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In near perfect conditions for the month of November, fifteen Flying Fifteens turned out at the weekend on what was dubbed 'Super Saturday' with six races for the conclusion of the Mitsubishi Flying Fifteen Frostbite Series hosted by the NYC.

There was an S/SE breeze with a big swell from the incoming tide so generally the fleet were behind the start line and PRO Ian Mathews and his hard-working team on the rolling committee boat were able to get all the races completed. As each race was just one lap the racing was close so any mistakes would be punished, combined with the fact that none of the contenders could afford a bad result as the discards were all used. Three races combined constituted one race so anything could happen but consistency would be key.

Brian Willis & John McPeake (CABC) were quickest out of the blocks and won the first two races with Green & Doorly (NYC) and Harrison & Sheard (LNSC) close behind Going into the last series of races which combined was race 2 Green & Doorly had a good lead overall but still could not afford a bad result. Playing the shifts, keeping clear air and avoiding trouble they won the next two races which combined with a fourth in the last race secured the series overall. The last race was won comfortably by Coughlan & Marshall (NYC) which gave them the Silver fleet prize with the bronze fleet prize going to O’Sullivan & O’Donnell (NYC)

This event has expanded over the years and this year we had visitors from Antrim and Lough Neagh who’s efforts in travelling down were rewarded with great racing by Ian Mathews and his great team on the committee boat and in the ribs. It also bring an end to what was an exciting and long season and with the World Championships in Dublin next season there is a lot to look forward to.

Published in Flying Fifteen

Jonny Fullerton chats with Boat Builder Nathan Batchelor at Ovington Boats regarding the development of the Flying Fifteen and the future prospects for the class.

The Flying Fifteen is described as ‘the original sportsboat’ although unlike today’s modern sportsboats, it does not feature hydrofoils, bowsprits, asymmetric kites or carbon rigs. However, the class continues to flourish with good fleet numbers around the world racing every weekend and most importantly, enjoying club sailing!

Background on the FF class

The Flying Fifteen Is a two-person keelboat sailed and raced in many countries around the world on the sea, estuaries and inland waters. Club racing is the most important aspect of Flying Fifteen sailing. It is like a big dinghy with a keel so it is ideal for those who have sailed dinghies but are tired of or too old to cope with capsizes!

Flying fifteen 3135Dublin Bay pair Ian Mathews (right) and Keith Poole competing at the Flying fifteen Irish Nationals Photo: Afloat.ie

Unlike many modern sports boats you only require one other person to sail with you, crew combinations come in all sizes, genders and ages, it is just a matter of tweaking the boat to suit your combination. It is easy to launch by two people either off a ramp or using a hoist and it is also easy to tow behind a family car.

The legendary Uffa Fox designed the Flying Fifteen in England in 1947, and his vision of a high-performance planing keelboat continues to flourish around the world, thanks to some judicious and intelligent class management. By embracing and carefully controlling the use of modern materials, the Flying Fifteen has maintained it’s exhilarating performance without becoming too expensive to build or maintain.

Flying fifteen 3582Strangford's Andrew Baker Photo: Afloat.ie

Jonny Fullerton (JF) chats with Nathan Batchelor (NB) at Ovington Boats about the past and present Flying Fifteen versions.

JF: Can you provide some background on the relationship between the class and Ovington boats?

NB: Dave Ovington started building F15’s in around 1990 having obtained the mould from Roy Windebank.

The boat has been modernised over the years with Uffa Fox agreeing to changes towards the end of his life to improve the design specification and sail plan. In 2006 we designed and built a new deck mould to improve the ergonomics and simplify fit out and in 2012 we built another new mould and now offer a choice of non-slip on the foredeck. Most sailors choose to upgrade to having a carbon hull which makes the boat stiffer for longer.

JF: Can you tell me some more detail on the design changes along the way?

