Three in a Row for J109 Storm as Bangor Regatta 2024 Sees Thrilling Finish in Unpredictable Weather

Posted: 1/7/2024

In like a lion and out like a lamb is said to mean that the month of March should end with quiet weather compared to a lion. But this is June, and the Belfast Lough weather hasn't reached the lamb stage yet. With not much more than 15 knots of a breeze from the North at times, light weather aficionados would have liked today's racing in the final rounds of Bangor Regatta 2024, though flukey and with severe wind shifts.

Kevin Byers (left) and the crew of Signet were overall winners of Bangor Regatta 2024 on Belfast Lough

It was a sheduled early start for the final day of the regatta today (Sunday) making up somewhat for the loss of a half day yesterday but the start was postponed due to the light conditions.

Results overnight were always going to prove interesting, and none more so than in Class 6 YTC, where Bell - Lawther - Bell trio's Oceanis 36 Merry Jack was tied with Signet, Kevin Byers' Sigma 33, on three points at the top of the table. But after the final race, which clinched the title for Signet, the runner-up, another Sigma 33 Elandra of Down (Martin Dews) upset the apple cart, relegating Merry Jack to third overall.

In IRC 2, the Kelly family's J109, which won the overall prize in 2022, held the top slot. John Minnis's A 35 Final Call II finished second overall after the tie with Mockin J (Ben and Jono Shelley) was split in Final Call's favour. Today's winner was John Stanley—Whyte's Blue J, another J109.

In IRC Class 3, the consistent James Miller's Sigma 33 Mayrise from Helensburgh was top of the board, with the local Aidan Pounder in the Beneteau 31.7 Caesium second.

James Miller (with trophy) and the crew of Mayrise were winners of Bangor Regatta 2024 in IRC Class 3 

Today's winner of Race 6 was another boat new to Belfast Lough: Jim Coffey of RUYC and Ballyholme YC in the Impala Menace.

Gamechanger Shaun Douglas's Beneteau 40.7 maintained their top slot in IRC Class 5 and YTC Class 5, with Murray Findlay's X4.3 Xaviera just two points behind in the runner-up slot in both classes.
The overall Bangor Regatta prize went to the Sigma 33 Signet and Kevin Byers and crew, and the award for the farther travelled entry was Murray Findlay and Xaviera, which he bought in Denmark and sailed to Scotland and then to Bangor.

Ronan Kelly of Storm was delighted with how the event went: "Bangor Regatta 2024, what a fantastic 4-day event! Storm were Class 2 winners, and I believe that’s three in a row for us, but we have to say it was not easy. The competition from all local and RC35 Boats from Scotland was very strong, and one mistake and you were punished hard. From Thursday's heavy day with the Windex hitting 36knots, we hoped we did not have to run for cover, but the lads all over the boat were just awesome for the four days and with some very bruised and battered bodies but worth it. The race committee were exceptional with eight races completed over the four days in typical Irish weather from heavy to light. Well done to the race committee and onshore team management. RUYC, we have to say, put on a brilliant show again, and the apres sail was brilliant with much craic, music and food every night to make the event such a big success." From all on Storm - Pat, David, Ronan, Paddy, Ciaran, Aisling Kelly, Rob O’Leary, Kevin Sheridan, Johnny Swan and Cian Hickey. Well done, lads and thank you, Bangor Town Regatta 2024, for such a great event.

Storm's great rival John Minnis in Final Call II said, "It was a super event and almost like match racing at times".

Betty Armstrong,
Original Article

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