The wind increased enough yesterday to run three races at the Laser Radial Europeans in Ballyholme
What started as a light breeze built only a little during the day, but enough to get another three races on the score board, allowing the Laser Radial European Championship organisers at Ballyholme Yacht Club breathing space after two days of almost non-existent airs.
After four races Benoit Raphalen from Nantes in France leads with 14 points. He gained a 2, 4, and 7 today and is 6 points ahead of Stephen Cockerill (GBR). Stephen’s best score was a 3rd in Race 4. Another GBR sailor, Keir Clarke, who learned to sail in Northern Ireland, lies third with two reassuring first places. He is on 26 points.
Race Officer Alan Crosbie from Cork got the first race away in just 5 knots of wind after a postponement, and with a well behaved fleet, managed to start all three without recall. In the difficult conditions black flag use seemed to keep the sailors in order.
Tying on points with Clarke and in fourth slot lies Steven Le Fevre (Netherlands) who also clocked up a first in his fleet in Race 4, and Jure Zbogar from Slovenia, who bettered his second place yesterday with a first today. (Wed).
Twenty-year-old Paul McMahon who counts two fourths and an eighth holds the best Irish position.
But the mover and shaker yesterday was another Irish sailor, George Kingston from Royal Cork. George was black-flagged the previous day and after finishing second and eighth in Races 2 and 3 yesterday, got fired up and won Race 4 in the yellow fleet. Provided he can hold his form, George looks a serious prize contender. He said: “I reckoned after two races and three hours on the water, there’d be a lot of tired people, so I just got fired up and went for it to make up for the black flag.” He recovered from a poor start and finally passed the Turkish Sevinic on the last downwind leg to take the lead and finish first in the last race of the day.
Among the other fleet winners were Karol Rosner (Poland) Alexey Selivanov (Russia), Mehmet Sevinc and Onur Derebasi (Turkey), Sean Evans (GBR) and Andrea Airo of Italy.
After today’s racing the fleet will be split into Gold, Silver and Bronze divisions with the final race scheduled for Saturday.