NB: The first Ovington built F15’s were built out of the MK 9 mould, which after 3 years was re-faired to take out the undulations in the hull and became affectionately known as the ‘Smoothie’. We built around 180 boats out of the MK 9 and the Smoothie moulds, before wanting to make more improvements and replace the ageing mould. The MK 10 mould came online in February 2002 and the hull shape has been virtually unaltered since then.

JF: What is the latest version and main design features?

NB: Although the hull shape has not changed much since the early 2000’s, we are constantly looking to make improvements. The most visible change since then has been the new deck design in 2006, this has revolutionised the look of the boat. As well as improving the cosmetics, it has significantly increased the amount of buoyancy, it is virtually impossible to swamp a F15 nowadays. During this time the hull construction has swapped from fibreglass to carbon fibre, the hulls are now much stiffer than previously when changing boats yearly was commonplace.

ff aft deck design c OvingtonThe new aft deck plug Photo: Ovington Boats

JF: What design changes and features are planned for the next Ovington version?

NB: We have no big changes in the pipeline but we strive to make small, continuous improvements. In the last 3 years, we have introduced under deck jib furlers, mainsheet tubes, (enabling you to centreline the boom in all conditions) and carbon bulkheads. The F15 has been around long enough, with well-written rules, which means that things evolve rather than taking quantum leaps. Each change we make does not outclass the existing boats, but the cumulative effect makes a difference over the years.

JF: What would Ovington like the class to adopt in changes to the current hull and rig to appeal to a wider audience of sailors?

NB: There is no magic bullet, small refinements are what is needed. We think the new jib is a positive change, also the previously discussed reduction in lead correctors would be a positive step. Simplifying things is essential to attract new sailors. Some of the more traditional rules need looking at. Why do we have buoyancy bags? We already have 4 watertight compartments. Spinnaker numbers? Sailors coming into the F15 find these small things frustrating, complicated and add unnecessary cost.

JF: What is Ovington’s view of the Flying Fifteen class at present and opinions on the future for the class?

NB: The class association is one of the most organised, professional and respected groups we deal with. The class is currently ticking along, however, we do not see much growth happening at club level, it is struggling to attract new members. This is not the fault of the class, it is a problem across the sport. There is hope for the future, the population is getting older and heavier and used boats turn over and have a longer competitive life.

NB: At Ovington Boats we are fortunate having Chris Turner sailing in the class for almost 10 years now, in which time winning three world championships! This experience from on the water, combined with the experience we have gained from building over 400 F15s puts us in a good position for the future.

JF: Many thanks for your input.

Published in Flying Fifteen

The Flying Fifteen class Mitsubishi Frostbite series continued over the weekend with Race 7 and 8 at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay. Twelve boats made it to the start line including visitors Stuart and Tim from Lough Neagh who went into the weekend as leaders and Brian Willis from Antrim Boat Club who had National Champion helm David Gorman as crew. The days racing also combined with the local class Captains (Mick Quinn) prize so lots to play for!

It was a calm morning with a light south to south west breeze and an outgoing tide. The bias was at the pin end and those on the left were in the lead group, Green & Doorly were first to the weather mark followed by Harrison & Sheard with Valerie & David Mulvin third. This is how it stayed for most of the race, the PRO shortened the race at the weather mark, Harrison went left but Green stayed right and Harrison crossed for what he thought was a win but unfortunately was over the line at the start.

The wind had shifted a bit more southerly for race 2, it was still light and if you found and had clear wind you were going to be in a good position. Harrison took it to extreme and was over the line again but only found out after crossing the line first on the water. The Meagher’s, Dumpleton, O’Sullivan and Coughlan were all going well as the fleet remained in a tight bunch. Green had a poor start and was behind but with 3 beats to do there was no panic. It was shifty and difficult to gain, the Meagher’s got the gun to win the race, Willis & Gorman second, the Mulvin’s third and Green managed to overtake a couple of boats on the last beat to take fourth. Three boats were all on equal points for the Captain's prize but Green & Doorly won on countback by having won the first race, Willis was second and the Mulvin’s third. Captain Mick Quinn presented the prizes for all three in the club afterwards- it couldn’t have been any closer.

