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Rssailing – With all forecasts promising a chilly Northerly force 4 with gusts up to a 6 the RS extended family descended on Blessington for the last event of 2013 Irish RS Circuit. Crews were welcomed at registration with cakes & hot chocolate. Outside, boats were hastily unpacked, rigged and tuned as fingers became numb.

Layers, hats and the odd drysuit were donned in anticipation of the colder water of the lake and thoughts of a cold night camping for the hardier crews. A thorough briefing was given by Race Officer Barry O'Neil detailing the 'no go shallow areas of the lake'. The committee boat even went to the trouble of showing the sailors exactly where the bottom was. After a brief pit-stop on the sand the committee boat was soon on its way again. After launching and clearing the shallows the thirty boats had swift blast down the lake to the race area.

In The RS Feva class it was the local team of Alison Dolan & Grainne Young who dominated proceedings scoring an impressive five wins from six races. The local lake sailors showed their salty rivals how to do it fresh water style. Triona Hinkson & Katherine Kelly were the best of the rest in 2nd place with a 4 point margin over third place Lorcan Tighe & Cian Murphy.

A reduced fleet of RS400's enjoyed belter of an event. A few new pairings and formidable experienced crews enjoyed some of tightest racing of the season. Four boats shared the same score after discards at end of race 6. With the series allowing for up to eight races and things running so efficiently the Race Officer decided to run a 7th race. This put final order on the results.

The 7th race developed into an epic match race between Sean Cleary & Steve - STAAAAARBOOARD!!!!!! Tyner, Versus Emmet Ryan & new crew Luke "Laser" Murphy. Despite some very impressive crew work and trimming by young Murphy and chucking the kitchen sink at them down the last run, Cleary & Tyner held on for a deserved first traveller series win.
Now that the Irish 400's are up to speed with lake sailing the 2014 RS Euro Cup in Lake Garda should be a piece of cake! But Blessington will be hard to beat.

Among the 200s were a few new pairings: Lisa Smith with Megan Hayes, sister of her usual crew looking at the gusty conditions with glee tinged with a touch of trepidation as one of the lightest boats. Maeve Rafferty took the 'old man' on board for Saturday and Meg Tyrell, an experienced Feva sailor was looking forward to her first spin in a 200 with Sarah Byrne.

Young Aaron Jones set the early pace and led around the first loop of the trapezoid, however at the leeward mark, his outhaul come off the boom – and no duck-tape to hand. In all very close racing was had on day one with places changing as often as the wind direction. Trevor Fisher/Emily Watt and Steven Craig/Conor Foley both showed good speed in the conditions but it was father son team Frank & Kevin O'Rourke who found the groove winning the first 2 races. Race 3 upset the trend and Roy Van Maanen got to the front keeping the chasing fleet at bay.

The O'Rourkes slept peacefully on just four points leaving fellow Greystones team Roy Van Maanen/Glen Reid on 8 points with the young George team of Stephen Craig/Conor Foley overnight. Father and daughter Graeme/Katie Noonan closely following on 11 points along with Trevor Fisher and Emily Watts from East Down YC.

On Day two, Roy and Glen forged ahead in the leading pack to take the next three races, but not without a struggle. Race 6 was a particular interesting affair with the whole fleet bunched at the start of the last run. Picking the right line downwind and the approach to the leeward mark was critical.

Race 7 started with just one point separating the two Greystones boats Van Maanen/Reid and the O'Rourkes. At the first mark, both boats rounded in the back half of the fleet having gone right up the beat, but the O'Rourkes went left and Van Maanen stayed out right pulling ahead little by little, making the third lap leeward rounding in the lead but losing two places on the final reach to the finish with youngsters Stephen Craig/Conor Foley pulling ahead with National duo Conor Totterdell/Myles Kelly in close pursuit. The final results had Roy and Frank tied on equal points with Roy winning on count back and taking the Inlands trophy home, the O'Rourkes finished second but took the Irish RS200 Circuit trophy for their season's efforts and Stephen Craig and Conor Foley came in third just missing out on the Circuit trophy by half a point.

Looking ahead, at least 6 RS200's and 6 RS400's are expected at this year's DMYC Frostbite series. Numbers continue to grow up North with up to 15 RS400's expected at the RNIYC and Ballyholme winter series.
The RS Association have already put together a provisional calendar for 2014 hoping to start in April with a Munster event coupled with a try out session for the 200s in Cork Harbour. Any clubs interested in looking at the RS Boats as a potential double hander 'Club Pathway' from 6- 66 years, please contact Sarah Byrne (087 235 8489) to arrange a try out session in your Club.

