The ITRA Team Racing Championships 2013 Report

The results of the 2013 Irish Team Racing Association Irish Team Racing Nationals could inspire a strange feeling of déjà vu. Yet again the final was sailed between visitors Wessex Exempt and local team the George Knights. Once again, Wessex Exempt, this year's Wilson Trophy winners, emerged as overall winners, with the George Knights as Irish Champions.

20 teams entered this year’s competition, with 4 teams travelling from the UK. Following a first round, teams were split into Gold and Silver groups for the second round. As dusk fell on Saturday evening it was clear that Wessex Exempt and the George Knights were facing a challenge from the other R.St.G.Y.C. team Spindoctors, and from a new team Southern Discomfort.

One remarkable first round result was that the Knights (essentially the UCD 2009 team) were beaten by UCD 2013. Hopefully this year’s team will still be sailing together in 2027.

After dinner in the impressive surroundings of the main club dining room competitors faced a different challenge as they struggled with the intricacies of one-off yacht construction in preparation for a closely fought gutter sailing event. The knock-out final was won by SB20 Master’s World Champion Peter Lee representing the combined wisdom of the race officials and umpires!

Several teams failed to realise that the proposed 9.30 start on Sunday morning meant just that. With racing starting on time the second round was completed by mid-morning, just as the wind faded away altogether. The third round was reluctantly abandoned, and as the wind came in from the south the competition moved to the knock-out stage.

Both Wessex Exempt and the Knights won their semi-finals 2-0. The final was decided on the finish line of the deciding third race, as a Knights boat took a penalty for hitting the finish mark. In the petit-final  Spindoctors beat Southern Discomfort 2-0 to take third place.

Medals were presented by the Commodore Liam O’Rourke and by Vincent Delaney, member of the R.St.G.Y.C. Team that won the Wilson Trophy in 1973. Vincent was umpiring this year.

The race team of  Richard Bruton, Peter Bayly and Mark Henderson ran the event smoothly and, to the surprise of some, punctually. The team of 12 umpires, including visitors from the UK and Germany maintained rule observance both accurately and diplomatically. A special mention should be made of the contribution of John Sheehy to the success of this event. Not only did he manage the R.St.G.Y.C.’s organisation of the Championship, but he was also a member of the Knights team.

The 2014 edition of the Irish Team racing Championships will be sailed in Schull on 8th – 9th November next year.