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After a number of training races, which were very well attended and received, Mother Nature and Race Officer Jack Roy’s Team conspired most favourably to give the Flying Fifteens a good workout in a brisk breeze last night.

Throughout the day the forecast was for wind just west of south in the 12 – 14 knot range but with gusts in the 17 – 19 range and with low tide around 18:15, the flood was already evident on the racecourse.

Windward-Leeward JW2 was the course of the night – Battery(P), Bulloch(P), Molly(P), Bulloch(P), Island(P), East(P), Island(P), East(P), Pier(P) – Finish. Battery was not a turning mark and most people had twigged the requirement to leave this mark to port, leaving Bulloch as the principle windward mark of the first leg.
Thirteen boats contested last night’s race and five of these decided to take an offshore route for the early part of the beat. Of these Shane McCarthy & Chris Doorly (4085) and Frank Miller & Ed Butler (3845) were two of the more prominent. Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley (4081) worked the middle of the course with a number of others – Ken Dumpleton & Joe (3955) coming to mind, while the rest of the fleet went shorewards. Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (4028) and possibly Alistair Court & Conor O’Leary (3753) were in this final group.

As the fleet converged at Battery, it became apparent that the offshore option had paid dividends with Miller & Butler crossing the entire fleet on port to assume the leading slot in the final section of the beat from Battery to Bulloch. McCarthy/Doorly also featured prominently, while Mulligan/Bradley slotted in behind these two with Dumpleton/Joe and Court/O’Leary following in behind them.

Miller/Butler led the fleet around Bulloch, followed by Mulligan/Bradley and McCarthy/Doorly and an excellent spinnaker leg took the fleet off towards Molly. The front three had a gap on the rest of the fleet, so I am going to use poetic licence here and suggest that Dumpleton and Court were at the head of the chasing bunch. Miller/Butler held the lead to Molly while in the very latter stages of the leg, McCarthy powered over Mulligan in the final boat-lengths to the mark, but a more efficient spinnaker drop by Mulligan/Bradley allowed them to recover second place and leave McCarthy/Doorly, who had a few problems, to leeward and behind for the beat back to Bulloch.

This leg was more difficult to interpret. Miller and McCarthy kept further offshore than Mulligan and Dumpleton also took a more offshore approach. Later, onshore, Colin admitted he had gone offshore and found it paid dividends. The front group of three then became four, with the sequence at Bulloch being Miller, McCarthy, Dumpleton and Mulligan. Dumpleton then erred by flying spinnaker on what was a two-sail reach to Island. Island to East was another enjoyable spinnaker leg and at East the leading three were a bit more circumspect about their drops. McCarthy had taken the lead at this stage and led the race to Island for the third beat of the night. However, even with the state of the tide, pushing the boats offshore at Island, both the leading boats appeared to overstand the mark, allowing Mulligan to close until he was forced into a double tack to round Island. The third spinnaker leg of the night allowed mulligan to close the gap a little on Miller, but McCarthy was comfortable at this stage.

In a brief period of bravado, they tried to fly spinnaker, but soon came to see the error of their ways. Miller then found himself to leeward but ahead of Mulligan on the two-sail reach to Pier and gradually started to eek his way upwind to protect his second place. The distance between these two ebbed and flowed, but not to any significant extent.

Miller tacked immediately at Pier for the upwind hitch to the finish whereas Mulligan held on for a few more boat-lengths before tacking and setting himself up for a finish at the committee boat end of the line which is where the favourable bias was. It was enough to pip Miller at the finish.

Thursday 10th June

Flying Fifteen – 13 starters. (1 DNF).

1. Shane McCarthy & Chris Doorly, 4085
2. Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley, 4081
3. Frank Miller & Ed Butler, 3845
4. Ken Dumpleton & Joe, 3955
5. Alistair Court & Conor O’Leary, 3753
6. Neil Colin & Margaret Casey, 4028.

Published in DBSC
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With Dublin Bay Sailing Club's final week of Pandemic-restricted Training Races currently underway (restrictions are lifted on Monday, June 7th), the always-numerous Flying Fifteen class have been threatening to fly too high, and may need to have their wings clipped in order to stay within the Irish Sailing limits of not more than 15 boats per class in an approved training fleet.

