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The Hong Kong Flying Fifteen team will race in the first race of the Subaru Flying Fifteen World Championships tomorrow following the release of their three boats from Customs at Dublin Port that caused them to miss this week's pre-world championships on Dublin Bay.

Last Sunday (September 1st), National Yacht Club championship organisers appealed to Minister for Transport Shane Ross for his assistance in expediting the situation at the Port where Hong Kong boats shipped specially to Dublin for the two-week event were in danger of missing it.

In an 'urgent request', the National Yacht Club's Commodore Martin McCarthy explained to the Minister by letter that the Asian team was temporarily 'importing their boats under the exemption of import charges'.

According to the Dun Laoghaire club's Honorary Secretary, Peter Sherry, 'the NYC appealed to the Minister as well as local politicians to intervene but it took a call from Hong Kong to the Tanaiste's Office before the wheels began to turn'.

The NYC says the boats were finally released from Customs yesterday (Wednesday) in time for the first race of the World Championships on Friday but unfortunately they did miss this week's warm-up event.

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With the Dublin Bay Buoy recording 23 knots with gusts in the low thirties, the obvious decision, to cancel today's racing at the Flying fifteen pre-world championships has been taken by Race Officer Jack Roy writes Cormac Bradley.

This leaves the results as reported last night here.

1 Nathan Batchelor & Richard Rigg 9pts.
2 Richard Lovering & Matt Alvarado 10pts
3 Greg Wells & Andrew Jameson 15pts
4 Mike Hart & Dean McAullay 16pts
5 Graham Vials & Chris Turner 20pts
11 Campbell Alexander & Dave Berridge 44pts
12 David Gorman & Chris Doorly 54pts
13 Andy & Rory Martin 56pts

The first Irishman in the overall placing is Alan Green in the Anglo Irish combination with Charles Apthorp - finishing 8th overall.

In the Silver Fleet, the honours go to the South African combination of Patrick Harris & Jeremy Kriek in 20th, followed by Lee Statham & Andy Paul (21st) (IRL) and Ashley Smith & Charles Apthorp (Jnr) (AUS) in 22nd.

In Bronze the honours go to Alistair Stevenson & Jeremy Valentine (GBR) in 36th, followed by Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley (37th) and Tom Murphy & Carel la Roux (39th), the latter two being part of the host fleet.

Prize-giving is scheduled for 18:00 with an Irish night to follow.

Results are here.

Flying fifteen keel for sale here

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The International Flying Fifteen class returns to Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay where 78 competitors from nine nations will go to battle for the 2019 title. Host club the National Yacht Club will host the event which has 12 races scheduled to be sailed from Friday 6 - Friday 13 September.

As Afloat is already reporting here and here, the majority of the competitors are already gaining valuable practice at the Pre-Worlds Championship of Ireland taking place from 2 - 4 September.

A highly competitive fleet of 78 boats has gathered in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, the same venue that hosted the 1992 and 2003 world championships.

FF Subaru 6231The National Yacht Club pontoon and below hard standing and launching

FF Subaru 6214

FF Subaru 6221Launching at the NYC - the race area is only a ten minute sail

Flying fiteen 6848A dark and blustery start to the pre-worlds on Dublin Bay

The UK has sent the largest contingent of boats with some of the big names in Flying Fifteen sailing. Among them are Steve Goacher and Tim Harper from Royal Windermere YC, sailing ‘The whippet & the whopper’.

Steve Goacher is the current world champion securing his fourth world title at Napier, New Zealand in February 2019. He first won the worlds in 1995 at Hong Kong and held the title for three consecutive championships at Cowes, UK in 1997 and Esperance Bay in West Australia in 1999. All three regattas were sailing with Phil Evans as crew. It was then some 18 years before he won the worlds again at Napier with new crew Tim Harper. He has also won a string of European and UK Championships. The ‘Goach’ a real stalwart of the class and big Tim, finished fourth at the recent UKFFA Championships at Poole Harbour and go to Dublin as one of the favourites. He can’t be expected to give up his title without a real fight!

Flying fiteen Steve Goacher 7139Steve Goacher and Tim Harper

Steve sums up his expectations:  “I think Dublin is going to be quite variable conditions, I have sailed out there quite a lot so I am familiar with the waters. We always like going to Dublin it is always a great regatta, always very welcoming.”

The Goach is sure to be pushed hard by three-time world champion Graham Vials sailing with Chris Turner from Derwent Reservoir SC who returns to the class after some time out of the boat.

