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Ballyholme Yacht Club is looking froward to the first race of the Lisglass Builder's Icebreaker Series. The dinghy series is the largest in Northern Ireland, if not Ireland running from Sunday 4th October through to Sunday 3rd April with 21 races. The Series is split into two parts, Part 1 running from October to December and Part 2 running from 31st January to April.

There will be windward starts from a committee boat as in previous years using the club racing courses. In recent years, they have had over 100 boats entered. Ballyholme YC are looking to increase numbers from last year with the growing Topper fleet, RS double handed fleet and the biggest Laser fleet in Ireland.

Last week, many of Ballyholme's top dinghy youth sailors were competing at the RYANI Youth Championships with many achieving prizes. Of note, Liam Glynn won the top RYANI Laser Radial while there were also successes in the Topper Age ranges and the Topper Regatta fleets. With the Topper World Championships at Ballyholme in 2016, we hope that many of the leading NI Toppers will come to race during the Lisglass Builder's Icebreaker series.

Ballyholme YC is very thankful to our sponsor’s Lisglass Builders: Lisglass Builders Ltd are among the best-established building companies in Northern Ireland. They specialise in building & refurbishing both traditional and modern homes throughout the province which require close consultation with the client and a tailored approach to the high-end building and design techniques which they are proud to offer. Through flexibility and conscientiousness, and in contrast to many other building companies, they are able to bring the client’s vision to life and to ensure that all goals are met and expectations fulfilled. The company is led by Paul Fekkes, a member of Ballyholme YC and a well know name across the Irish sailing scene. We look forward to seeing him afloat again this year.

There are a number of new adult and cadet sailors and coaching is available in September and October on Saturdays to bring them up to speed (see Training calendar for more details). Entrants should use the On-line entry system to register – there is a £5.00 discount for doing so compared to paper. If you are interested in helping out with either rescue or battery, please contact Ruth Mullan.

The RYANI Laser squad will also be visiting Ballyholme YC this weekend so it looks to be another very busy one.

Published in Racing

There was an enforced lay day due to lack of wind at the RS400 Nationals, RS200 and RS Feva Northerns when the fleets decided they'd rather head to the bar at Ballyholme Yacht Club to watch the Ireland v Canada rugby match. This proved so popular that some suggested a lay day in the middle of future events although only if rugby readily available which means we'll have to wait 4 years for the next time.

This morning, Race Officer Robin Gray brought the start time early in a hope to fit in five races if possible before the 1500 time limit. Having witnessed the giant killing of South Africa by Japan on Friday night, some of the locals were hopeful that one of them would be able to take down the all conquering English pairing of Michael Sims and Richard Brown from Carsington Sailing Club in Derbyshire. After the first two races of the day, the upset looked on with Ballyholme's Gareth Flannigan and David Fletcher only 1 point behind with a 3rd and 1st. The other stars of this morning were the Welsh pairing of Josh Metclafe and Jack Holden, conspicuous with one of the few Dacron mains in the Mylar fleet.

In the afternoon however, Alex Barry and Richard Leonard won Race 6 with Michael and Richard just behind. Flannigan and Fletcher scored a DNF, while the other local boat we expected to see featuring earlier – Robert Espey and Michael Gunning scored the first of 2 seconds despite having fallen out of the back of the boat on Race 4. It can happen to anyone.

The breeze all day was a 10-16 knot southerly with flatter water than Friday and little sunshine. The racing was just as tight with the RS400 fleet pushing the line even under U. After a general recall, Race 7 managed to get away cleanly with only 2 minutes before the time limit. The UK National Champions got away cleanly up the middle of the beat and had a comfortable lead by the gate on the downwind, carrying this through to win the race and the Open Championship overall.

They were followed up the beat closely by Flannigan & Fletcher but a busy windward mark and a wrong manoeuvre at the first gybe suddenly found the BYC boat only 10 places from the back, such was the tight nature of racing even for the last race of the day. They recovered to 14th place but not enough to see off the current Irish National Champions Alex Barry and Richard Leonard who slipped through with a 4th to win 2nd overall and retain their title as Irish champions.

