Day 2 was a difficult day at the Optimist National Championships at Howth Yacht Club for all concerned with the vagaries of the Irish sailing conditions making it very challenging for both sailors and organisers alike.
Sailors were held ashore as an early gale warning had been issued, but was due to blow through. The fleets launched 2 hours later in a dropping breeze, which was shifting significantly across the race course. The junior fleet got away after a general recall, only for the race to be abandoned because of a massive shift before the leaders reached the first mark. This was followed by numerous failed attempts to start the junior fleet under U Flag, a few Black Flag starts and the jury boats encouraging sailors to remain behind the line. With no other options available to the race committee under the Sailing Instructions to get the fleets away, the difficult decision was taken to send the Junior Fleet ashore without a race.
Then it was the turn of the Senior Fleet…. At the second attempt the fleet got away cleanly. A quite significant shift on the first beat penalised a number of the boats, while other took advantage. George Pritchard from MBSC / RCYC sailed a flawless race to take the race from Stephen Momeier and Pearse Dowd from Team USA.
The fifth race in the senior race started then in a medium breeze. However as the fleet rounded the first mark, a torrential rain shower began which also brought extremely poor and disorienting visibility. The race committee took the only decision possible in the interests of safety to abandon the race and for safety boats to corral the fleet. The fleet was then sent home after a long day on the water, of course as the sun came out! A number of the higher-ranked Irish sailors will anxiously be hoping for at least nine races to be sailed in the event due to finish on Sunday, in order to access a second discard.
Meanwhile, the Regatta Fleet (coached racing) which was positioned off Claremont Beach sailed serenely on! This fleet has now completed 7 races, with results to be uploaded later.
The forecast for Saturday is promising steadier winds, which will hopefully facilitate some catching up of races not sailed today.
All results are available here