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Niall and Nikki Meagher in Ffantastic Mr Fox had two great race wins in very difficult shifty conditions in the National Yacht Club Flying fifteen Frostbite Series on Sunday. The strong winds of the morning had abated and by the start it was only about 10-12knots in a flat sea.

The large turnout of 15 boats were a bit too keen and there was a general recall. On the first beat there was very little difference between those went hard left and those who went right. David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne led from Adrian & Alex Cooper, behind it was very bunched with O’Sullivan, Green and Coughlan well in the mix. Downwind the Coopers took the lead and held it till the last beat on lap three where the wind gods decided to play with the fleet. Eventually after a calm shifty period those out on the left came good, The Meaghers and Ken Dumpleton & Paul Nolan had got well ahead followed by Mulvin, Coleman and Green fairly spread out behind them. It wasn’t a sure thing on the downwind leg towards the finish as the wind flicked around as far as the NE at one stage but the Meaghers got the gun followed by Dumpleton with Mulvin third, it was bad luck on the Coopers who had sailed a great race.

For Race 2 the wind flicked to the west and just as we were in the sequence it flick back to the south west and PRO Ian Mathews had to reset the course as the fleet waited. Off they went up the beat, Colman out on the left came in to the weather mark first just ahead of the Meaghers and Mulvin, but it was very close behind with Dooley and Coughlan going well. The winds had got lighter on the second beat and as Colman led around the weather mark he came to a standstill in the now strong incoming tide at the wing mark allowing the Meaghers to overtake and go into the lead. Behind Dooley, Mulvin and Green were all chasing. There was another lap to go .. or was there? The blue flag went up much to the delight of the Meaghers and the race was shortened as the winds flicked back to the west.

Thanks to Ian Mathews and all his assistants on the committee boat and in the ribs, we couldn’t race without them! The fleet take a break next week as they head off to the Freshwater Regatta in Lough Derg, Dromineer for their West Coast Championships.

Published in Flying Fifteen

In an exciting days racing in a strong westerly wind Flying Fifteen class Captain John O’Sullivan with UK guest crew Ben Longstaff stunned the fleet in Race 2 with a fantastic win to record his first ever race victory. It was well deserved and well celebrated!

This was the first day of the traditional six week frostbite series run by the NYC with Ian Matthews as PRO. The fleet set out in about 18-20knots from the west with a surprisingly strong flooding tide. A great turnout of sixteen boats got off at the first time of asking and most headed towards the shore, it was all very close and all very exciting. As they approached the weather mark it was Green, fresh back after getting second in the UK Nationals in Falmouth with Charles Apthorp, who led from Mulvin & Beirne closely followed by a cluster of boats. It was a three lap race and although it was close racing not a lot changed as Green read the shifts well and maintained his lead to take the gun with Mulvin second and Colman & Quinn third.

Race 2 followed shortly after, the wind was steady but PRO extended the beat and added a triangle so thrills and spills were sure to occur on the downwind legs! Off they went at the gun but Green was a bit too quick out of the blocks and had to go back as the rest of the fleet sailed on up the beat. The majority went towards the shore with O’Sullivan to weather of the other boats, meanwhile Coughlan & Marshal went right, these two fierce rivals rounded the mark together but O Sullivan kept his nerve and his head to take the lead and sailed a solid race to win his first race ever! Behind places were changing right up to the last leg. Mulvin, Coleman and Dooley were battling it out, Sherry was unlucky as his spinnaker went under his bow at the drop, Green was slowly catching up and at the last weather mark has nipped into third place but Dooley over took them and Mulvin on the last leg to get a second place with Mulvin finishing third.

It was a great start to the series, thanks to Ian Matthews and his team who worked hard on a breezy lumpy day providing great racing and great courses. The series continues next Sunday.

Published in Flying Fifteen

The Final day of the 2017 Flying Fifteen National Championship finished with a flourish in squally conditions in Falmouth Bay. Two races were scheduled with an earlier start of 1100hrs to finish the regatta before another front hit the Cornwall region with some adverse weather.

