It was business as usual for John Maybury’s J/109 Joker II in this afternoon’s opening race of the 2019 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta (VDLR) on Dublin Bay. The quadruple class one national champion is top of the leaderboard in Ireland’s biggest sailing event after winning the opening race in an extremely competitive class one fleet.

A westerly gradient wind gave way to a light sea–breeze for the first races in a total schedule of 290 races in 34 classes by Sunday. 2,500 sailors are racing in the four-day regatta that has attracted sailors from across Ireland and the UK but also from Europe, America and Hong Kong.

A near record-breaking fleet of 498 boats took to the water this afternoon for 3 pm starts with some classes still racing after 6 pm.

A 26–boat class one – one of the most competitive of the regatta – had their first race abandoned as race officer Jack Roy was forced to call a halt in Classes Zero and One as the wind died away. When racing restarted it was from a new wind direction of 110–degrees in the south of the Bay and Maybury made sure to take an early advantage. 

The ICRA champion from the Royal Irish Yacht Club leads clubmate entry Tim Goodbody in second. Third is Howth J109 Storm (Pat Kelly). 

In Class Zero, the recently crowned Sovereign’s Cup champion in Kinsale, Eleuthera (Frank Whelan) also continues his winning form. The Greystones-based Grand Soleil 44 leads Royal Cork’s Ker 37 Jump Juice (Conor Phelan). Third is Jamie McWilliam’s Royal Hong Kong-flagged Signal 8, A Ker 40.

In Class three, Charlie McAllister’s, Starflash Quarter Tonner, Fait Accompli from Antrim leads a 17–boat fleet. World Youth bronze medalist Douglas Elmes is second in a Howth Yacht Club J24 Under–25 team. Third is Andy Dunn’s Isle of Man Quarter Tonner Tango.

In one of the biggest fleet of the One Design divisions, John O’Sullivan’s Rhubarb leads the Flying Fifteens after two races. O’Sullivan of the National Yacht Club scored a 1 and a 4 to lead club mate David Gorman but they are tied on points in the 24-boat fleet.

In the UK RS Elite’s Championships being staged as part of VDLR, Hayling Island’s Mike McIntyre leads from Strangford Lough’s Tuppence (Brian Corry).

Racing is being staged over six separate courses for a combined fleet of 498 boats, with over 230 visiting yachts from 70 different yacht clubs.

The 8th Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta is organised by Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club, National Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Royal St. George Yacht Club.

Results are provisional and subject to protest. Full results in all classes are available on www.dlregatta.org

Racing continues tomorrow (Friday).