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Bangor Town Regatta Begins Next Week

2nd July 2018
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Bangor Town Regatta – The head turner will be Jamie McWilliam's Ker 40 from Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club seen here competing at Howth's Wave Regatta Bangor Town Regatta – The head turner will be Jamie McWilliam's Ker 40 from Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club seen here competing at Howth's Wave Regatta Photo: Afloat.ie

There's less than a week to go until the inaugural Bangor Town Regatta hosted by Royal Ulster Yacht Club and Ballyholme Yacht Club in Belfast Lough.

The last Bangor Week was hosted back in 2005 when a full week was then deemed too much for modern sailing or modern lives. Dun Laoghaire Regatta has shown the way ahead following Tarbert with a four-day event instead, and Bangor Town Regatta look forward to having similar success, say organisers.

Banfor week RS400RS400s and RS200s will have their own race course at Bangor Town Regatta Photo: Afloat.ie

For a first attempt, a fleet of over 100 keelboats and dinghies expected should be a great turnout. Eight keelboat classes will race on one course whilst the RS400 and RS200 dinghies will compete on a second racecourse for their Irish National Championships.

The head turner will be Jamie McWilliam's Ker 40 from Royal Hong Kong YC

The head turner will be Jamie McWilliam's Ker 40 from Royal Hong Kong YC which must measure 48 feet when the bowsprit is taken into count. Luckily its positioned at the end of Bangor Marina or could take a good high jumper or limbo dancer to get around it. Signal 8 has won many races both in Asia as well as the Wave Regatta in Howth earlier this summer.

IRC optimised J109 Storm

The most competitive fleet should prove to be Class 2 dominated by the fast-growing RC 35 Class with Pat Kelly bringing his IRC optimised J109 Storm from Howth to do battle with the strong visiting Scottish contingent. Storm dominated both the J109 Nationals last year as well as winning the RC35 Class in Tarbert in May although were pipped to the win in the Wave Regatta overall by RIYC's Juggerknot.

Storm J109 3325Pat Kelly's Storm, the Irish champion J109 is competing at Bangor Photo: Afloat.ie

Class 3 IRC and Class 4 Quarter Tonners also look to see double figure entries for both starts. There are also good numbers in the NHC Unrestricted Class 5 and NHC Restricted Class 8.

The RS400 Nationals sees the return of last years Irish champions Alex Barry and Richard Leonard to the home club of Gareth Flannigan and David Fletcher from Ballyholme YC. Flannigan is of course used to winning many Irish national titles including several Laser titles and SB20's and a few RS provincial titles with Fletcher. Alan Ruigrok & Max McKnight will also look to join the podium having won the recent RS400 Easterns in May at Rush, although there have been strong fleets from Carrickfergus and Royal North Ireland competing regularly on Belfast Lough over the winter and many of these will fancy their chances to crash the party.

Challengers are also coming from as far afield as Wembley SC and Aberdeen, while ex-pats Michael "Chunky" Gunning (Round Britain record holder in Artemis) and Philp Adams are bringing their love of pink back from the mainland to compete on home waters.

The RS200 Nationals look to see smaller numbers but plenty of talent with entries from as far as Joseph Griffiths and Zoe O'Connor from Baltimore, and Andrew and Leon Mullally from Killaloe coming to compete against the local talent from Strangford Lough, Larne, Whitehead and Ballyholme.

Racing starts for keelboat classes next Thursday afternoon with registration and briefing in the morning, while the RS classes will start racing on Friday at noon. A great social schedule is planned for both clubs across the long weekend with dining every evening and entertainment into the late night.

Spectators can watch the racing from Bangor Marina around to Lukes Point – the fleets at Ballyholme should be leaving one hour before the start of the racing for their day. Keelboat fleets will be set a coastal race on Friday or Saturday with a potential trip around the Copeland Islands on the cards for the bigger classes.

Published in Belfast Lough
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