The RS200 fleet saw equally tight racing over the 4 races today with only 3 points separating the top 3 of the 20 boat fleet who raced on the outer loop of the trapezoid course. Despite Frank O'Rourke winning 2 of the 4 races, it was Marty O'Leary and Rachel Williamson who won the RS200 Northerns from Sean Craig with Olympian crew Ciara Peelo.

The RS Feva fleet showed good speed with the front boats keeping away from the chasing RS200s until the bottom of the outer loop. In fact such recognition was rewarded by the RS200 fleet dropping to O2 from O3 for all but the first race. The biggest smiles were in Race 3 for Lucy Bell and Emma Greer who won the race courtesy of the 4 boats who were pushing the pin end of the start line all scoring OCS. Alex and Henry Start revelled in the windy conditions all day winning the final race and the RS Feva Northerns Championship.

This was the largest RS400 fleet this summer with 51 boats taking to the water today, and over 80 boats between the 3 classes, and all were thoroughly happy but tired at the end of racing. It was great to see so many boats travelling from all corners of the UK and Ireland and shows the strength of the class, especially when looking at the calibre of the sailors involved with numerous Olympians, offshore talent and National champions. Overall RS400 Eurocup winner Michael Sims thanked Ballyholme Yacht Club, their event team for the great event and warm welcome given to all in Bangor over the weekend, and the sponsors Bangor Fuels, Ards and North Down Borough Council and Corona for their support.

Ballyholme Yacht Club looks forward now to next year with the hosting of the Topper World Championships in July 2016. 

RS prizegiving1RS prizegiving2RS prizegiving3RS prizegiving4

Winners Marty O'Leary and Rachel Williamson with Frank O'Rourke winner of RS200 Travellers trophy and Corona models

RS400

1st Michael Sims and Richard Brown, Carsington Sailing Club, 1, 1, 1, (5), (12), 3, 1 7pts
2nd Alex Barry and Richard Leonard, Monkstown Bay Sailing Club / Royal Cork 2, (7), (4), 2, 2, 1, 4 11pts
3rd Gareth Flannigan and David Fletcher, Ballyholme Yacht Club, 3, 4, 2, 3, 1, (50, DNF), (14) 13pts
4th Josh Metcalfe and Jack Holden, Y Felinheli SC, (5), (11), 3, 1, 3, 5, 3 15pts
5th Robert Espey and Michael Gunning BYC 9, 5, (50, DNF), (10), 4, 2, 2, 22pts
6th Barry McCartin and Finbarr Bradley, Cushendall Sailing Club, 11, 3, 8, 4, (26), (34), 11 37pts

RS200

1st Marty O'Leary and Rachel Williamson, Greystones Sailing Club, 2, 1, 2, (3) 5pts

2nd Sean Craig and Ciara Pello, Malahide Yacht Club, (3), 2, 3, 1, 6pts
3rd Frank O'Rourke and TBC, Greystones Sailing Club 1, 5 ,1 ,(5) 7pts

RS Feva
Alex Start and Henry Start, Royal St George Yacht Club, U18, 2, 3, (12 OCS), 1 6pts
Lucy Bell and Emma Greer, Strangford Lough Yacht Club U16 3, (5), 1, 5 9pts
Catherine Pooler and Anna Wilson, SLYC, U18, 5, (6), 2, 4 11pts

Published in RS Sailing

#topper – This weekend sees the third installment of this years Irish Topper Traveller circuit, hosted by Ballyholme Yacht Club.

On Saturday there are 40 Toppers registered for the training day with 10 travelling from Cork and a strong, if still young, contingent from the host club - in both full rig and the growing 4.2 fleet. This is now probably full although if you are still interested, please contact Simon McIlwaine to see if there are any cancellations or availability.

