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Questions over the next step for juniors after the RS Feva point to the bigger RS200 writes Feva sailor Ciara Byrne
The RSFeva has become the world's best selling two-person dinghy in recent years with fleets also growing in clubs all over Ireland. It is fast becoming the most popular and widespread choice for teenagers and youth sailors who enjoy competitive, active and exciting sailing.
However many questions were being asked recently at the RSFeva Nationals, held in Crosshaven, Co. Cork, regarding the next step for young, talented sailors who wish to continue racing in large fleets without the difficult transition of transferring from the Feva into a larger, unfamiliar dinghy. This uncertainty has led to many sailors dropping out of sailing altogether, while the remainder have split the fleet into Lasers, the 420/470 or moved on to cruisers.
However these dinghies require a lot of time and effort of getting used to, leaving some sailors frustrated and also, less motivated. To avoid this altogether, there is one simple solution: the RS200.
The RS200 is a spacious, one-design, double-handed, hiking, high-performance dinghy which has developed a huge following at club, circuit and championship level in the UK with a growing fleet in Ireland. A pivoting centreboard and rudder allow easy launch and recovery with a thwart giving the crew a comfortable position for light winds. With the asymmetric spinnaker, similar rigging and a similar design, it can be considered as a larger and faster Feva which makes for an easy changeover and the most logical and simple step up.
The ideal weight for an RS200 is 115-145kg (18-23 stone) which allows people of all ages to sail and race effectively in this dinghy. Ideal for teenagers emerging from the Feva, parents, youths, couples, friends and relatives can also come together which enhances the family and social scene.
Even though the 420 has a larger total sail area, the RS200's asymmetric spinnaker of over eight square metres, with a smoother single line hoist and drop system, similar to the Feva's. makes for a faster boat and requires greater tactical and more exciting downwind sailing. This encourages competitive racing and enhanced racing skills.
An RS200 at full speed off Greystones. Photo: Fiachra Etchingham
A maintenance free hull, made of lightweight polyester GRP ensures a long competitive life and second hand boats can be in very good condition so that older hulls are without the disadvantage experienced in fleets such as the 420. Furthermore, every hull comes from the same manufacturer giving no subtle advantage to any one boat; therefore racing just comes down to the sailors' tactics, boat handling and general knowledge of sailing and racing.
While the RS200 is not an Olympic class, there are large UK and Irish fleets which are active and competitive. Johnathan Lewis, a UK Feva coach and RS200 sailor, strongly encourages Feva graduates to move into the RS200 as it is an easy transition and makes for fun and exciting sailing. RS200 fleets are strong in Irish clubs such as those in Northern Ireland including Ballyholme, Newcastle and Cushendall as well as Greystones Sailing Club in Co. Wicklow.
Greystones Sailing Club boasts probably the largest asymmetric dinghy fleet in Ireland with fifty five asymmetric dinghies, twenty one of those being RSFevas and the majority of the remainder being RS200s. Recognising the RS200 as the natural progression from the Feva, ages range from fifteen to fifty five across the RS200 and RS400 fleets in the Club, with most of these boats competing in national events in Ireland, and some in the UK and further afield.
Rounding a mark in the RS200. Photo: Fiachra Etchingham
As fleets build in Dún Laoghaire and Howth yacht clubs, the RS200 is gradually becoming a popular progression from the Feva, and with the RS400 as a follow on boat for larger crews, young sailors can remain involved and spirited in asymmetric racing. The RS200 satisfies a thirst for speed and pace which generates more exciting, competitive and enjoyable sailing for those emerging from Feva fleet.
A Dublin Sailor (who has asked not to be named) has sent us comments on this story:As one involved in junior and youth sailing at club level, one of the big decisions that faces youths is where to go after junior classes such as Optimists, Toppers, Fevas. Like any other sport, there is a high attrition rate after the age of 14 / 15, especially among girls which is an even greater shame as they can compete on a par with the guys.
We need a class that will keep youths engaged. The 420 & 29er are great boats but require higher levels of boathandling, are much more competitive and tend to attract the top sailors. They also suffer from an inability to match up crews who will stick together - teenagers chop and change all the time and its difficult to race a boat like a 420 / Fireball / 29er wihout a constant crew partnership.
