(L - R)
Standing: Alan Ruigrok, Conor Murphy, Scott Flanigan, Diana Kissane,
Andrew Tyrell, Daz O'Reilly (coach), Ali Dix and Tim O'Laoire
Kneeling: Alexander Rumball, Oliver Keenan and Padraig Finnegan
62 Optimists gathered at Dromineer on Friday, April 21st, for the first leg of the Trials to pick the members of the Irish teams to compete in the World and European Championships later this year. The 18 race series is being sailed over two 3 day weekends, the first at Lough Derg YC and the second at Skerries SC. HYC is well represented with 10 entries and the Club appointed coach Daz O'Reilly to brief them ashore and advise between races.
The weather provided a range of conditions on Lough Derg.
There were three races on Friday in a light, shifting breeze and short chop. The light weather experts were consistently at the front and many of the pre-event favourites saw their thunder stolen by up and coming sailors who have benefited from Winter coaching.
Saturday produced a gusty force four and a steep chop and Race Officer Martin Byrne gave the competitors full value by getting through four testing races. The lighter and less experienced sailors found the conditions and the long courses hard work but HYC's Tim O'Laoire took full advantage and won two races.
Sunday saw a return to a light breeze, but with flatter water than on Friday. The Race Officer had adopted a 'no-nonsense' policy of using the Black Flag on all starts and HYC's Diana Kissane, current National Champion, was disappointed to find her number on the board after the first starting sequence. Diana bounced back in the second race of the day to secure a 3rd place, just behind Tim in 2nd place. After that, proceedings were drawn to a close to allow the Munster and Leinster supporters head ashore to the big screen in the clubhouse
Undoubted star of the weekend was eleven year old Jamie Aplin (RStGYC) who is including four 1sts, two 3rds and a 7th in his score to date and has an 18 point lead over second placed Ross Vaughan. Despite the varied conditions and the Black Flag dsq, 5th placed Diana Kissane finished the weekend as best HYC boat, including a 3rd, three 4ths and a 6th amongst her results. Tim O'Laoire in 8th is second HYC boat, with Andrew Tyrell next in 13th place.
The second leg of the Trials will be sailed next weekend in Skerries. Spring tides are scheduled and the light and heavy weather specialists will have an anxious week studying the weather forecasts. With nine races still to go, and Skerries always having the potential to produce challenging conditions, nobody's position is yet secure and competition for selection to the teams will be fought to the last race on the May Bank Holiday Monday.
For full results see www.IODAI.COM/live/results