The opening day of the Subaru Flying Fifteen World Championship gave the Irish team a mixture of joy and despondency as National Yacht Club helm Gerry DONLEAVY finished in third place of the 77 boat fleet.
But, national champions John LAVERY and David O'BRIEN were disqualified for being over the start line.
The race was won by British helm Mike HART with Australian Ashley SMITH guiding his boat to the runner up spot in this first of seven races.
For Donnybrook based DONLEAVY, the result equals his best ever placing in a world championship race:" I am delighted with the result. I got away fairly cleanly and held third place at the first mark".
He then proceeded to hold off the best of the best - reigning world champion Steve GOACHER - to take a memorable third place.
With no less than four Irish boats in the top ten the local crews are 100% confident that they can improve on the best ever Irish finish in a world championship - ninth by Donleavy in 1988. The best Irish crew will be awarded the magnificent Waterford Glass Subaru Trophy.
Bryan WILLIS from Carrickfergus finished in seventh yesterday - with Ian MATTHEWS and Ben MULLIGAN (NYC) in eighth and Justin BURKE and Alan GREEN (Dublin) in tenth.
After all 77 boats were hauled out of the water the race winner headed straight to the bar to celebrate: "I'm absolutely thrilled with this win. I'm sailing a borrowed boat - I even have a borrowed crew - so I am much further up than I expected"
. Hart teaches sailing at the Royal Hospital school in Ipswich and has finished second and third in two previous world championships.
For Donleavy and his crew Ciaran CRUMMEY the result was a matter of using their local knowledge to their best advantage. "It was a typical Dublin Bay sailing day. The weather was beautiful - and the winds were light. There was one big wind shift - but other than that it was just a matter of concentration."
Yesterday's race is the first of seven - one per day until Saturday - and one discard will come into play. So all is by no means lost for two crack Irish crews who had a disappointing opening race. Sean CRAIG and Stephen BOYLE finished 25 while Irish national F15 champions, John LAVERY and David O'BRIEN, were judged to have been over the line at the start and hence face disqualification. But the discard system means they can bounce back and still be in the shakeout for the World Championship and the Subaru Trophy.
Top Ten After 1 Race
||Mike HART, Richard RIGG
||Ashley SMITH, Kym THUMPKIN
||Gerry DONLEAVY, Ciaran CRUMMEY
||Steve GOACHER, Phil EVANS
||A TATTERSALL, T SMART
||Charles APTHORP, David APTHORP
||Grant ALDERSON, Dean MCAULEY
||Andrew MCCLEERY, Colin DOUGAN
||Ian MATTHEWS, Ben MULLIGAN
||Justin BURKE, Alan GREENE