Flying fiteen Vials 7086Graham Vials sailing with Chris Turner from Derwent Reservoir SC

Graham: “I did three worlds on the trot and then was lucky enough to have twins so took a bit of time out which is nice but we are just getting back into it now.
We sailed the UK Inlands in Rutland in around May time, so we bought a boat for that, it was the first time we had sailed for a year to 18 months. We are a bit rusty but back into our new boat”

Graham and Chris won three back to back Flying Fifteen World Championships: 2011 at Hayling Island, 2013 at Hong Kong and 2015 at Crozon. The team then took a break and missed the last worlds in Napier in 2017. Back in the boat, the pair won the UKFFA Nationals in Poole by a margin of 18 points having won 5 out of 10 races.

Graham explains: “You get back in the boat after a while and you don’t really know how fast you are going to go and what mistakes you are going to make but everything came together really well, it has been a pleasure sailing with Chris again, we get on really well and sail the boat nice and fast so no complaints.”

Leading the Pre-Worlds Irish Championship after day one, Richard Lovering and Matt Alvarado are previous winners of the UK Flying Fifteen Championship at the Royal Northern & Clyde YC in Scotland in 2015 and again at the Royal Cornwall YC at Falmouth in 2017. At this year’s regatta at Poole, they finished fourth in a highly competitive UK fleet. 

Richard: “We haven’t sailed in Dublin Bay before, we have sailed around the coast at Howth so it will be a bit of a steep learning curve. I expect any conditions coming off the land to be quite shifty so we will have to be in the right place at the right time.”

Some of the other experienced regulars in the UKFFA fleet have swapped crews last season and claim to be a bit rusty! but are still likely to be top 10 contenders in Dublin.

Greg Wells representing Hayling Island SC, will be sailing with Andrew Jameson. He has raced at the Flying Fifteen worlds as long as he can remember. He has never won a world title but has been runner-up and has been Flying Fifteen European Champion twice.

Flying fiteen Greg wells 6542Greg Wells (right) and Andrew Jameson

Greg: “I have sailed two world championships in Dublin and there is always a full range of conditions. I like that, I know some people like good steady breezes but It will be about consistency, it will not be about just getting lots of firsts. You will have to claw your way back from bad first beats and try and get back to top 10 - 15, which will be good counting scores.”

Ian Pinnell has long been associated with the Flying Fifteen class as part of the very successful Pinnell & Bax partnership. Ian has picked up the tiller to race in the class whenever he can. He is crewed by Jeremy Wise.

Nathan Batchelor of Ovington Boats has teamed up with former British champion crew Ricky Rigg in advance of this year's worlds in Dublin. Almost all the latest Flying Fifteens come out of the Ovington Boats factory.

FF Nathan Batchelor Richard Rigg 6903Nathan Batchelor of Ovington Boats with former British champion crew Ricky Rigg

Nathan: “It is a great spot and the Irish always have a great craic so for a home regatta I am sure the Irish will be out in full force supported by family and friends, so it will be a great regatta I am sure.”

The current European champions are in Dublin. Hamish Mackay and Andrew Lawless from the Royal Thames YC had a great win in Lake Garda last September and have consistently been at the front end of the fleet for a number of years.

Other teams from the UK likely to challenge for a podium spot at the 2019 Worlds include the Anglo-Irish team of Charles Apthorp from Hayling Island SC, crewed by Irish local Alan Green. The pair finished fourth at the last worlds in Napier in New Zealand.

Flying fifteen Apthorp 6906Charles Apthorp from Hayling Island SC (left) crewed by Alan Green

Class regulars who can regularly finish in the top 10 also include Chris Waples and Peter Bannister also from Hayling Island SC and two boats representing Dovestone SC, namely David Mckee, crewed by Mal Hartland and Andy Mckee and Richard Jones.

The Australian contingent always send a strong team to any Flying Fifteen World Championship. This time around, the 2017 Napier Worlds runner up couple of Nick and Janet Jerwood are unable to compete but nevertheless there are 9 Aussie crews from all corners of the country that have made the journey to Ireland.

Of them a former world champion Dean McAullay has teamed up with seasoned F15 regular Mike Hart, sailing in ‘Firefly’ representing the Royal Freshwater Bay YC in Perth. The next F15 Worlds will take place under the burgee of the Royal Freshwater Bay YC in 2021. Dean’s club mates include the ‘Glamour Buoys’ Greg ‘Levo’ Leaversuch and Peter Barblett, currently going well at the Pre-Worlds. A number of regular F15 sailors representing South of Perth YC, Lake Macquarie YC, Royal Queensland YS and Darwin SC have all made the long journey to Dublin.

Flying fiteen David Gorman 6718Irish Champions Dave Gorman and Chris Doorly

Naturally, a strong local team of Irish competitors will be competing on home waters in Dublin Bay. The team who have been showing great form over the past two seasons are Irish Champions Dave Gorman crewed by Chris Doorly, just one of many teams from the local organising club the National Yacht Club.

Two other Irish boats representing Strangford Lough YC, Andy and Rory Martin and Hammy Baker with crew Peter Chamberlain are going well in the Pre-Worlds regatta at the time of this report.

