Fifteen RS 400s, from as far South as Glandore and as far North as Cushendall formed the main appetiser for the latest RS Ireland traveller series event. A smaller group of RS200s and RS Fevas also battled it out over the two days of the RS Northern Area Championships on glorious Strangford Lough. The racing came courtesy of the most hospitable of hosts at Strangford Lough Yacht Club and their team headed up by Emily Smith and Charlie Horder.
Saturday's racing was a blustery game of snakes and ladders with the RS 400 fleet continually trading blows and producing a different winner in each of the three races.
In the RS200's Heather Craig advised Trevor Fisher on how to do it, as they led overnight with three straight bullets.
In the Feva class, local boys Robbie and Peter Gilmore came good to lead overnight with an impressive score of 1, 3, 1.
The evening brought some "sensible drinking" and fine dining courtesy of event sponsors www.MashDirect.com . Rumours of some out of tune singing also circulated the following morning with some labelling it as Karaoke.
Sunday dawned a bit wet, but as the sun came out, it got even wetter for the back half of the RS 400 fleet as a whooping 30 knot right handed squall cuffed those taking too long to reach the windward mark in race 2, with entertaining variations on how not to bear off, hoist, gybe, stack it etc. Those who did set kites, (which was all but one) where treated to a somewhat out of control reach, (in which most helms would agree, they played very little part) as the mild mannered 400s decided they would steer themselves safely at 20 knots to the downwind position some 200 metres to the right of the last mark. Much swimming was done. There was a welcome rest whilst the PRO rearranged the course for the final race, in lovely sunshine, with some cheeky puffs that allowed all to arrive ashore nicely enthralled by the day's activity.
In the final mix, the Ballyhome duo of Bob "The Laser" Espey and Michael "The other Laser" Gunning took top spot by in RS400 class. Five different winners in six races showed that it was no push over for the lads.
In the RS200 class Heather Craig and Trevor Fisher had the luxury of discarding a second place, the only blot on an otherwise perfect score card to round out a clinical win.
In the Feva class Robbie and Peter Gilmore continued with Saturdays fine form with a 2,1,1 score to take a decisive victory. Perhaps Santa might have to squeeze an RS200 down the Gilmore chimney this year!
Next up for the Irish RS Classes is Greystones and the Sothern Championship on 6th and 7th of October. The local contingent will no doubt be ready to repel the Northern invaders, who are currently very much growing in strength and numbers.