FF Class Captain Neil Colin has circulated his members today regarding the races on June 3rd and 5th, and states: “We will run the WhatsApp Roll Call, and if we exceed the quota, I will be asking some to step back on a Random Selection Basis”.

Published in Flying Fifteen

Like all DBSC members, the offer of training races for race committee members and competitors alike, has been a welcome feature for the Flying Fifteen fleet in these opening days of the 2021 summer sailing season.

Last night saw the full quota of Fifteens out on the water for what turned out to be a very interesting evening. As with all “training events” there are lessons to be learned, the first of which, for this correspondent, was – take a course card with you. My flawed understanding was that the Fifteens would be sailing windward/leeward courses on a Thursday night and that seemed to be the consensus when we arrived at the start area. However, what evolved was slightly different but most welcome.

A course that took in Battery (P), Bulloch (P), Island (P), Molly (P), Island (P), Molly (P), Pier (P) to an upwind finish – confirmed at my desk this morning (Friday) – explains some of the manoeuvres on the water last night.

The fleet was distributed along the start line with the tide just turned and a modest breeze. A slightly mistimed start by Mulligan and Bradley (4081) at the pin saw them having to go back and restart. This initially forced them to go inshore before the onset of starboard tacked boats forced them seawards. At that stage the seaward side of the course was occupied by newcomer to the fleet, Shane McCarthy, sailing with Chris Doorly (4085) and Ken Dumpleton (3955), with Joe, was lurking with intent out there too. I also recall seeing Alan Balfe and Frank Burgess (3995) in a slightly seaward location. The balance of the fleet had headed shoreward much earlier with Tom Murphy and Carel (4057) leading the early charge. Also, on that side of the course, was Alan Green & John Lavery (4083), but in reverse roles, John being crew on the night, David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne (4068), Neil Colin & Mick McCambridge (4028) and Alistair Court & Conor O’Leary (3753), among others.

McCarthy, Mulligan & Dumpleton then found that they weren’t off the pace and coming in from the left, joined the leaders of the shoreside group – Murphy, Green, Colin and Court. Still guessing as to what our weather mark was, we found ourselves on the right side of Battery, whereas Court/O’Leary had to tack and dip transoms to pass it on the correct side. Still of the view that a windward/leeward had been signalled, it was intriguing to see the SB20s hare off seawards on a two-sail reach.

At Bulloch, Murphy literally squeezed around the mark, the flooding tide pushing him towards it. He was followed by Green, McCarthy, Colin, Mulvin, Mulligan and Dumpleton, all heading after the SB20s towards Island. Down the two-sail reach there was no change to the running order and while the leg to Molly saw the width of the fleet increase, and a few gybes thrown in to take advantage of breeze and tide, there was no change to the running order.

After Molly, there was a divergence of thought! McCarthy took an early tack to head off to sea and was followed by Mulligan who considered that he was being adversely affected by Mulvin’s slightly higher windward slot. Murphy led the charge to the shore, distinctive in his bright yellow jacket. Again, the seaward route to Island paid dividends and while McCarthy got the bigger dividend by tacking early at Molly, Mulligan helped his own position too. Murphy led around Island for the second time, but McCarthy was hot on his transom, followed by Green, Colin, Mulvin and Mulligan. At this stage there was a lead group of three and a following group of three. The former stayed reasonably tight to each other, but the latter spread out with Colin going right and Mulvin going left.

Rounding Molly for the second time, one crew from the leading group will not look favourably on their spinnaker drop, losing a place on the water, but if my memory of the finishing order is correct, that will be put down to experience!

At Molly, Mulligan had managed to get ahead of Colin but only just. Down the two-sailer to Pier, Colin hounded Mulligan and on rounding Pier he went seaward again. Mulligan sailed on before tacking for the finish. The eventual finishing order (I think*) was McCarthy/Doorly (4085), Green/Lavery (4083) Murphy/Carel (4057), Mulvin/Beirne (4068), Mulligan/Bradley (4081), Dumpleton/Joe (3955), Colin/McCambridge (4028) and Court/O’Leary (3753).