Race 7 of the championship was the first to bring out the general recall flag, but the fleet got away at the second attempt. PRO Peter Saxton set a 2km first leg in a fluctuating 10 - 13 knot breeze from 210 degrees. The majority of the fleet worked the mid right to right hand side of the course closer to the shore.

The leaders round the windward mark were the top three boats fighting for the title, Jeremy Davy/Martin Huett (DWSC), followed by Charles Apthorp/Alan Green (HISC) and Richard Lovering/Matt Alvarado (HISC). However, down the run, Graham/Ben Scroggie (Parkstone YC) and Ian Cadwallader/Dave Sweet (Chew Valley Lake SC surged past as the breeze picked up in gusts.

4004 Apthorp GreenCharles Apthrop from Hayling Island and Alan Green of the National Yacht Club finished second overall. Photo: Johnny Fullerton

On the second lap around the triangle these two boats reached away leaving the title contenders fighting for third place. At the wing mark Cadwallader/Sweet got inside the Scroggies to reach to the finish line for their third championship race win in a row. The Scroggies held on for second and Lovering/Alvarado squeezed in for third to take the advantage of a 2 point lead into the last race. Apthorp/Green finished 5th and Davy/Huett 7th.

The final race was lengthened to a 3 lap race as the breeze increased as some big black clouds gathered bringing rain squalls with them. With the title going down to the wire the final race was another general recall but when the black flag was raised a slightly reduced fleet calmed down.

The first windward/leeward leg saw the usual suspects fighting it out for the top positions but the race was led by David Tabb/Chewey Sherrell (Parkstone YC). The three title contenders were fighting it out up and down wind as the squalls blew down the race course.

Visibility was becoming poor as the rain showers persisted but the dayglow regatta leader bibs worn by Lovering/Alvarado came into view on the second lap showing that they had worked up to second place and more importantly two places ahead of Apthorp/Green. Despite some close racing and flying reaches around the triangle, once Lovering/Alvarado had got ahead of their main rivals they covered them up the final upwind leg to round for home. Down the final run the champions elect even managed to surf past Tabb/Sherrell to take the winning gun and seal the 2017 CARRS Land Rover Flying Fifteen National Championship title.

Apthorp/Green crossed in 4th to take second overall by 3 points leaving Davy/Huett with 3rd overall. Cadwallader/Sweet finished 9th to move to 4th overall and Tabb/Sherrell moved up to 5th overall with their final race 2nd. The Lovering/Alvarado partnership have now finished 1st/2nd/1st in the last three Flying Fifteen UK National Championships.

The first boat in the Classic division was Class President, Bobby Salmond/David Hill.

Matt comments on his regatta win:
“We were pretty happy we were never really racing for a bullet in the last race, we just wanted to keep ourselves between the hoop and our main competitors but it just fell right for us up the last beat. We also had a little bit of luck with our own private puff of wind but a great last race.
Fantastic way to end the regatta, we always enjoy ourselves, we have fun morning, noon and night, win, loose or draw we always sail with a smile on our face.”

Richards summed up his experience:
“This week we have been consistent, there were a couple of high scorers in the fleet behind us so it was just a case of keeping it smart and keeping it clean and not taking risks. We are 1-2-1 in the last three UK Flying Fifteen Nationals so a great regatta for us and a great venue.”

Link to results.

Published in Flying Fifteen

After a lost day of racing due to high winds and driving rain yesterday, The Flying Fifteen National Championship got underway yesterday at the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club, Falmouth with some ideal sailing conditions, light to moderate breezes with a dose of Cornish sunshine thrown in for good measure.

51 competitors from all corners of the UK, including one all the way from Perth, Australia, (but sadly none of the Irish fleet given the world championships will be staged on Dublin Bay in 2019) set out for three back to back races in Falmouth Bay. PRO Peter Sexton set a course of one windward/leeward lap followed by a triangle lap to allow the Flying Fifteen to race on all points of sailing.

