Captain of the three-boat squad, Anthony O'Leary (Antix, Ireland) celebrates dockside today with Marc Glimcher, Catapult (Ireland) Photo: Rick Tomlinson/RORC
After a week of light winds and a mix of inshore and offshore racing, Ireland’s team of three boats lifted the Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup on Saturday evening.
In a celebration to eclipse Ireland’s first major victory at Cowes in 2010, when the trophy was won first, a deafening rendition of the Fields of Athenry was delivered by the 40 or so sailors and shore-team in the grounds of the Royal Yacht Squadron. Perhaps it was compensation for missing the title defence in 2012 when the economic situation ruled out a viable team.
In a sign of the times, the team comprised just one Irish boat – team captain Anthony O’Leary’s Antix along with American Marc Glimcher’s Catapult and British yacht Quokka 8 chartered by Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling of the Royal Irish Yacht Club.
Ironically, both of the two other Irish 2010-winning team boats were competing this year under new ownership though with vastly different outcomes.
As in 2010, O’Leary spearheaded the campaign with support from the Irish Cruiser Racing Association and while flavoured with American, British and Dublin sailors, the Royal Cork YC impetus continued this year.
All three O’Leary siblings – Olympian Peter on Catapult, Robert on Antix and Nicholas on Quokka 8 – sailed under Baltimore Sailing Club’s ensign.
In spite of the four-year gap the series victory was dubbed by O’Leary as a delayed defence of the 2010 win but in any case it marks a significant waypoint in Irish sailing’s track-record in Cowes that includes Colm Barrington’s and Eamon Conneelly’s wins over the last decade and a half at Cowes Week and other championships.
During the week itself not one member of the Irish squad could admit the apparently obvious; the sporting psychology mantra of “one race at a time” doesn’t permit such distractions. Yet that mindset is evidence of the trickle-down effect from high-performance programmes as well as the involvement of professional sailors to club-level sailing. ICRA Commodore Norbert Reilly of Howth YC hoped that the win would encourage more boat-owners and crews to get involved and commit to future teams.
The Irish Cruiser Racing Association team, comprising the crews of Antix, Catapult and Quokka 8, winners of the Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup at Cowes. Photograph: David Branigan/Oceansport
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