Howth Yacht Club hosted the Irish National Championships this weekend, the 6th and 7th October. Here is the report from Irish Fleet Captain, Andrew Craig:
The Irish J/109 fleet finished off their One Design season with the National Championships sailed at Howth Yacht Club over the weekend of 6/7 October. It was a six race series of windward leeward courses set by International Race Officer David Lovegrove in winds ranging from 15 to 26 knots.
All the top boats from the Irish fleet were present and this made for very competitive and tight racing. Every slip was punished and the boats that recovered best came through a very tough series.
Saturday was sailed in 15 to 20 knots and most of the fleet settled for a J2 and A2 spi. At the start of the day base settings seemed to be the order of the day, V1 at 55, D1 at 45, D2 at 25 and as the wind increased some elected to put 3 turns on the forestay. There was nothing to separate the first 5 or 6 finishers in each race and a number of races had 3 or 4 possible winners approaching the last leeward gate notwithstanding the fresh conditions. Saturday saw 3 different race winners, Juggerknot, defending champion Storm and White Mischief.
North Sails videod the racing on Saturday and Prof O’Connell and Nigel Young debriefed the fleet – no boat could hide their mistakes from the video or Prof and Nigel! This was the third event at which we had North videoing on the water and the fleet gets huge benefit from it. The common themes were sail trim and being overpowered, late drops at the leeward gates and not enough hiking which Prof calls “free speed”.
The fleet enjoyed a craft beer reception by Porterhouse and Capitalflow provided a meal for the fleet after the debrief and this was followed by a Leinster vs Munster Rugby Pro 14 Derby match on the big screens.
Sunday had a much more robust forecast with gusts of 25/27 knots expected. Rigs were tightened – more turns on the forestay and another turn or 2 on the D1s. The first race started in 15 / 18 knots and most opted for J2 jibs. There was a big scramble after the first race as most of the fleet changed to J3 and some used their A4 spis. Boat handling was impressive and spis were dropped early at the gates and nice 11 knot surges were common on the downwinds. The first race saw another winner, Joker 11, the winner of the last 3 ICRA Championships while Storm had another win in race 5. It all came down to the last race with Juggerknot on 10, White Mischief on 11 and Storm on 12. The racing was very tight as the 3 battled it out and even at the last leeward gate the title was not decided. In the end Juggerknot just held off White Mischief with Storm 3rd and that is also how the overall results ended up.
So Andrew Algeo and Juggerknot capped off a fantastic season having already won the J/109 East Coast Championship and the Wave IRC Regatta. They overcame the holders, the Kelly family, in Storm in their home waters as well as Tim and Richard Goodbody in White Mischief who swept the boards in Dublin Bay in 2018. Fittingly, the 3 top boats of 2018 filled the podium for the Irish Championship.
The daily prize givings included individual race winner prizes provided by North Sail and UK Sails. No boat could win more than one race prize, so the race prizes pass down the fleet and spot prizes were also presented. Some of the reasons for the awards will stay within the fleet! There were prizes for the top five overall and Kraken Rum also presented prizes for those who finished outside the top 5.
See the Afloat report and full results and lots more photos here: https://afloat.ie/sail/sailing-classes/j109/item/40801-algeo-s-juggerknot-wins-j109-national-championships-at-howth-yacht-club
Andrew Craig – Irish Fleet Captain