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Challenging conditions for the CSS Regatta at An Spidéil in Galway Bay

The tough weather tested the skills of sailors who took to the waters in Galway Bay for the annual Cumann Seoltóireachta an Spidéil (CSS) regatta on Sunday 16 October.

Forecasts of cool to strong south-easterly winds limited regatta entries to the mixed fleet of 420, Laser, Pico and Topaz dinghies, with conditions deemed too difficult for the Optimist fleet.

Four crews of 420s, one Laser and two Topaz competed in two races on a set course with Race Officer Stephen O’Gorman and Commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle.

We had hoped to run three races, but the fresh winds and increasing swell forced an early arrival for safety reasons.

The first 420s and overall winners were CSS’s Mark and Denise de Faoite, closely followed by fellow club members and 420 Under-18 sailors Charlie Donald and James Harvey.

The top 420 of the 2022 CSS Regatta and overall winners Denise and Mark de Faoite with CSS Commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle Photo: Bartley Fannin

    2022 CSS Regatta 420 Second Sailors Charlie Donald and James Harvey with Commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle Photo: Bartley Fannin 2022 CSS Regatta 420 Second Sailors Charlie Donald and James Harvey with Commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle Photo: Bartley Fannin

The only visiting crew – Ava McCarthy and James Malone of the Galway City Sailing Club – finished third in the 420 class and third overall.

CSS regatta 2022 420 fleet three sailors Ava McCarthy and James Malone (Galway City Sailing Club) with Commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle Photo: Bartley FanninCSS regatta 2022 420 fleet three sailors Ava McCarthy and James Malone (Galway City Sailing Club) with Commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle Photo: Bartley Fannin

CSS 420 Under-18 sailors Catherine Harvey and Sadhbh Laila Riggott performed well in the difficult conditions, finishing fourth overall.

    CSS Regatta 2022 Laser Winner Tomás Ó Culáin with Commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle Photo: Bartley Fannin CSS Regatta 2022 Laser Winner Tomás Ó Culáin with Commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle Photo: Bartley Fannin

CSS sailor Tomás O Culáin finished first in the Laser class and fifth overall, while Katie Gaynor and Catriona Kearns, also from CSS, finished first in the Pico/Topaz Uno fleet and sixth overall.

CSS 2022 Topaz Regatta winners Katie Gaynor and Caitriona Kearns with Commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle Photo: Bartley FanninCSS 2022 Topaz Regatta winners Katie Gaynor and Caitriona Kearns with Commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle Photo: Bartley Fannin

Prizes were awarded to Kate Ní Chonghaíle (CSS), sailing solo in the Topaz, and to CSS Pico sailors Sarah Donald and Rory McHale, and Éabha Mae and Liam Simon Riggott.

CSS Regatta 2022 Topaz second place Kate Ní Chonghaíle with Commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle (Bartley Fannin).jpgCSS Regatta 2022 Topaz runner-up Kate Ní Chonghaíle with Commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle Photo: Bartley Fannin

The committee boat had advised the Pico sailors not to launch as the weather began to deteriorate as they prepared to leave Sean Céibh beach.

CSS Regatta participants Pico Rory McHale and Sarah Donald with Commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle (Bartley Fannin).jpgCSS Pico Regatta participants Rory McHale and Sarah Donald with Commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle

We hope to organize a regatta for the Picos and for the Optimists between now and the fortnight, weather permitting.

The John and Stephanie Hannan Award, which was commissioned by Cumann Seoltóireachta an Spidéil (CSS) in 2020 as the annual award in memory of the late John Hannan, will be awarded at the end of the season.