We need a boat/class that:
- Enables swapping around of crews without a major impact on the boathandling / teamwork. A sailor's plans for the weekend / event / season are not scuppered because of crewing issues.
- Does not need a highly competent crew (e.g. ability to trapeze and fly / gybe a kite etc.) so that sailors can sail with their mates who may not necessarily be top-notch sailors but who can acquit themselves well in a slightly less complex boat.
- Has a good mixed social scene which is the most important element of any class, youth or otherwise.
- Does not cost the earth in terms of purchase price, is easy on wear & tear on kit (hence replacement & upgrade costs) or does not go soft and become uncompetitive needing a new hull after three to five years etc
- Has international competition that is closeby (UK, FR, Bel, Ned etc) for those aspiring to a bit more
- Has a motiviated class structure to help grow the class.
The fear is that we are starting out another class that will dilute the current youth class efforts. However I believe that the 420 and 29er will hold their own and continue to attract top sailors with ISAF ambitions.
On the other hand, if we continue to support these we will continue to lose the middle ground (and majority) of young sailors from our sport. Youths are fickle enough and if its too much hassle to deal with all the challenges of getting afloat they just won't bother - sad but true.
The ISA needs to take a lead in this and while its Olympic ambitions are great to see, it will fail the sport as a whole if it does not tackle this gaping need in its portfolio of support.
I believe that the RS200 and R2400 provide the best solution to these challenges. They appear well-built and the manufacturer certainly appears well organised and gets involved.
Looking from outside and without any vested interests (other than the health of junior and youth sailing) the RS's get my vote as a class that can make a radical difference.
Royal Cork Yacht Club Admiral Paddy McGlade presided over the Crosshaven Club's annual 'At Home' Regatta yesterday, an event dedicated to families with entertainment this year from the Carrigaline Pipe Band. Among a number of fun events such as Tug 'o' war, the highlight was the intense competition on the water for the Optimist parents race. All the action on the Afloat gallery by Bob Bateman here.
Royal Cork's Patrick Coveney in calm seas for the 'At Home' Optimist race
Next year's Cork Week regatta at Royal Cork Yacht Club, one of Ireland's biggest sailing events, has changed dates from 30th June – Friday 6th July to 7th-13th July 2012 following consultation with both local and overseas participants.
The decision was made to change the date of the biennial event because it would have otherwise have clashed with Britain's Round the Island Race on June 30th.
'Following continuing contact with the OPW, it has been confirmed to me that a new contract for the construction of the new station has been awarded and work is to start very soon. This tender process has been ongoing for more than a year and I am delighted that it has finally been awarded and work to commence shortly.'
Marine Minister Simon Coveney TD with Victor Shine Deputy Area Officer Crosshaven Coast Guard Unit, Vincent Farr Area Officer and James Furlong Unit Member looking over the plans for the new €1.5 Million Coast Guard Station at Crosshaven, Co. Cork. The contract has been awarded to Blarney firm Cumnor Constuction Ltd and work will commence shortly. Photos Billy macGill
'Those who work at Crosshaven Coast Guard are to be commended for their commitment and dedication to the local community in a voluntary capacity. We must now ensure that they are working in a station that reflect this loyalty and high standard of service.'
The contract has been awarded to Cumnor Construction Ltd. of Blarney on August 3rd. Work on the site is expected to commence very shortly.
The Open Day seeks to raise awareness of the different free activities and events available for families in the harbour both on and off the water. If you would like to be involved in Cork Harbour Open Day or organise an event on the day, please contact Sara MacKeown Tel: (021) 4625375 or by email: [email protected]
All of the events will be promoted on the lead up to the day via PR, advertising and social media. For further information www.corkharbour.ie
Adrielle was on station in her refurbished state with the crew still putting finishing touches to the portholes and mighty fine she looked too. Martin Almond and the Race Team sent the cruisers on course 93, two rounds for Class One and one for the other classes plus a course for the Whitesail fleet that included a beat out to number 6. As that fleet came around number 6 they were met by the other fleets coming in the harbour and it was nearly as busy as Piccadilly Circus. Nobody minded as they had a lovely 6 to 8 kts southerly breeze to make for very enjoyable sailing and made the most of the evening.
