Traditionally all dinghy sailing events cease for the year in October with only the hardiest of sailors competing in what is known as the frostbite series, but Covid has had an impact on every facet of our lives over the last two years so it’s not surprising that it also impacted on sporting events.
Cullaun sailing club were scheduled to host the GP14 Munster championships in May of this year but as the time drew closer it became more and more apparent that it would not be possible to host an event that attracts some of the top sailors and boats from all corners of the country and so the decision was made to postpone and reschedule until November.
So last weekend saw forty sailors arrive in Kilkishen and the surrounding areas, all set for what turned out to be a tumultuous event with the wildest and the most beautiful of weather, some great sailing, and some great sport. Saturday saw wild winds gusting strongly across the lake challenging all competitors to their limits and providing the fleet with some of the best heavy weather sailing of the season. This was followed on Sunday by lighter trickier winds, and sunshine (believe it or not), which changed the dynamic of the regatta as well as the leader board as the sailing went from survival of the fittest to a serious tactical battle.
In the end it was won by Alan Blay from Sutton with Katie Dwyer from Sutton coming a close second and JP and Carolyn McCaldin from Lough Ern coming third. Sam and Matthew Street from Blessington took junior honours.
Sailing is a strange game and a sport that does not stop at a certain age. It always demands a certain level of fitness, but it rewards experience and this is demonstrated in a fleet that has an age difference of nearly six decades between the youngest and the oldest in the same fleet. All of whom are fighting hard to be first across the start and the first across the finish.
The social side of sailing is just as important as the competitive side and the fleet were looked after by the fantastic Noreen Gallagher in Gallaghers pub in Kilkishen on Saturday night and catered to superbly by Carmel Cronin. Although all Covid protocols still exist, the hospitality and the welcome ensured that there was a sense that we might be returning to some sort of normality sooner rather than later.
Cullaun Sailing Club is a small club located between Kilkishen and Tulla, with a small and active membership and a sense of pride in where its from and what it can achieve. It is about sailing, participation, competing, learning, and teaching, but it is always proud of the place it is from and the community that it is a part of. That pride is well founded when you witness the hospitality and the effort put in by everyone, not just the club, over the weekend to make this event the success it was.