On Sunday there will be three races on the course for next years Topper World Championships giving sailors the chance to acclimatise to the local conditions. Many NI boats will have regularly visited the club at the RYANI Youth Championships which Ballyholme YC have hosted over the last 3 years with over 70 Toppers attending last year. Ballyholme YC however hasn't hosted a Topper Nationals or Provincial event since 2011 so it may be a first time for many from the ROI to visit one of Ireland's busiest dinghy clubs. Ballyholme YC is of course home to Ireland's only Topper World Champion (2013) Liam Glynn who is now competing in Laser Radials and recently won a Laser Radial Eurocup event in France.

Published in Topper

Last Saturday saw the start of the 2 day Irish Laser Masters event at Ballyholme Yacht Club with a number of competitors travelling from the Republic of Ireland to compete writes Aidan Pounder of Ballyholme Yacht Club.

As the competitors took to the water around 1100 hrs the weather was excellent, however as forecast the winds got lighter as the day progressed which on top of the sea swell made the sail out to the race arena rather tiring. With all assembled, the competitors waited patiently for the wind shifts to steady, upon which our Race Officer, Robin Gray released the fleet, much to the relief of the mark laying team too.

We managed to get three races in which were all won by Gareth Flannigan.

The fleet returned to the club late in the afternoon and prepared for a dinner laid on by Bow Bells.

Sunday saw a complete contrast in the sailing conditions with a strong wind out of the South. In the race arena out in the Lough, Robin Gray was recording a baseline wind of about 20 knots with gusts up to 31 knots and sailing was delayed.

After some deliberation a course was laid closer to the shore and the fleet released from the south & north slip, and unlike the previous day with a good following wind and no sea swell the competitors were at the committee boat and ready to go in no time.

The next two races saw steady baseline winds of around 22 knots with gusts up to 30 knots presenting the competitors with very challenging conditions especially rounding the marks at the bottom of the course, which saw a lot of capsizes and a spectacular coming together between David Wilson and Charlie Westhurst. Fortunately both were ok and likewise their Lasers.

Early Sunday afternoon saw the end of racing and results were gathered and checked by Ron Hutchieson from the Irish Laser Association.

The winners were as follows :

Radial - 1st Howard Massie - BYC

Grand Master - 1st Charlie Taylor - BYC

2nd Richard Ramsey East Down YC

Master - 1st Nick Walsh - Royal Cork YC

2nd William Duane - Royal Cork YC

3rd Edward Rice - Royal Cork YC

Apprentice Master - 1st - Gareth Flannigan - BYC

2nd - Roger O'Gorman - Monkstown Bay SC

3rd - Daragh Kelleher - Skerries SC

Overall - 1st Gareth Flannigan - BYC

2nd Roger O'Gorman - Monkstown Bay SC

3rd Nick Walsh - Royal Cork YC

Published in Laser

#lasermasters – There's a strong contingent of Irish competing in the Laser Masters Worlds taking place from the 4th - 11th October in Hyeres, France this week.

The event has broken records for the number competing which topped out at an eye watering 499.

The logistics and challenges for the event organisers of dealing with a fleet this size both onshore and afloat are daunting but COYCH are managing.

Masters fleets are divided by age brackets. The youngest competitors are 35 in the apprentice fleet. At 45 these "young guns" graduate to Masters and so on as the bands continue up in blocks of 10 years.

The Irish team consists of Worlds stalwart and Great Grand Master Denis O'Sullivan. Chris Arrowsmith from RStGYC is in the Grand Master category. Ed Rice and Nick Walsh from Royal Cork YC along with Colin Galavan from RIYC and Kevin Currier from Ballyholme are in the Masters fleet. The team is rounded out by three Apprentice Masters, Dan O'Connell from RCYC, sailing coach Thomas Chaix and Paul Keane also from RIYC.

The weather has not played ball for the organisers who have been plagued by light airs and blue skies. Nice for the beach, of which there are plenty, but not for sailing. After two days of light racing some fleets have only two results but the Great Grand Masters have yet to finish a race.

After coming second in the Pre Worlds and winning the practice race Thomas Chaix was confident going into the first race but there is no quarter being given in the Apprentice fleet which includes 2 current and a very large percentage of ex Olmypians. The start line and contested mark roundings are not for the faint of heart.

