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#rssailing – A whopping 98 RS sailors across the three fleets took part in a glorious if slightly windless Westerns in Lough Ree last weekend, comprising 24 400s, 14 200s and 11 fevas writes Heather King.
Many boats arrived on the Friday night to make the most of the lovely venue for the weekend. Saturday morning we awoke to a glassy lake and as we launched and drifted out a small breeze piped up. All credit due to the PRO Liam Moloney and his team who with infinite patience and much moving of marks managed to get two races away before finally drawing a line under it for the day.
In the 400s it was Alex Barry and Richy Leonard who were overnight leaders with a very consistent 1 and 2 , 2nd overnight were father and son pairing of Christopher and Niall Eames while newcomers Sandy Rimmington and Richy Harrington who had led to both first windward marks needed a bit of time to practise their downwind speed but still ended up third after day one. In the 200s Sarah and Ciara Byrne who had a 2 and a 1 respectively led from Sean Craig and Heather King while newcomers to the Feva fleet Zach and Ben McMullin counted two firsts .
Saturday evening was spent mostly in the bar after a fantastic meal provided by the club before retiring to tents and boats and campervans for the night.
Sunday had promised a little more wind and indeed it looked good early on. Out on the water some early wind shifts followed by a general recall for the 200s made for a lot more mark moving for the tireless mark laying team and it was only the Fevas who got away promptly on the first race. The 200s and 400s followed in due course and just got in a race before the wind died away completely. Have to say if there is a place to be hanging around between races Lough Ree is not a bad place to do it! No one was complaining as we drifted around chatting and assuming that was it for the day. Just as the sailors were beginning to give up, a small breeze began and built to be the best breeze of the weekend and the PRO got us started again promptly for race 4 of the series. There were two general recalls for the 400s in race 5 with Gareth Flanagan, Harrington and Rimmington and Eastern Champ Sean Cleary falling foul of the black flag. As the second race of the day was finishing there was roughly five minutes left to the deadline start time for the last race of the day, and with literally seconds to go the PRO blew the 5 minute for the Fevas signalling the start of sequence.
After 5 races Alex Barry was clear leader in the 400s with a 1,1,2,4 and discarding a 4, followed by Chris Penney and Simon Martin in second with Christopher and Niall Eames taking third.
In the 200s it was Sean Craig and Heather King who took the title with a very close fight behind him which up until the last reach to the finish in the last race looked like it could have been a three way tie for second, third and fourth. Stephen Craig and Conor Foley came out on top of the bunch securing second overall with Roy Van Maanen and Kevin O Rourke in third.
The Fevas saw local brothers Zack and Ben McMullin taking first overall with three firsts and a fourth to count. Second was Alison Dolan and Grainne Young followed by Greg Arrowsmith and Conor Little in third.
All credit to the Race management team for holding their nerve and patience to get in 5 races in such tricky conditions. Many thanks to Lough Ree for a very warm welcome and I am sure it wont be long till we are back there again. Full results below.

Published in RS Sailing

#RSsailing – Normally you have to drive for a couple of days with an overnight ferry and a long slow tunnel through a montagne to get sailing conditions like those enjoyed by the RS fleets at Strangford Lough, this weekend.

Sunshine both days normally means one good day, balanced by another with fickle breeze and a lot of sitting around. Thankfully the high pressure system in the Atlantic sat far enough the left to drag a steady northerly airstream whizzing straight down the lake like the Ora we so love in Italy. Okay, so it wasn't 25 degrees and in fresh water, no spectacular cliffs plunging into the lake as James Bond writes off a new Aston in the tunnel by the start line, and the sun was on the wrong side of the rig, but the breeze was super steady, with the only shift over 10 degrees was the one on Saturday night which meant the windward mark was set 100 metres left of its starting position the first day. It was also every bit as beautiful with the green rolling basket of eggs topography and low lying islands dotted around.

As always the crew at SLYC looked after us terrifically well, with a great team led by Mark Fletcher. Rock and roll on Saturday night was provided by the maestro himself, Charles Horder, outstanding.

