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This past Saturday, the RS400 and RS200 Eastern Sprint Championships at Greystones Sailing Club showcased thrilling dinghy sailing action off the County Wicklow coast.

A total of 19 boats participated, from both the 200s to 400s.

The day promised 12-18 knots northwesterly winds and clear skies. Under the guidance of PRO Michael Conway, the event kicked off with a briefing to introduce the Sprint format, designed to maximize racing opportunities with fair courses and quick turnarounds for all participants.

Once on the water, the racing commenced at 11:30 AM with two starts for the 12 x 400s and 7x200s. The race unfolded with ideal conditions, albeit slightly different from the forecast, accompanied by a strong south-running tide.

Costello and Heather are RS200 Sprint Winners

A good level of racing, some downwind fun and also capsizes near the leeward mark with everyone with big smiles as the boats planed their way towards the finish line. On the racing side, Alex Costello/Charles Heather dominated with a clean sweep of 1st places, showing terrific speed and adaptability in the shifty conditions.

Emma O'Rourke sailing with Sophie Harden also sailed consistently very well to come in 2nd overall. The rest of the fleet all had a few good results but also mixed with a few capsize affected/other type races to affect their overall placing.

Alex Costello and Charles Heather were the RS200 winners  of the Sprint Championships at Greystones Sailing ClubAlex Costello and Charles Heather were the RS200 winners  of the Sprint Championships at Greystones Sailing Club

RS200 Dinghy Sprint Championships at Greystones Sailing Club results 

RS200 Dinghy Sprint Championships at Greystones Sailing Club results RS200 Dinghy Sprint Championships at Greystones Sailing Club results 

Espey and Ferguson win in RS400

Race 1 got away cleanly in both fleets. After a jostle for position near committee boat Bob Espey/Mike Ferguson showed a clean pair of heels in their new boat getting to top mark first, gybing clear on the run and controlling from the front from there to hold to finish. Paul Phelan/Alan leddy gave chase along with Marty O'Leary/Rory O'Sullivan and Barry McCartin/Conor Kinsella with the latter getting 2nd and O'Leary/O'Sullivan 3rd.

Race 2 as the wind flicked around a bit, it got away with a pin bias leading Peter Bayley/Paddy Blackley and others on the left looking pretty to begin with but towards the top of the course, the right came good and once again Espey/Ferguson were well in the lead chased by O'Leary/OSullivan and John Callanan also beneffeting up there.In the end top 2 stayed the same with McCartin/Kinsella recovering to 3rd.

RS400s close in on a startline at the Greystones Sailing Club hosted exciting RS Dinghy Sprint Championships RS400s close in on a startline at the Greystones Sailing Club hosted exciting RS Dinghy Sprint Championships Photo: Brendan Ryan

Race 3 once again Espey/Ferguson did another horizon job with O'Leary/O'Sullivan coming 2nd once more and Govan Berridge/Dom this time coming to the fore to sail a good race and come in 3rd this time.

Race 4 and finally a few boats started to challenge Espey/Ferguson. McCartin/Kinsella got to the weather mark first but getting stuck on the mark in very strong tide proved not very fast. Espey/Ferguson were in the lead again, however as both misjudged layline to the leeward mark O'Leary/O'Sullivan came roaring in and sailed a strong next beat picking a nice left shift at the top to then win comfortably. McCartin/Kinsella held on to second after a close last run with Espey/Ferguson in 3rd.

Now the wind really started playing havoc, up and down and lots of wind direction changes but Race 5 got away, turning very light against strong tide, Bayley/Blackley came from the right to lead this time but as the race got turned inside out with kites up second beat, it was rightly abandoned. However not to be beaten, PRO Michael pulled off another course change to a more northerly direction and the fifth race was resailed. This time, McCartin/Kinsella finally got it right and led from the front comfortably. The boats behind had a great race with any one of the entire fleet able to fill remaining positions in the lighter conditions. In the end Paul Phelan/Alan Leddy got a well deserved 2nd place and Espey/Ferguson came through to take 3rd on the line. This gave them the well deserved championship and as it was 4pm everyone headed ashore.