The big Irish entry also includes teams representing Royal St George YC, Dun Laoghaire Motor YC, Waterford Harbour SC, Royal Irish YC, and Killyleagh YC.

There are four boats coming from Hong Kong, two each representing France and Spain and two boats from South Africa.

Campbell Alexander from South Africa has been on a global tour of F15 sailing and comes to Dublin off the back of a good performance at the UKFFA Championships last July in Poole. He is sailing with Debbie Cox representing the Royal Natal YC

Campbell sums up his expectations:  “We like a good breeze, give us 25 knots and we are happy. We thought that it was one of the Flying Fifteen regattas we couldn’t miss out on.”

Joining Campbell in Dublin will be Patrick Harris and Jeremy Kriek.

Also competing is the current New Zealand champions Hayden Percy and Scott Pedersen representing Napier SC and a single entry from Canada, Tim O’Connell sailing with Raymond Flanagan on behalf of West Vancouver YC.

Flying fiteen 6948Team New Zealand

Of course, the Flying Fifteens have come from all parts of the globe to not only enjoy the challenging racing conditions offered by Dublin Bay. Competitors are well aware of the Irish hospitality and the world-famous black gold tipple.

Greg Wells from the UK sums up his expectations:  “The Guinness will be good and the ‘craic’ as they say will be brilliant”.

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As advised by Race Officer this morning, the Flying Fifteen Pre-Worlds fleet completed three races today in view of a forecast that currently suggests we may not get out tomorrow writes Cormac Bradley.

Two windward- leewards of two laps followed by a full sausage-triangle-sausage saw the on the water time similar to yesterday but more races sailed. The fleet also cooperated with the programme by getting away first time under a U Flag. As the race officer advised the purpose of the regatta is to race not get starting practice.

The conditions were more benign than yesterday and indeed there were instances where crews were sitting in board.

The top ten now only has a solitary imposter, the Australian combination of Mike Hart & Dean McAullay; AUS 4063 whose results are 3, 7, 6, 3 & 4, good enough for 4th overall.

All the other "top-tenners" are from GBR, led by Nathan Batchelor & Richard Rigg; GBR 4070 whose scoreline is 7, 4, 1, 1, 3. Richard Lovering & Matt Alvarado; GBR 4002 are "demoted" to 2nd with race results of 1, 3, 5, 7, 1 leaving them with a 1-point deficit to the top spot. In third are Greg Wells & Andrew Jameson; GBR 5, 6, 2, 11, 2.

The South Africans Campbell Alexander & David Berridge RSA 4009 are 11th (11, 19, 10, 17, 6) followed by the first of the Irish fleet, David Gorman & Chris Doorly; IRL 3920 with a 19, 15, 12, 13, 14 and they in turn are just ahead of the Martin Brothers, Andy & Rory who have a scoreline of 18, 12, 18, 8, 24.

A decision on racing tomorrow will be taken at 11:00 tomorrow morning with only one race needed to complete the series. But as of this evening, we all have a discard, which is nearly as valuable as the final result.

Tonight the fleet is being entertained by a group of speakers that include a member of the Irish Women's Hockey Team that made the World Cup Final last year, Joan Molloy Irish solo sailor, Steve Goacher, Current Flying Fifteen World Champion and Prof O'Connell, a member of an Irish Melges 24 World Championship winning team dealing with the aspects of sport psychology.

Prize-giving for the Pre-Worlds and Championship of Ireland will close out the proceedings tomorrow.

Results are here.

Flying fifteen keel for sale here

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Hayling Island Sailing Club's Richard Lovering and Matt Alvarado lead the Subaru Flying Fifteen Championship of Ireland and Pre-Worlds
contest after two races sailed in blustery westerlies on Dublin Bay yesterday writes Cormac Bradley.

The six-race series which precedes this Friday's World Championships got off to a prompt start in breezes ranging from 10 to 20 knots with big shifts on a race track in the northwest of Dublin Bay under International Race Officer Jack Roy who is also Irish Sailing President.

The former UK Flying Fifteen champion Lovering scored a 1 and a 3 in the 56-boat fleet to be two points clear of another former UK champion, Steve Goacher sailing with Tim Harper of Royal Windermere Yacht Club. Third is Australia's Firefly sailed by Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club's Mike Hart and Dean McAullay

FF Subaru 6825Race one of the Flying Fifteen Pre-World Championships got away after a general recall Photo: Afloat

The top ten in the 55-boat fleet is dominated by the strong British team but South Africa's Campbell Alexander and Dave Herridge are ninth. The top Irish is Strangford Lough's Andy Martin and Rory Martin in tenth place.

Race Officer Roy gave the fleet two of the sausage-triangle-sausage courses to stretch their limbs and sinews!

