa 3rd. Generally there was stiff competition from Stephen Polly, and Mark Brien (Brother of Simon) also Solent boat Mike McIntire (HISC), but Simon on board Kin (RNIYC) along with his daughter Tiffney and Oli Loughead had a very impressive 5 wins and one 3rdleaving Kin with a perfect score of 5 after discard. Hayling Island boat Foudafafahelmed by Mike McIntire taking 2nd overall, and Stephen Polly's Storm (RUYC) finished 3rd overall with John Gunning and David Kelso on board.Irish Elite Nationals was just a warm up for the Fleet as the attention turns this week to Strangford Lough were the UK Elite Nationals are being hosted. A strong English representation is expected and competition will be very stiff. For this Event Kin will be helmed by Tiff Brien who has narrowingly missed out on winning this event in the past, that said some of the Strangford Elites with local knowledge will not make it easy for her. Also Ryan Wilson on Eclipse could show good form at this Championship. Wind is expected to be lighter this week for the Nationals. That said all eyes will be on the top four boats at the Irish who in all likelihood will be among the leaders for the Strangford Nationals.