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After last week’s crash and burn single race, this week, the RS400 Winter Series sailors at RNIYC on Belfast Lough were met by a more manageable 14-20 kts from the southwest, but about 10 degrees colder. Bob Hastings had done a good job on the RS 400 WhatsApp group rounding up and encouraging a good turnout, so 19 boats arrived on the start line. The female side of the fleet was boosted by the arrival of Sharon Corkhill in her first outing since motherhood, Jocelyn Hill in her newly acquired RS400 and Jane Kearney, recent runner-up in the Champions Cup.

The RS400 fleet go upwind at the Winter Series sailors at RNIYC Photo: Zac DalzellThe RS400 fleet go upwind at the Winter Series sailors at RNIYC Photo: Zac Dalzell

The first race start line was busy with a short line set and most of the fleet trying to pick the berth beside the start boat on the slight starboard bias. Robert Hastings got away cleanly to lead at the first mark with Peter Kennedy and Liam Donnelly recovering from poor starts by getting a nice right-hand shift after bailing out to the right. Hastings lost his mojo on the downwind, allowing Kennedy to take the whistle at the finish. Barry McCartin had overcompensated for arriving late for last week’s race by arriving early for this week’s race climbing his way back to 4th after his restart.

Tom Purdon and Purdon of Strangford Lough Yacht Club Photo: Zac DalzellTom Purdon and Purdon of Strangford Lough Yacht Club Photo: Zac Dalzell

There was a short delay whilst the rescue team attended to a couple of fallers, including Jane Kearney, who headbutted her boat and came off second best. Dan Sherriff’s mast was making ominous noises, so they called it quits too.

The second start was cleaner with Kennedy, McCartin (recently 4th in the Champions Cup) and Donnelly taking advantage of a left-hand shift off from the middle of the start line; this was the order at the top of the second beat, but Kennedy dropped his mainsheet and rolled into windward. This greatly amused the two chasers, McCartin keeping the lead to the finish.

The RS400 fleet gybe downwind at the Winter Series sailors at RNIYC Photo: Zac DalzellThe RS400 fleet gybe downwind at the Winter Series sailors at RNIYC Photo: Zac Dalzell

The third race was a humdinger with 6 boats vying for the lead all the way round, Tom Purdon with the lead at the first mark; Donnelly’s masterstroke was an early gybe to take advantage of a nice shift
and gust to plane into the lead and ultimate victory; Andrew Vaughan also took a lot of places on both downwinds, but in second place with only the last mark to round his spinnaker halyard knotted
and he slid down the snake to his worst place of the day.

12 boats finished the 3rd race, which was much less attrition than the previous week, but the windchill was playing its part and race officer Gerry Reid decided it would be prudent to get the fleet ashore
safely before any major mishaps and called off the planned 4th race. Congratulations to the evergreen Liam Donnelly for winning the day with scores 2,2,1.

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Peter Kennedy and Stevie Kane were first in the single heavy weather race of the RS400 Frostbite Series at the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on Belfast Lough last Sunday. 

Out of the thirteen boats that raced, there were only five finishers. 

Second was Andrew Vaughan and Callum Dalzell in second, the Purdon Brothers Tom and Sam, were third. 

Results are below.

Racing will continue next Sunday, 20th November, starting at 13.26. 

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The RS400 Winter series kicked off for the 15th year on Sunday 6th, November out of Belfast Lough’s Royal North of Ireland YC.

For this very popular series, many people come to compete from all over NI, sometimes fly-in from UK & up from Dublin such is the rewarding format of racing, focused on fun!

With 20 entries to date, many boats started arriving in the days before, filling up the dinghy park to tweak and tune their beloved vessels before racing was to kick off 1.30 pm that Day.

Event PRO Gerry Reid performed the Briefing before sailing, commending everyone’s participation and the intention for 3 x quick-fire Windward-Leeward races each day.

The plan being to get on and off the water as quickly as possible so as to claim heat by the fire and have a beer/debrief of the day in the Clubhouse for a rest.

