Another race win and a careful third place for Mike and Ritchie Evans’ J99 Snapshot from Howth was enough to convincingly win the Division 1 title and overall trophy at the O’Leary Insurance Group Sovereign’s Cup at Kinsale on Saturday while ReavraToo, skippered by Stephen Lysaght from the host club won the Portcullis trophy under ECHO handicap.

The four day series was a closely matched affair in all of the 12 divisions with nothing certain about the outcome of the event that awards the overall Sovereign’s Cup for best performance under the international IRC system while best boat under the ECHO handicap system receives the Portcullis Trophy.

The Evans brothers competed in their new J99 Snapshot as one of their first major regattas and faced stiff competition, primarily from clubmates Richard Colwell and John Murphys’ Outrajeous. However, a sixth place followed by a disqualification for early starting in the final saw their main challenger drop from contention and Kinsale’s Finbarr O’Regan on Artful Dodger took second place in the class.

However, it was the consistency of Snapshot’s performance across the eight race series that ended with a nine-point winning margin in the 14-boat division that earned their claim to the Sovereign’s Cup this year.

“Kinsale put on a super event and we’re all very grateful to be back on the water again,” said Mike Evans who credited the win to his team on board Snapshot. “Race officer Jack Roy did a great job, particularly on the final day in very challenging conditions.”

The other potential overall winner was likely to come from the biggest fleet of the event in the 19-strong Coastal class where Bob Rendell’s Samatom, also from Howth Yacht Club placed second in the fourth and final race of the series to win the class. That victory came down to a winning margin of a single point as Denis and Annemarie Murphys’ Nieulargo from the Royal Cork Yacht Club won the last distance race of the series but were ultimately denied the class win.

“It was a tremendous final race in which any one of five boats were winning at different stages of the race,” commented Maurice “Prof” O’Connell, tactician on Conor Phelan’s Jump Juice. “We sailed to the Black Tom mark in Courtmacsherry Bay where the wind was gusting more than 20 knots but by the time we had sailed back to Kinsale it dropped away to ten knots.”

Meanwhile, Stephen Lysaght’s ReavraToo from Kinsale was awarded the Portcullis Trophy for best performance under the ECHO Handicap system for winning four out of the eight races in Division 2. The Elan 333 finished the series with a four point lead over second placed Kieran Collins’ Coracle VI from the Royal Cork Yacht Club who ironically won that class with four race wins under the IRC system.

The Royal Cork battle for supremacy of Class 3 saw David Lane’s Ya Gotta Wanna again swap places with Supernova owned by Dave O’Regan with Denise Phelan and Tony Donworth to win the class under IRC after four days of cat and mouse.

Amongst the White Sails fleets, Kinsale’s John Twomey pounced from outside a three-way tie on Friday thanks to a final race win under ECHO handicap as Shillelagh ended tied for first place with Declan Gray’s Sapphire but the last race victory was the useful tiebreak on countback for Class 2. James Matthews Jeanneau 49 Fiscala took Class 1 thanks to another race win on the last day.

“We are pleased that we were able to deliver a full programme of races in keeping with the Covid guidelines and get people back on the water this year,” commented Anthony O’Neill, Regatta Director at Kinsale Yacht Club. “We will soon start planning for the 2023 Sovereign’s Cup and are already looking forward to having a full fleet once again with our regulars from home and abroad.”

David Branigan