Bob Espey (right) and Mike Ferguson (left) were the RS400 winners   of the Sprint Championships at Greystones Sailing ClubBob Espey (right) and Mike Ferguson (left) were the RS400 winners of the Sprint Championships at Greystones Sailing Club

RS400 Dinghy Sprint Championships at Greystones Sailing Club results 

RS400 Dinghy Sprint Championships at Greystones Sailing Club results RS400 Dinghy Sprint Championships at Greystones Sailing Club results 

Shortly after, there was a prize giving with some fun prizes, as well as winners in the RS200 Alex Costello/Charles Heather and RS400 Bob Espey/Mikey Ferguson crowned. Bob concluded by thanking all the race organizers and volunteers and applauding the one-day Sprint racing format. 

Many RSers stayed on after the prizes were presented as the Enterprise class had a reunion, providing more entertainment and stories at the bar long into the evening.

The next event in the class is the RS FEST on 6/7th July in Lough Derg YC. Info and Entry open here

Published in RS Sailing

Brilliant events, informative shows and some new records broken by RS Sailing and RS sailors.

It was a brilliant summer of events for RS Sailing. Highlights include the RS Feva World Championships which saw 422 sailors coming with their families to enjoy an amazing week at LNI Follonica in Italy. This was the biggest RS Feva event to date and was the best-attended World Sailing Youth Class World Championships in 2023. “It’s amazing to see that the RS Feva is the fastest growing two-person youth class internationally when you look at World Sailing’s figures.”

There was a thrilling finale at the RS Feva World Championships 2023There was a thrilling finale at the RS Feva World Championships 2023

Back home in Ireland, Kenny Rumball, RS Dealer, is equally thrilled with the RS Feva class, “ For the first year in quite a while, we have seen a growth in the RS Fevas! The first event of the year in the Royal Irish Yacht Club saw over 30 boats back competing and we were more than delighted to sponsor the event!”

RS Sailing also supported World Sailing at the Para Sailing World Championships 2023 at WV Braassemermeer, Netherlands. The RS Venture Connect was one of the three boats selected again by Para World Sailing to be part of the World Sailing World Championships together with the Olympic Classes.

The RS21 World Championship 2023 also broke records this year; 55 boats from 11 countries competed in Porto Rotondo in Sardinia, Italy. “This is such a big achievement for a relatively new class. It’s also a class that is really putting a good stamp on the sustainability side.” The RS21 Italian Class is the first sailing class in the world to achieve ISO20121 certification. Created by the International Organization for Standardization, this certification is only awarded when an event organiser adheres to a detailed set of requirements that meet the international standard for sustainable event management. Not only was this a big success at the World Championships, but the class was also invited to present a ‘Sustainability Masterclass’ as part of the World Sailing Sustainability Sessions.

Record-breaking attendance at the RS21 World Championship 2023 in SardiniaRecord-breaking attendance at the RS21 World Championship 2023 in Sardinia

The RS21s also saw great success in Ireland with the class choosing Dun Laoghaire Regatta to showcase themselves as the future of sportsboat sailing. Teams from all over Europe came to compete in Ireland in the thrilling one-design keelboat showcasing their speed and futuristic design.

The RS21s will be at Cork Week 2024 with charter boats now available for charter! Don’t hesitate to contact Kenny [email protected] for more info.!

“We’ve also been honoured to work with some great partners this year.” In October, RS Venture Connects were raced in SailGP’s We Foundation One Sport Race and we confirmed our preferred vendor partner agreement with Crystal Lagoons. In September, we announced our partnership with Jeddah Yacht Club & Marina; providing an extensive range of boats to their state-of-the-art JYC Academy which has already seen 1000+ children benefit from the programmes this year.

It’s been a particular good year for RS Sailing on the international stage. “Globally, we’re expanding further and wider in all corners of the world. 2023 has seen growth in many classes; from RS21 fleet building in Canada to Japan’s first-ever RS Aero National Championship in the All Japan RS Open 2023 event.”

A busy scene at Blessington Sailing Club as the inaugural RS Fest incorporating RS200 and RS400 dinghies championships gets underway in June 2023A busy scene at Blessington Sailing Club as the inaugural RS Fest incorporating RS200 and RS400 dinghies championships gets underway in June 2023

In Ireland, we celebrated the inaugural RS Fest in Blessington Sailing Club. For the first time ever all the RS classes in the country came together for a weekend of thrilling racing combining the RS Feva, RS Aero, RS 200 and RS 400 classes.

Kenny Rumball commented, “We want all sailors of the RS classes to really feel part of the family. It was fantastic to work with Canice Keane and his team from Blessington Sailing Club for the inaugural RS Fest this year! We already have plans well established for similar in 2024. Stay tuned for a press release on this in the coming month!”