The RS400 Winter series kicked off for the 15th year from Belfast Lough’s Royal North of Ireland YC.

For Day 1 Sunday 6th Nov, the forecast was to feature SW 11-20kts, so an exciting first day in store beckoned. As everyone arrived, after a bit of chatting, rigging, some last-minute drilling and repairing as well as some uncovering their boats for the first time, the fleet hurriedly made it out to the start line. (Kites up on a reach, full plane putting a smile on everyone’s face before we even started!)

The first race quickly went into a sequence as 15 boats took the start line and got away at first attempt bar one; event sponsor Bob Hastings (1353) called over the line and even punished himself by capsizing as he went back round the committee end!

As for the other boats, they took off upwind in 11-15kts with Hammy Baker/Dan Sheriff (1006) leading at windward followed by BMcCartin/J Porter (1406) and Will Findlay 877. The leaders swapped on the downwind as the fireball-lightweights in 1406 got through only at the leeward mark/next beat to have issues getting their “simpler” asymmetric spinnaker down. This let Andrew Vaughan (1438) come back into the top 3 where he stayed on the second beat as a bit more wind right-hand side benefited. Come the finish, Baker/D Sheriff (1006) got back in lead for 1st, Will Findlay (who won this year’s Irish Traveller’s Trophy in 877) in 2nd place.

The second race kicked off shortly after, (9-12kts) this time a clean start with some pin bias and a strong flooding tide against you meant each boat had to get laylines right.

McCartin/Porter (1406) got away to lead followed by Mikey Ferguson/ S Kane (1339) and winner of the CSC Autumn series L Donnelly/R McCaig (1405). The wind was shifting and gusty so finding pressure was key. The top 3 reversed as L Donnelly/R McCaig rounded 2nd lap in the lead, which they held on the run. In 2nd McCartin/Porter attacked-opting a higher planing mode and the last cross at the leeward gate it was super-close;  in the end, McCartin/Porter (1406) won by a boat length at a windward finish. In 3rd was Ferguson/Kane, Hastings/Higgins (1353) kept it upright this time for a 4th, Baker/Sheriff (1006) in 5th.

The 3rd and final race got off in 8-11kts and again port bias, lighter wind against tide making lay lines critical. There was some noise down pin-end as one boat bravely tried to port-start but managed to (just) tack under and get away. McCartin/Porter (1406) this time lead throughout a bit more comfortably, although kept honest by Ferguson/Kane (1339). Baker/D Sheriff 3rd, Hastings/Higgins (1353 4th and Will Findlay (877) rounding out the top 5 after a mishap in race 2. That concluded the first day of sailing as all retreated for a shower.

The event continues for six more consecutive weeks through to the final-feature Christmas Race on the 18th of December. As well as the 20 x Rs400s entered, there is an expected  12 GP14 entries that day as well which will include mulled wine and followed by a Prizegiving dinner party. Visitor boats are welcome to join for even 1 day or the whole series via signup here

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This year's Royal North of Ireland RS400 Winter Series 2022 represents the fifteenth year of the popular Belfast Lough sailing event.

It will kick off on Sunday, the 8th of November, for seven consecutive weeks up to the 18th of December.

With a regular 18 boats on the start line and a bonanza of boats turning up for the last day, GP14s are joining the RS 400’s for the last day, known as the Christmas race. A further twelve GPs are expected for that.

Last year a record 20 RS 400’s entered for the whole series. The Series draws boats and very talented sailors from all over the country, with one boat travelling all the way from Dublin.

Last year's winners, Peter Kennedy and Stephen Kane won a hard-fought battle, mostly coming down to the last day, with relentless pressure from Andrew Vaughan and veteran of the fleet Liam Donnelly. This year will see additional pressure from other contenders, Jane Kearney, or Tom Purdon perhaps. 