Aprés sailing there was a rush to get back to the club, for once not to have to get in out of the weather but this time the rush was to grab a seat and enjoy their barbeque food in the outside Patio dining area. I hasten to add the club was also jammed to the hilt as the sailors awaited the call to announce results and prize giving. While waiting the sound of great live music floated over Crosshaven and it was just one tremendous summer evening of sailing and fun.
At last the moment arrived and Vice Admiral Peter Deasy sounded the call to arms and Rear Admiral Ronan Enright warned anyone not present outside for the prize giving would not be considered for the draw for the Marine Motors engine which prompted a dash to the patio area. After the Leagues prize giving three tickets were drawn. Tim O'Mahony from the O'Shea/Durcan T Bone, Michael Wallace of Felix and Derry Nash of Catalpa were the tree names. Two of the three would get bottles of champagne with the last remaining name getting the engine. Derry Nash turned out to be the lucky punter and was thrilled with his luck on the night.
Next Thursday night a new sponsor, the very well known Timberland, will be on board for the July league. Racing will take place on July 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th. The company is offering a 20% discount on their products for RCYC members on production of their membership cards.
The conditions were ideal with a 7–knot breeze coming from the S.E. with flat water, blue skies and at the top of the tide. The harbour was looking its best.
The Race Officer set an excellent course. A bit of bias on the line made the start a bit interesting though. Class One got away clean. But Classes two and three had a General Recall.
After the start at Grassy the fleet had a beat out to No.3 The usual debate ensued over which side of the course was favoured. It was a close call in the end. Around No. 3 to starboard, spinnaker up and back to the Cage Bouy. A gybe and then on to No.12 at this stage there was a nice bit of ebb in the tide. It really was a case off keeping the Spinny flying for as long as possible up to the Mark. A nice beat followed, down to Corkbeg and then a nice reach back to the Grassy where the S flag was flying.
It was a good night for Billy Duane in his Sunlight 30 Expression in the White Sail fleet and for Jimmy Nyhan and Maritta Buwalda in their 1/4 Tonner Outrigger in Class 3.
First places also went to Thunderbird a Corby 25 owned by Denis Coleman in Class 2 and Endgame an A35 owned by Frank Doyle in Class 1.
Deadlines for entry in to a number of this season's key sailing regattas are looming. Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta's significantly reduced early bird entry rate for the July 7th event will end on Monday and offshore racers intending to race in June 11th's 320-mile Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race must enter by next Friday 20th. The ICRA Cruiser Championships in Crosshaven takes place from the 17th to 19th June, a fixture that suits those boats intending to compete in the Dingle race. Race details can be downloaded below.
The 1720 Sportsboat European Championships and the class national championships will be launched at a "Sailing By The Lee" event on Friday 29th April, 2011 where six 1720's will be raced on the River Lee adjacent to the Headquarters of the Port of Cork. The boats will be brought up river on the Thursday evening and racing will commence at lunch time on the Friday (see below for the Eddie English weather video) which say the class will provide photo and media opportunities at the new marina in the Port of Cork. Each boat will carry sponsorship flags.
In June up to 20 boats go back to their roots when the fleet gathers at Royal Cork Yacht Club for the CH Marine Sponsored National Championships.
A fleet of between 30-35 boats will contest the Corona sponsored Europeans when they set sail off Baltimore in September. There are already confirmed entries travelling from Scotland, Isle of Man, England and Wales while there is also interest coming from Holland where a fleet of eight boats is currently active.
The fleet is rapidly becoming the most popular one design keel boat in this part of Ireland. There are now established and growing fleets at Royal Cork, Crosshaven, Kinsale, Baltimore and Schull while Galway Bay also has a growing fleet, racing in Galway Bay. The 2010 Nationals attracted a fleet of over twenty boats,
The series itself will be sailed over a three day period starting on Thursday, 1st September and consisting of nine races in total, three per day. Notice of Race and Entry Forms will be available shortly from Baltimore Sailing Club.