Published in RS Sailing
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#RSSailing  – A fleet of 10 RS400s gathered for the Southerns, with several significant teams missing such as last year's National Champions Emmet and James Ryan from RStGYC, Ryan Seaton and Matty McGovern, back on the Olympic 49er campaign, Mike Ferguson and Jeremy Tomalin from Ballyholme and Team Artemis, and the majority of the RNIYC fleet save for DrC and Stevie Kane. This gave a few teams the chance to focus on toppling this season's top duo of Dr Bob SP and Mike G. Sadly for the rest, the current hotshots swiftly gave them a good seeing to, with a trio of runaway victories on Day 1, with only local Monkstown man and top 505 driver Alex Barry, teaming up with fellow Monkstowner Dave Doherty, to chase them down, as the rest struggled to come to terms with the ripping tides on the spring tide weekend. Indeed the new pairing demonstrated a potent turn of speed, after some sneaky two boat tuning with Royal Cork's Aidan MacSweeney. This just went to show that Dave's "old yellow boat" was anything but slow, cementing a strong second place overnight.
As the freshly beaten crews rushed off to Cronins for some of Ireland's finest Guinness and Seafood Chowder, a critical three way protest hearing was being played out, which would have a dramatic though ultimately irrelevant effect on the overall standings. Multiple Irish Champion Garrett Flannigan from Ballyholme, sailing with Dave Fletcher, was flicked as a result of some leeward mark chaos, though by the time he got to Cronins, no-one understood what the issue was, and a jovial night's craic ensued. Mature heads managed to limit the damage, leaving the event leaders to make a few poor decisions at the RCYC Bar late in proceedings, and come out for Sunday's racing having lost some of their polish.
With the tide now pointing in the opposite direction, and a large ship parked just upwind of the windward mark, opportunities were aplenty to throw it all away, and the Bangor duo set about doing just that. Whilst Simon Herriott and Tom Moran (aka Sprinkles) from Greystones chipped away with another couple of podiums, the big story was a turbocharged challenge from Flannigan, who was clearly giving it some Ben Ainslie, and promptly yotted past everyone downwind with a rude turn of speed, to take bullets in races 4 and 5, with some ease. Witnessing this performances, SP and Gunning decided to see who else was racing and sailed round at the back of the fleet, posting a "shocker" in race 5, to make it game on again.
So race 6 set off with DrC winning the pin for the first time in his illustrious 35 year campaign, and Garry Flannigan tacking into some oncoming traffic or similar. Sadly this mirrored precisely Race 5, only the wrong way round for Gary, as the win he needed to match with SP having a 5 or worse, was in fact reversed, and SP took the gun and the whole shebang, whilst Flannigan disappeared out the back, having to settle for runner up. The 400 is an unforgiving mistress!
Great fun altogether, and especially good to see Dave Doherty and Alex doing so well, only missing out to Dr C and Steve on countback for the bottom step of the podium. Hopefully these guys will form the nucleus of a new planned Cork based contingent and give us an excuse to come back here again in future, to one of Ireland's most beautiful venues.
Like the 400s, the 200s arrived in Cork on Friday evening quite an eclectic but incomplete bunch... we were missing our usual head of the fleet boats but knew there would be healthy competition with Stephen Craig and Conor Foley from the George who, although comparatively new to the fleet, made their mark at the Nationals coming in fifth overall, the Greystones pair Conor Cleary and Aaron Jones who have spent so much of their summer on the water and Lisa Smith and Kate Hayes who are soooo good downwind. After a summer of light wind events we were all really looking forward to some screaming reaches....
On Saturday we woke to very calm conditions. We waited for an hour after the briefing and it began to pick up a little.... So we headed out for the long reach North to find some depth in Cork harbour and race 1 began as the tide was on the turn.
First up wind leg was a jostle for places and there proved to be chopping and changing throughout the race. But race one belonged to the young guns with Royal St George's Stephen Craig and Conor Foley pulling ahead on the second downwind leg, maintaining their lead to the finish. They were followed by Greystones' Conor Clery/Aaron Jones in second with Sarah & Molly Byrne narrowly taking third from fellow Greystones sisters Rachel & Sarah Hoolahan
A calmer start for the second race, those choosing to go right made gains out of the tide. Mother daughter team, Sarah and Molly lead from the start with Conor and Aaron slipping back throughout the race and RStGYC daughter/father pairing Clodagh & Adrian Hinkson taking second with Gabrielle Igoe/Trish Clery in third and Stephen and Conor in fourth.
Race 3 began with all boats very close up the beat. Stephen Craig and Conor Foley took the lead early but found it difficult to shake off Lisa Smith/Kate Hayes and Conor Clery/Aaron Jones for two laps leaving quite a stretch between them and the following fleet. However on the third lap Sarah & Molly Byrne gradually picked off boats to round the windward in second in a very strong tide and slackening breeze. Lisa Smith's supremacy downwind ensured she snuck ahead before the final leeward mark rounding as both boats caught up with Stephen and Conor who had found a hole. All three rounded the mark in quick succession with Sarah/Molly forced to tack off into the tide immediately. However, they just managed to cross the two boats before the finish but Stephen got ahead and Sarah/Molly only just managed to tack and pip Lisa/Kate to the line in a sudden unexpected gust sneaking in around the Committee Boat as the Hoolahans watched the close finish from fourth place. Overall there was very close racing up and down the fleet, leaving Royal St George pairing Stephen Craig/Conor Foley and Greystones Sarah & Molly Byrne on equal points overnight but the George boat with two firsts. A protest from race three later forced Lisa Smith/Kate Hayes to lose their best result of the day before the party started.
Sunday dawned to a very calm Cork Harbour and a long sail out to Cuskinny. Greystones boats, Sarah/Molly and Lisa/Kate chose the pin end to start, going left and led up the first beat. Very close downwind racing and some admirable sportsmanship from Lisa, allowed the Byrnes to sneak ahead and take the first, Lisa and Kate second with the young guns from the George taking a third.
With the discard, the Craig/Foley George duo and Greystones Byrnes were still on equal points. The next two races were confidently led by the Hinksons who had really got in to their stride with Stephen Craig and Conor Foley successfully covering the Byrnes to maintain their lead and in the process managing to take another two bullets and first overall, the Byrnes second and the Hinksons third. The finish of race six had the first five boats round the last mark in quick succession and finish within a minute...... a testament to the close racing over the weekend across a diverse mix of crews in terms of gender, age (16-50) and weight (couldn't possibly comment)– a very 200 finish!
In the RS Feva class, the Royal Cork's Luke McGrath and Eoghan O'Regan won the first race in what was their first outing in the boat but were soon ousted by RCYC Jill McGinley and Maeve O'Sullivan who in spite of a split jib, won the 2nd race. Monkstown's Luke Fehilly and Shane Dunlea took the last race of the day with Monkstown Bay's Martha Fehily and Jenny O'Leary also performing well on Saturday with two seconds in the bag.
On Sunday, Jill and Maeve, armed with a new jib, dominated day two for the Fevas to win the event with another 3 bullets. Luke and Eoghan remained consistent to claim 2nd place overall and Monkstown's David Hyland and Charlie Moloney came in third.
We didn't get the sunshine nor the signature RS screaming reaches the forecasts had promised, but the superb race management more than made up for it with three fleets on the same course and all races sailed. Huge thanks to PRO Peter Crowley and his efficient team, Rear Admiral Darren O'Keeffe, Feva Class captains Rory Fitzpatrick and Ed Rice and the extended team at RCYC for a really good event, camping facilities, yummy food and a great welcome.
We look forward to the last event of 2013 for the Irish RS Classes, the RS Feva RS200 and RS400 Inlands hosted by Blessington Sailing Club on the 12th and 13th of October. Early entry discount closes Friday 4th October.