All three starts were clean showing some caution by the fleet to avoid picking up any early high scores. Although there were some small shifts around the race track and a bit of current on the inshore side of the course, the upwind and downwind runs were quite an even spread proving the race course was not heavily favoured either side.

Race 1 started in 8 - 12 knots of Southerly breeze, the early leaders were David Tabb and Chewey Sherrell from Parkstone YC in Poole, from Simon Kneller and David Lucas from Grafham Water SC. However, the current UK National Champions, Jeremy Davy and Martin Huett from Draycote Water SC, worked their way to the front with good speed on the downwind legs to take the first winning gun of the championship with Tabb/Sherrell settling for second and Andrew Farmer and Steve Greham, an excellent third. The whole fleet finished in just under an hour of racing with only one retirement due to gear failure.

PRO Peter Sexton didn’t hang around getting race 2 started. Another clean start and another split upwind. This time it was Adrian Tattersall and Richard Popper from Parkstone YC, leading the way around lap 1 closely pursued by the Anglo/Irish team helmed by Charles Apthorp from Hayling Island SC and crewed by Alan Green from National YC in Dublin. By the gate rounding, Apthorp/Green had taken the lead but another Parkstone YC boat, Crispin Read-Wilson and Steve Brown were challenging. The Anglo/Irish team held on to the lead on the triangle leg to score their first win of the championship but Davy/Huett again closed on the runs to record second with Read-Wilson/Brown a solid third place.

For the third race of the day, the breeze just increased a shade to 11 - 13 knots and a few waves started to make the downwind legs a bit more interesting. Still ideal conditions for the Flying Fifteens to get up on the plane.

Another clean start and a good one for the current world champions Steve Goacher and Tim Harper from Royal Windermere YC. They led around all marks of the course extending their lead on the second lap to win quite comfortably from Richard Lovering and Matt Alvarado from Hayling Island SC. Chipping away to move up from fifth to third was Apthorp/Green but this time Davy/Huett had to work much harder sailing from deep in the teens at the first windward mark to recover to 7th by the finish.

Jeremy Davy came ashore satisfied with his first day’s racing:

“We were quite pleased with our day, we had to work really hard for the 7th in the last race, we started quite badly and were well down at the first mark, so in many ways that was our best race. But it was a beautiful day, fabulous conditions, there were some shifts to make it interesting, but nothing too dramatic, so you had to work hard, some good waves, great sailing downwind, the reaches were hard work but there were lots of places to be made on the runs.”

“In the last race we had some good legs downhill, we seem to be quick downwind today, that is probably where we made most gains, there were some fairly big waves so it was easy to hit a wave badly, so we were trying to look out for them. But it was a good first day and what a fabulous venue!”.

Overall after the first day of racing, Apthorp/Green hold a two point lead with their consistency paying dividends. Davy/Huett are second with Goacher/Harper moving up to 3rd to stay in contention.

Charles Apthorp comments on his consistent first day:

“Great conditions, the line was very well set and the course was in good shape, it was difficult to see where the advantage was on either side of the course so as long as you got a clean lane and sailed the boat quite fast, there was only about 5 degrees of wind shift so it was just a case of not trying to do anything too complicated.”

Best Classic boat of the day was Bobby Salmond and David Hall sailing the wooden Flying Fifteen number 627.

Throughout the day there were only about 4 retirements due to a few breakages. One boat did have to return ashore due to a fairly heavy battle scar from a collision before the start of the final race of the day.

Some weary but typically happy sailors returned for some local ale and traditional Cornish pasties served up at the Royal Cornwall YC. At the daily prize giving, special mention was made of a few sailors who performed above and beyond. Amongst them, the long distance visitors John Hassen and Bruce Barnard from South of Perth YC in Western Australia were singled out for some extensive trawling at the gate mark without the required Cornish fishing license! The local fisherman are very protective about their catch and using a spinnaker as a net is heavily frowned upon!

The schedule for Friday is for three more races with an earliest warning signal at 1200 midday. The forecast is for similar breezes but from a more Westerly direction.