The Masters fleet is around 130 boats so it's further split into Yellow and Red fleets. In the Red fleet Nick Walsh is on the hunt for some good results after a very successful domestic sailing season. Nick's sparring partner from home, Ed Rice is in the Yellow fleet and after a shaky first race put the demons behind him to score a decent result in the 2nd.

Well known RStGYC sailor Chris Arrowsmith had a middle of the road result in the first race but a strange abbreviation "PTSr" appeared beside his and others scores. This seemed to be "Penalty turns, retrospective" i.e. you're not whistled by the jury on the water but they take your number and penalise you after the race. An Australian team sailor was also penalised in this way and took the RC to the protest room where it seems to have been dropped. In the second race Chris scored a very respectable 11th. Onwards and upwards.

The forecast for the next few days is quite mixed. Last night a big rainstorm went through the area and there is a current "Orange" weather alert. Tomorrow the sun is due to come back and the wind is forecast in the 12-18kt range from a stable Easterly direction. This means waves in Hyeres Bay. Sun, Waves and Breeze for a Laser Sailor is better than a lotto win.

There is so much more to say about this event I could go on but I've just heard a gun and the AP is being lowered so I've got to go and get out on the water. For a very well observed flavour of the "internationality" of this event read USA team member Joe Berkeley's piece here 

Event photos are here and results here

Published in Laser

#lasersailing – After three days of strong winds, the final day of the Zhik Laser National Championships was always forecast for light breeze before strengthening in the afternoon writes Mark Mackey. Race Officer Robin Gray attempted several early starts but the wind kept shifting from side to side and it was early afternoon before things settled down. It meant there was time for only one race as an early time limit jad been agreed so that people could get home.

James Espey again took the lead on the downwind in the Standards and led the way home. Fionn Lyden eventually overtook Finn Lynch in a close battle to take second place and also second place overall. Finn had to settle for third overall though also added 1st Irish Laser Youth to the World Under 19 title won two weeks ago. This was James Espey's fifth Irish National title matching the record of Bill O'Hara. Bill was also competing here coming 14th (3rd Master), before flying off tomorrow or get ready as Race Officer for the upcoming Volvo Round the World Race. Thomas Chaix was first Master.

In the Radial class, Cian Byrne won the final race from Annalise Murphy and with it second place overall. Annalise won overall (her second Nationals title) and was 1st Lady. Liam Glynn had been leading Cian overall coming into today although only by one point. Unfortunately a bad start and an early yellow flag for body pumping put paid to any chances of Liam catching Cian. Ross O'Sullivan had another consistent day to take 4th overall.

NSH_0486.jpg

4.7 winner Johnny Durcan

Johnny Durcan continued to show his great form at the top of the Laser 4.7 fleet adding a second to his tally, finishing with only eight net points overall and ten points ahead of his nearest rival Rory Fekkes. Rory Caslin won the final race but this was still only good enough for 3rd overall with Scott Levie in 4th.

Ron Hutchieson was given a special award at the prize giving for 35 years of continuous service to the Laser class by event organiser Paddy Brow and ILA's Colin Leonard. Many thanks were given to the Race Officer Robin Gray, safety lead Ruth Mullan and the many volunteers for another great event.

Standard
1st James Espey Ballyholme YC/ RUYC (1),1,1,1,1,1
2nd Fionn Lyden Schull SC 2,(6),3,2,3,2
3rd Finn Lynch (1st Youth) National YC 3,2,(6),3,2,3
4th Darragh O'Sullivan Kinsale YC 7,5,2,4,4,(8)
5th Colin Leonard Ballyholme YC 4,3,4,6,(8),5

11th Thomas Chaix (1st Master) Kinsale YC 12,12,(13),7,13,12

Radial
1st Annalise Murphy (1st Lady) National YC 1,1,1,2,(3),2
2nd Cian Byrne Royal Cork YC 2,6,6,1,(7),1
3rd Liam Glynn Ballyholme YC (6),4,5,3,2,22
4th Ross O'Sullivan Kinsale YC (16),5,3,4,4,5
5th Conor O'Beirne Royal St George (11),7,2,7,5

