IRL 176 leads the fleet in Kinsale.

After the cancellation of the 2020 Gold Cup scheduled in Kinsale (due to the pandemic) Ireland has seen a resurgence of the Dragon Class, with fleets gaining numbers in Glandore, Dublin and Kinsale. Despite clashing with the postponed UK Edinburgh Cup (which meant no GBR boats were present) 15 Irish teams made it to the starting line for the Irish National Championship, sponsored by O’Leary Life, reflecting the growing desire to get back on the water and continue building numbers as Kinsale look ahead to hosting the 2024 Gold Cup.

Local sailor James Matthews (IRL 219) took the opening race, with the Dublin team on IRL 176 (Neil Hegarty) winning race 2. However, it was the consistent sailing from Kinsale Yacht Club’s Cameron Good, Simon Furney & Henry Kingston (IRL 211) with two 2nd places who topped the leader board after day 1.

IRL 211 “Little Fella” leaders after day 1, but had to settle for 4th overall.

The second day was dominated by IRL 176 “Phantom” helmed by Neil Hegarty, crewed by Peter Bowring and David Williams from the Royal St George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. This experienced and extremely successful team were looking to add to their 8 National Titles and were most certainly on a roll with 3 straight wins.

Winners of races 2, 3 & 4.. IRL 176 “Phantom”.

On day 3 it was all change as a new team to the class sailing IRL 181 “Ghost” took race 5. Colm Dunne is a top sailor from the Squib Class and was crewed by Colm Daly & Dan McCloskey. It’s great to see another local team join the Dragon Class for tough competition on the water and quality social comradery ashore..  Winners of race 6 was another local team sailing IRL 180 “Serafina” helmed by Brian Goggin, crewed by Sean & Daniel Murphy and John Conner. This young and enthusiastic team, who are now racing 4 up, had a great time down in San Remo at the 90th Anniversary event and continue to go from strength to strength.

IRL 180 “Serafina” winners of race 6 and 3rd Overall.

On the last day, race 7, Neil Hegarty explained “Going into the final race we were 3 points ahead, with only ‘Serafina’ able to still win the event. Mathematically Brian and his team would have to win the race and hope we were worse than 4th. ‘Serafina’ were fast and put up a great fight, there were plenty of tussles as we held them up at the start and the first weather mark. In fact ‘Serafina’ had the combination needed to win for a time on the second upwind, but we managed to get close to them again on the second downwind leg which enabled us to hang onto 3rd place and take the Championship” In the end ‘Serafina finished 2nd in race 7 as Colm Dunne and crew in ‘Ghost’ won the race, which pushed them up to 2nd overall. This was a great achievement for this new team in the fleet!

2nd Overall IRL 181 “Ghost” Colm Dunne (left) Colm Daly (2nd from right) & Dan McCloskey (right).

So another National Title goes to IRL 176 “Phantom” making it 9 in total, a fantastic achievement, very well done to Neil, David and Peter…

Irish National Champions Neil Hegarty, Peter Bowring & David Williams (joined by Brian Goggin & Daniel Murphy & Girls, in centre).

Higher, Faster, Longer….   Stavros.