Results are here

Published in Flying Fifteen

The 2019 Flying Fifteen World Championships will be hosted by the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire it has been announced. The event will run from 2nd -13th September on the waters of Dublin Bay.

85 boats will compete with entries from as near as the UK, Europe and as far away as Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand where the most recent World Championships were held.

As well as being a boost to the local Dun Laoghaire economy, it is hoped the event will increase interest in this exciting two–man boat. The event will showcase Dublin Bay as a premier racing venue as it follows on from other European and World Championships events in the Bay in 2018, such as the Laser Master World Championships.

Next season's Regional Championships will form the qualification series for the Irish boats so there promises to be some exciting sailing in the build up to the Worlds at the NYC.

This 22nd World Championships coincides with the 50th Anniversary of the local Dun Laoghaire fleet and many of the founding fathers are sure to come out and marvel at how these boats have developed.

Published in Flying Fifteen

Two great close Flying Fifteen races were held on Saturday on Dublin Bay where a surprisingly strong northerly wind made it a tough day on the water for the 18–strong fleet competing in the DBSC series. 

In Race 1 the fleet got off to a clean start, a couple were caught out late in the timing as there was no Dragon or SB20 fleet. Most went left out of the outgoing tide but Conor O’Leary in 3753 led the way from Coughlan & Marshal after they both went right to stronger wind. All was to change downwind, Ian Mathews sailing 4028 with NYC Commodore Ronan Beirne moved into the lead and stayed well ahead to take the gun. Behind Green had moved into a comfortable second place after being late at the start with Ben Mulligan & Tom Murphy third in what was an extremely close finish with a cluster of boats crossing the line at the same time.

It was blowing hard for Race 2, the favoured pin end was claimed by the Meaghers, they stuck to the left side which now had more wind and were first to the weather mark just ahead of the Cahills and Coughlan. Again places were to change downwind especially at the gate, the Meaghers kept their lead while Jill & Frank avoided trouble to stay in second as Mathews moved up to third. In a short race this is how it stayed.

Thanks to Eddie Toterdell and his team for an entertaining afternoons sailing. With only two weeks of Series 2 David Mulvin leads the Series with Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley in second place followed by Alan Balfe.

Published in Flying Fifteen

The Flying Fifteen class has released its national ranking list after last weekend's Championship of Ireland in Antrim

With one event left to sail this season, Strangford Lough's Brian McKee is the top ranked sailor with Northern Ireland helms occupying the top three places. Brian Willis is second with Andrew Martin in third. 

McKee has decided not to represent the class at Irish Sailing's Senior Helmsmans Championships in GP14 dinghies next month. It leaves the way clear for former Geep aces Brian Willis and John McPeake to represent the keelboat class.

Given the two–man class has has introduced a new crew register this season in a 'search for competent crew to help get more boats out on the water', it would be an inclusive move – and certainly an encouraging one for newcomers and old hands alike – if crew names actually appeared on the official ranking list (reproduced below).  

The Fifteens are back on the water for the Western Championships and Keelboat Regatta at Lough Derg Yacht Club October 20th - 22nd.

2007System

2017

2017

2017

2017

2016

   

 

C of I (50%)

South

North

East

West

   

Helm

71

70

69

68

67

Score

Ranking

Brian McKee

72

(48)

49

50

50

221.0

1

Brian Willis

69

49

50

(43)

48

216.0

2

Andrew Martin

73.5

50

(0)

44

46

213.5

3

Lee Statham

70.5

45

48

48

(44)

211.5

4

Ian Matthews

60

46

43

49

(0)

198.0

5

David Mulvin

61.5

37

45

45

(0)

188.5

6

Niall Meagher

52.5

(0)

46

47

43

188.5

7

Charlie Boland

66

41

38

38

(0)

183.0

8

Ben Mulligan

63

40

39

41

(0)

183.0

9

Neil Colin

51

39

41

(37)

41

172.0

10

Andrew McCleery

75

47

(0)

46

0

168.0

11

Peter Lawson

57

(0)

47

0

45

149.0

12

Alistair Court

58.5

44

(0)