Published in RS Sailing
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#RSCAT16 – Last Friday RS Sailing unveiled the first ever RS Catamaran - the RS CAT16 at the Southampton Boat Show. The weather gods were kind and the stand was buzzing with eager listeners sharing a glass of fizz and watching an RS CAT16 sailing on the water and listening to RS Sailing Managing Director Martin Wadhams introduce the newest addition to the RS Range.

The RS CAT16 will have its North American debut at the Annapolis Sailboat Show in the USA in early October and you can see the boat at many International Boat Shows over the coming months, including Paris, Dusseldorf and Amsterdam.

Production will start later this year and orders are being taken now.

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#RSSAILING – As has become a tradition in the RS200 and RS400 fleets in Ireland, the final showdown of the season will take place this weekend in the confines of Dun Laoghaire's Harbour walls, with a crash bang wallop series of races, comprising the RS Sprint Trophy.

This is essentially a programme of single lap races, over a square course, with barely enough time to catch a breath, let alone pop and drop a kite. Obviously the emphasis is on boat handling and heads out of the boat, as the usual 90 degree shifts in the harbour can make one's track very short, or very long, depending on how you go about it!

The usual suspects will be there from the two asymmetric fleets, with a few new owners keen to make an entrance, but probably hoping to spare a few blushes too...