With no hills to mess with the wind, we were treated to a fantastic force 2-4, with no need to muck about with the course between races. Speed is king in this sort of breeze = pain in the legs, but with the adrenaline maxing out on the dials, there was no time to complain. Needless to say, the kings of speed were Dr Bob and Mike Gunning, racking up 5 bullets to easily take the crown for the nth year in a row. With the result not really in doubt after Saturday's four races, many would be expected to plan an early drive home after Sundays two planned races, but that is not why we sail RS400s. A quick straw poll on Saturday after racing drew an unopposed majority decision to run an extra 7th race on Sunday. Just as well for many on Sunday race 1, as a bit of confusion spread from the pointy end to the middle of the running order, with half the fleet deciding to sail to the finish line after lap 2. Never a good thing to do in a three lapper, the race leaders were to limp home in double figures, and Espey rolled in the winner yet again.

Race 6 was notable for the fact that Bob and Mike didn't win, after Dr DC and Hardman Steve Kane romped off for one of the most impressive victories in living memory. Their amazing uphill speed, mostly fear driven, was to immediately desert them in race 7, with the usual running order resuming and a 5th Espey bullet. If it sounds like the event winners had an easy ride, it wasn't the case, with plenty of teams pushing them hard before their class brought them through in the end. Multiple Irish Champions Gareth Flannigan and Dave Fletcher bagged lots of 2s to claim a deserved 2nd, and Sean Cleary and Steve Tyner would undoubtedly have got a bit closer with some more consistency, as they were frequently the only ones with boat speed to match the Ballyholme duo.

First geriatrics were Dr C and Stevie Kane in 4th, courtesy of 2 wins and Dave Rose's exploding rudder stock, which stymied his impressive upward progress since joining the fleet this year. Another new face getting faster all weekend was Chris Penney, ex laser Champion, slotting in at 7th in their first event, whilst Aidan MacSweeney of Corkway scored his first top 10 in 9th, despite having the handicap of Ben Duncan crewing for him. Robbie Gilmore with his old man John, showed that Charlie Horder's horse is actually a very fast boat in the right hands, as top SLYC team in 10th, and first laydee was Paul McMahon in 12th. We were also treated to the sight of the great Peter Kennedy finally racing a 400, thanks to Saturday-racing-only-please Terry Fair's generous loan of his boat.
So, 25 RS400s at a regional event......getting hotter!

Given the timing of this event the RS200 and Feva fleets were much depleted by exams and holidays. The Fevas were won by this years new pairing of Alison Dolan and Grainne Young from Blessington and NYC respectively, followed in second by Triona Hinkson with Cathy Kelly from the RSGYC. Third overall was Helen O Beirne and Cliona Coyle. Also out in their first event were local girls Juliette Kennedy and Lucy Bell. Testing conditions in the wind for these youngsters who all showed remarkable boat handling. The 200s were won by Sarah Byrne and Heather King from Greystones and RSGYC, followed by Aaron Jones and Conor Clery also from Greystones. Third was father and daughter paining of Michael and Meg Tyrell from RIYC.

Next event up for the RS family is the Westerns at Lough Ree on July 19/20th. 

Results here

Published in RS Sailing
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#rssailing – There was a buzz in the Monkstown Bay SC dinghy park last Saturday morning writes David Rose. There was a real feeling of a fresh start for dinghy sailing in this part of the world, with 20 boats hitting the start line and many new teams competing for the first or second time in the Feva, RS200 and RS400 classes alongside seasoned campaigners. Overall results are available to download below.

There were some nerves and a lot of smiling faces as the teams got through the formalities of rigging and entering, which included a barbecue later that day to replenish the energy spent on the water.

It was clear from the forecast and the talk in the dinghy park that it was going to be a day full of exertion, with an 8 race program to be run over one day. This format is designed to be just as competitive as regional events, but with an emphasis on getting as much sailing in as possible allowing crews to improve their performance. General recalls and protests don't come into it, it's all about the sailing, which makes for a very enjoyable and productive outing for all.

Monkstown was out in strength with a small army of volunteers ensuring that everything was running smoothly and it was.

