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#RS200 - Friendship is key to keeping Ireland’s youth dinghy sailing classes alive, according to this year’s All Ireland Champion sailor Alex Barry.

Speaking to ahead of January’s RS200 open days at the Royal Cork Yacht Club, Barry laments that the numbers participating are “certainly not enough”.

While clubs and associations around Ireland are doing “a really good job” with junior classes since the ISA’s shake-up, and the high performance team has celebrated Olympic success, there remains “a void” for over-16s “who just want to have a bit of fun, go to a few events camping, and be with their friends.”

Barry points to the traditional route into sailing — and in particular the transition to bigger boats and team racing at university age, after starting in Optimists and skilling up in Lasers or Toppers — as the point where many young sailors drop out, prohibited by the significant investment, among other factors.

“My goal is to get the parents to reinvest that €4,000-€5,000 from [the sale of a Laser or Topper] into a 200, which can keep people sailing through that financially tough period,” says the Royal Cork member and RS400 champion.

“If they make it through that with a boat and maintaining the friendships, I believe the chances of them staying sailing are much greater, thus driving dinghy sailing forward.”

The first RS200 open days of the new year take place next weekend Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 January, with another weekend of open days to follow on 21-22 January. More details are available to download below.

Published in RS Sailing

Royal St. George Yacht Club under–19 pairing Henry Start and Morgan Devine were the winners of the RS Feva Nationals at Greystones Sailing Club yesterday. The Dubliners finished on the same points as under–14 Welsh visitors Eddie and Kevin Farrell from Llandudno Sailing Club in second overall. Third was another Royal St. George YC pair, Jamie Matthews and Adam Rochford. Download overall results below. 

Eight races from a scheduled nine were sailed over three days with Tuesday's racing lost due to lack of wind. Yesterday's intense final day featured five races in moderate conditions.

In a massive improvement of fleet numbers from 12 in 2015 to 38 in County Wicklow this week, Class Chairwoman Elaine Malcolm thanked the sailors for the upsurge in numbers and fleet sponsor McCready Sailboats Ltd. The next event on the RS Feva Irish programme is this weekend for the  Waterways Ireland sponsored Inland championships 2106 at Lough Ree Yacht Club.

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The RS Feva class had a really successful training clinic over the Easter holidays, with 26 sailors taking part over the 3 days. Led by our National coach, Stephen Craig, assisted by Meg Tyrrell, we had great pleasure in welcoming sailors from Galway, Malahide and Greystones as well as those from the RSGYC and NYC. It was great to see so many new faces coming in to the class this year writes Elaine Malcolm

On the Sunday we started the day with some ice breakers and a rigging session, where everyone participated in rigging a Feva from scratch. We launched soon after and began with a warmup inside the harbour, before heading outside the harbour where we did upwind exercises with focus on pointing and lane holding. Tacking on the whistle allowed us to coach each sailor individually from our RIBs as they sailed upwind. We followed by doing long downwind grinds with focus on efficient hoists and drops. Conditions were light to moderate.

On Monday conditions were lighter still, although in the morning we managed to get in some upwind training with a focus on roll tacking and boat balance, with an improvement in both of these aspects. When the wind did drop to virtually 0 knots halfway through our session, we carried out games to keep the sailors entertained for the remainder of the water session.

On Tuesday we started off with about 0-2 knots, and so we planned for a day with very little breeze. We launched and did some fun races and games, however halfway through our session the wind filled in to about 7 knots and we managed to cover some upwind practice followed by downwind training. We put a focus on angles when sailing downwind and how to sail the best possible course. We then ended the day with a session on starts and how to find the bias, followed by races. When we returned ashore there was pizza waiting for the sailors as a very welcome way to end the clinic.