A busy Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club dinghy park at last year's RS400 Winter Series 2022 on Belfast LoughA busy Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club dinghy park at last year's RS400 Winter Series 2022 on Belfast Lough

The PRO Gerry Reid said, “A typical Sunday race will consist of three quick-fire races of about 20 minutes each. We bear in mind that it gets cold for the competitors and the event team, so we don’t hang about. This all came about back in 2007 when a few 400’ guys approached the Club and asked about a few races around Halloween, this developed into its present guise of, three races per day over 7 /8 weekends the numbers just built. We are delighted to keep this event going despite an interruption from Covid.”

Racing can be watched from the shore at Cultra, starting at 1.30 Sunday 6th November.

Racing at last year's Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club  hosted RS400 Winter Series 2022 on Belfast LoughRacing at last year's Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club hosted RS400 Winter Series 2022 on Belfast Lough

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Last weekend, the RS400 and RS200 fleets descended on Lough Derg for the RS Inlands, hosted by Killaloe Sailing Club (KSC). Despite the October weather, the event attracted the largest fleet of the season. Perhaps everyone was keen to have a good nose around the brand-new facilities, as KSC has just redeveloped their grounds, adding in a clubhouse and boathouse and extending the dinghy park and car park.

With the forecast for Sunday threatening 30+ knot gusts, Race Officer Michael Tyrell scheduled four races on the Saturday.

The 17-boat-strong RS400 fleet kicked off the racing into a challenging southerly beat. Most of the sailors were used to compensating for tides and waves and so had the comparatively novel challenge of fickle lake winds to contend with. The fleet split early as everyone headed to the eastern or western shores to search for the best pressure. Perhaps it was local knowledge that won out in the search for the wind as Govan Berridge and David Coleman of KSC led at the windward mark, a lead they held to the race finish, despite the challenge from Marty O'Leary and Kevin Johnson of Greystones SC, who themselves kept John Downey and Sandy Rimmington from Monkstown Bay SC in third.

The second race was a stand-out victory for Paul Phelan and Alan Leddy of Greystones SC. They practically ran aground on the Tipperary shore before tacking to the mark and consolidating a massive lead that nobody could overhaul. Robbie O’Sullivan and Phil McGlade from Monkstown Bay SC, who had explored the Clare shoreline before, came home to second place, beating Peter Bayly and Paddy Blackley of Greystones SC to third.

Peter Bayly and Paddy Blackley of Greystones SCPeter Bayly and Paddy Blackley of Greystones Sailing Club on Lough Derg for the RS400 end of season event

The third race was another cat and mouse affair, with Bayly and Blackley proving the eventual winners, while the almost inevitable split in the fleet probably gave them huge headaches about who to cover, made slightly easier by O'Leary/johnson breaking their boom clean in half! Berridge and Coleman took second place, with O’Sullivan and McGlade in third.

Killaloe Sailing Club's Govan Berridge and David Coleman were the winners of the RS Inland Championships on Lough DergKillaloe Sailing Club's Govan Berridge and David Coleman were the winners of the RS Inland Championships on Lough Derg

The final race of the day featured the most lead changes, with the nip-and-tuck racing bringing equal measures of satisfaction and stress, as everyone continued to seek the best pressure across the width of the lake. Berridge and Coleman, eventually found the front of the fleet at the final windward mark and held on during the final downwind to pip Bayly and Blackley, while Downey and Sandy took the final placing.

Sunday’s forecast proved frustratingly accurate, and so the results from Saturday stood, with overall winners Govan Berridge and David Coleman taking the trophy to Killaloe. Second place went to Peter Bayly and Paddy Blackley with consistent showing by Robbie O’Sullivan and Phil McGlade earning them third overall.

While it may be obvious that the author wasn’t following the RS200 fleet, Galway City SC’s Alex and Martin Roe scored a series of bullets to take the overall win, with KSC pairing Pat Culloo and Susan Le Mignon coming second. Third place was taken by the Galway Bay SC duo, John Barry and Margaret Cronin.

All competitors, however, enjoyed the KSC hospitality and their new club facilities had a proper commissioning!

Report by David Coleman

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In a year that Ireland has hosted the 505, GP14, Fireball, SB20 World championships, some of the other classes have had a quieter year.

However, the RS fleet has seen some resurgence with boats changing hands quickly already in late summer/autumn with sailors joining fleet for first time and some coming back to join the fleet after a year or two away.