Racing got underway in glorious conditions, with gusts coming down a sunny racecourse packed with boats. The spectacle was fantastic, and a local sailor viewing from a spectator boat commented to me afterwards that we could have charged for tickets, the racing was so good to watch, with boats flying into the leeward gate from every angle at high speeds.

The race team provided rapid fire 3,2,1 go races with minimal delays, and 8 races were sailed over a long but exhilarating day. Many teams were feeling exhausted when they hit the dock, with some people asking their fellow competitors for help pulling their boats out of the water after giving their all to the racing.

The energy and enthusiasm for the sport was palpable ashore, with crews beaming from ear to ear and telling each other just how wrecked they felt. There was a superb atmosphere in the bar afterwards and it seemed fitting that Alex Barry who had organised the event took the honours in the RS400 class with Paul O'Sullivan crewing, followed by another impressive local performance from John Downey and Sandy Rimmington.

The 200's were won by Trevor Fisher and Heather King who showed great support for the class by making the trip to Cork so soon after a sprint in NI.

The Feva's were won by Cork sailors Harry Durcan and Peter Hyland of the RCYC.

Onwards and upwards for this group of classes. I feel we could get another few new joiners from the success of this non ranking sprint event alone. Many people waxed lyrical about how enjoyable and challenging these two handed boats are to sail.

The next outing is the Northerns, followed by the Westerns and then Riva Del Garda in Italy and a Nationals in Galway before returning to the South for a Kinsale southerns. This is an action packed circuit.

Thanks to OOD Ciarán McSweeney, sponsors the Bosun Bar & Guesthouse and Ramen - "Asian Street Food" and most importantly the army of volunteers from Monkstown Bay who put on an amazing event and fed all of the sailors with a BBQ after etc.

Published in RS Sailing

#rssailing – With single day entry for busy people, Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast lough is pulling out all the stops to make a big success of this month's Irish RS400 and RS 200 Sprint Championships. Staged on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th May 2014 there will be 16 races over two days with new "M type" or "box type" courses.  The Notice of Race is posted below for download as a pdf file.


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#rssailing – Launching at Greystones Harbour was a sight and sound to behold at 11 yesterday for the first day of the RSEasterns, with both slips operational and the beach in use too. 55 RS dinghies were registered and almost all were intending to go on the water with sails flapping loudly in the fresh westerly breeze. Feva coach briefing, last minute gear repairs and delight with a good breeze added to the atmosphere ashore. A series of sustained gusts came through just after the majority of the boats had launched, with so many new to the fleets, this proved challenging for the Safety crews and racing was delayed while the Fevas were sent ashore and await further instruction.

PRO Neil Murphy and his race team, persevered and managed to fit in the scheduled 3 races for the RS200 and RS400s much of which was spent in 'survival' mode throughout and capsizes were aplenty with the downwind legs resembling obstacle courses. The Fevas were back on the water for the last race.

Consistency at the top of the RS200 fleet with Marshall and Heather King back in a boat together on equal points overnight with Frank and Kevin O'Rourke who just love a bit of breeze. Stephen Craig and Conor Foley putting all they learnt at the frostbites in to practice, managed to keep ahead of new pairing Enzo Michel and Hugh Maguire.

The RS400 fleet results were less consistent with a very mixed bag of results at the top of the fleet! Bob Espey / Michael Gunning Ballyhome lie first, Alex Barry George Kenefick from Cork in second and home team Sean Clery and Steve Tyner in third.

In the Fevas, with just one race under their belts, Alison Dolan and from Blessington/NYC are lying first, Emer Rafferty /Laura Coleman from the George in 2nd and RIYC/NYC parining Dara Donnelly and Rosemary Tyrell in 3rd.

So after lovely curry and plenty of banter in the Clubhouse last night, it's all to play for across the three fleets with a little less wind forecast – should be fun!

Published in RS Sailing

#rssailing – Greystones Sailing Club has long been the Irish home of the RS fleet writes Sarah Byrne.  In the late 90s, the formerly vibrant Enterprise fleet was looking around for a new toy and found the fast, furious and responsive RS400 enjoying an enthusiastic take-up in the UK following its launch in 1994.

