Hoj Jensen wins the Irish Nationals 2 Aug 2012
Twenty three International Dragons completed a seven race series for the 2012 Brewin Dolphin Irish National Dragon Championship hosted by the Royal St George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire (Dunleary). Representing the RCYC, was Quicksilver V helmed by Rob Campbell with crew Mike Holmes and Richard Franklin. Danish Blue was entered under the RYS burgee with RCYC members Poul Hoj Jensen and Noddy joined by Dirk Oldenburg from Germany.
Competition for the Irish National title is always intense and this year was no different. Racing was in predominately unstable westerly breezes that varied in strength throughout the event. Quicksilver V got off to a great start, picking the best route up the first beat to windward of Race One, and leading around all subsequent marks until they found themselves on the wrong side of a shift at the beginning of the final leg and finished 7th. After a bad first beat, Danish Blue made gains on each leg until capitalising on the last leg wind shift to finish 3rd.
A pattern developed in the next five races over two days. First to the windward mark in Races 2-6 was Danish Blue, however, such was the quality in the fleet and size of the shifts, it was only in Race Six that this lead could be converted into a race win. Race Six saw the biggest breeze of the week and Poul is not often bettered in these conditions.
In Quicksilver V, Rob and Mike (maybe for the first time ever) had a shared interest in each other performing well having put years of rivalry aside to race together. Even so, with Mike sitting in the wet seat at the front, Rob probably sailed with a smile!
The Irish challenge came from 2012 Edinburgh Cup Champion Simon Brien in KIN and 2011 Irish Champion and RSGYC Commodore Martin Byrne in Jaguar. Despite Brien’s consistency picking up a 3rd, three 4ths and a 5th he could only manage 4th overall, while Byrne’s challenge faded with two results in the teens coming a day after two race wins. This allowed the fleet’s other RYS boat, Dark and Stormy (Christopher ‘Buddha’ Hunt), winners of races 1 and 7, up into 3rd overall and Martin ‘Stavros’ Payne helming Bear earned 2nd overall.
Poul was described on the Irish Dragon website as sailing with ‘consistent brilliance’ to win the event with a race to spare. Noddy was allowed out for the night (the less said about that the better) and the Danish Blue team spent Sunday packing up while others sought final glory in Race Seven. Rob finished on a high with a 2nd place.
Events in Ireland require two distinct types of stamina; one type for the racecourse and the other for the aprè-sail. The organisation on both counts was fantastic and big thanks go to the organisers, sponsors and hosts.