4.7
1st Johnny Durcan Royal Cork YC 2,1,1,(13),2,2
2nd Rory Fekkes Ballyholme YC (8),2,4,1,4,7
3rd Rory Caslin National YC (9),4,2,4,8,1
4th Scott Levie Lough Derg YC 1,9,9,11,(40 BFD),3
5th Conor Sherriff Courtown SC 5,8,3,15,6,(16)

NSH_0495.jpg

Annalise Murphy, Radial winner

NSH_0505.jpg

James Espey, Standard winner

 

Published in Laser

#lasersailing – After Friday's blowout in the Zhik Irish Laser National Championships, it was great to see the forecast hold true  on Belfast Lough yesterday with a sunny start to the morning and 12-15 knots with a few gusts and lulls along the way writes Mark Mackey. The wind stayed fairly true in direction all day with just the odd hole or squall to cope with.

Although only 2 races have been completed so far, the Laser organisation opted to stick to 3 one hour races rather than try to catch up on the schedule. James Espey in the Laser Standard again rose to the fore winning all three races and apart from the first race when Darragh O'Sullivan held him off till the first downwind, led the rest of the fleet around all the marks. Behind James, there has been great competition. Fionn "Stallion" Lyden has shown great speed downwind (or faster than Colin Leonard who came 4th in Race 1). Finn Lynch dropped out of the first group on Race 1 but cam back to score 3 and 2 on the next races and liers equal with Fionn going into the final day.

In the Radial fleet, Annalise Murphy lies first with only 5 nett point sbut had a more mixed day with some of the future young stars mixing it up. Last year's Topper World Champion and in his first year in Radials - Liam Glynn had a good day with 5,3,2 and lies in scond place overall from Cian Byrne. ISAF Youth Worlds silver medallist Seafra Guilfoyle had a worse day even with a bullet in the final race, scoring a DNF and BFD in Race 1 and 2 and drops down to 13th. Cian Byrne was the other beneficiary and moves up to 3rd overall with a win in Race 2 today.

Ballyholme's Sorcha Donnelly (who sails from Skerries but has always competed from BYC) led Race 2 but misread the earlier staring flags - one of the Irish Radial nuances is that they drop the "sausage" if there is a general recall. Race Officer Robin Gray, getting used to the tricks of some forcing general recalls so that they have shorter races, started using AP's instead 5 seconds before the start meaning they should have sailed the longer course. Sorcha led at the first mark and took a group of her fellow radials with her around the wrong course scoring RET in the end.

In the 4.7 fleet young Royal Cork's Johnny Durcan continues to set the bar with a 1 and 2, leading from Ballyholme's Rory Fekkes who won Race 2 today. Ronan Walsh, another Cork youngster, won the final race of the day

Overall:

Standards

1 James Espey 1,1,1,1,1,
2 Finn Lynch (Youth) 3,2,6,3,2
3 Fionn Lyden 2,6,3,2,3
4 Darragh O'Sullivan 7,5,2,4,4
5 Colin Leonard 4,3,4,6,8
9 Nick Walsh (Master) 14,4,11,16,12

Radials:

1 Annalise Murphy 1,1,1,2,3
2 Liam Glynn 6,4,5,3,2
3 Cian Byrne 2,6,6,1,7
4 Ross O'Sullivam 16,5,3,4,4
5 Conor O'Beirne 11,7,2,7,5

4.7

1. Johnny Durcan 2,1,1,13,2
2. Rory Fekkes 8,2,4,1,4
3. Rory Caslin 9,4,2,4,8
4. Conor Sheriff 5,8,3,15,6
5. Ronan Walsh 18,16,7,2,1

Published in Laser

#laser – There was no racing today on Day 2 of Zhik Irish Laser National Championships on Belfast lough. Race Officer Robin Gray sent the three fleets totalling 130 boats afloat after a one hour postponement but after 30 minutes they were all sent home again after the breeze started to build. Racing starts again tomorrow at 10:55

Published in Laser

#lasersailing – The three Irish Laser fleets woke up on a beautiful sunny day at Ballyholme Yacht Club knowing that the wind was to fill in over the afternoon but no-one was sure by how much writes Mark Mackey. There is a little tension among the 126 competitors for the first time in a few years but if anyone was ignoring the pressure, it was the incumbent Olympian sailors from London 2012 James Espey (Ballyhome YC) and Annalise Murphy (National YC, Dun Laoghaire) who have won five Nationals between them.

