The biennial Dun Laoghaire Regatta is the Irish Sea’s biggest sailing event. This year saw nearly 400 boats, many from the UK, and thousands of sailors.
The OK Dinghy was racing in the PY fleet, mostly against Lasers.
Four days of intense racing with winds between 5 and 12 knots saw the OK Dinghy finish 1 point away from victory, barely but cleanly beaten by Frank Devlin in a Laser.
Frank, a member of the provincial youth Laser squad, put on a demonstration of dinghy sailing technique over the first two days and took 4 wins in the 5 races. Only Neil O’Toole took a race win from “The Kid” over these first two days. However, these senior sailors have been around the block and weren’t slow to learn new tricks. The next two days were full of excitement.
Saturday morning saw the OK Dinghy start the fightback with a horizon job in the first race. Banging the right corner out of the tide gave the OK an advantage it held to the finish, with Devlin finishing 3rd behind erstwhile Enterprise, Flying Fifteen and SB3 maestro Sean Craig.
The 2nd race on Saturday saw tight racing around the whole course, ending in a dead heat on corrected time – Sheehy and Devlin each collecting 1.5 points for the race.
The third race was a key point in the series. Neil O’Toole led the Lasers home, with Craig 2nd and Sheehy’s OK in 3rd. Devlin had a shocker and even his speed could only get him back to 8th place in tight tactical racing. The old men weren’t dead yet!
Sunday dawned with light winds, forecast to increase. While it was still theoretically possible for Sheehy’s OK Dinghy to take the series, it needed two wins and Devlin to pick up 4ths. Both seemed unlikely.
The first race saw Sheehy’s OK Dinghy leading to the first mark, with a switch to the left half way up the first beat proving that more wind beats less tide. Craig was next in an epic tussle with Devlin, with O’Leary, O’Toole and Keane in close pursuit. Craig and Devlin snuck past the OK Dinghy at the top of the 2nd beat with Devlin eventually edging past Craig on the last run. The OK Dinghy hung on across the reach and down the run to finish only 20 seconds behind Devlin and taking the win on corrected time.
That locked up the event. Devlin now couldn’t be beaten for the win, with Sheehy’s OK solid in 2nd and O’Leary locked into 3rd. Still, without coaches on the water no-one was quite sure of the numbers so no-one was relaxing!
The final race was a beautiful end for the whole series. A tight bunch of boats sailed around the whole course in solid breeze and building chop. Seven boats finished within 22 seconds at the end. The OK Dinghy took the race win by 2 seconds on corrected time from the resurgent Paul Keane. Keane, dominant in recent club racing, had seemed off form in the event but led the Lasers home in style in the last race.
The final result saw Devlin winner by a point from Sheehy’s OK Dinghy. O’Leary’s consistent series saw him in 3rd with O’Toole 4th and Keane 5th.
Results are here.