All good fun and games, and the weather looks perfect, so why not pop down to the harbour to see the fleets in action.

Matters commence at 11am, and run throughout the day to the final rounds late afternoon.

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#rselite – Belfast lough's Simon Brien who won last month's Dragon class Edinburgh cup on home waters is switching boats to challenge for the RS Elite Nationals in Cowes next week.

Hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes with the forty boat fleet moored in their harbour next to the Castle, the setting could hardly be better. This alone would make the occasion stand out for many sailors who've read in awe about the Club and the prestigious regattas they've hosted through their illustrious history.

Competition is always tight and the biggest ever fleet of these one-design keelboats will only make it closer. Five past Elite Champions have entered, a number of other Elite owners who've held National titles in other classes and virtually every RS Elite class Cowes Week, Scottish Series and Irish Nationals winner will also be on the start line! It's hard to know where to start trying to pick favourites for the 2012 title.

Jono Brown in Aeolus from Burnham is the defending champion – Brien in Kin from Northern Ireland recently won the Dragon Edinburgh Cup in his other boat – Crauford McKeon in Kandoo III from Lymington dominated at the previous biggest Elite championship in 2010 – Shaun McClean in Elixir from Scotland won in 2009 and was runner-up last year.... The list goes on... It will take tactical consistency and the best boat set-up to produce what it takes to win in all conditions for this one.

And there is another factor - RS Elite sailors enjoy the craic and there is a fantastic social programme throughout the regatta. Add sponsorship by the superb Wight Vodka, inevitable rounds of wonderfully drinkable cocktails and their slogan of "tack and gybe responsibly" will be highly salient! The social side of the event means everyone will have a good time no matter what the outcomes on the water. "The reputation of the RS Elite fleet's competitive racing and high-energy socials has gained incredible momentum" says Ritu Manocha of Wight Vodka. "We are psyched to be associated with such a dynamic group of individuals!"

RS Elite sailor and event director Charlie Egerton-Warburton from the Royal Yacht Squadron says "The stage is set for an exhilarating 2012 RS Elite Championships. Our club is really looking forward to welcoming RS Elite sailors from across the country, indeed globe. Seven of the forty entrants are associated with Island clubs, and thus we are making steady progress towards our objective of establishing a large Elite fleet around the Island. Importantly, we have worked hard to infuse the regatta with an Island theme throughout, not least of course via the generous title sponsorship of my personal favourite Wight Vodka. We wish everyone a wonderful regatta."

Published in RS Sailing

#RS SAILING - Howth Yacht Club hosted 54 boats in three classes for the RS400, RS200 and RS Feva National Championships over the weekend (click HERE for photos).

The Irish version of the 'RS Games' proved a big hit with all competitors. The race management team, headed by PRO David Lovegrove, did a fantastic job to get 10 races in for all three classes in spite of some shifty conditions.

This was all the more impressive as each course change required the moving of up to 10 marks. No mean feat, but the Howth Yacht Club team took it in their stride.

In the RS400 class, bothers Emmet and James Ryan from the Royal St George Yacht Club took the top spot. They didn’t make things easy by using up a discard on the first race of the event and only snatched the win on the last run of the last race having rounded the final weather mark in fourth place.

Greystones class stalwarts Simon Herriott and Tom Moran took second place, while in third place, and the top youth RS400 team, was a very impressive display by Andy Verso and Oisin Baugh, also from Greystones.

In the RS200 class it was another family affair and another Royal St George win with father-and-son pair Sean and Stephen Craig taking first place. It was extremely tight at the top of the 200 fleet with only three points separating the top four boats in the end.

Teams from Greystones filled the next two podium places with Frank and Kevin O’Rourke taking second and last year’s champions Roy Van Maanen and Glen Reid taking third place.

In the Feva class, GB sailors filled the top three slots with Elliott Wells and Jake Todd taking the title on count back from fellow Hayling Island sailors Tom Darling and Will Dolin. Chay and Stirling Taylor took third place.

In the battle for local/Irish bragging rights, Eoin Lyden and Brian Stokes from Cork got one over the Dublin rivals to claim top Irish Feva spot.

Full results can be found at the Howth Yacht Club website at, while photos of the event are available HERE.

Published in RS Sailing

An impressive turnout of 30 RS400's and RS200's braved extremely testing conditions inside Dun Laoghoire Harbour for the running of the first edition of the RS Sprint Trophy. The crews, who made the trip from as far a field as Cushendall Co. Antrim, were rewarded with 8 fantastic races. On the tight short courses the emphasis for the day was definitely on boat handling. Any minor mistakes made by the crews were immediately punished.