The results and the introduction of the second discard meant that the new leaders are now Green & Doorly in Frequent Flyer going into the last weekend but there is still a lot to play for with two races scheduled. Once again Ian Mathews and his team did a fantastic job providing good close racing in tricky shifty conditions.

Published in Flying Fifteen

As David O'Brien reports in this morning's Irish Times here, the Irish Flying Fifteen class have confirmed the seven 'automatic qualifiers' for next September's Flying Fifteen World Championships on Dublin Bay. 

After the seasons 4 qualification events, with 3 to count, seven boats have qualified automatically for the World Championships to be held at the NYC are:

1-David Gorman & Chris Doorly (NYC) 174pts
2-Roger Chamberlain & Charlie Horder (SLYC) 165.5pts
3-Andrew McCleery and Colin Dougan (PSC) 164.5pts
4-Andy and Rory Martin (SLYC) 163pts
5-Bryan Willis and John McPeake (CABC) 158pts
6-Ian Mathews and Keith Poole (NYC) 154.5pts
7-Lee Statham and Andy Paul (WHSC) 154pts

Much more news, including the announcement of a title sponsor for the event, in this morning's Irish Times Sailing Column here

Published in Flying Fifteen

After braving the delays due to roadworks on the Motorway heading south, many of the Flying Fifteen fleet assembled for Lough Derg Yacht Club's traditional pre-event supper in the Whiskey Still at Dromineer, followed by some refreshments writes our special correspondent.

Saturday dawned, as expected, damp and very still. Fortunately, the event Race Officer John Leech made the good call to postpone and wait for the breeze and allow late arrivals to rig boats.

Still in the drizzle, the fleet assembled in the race area and racing got underway in a gentle 5-7 knots from the South on a Windward Leeward course. Early leaders were Rory Martin in the back seat with guest crew Dave Muckilveen up front. However, a fresh breeze from 90 degrees right on the second beat promoted Niall Meagher and Nicki Matthews followed by Ian Matthews and Keith Poole around the remaining legs of the course.

"The event brings down the shutter on the qualification series for the 2019 world championships"

Rory & Dave restored their honour in race two as the breeze softened in the continuing drizzle with the ever consistent Ian & Keith second and Alastair Court and Conor O’Leary finishing out the podium, the race featuring some interface with the Squib class sharing the course.

With the wind now completing a full 180 shift from the initial directions, Race 3 started in similar 5-7 knots of breeze, and the fleet separated by only a cigarette paper at the first mark. With the right side favoured, there was a healthy inter-fleet meeting at the left-hand gate at the bottom of leg 2. Avoiding the traffic Neil Colin and Margaret Casey rounded the right gate and stayed left, sailing into pressure and a ladder up to the top mark. They were followed home by Rory and Dave, and the ever consistent Ian and Keith.

Even though the Race Officer had intended to run four races, with the time lost earlier in the day and the sodden crews and mark laying volunteers, he signalled enough for the day, to the relief of everyone on the water.

Back in the club after hot showers in the warmth, a substantial dinner of Lamb or Salmon was presented, followed by swapping stories on the events of the day, and even a nightcap or two.

On Sunday, the sun shone to the relief of everyone, and the Race Officer started on time, as declared at his briefing. The start was comfortably won by Ian and Keith on a Port tack, as there were only two boats present, due to the lack of wind and time lost in re-launching boats.

Much to the relief of the remainder of the fleet, the race was abandoned, as the breeze evaporated leaving a glass flat water surface, and so it remained for the next two hours, when the decision to abandon racing for the day was made, leaving the overnight result to stand.

Thanks to the Derg volunteers, the fleets were towed home and packed their boats in the autumn sunshine.

The event brings down the shutter on the qualification series for the 2019 world championships to be staged in National Yacht Club next September, with the formal confirmation of qualifiers awaited.

