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RS – After five races sailed Robert Espey and Mike Gunning won the RS400 Northern championships hosted by Ballyholme Yacht Club this weekend.

Despite the absence of wind forecast, and despite Charlie Horder not showing up, the weekend turned out to be a roaring success, with ever reliable Robin Gray as PRO slotting the perfect duration races into the various wind slots that existed, giving the three fleets great racing.

It was exciting to see some new faces in the RS Fevas, since McCready Sailboats took over dealership, and have been promoting and lending out boats. All 6 of the boats, in the fleet that normally travels from Dublin or Greystones, were from the North. This must augur well for the future, with several parents present realising they could have actually have been sailing in the 400s instead of acting as shore crew.

In the RS200s, Clive Coffey from Newcastle, was dominant in the generally f2-3 conditions, taking first overall from Greystones regulars Frank O'Rourke in second, and Sarah Byrne in fourth, with East Down's Trevor Fisher splitting them in third.

The main event though was in the RS400s, where a super strong line up including current Irish Olympic 49er sailors, and winners of this year's Weymouth Sail for Gold World Cup Series' Championship, Ryan Seaton and Matty McGovern headlined a strong line up of past National and European Championship winners from a multitude of classes. Racing was tight, with the front 6 or 7 generally working through, but with anyone capable of making a podium slot. Overnight it looked to be all about Bob Espey vs Emmet Ryan, but Sunday saw things get a lot tighter, with Gareth Flannigan and Dave Cheyne staying consistent, and nearly turning things around in race two, when Flannigan's lead was slashed on the final run of race two, in what would prove a decisive moment, allowing the Olympic duo a little breathing space as the 3rd,4th and 5th boats rolled the leading pair on the final approach, Espey grabbing an essential win. Race 4 saw Emmet and brother James struggle and take a discard, so it was advantage Espey/ Gunning again.

Race 5 was held in sparkling Ballyholme sea breeze and sunshine, with Dave Cheyne and Stevie Kane from RNIYC breaking clear of the pack, chasing the Ryan brothers. As the two teams extended, it looked like the goose was cooked for Espey, but a last attack on the right corner gybe allowed the fat old boys from Royal North to roll Ryan, and take the win. This instantly threw the result back to Espey and Gunning, who were suddenly back level on points, but with a pair of bullets, to the Ryans only one now, the title went to Espey in dramatic fashion, and past Irish Champions Emmet and James left to lick their wounds. Awesome racing as ever, with some new faces feeling the heat, as those new in last season starting to move up the leader board after a year of hard racing under their belts.

Lots of new boats arriving by the week, with several more expected in Ballyholme in time for the Autumn Grange Wine Merchants Series at Bangor on Sundays from the 8th September, before the fleets head to Crosshaven on September 21/22nd. The hope is the 4 or 5 potential new 400 owners in Monkstown SC in Cobh will have boat boats in time, to compliment the new arrival of Aidan Macsweeney, and also Dave Doherty who currently have boats in the area.

Full results for all divisions are downloadable below as an attached html file.

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#RSELITE – RS Elite Works Boat skipper Jono Brown made a clean sweep of the RS Elite British National Championships at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club leading the ten race event from start to finish. Brown had no result out of the top five in the 28–boat fleet giving him a clear ten point cushion over Royal North's own Tiffany Brien in second. Third was Martham Wadham. Scroll down for full results below.

RNIYC served up another truly fantastic Championship on Belfast Lough from 22-25 August, sponsored by Brewin Dolphin and North Down Tourism. With top Elite Class sailors from Ireland, Scotland and England as well as two Irish Olympians and a touch of glamour added by ex Miss Northern Ireland, Tiffany Brien (fresh from a season competing in a 49er FX) it was always going to be tense racing with light winds forecast throughout the event. Place changing to the finish in every race meant there was never a chance to relax in the evenly matched one-design fleet.

Jono, Lyn and David Brown in Aeolus were on top of their game in these conditions and put together a remarkably consistent series that sees them take the trophy to the Royal Burnham YC for the third time. A thirty degree right hand shift on the first beat of Race 1 favoured them and dropped several other top teams to the back of the fleet, making their first victory look lucky, but there was nothing lucky about their follow up results. A 5th place was Aeolus' lowest result meaning victory was theirs with a day to spare – truly impressive given the vagaries of the breeze in several races.