Finally, we rounded off the year with the RS Toura winning ‘Best Dinghy’ in Sailing World’s Boat of the Year Awards. “This prestigious title means a great deal to us – especially all of those behind-the-scenes in production and development. Recognition like this serves to affirm our position as the world’s leading small boat manufacturer.”

2023 was special in Ireland as the class associations website got a revamp to make it easier for sailors, and prospective members of the RS family to find out all the information on RS classes in Ireland. If you haven’t visited it yet, head on over to where you can find all the information on the RS classes in Ireland.

2024 marks RS Sailing’s 30th birthday and we are celebrating it in the best way that we know how; a huge party and weekend regatta commemorating the sport that we love. We hope to see you all there at the 30th Anniversary at Hayling Island Sailing Club, 17th-19th May. In the meantime, check-out RS Sailing Club for all the events near you and internationally.

“Thanks again for being part of the RS Sailing family in 2023. I’m really looking forward to a good 2024. Our amazing team will – for another year – work hard to gain more participation in our sport, set high standards at events and build boats that are there to last.”

Published in INSS
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The last Sunday of the RS400 Frostie Series at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club was raced on the 27th of December, and the excitement was building as it looked like it was going to be a big day, and it was for many reasons.

On arrival at the club, there was a bit of negativity kicking about as there were some massive gusts on Belfast Lough. The rescue boat went out for a scout around and reported back that the wind had a base rate of about 25 knots. A quick check of the wind speed at the Stena terminal a few miles up the lough showed a massive gust of 41knots. It wasn’t looking good. The fleet gathered and had a discussion and decided to have a go, but it would be quick blast, some crews thought it was too much and decided to pack up early. When the boats were about to launch, another big gust came through and capsized Liam Donnelly’s boat on the slip, nearly taking out another. The fleet weren’t even on the water, but they still took a chance and blasted out to the start line.

A start at the RS400 Frostie Series at Royal North of Ireland Yacht ClubA start at the RS400 Frostie Series at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club Photo: Lindsay Nolan

The first race got underway with 16 boats crossing the start line and it was a leg burner all the way the windward mark. First to round was Bob Espey & Mike Ferguson in 1533 closely followed by Peter Kennedy & Stevie Kane in 1522. Up went the kites and everyone jumped to warp speed 9 and this is when the fun began. Most people blasted to the lay line and gybed and more than half the fleet went for a swim. Liam Donnelly & Rick McCaig in 1405 bottled it and took their kite down and did a chicken gybe, or in other words, a tack and to be fair it probably was the best option as they stayed upright and they picked off the majority of the fleet. When heading to the final leeward gate, Hastings & Torrens in 1353, their rudder un-cleated and popped up, they lost control and they corkscrewed around and missed Calvin and Corkhill in 1264 by inches then promptly capsized spectacularly to windward. We later learnt that Dan Sherriff and Daniel Corbett, in 1006, capsized, and somehow, Dan’s foot got entangled in the outhaul on the boom, luckily a rescue boat was close by, and the crew had to cut him free, a very close shave! They and two other boats called it a day. At the end of the demolition derby, Espey & Ferguson in 1522 took the win, followed by Kennedy & Kane in 2nd with Donnelly & McCaig in 3rd.

The RS400 Frostie Series crews gathered at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club Photo: Andy CorkhillThe RS400 Frostie Series crews gathered at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club Photo: Andy Corkhill

Race two started with 13 boats and by this time the wind had dropped a few knots but it was still punchy. This time Espey & Ferguson in 1533 lead the fleet but sometimes even the best can blot their copy book and when in putting in a gybe, they went over and a massive cheer could be heard across the fleet! Kennedy & Kane in 1522 were leading the pack with Findley & Cameron in 877 doing really well in 2nd at the gate. Espey & Ferguson in 1533 managed to get their boat back up right in record time and they were chomping at the bit.

In the second lap they managed to pick off 877 but they couldn’t do enough to stop Kennedy & Kane in 1522 to take the win.

It was decided enough was enough, we had done well to get two good races in. 

After a brief stint in the bar, all the crews and volunteers were treated to a Christmas Dinner with all the wine kindly provided by Steven Kane.

Over the series, we had 24 different boats sailing, 20 races started, and there were no days blown out, which must be a record. There were 5 different race winners and 9 different clubs represented, and we must have had over 50 different sailors on the water racing the RS400s over the 7 weeks.