35

0

137.5

13

David Gorman

40.5

(0)

0

42

49

131.5

14

Joseph Coughlan

(0)

36

0

36

37

109.0

15

Jeff Harrison

55.5

(0)

44

0

0

99.5

16

Peter Murphy

46.5

(0)

37

0

0

83.5

17

Stuart Harrison

(0)

0

42

40

0

82.0

18

Orla Lawson

43.5

(0)

0

0

36

79.5

19

Fraser Mitchell

(0)

34

0

0

42

76.0

20

Peter Sherry

(0)

35

0

0

40

75.0

21

Michael McCambridge

(0)

0

0

33

39

72.0

22

Niall Coleman

(0)

43

0

27

0

70.0

23

Roger Chamberlain

67.5

(0)

0

0

0

67.5

24

Malcolm Crichton

64.5

(0)

0

0

0

64.5

25

Gavin Pollard

54

(0)

0

0

0

54.0

26

John Lewis

49.5

(0)

0

0

0

49.5

27

Rory McKenna

48

(0)

0

0

0

48.0

28

Sean Craig

(0)

0

0

0

47

47.0

29

Ben Ferris

45

(0)

0

0

0

45.0

30

Alan Green

(0)

42

0

0

0

42.0

31

Andy Best

42

(0)

0

0

0

42.0

32

Rory Martin

(0)

0

40

0

0

40.0

33

Alan Dooley

(0)

0

0

39

0

39.0

34

Ken Dumpleton

(0)

38

0

0

0

38.0

35

John O'Sullivan

(0)

0

0

0

38

38.0

36

Michael Guy

(0)

0

36

0

0

36.0

37

Kevin Cushnahan

(0)

0

35

0

0

35.0

38

Adrian Cooper

(0)

0

0

34

0

34.0

39

Hugh Cahill

(0)

0

0

33

0

33.0

40

Ross Doyle

(0)

0

0

32

0

32.0

41

Alan Balfe

(0)

0

0

31

0

31.0

42

Ralf Hogger

(0)

0

0

30

0

30.0

43

Geraldine O'Neill

(0)

0

0

29

0

29.0

44

Valery Mulvin

(0)

0

0

27

0

27.0

45

Published in Flying Fifteen

A novel 15–minute Youtube video that features interviews with competitors – including world champion Steve Goacher – at the Flying Fifteen National Championships gives an insight into the keelboat scene. 

Filmed by Vincent Polding, who says that despite not being an avid sailor, he couldn’t resist the opportunity to film some of the top crews. 

One question Polding says he forgot to ask during his time at the County Antrim Yacht Club, was why are they called Flying Fifteens?

Can anybody help him?

Published in Flying Fifteen

Perennial Steve Goacher from Lake Windermere sailed to victory in a single race on the final day of the Flying Fifteen Irish Championships at County Antrim Yacht Club. The multiple World and British Champion, sailing with Dun Laoghaire's Alan Green, counted five race wins in the six race series.

Today's single windward leeward race was raced on an inshore course given the gusty conditions at Whitehead.

Strangford Lough boats took second and third places. Andrew McCleary and Colin Dougan from Killyleagh finished second Andy and Rory Martin in third.

Waterford Harbour's Lee Statham and Andrew Paul took fifth and were the first boat from the Republic.

There will be some disappointment that the first Flying fifteen from the fleet stronghold at Dun Laoghaire was as far back as tenth in the 24–boat national championship fleet.

Download overall results below.

Published in Flying Fifteen

Visiting World Flying Fifteen Champion Steve Goacher is making short work of the Irish Championships that is otherwise dominated by Northern Ireland crews at Whitehead in County Antrim today. Results to date are downloadable below.

Goacher, from Lake Windemere, counts four wins from five races after a breezy day with gusts to 25–knots. 

The 24–boat fleet sailed windward/leeward followed by triangle courses.

Lying second is Andrew McCleary and Colin Dougan from Killyleagh are second. Third is Strangford's Andy and Rory Martin.

 

Published in Flying Fifteen
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