An RS400 start in yesterday's Dun Laoghaire RS sailing event. Photo: Bob Hobby

With the east pier weather station clocking gusts of over 32 knots, the race management team of Barry O'Neil, Jim Dowling, and Bob Hobby along with an excellent backup team both on and off the water played a blinder. They somehow managed to squeeze a challenging parallelogram course inside the tight confines of the harbour walls. The competitors were grateful for every inch of space. The harbour seemed a very small place once the boats were blasting at full plane under spinnaker!

With a larger than expected entry, both classes were split into two flights. The scores from each flight were calculated after five races, then the classes were separated into Gold/Silver fleets. A further three races followed. With no discards for the series and the final race counting for double points, there was still all to play for going into race 8.


A capsize after a big squall blew through the harbour. Photo: Bob Hobby

In the RS200 fleet, national champions Roy Van Maanen and Glen Reid won the day. All of their experience and superior boat handling counted to a very consistently high performance. Second place in the 200 fleet went to the husband and wife team of Sean and Heather Craig. This was an impressive result as it was their first dinghy event together this season. Third spot in the class went to Greystones junior Enzo Michel in his new boat. Seeing how well Enzo preformed on the day is sure give those juniors planning to make the move up from the RS Feva plenty of encouragement.

In the RS400 class it was again the national champion, Simon Herriott who prevailed. Simon showed blistering pace downwind and nailed every gybe flawlessly with his new crew Shane McCarthy. Second in the 400's went to the Royal North pairing of Liam Donnelly and Andrew Vaughan, this despite breaking their spinnaker pole in the penultimate race. In third place and also from the Royal North were Simon Hutchinson and Rosemary Moore who put in a great performance.

The winners from each class were rewarded with two fittingly impressive perpetual trophies, which were very kindly sponsored by
The consensus amongst everyone who took part was that this event would be a definite on next years RS calendar. The Sprint Trophy proved to be a uniquely exciting format that rounds off a hugely successful season for the growing RS Classes.

In addition to the racing a number of trial sails were run by Pete Vincent of and his expert crew Charlotte Cotter who made the trip from Southampton for the event. The feedback given by those who had a trail sail was emphatically positive. Pete also gave a presentation after racing to prospective RS200 junior sailors and parents. Those who took the opportunity to see the boats first hand commented that they could see why the two classes are so popular in the UK, with the RS200 attracting 157 boats to the UK Nationals and RS400 boasting an entry of 86 boats. Both classes are sure to see growing numbers for next season. Some new faces in the both the RS200 & RS400 have already signed up to enter this years DMYC Frostbite series.

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Following ISAF's final choice of sailing events for the 2016 Olympics, including a women's skiff, RS Sailing has announced it plans to develop the RS900 to compete for this role.

While that selection decision is yet to be made by an evaluation team across a range of designs a more immediate issue for Ireland is trying to find an Irish women's crew to campaign such a boat for Brazil.

There is huge interest in the new skiff style sailing internationally but Ireland have not had a double handed women's dinghy crew since Atlanta 1996 so gauging interest here in the new class might be difficult.

The RS900 will be an all-new boat incorporating developments from the highly respected RS800 hull, a new deck, new wings and a new rig. The RS900 will only go into full production if it is selected for the Olympics.

Early testing of a prototype RS900 has shown the performance can be close to a 49er - with optimised handling targeted to suit ISAF's specified weight range for female teams.



The new RS900 - a new Olympic class?

RS Sailing is also one of the very few companies with proven credentials for the production of one-design race boats in large volumes, plus an established global distribution network – able, therefore, to be a strong partner for ISAF in the successful introduction of a new flagship Olympic event.

"This is a serious project for us" says Martin Wadhams, managing director of RS Sailing. "It will take a great boat to do justice to the Olympic role and a new generation of female sailing athletes. It will also take a significant commitment to work with ISAF on the strategy to launch the new class quickly and effectively if it wins selection. We're up for that."

Nick Peters, head of development at RS Sailing comments "We learned at lot from the initial women's skiff trials at Hyeres four years ago. The RS800 which we took there was perhaps the closest existing class to meet the requirement range of a new Olympic boat – but we understood that the final boat we put forward would need to be more responsive, faster and more challenging to sail. Early sailing of the new RS900 leaves us in no doubt that we have a worthy skiff on our hands. We just need final confirmation of some key evaluation criteria, such as the target sailor weight range, to allow us to confirm we'll undertake the investment needed to compete and then refine the boat to the role."

A number of key features can be seen from the photos, but are liable to change. More technical details will be released as development progresses and all elements are finalised.

Published in Olympics 2012
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