When the RS200 was then launched many of the Greystones RS400 sailors opted for the sister boat which still provided the adrenaline packed racing 'responds to finesse rather than physique' (RS Sailing) with a greater flexibility of competitive crew weight.

In 2009, building on feedback from youth sailors, the RS double-hander pathway at GSC was defined with the RS Feva, RS200 and RS400 now providing a seamless transition and a boat for all combinations of skills and crew weights.

With over 55 asymmetric boats now in the Club, it must be the top asymmetric Club in the Country.

Following successful frostbites series on Belfast Lough and in Dun Laoghaire and some training in Cork, many sailors new to the fleets will be making their first voyage in what is forecast to be perfect conditions for an early season outing with PRO Neil Murphy on hand to ensure great racing on a trapezoid for the three fleets.

Published in RS Sailing

#rsfeva – Following successful events together last year the RS Feva is now joining the RS200 and RS400 classes under the Irish RS Class Association umbrella. This makes the three classes a true double-hander pathway much as the Laser is for singlehanders.

The Feva/200/400 pathway caters for all ages and weights to compete and socialise at the same events.

The Irish season kicks off shortly with the Easterns at Greystones, April 12/13th and a Training event will be announced soon.

The Feva Europeans are on this year in Bruinesse, Holland from May 29th – 31st and the Worlds are on in Carnac, France from 25th July to 1st August.

Two excellent and accessible venues and a great opportunity to get up to speed before the Crewsaver Irish RS Nationals in Galway starting Friday 8th August.

Published in RS Sailing
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#rsaero – After several years of development testing four different hull variations and numerous rig, foil and layout options, RS Sailing unveiled what could become one of the most important new sailboats of this era at the Suzuki RYA Dinghy Show in London – the RS Aero.

In many ways you can think of the RS Aero as a 21st century Laser – with the most fundamental difference being ultra-light weight. A full size single hander that, amazingly, weighs 30kg - the same as an Optimist.

Every dinghy sailor can imagine how that changes the game. Sail the boat and you quickly realise you underestimated it. From the exhilaration on the water, to the sheer user-friendliness ashore, the RS Aero re-sets preconceptions: The rush as the boat accelerates - the ability to carry it up the beach single-handed – the convenience of youths or small women lifting it onto a roof-rack with ease.

Ultra-light weight means the hull form and rigs need not be extreme, so the RS Aero is utterly exciting without being hard to handle. Wide structural gunwales give a dry ride and make the boat quick and safe to right from capsize.

A three rig system, as per the Laser, has been envisaged from the start to cover the desired sailor range – RS Aero 5 (youths) – RS Aero 7 (women & light men) – RS Aero 9 (men). All spars are carbon fibre, with a common top mast and boom for all sails and radically different stiffness lower mast sections. The hull is so light that even the Aero 5 has a higher sail area to weight ratio than most existing single-handers and retains the Aero's incredibly dynamic feel.

Two v4 pre-production prototypes were on the RS Sailing stand at Alexandra Palace and caused a storm, with crowds around them all weekend and people lifting the boat and laughing out loud at the surprise. Final stages of the development process are underway, with every aspect of this simple boat having been examined, developed and tested for functionality over fashion, minimal weight, maximum strength and manufacturing efficiency. Perhaps the most remarkable achievement of the RS Aero is that despite being half the weight, built using epoxy resin and significant amounts of carbon fibre in the hull and all-carbon spars, the price will be close to that of a Laser.

UK roll-out of the RS Aero will take place first and a demo tour begins next weekend. Orders are now being taken with a special launch price available on the first 100 boats – well over half of which have already been reserved.

All through development, the reaction has been similar. From weekend warriors to discerning professionals, the RS Aero re-ignites passion for sailing in its purest, least complicated form. With RS Sailing's global distribution network, worldwide success seems assured.

Published in RS Sailing
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7th January 2014

RS CAT16 Wins Awards

#rssailing – The RS CAT16 was launched in September and is already the winner of two prestigious sailing industry awards in the USA. Sailing World magazine has voted the RS CAT16 it's "Dinghy of the Year" and Sail magazine announced the boat as "Small Multihull of the Year".

