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Gamechanger On Form in Royal Ulster Yacht Club's Copeland Islands Race

23rd May 2022
The crew of  Paul and Emma Prentice's Sigma 33, Squawk in the Copelands Race
The crew of Paul and Emma Prentice's Sigma 33, Squawk in the Copelands Race

The Copeland Islands lie on the North Down coast just a short distance off Donaghadee but separated from the town by a fast strong tidal sound which provides interesting but necessarily accurate navigation. So to have the Royal Ulster Yacht Club coastal race round these islands which also have significant overfalls to the east, made an attractive race hosted by Royal Ulster Yacht Club from its start line in Bangor.

Copelands Race - Mew Island Lighthouse Mew Island Lighthouse Photo: Mark Mackey

Top of the IRC fleet was Shaun Douglas from Cockle Island Boat Club just east of Bangor on Belfast Lough in the Beneteau 40.7 Gamechanger ahead of Stuart Cranston’s Ker32 visiting from Strangford Lough Yacht Club. This is the start of a busy season for Gamechanger as they head to the Isle of Man for the Round the Island race starting at Port St Mary on 3rd June; then comes Bangor Town Regatta on 24th June followed by the race to Strangford Lough on 2nd July, then Cork Week in mid-July followed by West Highland Week at the end of that month. Certainly, the Irish Sea will be well travelled. In third slot was the Sigma 33 Squawk owned by Paul and Emma Prentice.

Shaun Douglas's Beneteau 40.7 Gamechanger from Cockle Island Boat Club on Belfast LoughShaun Douglas's Beneteau 40.7 Gamechanger from Cockle Island Boat Club on Belfast Lough

Winner in the four strong Whitesail division was the Bell, Lawther and Bell trio from the host club and Ballyholme in the Oceanis 37 Merry Jack with the Byres/Russell duo in the Sigma 33 Signet from the same clubs.

Stuart Cranston's Hijacker from Strangford Lough YCStuart Cranston's Hijacker from Strangford Lough YC

As it turned out for the thirteen strong fleet made up of IRC and Whitesail, the tides were slack so weren’t a problem on the course which started in a lively 15 to 20 knot south westerly on a run from the RUYC line, taking them east leaving the Islands to starboard. The leg along the east side of the Copelands past the Mew Island Lighthouse where the Ram Harry race was in quiet form, involved only two tacks and then it was back west up the Sound where the tide was slack on a closehaul to Bangor Bay and the finish.

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