#ICEBREAKER – Last Sunday saw the conclusion of Part 1 of this year's Ballyholme Yacht Club "StenaLine" Icebreaker series. The event has been a great success so far with only 2 weekends un-sailable due to weather. The numbers have been huge with 44 Laser standards, 15 laser radials, 7 laser 4.7's and 28 Toppers as well as the large dinghy and multihull fleets - all regularly in contention. Report by Garth Maxwell and Rory Flannigan.
After a couple of windy races, the breeze died down over last weekend. In fact, we could have done with a bit more wind to keep active and warm. It was still a great days racing with the light westerly breeze shifting about which kept everyone on their toes.
The Laser fleet were a bit twitchy at the start and even with the "standard" black flag start a number of competitors were too keen to get an early advantage. Luckily our Race Officer Robin Gray couldn't identify the numbers so we were all brought back and given a second life. Behaviour improved for the next start and everyone got away unscathed. The first beat from the North East mark to the north West was tricky as the wind had dropped slightly and everyone was trying to work out which side of the course would be favoured. Keith storey grabbed the headlines as he was 2nd to the windward mark and maintained his good position through out the race. Keith eventually finished 5th overall which was a PB for him in this series. Gareth Flannigan Colin Leonard and David Fletcher were fighting it out for the overall title but Chris Boyd sailed the last beat in fine style to record his first bullet of the series. David Fletcher was 2nd with Gareth 3rd and Colin 4th on the day. So the overall winner of part A was Gareth Flannigan who finished 5 points clear of Colin Leonard. David Fletcher was 3rd with John Simms in 4th. Gareth was a worthy winner with 5 firsts in the series. He was pushed all the way by both Colin and David who put together a fine series.
The Silver fleet was won by Cavan Fynes who actually didn't need to sail in the last race to win. Cavan had some very strong finishes and this now moves him to the gold fleet for Part 2. Mike Kimber also sailed a very consistent series and was only 4 points behind Cavan. Trevor Patterson was 3rd in the silver fleet another 2 points behind Mike.
The Bronze fleet was won in fine style by Des Magee. Des finished 20th last Sunday and this was enough for him to keep ahead of Stephen Dobbs and Robert Kirk. The bronze fleet was highly competitive and if some guys had not had so many DNCs the results would have looked much different!!
The Radial fleet was missing a few of the key players. Ryan Glynn sailed well to get his second bullet in a row with Suzanne Flannigan recording her best result of the season in the radial in 2nd place.Sarah Eames was 3rd and Jennifer Whittaker in 4th. So it really was a day for the girls in this fleet. Chris Eames had done enough to win overall with Ryan Glyn pushing him really close in 2nd. Brian Bibby held on to take 3rd place from Sam Purdon.
There were more 4.7s on the water this week with Tim Brow getting first place, Michael Lewis in 2nd and Lucy Robinson getting 3rd. Craig Campbell had done enough to win but only by a point from Michael with Tim Brow in 3rd and Lucy Robinson in 4th overall and first girl in this fleet.
There were 10 boats afloat in the Topper Fleet this week, although we now have had . From the start there was closely fought action with Sam Wilkinson, Tom Purdon and Liam Glynn and Ben Martin fighting it out for the the top three places. Ben Martin showed the rest of the fleet how it's done by keeping the National Squad members on their feet! Weather suited the Toppers and they had a good clean sail round the course.
Overall, at the end of the first half of the icebreaker, Mark McDonough is 3rd, Liam Glynn is 2nd and in 1st place and winner of the Stena Line prize is Tom Purdon!
The Large Dinghy class was down on numbers this week. It was great to see the regulars out and about! Wic McCready got round the course so fast that he nearly finished with the multihulls! Our Rescue Captain, Rob Milligan, also had a terrific race! At the start all boats started with a 'country mile' as our race officer Robin Gray, would say. Over all, Wic McCready is leading the Large Dinghy Fleet at the end of this season.
The Multihull fleet has a nice wee jolt round the course with Adrian Allen having an excellent tack right on the starting line as the gun roared. It was good to see three boats out in this fleet. Maybe next season we will see more as its a fleet we all love to watch. Adrian Allen won this season and won the Stena Line prize.
A huge thanks goes to the Battery Hens and the Battery Rooster Jimmy McKee for all their hard work this half of the ice breaker! They have been excellent up in the battery, recording the results of the biggest sailing fleet in Northern Ireland.
We would further like to thank the BYC Rescue team, Rory Flannigan, Kyle Dougan, Tim Addy and Garvin Halliwell along with their many various weekly assistants such as Mia Taylor, Ive, Aiden Pounder, Dave Mullen. You have all been amazing!
The series ended with our traditional Icebreaker dinner at Ballyholme YC on Sunday night with the prize giving and Christmas fare.
We look forward to Part 2 of the series which starts on 29th January 2012 and are hoping to attract the growing RS400 fleet down from RNIYC (Cultra) for more fantastic racing. A few of our Masters have been missing in the Laser Standard fleet so hopefully we can get over 50 entries by the end.
Part 1 Winners:
Laser Standard - Gareth Flannigan BYC
Laser Silver Fleet - Cavan Fyans BYC
Laser Bronze - Stephen Magee BYC
Laser Radial - Chris Eames BYC
Laser 4.7 - Craig Campbell RNIYC
Small Dinghy/ Topper - Tom Purdon SLYC
Large Dinghy - Wiclif McCready BYC
Multihull - Adrian Allen BYC