Down to the results: 

  • 5th = Jocelyn Hill & Rowan Berry of Co. Antrim YC on 92 points.
  • 4th = Liam Donnelly & Rick McCaig from Carrickfergus SC on 86 points.
  • 3rd = Andrew Vaughan & Ross Vaughan/Martin Weatherspoon from RNIYC on 72 points.
  • 2nd = Tom Purdon & Olivia Hayes from Strangford Lough YC on 51 points. (If discards were not used, Tom & Olivia would have won the event with the lowest points)

Taking the overall trophy Trophy in 1st place and for the third year in a row, Peter Kennedy & Steven Kane from Strangford Lough YC & RNIYC with 36 points.

(Above and below) Peter Kennedy & Steven Kane from Strangford Lough YC took the overall trophy Trophy for the third year in a row(Above and below) Peter Kennedy & Steven Kane from Strangford Lough YC took the overall trophy Trophy for the third year in a row Photos: Lindsay Nolan and Gavin Vaughan

(Above and below) Peter Kennedy & Steven Kane from Strangford Lough YC took the overall trophy Trophy for the third year in a row

At the speeches, the race officer Gerry Reid, Mark Layers, rescue teams, result compiler Jack Anderson, and all the other volunteers were thanked.

Andrew Irvine & Aisling O’Grady were also mentioned for travelling most weekends from the National YC in Dublin to participate.

Onto 2024 and beyond, the RS400 fleet is looking very buoyant with numerous new crews buying boats, crews returning to the fleet 

The Champion of Champions events in the RS400s at RNIYC in October 2024, and beyond that, the UK RS400 National Championships is coming to RNIYC in August 2025.

RS400 Frostie Series at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club

RS400 Frostie Series at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club

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True to the form of this Belfast Lough series, the forecast and conditions on arrival kept the RS400 Winter Series fleet guessing what kind of day's racing was in store. What initially looked to be a perfect day from the windapps seemed to be lost to a potential drifter on a chilly lough as teams arrived at the boat yard.

Happily, as the boats started to launch and head to the start line, it was clear that the Royal North of Ireland hosted fleet was in for an interesting day of racing, with a teaser of some strong breeze, some lighter pressure and sufficient wind shifts to keep things interesting (both on the start lines and throughout the races!)

The first race got underway sharply at 13.30. The start line was typically busy with everyone jockeying for position. Most boats bunched up at the pin, favouring the left-hand side of the course, leaving a clear track for those who opted to head right. 1522 with Peter Kennedy & Stephen Kane alongside Tom Purdon & Olivia Hayes in 1004 were neck and neck first to the windward mark, with Neil Calvin & Sharon Corkhill in 1264 snapping at their heels in 3rd.

Downwind sailing mixed up the fRS400 Winter fleet for a bit of interestDownwind sailing mixed up the fRS400 Winter fleet for a bit of interest

As per recent weeks, there didn’t seem to be any downwind gains by early Gybes. Although Joycelyn Hill in 741 got a little too close to Kennedy & Kane and did turns.

The second upwind seemed to hold similar positions, whilst the final downwind mixed up the fleet for a bit of interest. Top-end stalwarts Kennedy & Kane held the win, with Purdon & Hayes in a comfortable 2nd, followed by Liam Donnelly and Rick McCaig, who were typically able to prove their experience in working through to a solid 3rd place.

The start of the second race is likely to go down as a never-resolved debate in sailing club bars for years to come.

Following a incident prone and shifty start, the wind filled in as the fleet approached the windward mark. Rounding the mark proved a competitive affair with the usual friendly exchanges and at least a couple of boats getting too close and finding some rope to get stuck on, offering further obstacles for competitors behind.

Leaving the downwind spreader mark Tom Purdon & Olivia Hayes of SLYC (1004) had established a comfortable lead. Liam Donnelly & Richard McCaig (1405) would have been in second without that pesky OCS, and Neil Calvin & Sharon Corkhill of CSC (1264) in hot pursuit. Will and Rachael Browne (1188) of SLYC rounded next, with those who had been caught out on the left side of the first beat all following hungrily behind.

The second lap saw some winners and losers as the fleet began to mix things up. Jocelyn Hill & Rowan Berry in 741 and Kennedy / Kane in 1522 made the most out of this, bringing close competition within the top five places.

In the end Tom Purdon & Olivia Hayes of SLYC (1004) led convincingly from start to finish, with Neil Calvin & Sharon Corkhill (1264) of CSC in 2nd and Will & Rachael Browne (1188) of SLYC in 3rd place.