The grey and drizzle did not detract from a great night’s racing!

Lesson for the evening, after all it was a training event – have a course card onboard!

*If my finishing order is incorrect, apologies to the aggrieved parties!

Published in Flying Fifteen
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To mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Uffa Fox, one of the most highly regarded naval architects and enthusiast of all aspects of sailing, the Royal London Yacht Club, together with the Cowes Classic Boat Museum, and supported by the Atalanta Owners Association and the Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club, are holding a series of exciting events in Cowes from 18th-21st August 2022.

To celebrate the life of a man so ahead of his time, a regatta will be held for all the Uffa crafts – a once in a lifetime opportunity for owners of Uffa designed boats.

The Classic Boat Museum will be organising a series of events including seminars and an exhibition of Uffa’s various dinghies.

The Uffa Fox celebrations will be followed by the Flying Fifteen European championships organised by the Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club from the 20th to 26th August 2022.

It is appropriate that the Royal London Yacht Club should be chosen to organise the sailing as Uffa was a stalwart of the RLYC and, as Chairman of the Sailing Committee, was instrumental in the resurgence of sailing after the Second World War.

Racing will be for 100% Uffa Fox designed dinghies, keelboats and classic boats, with some classes’ racing areas along the shore to attract spectators.

Along with various off-the-water tours and activities, evening social events have also been planned for participants, their families and Uffa enthusiasts.

Uffa was not only a successful author and boat designer, he was also a superb sailor and instructor; sailing with Prince Philip and Prince Charles. In 1928 Uffa gained line honours in every race he sailed in “Avenger” (135), an International Fourteen. Of her 57 starts, she gained 52 first places including the Prince of Wales Cup, two seconds and three third places. “Avenger” was the first true planing dinghy with a good windward performance.

Uffa even sailed her 100 miles across the Channel to Le Havre - three-up - in a mere 27 hours. He then proceeded to claim a victory over the French on their home waters, then promptly turn around and sail Avenger home in another 37 hours. During the Second World War Uffa conceived the idea of the Airborne Lifeboat, a vessel to be carried beneath aeroplanes and dropped by parachute to survivors of ditched aircraft.

Lightly built, with lines that blended to the shape of the planes, the Airbornes had sails, an engine, survival kit, radio and instructions on how to sail. Many aircrews owed their lives to Uffa’s invention. Years later he was caught by Eamon Andrews on the television programme “This is Your Life” where many of the airmen that had been rescued by the Airborne Lifeboat were able to thank him personally. For all his success in the field of yacht racing, he maintained that this was “his most fulfilling design”.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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Tim O'Brien, President of the UK Flying Fifteen Association, paid tribute to HRH Prince Philip, a former FF helmsman

By now many will have read and seen the sad news that HRH Prince Philip has died - much will be written about his significant contribution to many walks of life whether science, industry, commerce, environment, sport, and family. Through his concept of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme, launched 65 years ago, he encouraged the youth of the day to build skills, confidence and resilience that equipped them for life - in many cases through outdoor activity.

Prince Philip's other main passion was the sea and his link with sailing was prominent throughout, none more so than during Cowes Week when the Royal Yacht was anchored off Cowes with many of the Royal family actively involved in the week's racing. Flying Fifteen K192 - Coweslip - was a gift from Uffa Fox to Her Majesty The Queen and Prince Philip on the occasion of their marriage in 1949, and Uffa and Prince Philip were often to be found sailing Coweslip throughout the 1950s & '60s, usually in front of the paparazzi of the day and frequently with significant racing success... fun times.

The Prince subsequently became life Patron of the Flying Fifteen class association, and indeed Coweslip can still be seen today on display in Edinburgh with the Royal Yacht Britannia.

The thoughts of the UK Flying Fifteen Association are with the Queen and her family at this moment, and we wish them many happy and fond memories that will hopefully bring smiles to the fore.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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The 2022 Flying Fifteen World and Australian Championships have been postponed to 9th to 23rd March 2023.

A consequence of this change is that the 2023 World Championships scheduled for Weymouth will now be held in the Summer of 2025.

