Following on from their successful Team Racing varsities, Dublin University Sailing Club recently competed at the Irish Match Racing National Championships, taking place on the weekend of the 19th and 20th of March. The event, the rescheduled 2015 nationals, was run in Dun Laoghaire harbour, with the Royal Irish Yacht Club hosting.
Trinity’s team of Gleb Romantchik, Conor Totterdell, Jack Kennedy, Charlotte Bowen and Chris Phelan, joined CIT and UCD in representing college sailing, racing against some long-established match racing crews. The newly formed team, unfamiliar with the boats, trained intensely for the week preceding the event. Lacking competitive match racing experience, the team went into the event with a ‘nothing to lose’ attitude facing international racers such as Diana Kissane and Philip Bendon. The team gave Kissane and eventual winner Ryan Scott’s team a run for their money in their first two races. With confidence growing throughout the day the team faced Ireland’s #1 ranked match racer, Philip Bendon. Winning the pre-start, the team fell behind but made Bendon fight hard to protect his marginal lead.
Trinity then faced their Dublin rivals UCD, skippered by Philip Doran. Overcoming a technical difficulty in the pre-start the team established a commanding lead over UCD, eventually being overtaken at 50m to the finish line in a neck-on-neck downwind battle. Due to very light wind the next day the event went straight to semi-finals, with Howth’s Ryan Scott and his K25 team coming out on top to win the overall event.
At a competitors’ meeting after the event, the future of match racing in Ireland was discussed with plans drawn up for regional events in Dun Laoghaire, Cork, Sligo and Howth as well as the introduction of match racing clinics. An IUSA event is planned to take place in September/October, around the same time when the 2016 Nationals will be held.
This event was the first of DUSC’s recently relaunched keelboat section, something that the club will look to build on and improve for the coming season, with plans for regular keelboat training and events well underway.
Words: Gleb Romantchik