By Race 3 the breeze had again dropped off and was threatening to disappear entirely and so a start was hastily set to secure the three races for the day. Those who managed to spot the shift and easy fetch to the mark got away early, and straight to the windward mark without too much fuss. Liam Donnelly (1405), Neil Calvin (1264) & Tom Purdon (1004) rounded in the top 3, and due to a hold on that shift the fleet duly proceeded in what largely turned out to be a procession lap to an early finish, with the top three finishers in the above order.

Overall it was another great days racing at Royal North, the breeze filled in, the sun came out and another 3 races were had. The shifty conditions and start line challengers made for great debate in the bar as ever.

Well done to the winners for the day's racing, 1004 Tom Purdon & Olivia Hayes of SLYC, with a 2, 1 & 3. In second place were Peter Kennedy & Stephen Kane of RNIYC with a 1st, 5th 7 6th and in third place with the same points were Neil Calvin & Sharon Corkhill of CSC with and 8th and two 2nd places.

With 18 races now completed and discards kicking in, the overall series leaders are still 1522 Kennedy & Kane on 33 points. In second place is 1004 Purdon & Hayes on 41 points and in third are the Vaughans on 62 points.

With one more Sunday to go before Christmas, the results are narrowing in on the overall trophy!

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If you had checked the half a dozen forecasting apps, Sunday’s Belfast Lough wind forecast would have ranged from two to five knots from either east or west, and it was going to be very cold, and sure enough, it was very cold. On arrival, RS400 Frostbite crews that had arrived early had spinnakers hanging limply from their masts, and the wind cups on the club’s mast were barely turning, so it was no surprise that only half the fleet turned up, and the half that did were pondering why they had even bothered.

The decision was made to go and a lovely breeze then filled in from the east.

A few of the usual faces were missing. Frostie Series leader Peter Kennedy had to abandon racing, so luckily Mike Ferguson parachuted into the driving seat in 1522.

Jocelyn Hill's place was taken by sister Emily in 741; and lastly, Bob Espey couldn’t make it, so his new chariot was offered to GP14 duo Ross Kearny & Dan Nelson.

The first race got underway sharp at 13.30. The start line had a massive committee boat bias, so everyone was jostling for space at the committee boat, and with the little breeze, it was easy to stall and get pushed out the back like me. 1522 with Ferguson & Kane leading the way to the windward mark, closely followed by Donnelly & McCaig in 2nd. It appeared to pay on the downwind leg to go for the lay lines; anyone who gybed off early seemed to suffer for it. Andrew Vaughan, in 1438 with Martin Weatherspoons, seemed to suffer even more as their wing wang had gone wrong, and as a result, they had no control of the Gennaker pole. They completed the race in 9th then threw in the towel for the day. Taking the bullet was 1522 Ferguson & Kane, followed by 1405 Donnelly & McCaig in 2nd, then 1533 Kearney & Nelson in 3rd.

Race 2 the race committee did move the start line forward to square it off but by the time the race started there was still a committee boat bias and again there was a good turn out at the committee boat. With twelve boats all having a clean start, the fleet slowly took off up to the first windward mark with a good split going left or right, and it appeared that the boats which sailed more right took the advantage. First to the windward mark were Ferguson & Kane, with Purdon & Hayes and Donnelly & McCaig following suit.

On the down wind, the wind clocked around and the boats that gybed early took the gains and you could nearly hit the leeward marks if you soaked hard enough. Ben Martin in 1179 managed to leapfrog four boats which he was pleased with as he had been at the rear of the fleet. It was in the second beat where GP14 champ Ross Kearney, who knows how to sail fast, couldn’t get 1533 to the point. He eventually realised that he wasn’t in a GP and figured out if you put the centre board fully down you could actually point these RS400s.

Ferguson & Kane held on to the lead, followed by Purdon & Heyes in 2nd and Donnelly & McCaig in 3rd.

By Race 3 the race committee adjusted the start line again. Ferguson & Kane, in 1522, thought that they would take a chance with a cheeky port-end flyer, but the wind shifted just before the start, and they were totally in the wrong spot. Kearney & Nelson in 1533 selected the right gears and lead the fleet to the windward mark. Ferguson & Kane put in a lot of hard work in to get back up to second around the mark.

Hammy Baker & Dan Sherriff in 1006 were doing a good but irritating job of cover taking 1353 Robert Hastings & Peter Todd, but they were victims of their own doing by putting in a downwind gybe and somehow, they sailed over their kite which stopped them dead. I didn’t snigger, honestly! Ferguson & Kane made some unusual mistakes, going to the wrong leeward gate mark and they also went up the wrong side if the beat for too long which didn’t do them any favours.