Why sail RS? RS is a forward-thinking sailboat manufacturer, the boats are light, fast and fun, sure to put a smile on your face and a thrill for sailing.

The RS Aero has transformed the game while RS200 numbers thrive as youth/lighter teams come through with as many as 180 boats at UK Nats in Hayling Island August-2022.

The RS400 is the original "modern classic" RS boat. It has a wide weight range that combines power & speed with an asymmetric at an affordable price! Just take a look at this video from RS400 Nationals this year (in champagne conditions in Ballyholme. 

The RS fleet is scheduled to have the final event of the year 8/9 October in the brand new clubhouse of Killaloe SC, Co. Clare for the RS200/400 Inlands. The club already has an established RS fleet, with many more coming from strongholds of Greystones, Blessington and across Northern Ireland expected to travel.

Signup is available for the inlands for anyone thinking of coming, NOR, Entry Page, SIs and Whatsapp Group, all listed on the page with some suggestions for places to stay while Camping etc will be available at the club.

For those not yet with a boat but interested in joining the class, there is a Crew Union Facebook page below (anyone interested can join) and Class website here and the Irish RS200 / RS400 Dinghy Crews' Union (Facebook page)

The AGM is to be scheduled at the end of October and will decide Irish events for 2023.

Already confirmed for 2023 is RS400 Eurocup is the epic venue of Torbole, Lake Garda 29 May-2nd June and UK Nationals Mounts Bay SC 31st July-4th Aug with the same event strongly rumoured to be coming back to Northern Ireland in 2025.

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It looked as if the RS fleets were in for a drenching on the second day (20th) of the Championship event at Ballyholme with torrential rain for the early part of the morning, then the clouds broke, and the sun shone on Belfast Lough. Winds were fresh with lulls at times and a less bumpy sea than Friday, but the breeze took a while to settle in the southwest.

Race Officers were Robin Gray and Sheela Lewis for the two race areas.

In the RS 200 National Championship after seven races Joycelyn Hill and Jenny Lewis of County Antrim YC are firmly in charge with another run of first places in the four races with Alex and Martin Roe from Galway some 5 points behind. Third place is held by the host club’s Martin and Vicky Dews who also represent Donaghadee SC.

In the RS 400 division Bob Espey and Richard McCullough still maintain the dominant place and were only knocked off the top once, and that was in Race 7 by Mikey Ferguson and Philip Adams from the host club. The Greystones pair, Conor Galligan and Evan Smith have hardly anything to play with, being just one point ahead of Ferguson.

Bob Espey and Richard McCullough RS 400 with Robert Hastings and Michael McAlister behind Photo: Simon McIlwaineBob Espey and Richard McCullough RS 400 with Robert Hastings and Michael McAlister behind Photo: Simon McIlwaine

The Aeros, Fevas and 2000s had their first races for the Northern Championships and in Aeros had their first races for the Northern Championship and here Liam Glynn (BYC) leads by three points from Daragh Sheridan of Howth YC counting three firsts to Sheridan’s three seconds. Glynn was began racing in a Topper at which he excelled and has now retired from the Irish Sailing Performance Team. Daragh Sheridan won the Aero Nationals at the same venue in May.

RS Feva fleet Photo: Simon McIlwaineThe RS Feva fleet Photo: Simon McIlwaine

The nine-strong Feva fleet the lead is held by Ross and Ellie Nolan of Royal North of Ireland YC a few miles along the Belfast Lough coast with three wins from four races, with the Ridout family taking second and third places. Matthew and Peter were second and Emily and Annabel third.

Dave Fletcher and Ryan Smith hold a three-point lead in the RS2000s, having counted three bullets with Aileen and Dave Smith lying second with a consistent run of second places.

Racing continues today (21st) at 10.55hrs

Results downloadable below

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The westerly at Ballyholme Yacht Club on Friday which reached 20 knots at times, delivered exciting racing in a bouncy sea for the RS200 and RS400 fleets on day one of the three-day National Championship in Belfast Lough.