Flying Fifteen international hope that the delay will allow the event to sail in more normal times and that travel arrangements can be made with more certainty on overseas travel.

Irish crews were planning to attend the event.

The event will remain in the same format as the proposed 2022 event but delayed by a year due to the uncertainty surrounding the global COVID 19 pandemic. The event will be sailed out of Fremantle Sailing Club (“FSC”) with Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club (“RFBYC”) being the Organising Authority. South of Perth Yacht Club (“SoPYC) is also supporting the regattas.

RFBYC Commodore, Robert Parker, said “As the Organising Authority, RFBYC remains committed to hosting this prestigious event and fully supports the postponement to March 2023. We will continue to work collaboratively with the Flying Fifteen Associations, FSC, members and volunteers from both RFBYC and SoPYC to bring this event to fruition. We look forward to welcoming regional, interstate and overseas competitors to enjoy the hospitality of the three Clubs. Every effort will be made to ensure this is a memorable experience for all involved and we are confident sailors will enjoy the superb sailing conditions off Fremantle and our Club’s excellent facilities.”

The World’s Committee recommended that RFBYC requested a further postponement of the World Championship event from FFI, as there was no clear understanding as to how international visitors would be able to attend the event, due to the continued travel restrictions im- posed by the Australian and State Governments at the present time, and the unknown global regulations regarding travel with the rollout of COVID vaccines.

RFBYC would like to thank Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) for agreeing to postpone the Worlds they were due to host in 2023 to the UK Summer of 2025.

RFBYC looks forward to welcoming competitors to Fremantle, and in particular, the many visitors expected from Overseas and the East Coast. The facilities at FSC are world-class and that Fremantle is renowned throughout the World for its unique sailing conditions. The proposed course area at Owen Anchorage is a location that has been used for numerous World Championship events, including the Perth 2011 ISAF World Championships and a host of other National and International Sailing events.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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The Flying Fifteen organisation in France is working hard to try and have a European Championship in 2021 but Covid is being very persistent and its scheduled event at École Na-vale, Lanvéoc-Poulmic, Brest, France between 13 -15 May 2021 is looking very unlikely. 

Currently, there are international travel restrictions in France and the UK which at best will be eased in France in mid-April and mid-May for the UK which in the circumstances means the current dates for the European Championship are unworkable.

FFI France is hoping they may be able to sail the event later in the year and are seeking a venue, most probably CN Crozon-Morgat where it previously staged a World Championships in 2015.

FFI France is asking the organising club CN Crozon-Morgat if they could hold a two to three day regatta for the Europeans later in the year (possibly Sept/Oct), when hopefully life will be nearer normal.

The event will be open to all EU Countries and under current requirements, competitors from EU countries other than France will require a valid PCR taken within the 72 hours prior to entry to France.

The 20-foot Flying Fifteen class is one of Ireland's most popular keelboat classes.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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A new hull builder gives Flying Fifteen sailors an option to the Ovington hull that has been so dominant in the class in recent years has been announced for the 20-foot keelboat class. 

The class, one of the largest one-design keelboat classes in Ireland, raced for World Championship Honours on Dublin Bay in 2018.

Ginger Boats of Cockermouth in Cumbria, run by Phil Hodgkins, has a reputation for building fast GP14 dinghies is now adding Flying Fifteen Hulls to its inventory.

The company has recently been strengthened by the recent appointment of Alex Leonard (another skilled boat builder) as a director of the company last year. Phil and Alex have recently won contracts to produce solo hulls for Rooster and RS200 hulls for RS Sailing.

Flying Fifteen racing on Dublin Bay Photo: AfloatFlying Fifteen racing on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat

Hodgkins says he has made a few changes to the traditional Dingwall internal layout, designing a new console as can also be seen in the above picture.

More here on the new build on the class website

Mewanhile, as Afloat reported here, Scottish club Royal Northern & Clyde Yacht Club is keen to recruit Irish Flying Fifteen entries for its staging of the UK National Championships from 24th - 27th June 2021 where no doubt the first of the Ginger boat hulls will be competing. 