In the end, Kearney & Nelson in 1533 held on to take the win, Purdon & Hayes took second again, but they were given a run for their money on the last leg with 1353 Hastings & Todd taking a close 3rd. It was great to see Will & Rachel Browne in 1188 who are new to the fleet and to double handers taking 4th.

Overall, the fleet was all pleased to get out; the breeze filled in, the sun came out, and we got three good races in. 

Winners for the day’s racing were, 1533 Kearney & Nelson, with a 3, 5 & 1. In second place with exactly the same points 1004 Purdon & Hayes with 5, 2 & 2.

With 15 races now completed and discards kicking in, the overall series leaders are still 1522 Kennedy & Kane on 29 points. In second place is 1004 Purdon & Hayes at 42 points, and in third are the Vaughans at 53 points. With a few more Sundays to go before Christmas, The overall trophy is not in the bag just yet!
RS400 Results from Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club

Published in RS Sailing

A cold and fresh westerly wind attracted a larger turnout for week three of the RS400 Winter Series at Royal North of Ireland YC on Belfast Lough. The lucky streak of glamour sailing conditions continued for another weekend.

The forecasted heavy rain was playing kind and seemed to be avoiding Belfast Lough as the crews began arriving in numbers to the boat park, with the fleet looking set to face three races in a wind strength of between 10-15 knots.

After some high-profile returns to the class in recent weeks, it had an effect by attracting some familiar names to join in on the action.

The latest being Michael Browne with partner Jane Buchanan, decided to test their RS Elite keelboat dominance of late against the seasoned participants of the RS400 Winter series.

A start on week three of the RS400 Winter Series at Royal North of Ireland YC on Belfast Lough Photo: Emma Jane BolandA start on week three of the RS400 Winter Series at Royal North of Ireland YC on Belfast Lough Photo: Emma Jane Boland

Other notable additions to the class for the first time were William Brown, as well as the return of the Dalzell brothers as 21 boats, made their way out to the start line.

Race Officer Gerry Reid & the on-water management team had the course ready and waiting for the fleet as the scheduled start sequence got underway on time.

Some grumbling of start line bias over the past two weekends in the boat park was swiftly put to bed as a square line enticed the fleet to behave for R1 of the day.

Bob Espey, with the return of his old stalwart of a crew Richard McCollough, were slightly too eager to get going after skipping last weekend and added another OCS to their series tally.

What followed was a closely fought battle royale between the top 3 overall in the series to date, with position changes taking place on each lap right through to the finish.

Tom Purdon & Olivia Hayes took a photo finish line honours over Ross Vaughan and stand-in crew Jane Kearney as usual crew (Andrew Vaughan) had to skip the days racing. In 3rd place were last week’s daily winners, Peter Kennedy and Stevie Kane.

A noticeable increase in wind speed greeted the fleet in the pre-race start sequence for R2. This ultimately brought out the best series’ bloopers so far, and mistakes began to creep in across the fleet as manoeuvres went badly up and downwind!

Noteworthy incidents included Stephen Mclernon and Edwina Ternan's port layline attempt at the windward mark and subsequent crash tack that nearly ended in the first capsize of the day.

There were also noises of GRP crunching on some port/starboard incidents.

Amongst the chaos on the tightly laid racecourse, the standout team of the series (Bob & Richard) continued to show superior boat speed and take home the win ahead of Liam and another top 3 for Peter and Stevie.

R3 started with a front rapidly coming down the lough over Black Mountain and another increase in wind strength. Much to the delight of the on-water race management team, a clear start led to a tightly contested 1st beat in a strong breeze between Bob Espey and Richard McCollough and Ross Vaughan Jane Kearney on who would take the lead at the windward mark. Bob Espey and Richard McCollough got inside, rounding the windward mark and never looked back for the rest of the race as they flexed their boat handling skills.

Ross Vaughan and Jane Kearney fell back into the chasing Peter Kennedy and Stevie Kane, with the subsequent manoeuvres between both ensuring the result was contested to the finish line between the series challengers. Team Peter Kennedy and Stevie Kane took the spoils, which capped off their consistent scoreline as winners of the day.

Liam Donnelly claimed 4th place, and Jocelyn Hill with Rowan Berry rounded off the top 5 and their best result.

