J24 National Championships 2021 – Sligo Yacht Club
by Oisín Brennan
Twenty six boats were officially entered in the 2021 J24 National Championships which took place last weekend at Sligo Yacht Club. By the Friday morning 24 made it to the starting line with two boats having to withdraw through circumstances beyond their control.
Friday 6th of August:
With a heavy forecast looming, the competition was always under threat but all competing boats made it out to begin racing. Four races were planned with the wind steady around 15 knots and gusting 16 but continually dying off as the day went on. By the time the first race was underway the wind had dropped down to a much more manageable 8-10 knots gusting closer to 12.
The first race began with the usual chaos at the start line but no recalls. 2019 National Champions Headcase started the defence of their title well with a first with Tadgh O’Loinsigh’s Janx Spirit from Tralee Bay Sailing Club in second and JP McCaldin’s Il Ricco from Lough Erne Yacht Club finishing in third. The second race introduced the first recalls of the event with Jobs for the Buoys and Jevan being called back. Again Headcase took the race with Il Ricco in second and Stouche claiming third. With the wind dropping again, Stouche were one of a few boats hoping for an increase to climb further up the podium. A general recall split the fleet with some boats benefitting and others missing out on impressive starts. Even with what they considered less favourable conditions, Stouche continued their run of improving results and finished second overall once again behind Headcase. Il Ricco followed up third matching their result from the first race. The final race started with no recalls and promised to be a perfect ending to a great day of racing but huge wind shifts saw the final upwind leg become a tight reach. Headcase were not put off by this shift and finished out with four bullets. Just for fun of Sligo Yacht Club finished with their best result of the competition in second and Hard on port taking a third place finish.
Saturday 7th of August:
The day began with a two hour postponement and a general acceptance that it would be followed by a further delay. As expected there was two more official delays eventually culminating in a cancellation for the day. There was clear frustration in the fleet with a number of boats relying on the discard to improve their result. There wasn’t long to be disappointed with the much anticipated dinner later that night. The evening dinner was a memorable occasion and a fantastic night was had by all.
Sunday 8th of August:
A cancellation for the day was quickly called on the Sunday with the expected heavy forecast. With no discard, results remained the same from Friday with Headcase winning both the Ladies Cup and the 2021 J24 National Championship. Il Ricco finished second and Jana following up in third.
Seven under 25 teams were entered in this year’s National Championships with six taking part, each funded by the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) development programme. Killcullen, helmed by David Johnston from Howth Yacht Club, are the J24 U25 National Champions, Jasper 2 from Foynes Yacht Club were second and Just a Minute from Greystones Sailling Club in third. Killcullen also finished top of Silver Fleet.
Darkside, helmed by twenty year old Oisín Brennan of Sligo Yacht Club, sailing with a crew of family and friends ranging in age from fifteen to sixty-seven and all new to competitive sailing, finished first in the Bronze Fleet.
First in the Westerly Fleet was Conor Haughton’s Jade from Wicklow Sailing Club.
Full results available: https://j24ireland.ie/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/J24-Results-2021.pdf
Photos to follow shortly.
J24 National Champions – Headcase (L-R) Cillian Dickson, Sam O’Bryne, Louis Molloy, Marcus Ryan, Ryan Glynn.
Under 25 National Champions – Kilcullen(L-R) Sam Crawford, William Lacy, Dave Johnston, Jack McMahon, Philip McDowell, Ken Draper (Commodore, Sligo Yacht Club).