Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Irish J/24 Autumn Series Report

Irish J/24s sailing Lough Erne (Lough Erne, Ireland)- On the picturesque Gublusk Bay in Ireland, the Lough Erne YC provided a much sought respite from the work week, their highly-prized Autumn J/24 Series.  Sailing this fall were a record eleven J/24s.  Their first weekend saw sparkling SSE winds, 13 kts gusting to 25 kts, and plenty of sunshine!

Ireland’s oldest sailing sport club, LEYC has a continuous history of race management for a fleet of fast sailing boats from about 1820.  The early rules were a mix of nautical and horse racing rules with a start/finish line and a set course that all boats had to complete. Near 200 years later, the line set on Sunday 2 October by Michael Whaley off Joey and Caroline’s cottage on Inishdoney was right where it was in early 1820s.

Ireland’s J/24 fleet contains “thoroughbreds” and “cavalry war horses”. The first group includes the 2003 Italian-built JIGALO, used to win the 2005 and 2014 J/24 Worlds; the Italian-built JOTA, and two carefully Rogers-built J/24s, JELIGNITE and CRAZY HORSE. The cavalry group, most of the Autumn Series fleet, is all circa 1980 Westerly-built war horses- rough, sturdy but a bit heavy. For better or for worse, that differentiation often shows up in the results!

J/24s sailing Ireland lakesThe fleet went out to race on Sunday 2nd October in a brisk gusty SE breeze with some sunshine: sparkling conditions for four energetic exciting races on well-set fair courses set by Race Officer, Michael Whaley managing a keen skilled race team in RIBs laying race marks and other support boats. Course lengths and timing were very efficient. Four full length, tightly contested races were fitted neatly into four hours.

In the end, the thoroughbreds dominated.  After four races on October 2nd, three of them piled into the top of the leaderboard- Luke McBride’s JIGALO with a 2-3-1-1 for 7 pts, Finbarr Ryan’s JELIGNITE with a 1-1-2-5 for 9 pts and Gerry Gilligan’s JANA with a 3-2-3-2 for 10 pts.  The first Westerly warhorse was Mick Clarke’s JERIATRIX in 4th position with a 5-5-4-4 for 18 pts.  Another Westerly beast was standing in 5th place- John Buckley’s JOTA with a 6-4-6-3 for 19 pts.

Irish J/24s sailing fall series on Lough ErneOn the following Sunday, October 9th, Michael Whaley was Race Officer. With a skilled LEYC team he set and reset four good courses in very light and shifty winds: three races were shortened to one round; the fourth was full two rounds. A record 11 boats competed.  And, the standings shuffled substantially from the previous weekend. Winning the day was JAMAIS ENCORE with 7 pts, followed by JIGALO with 10 pts and JERIATRIX in third (top Westerly boat)!!

The final four races are planned for Saturday 15 October.  J/24 pictures are by Peter Scott. Stephen Carson provided the Committee Boat- without these race management volunteers we could not have such great sailing!  Our heartfelt “Thanks” goes out to them for their gracious contributions!   Find Lough Erne YC on Facebook   For more J/24 sailing info at Lough Erne Yacht Club