FF Subaru 6897The Tynemouth Sailing Club entry of Nathan Batchelor and Richard Rigg arrive at the Weather Mark in the first race Photo: Afloat

With a declared wind direction of 240° and a flooding tide, the on the water conditions were quite comfortable. At his briefing in the morning, the Race Officer declared that a U flag start would be used after an aborted start if he deemed the fleet to be at fault - it didn't take long for the U-flag to be broken out and the black flag got some usage as well.

The Race Officer on coming ashore after the day's proceedings advised that wind strengths in the first race were of the order of 12 knots gusting to nineteen and in the second 13 gusting to the low twenties. It felt more than that! There was some relief in the lulls but they were short-lived.

FF Subaru 7420A crowded gybe mark in lap two of the first race Photo: Afloat

The overall scoreboard is dominated by the British entries with seven boats in the top ten. They are led by Lovering & Alvarado, GBR 4002 counting a 1,3. Next is Goacher & Harper GBR 4021 with a 4,2 and Hart & McAullay AUS 4063 with a 3,7. Graham Vials & Chris Turner GBR 4071 claimed the second race and added a 10 from Race 1 to close out the top five.

FF Subaru 6589Agatha from Hayling Island Sailing Club sailed by Greg Wells (right) and Andrew Jameson are lying seventh  Photo: Afloat

South Africans Campbell Alexander & Dave Herridge RSA 4009 lie 9th with a 11 & 9 and the Martin Brothers, Andy & Rory IRL 3974 close out the top ten with a 18, 12.

Three Irish boats occupy 10th, 11th and 13th overall with Hammy Baker & Peter Chamberlain IRL 3756 sandwiched between the Martins and the leading boat from the host club, David Gorman & Chris Doorly who are counting a 19, 15. Bryan Willis & John McPeake from Whitehead and registered as GBR occupy 12th.

Irish Champions Dave Gorman (left) and Chris Doorly Photo: AfloatIrish Champions Dave Gorman (left) and Chris Doorly Photo: Afloat

A briefing is scheduled for 11:00 today where the word is we will be having a three-race programme due to an adverse weather forecast for Wednesday.

FF Subaru 6453Australian entry 'Final Fifteen Says She!' from South of Perth Yacht Club sailed by John Hassen and Kevin Griffiths Photo: Afloat

Results are here.

Racing continues at the National Yacht Club hosted event today.

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With just over 72 hours to go until the measurement process for the Subaru Ireland Flying Fifteen World Championship 2019 commences, plans for the event are proceeding apace including new pontoon facilities in front of the National Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire's East Pier writes Cormac Bradley.

The organising committee have had their last pre-event committee meeting, the “on-the-water” team led by IRO Jack Roy were in deep discussion last night, our first international competitors have arrived, the containers from Australia are due to arrive shortly, PR material is arriving at the club, protocols and procedures are being checked and generally the excitement level is rising…..only three more sleeps to go!

INSS Pontoon NYCThe NYC bridging pontoon was supplied and fitted by the Marine Services Division of the Irish National Sailing School at Dun Laoghaire

On the water, the most significant change is the that new “bridge” between the pontoons in front of the National Yacht Club and the existing pontoons and platform is now in place. The pontoons were left in place to facilitate a wet-sailed event and while that idea has receded, the installation of the bridge means that the option to wet-sail should be more attractive with ease of access to boats much more pronounced. Of course, the “bridge” means that the navigation into and out of the National Yacht Club has to be a bit more circumspect as it presents a limitation of access to the “pool” in front of the platform so boat users need to be aware of the new arrangement.

Entries for the combined event, Pre-Worlds, Championship of Ireland and the Worlds now stand in the high seventies with entries from Australia, Canada, France, GBR, Hong Kong, South Africa, Spain and of course Ireland.

In addition to the sailing, the organising committee has put in place an interesting social programme in accordance with the reputation of the Irish (as good hosts) and our Australian friends will also be hosting an evening to promote their World Championship in 2021.

All looks set for a great event……. we just need Mother Nature to do her bit!

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In the week when there was a “macro-committee” meeting of the organising team for the Subaru Ireland sponsored Flying Fifteen World Championship 2019, a slightly reduced fleet took part in the penultimate race of the Flying Fifteen 2019 DBSC midweek summer season writes Cormac Bradley.

The series leaders, Messrs Gorman & Doorly were absent as were fellow NYC-ers Niall Coleman & Mick Quinn, the RStGYC contingent was at 50% with Alistair Court & Conor O’Leary AWOL and Frank Miller & Ed Butler at the Fireball Worlds in Montreal Canada, where three races have been completed in the North American/Pre-Worlds Regatta. The Coal Harbour were fully represented in Hugh & Michael Cahill and the DMYC had a 66% turnout. In total, 13 boats gathered at the start line.

