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Hansa 303 Irish Championship 2015 at Belfast Lough Sailability & Carrickfergus Sailing Club

3rd August 2015
Hansa 303s ready to sail at Carrickferus. Photo: George Taylor. Scroll down for more photos below
Hansa 303 Irish Championship 2015 at Belfast Lough Sailability & Carrickfergus Sailing Club

#belfastlough – During two days stolen from this summer's weather, Belfast Lough Sailability and Carrickfergus Sailing Club ran the Hansa 303 Irish Championship 2015 off Carrickfergus, Belfast Lough over the weekend 1 & 2 August.

Competitors with their supporters and fans had arrived from all over Ireland. The furthest travelled, from Kinsale Yacht Club and Galway Bay Sailing Club, together with a strong fleet of six boats from Dun Laoghaire Sailability, joined Northern Ireland-based Hansas from the hosts and Quoile Yacht Club, with two loan boats from Foyle Sailability bring the fleet to eighteen.

Conditions out on Belfast Lough on Saturday weren't the best, in a gusty, fresh southwesterly. After two double-handed races won by local helm Aled Duffin-Murray crewed by Rory Moore, closely chased by Galway's Mark Henderson and Mark Kelly, race officer Sheela Lewis pulled the fleet ashore to run an in-harbour single-handed race in more placid waters – even with sunshine.

Champion of the past two years, Kinsale's Gina Griffin, made up for a tough morning out in the billows to win from the consistent Mark Henderson in front of Carrickfergus's imposing 12th Century castle and a noisy audience of supporters.

Thankfully, by Sunday morning the originally forecast strong winds remained benign until later in the day, allowing two more offshore double-handed races in which Gina Griffin got back into her stride to dominate. But the two second places picked up by Aled Duffin-Murray, this time crewed by Brian Courtney, allowed him to clinch the double-handed class and ensure that the Championship Trophy, newly gifted by Carrickfergus Sailing Club, would remain in County Antrim.

After lunch, the remaining single-handed race was sailed, again in the harbour, and again in front of an enthusiastic crowd, but this time in a gusty and flukey southerly breeze. Gina Griffin won to ensure she would retain the single-handed trophy, with the always up there Mark Henderson not far behind in second place overall.

That's the story of the racing, but the big story is of 36 competitors, their supporters and over 70 volunteers enjoying a tremendous amount of fun both on and off the water; of friendships made and rekindled, and a great weekend had by all.

Overall Results:

Double-Handed Class

1. Aled Duffin-Murray & Rory Moore/ Brian Courtney, Belfast Lough Sailability, 4 pts
2. Gina Griffin & Lia Teahan-O'Connor, Kinsale YC, 8 pts
3. Mark Henderson & Mark Kelly, Galway Bay YC, 8 pts

Single-Handed Class

1. Gina Griffin, Kinsale YC, 2 pts
2. Mark Henderson, Galway Bay YC, 5 pts
3. Kerry Mussen, Belfast Lough Sailability, 5 pts


Saturday's blustery conditions on Belfast Lough were a handful. Photo: Nigel Thompson


Belfast Lough Sailability's Elizabeth Black and Bill Foster show off the weatherly qualities of these mini keelboats. Photo: Nigel Thompson


Mark Henderson (Galway Bay SC) about to contend with a knocked starboard tacker during Sunday's in-harbour single-handed race. Photo: Nigel Thompson


Mark Henderson still keeping an eye on that starboard tacker. Photo: Nigel Thompson


Mark Henderson and Eoin Bannon (Belfast Lough Sailability) at close quarters before Sunday's in-harbour single-handed race. Photo: Nigel Thompson



The prizewinners: Back Row: Eoin Bannon (Belfast Lough Sailability); Lia Teahan-O'Connor (Kinsale YC); Trevor Kirkpatrick (Carrickfergus SC Commodore); Alderman Billy Ashe (Mayor of Mid & East Antrim Borough Council); Anne Taylor (Chair, Belfast Lough Sailability); Brian Courtney (Belfast Lough Sailability): Front Row: Kerry Mussen (Belfast Lough Sailability); Gina Griffin (Kinsale YC - Single-handed Champion); Mark Henderson (Galway Bay SC); Aled Duffin-Murray (Belfast Lough Sailability - Double-handed Champion); Sean McCullagh (Dun Laoghaire Sailability)

Published in Belfast Lough Team

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