Ciara Hackett on one of Mullingar Sailing Club’s rescue boats on Lough Owel during the recent Ó Tiarnaigh Cup competition.

Mullingar Sailing Club hosts Ó Tiarnaigh Cup

On the weekend spanning Saturday and Sunday September 25/26, Mullingar Sailing Club had the privilege of hosting the annual Ó Tiarnaigh Cup Challenge, despite such challenging times.

The Ó Tiarnaigh Challenge is an annual GP14 event, with a fleet of Irish GP14 sailors competing each year. This year, 19 boats took to the waters of Lough Owel, with a handful of our own Mullingar sailors competing. A committee boat and three rescue boats assisted with the races, and as always a huge thank you must be extended to our Officer of the Day, Mr Fred Tiernan.

The two-day challenge began on a very mild and sunny Saturday morning, with five short races. The Mullingar club also hosted barbecue on Saturday evening, under an outdoor marquee to comply with Covid-19 regulations.

The conditions on Saturday weren’t ideal for such skilled sailors, and the competitors went home on Saturday, hoping for stronger winds the following day.

Well, they might have hoped a bit too hard, as Sunday turned out to be an extremely challenging, rainy day, with winds gusting up to 33 knots or 38 miles per hour. These conditions were extremely demanding, even for the most expert of sailors, but most of the crews went out and braved the weather, completing three longer Olympic type races.

At the end of the day, Gerald Owens (helm) and Melanie Morris (crew) of Royal Saint George yacht club took the top spot in the gold fleet, William (helm) and Luke (crew) Johnson of Lough Foyle Yacht Club in the silver and Edward (helm) and Leon (crew) Coyne of Youghal Sailing Club in the bronze.

Once again congratulations to all those who participated, especially to sailors who came from all over Ireland. A huge thank you also to the Mullingar Sailing Club members who put a lot of hard work into organising such a well-run and well-thought-out event, especially under the present circumstances.