The forecast was for a WSW of between 10 and 17 knots in the early evening but fading as the evening wore on. The tide was ebbing, so we had tide and wind going in the same direction. Race Officer Jack Roy was advising the competitors by radio that the wind was being a bit fickle in terms of direction, but he settled on the “N” suite of courses to acknowledge the 270º aspect of the wind direction.

The Fifteens got N2 – Harbour, Omega, Poldy, Omega, Poly, Bay, East and finish and Mulligan & Bradley made a late arrival at the start area to remove any debate as to which way to go up the first beat – they were on time, but the pin appeared to be the best option for them having just dropped the spinnaker. This was proving fruitful in the early stages of the port-tack beat up to Harbour, but at the latter stages of the leg the boats inside them started to benefit more and about four or five boats arrived at the mark in quick succession inside them. In this bunch were Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (4028) who rounded first, John O’Sullivan (3762) who may have hit the mark, Ken Dumpleton (3955), Brian O’Hare & Tonia McAllister (4043) and David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne (4068). My recall is that Team Cahill were also lurking with intent.

Mulligan & Bradley sailed a bit further inshore on the premise that the wind was more likely to come off the shore and sailing that bit higher would give them more “wriggle-room”. The others who had simply borne off seemed to be a bit reticent about flying spinnaker. Mulligan’s green and yellow duster was therefore well up the pecking order in being hoisted and the pair worked their way through the fleet on the tight reach from about sixth place at Harbour to tuck in behind Colin & Casey at Omega for the run down to Poldy. Behind then Dumpleton and Mulvin appeared to be to the fore in the chasing pack, though Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (3697, Ffandango) were also well up.

At Poldy Colin rounded in the lead followed by Mulligan and having pulled away from the rest they played a tactical game going up to Omega for the second time. The wind was indeed fickle with big lifts being evident on the port tack which made getting inshore a selective exercise. The gap between them stretched and receded but only by boat-lengths. Colin led around Poldy for the second time while Mulligan & Bradley practised their gybes trying to close the gap. At this stage O’Hare & McAllister were starting to extract themselves from the chasing bunch towards the leaders.

The two leaders took slightly different approaches to the long beat up to Bay with Colin initially favouring a more inshore route to Mulligan’s port-tack approach parallel to the shore. Again, the distance between the boats ebbed and flowed but again, also by small margins. About three-quarters of the way to Bay, Mulligan was significantly inshore of Colin and got a major lift towards Bay and this gave him the break to get ahead of Colin. Mulligan rounded Bay first with Colin a short distance astern. Mulligan adopted a more easterly line to the next mark, East, relative to Colin. In the meantime, O’Hare had closed on the lead two and he sailed a line that was even further east of Mulligan. Behind O’Hare, Mulvin and McKenna were keeping in touch at the head of the chasing pack.

Mulligan gybed a couple of times on his way to rounding East first, O’Hare rounded second but not before “engaging” with a Ruffian on their respective approaches to the mark. O’Hare rounded on the transom of the Ruffian with Colin a short distance astern. Colin was the first to take an inshore “hitch” but this was merely an attempt to clear his wind. Mulligan was able to sail in a windward slot relative to O’Hare and with Colin astern of him. All three boats sailed to the finish on port tack before each of them, in turn, closed on the finish line with a short starboard hitch.

  1. As Good As It Gets: 3688; Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley
  2. Nimble: 4043; Brian O’Hare & Tonia McAllister
  3. No Name: 4028; Neil Colin & Margaret Casey
  4. Ignus Caput Duo: 4068; David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne
  5. Ffandango: 3697; Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keefe

Flying Fifteens for sale here

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The Irish Flying Fifteen fleet had their last provincial event, the South Coast Championships, last weekend before the Subaru sponsored World Championships are hosted by the National Yacht Club at the end of this month writes Cormac Bradley.

This time the host was the near neighbours of the NYC, the Royal St George Yacht Club and there was some debate as to whether the RStGYC had ever hosted a Flying Fifteen event before. From early in the week before there was speculation as to what might happen on the Saturday as there was such an adverse forecast and in other regatta reports on the Afloat website, the sense that not much would happen was replicated. By Friday evening the forecast had moderated slightly but winds of mid-twenties gusting to over thirty were still showing up on the XCWeather chart and other web-based forecasts weren’t any more optimistic.

Flying Fifteen UpwindTom Murphy & Carel La Roux (L) and David Gorman & Chris Doorly(R) power upwind

A fleet of 27 boats signed up for the event with four northern visitors, three from Strangford; the brothers Martin, Baker & Chamberlain, and McCleery & Dougan and one from Belfast Lough, Messrs Willis & McPeake with the newest Flying Fifteen in the World, sail number 4074. Dunmore East had a 100% turnout with Lee, Andy, Charlie and Rob all in attendance. Of the DL Clubs, the DMYC had a 66% turnout (2), the Royal St George had a 100% turnout (4) but the bulk of the fleet came from the NYC.

