A fleet of 62 boats including some of the highest profile yachts in Ireland will be in action at Kinsale next week as the biennial O’Leary Insurance Group Sovereign’s Cup gets underway (Wednesday 23rd to Saturday 26th June 2021).

Denis and Annamarie Murphy’s Nieulargo from the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven was the first entry received for the regatta and coincidentally won last weekend’s 280-nautical mile Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race (D2D). Kinsale’s own Conor Doyle on Freya, line honours winner into Kerry is also entered and both will compete in the Coastal division of next week’s event.

Class One counts no fewer than ten J109’s that will add an extra competitive edge to the biennial regatta with crews keen to get their season off to a good start.

The four-day series is being staged at nearly half its normal size due to the Covid-19 pandemic but is one of the first regular events on the domestic Sailing calendar to resume. No indoor activities have been organised and restrictions on numbers ashore are in place. Overseas entries are unable to attend due to travel restrictions.

“We’re following the guidelines very carefully to ensure we can stage a scaled-back but successful event this year,” commented Anthony O’Neill, Regatta Director at Kinsale Yacht Club. “Our goal is continuity so that we can welcome back all our regular competitors for a full-scale regatta again in 2023.”

Last weekend’s D2D Race, the first competition of the year in Ireland has provided a particularly strong entry for the Coastal class at O’Leary Insurance Group Sovereign’s Cup, with many East coast boats now in southern waters and is a sign of continued resurgent interest in racing offshore.

“We are very pleased with the Coastal class that has attracted 17 crews and some of the biggest boats in the country who will race along the spectacular coastline from Cork Harbour to the Seven Heads during the regatta,” said O’Neill. “The unspoilt sailing waters and spectacular scenery are what Kinsale is famed for, both at home and abroad.”

Ashore, the clubhouse dinghy park will be used for outdoor hospitality with social distancing measures in place along with limits on attendance. “We’ve planned this event on the national theme of an ‘outdoor Summer’ and there’ll be plenty of options locally as the Kinsale businesses have extensive external spaces available to enjoy in safety.”

David Brannigan, Oceansport.