Large fleet of J/24s enjoy Eastern Championships in Howth
01 September 2021
After a quick turnaround from a wet and wild Nationals in Sligo YC, 18 J24s descended on Howth Yacht Club for the WaterWipes® J24 Eastern Championship last weekend. With plenty of both new and old faces, including a first J24 event for both Rush SC and Malahide YC’s K25 teams, the chance at some practice at the venue of the 2022 J24 European Championship proved very attractive.
Forecast for Saturday was threatening to pose a problem with very little wind due, however veteran J24 Race Officer Derek Bothwell insisted the fleet make its way out to the race area. This decision proved fruitful as after a short postponement, the first race was under way. With about 6-7 knots of breeze and a strong flood tide to fight, crossing the start line proved quite difficult to most boats, however following on from their National Championship success, Headcase showed the fleet why they will be the boat to beat with an impressive first race win. Jana helmed by Colm O’Flaherty of Sligo YC claimed second with Mark Ussher and Jumpin Jive in 3rd.
Headcase weren't going to have it all their own way this weekend with J24 stalwart Flor O’Driscoll nabbing a bullet in Race 2, with Headcase 2nd and Jumpin Jive 3rd. Race 3 saw K25 National Champions Kilcullen from Howth YC round the windward mark in 1st after an impressive first beat. However, inexperience showed as they would have to settle for a 6th, with Headcase taking another race win, Jana 2nd, and JP McCaldin of Il Riccio 3rd. The final race of this glorious sunny day had it all, plenty of position changes at the front with some impressive downwind duels to boot. In the end Jana came out victorious edging out Headcase across the line, with Flor and Hard on Port occupying 3rd just behind.
Saturday evening provided a variety of entertainment with the usual après sail socialising in the club followed by a championship dinner which was enjoyed by all. With only 1 point separating the top 2 boats, it was still all to play for on Sunday.
A less desirable wet morning didn't deter some tired heads making it out to the race area for the final 2 races of the championship. With slightly more wind coming from the North East, race 5 got underway following one recall, with 2 boats succumbing to the U flag rule. Headcase put in another strong performance to claim line honours with JP’s Il Riccio in 2nd and Jana 3rd. The final race of this year’s Eastern Championship again went to Headcase helmed by Cillian Dickson with Flor in 3rd. Special mention to Janx Spirit of Tralee Bay SC who have been proving why they are one to watch this year with a 2nd place to cap off a great series.
Headcase were the overall winners of the weekend with Jana picking up 2nd place followed by Flor and Hard on Port in 3rd. LSYC’s Crazy Horse helmed by Luke McBride claimed 1st Silver Fleet. Howth YCs Kilcullen claimed top U25 boat. A special presentation of the Traveller Series trophy for 2019 was presented to JP McCaldin for the 2019 season. A special thanks to WaterWipes® the world’s purest wipes for the sponsorship to run the event.
Report by David Johnston - Top Photo Annraoi Blaney