Published in Flying Fifteen
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Scottish club Royal Northern & Clyde Yacht Club is keen to recruit Irish Flying Fifteen entries for its staging of the UK National Championships from 24th - 27th June 2021.

Ireland has a strong tradition of attending the UK event, particularly when staged in Scotland and convenient for Northern Ireland fleets at Belfast and Strangford Loughs.

Royal Northern & Clyde says the hope is that Covid-19 restrictions will have been relaxed or even lifted by the time of the Nationals that could reasonably expect a fleet of 50 boats or more. 

The Argyll and Bute based club is basing its planning on the assumption that either of the two lowest tiers in Scotland may still apply.

Ireland has past Flying Fifteen success on the Clyde with Dun Laoghaire's Gerry Donleavy from the National Yacht Club sailing 'The Real Thing', the last Irish winner of the UK title in 1988.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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The Flying Fifteen Association of Ireland (FFAI) hosted their delayed AGM on the Zoom platform last Wednesday night (13th Jan) with a virtual attendance from Dun Laoghaire, Strangford Lough and Dunmore East and, refreshingly, Galway, where there is a significant fleet of boats. In all, there was an attendance of just over twenty people, including our Middle East Representative (and Treasurer) who was home on a short break from his posting in warmer climes.

Current Class President, Chris Doorly opened the meeting by welcoming everyone and proceeded to give a synopsis of the season, noting at the outset that the impact of Covid 19 had decimated the regatta schedule with the Championship of Ireland, hosted by Waterford Harbour Sailing Club in Dunmore East one of the few to be sailed. This reduced race Championship was won in a heavy weather weekend by John Lavery and Alan Green sailing their new 2020 boat after the Friday and Saturday racing had to be abandoned. We also managed to sail the single-day regatta that commemorated the 150th Anniversary of the National Yacht Club. This regatta had some "fun and games" in determining the overall result due to a varying number of interpretations of the numbers of races to count. All the other regattas for the season were lost.

Full Flying Fifteen fixture list for 2021

A full suite of regattas is scheduled for 2021 with events in Dun Laoghaire, Galway, Strangford and Lough Derg. Additionally, the Class will support the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, split this year over two weekends at the start of July in anticipation of the need to dilute the crowd numbers and to encourage more classes to attend. At this stage, there is no commitment to sail a ranking event as part of VDLR but that may be subject to change. (The regatta schedule has already been published on the Afloat website here and is on the Flying Fifteen website.)

In the past few months, the Class Constitution has been subject to a long-overdue review and a new draft Constitution was circulated before the meeting with a view to having it adopted by the Class. This prompted a lively discussion on membership, in particular, with some concerns expressed on the classes of membership and the rights accumulating to the proposed classes. The mechanism by which Association membership monies are collected also featured in the discussion. Concern was expressed on the implications of not having a quorum at meetings. Chris Doorly acknowledged the value of the discussion and agreed that further consideration of the Constitution would be given.

An update on finances confirmed that the Class is in a healthy position, despite the lack of regatta activity during the season.

New Flying Fifteen Class Officers

Having served a three-year team as Class President, Chris Doorly confirmed that he was standing down and welcomed Andrew (Hammy) Baker as the new President. Hammy sails out of Strangford Lough and he was also congratulated on his new position as High-Performance Coach with RYA Northern Ireland. Other officers confirmed on the night were; Ian Mathews, Treasurer, David Mulvin, Secretary, Ben Mulligan, Fixtures Secretary, Alan Green, FFI Representative and Messrs Martin (Rory) and Bradley appointed to PR and website support.

Classic Flying Fifteen Division

Under AOB, it was proposed that a Classic Division be accommodated at the Galway event and the Galway hosts gave a brief update on their plans for the regatta and the facilities that are available.

A straw poll was taken to determine interest in attending the next Worlds in Freemantle, Australia, postponed by a year to 2022 due to Covid. The early indication is that a container may be required for the Irish contingent.

The Class website is undergoing an overhaul and is expected to be operational by the end of January.

Roger Chamberlain proposed a vote of thanks to Chris Doorly for his term as Class President and the other officers of the Association were likewise thanked. Best wishes were afforded to the incoming President who said he would do his best to follow in the style of his predecessor.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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