Published in RS Sailing

There were seven RS 400's on the water in Crosshaven this weekend. Sailing out of the Royal Cork Yacht Club the young fleet had a training session on Saturday and a six race Sprint series on Sunday. The video below is race two yesterday which shows just how tight the racing is. Alex Barry and Robbie English were 1st, Andrew Woodward and Richie Harrington 2nd and John Downey & Sandy Rimmington 3rd.

The class continues to grow with 10 boats now regularly on the water as they prepare for a busy year ahead, the first event will be the Easterns in the Royal St George YC in Dun Laoghaire on 23/24th April and the pinnacle will be the nationals in Schull on 26-28th August.





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Five RS400s hit the water in Cork on Saturday, the first day back for a fleet that has now grown to 11 boats in Cork Harbour.

Hosted by the Royal Cork Yacht Club, racing took place on the Curlane Bank and the 10 hardy souls completed 5 races in glorious sunshine and winds gusting to 25 knots.

John Downey and Sandy Rimmington of Monkstown Bay were clear winners on the day with a score line of three 1sts and two 2nds.

Dublin based dinghy supremos Barry MacCartin and Ronan Wallace were a convincing second and are proving to be the ones to watch for the regional circuit.

Twice national champs Alex Barry and Richie Leonard could only manage third however were delighted with their swimming practice.

George Kenefick paired up with Royal Cork junior Harry Durcan and they finished fourth, also getting in plenty of swim time as they blew off the cobwebs.

New to the class Tom McGrath rounded it out in 5th. It was great to see the young blood getting involved and Junior ace Harry Durcan joined Tom, moving to the front of the boat for the first time.

Thanks to OOD Ciaran McSweeney and all of his helpers on the day.

The class have a packed local and national schedule this year as they build towards the nationals in Schull in August.

Published in RS Sailing

The second series of the DMYC Frostbites started with a bright and gusty afternoon in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. A competitive fleet of six RS’s hit the water for two closely fought races in tricky conditions.
In race one, Sean and Heather Craig played the shifts skilfully and held off Ger Owens and Phil Lawton in their RS200 to take the win.
Making his debut in the RS400 was Kenneth Rumball of the Irish National Sailing School. An uncharacteristic windward capsize in the first race blew any remaining New Year’s cobwebs away. After his dunking, Kenny got to grips with the boat scoring an impressive 2nd in race two behind Emmet and James Ryan.
Good news for anyone eager to join in on the action. The DMYC are offering a 40% discount for entries to the 2016 series.

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Roll it back a year, with storms and millponds alternating weekly, we had completed only four races by this stage of the Autumn series. Roll forward a year and thankfully after three days racing at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club we are already at nine races completed on Belfast Lough. If we continue like this it is set to be a 36+ race bonanza RS400 Autumn Series writes Dave Cheyne RS Ireland Chairman.

Glorious conditions have prevailed these last two Sundays, and despite a backdrop of Ireland’s sad exit from the other great sporting show in town, the RS400 sailors are in high spirits with great racing fresh in our minds. The first Sunday had been a little topsy-turvy, but that is a distant memory now, with a cracking series to remember well underway.

A few regulars forgot to turn up, presumably solstice responsible for that, though we still had 9 ships on the start line, some without clocks and compasses, which to be honest aren’t that big a help with Gerry Reid calling the last minute out followed by a 100 metre sprint for a beat.

Each race lasts about 15-20 minutes, but this is intense, and teams were wheezing and gasping as they quickly contend with all the hoists gybes and drops. The busy roundings abound and its great competition. For this type of racing all you need is a good Race Officer, a RIB, three marks, and the right attitude as a fleet. Everyone agreed that this was more fun than many of the well-attended full championships we have enjoyed all season.
So Liam Donnelly, in “Zimmer Frame” has established an early lead, Cushendall’s Paul Mclaughlin and Mick McKinley should really be second, but until the discards (could be 6 by the series end….) kick in, DrC and Stevie/Charlie sit in second, with everyone else snapping at their collective heels.

How lucky we are to be involved in this sailing, and what a great focus for the week this is. 