Published in Flying Fifteen

Lough Derg Yacht Club is hosting its annual Freshwater Keelboat Championships in Dromineer, County Tipperary this coming weekend with racing for Squibs and Flying Fifteens over two days.

The event is an end of season celebration and competition for sailors who love the autumnal conditions and the challenge of the vagaries of lake sailing.

Currently, the weather forecast indicates gusty, southerly winds on Saturday and Sunday

Competitors are travelling from as far afield as Norfolk, Holyhead, Strangford, Howth, Kinsale and Dun Laoghaire to join the local fleet.

LDYC Commodore John Leech is Race officer for the event.

Published in Flying Fifteen

Fresh from last weekend's national championships on Dublin Bay, the National Yacht Club stages the first race of its Flying Fifteen 2018 Frostbite Series this Saturday.

There will be back-to-back races on each day of the series that runs until November 17 with two breaks for the Lough Derg end of season event and the October Bank Holiday. 

Six short races are scheduled as a two-race mini-series.

The combined results for the first three consecutive short races on the day will score as 1 race in the overall series. The combined results for the next 1-3 consecutive short races on the day will score as 1 race in the overall series. All races to count within each mini-series.

Published in Flying Fifteen

The Deloitte sponsored Championship of Ireland for the Flying Fifteen class ended on Sunday with a sinew- stretching, gut busting race in the strongest wind of the weekend with thrills and spills on the top reach of the triangle!

However, by the time the last race started, the new National Champions had exited “stage left”. The speculation on Saturday night was that a 6th place in either of the two races on Sunday would be enough to see the host club’s Dave Gorman and Chris Doorly crowned National Champions. They duly made sure of their title by finishing in second place in the first race which was won by Charles Apthorp and Alan Green, their closest rivals. That meant they could retire to shore early, derig and enjoy an early shower before the balance of the fleet came in. Talking to Dave Gorman after the prize-giving, he admitted to being a bit nervous going out as they had to drop their rig on the Saturday night when the jib halyard was seen to be unravelling. Not the best of preparations for the last day of a regatta. Fortunately a spare was offered by Bryan Willis, but even then some modifications were required to get it all back in place.

Flying Fifteen 3718Andy and Rory Martin (SLYC) Photo: Afloat.ie

Sunday morning had brought a distinct change in the weather, cloudy conditions, a cooler temperature and a stiffer breeze, but still out of the western quadrant of the compass. Another new phenomenon was a short rain shower which on approach seemed to ramp up the wind strength, but on passing the wind dropped marginally again. Race Officer Jack Roy got proceedings started promptly but found himself having to use the General Recall for the first attempt at a start. That prompted the “shaking out” of the “U” Flag which trawled five boats out of the race.

It was a brisk race with great downwind conditions on the sausage and a preference for the left-hand side on the beats. It also brought a new combination to the individual race podium with a third place for Hammy Baker & Peter Chambers out of Strangford Lough. They were fast downwind! Bryan Willis & John McPeake were also having a much better half of the regatta, following a first place in the last race of the Saturday they would score a 5th and a 2nd on Sunday.

Having set six windward-leeward courses thus far, the “T” flag was broken out for the last race of the regatta – maybe as a reward for our perseverance! The breeze also came to the party with probably the hardest beats of the regatta. Charles Apthorp & Alan Green dominated the race to win by a country mile and all this with Charles wearing an orthopaedic boot and walking around the club with a single crutch – how determined is that! The top reach of the second lap triangle was exhilarating, provided you could keep the boat upright. There were quite a few spills on the leg with some very distinguished combinations showing their keels for all the world to see………….but what happens on the water, stays on the water, so no names will be divulged.

Flying Fifteen 3718(Above and below) Ian Matthews and Keith Poole of the host club, the NYC pair were European Race winners on Lake Garda a month ago. Photo: Afloat.ie 

Flying Fifteen 3718

One of the better stories saw a crew slide out on the foredeck to recover a broken spinnaker sheet so that it could be retired to the sail after the gybe mark for the second reach. The last beat of the regatta really was a battle with the wind getting up as forecast. It made for some very hard but exciting sailing.