It was the County Antrim YC pair, Jocelyn Hill and Jenny Lewis who go into the second day with a one-point lead in the five-strong fleet over the far travelled Alex and Martin Roe from Galway City SC.

Joycelyn Hill and Jenny Lewis County Antrim YC photo Ryan WilsonJoycelyn Hill and Jenny Lewis County Antrim YC photo Ryan Wilson

The fifteen in the RS400 fleet were dominated by the host club’s and event organiser Bob Espey crewed by Richard McCullough who have a comfortable lead of six points. In second slot were Conor Galligan and Evan Smith of Greystones SC and tying on 15 points for third slot were Robert Hastings and Michael McAlister (Royal North and Strangford Lough YC) and Robbie Gilmore and Sam Purdon of SLYC.

Robert Espey and Richard McCullough of BYC Photo: Ryan WilsonRobert Espey and Richard McCullough of BYC Photo: Ryan Wilson

Saturday (20th) sees the second day of the RS200 and RS400 Nationals and the start of the Northern Championships for the RSFeva, RSAero, RS 2000.

Download results below

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Ballyholme Yacht Club will be the venue over the weekend of 19th till 21st August for an RS championship event which organiser Bob Espey hopes will attract around 60 competitors.

The event will be held in the waters of Belfast Lough and consists of two different championships; the two day six race RS Aero, RS Feva and RS 2000 Northern Championship 2022 on the Saturday and Sunday and the three day nine race RS 400 and RS 200 National Championship which starts on Friday 19th August.

This will the first time the RS2000 class will have an individual start.

Entrants are encouraged to take advantage of the Early Bird entry fees if booked before 15th August, and the first 30 entries will get a free one-off event T shirt. And among the prizes will be the daily Mug of the Day award, a frequent fun feature of BYC competition and a new idea, the best Social Media post of the event.

RS championship

The Race Officer for the two-day event, sponsored by Simply Telecom and supported by Ridgeway, will be Aidan Pounder, and for the RS200/400 event, Sheela Lewis.

More information is here 

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Just like on the previous Sunday the competitors in the final race day of Royal North of Ireland’s RS400 Winter Series hosted by the club on the south shore of Belfast Lough gathered last Sunday (19th) looking out at a mirror-like Lough. But this time it stayed like a mirror and the series came to a quiet end with the results for the previous week standing as the final results for the series.

It was close at the top after 19 races and the top prize went to Strangford Lough Yacht Club’s Peter Kennedy (former Olympian, All Ireland Champion Helm and Afloat Sailor of the Month for October 2018) and Stevie Kane of Royal North who finished with 44 points. The closest to Kennedy were two local boats, Andrew Vaughan and Toby McCullough on 54 points and Liam Donnelly and Rick McCaig, (56). The previous holders of the Bosun Bob’s Trophy, Trevor D'Arcy & Alan 'Ginge' McLearnon from across the Belfast Lough at Carrickfergus were fourth. Other visitors represented Coleraine YC, Newcastle YC, Ballyholme, and Newtownards. Another helm was two-time World Mirror champion, Ross Kearney.

This event has been running for about 14 years and built up from a handful of boats to the 20 entered this winter. The event always ends on the Sunday before Christmas.

The previous week bang on time for the Race 1 start a good southerly breeze materialised and thirteen crossed the line. For Race 2 and 3 wind direction was much the same and with the wind still building gains and losses were made on the downwind legs. Race Officer Gerry Reid, who has been running the series since its inception, made the most of those perfect conditions and slotted in one more race, repositioning the course in the increasing wind. Winners on that day were local crew Andrew Vaughan and Ross Nolan with Kennedy and Kane second in what was a very close set with only six points separating the top six boats.

Andrew Vaughan, the event director, thanked the support crews on Mark laying boats, the Committee boat and the Race Officer for series, Gerry Reid, Jack Anderson for the Results as well as the Office Staff.

Traditionally Royal North runs a Spring Series in the same format, and it is hoped that this will be possible in ’22 given the Covid 19 pandemic.

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