This summer has new blood on the horizon - Finn Lynch winning the Laser Under 19 Youth World Championship last week in France, while Seafra Guilfoyle won the silver medal at the ISAF Radial Youth Games earlier in the summer.

Race 1 started with a southerly breeze and relatively flat seas with 16 knots. In the standard fleet James Espey got off to a slow start rounding the first mark 7th but a left shift on the second beat took him up to first from where he distanced himself from the chasing pack. ISA Squad member Fionn Lyden was second with Finn Lynch in 3rd. In the Radials Ballyholme's Liam Glynn led around the course till the second round until he sailed the wrong course and was passed by the top 4. Annalise also got off to a poor first beat in 20th place but she managed to catch up and pass Cork's Cian Byrne at the final mark.

The conditions worsened considerably for Race 2 gusting up to 25 knots at the finish. Annalise has always excelled in heavier airs and showed the rest of the Radial class the way home from the first mark. Finn Lynch led the Standards for 90% of his race but James Espey passed him up the final beat as the breeze grew.

The Youth 4.7 fleet managed the conditions commendably with Johnny Durcan from Royal Cork YC winning Race 2 and was second to Lough Derg's Scott Levie in Race 1. Asked for a comment afterwards Johnny offered that it was "very windy" and was a day to "keep your eyes out of the boat"

Race Officer Robin Gray decided to postpone the final race until tomorrow with the wind settling over 24 knots. Unfortunately, the morning looks like similar conditions with the breeze expected to start to die in the afternoon.

Overall after Day 1:

Standards
James Espey, Ballyholme YC/RUYC 1,1
Finn Lynch National YC 3,2
Colin Leonard BYC 4,3
Fionn Lyden Schull SC 2, 6

Radials
Annalise Murphy, NYC 1,1
Seafra Guilfoyle Royal Cork YC 3,2
Cian Byrne RCYC 2,6
Tim Brow BYC 5,3

4.7
1. Johnny Durcan RCYC 2,1
2. Niamh Doran Courtown SC 3,3
3. Scott Levie Lough Derg YC
4. Rory Fekkes BYC

 

Published in Laser

#laser – Tomorrow sees the start of the 2014 Zhik sponsored Irish Laser National Championships at Ballyholme Yacht Club (BYC) on Belfast Lough writes BYC's Mark Mackey.

The top Northern Ireland dinghy club is now expecting 130 boats with competition across all three fleets, especially at the top of the Laser Standard and Laser Radial fleets.

In the Standards, Olympian and multiple Irish National Laser Champion James Espey will fend off Finn Lynch who was crowned Under 19 World Champion last week with fellow squad sailors Fionn Lyden and Darragh O'Sullivan hot on their heels.

In the Radials, Olympian Annalise Murphy will have ISAF World Youth Silver medallist Seafra Guilfoyle to contend with as well as a host of Ballyholme YC's best Radials including Ryan Glynn (4th in UK Nationals), his brother Liam who was last year's Topper World Champion and Tim Brow, son of Event Organiser Paddy Brow and 7th in the UK Nationals.

Also look out for Ballyholme's Sarah Eames who has spent the summer competing across Europe at the ISAF Worlds, European Youth and World Under 19 Championships.

A mixture of conditions is forecast over the next 4 days with plenty of wind tomorrow afternoon and Friday. Expect to see Annalise excel in the breeze as always against the best of the boys, and catch most of those in the Standard fleet who start five minutes before her.

Published in Laser
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