BRITISH entries will add extra spice to a 40 boat Irish fleet for the three day Carlsberg Flying Fifteen national championships which starts today at the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire. The two man keelboat regatta was won in 1995 by Ivan Coryn and Ben Falet of England. Coryn, a boat builder, returns to defend his title, but instead of steering he will crew for local man Ian Richardson who will helm one of Coryn's new 20 foot designs. Brian McKee and Ian Smith of Strangford Lough are the top ranked sailors this season, having won June's South Coast Championships. But fellow Northerners Jim Rodgers and Colin Coffey, who won the West Coast Championships, are also serious contenders and past winners of this five race event. A strong challenge is being made from the host club who will field up to 20 entries for the Olympic course racing on Dublin Bay. Fleet class captain Ken Dumpleton, with crew Alan Green, are expected to perform well, as will the north/south combination of Justin Burke and Steven Penney of Carrickfergus. Burke, a recent convert to the 720 keelboat, had his first taste of 1720 action at Ford Cork week but returns to his roots for this weekend, at least.
The Fifteens will share both the bay and the forecasted light winds with an expected 240 junior sailors who gather at the Royal St George Yacht Club for the first race of tomorrow's East Coast Championship under race officer Peter Craig. He intends to set a course one to two miles off the harbour and well away from the other courses, which include Dublin Bay's regular cruiser and dinghy racing. Leading the national Mirror ranking lists after two events are two National Yacht club pairings the current Irish champion Ross Killian (19) and Alex Blaney (14), and Gerbil Owens (17) and Rebecca Killian (15). Lough Derg entries Robbie Hamilton (17) and Michael Bayly (14) are currently in third place and their club are still smarting from having to cancel this month's scheduled Western Championship as a result of pollution reports on the lake. The Mirror committee will decide tomorrow whether they will scrub this year's Western champion ship altogether or re-schedule it. Last week's 420 National championships in Schull attracted 35 boats from Ireland as well as 10 UK entries. It was won by Swords Sailing club pair Neil Spain and Andrew Davitt in a brand new Rondar 420. Second was local pairing Olibhear O'Driscoll and Grainne Humphreys. The 420 fleet moved on to join the 120 boat entry of the Fastnet International Schools Regatta at the same venue this week, which has French and American schools competing. Spain and Davitt lead the regatta to its penultimate stage, but are being pressed by French, and English entries with the racing scheduled to finish this evening. Schull harbour will be further swelled by the Irish Cruising club 160 boat cruise in company, who drop their anchors for a barbecue tonight. The cruise moves on to Bantry Bay tomorrow.
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