It mightn’t be the Olympics but over in Bantry in the beautiful unspoilt natural maritime sporting arena of West Cork, a sporting event of a different kind has just finished as the curtain closed on the Atlantic Sea Challenge for another two year.
After 8 days of intense competition in over 12 events with international competitors from 16 different countries taking part, it was Northern Ireland who proved victorious with a 2 point margin of victory over team Ireland with Russia in third place. Team Ireland despite proving to be the most consistent crew with 6 wins out of the 12 events, lost due to a minor rules infringement in one of the sailing races earned them a 16 point penalty putting them under severe pressure to win. In the last event Ireland were in joint second with Russia and GB and needed a win with their nearest rival team NI finishing 6th or worse in order to secure victory. Unfortunately although team Ireland battled hard, team NI didn’t panic and held on to win by the very small margin of 2 points.
Despite the narrow loss the eight days proved to be an entertaining and thrilling spectacle and event as on dry land all manner of day time and evening festivities and celebrations as Bantry went into festival mode. With stunning action in the bay and celebrations and special family events inland the event was a welcome treat for those on a vacation to this scenic region of West Cork.
As the curtain falls on Atlantic Challenge 2012 and everyone involved can now start to plan for the next Atlantic Challenge in France in 2 years time on July 2014, everyone can rest assured that the event was both a success for Bantry and the locality if unlucky somewhat for the Irish team.
So congratulations and commiserations, to the Irish team who so narrowly failed to win. With a fine display against international teams, the record breaking success of our Steve Redmond in the Oceans Seven it is a good omen for a fine showing from Ireland’s Olympic sailing team across the pond in the London Olympics. Perhaps our stunning seascape and waters have provided us with a narrow advantage over other nations. Only time will tell. Ireland vacations in and around the Atlantic Sea Challenge have been roaring success as the weather has been quite good in and around the event.