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Ballyholme Yacht Club in Belfast Lough was chosen not just for its exemplary history of race management and churning out National Champions, and its excellent access to open waters with minimal tide, but also for its ease of access for the Northern UK Fleet of RS400 sailors, in the hope of attracting some of the biggest names in the UK fleet over writes David Cheyne. So it happened that Mike Sims and Richard Brown, recently crowned UK National Champions and reigning Inland Champs, were tempted, along with Josh Metcalfe and Jack Holden from North Wales, a regular top 5 UK team, to see how much our top teams had improved through 2015. How would the cream of Ireland’s two person dinghy sailors fare against the top names of one of the most competitive fleets in the UK.
Much has been said of the RS400 fleets continued expansion in Ireland, with fleets popping up everywhere, and now strongholds in Cork and Belfast Lough, and ongoing growth in Dublin, Howth and the inland clubs like Killaloe. But how is the standard of sailing coming on? One look at the shots taken from the committee boat down the start line, of about 150 metres length, with no midline sag, is testament to the skills and standard right through the fleet, along with the compression of the fleet which finished most of the 45 minute races within 5 minutes from front to back.
Within the fleet itself, there had been a quiet excitement building towards this event, with everyone turning up, resulting in a stunning line up of talent spanning 40 years, and with nearly the entire top 20 being National Champions or better. However, what was most impressive was how tight the racing turned out to be in rest of the 50 strong fleet. Nobody seemed to be struggling, and everyone was out fiddling with rig settings and fine tuning, only a year on from many people trying to work out how to sail the boats for the first time.
Racing on Friday looked like a walk in the park for the top UK team, who took all the bullets, however after a day off to reflect on the Saturday, when the wind refused to play ball, the Irish teams came out fighting and nearly overhauled the visitors who had a much more torrid time of things, with boats speed difference now neutralised, and any sense of intimidation no longer felt. Notable performances came from established pairing Paul McLaughlin and Mick McKinley of Cushendall, who seemed to be flying around the course and regularly chasing the top 5; Barry McCartin, 2014 and 2015 Irish Fireball Champion, and top Irish performer in 11th place at the recent Fireball Worlds, sailing with Finbar Bradley, not long in the fleet, constantly chasing the leading pack; top Irish Laser sailor and coach Chris Penney, with Simon Martin, and George Kenefick, 2011 ISA Helmsman’s Champion filling out the top ten.
It was clear however, that there was a top 5, with the two top UK teams and three Irish teams of 2014 Champions Alex Barry and Richie Leonard, 2013 Champions Bob Espey and Michael Gunning, and multiple Irish National Champion in many fleets, Gareth Flannigan, with Dave Fletcher of the home club, knocking ten bells out of each other, and indeed Espey out of his boat at one top mark rounding!
Going into the last day, Flannigan was looking strong in pole position, but the points quickly reversed with discards kicking in, and ever present Alex Barry overhauling the Ballyholme duo before Flannigan was black flagged in the penultimate race to really put the pressure on, as Barry claimed his first win of the series. With the expected jostling for position in the final start, it was the Monkstown team who squeezed out ahead, as Flannigan struggled to pull back through from mid fleet, and it was they who claimed their second successive Irish RS400 title.
So how was it for the rest of the competitors? Well, one of the great things about the fleet is the coming together of so many old friends and adversaries of years gone by, with the likes of 63 year old Liam Donnelly, along with Brian Holmes, Richard Bolton, Charlie Horder and Simon Hutchison of the Scorpion fleet of years gone by, all feeling enthused again to be able to compete against each other again after several years without a double hander to sail. It is such a refreshing sight to see 50 dinghies in a single class with jibs and kites whizzing about, after so much concentration on single handed racing in recent years. The fun of having to get so many variables covered in such a beautifully easy boat to sail fast, looks to be re-energising sailing in Ireland. Who knows what 2016 holds – bring it on!