Race Officer Barry O’Neil committed himself and his team to trying to provide at least one race on the Saturday and they were true to their word. With a punctual start at 11:55, a slightly reduced fleet got off the start line cleanly in 20+ knots of breeze, coming from a W – WNW direction, with a start area towards the South Bull, located to avoid any possible clash with the DBSC fleets later in the day. It wouldn’t be an issue!

Flying fifteen spinnakers(L to R) – Craig/Green (Viking Pump), Willis/McPeake (Yellow/White), Mathews/Poole (Red/Black) & Martins (Grey) approach the leeward mark

Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley (3688) went left and worked their way up the left-hand side of the first beat to find themselves in first place at the mark. An element of confusion entered their thinking when Bradley stated that the offset mark for the Windward-Leeward course was going to be a black inflatable, matching the weather mark. Only problem was that the second black inflatable was sitting in a rib. The obvious conclusion was that the smaller white mark in the water was the offset. That resulted in a slightly delayed spinnaker hoist. Given the breezy conditions, identifying other boats in the immediate vicinity was less important, but my recall is that Ian Mathews & Keith Poole (3864), the Martin brothers, Andy & Rory (3974), Andrew Baker & Peter Chamberlain (3756) Charlie Boland & Rob McConnell (3682) and Lee Statham & Andy Paul (3896) from Dunmore East were in the lead bunch. The first downwind leg was still “playable” from a spinnaker perspective and the surfing was almost continuous as a consequence of the strengthening breeze. The Martin Brothers rounded the gate first with Statham & Paul possibly second. More boats tried out the left-hand side of the beat with reward, particularly Sean Craig & Alan Green (3970) who came from a low top ten position to feature at the front of the fleet. The Martin Brothers extended their lead upwind. The second downwind was a bit hairier than the first with the challenge “not to do anything stupid”. Though not in the realms of doing something stupid, Statham & Paul turtled at a late stage of the second run following a Chinese gybe, stuck their mast in the “putty” and broke is as a consequence. Boland & McConnell were also telling stories of a hectic spinnaker drop. Matthews and Mulligan came dangerously close, given the conditions, but both survived to give a finishing sequence of Martins, Craig/Green, Mulligan/Bradley, Mathews/Poole and Baker/Chamberlain.

It is not often that a regatta fleet “votes with its feet”, but as each boat finished, they made a bee-line for shore, even though the committee boat had flown no flags to promote that option. The two-sail sail in to the harbour was full of sight-reducing spray and was completed in a very short time. Later a WhatsApp post suggested that the race had been sailed in winds of high twenties knots with gusts measuring 34/35 knots.

Sunday dawned with a healthy wind forecast of ten- twelve knots gusting to seventeen and as promised the Race Officer started the day with two sausage-triangle courses. The wind reduction seemed to go unnoticed by the Martin Brothers as they recorded two bullets in the first two races. Dave Gorman & Chris Doorly (3920) particularly enjoyed the first two races of the day as they recorded a 3, 4, while Baker & Chamberlain also had a good start to the day with a 5, 2. Mathews & Poole scored a 4, 7 while some of the others had a one good/one not so good start. Of these Alistair Court & Conor O’Leary (3753) registered a 6, 3, Craig & Green a 2,13 and Mulligan & Bradley a 11, 8. These combinations of numbers give an indication of the competitive nature of the racing, while the Martin Brothers registered two first places, my sense is that they didn’t lead from start to finish in either race. And there is no recall that any one race was won by a large margin. The DL fleet would consider a number of fleet members to be a gauge of success on the water, so when one finds oneself in that company, the sense is that one is at the races, literally, but it isn’t always the case.

Two Windward-Leeward races closed out the proceedings and in these the races wins went to David Gorman & Chris Doorly (Race 4) and Niall Coleman & Mick Quinn (4008) (Race 5). For the last two races of the series, Barry O’Neil was obliged to use the “U” Flag and in the last race, in particular, a number of high-profile transgressors of the “U” flag start regime were caught, namely Gorman & Doorly, Craig & Green and Gavin Doyle & Dave Sweeney (3912).

Frank Miller & Grattan Donnelly (3845) had a good series to win the Silver Fleet, counting a second place in the last race of the series and leading the fleet around the weather mark for the first time. Brian O’Hare and Tonia McAllister (4043) won the bronze fleet, counting scores either side of tenth position to finish 11th overall, a place behind Miller & Donnelly. Neil Colin & Margaret Casey also scored a second place, in Race 4.