Behind the Brown's a serious battle for second place developed between local boat Kin, sailed by Tiffany, Simon and Jack Brien and the Royal Lymington YC based team of Martin & Amanda Wadhams sailing with Michael Browne on Kiss. Kin was more erratic with scores including several race wins but also a couple in double figures, whereas Kiss won only one race but discarded a 6th. Going into the final race the pair were tied on points, safe for second or third, so a gripping battle all around the track ensued with the lead changing many times. After splitting gybes at the final leeward gate Kin managed to tack ahead of Kiss on the finish line to snatch second overall by a length.

Fourth place overall went to another Irish boat Storm from the Royal Ulster YC, sailed by Stephen Polly, David Kelso and John Gunning despite their two OCS results which they managed to drop from the ten race, two discard series. New to the Class this year, they are clearly a force for the future. One of the biggest cheers at the prize giving was reserved for past champion Shaun McClean in Elixir sailing with his son Donald and Kevan Gibb from the Royal Forth YC, who finished fifth overall including winning race 7.

Title sponsors for this Championship, Brewin Dolphin, have a long association with sailing and made this event possible, including the excellent social program with typical Irish craic that tested the stamina of many sailors off the water as well as on it. Regional Director Hal Catherwood commented "Brewin Dolphin has been delighted to support such a high profile sailing event in Northern Ireland. It's fantastic to see world class sailors come together and battle it out on Belfast Lough." The RS Elite Class hopes this will be the first regatta of many alongside Brewin Dolphin.
Associate sponsor Charles Hurst, purveyors of some fine motor cars, added even more glamour with an Aston, Bentley and F-Type parked on the club lawn. We'll never forget event director Gerry Reid's face when someone faked a scratch on the Bentley with a strand of duct tape!

Next year the RS Elite Class will return to the Royal Burnham YC for its Nationals, followed by the Royal Yacht Squadron for the Southern Areas and then Cowes Week - a tempting three week schedule of awesome one-design racing and great socials with the band of friends that now make up the Class.

Full results from the Brewin Dolphin RS Elite Nationals are at and information about the RS Elite Class can be found at and

Overall results – top six
1st – Aeolus – Jono, Lyn & David Brown -14pts
2nd – Kin – Tiffany, Simon & Jack Brien - 26pts
3rd – Kiss – Martin & Amanda Wadhams & Michael Browne – 27pts
4th – Storm – Stephen Polly, David Kelso, John Gunning – 39pts
5th – Elixir – Shaun & Donald McClean & Kevan Gibb – 43pts
6th – Sea Breezes – John McDowell, Trevor D'Arcy & T McMillan - 53pts

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#rselite – Next stop for the RS Elite Class is the Brewin Dolphin sponsored National Championships, this year hosted by the Royal North of Ireland YC on Belfast Lough, home of the largest RS Elite fleet but before that regatta takes place there was ultra short course racing at the Crewsaver RS Elite Stadium Cup this year when adverse tide upwind also made winning the pin and the dash for the shore the way only to go in Cowes.

With near perfect breeze and blue skies, conditions couldn't have been much better after the day's Cowes Week racing was over. The format followed previous editions at Cowes last year and on lay day at Antigua Sailing Week earlier this year. Each race lasted just 15 minutes, despite packing in three rounds of a windward / leeward course just metres from the shore - with the top two boats from two knock-out heats going through to a four boat final. The whole event took place within an hour, with live commentary on Cowes Radio.

The start of the Heat 1 saw competitors slow to get their heads around the short line, rapid fire start sequence and importance of pin end advantage over line bias. E'Tu sailed by past RS Elite Champion Donald McClean made the best of it to win from the Proctor team in Wombat.

By heat 2 the start line battle was on. Derek Priestley sailing Kiss looked to have it nailed, but while spectators thought he could push up the fleet and hold back from the line against the tide the team lost their bottle with 10 seconds to go and bailed out, gybing around to take sterns on port – too much of a deficit to regain...

In the final Jono Brown, another ex RS Elite champion, in Aeolus pulled off a perfect pin end start with the other three boats perfectly stacked up above him a metre back from the line. Putting the bow down Aeolus accelerated the fastest and was never challenged. The race for second was a different story, however, with Mark Allerston's Escapade team and E'Tu coming into the leeward mark nose to tail with a momentarily hot dispute over room. Escapade stood their ground forcing E'Tu to spin around before the mark, dropping them back to last place behind Wombat.

So, Jono, Lyn and David Brown added the 2013 Stadium Cup title to their list of RS Elite victories, walking away with the trophy and three of the fantastic new Crewsaver Ergofit lifejackets.