So, after a seven-race series, the Class has new National Champions and we were treated to exceptionally good race management by Jack Roy and his team. We had three different days of weather and the adage “there was something for everyone” rang true in this instance. We were also very grateful for the sponsorship of Deloitte and Dave Dalton of the sponsoring company was in attendance to hand over the prizes together with National Yacht Club Commodore, Ronan Beirne, a Flying Fifteen crew himself, Mick Quinn, Dun Laoghaire Class Captain and Frank Burgess who co-ordinated the award of the right prize to the right combination. Due thanks were recorded to the various volunteers who made the regatta possible.

The various winners in the different fleets and the top ten are listed below.

Flying Fifteen 3718Portaferry's Andy McCleery and Colin Dougan Photo: Afloat.ieFlying Fifteen 3718Former World FF Champion Charles Apthorp of Hayling Island Sailing Club (and the National Yacht Club) with Dublin Bay's Alan Green Photo: Afloat.ie

Flying Fifteen 3718(Above) Waterford Harbour's Lee Statham and Andy Paul (red spinnaker) are overtaken (below) by Strangford's Roger Chamberlain and Charlie Horder on a breezy reach in the last race Photo: Afloat.ieFlying Fifteen 3718Flying Fifteen 3718(Above and below) Strangford Lough's Hamish Baker and Peter Chambers Photo: Afloat.ie

Andrew Baker FF 2897

Flying Fifteen 3404Ken Dumpleton and John McNeilly Photo: Afloat.ie

Flying Fifteen 3239Roger Chamberlain and Charlie Horder (IRL 3962) lead a bunch downwind Photo: Afloat.ie

Flying Fifteen 3239Flying Fifteen 3239Ben Mulligan and Cormac BradleyDMYC's Ben Mulligan and article author Cormac Bradley Photo: Afloat.ie

Deloitte Flying Fifteen Championship of Ireland

National Yacht Club, 28 – 30 September 2018

Sail No.

R1

R2

R3

R4

R5

R6

R7

 

Bronze Fleet

 

1

Ken Dumpleton & John McNally

NYC

3955

16

RET

6

11

22

12

15

 

2

Gerry Ryan & Peter Dolan

NYC

4045

14

12

12

27

16

UFD

DNF

 

3

Alan Balfe & John Whelan

NYC

3995

26

15

16

24

19

18

20

 
                       
 

Silver Fleet

 

1

Gavin Doyle & Dave Sweeney

NYC

3707

6

14

13

5

8

10

7

 

2

Jeff Harrison & Rory Hickland

ABC

3648

13

9

18

17

13

UFD

DNF

 

3

Charlie Boland & Fintan Stanley

WHSC

3682

12

4

17

19

21

RET

RET

 
                       
 

Gold Fleet (Top Ten)

 

1

Dave Gorman & Chris Doorly

NYC

3902

3

2

2

1

3

2

DNC

 

2

Charles Apthorp & Alan Green

Hayling Island

3957

4

10

1

UFD

5

1

1

 

3

Roger Chamberlain & Charlie Horder

SLYC

3962

1

3

5

7

11

11

3

 

4

Andrew McCleery & Colin Dougan

Portaferry

4037

2

5

7

18

6

7

9

 

5

Lee Statham & Andrew Paul

WHSC

3896

7

1

9

2

RET

9

5

 

6

Hammy Baker & Peter Chambers

SLYC

3756

8

13

3

9

14

3

10

 

7

Gavin Doyle & Dave Sweeney

NYC

3707

6

14

13

5

8

10

7

 

8

Bryan Willis & John McPeake

Co. Antrim

3729

18

23

14

6

1

5

2

 

9

Alastair Court & Conor O’Leary

RStGYC

3753

23

8

8

3

12

13

8

 

10

Ian Matthews & Keith Poole

NYC

3864

5

16

OCS

16

9

4

6

 
                         