Overall this was a very successful event – we found out just how these boats perform when it “honks” and the racing on the Sunday was very competitive. Aside from the Martin Brothers who had a final score of only 6 points, five points separated second overall to seventh overall. It also proves that consistency is key in a fleet where the competition level is high – a salutary lesson with ten days of racing coming up shortly.

At the prize-giving, due recognition was given to the host club for their hospitality over the weekend, the race team led by Barry O’Neill were complimented on their race management and Conor O’Leary, in particular was singled out for his organisation and background work in getting the event off the ground. The prizes were handed out by RStGYC Commodore, Peter Bowring.


Helm & Crew


Sail No.









Andy & Rory Martin

Strangford Lough Yacht Club










Andrew Baker & Peter Chamberlain

Strangford Lough Yacht Club










Ian Mathews & Keith Poole

National Yacht Club










David Gorman & Chris Doorly

National Yacht Club










Alistair Court & Conor O’Leary

Royal St George Yacht Club










Frank Miller & Grattan Donnelly

Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club










Brian O’Hare & Tonia McAllister

Royal St George Yacht Club









Published in RStGYC
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Sixteen Flying Fifteens had a great night’s DBSC racing on Thursday 8th August with a five-boat group at the front setting the pace for everyone else. The sunny conditions of earlier in the day gave way to overcast conditions but the evening wasn’t unpleasant and more importantly, there was breeze. Race Officer Jack Roy was determined to take advantage of Mother Nature and gave a course that had lots of reaching in it.

Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley (As Good as it Gets, 3688) had a nearly-perfect pin end start but their timing was out by two seconds and looking back along the line there was nowhere to hide. A bear-off and a gybe saw them take a few transoms on the way to pioneering a course on the right-hand side of the beat. A bigger group had gone out to sea first before taking a long port-tach approach to the first mark of the evening, East.

At this stage the lead was in the hands of Alistair Court & Conor O’Leary (Ffinnisterre, 3753) but immediately behind them were David Gorman & Chris Doorly (Betty, 3920), Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (No Name ,4028), Tom Murphy & Karel la Roux, (Fflagella, 4057), David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne (Ignus Caput Duo, 4068), Niall Coleman & Mick Quinn (Flyer, 4008) and, despite their having to go back at the start, just a short distance off the lead group, Mulligan & Bradley.

The spinnaker leg to Bay was exceptional, with surfing conditions and a glorious opportunity for crews to work their spinnaker magic! Colin & Murphy went higher than needs and found themselves needing to gybe to get across to the better side of the leg. Mulligan closed onto Coleman’s transom but couldn’t work beyond that. At Bay, Court led from Gorman and Mulvin while Coleman, Mulligan, Colin and Murphy converged in close company. Murphy’s spinnaker drop went skewwhiff, putting him out of the hunt and Colin tried to squeeze the other two but didn’t get it completely right. That left Mulligan astern of Coleman but to windward of Colin. Mulligan took a hitch to get out of Coleman’s “dirties” but soon tacked back again to see all six boats sailing a parallel course to the next mark, Island.

Colin was the first to tack out to sea, crossing behind Mulligan’s transom, but thereafter all six boats seemed to be confused as to which mark was Island. Having located Island first, Court stayed ahead of Gorman and Mulvin as all three “hared off” on a three-sail reach to Molly. Colin & Casey decided not to fly bag and stayed high but weren’t really rewarded for their choice. Mulligan chased Coleman all the way without really closing significantly. The return visit to East confused the fleet and Court appeared to over-stand allowing Gorman to get his nose into the lead. Another great leg from East to Omega saw more exceptional three-sail racing followed by a gybe at Omega for another “cracker of a leg” to Harbour. All of the front six flew spinnakers down both legs but no place changes developed.

The final leg of the course was a short hitch from Harbour to the finish line and this saw the final move of the night when Colin only just “pipped” Coleman for 4th place.

1. David Gorman and Chris Doorly; “Betty” 3920
2. Alistair Court and Conor O’Leary; “Ffinnisterre”, 3753
3. David Mulvin and Ronan Beirne; “Ignus Caput Duo, 4068
4. Neil Colin and Margaret Casey; “No Name”, 4028
5. Niall Coleman and Mick Quinn; “Flyer”, 4008

This weekend sees the Southern Championships being hosted by the Royal St George Yacht Club as the clock ticks down to the Subaru-sponsored Flying Fifteen World Championships 2019 at the end of the month, hosted by the National Yacht Club.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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With the Subaru sponsored Flying Fifteen World Championships only 26 sleeps away, the enthusiasm for racing on Dublin Bay has continued apace writes Cormac Bradley.

After a light wind session on the preceding Thursday that prompted a very shortened course to be sailed, there was a much healthier contribution to the proceedings on the August Bank Holiday Saturday from Mother Nature. The forecast was for 10 – 17 knots from SSE, according to XCWeather and while some of that strength was in evidence the wind didn’t go quite that far south.