These awards reflect the fantastic reaction from everyone who has seen and sailed the CAT16, including professional boat testers and experienced sailboat fleet operators, in Europe as well as North America. Initial impressions have been great, with the RS CAT16's unique new assembly technology and game-changing design features. Once afloat the usual comments are that the boat feels much stiffer than expected of a rotomoulded catamaran and performs beautifully – quick, responsive and manoeuvrable. It simply does all that you want from a boat of this type...and more.

Constructed from RS Comptec PE3 rotomoulded construction system, using the highest quality polyethylene materials, the RS CAT16 will be highly durable making it particularly suited to training and beach centre use. The easy and sparkling handling also makes the boat ideal for recreational sailors and on the pathway to high performance catamaran racing.

Rig options include mainsail and jib only, a gennaker and single or twin trapezes. So whatever your aspirations, the RS CAT16 can be specified to match.

The RS CAT16 is the first multihull in the RS Sailing range and is available around the world via the RS Dealer network. You can find full details of the boat at and locate your nearest dealer on the website's World Dealer Finder.

You can also see the RS CAT16 on the RS Sailing stands at the London and Dusseldorf Boat Shows in January.

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#rssailing – This year has seen explosive growth in the RS400 fleet with steady growth in the RS200. Up to a dozen 400s and half a dozen 200s have been bought since the end of the summer. This should make next years "Crewsaver" RS Nationals in Galway Bay even bigger than this years! With so many people looking to the sibling RS 200s and 400s currently, Heather Craig, Secretary of the RS Association, decided to seek some impartial advice to help prospective buyers decide which version best suits their crew weight and aspirations. Heather currently sails a 200 (the family own two) although she has competed in the 400 in the UK. So she spoke to Pete Vincent, previous chairman of both the UK 200 and 400 associations and active campaigner in both RS boats down the years. Heather asked "What weight bands would you advise for sailing a 200 and 400 for a sea sailing circuit and what are the issues for crews who are at the edges of these bands?"
Pete Vincent says:

"I was chairman of the whole RS Association so can speak with authority!! I am also one of the few who has properly raced 200 and 400's with the same crew. You can race a 200 successfully easily on the heavy side but only very few people can race a 400 successfully on the light side and the majority light suffer badly. I raced the 200 with Trudie and Tess at 22.5 stone (143kg) combined weight and had numerous top 10 overalls at 200 Nats; also won the Irish, but would not dream of doing the 400 Nats with Trudie/Tess. Trudie tells a funny story of doing a 400 open, trying to pump the kite and hitting the shroud as she was pulled forward along the side deck. Heavy weights can learn how to sail the 200 in light airs and have a real advantage upwind in the 14-20 knot wind let alone when it gets proper breezy. The 400 is such a grunt boat for light crews once there is any sort of pressure; they are just blown away up wind without being able to remotely gain it back down wind. Once it is proper breezy the light weights do not have the physical presence to sail the boat properly downwind in waves. The other major problem with the 400 for lighter weights is that the kite is very intimidating for the faint hearted crew who is also usually the smaller person so it becomes physically very draining for the small crew. I sailed the 200 Nats last year and the 400 Nats this year with the same crew. We were lucky at 400 Nats that it was generally light/medium winds."

Pete mentions Tom Hewitson (ex uk rs200 nationals winner x 2) so I caught up with him too. Here was his contribution on the subject ;

"I would say 200 optimum is 19-23 stone (120-146 kgs) combined weight. Can carry the heavier weights with spreader settings, rake etc. RS 400 23-28 stone (146 – 177kgs) is optimum. Jo and I sailed 400s at 21 stone (133kgs), we were quick in light airs at sea or up to medium winds inland. But it's not enough really, bearing in mind at that stage we were very fit, circuits 2-3 times per week and sailing 3 out of 4 weekends and we still struggled."

So there you have it. If you are considering buying please try them both in a breeze to make sure you get it right for you and your crew. Contact Heather at [email protected] to arrange either a one to one or club try out in either of these boats and she will arrange that for you. 

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