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#feva – Ireland's Laura Gilmore and Molly Fekkes have finished 41st overall, a drop of eight places in the closing stages of the regatta, counting a poor result in the penultimate race in a massive 171–boat fleet. There was a splendid final day's racing at the Compagnia della vela Grosseto dell'RS Feva Worlds 2013 with Great Britain sweeping the boards with all three podium positions. Bristow/Hewitt are new World Champions. Italy fourth with former winners Stocchero/Virgenti, while Porro/Dall'Ora take All Girls title. 

It was an all-British finale today at the Compagnia della vela Grosseto-hosted RS Feva World Championship 2013 with all three steps of the podium occupied by duos from across the English Channel. The new World Champions after 14 races are young Hanna Bristow and Bobby Hewitt (GBR 4610) of Leigh and Lowton YC who controlled their nearest rivals' every move in a 240° wind blowing at 10 knots. They took home a seventh and a 12th-place finish that saw them end the week with a total score of 34 points.

A good 21 points behind them in second place are their fellow countrymen Wells/Todd (GBR 4332), who take the silver medal on 55 points, just one ahead of Brown/Davies (GBR 4768), on the third step on 56 points. Unfortunately, the Italian former World Champions Stocchero/Virgenti did not make it to the podium and, as a result of a 16th and a 3rd place on this final day's racing, had to content themselves with the wooden medal on a score of 75 points. Brits Grade/Prescott also ended up 5th on 77 points ahead of the Italians Porro/Dall'Ora. The winners of the qualifiers, however, can rejoice in having taken the All Girls prize for female crews while the Family prize went to Will and Matt Taylor.

The standings for the other two fleets were also British-dominated with Vennis-Ozanne/Lewis topping the Silver standings ahead of Italians Tognoni/Quilici and Mulcahy/Lindsay-Brown dominating the Bronze.

RS Feva World Championship – Final Standings Gold - Top 5
Complete standings available from:
The first score awarded for the qualifiers (cannot be discarded)

1. GBR 4610 - Hannah Bristow / Bobby Hewitt - Leigh and Lowton - 3, 3, 1, 6, 1, 1, (14), 7, 12 - 34 points
2. GBR 4332 - Elliot Wells / Jake Todd - Hayling Island Sailing Club - 2, 2, 2, (23), 3, 5, 7, 20, 14 - 55 pt
3. GBR 4768 - Arthur Brown / Niamh Davies - Royal Burnham YC - 9, 1, (17), 10, 6, 6, 1, 6, 17 - 56 pt
4. ITA 4698 - Leonardo Stocchero / Gianluca Virgenti - CV Toscolano Maderno - 5, 7, 9, 13, (58 BDF), 14, 8, 16, 3 - 75 pt
5. GBR 4924 - Samuel Grade / Katie Prescott - Lymington Town/Hayling Island - 25, 6, 4, 1, (58 BFD), 4, 6, 11, 20 - 77 pt

Full results here

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#rsfeva – Three races held in winds of up to 13 knots at the first day's competition at the RS Feva World Championship 2013 hosted by the Compagnia della vela Grosseto leave Ireland's Laura Gilmore and Molly Fekkes in 50th place in a fleet of 171.

English duo Elliot Wells and Jake Todd currently top the standings ahead of Italians Margherita Porro and Francesca Andrea Dall'Ora.

A great day's racing with 12 to 13 knots of 250-270 degree winds greeted participants on day one of the RS Feva World Championships 2013 which now run until Friday, July 26th at the Compagnia della vela Grosseto. After a wait of around an hour and a half to allow the Marina di Grosseto's usual thermals to establish on the course, the committee gave the off at 13:30 to three races for the three categories (yellow, blue and red) into which the 171-strong fleet is divided.

The first team to emerge as overall standings leader is the British duo Elliot Wells and Jake Todd (GBR 4332) who finished the day on just 5 points thanks to one win and two seconds. In second position are the Italians Margherita Porro and Francesca Andrea Dall'Ora (ITA 2592 - Associazione Nautica Sebina), who delivered a second, a win and a fourth (7 points).

The bottom step on the podium went to another British boat, GBR 1883, fielded by Harvey Martin and William Ward. They clocked up a first, a second and a fifth position giving them a total of 8 points. All in all, the Brits dominated the first day's racing with 14 teams in the first 20 positions in the standings. Of the Italians, Pietro Frazzica and Michele Oppizzi (AVAl - CDV Centro Vela Alto Lario) delivered an excellent seventh position.

Tomorrow, the committee is hoping to run three further qualifiers which will bring the event to its final phase during which the fleet will be divided into Gold and Silver groups. The first start is scheduled for 12:00 on the course just off the Compagnia della vela Grosseto.