In the preview to this regatta, the author speculated that the winners should come from the following boats. The figure, in brackets after each name is where they finished overall;

ff Gorman(L – R) Mick Quinn, DL Flying Fifteen Class Captain, Dave Dalton, Deloitte, Dave Gorman, winning helm & Chris Doorly, winning crew Photo: Cormac Bradley

Dave Gorman & Chris Doorly (1), Charlie Apthorp & Alan Green (2), Ian Matthews & Keith Poole (10), Andy & Rory Martin (11), Andy McCleery & Colin Dougan (4). This is not meant as a “clever-clogs” close but just a modest justification for my original selection.

The Flying Fifteen regatta season wraps up in Lough Derg Yacht Club over the weekend of 13/14 October with the final regatta in the Worlds selection series………of which further anon!

Published in Flying Fifteen

Day 2 of the Flying Fifteen Championships of Ireland at the National Yacht Club saw Race Officer Jack Roy having to deal with westerly winds that were a lot stronger than the forecast for the day. With this being the last day of Dublin Bay Sailing Club racing for 2018, the race area was to the west of the harbour.

With a wind that fluctuated around the 270° direction, the fleet enjoyed excellent racing conditions and three races were completed.

Race wins were shared between Charles Apthorp & Alan Green who took the first race comfortably, leading from start to finish, Dave Gorman & Chris Doorly, and Bryan Willis & John McPeake. The latter combination who had struggled badly yesterday but made amends today with a 14, 6, 1 return for the day.

Gorman & Doorly were even better with a 2, 1, 3 return that sees them take the lead of the regatta by a margin of eight points. Overnight leaders Andy McCleery & Colin Dougan had a more difficult day as they scored a 7, 18, 6. One of those to have a particularly good day were Alistair Court & Conor O'Leary who scored a 8, 3, 12 to secure a place in the top ten overnight.

Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley would have enjoyed three top ten finishes but their first race of the day was downgraded to an OCS. They weren't the only ones to embrace letters on their score cards!

After five races the overall situation is as follows;

1. Dave Gorman & Chris Doorly 8pts.
2. Roger Chamberlain & Charlie Horder 16pts
3. Lee Statham & Andrew Paul 18pts
4. Charles Apthorp & Alan Green 20pts
5. Andy McCleery & Colin Dougan 20pts.

Racing recommences at 10:55 Sunday morning

Download full results below.

Published in Flying Fifteen

33-boats registered fleet of Flying Fifteens enjoyed balmy conditions for September on the opening day of their Deloitte sponsored Championship of Ireland writes Cormac Bradley.

Two windward-leeward courses were set by International Race Officer Jack Roy and the fleet enjoyed a clean start for the first race. A number of the fleet went right initially and that didn't seem to be a bad option until the leaders came from the left-hand side of the course led by Andy McCleery & Colin Dougan from Portaferry. They led the first lap and were chased by the host fleet's Dave Gorman & Chris Doorly and visitors Roger Chamberlain & Charlie Horder.

On the second beat, this latter combination took the lead and held it down the run and on to the finish. McCleery finished second and Gorman third.

After a short break to rejig the course due to a fickle and changing breeze, the second start was subject to a General Recall but got away at the second time of asking under a U flag.

At the first weather mark, the leaders were Lee Statham and Andrew Paul out of Waterford with Gorman/Doorly again in the chasing pack. The leaders enjoyed this status for the entire race with the second and third places going to Gorman and Chamberlain respectively.

Thus with two races down the pecking order is; Chamberlain/ Horder (1,3) Gorman/Doorly (3,2) McCleery/Dougan (2,5) Statham/Paul (7,1) and Apthorp/Green (4,10).

A number of fancied crews are carrying at least one big number from today, others who might fancy their chances are carrying two!

While it was a pleasant day on the water, the conditions were challenging which is code for saying that the author of this report didn't have a good day! Onward and upward.

The Class AGM was held this evening and the fleet is now gathered for dinner.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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