Results in the balance in all classes going into the final day at the O'Leary Insurance Group Sovereign's Cup at Kinsale
Tiny points margins for the leaders across all classes mean the final races at the O'Leary Insurance Group Sovereign's Cup at Kinsale will be closely contested. After the event started in lights airs on Wednesday, fresh and gusty conditions are forecast to finish off the series on Saturday.
Of all the classes racing, White Sails 2 has the closest result where three boats are level on points though Saturday's result under ECHO handicap could yet throw the contest between Howth Yacht Club's Sapphire and Kinsale YC entries Privateer and Gunsmoke 2 into further disarray.
However, in the contest for the overall Sovereign's Cup trophy to be awarded under the IRC system, attention is likely to centre on the Coastal and Division 1 fleets where the largest numbers of boats have gathered.
Friday saw a change in conditions with the arrival of fresh northerly winds that gusted up to 20 knots at times during the day.
The added wind allowed the Coastal fleet to sail an extra leg into Kinsale Harbour before a 30 nautical-mile course that repeated Thursday's race, out past the Old Head of Kinsale to the Black Tom navigational mark in Courtmacsherry Bay, back to the Sovereigns mark, out to South mark and then home.
Denis and Annamarie Murphys' Grand Soliel 40 Nieulargo won the race for the day while a second place for Rob Rendell's Samatom brought the Howth boat to one point behind overall class leader Conor Phelan on Jump Juice at the front.
Meanwhile, in Division 1 where 14 boats are competing, Mike and Ritchie Evans' J99 Snapshot from Howth continues to hold off a raft of J109's after a fifth and first place for the day. However, Richard Colwell and John Murphys' Outrajeous had the better day with a second and race win so closed the gap on the class leader to just three points with two races remaining.
"We'll have our work cut out as it'll be windy and we're still getting to know the boat," commented Mike Evans of Snapshot. "We're very pleased we the performance of the boat - windier doesn't bother us, it might even help us."
As continuing battles within the two smallest fleets in the event continue as they have done all week as David Kelly's King One from Howth still holds a one point lead over Crosshaven's Kieran Collins' Coracle VI in Class 3. The Royal Cork battle for supremacy of Class 3 sees David Lane's Ya Gotta Wanna overtaken by Supernova owned by Dave O'Regan with Denise Phelan and Tony Donworth.
Even stronger winds are expected for Saturday's regatta finale that will round off a complete test across the full range of conditions.