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#rs – A fleet of 42 RS400s,  thought to be the largest turnout at a single event by a one design fleet in Ireland in 2013,  is testament to the enthusiasm of the locals, and the buoyant travelling attitudes of UK RS400 stalwarts.

Just a couple of years ago, the RS family in Ireland was ticking along nicely, with steady comings and goings, until last winter, when a major influx into the RS400 fleet, has seen an epidemic growth in activity.

This weekend sees the evidence for this, with nearly 30 local RS400s giving the UK travellers, especially from Scotland, the confidence to travel (with subsidised ferry deals from Stena Line) to race with the growing fleet.

Of course travellers will be no stranger to the Belfast Lough Club, which has hosted this event in past years, though with 20-25 boats in each fleet. Again a strong showing from the RS200 fleet of 17 boats, mostly from the Greystones and Royal St George's Yacht Club south of Dublin, shows that both fleets are in healthy shape. The RS Fevas once again are racing alongside their adult (and student) bigger brothers and sisters, and with McCready Sailboats supplying the RS Feva in Ireland from now on, and supplying three boats to that fleet for the event, things look promising for the feeder boat and our hope for a new cadet 2 person dinghy, so lacking of late on Northern Irish waters.

Weather looks to play ball, for some intense mind bending racing over the three days, which will be visible from the shoreline at Cultra from 5-7th July, and a party to remember no doubt, on Saturday night....

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#rs – This coming weekend will see the next series of racing for the RS fleets in Ireland, with the annual Sprint event. This event was previously a season closer in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, now moves to this earlier slot, and is kindly being hosted by Greystones SC.

This will be seen by many as a great opportunity to get in some top level boat-handling and starting practice in advance of the Irish Nationals in July. With 10-14 short sharp races and no discards any mistakes however minor will be costly. This year's Sprint event will also include the RS Fevas for the first time.

In marked contrast to the Sprints, indeed at the opposite end of the spectrum, the Northern contingent will be engaging in an altogether different form of racing, the famous Coleraine 24 hour race on the Bann River. Several RS400 teams are entered, and run in shifts through the night, which will hopefully only last 3 hours at this time of the year.

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The three RS classes battled it out last weekend at the Seapoint end of Dublin Bay for the season's first event, the Eastern Championships. The event attracted a total entry of thirty five boats with nineteen RS400's, eleven RS200's and six Fevas.

Full results are available to download as a pdf file below

Race Officer Barry Mac Neaney assisted by Jimmy Murphy and his crew on the committee boat "Lady Beag" from Poolbeg Yacht Club did a fantastic job to promptly fire off four races on Saturday in shifty and testing conditions with strong tides added in for good measure. The final two races were sailed in stronger gusty conditions on Sunday, which proved a stern but exciting test for all crews.
In the RS400 class there was a three-way tussle at the top between Bob Espey & Michael Gunning of Ballyholme YC/Royal Ulster YC, Emmet & James Ryan of The Royal St George YC and Mike "Chunky" Ferguson & Jeremy Tomalin of Ballyholme YC/Royal Ulster YC. The three boats appeared to be tied together by a piece of string for much of Saturday's four races with only a two point gap separating first and third overnight.
In Sunday's first race for the 400's a slight miscount of laps by the majority of the fleet left the top two of Bob Espey/Michael Gunning and Emmet/James Ryan to fight it out in a match race which left both on equal points for the final race. Bob and Mike took the final race in strengthening wind conditions and with it the RS400 Easterns.
In the RS200's it was local class newcomers Conor Totterdell & Myles Kelly who topped the fleet taking both the overall and junior trophies. This was a great achievement in a range of trying conditions. Conor & Myles are sure to be a force to be reckoned with this season, particularly with the Dún Laoghaire RS fleet growing in numbers and talent. Second in the RS200's was Newcastle YC's Clive Coffey & Helen Cassidy. The 2012 Traveller Series

RS Easterns 2013 Pic 2

RS Easterns 2013 Pic 3

RS Easterns 2013 Pic 5

RS action at the Eastern Championships on Dublin Bay. Photos Sean Cleary

Champions from Newcastle once again proved ever consistent performers over the weekend. In third place and taking over the helm form his Dad Sean for the first time was Stephen Craig and his crew Conor Foley. Stephen & Conor had an unfortunate last race which in the end cost them the event. No doubt they will be back fighting for top spot at the next RS event in Greystones on the 22th of June.
The Feva class benefitted from on the water coaching throughout the event and this definitely helped to iron out any early season creases by the end of the six races. Jack & Henry Higgins grew massively in confidence over the series and counted three bullets from the last three races. Emer Rafferty & Laura Coleman gave the Higgins brothers a great run for their money and finished just one point off top spot. Dara Donnelly & Rosemary Tyrrell put in a very solid six races to finish up in third place.