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#rs400 – It was a case of perpetual disorientation, but also a high point for Hastings, one of the fleet's main movers and supporters, as he judged the spiralling wind, or Carlingford Kettle, to perfection writes David Cheyne. As those around him thrashed around helplessly, Hastings bore off in a smooth arc, with crew Neil Calvin maintaining perfect kite trim, and scribed a perfect circle, with no adjustments to sheeting angle, truly an incredible sight for all to witness. As the mini tornados spun their way across the lough, availing of the unique local topography, many others did the more traditional 360 rotation, with the rig passing under the boat, and so it came to pass that we had a very odd days racing on Saturday. With a similar South Westerly breeze forecast for the Sunday, many went to bed worried about another day of randomness.

The writing was on the wall for Saturday, as we started the briefing in 20 knots of South Easterly, and finished in 20 knots of South Westerly 10 minutes later. Most relevant question was probably "how deep is it out there?"

The weekend saw the welcome return to battle of 2013 Circuit kings, Dr Bob "Bucky" Espey, and newly engaged Michael Gunning, finally making it back out after a few forays in the SB20 fleet. It was to be fascinating to see how they would fare against all conquering 2014 RS400 champion, Alex Barry of Monkstown, fresh from his win the 1720 Irish Nationals. As seems to be the case from event to event, the calibre of the RS400 fleet becomes ever more stellar, and there cannot have been many more talent loaded one design fleet racing in Ireland, with most of the top 10 being National Champions in many classes, along with resident World top ten 49er and Irish Olympian, Ryan Seaton helming Pretty Boy's boat in the absence of Chunky Ferguson. Figaro competitor and 2013 Irish Sailor of the Year Dave Kenefick, kicked off proceedings with an impressive bullet and looked like he had got himself dialled in quickly in his new boat, but the standard of those around him was quickly evident and he was to have a tough time thereafter, eventually finishing 10th overall.


Diane Kissane chases David Rose in race 4

Diane Kissane from Howth was another new face to the fleet, borrowing the RNIYC try-it-out boat #510. Typically for the forward thinking RS400 fleet, these RNIYC enthusiasts bought this old boat for about £1500, on EBay I believe, and it has been given the Uncle Liam tender loving care refurb. Diana with crew Finbar Bradley gave the fleet the big thumbs up, and after finishing 13th out of the 31 boat fleet, plan to hit the circuit next year in their own boat, adding yet another National Champion to the list, Diana having been double Irish Optimist Champion in 2005 and 2006.
After a lot of difficult and competitive sailing, going into the final race, there were just three points separating the top 3 of Bob Espey and Micheal Gunning in first from Chris Penny and Simon Martin in second and third placed David Rose and Ian Heffernan, who had won the first race on day two. Just seven points separated first to sixth. This is a clear indication of the quality that we now have throughout the 400 fleet.
Last year the Southern teams were starting to quickly overhaul the established Northern dominance of Espey and Gareth Flannigan, and whilst Flannigan had a mixed event and was to succumb to gear failure after a 2nd place in the Sunday morning opener, the top two slots were to go to the brilliant Espey followed by Olympian Ryan Seaton and Philip Adams, with Ex 400 Irish Champs Emmet and James Ryan two points clear of Rose and Heffernan in third and fourth. Chris and Simon had to settle for fifth.

Other notable performances were from Paul McLaughlin and Mick McKinley in 9th, and a strong showing from George Kingston and Ian McNamee in 7th, taking a split decision over the highly talented, but well past sell by date pairing of DrC and Stevie Kane, who shocked themselves by posting the best total over three races on Sunday (only getting this mention as I am writing the report obviously). Alex Barry, sailing this time with Andrew Lane finished an unaccustomed 6th after being joint leaders overnight.

