Racing began at midday on Saturday off the coast of North County Dublin. Clear skies and 10 knots of breeze made for ideal conditions on the race course.
Given the proximity to the European championships, to be held in the same venue next week, the Irish National Championships has a distinctly international feel. Sailors from as far afield as San Diego in the US, Denmark, Sweden, Italy and the UK are racing in the Irish Nationals as preparation for the European Championships next week.
Dennis CONNER (USA), one of the worlds best known and most successful sailors, is sailing on these shores for the first time. CONNER is one of the most successful Americas Cup helms ever, and a keen Etchell sailor. He went into the first day's racing as one of the strong favourites for overall victory.
Tight racing was the order of the day in a closely matched field. Nils RAZMILOVIC (GBR), of the Royal Sweden Yacht Club, is the clear leader overnight on nine points with Jarvis TILLY (GBR) from the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club in second, and Nils' brother Ante RAZMILOVIC (GBR) from the Royal Thames Yacht Club in third.
First Irish boat is Galert, sailed by Dan O'GRADY, Gerard BESHOFF and Ben O'DONOGHUE. They are lying sixth overall and only one place behind Dennis CONNER in fifth. The Galert crew won the second race after commiting to the right hand side on the first beat. They rounded the first mark second but an excellant downwind leg earned them the lead, which they maintained to the finish. One of the favoured Irish contenders , William LACY (IRL) didn't even get to start racing today, after another competing boat collided with them ten minutes before the first start, leaving a two foot hole in the bow and a damaged foredeck.