The fast dash reach after the finish and back to the slipway was made all the better seeing our series sponsor and RS400 mainstay Robert Hastings (Bosun Bob) and new crew Peter Todd upside down on the hull after an unsuccessful gybe sent them swimming into a capsize on the last lap.

The series move on to week four with some intriguing battles set to take place as the overall leaderboard starts to become established and teams jostle for position over the remainder of the series.

RS400 Winter Series on Belfast Lough 2023 Results

RS 400 Winter Series - Week 3

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Week two of the RS400 Winter Series at Royal North of Ireland YC series on Belfast Lough arrived dank and dismal on Sunday with light rain and a forecast including 29-knot gusts; what a contrast to the previous bright and sunny weekend, which had seen the return of Bob Espey into the class, notching two bullets but with the overall lead being taken by cousins Ross and Andrew Vaughan. The forecast likely put off a few potential players as only 15 boats out of the 25 entered reached the start line.

In fact, the wind strength had dropped considerably in the hour before the scheduled start, although still from the southeast, meaning that the breeze was diminished by the Holywood hills, leaving anything from 5-18 kts with direction varying around 40 degrees in short-lived gusts tumbling down over the trees. Carrickfergus SC, on the north side of Belfast Lough, had been forced to cancel their racing, facing the full force of the southerly breeze.

Andrew Vaughan was now the helmsman in his boat – cousin Ross, unable to make it this weekend, had suggested that he headhunt a “top helm” to make sure that their good start in the series was consolidated, but Andrew answered in the best way possible, scoring another 2,3,4 for the day, the same as with Ross at the back of the boat the week before!

15 boats out of the 25 entered for the RS400 Winter Series at Royal North of Ireland YC contested the second Sunday of racing Photo: Calum Dalzell15 boats out of the 25 entered for the RS400 Winter Series at Royal North of Ireland YC contested the second Sunday of racing Photo: Calum Dalzell

Peter Kennedy and Stephen Kane had fared badly last week and decided the answer to an OCS and RET was to cheer themselves up with a new (one-year-old) boat!

Setting a start and first beat was a challenge for any race officer, with Gerry Reid finding a mean direction for both and settling for that; there was a big left shift 30 seconds before the first start with several boats trapped too low and unable to cross the line, leaving Jocelyn Hill and Rowan Berry to tack onto port at the pin and sail into a comfortable lead at the first mark; however they were hunted down by Tom Purdon and Olivia Hayes who found a nice shift and gust down the last run to sneak past them at the last mark and take the first gun, also his maiden win since his first appearance at the RNIYC winter event. Liam Donnelly and Rick McCaig did something they hadn’t managed for many years and rolled in for a swim, nosediving after a gybe into an unyielding wave.

There was controversy at the start of the second with race officer Reid rolling into the 3-minute start sequence – after his capsize, Donnelly was heading up the short last beat when the three sticks appeared, with half of the fleet still catching breath after the first race; again it was Hill who was most alert and took the lead after the start. Kennedy was close behind, and they swapped the lead over the next couple of legs, with Vaughan also getting past Hill on the last downwind after he took a brave foray to the left-hand corner and found a long-lasting gust to move him up to second behind Kennedy.

The last race marked the return of Donnelly – the fleet might have stopped to applaud his perfect port tack start at the pin, as he raced into a big lead up the first beat, only to ruin it by getting his legs tangled in rope on the last tack, getting stuck in irons and letting three boats past. Kennedy was there to capitalize, and he stretched into a safe lead over the next few legs; Purdon was in second to complete an excellent 1,2,6 result for the day.

Three races were completed in tough conditions for competitors and race management alike.

RS400 Winter Series - Daily Results for 12 Nov 2023

RS400 Winter Series - Daily Results for 12 Nov 2023RS400 Winter Series - Daily Results for 12 Nov 2023

Published in RS Sailing

Counting a 3,2,4, Ross and Andrew Vaughan lead the RS400 fleet by one point on Belfast Lough after the first day of racing in the Winter Series trophy hosted by the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club.

Lying second on ten points are Hammy Baker and Daniel Corbett, with Stephen McLernon and Edwina Ternan third on 16. 

17 competed on the first Sunday of the league. 

The fleet congregates for the start of the series RS400 Winter Series on the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on Belfast Lough Photo: Lindsay NolanThe fleet congregates for the start of the series RS400 Winter Series on the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on Belfast Lough Photo: Lindsay Nolan

RS400 Winter Series Results

RS400 Winter Series ResultsRS400 Winter Series Results from Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club

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The RS400 Winter Series returns to Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club for its 17th Year on Belfast Lough next weekend.

