Sweetman / Lynch take 420 Ulster Championship at Lough Ree Yacht Club
4/5 November 2023
Navigating November weather can be a stern test for regional championship events, yet the 420 fleet, returned to Lough Ree Yacht Club for the second consecutive weekend where they were met with ideal 420 sailing conditions. With fifteen boats competing in what was traditionally a poorly attended end of season event, the 420 fleet is showing a resurgence of interest.
Lough Ree also hosted the 420 fleet over the previous bank holiday week for their annual late autumn three-day intensive training camp meticulously overseen by Graeme Grant and supported by Cara McDowell and a team of experienced 420 coaches. The forty-two participating sailors had the opportunity to perfect their processes and chart a winter training and boat work plan with the coaches.
During the intervening week, the initial weather forecast was ominous but thankfully Lough Ree was spared Storm Ciaran. As the sailors gathered on Saturday morning, they were met with a dead north wind and waves coursing down Lough Ree. These conditions led to competitive races and a fair share of capsizes for the silver fleet in the squalls. Race officer Garrett Leech organized three races on an Olympic triangle course, with Cora McNaughton (BSC) and Sean Cronin (MYC) leading with two race wins over Sean Lemonnier and Killian Mathieu (GBSC) at the end of racing on Saturday.
Sunday brought steadier winds, calmer waters, sunshine, and showers. After three more races, Waterford Harbour duo of Max Sweetman and Fionn Lynch moved from third place overnight taking three bullets to win Gold Fleet and the new Ulster Bowl Trophy. Cora McNaughton (Blessington Sailing Club) and Sean Cronin (Malahide Yacht Club) took second place, and Sean Lemonier and Killian Mathieu (Galway Bay Sailing Club) finished third.
The Silver Fleet category was a hotly contested affair between the eleven boats and the new Royal Cork YC pairing of Isha Duggan and Tommy Hiras holding off Galway Bay SC Eoin Morrin and Owen Cosgrave by two points overnight but pulling clear on Sunday with two fourths to take the Silver Fleet Bowl. Kinsale YC / Royal Cork YCs Caoimhe Corkery and Lucy Moynan were second, and Eoin Morrin and Owen Cosgrave took the third spot.
Lough Ree Yacht Club were superb hosts sincere thanks to the volunteers on and off the water.
It was great to witness an influx of new sailors joining the fleet and coaching and racing is underway for all the 420 regions throughout the country for the winter season. To echo the words of Seamus Heaney “If we winter this one out, we can summer anywhere.” Exciting times for the 420 fleet in the season ahead.
The next event on the 420 Calendar is the Munster Championships with training at Kinsale Yacht Club during the February Mid Term school holiday.
Sailwave results link: Sailwave results for 420 Ulster Championship 2023 at LRYC 2023