Top 3 RS400's
Place Helm Crew R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Total
1st Bob Espey Mike Gunning 1 3 2 1 2 1 7
2nd Emmet Ryan James Ryan 2 1 3 2 1 3 9
3rd Mike Ferguson Jeremy Tomalin 5 2 1 3 DNF 2 13

Top 3 RS200's
Place Helm Crew R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Total
1st Conor Totterdell Myles Kelly 2 1 2 2 3 6 10
2nd Clive Coffey Helen Cassidy 3 4 1 3 5 2 13
3rd Stephen Craig Conor Foley 4 3 3 1 2 7 13

Top 3 RS Feva's
Place Helm Crew R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Total
1st Jack Higgins Henry Higgins 4 5 2 1 1 1 9
2nd Emer Rafferty Laura Coleman 1 3 1 3 2 4 10
3rd Dara Donnelly Rosemary Tyrrell 3 4 3 2 4 2 14


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#rs – The curtain raiser for the 2013 RS Classes traveller series takes place this weekend on Dublin Bay as The Royal St George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire is set to host the 2013 RS Eastern Championships.
The RS200 & RS400 classes have seen a big jump in numbers over the past year. The classes are definitely bucking the trend highlighted at the recent ISA dinghy forum, with growing numbers across all age ranges and abilities. The combination of exciting racing in strict and inexpensive one designs appears to be striking a chord with sailors.
This winter the Ballyholme Icebreaker series boasted nineteen RS400 entries drawn from the Belfast Lough area clubs. Amongst the new additions to RS400 fleet are London 2012 49er pairing of Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern. The bar for the rest of the 400 crews will be set particularly high this year, as there is no doubt that this will raise the skill level and competition across the fleet. Fellow Ballyholme sailor and former 49er campaigner Bob Espey is set to continue where he left off last year and provide stiff competition.
Also seeing steady growth in the RS classes is host club The Royal St George, which now counts six RS200's and four RS400's on the dinghy forecourt. Current RS200 national champion Sean Craig has handed over the reins to his son Stephen and crew for the season, leaving some pretty big boots to fill. Also expected at the event are the usual RS200 stalwarts from Greystones SC. With Graeme Noonan expected to be battling for honours in the RS200 fleet.
The RS Feva class will also join in on the action. After the success of last years combined RS National Championships, the Feva class will be part of the 2013 RS Traveller series. A dedicated on the water coach will be on hand to give the Feva fleet a leg up for this season opener. The Feva competitors will benefit from boat handling and sail trim tips while racing. All of which should stand them in good stead for the rest of the season. Local Laser ace Dan O'Beirne is tipped to be the man to beat in the Feva fleet.

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#rssailing – Since the RS100's launch in 2010 it has been the world's fastest growing performance single handed class. Numbers have built rapidly across the globe and in November at the ISAF Annual Conference in Dublin the RS100 was awarded ISAF Class status.

ISAF status marks a significant step in the development of the 100 Class, with acceptance in many countries heavily influenced by it. Only ISAF classes are allowed to hold world championships and the RS100 Association is now planning their first Worlds, late in the 2013 season, on mainland Europe. Around forty competitors are expected from central Europe, eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, the USA and of course the UK – full details will be announced shortly and posted on the RS100 Class Association website.

From the outset, sailors have been attracted by the RS100s relatively user friendly handling and performance across the wind range. At the end of its first season the 100 won the prestigious "Sailboat of the Year" award in the USA, "Dinghy of the Year" in the UK and "Coup de Coeurs" in France.

The 2013 event calendar includes a series of events across Europe - some on the established open skiff scene and some alongside other successful RS classes, joining in their fantastic social scene. Sweden looks set to become the latest nation to start RS100 racing in 2013, while on the other side of the world the Australian fleet has grown significantly over the last six months.

As if all this were not enough, the RS100 has also become one of the coolest accessories in super-yacht toy cupboards. An increasing number of yachts have shipped RS100s aboard, with the charge led last year by the keen dinghy sailing Dyson family (of vacuum cleaner fame) on their beautiful classic motor yacht. Rumours of an RS100 regatta alongside a super-yacht event are starting to circulate so perhaps it's only a matter of time... Now that would be glamorous.

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