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Displaying items by tag: Narrows Series

This year’s Narrows Series held jointly last week by Strangford Sailing Club, Portaferry Town and Portaferry Sailing Club turned out to be a truly memorable event, blessed with sunshine and a good breeze.

The three Regatta Series is traditionally sailed in the narrow neck of water (hence the name) between the towns of Strangford and Portaferry at the mouth of Strangford Lough in Co. Down.

Around 80 boats took part in ten classes ranging from Flying Fifteens through cruiser/racers in IRC; the stalwarts of the Lough, the Glens and Rivers, to the smaller Squibs.

There were some dicey moments. The end of the Flying Fifteen races on Wednesday and Thursday were nearly photo finishes with only inches between first and second.

Stephen Lynn's Mipaal of Portaferry SC Regatta Narrows Series Photo Andrew SteensonStephen Lynn's Mipaal of Portaferry SC Regatta Narrows Series Photo Andrew Steenson

On Wednesday the tussle was between the appropriately named Final Fling (Shane McCarthy and Jeremy Rodgers) and Peter Kennedy’s Team Ridgway with McCarthy winning, and on Thursday between Kennedy and Ffast antic sailed by Andrew McCleary and Colin Dougan, the latter coming first.

On Thursday in IRC, the well-matched Going to Red, Peter Holden’s J109 from Strangford Lough YC and Phil Quinn’s Projection 35 Fat Tony were neck and neck from the final mark to the finish, changing places every five minutes. A second bullet for GTR clinched the win for Holden and Fat Tony had to be content with third, with Mike Spence’s A 35 Le Bascular coming between.

In the Rivers, a retiral in Race 2 on Wednesday for Kenny and Sonia Smyth meant runner up slot to first placed Peter Burrows’ Uladh and in the Glen class Phil and Jenny Martin were winners in Glen Orchy.

Among this diverse and varied fleet was the 50-year-old 30-foot Half Tonner Rock ‘n Goose built by the late Dickie Brown and racing at Portaferry, home waters for that fondly remembered yachtsman and builder of the Ruffian range of yachts.

J109 Jemmie Dodger racing on Strangford LoughJ/109 Jemmie Dodger racing on Strangford Lough

And racing too was a refurbished J109 with the new name Jemmie Dodger, ex the unfortunate Jelly Baby which came to grief on Weavers’ Point in Cork Harbour last year – is now back on the water owned by the O’Neill family.

Narrows Regattas 2022 results below

Last year there were over 140 boats in the long-established Bar Buoy Race and Narrows Series, a four-day bonanza of sail racing in the fast-flowing Strangford Narrows, the six-mile stretch of water that empties and fills the 58 sqm of what is the largest sea inlet in the British Isles.

The Lough was designated as Northern Ireland's first Marine Conservation Zone in 2013 and has also been designated a Special Area of Conservation for its important wildlife.

Traditionally the Bar Buoy Race precedes the Narrows Series with a separate prize, and it takes the fleet through the Narrows round the Bar Buoy at the mouth of Lough. The Strangford Sailing Club Regatta and the two Portaferry Regattas combine their three sets of results to make the Narrows Series.

This year the three organising clubs have arranged a substantial programme; Strangford Sailing Club on the western shore will run the Bar Buoy Race on 11th July, its Regatta on Tuesday 12th July; Portaferry Town on the opposite side of the Narrows will hold theirs on 13th, and Portaferry Sailing Club’s is scheduled for 14th July.

There will be racing for 13 classes ranging from the big IRC and NHC boats to the small Topper, Pico, Optimist and Mirror dinghies.

The Ker 32 Hijacker The Ker 32 Hijacker

I understand from Stuart Cranston whose Ker 32 Hijacker has been lately dogged with gear failure and sail damage, that he is expecting at least the following IRC boats racing – Ryan and Brian Wilson’s Corby 29 Elixir visiting from Carrickfergus on Belfast Lough who won Class 3 at the Bangor Town Regatta, Phil Quinn’s Projection 35 Fat Tony (SLYC), Dermot Hinds Elan 37, Hindsight from Portaferry, the A35 Le Basculer (Mike Spence) from Killyleagh, winner of IRC in last year’s Frostie Series and Going to Red, a J109 owned by Peter Holden, also from SLYC.

No doubt the entry list will increase for what promises to be an enviable event.

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