The Facet Trophy had its origin in an attempt to stem the fall-off in Flying Fifteen numbers racing under the DBSC burgee on the August Bank Holiday weekend and enjoys the support of Pat Shannon of Facet Jewellers. This year that objective was achieved when 21 boats came under starters orders for the first race of the day. The fleet also included a visitor from Dunmore East. And even that number could have been increased as at least 1 boat was struggling for a crew and two other potential entries were absent altogether. Race Officer Brian Mathews set a triangle course for the first race – triangle-sausage-triangle and found that he had a very competitive fleet on his hands as they jostled for position on his start line.

While some of us went right, we were to be proven wrong as the leading bunch at the weather mark all came in from the left. Among those was Joe Coughlan (Ash; 3913), Alistair Court & Conor O’Leary (Ffinisterre; 3753), Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (No Name; 4028). The exception to this assessment was Niall Coleman & Mick Quinn (Flyer; 4008) who from memory were one of those on the right; but ended up in the lead bunch. I can only assume that they crossed the course at some stage. Joe led the fleet into the leeward mark with Court/O’Leary in second place.

The three-sail reach across the top of the course was exhilarating and some found it more comfortable than others. Unfortunately, the discomfort of the “others” didn’t translate to places being lost. The “reward” of getting to the gybe mark with three sails was that the second reach was a lot more comfortable. The inside track of the second reach paid some dividends and this correspondent gained a few places here.

The breeze had moved left which meant that the second beat wasn’t quite the challenge it might have been. For all that it wasn’t a fetch to the mark either, so getting clear air was quite important.

At the top mark, the lead appeared to have changed hands as Court/O’Leary were the first to show and as they sailed down the sausage to a shortened course finish, the pecking order was Court/O’Leary, Coughlan, Colin, Coleman, and Gerry Ryan. Dave Mulvin & Ronan Bierne (Ignus Caput Duo; 4068) were well placed in the race until Ronan decided to do some “knitting” with the spinnaker on the foredeck. This was very commendable when one considers that Ignus Caput Duo has a fly-away pole system. Despite Ronan’s stringent efforts, they were relegated to a much lower finishing position than their first-half efforts warranted.

For the second race, Brian Mathews set a Windward/Leeward but by now the wind was starting to move around with directions varying from 120 - 155º - a race officer’s nightmare. Add to that a fleet that was “champing at the bit” to get away and there was only one inevitable result – a “U” Flag start, followed by a “Black Flag” start after the first conventional start was unsuccessful.

After several attempts the fleet did get away and on the water the Dunmore East raiders showed everyone a VERY clean pair of heels. Well sailed Lee and Andy, sailing “Trigger’s Brush”! Behind them there was a very interesting competition going on among the DBSC registered boats. Gerry Ryan and crew (4045) were again well placed as were a few others, Coleman & Quinn, Colin & Casey, Court & O’Leary. Included at the front was “Snow White”; 3747, sailed by Gill Fleming and Frank Burgess, the driver behind getting the fleet out to support the generosity of Facet Jewellers.

The left-hand side of the run paid dividends the first time but wasn’t quite so generous the second time but racing in the pack was very close with both mark-roundings very busy locations.

Gerry Ryan came out on top in the second race, followed home by Coleman & Quinn, Fleming & Burgess, Colin & Casey with Louise McKenna & Owen Sinnott (Ffandango;3697) claiming fifth.

At a very convivial prize-giving in the National Yacht Club, prizes were handed out by Facet Jeweller’s Pat Shannon.

Gold Fleet

Helm & Crew

Sail Number

Race 1

Race 2

Total Pts.


Gerry Ryan & Crew






Niall Coleman & Mick Quinn






Neil Colin & Margaret Casey





Silver Fleet

Gill Fleming & Frank Burgess





Bronze Fleet

Hugh & Michael Cahill





Due thanks were recorded to Pat, Brian Mathews for his Race Officer role and the DBSC race team.

Next weekend sees the last provincial regatta before the Subaru-sponsored Flying Fifteen Worlds when the Southern Championships are hosted by the Royal St George Yacht Club. A discussion item at the Facet Trophy prize-giving was the modest on-line entry thus far. On a day when 21 Flying Fifteens were on the water, less than 15 entries had been registered with the RStGYC. Please get your entries sorted!!

FF Dun Laoghaire Class Captain, Conor O’Leary, who also sails out of the “George” advised that a BBQ will be available immediately after sailing and is included in the entry fee. Race Officer for the Southerns is Barry O’Neill.

On completion of the Southerns the focus will fall on the final preparations for the Worlds. As with all international events, volunteers are critical; So, if you have some free time over the period 31 August to 13 September and want to get involved in the hosting of a World Championship, please get in touch with the Flying Fifteen Class or the National Yacht Club.

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