There is a new piece of Irish crystal in the Ida Lewis trophy case from Kinsale.
Led by skippers
John Burnham, Jeff Johnstone, and Charlie Shoemaker, Team Ida won the opening event of the 2008 Team Racing season besting the Kinsale Yacht Club seven to two over the weekend of May 10 and 11.
We were guests of the Kinsale Yacht Club and the local Dragon Fleet. The event was organized by chairman James Matthews with support from Kinsale Yacht Club Commodore Clem McElligott, Irish Sailing Association President Peter Crowley , PRO Alan Jacobie, and many, many members of the Kinsale fleet. We had a fantastic time and were well attended to by our gracious hosts. Let’s just say that the beer flows freely after sailing in Ireland.
The full Ida Team consisted of:
John Burnham, Steve Parks, Susan McCarthey
Jeff Johnstone, Ted Hood, Peter McCarthy
Charlie Shoemaker, Rob Connerney, Siebe Noordzy
Throughout the race we had a Kinsale YC representative on each boat.
The event started Friday evening with a friendly fleet race in Dragons. None of us had sailed Dragons before, and our hosts wanted to make sure we got a taste. We had six on the line with Ida and Kinsale team members distributed onto each boat. These boats are similar to Shields with a full keel, but they are complicated, with running backstays, chute launchers and lots of adjustments. I counted at least 35 cam cleats from my perch in the cockpit. Dr. Shoe won the only race. I was disappointed when we headed in as I brought up the rear with no chance for redemption. The evening continued with a reception at the Town Hall hosted by mayor Mary Evans where we enjoyed Kinsale Lager with the Kinsale YC team, and an auto club from Swansea Wales.
On Saturday and Sunday we team-raced in J-80s owned by the Irish Sailing Association. The boats are new and specially modified with no lifelines, and a custom extrusion installed at the gunwhale for extra protection. This was their second outing. All agreed that the boats were perfect for the event. We raced “white sails” only.
Thirteen races were scheduled so the first to get seven wins. Alan Jacobie and his race committee provided great sailing in outer Kinsale harbor. We sailed windward-leward courses with starboard roundings, and with a very large committee boat at the port end of the line (which made for some interesting maneuvers at times). Winds were light to moderate throughout the weekend, approaching 12 on Saturday Afternoon.
Saturday ended with 5 wins and 2 losses for Ida. Kinsale appeared to find their game at the end of the day, winning the last two races after some very close competition.
Sunday started slowly while we waited for a couple of hours for the wind to fill in. But once we started, we quickly captured the first two races to complete the series.
The last two races on Sunday were fleet races. We switched skippers and Parks, Connerney and Hood sailed to a 3 way tie for first.
In summary…..a fantastic weekend: great sailing, great parties, and great company. This was the second annual event, so next year it is our turn again. We look forward to the next engagement with our Irish friends.