Resuming this Sunday (5th November) and running until the 17th of December, the series concludes with the infamous Christmas Race. 

The racing consists of three (sometimes four) short, sharp races on a tight start line, all in fairly bitter conditions.

Organisers say this is one of the biggest design winter fleets racing in Ireland; the fact that the competitors keep returning yearly is a testament to the fun and cracking racing at this event.

The organisers are expecting 20 boats on the start line on Sunday for the first races of the RS400 Winter Series at CultraThe organisers are expecting 20 boats on the start line on Sunday for the first races of the RS400 Winter Series at Cultra

The organisers are expecting 20 boats on the start line on Sunday. This year, competitors are coming from near and far; aside from the home RNIYC fleet, joining them will be RS400s from Carrick, Ballyholme, Strangford, Newcastle, Coleraine, Antrim and Dublin! With at least one helm flying over each weekend from London.

Regulars returning are Liam Donnelly and Brian Holmes, who have been supporting this event from almost the get-go, although the latter claims an unbroken record!  As well as those mentioned earlier, the Vaughan Cousins, Ross and Andrew are back sailing together and will be a formidable team.

Stephen Kane (left) and Peter Kennedy Photo: AfloatStephen Kane (left) and Peter Kennedy Photo: Afloat

The Last two year’s Champs Kennedy/ Kane duo, won’t want to let the Trophy go; they will be looking for a hat trick! Luke McIlwaine and Ryan Wilson have had an excellent season so far and should figure in the leader’s board. The Purdon Hayes team are also going well and will give the others a tough time. Bob Espey is back this year and has been very quick in the past, as is Bob Hastings / Higgins mix, and they will be pushing at every opportunity. The Dublin Duo (new this year), Andrew Irvin and Aisling O’Grady, will want to make their weekly journey worthwhile. Also making a debut at this event are Micheal Browne and Jane Buchanan, fresh from a winning streak In the RS Elite Fleet.

Racing starts this Sunday 1.30 at Cultra. 

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With the tail end of Hurricane Lee sweeping the island, numerous sailing events were cancelled last weekend across Ireland. The team at Killaloe Sailing Club decided to go ahead as planned, hoping to get some racing for the 33 boats entered across three classes: the RS400, the RS200 and the RS Aero.

Saturday saw the fleet launch in 20 kts of southerly breeze with the first race getting underway in strong but manageable conditions. Govan Berridge and David Coleman dominated the first RS 400 race and held the lead throughout. Luke McIlwaine/Ryan Wilson and Chris Helme/Alan Claffey followed closely, taking 2nd and 3rd.

The RS400 fleet ashore at Killaloe Sailing ClubThe RS400 fleet ashore at Killaloe Sailing Club

Race two saw the wind increase to survival conditions for the second lap, with the maximum gust at 38kts. A similar result sheet followed with Govan/David taking the win, followed by Jocelyn Hill/Rowan Berry and Luke/Ryan.

Saturday evening commenced with news that racing would be moved forward an hour on Sunday to try and get three races in before the breeze built in the afternoon. The evening entertainment began with a BBQ, which saw a great attendance due to most sailors camping on-site. Later in the evening, many enjoyed the rugby and stayed around until the early hours before retiring for an early start the next morning.

Sailors woke to a pleasant sunrise and winds of 12-15 kts. Race 3 saw an incident at the windward mark, which removed Govan/David from the race following a protest. This meant Rob Hastings and Dan Sherriff (this time using a kite without missing panels!) were promoted to 1st place.

William Findlay and Ben McMeekin in the RS400 on Lough DergWilliam Findlay and Ben McMeekin in the RS400 on Lough Derg

Luke/Ryan took the win in race 4, closely followed by Govan/David and Jocelyn/Rowan as they headed into the final race of the championship.

RS400 Winners Luke McIlwaine and Ryan WilsonRS400 Winners Luke McIlwaine and Ryan Wilson

Race 5 saw the lightest conditions of the weekend as the heavens opened and the rain fell. Chris and Alan built an impressive lead over the fleet with Jocelyn/Rowan in 2nd and Dara McDonagh and Kevin Brazel in 3rd.

RS200 Travellers Series champions are sisters Jocelyn and Emily HillRS200 Travellers Series champions are sisters Jocelyn and Emily Hill

A closely fought championship saw Luke/Ryan take the win with Govan/David in 2nd and Jocelyn/Rowan 3rd with Jane McMeekin taking first masters.

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