Other big improvers were Brian Holmes sailing with a completely new crew, progressing nicely and representing the Scorpion fleet of yore, and Peter Bayley getting well in the mix. Sadly, our eldest statesman Liam Donnelly, succumbed to a Mountain Biking injury, and a punctured lung, and wasn't able to race on Sunday, but will no doubt be back to full fighting form for the next one.

So things go from strength to strength in the 400s, with an amazing 31 boats for a regional, and one can only imagine a record turnout for the Irish Nationals 18-20 September at Ballyholme, with about 10 extra teams expected from the UK fleet in what should be the hardest fought of any Irish Championships in 2015.

RS200 and Feva :

In the RS200 fleet, Greystones SC pairing of Aaron Jones and Conor Cleary dominated from the off scoring five straight race wins which allowed them to sit out the final race and be first boat ashore. Ensuring that Jones and Cleary were kept on their toes for the weekend was Meg Tyrell and Katie Noonan from the Royal Irish/Greystones. They scored five 2nd places and a well-deserved win in the final race. In third place was Ciaran & Siobhan Keogh with a great showing representing the newly emerging Cullaun Sailing Club RS fleet.


The RS Feva fleet enjoyed a competitive event with three different race winners all hailing from Dun Laoghaire. The top three boats showed great consistency in spite of the shifty conditions, with none of them scoring worse than a 3rd placing. Coming out on top was Toby Hudson Fowler and Greg Arrowsmith who grew in confidence as the weekend progressed winning the final four races. In second was a very impressive display by Triona Hinkson and Kathy Kelly who managed to hold off the challenge of Clare Gorman and Sarah Fogarty in third.

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#rssailing – The RS200 has replaced the Topper Argo as the Endeavour Championship boat for the 2015 event to be held 9-11 October at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club.

The generous support of Topper Sailboats, suppliers of a brand-new fleet of Xenons and Argos for the annual Endeavour Championship for nine years, has come to a natural end, leaving the RS200 to take the role as the new Endeavour boat.

Unlike the Topper Xenons and Argos that Topper Sailboats supplied as ready-to-sail fleets however, competitors for this year's event will need to source their own boat on a charter basis.

Sally Campbell – RS200 class secretary – said the RS class association will be on hand to help however they can: "We are absolutely delighted that the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club has chosen the RS200 for this most prestigious event. We will do all we can to support the organisers and the sailors."

To ensure the racing for this Champion of Champions event remains as fair as possible, RS Sailing will supply each boat with identical suits of new sails and spinnakers, which will be offered at a significant discount to the owners of the boats following the event. In addition, Kingfisher will provide mainsheets and jibs for each boat.

Edwin Buckley, event organiser commented: "We are so grateful for all the invaluable input from Topper over the years. However, we are delighted that the new format will bring exciting changes to the event and we are looking forward to working alongside the RS200 class association, and RS Sailing who are offering support."

Matt Burge, current Endeavour champion said he couldn't think of a better class to replace the Argo: "On behalf of all competitors who raced at the Endeavour between 2005-2014 I'd like to extend a huge thank you to Topper, who through their extreme generosity in supplying identical brand-new boats each year, created the fairest contest of sailing possible between the different dinghy classes.

"The selection of the RS200 for this year's event is a sensible next-best alternative being strictly one-design, widespread (making borrowing one easier) and catering for a relatively wide crew-weight range. They are easy to sail and not overly technical to set-up, so competitors should be able to get up-to-speed relatively fast and negate any advantage held by those familiar to the class."

To assist those unfamiliar with the class RS technicians will also be on hand to help with rigging/set up throughout the Endeavour weekend. There will also be an RS class trainer in attendance.

Given the new format, a demand for suitable boats in the run up to the October event is likely. Plans for chartering therefore, should ideally be made as soon as possible following the completion of individual class championships.

An RS200 open meeting at the Royal Corinthian YC on 26-27 September – two weeks before the Endeavour Championship takes place – could tie in as a good charter handover location.

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