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Northern Ireland Sailors Find it Better Not to Argue with Lough Derg Gusts at Freshwater One Design Regatta

19th October 2022
Gordon Patterson's Fagin from Royal North (centre) among a bunch of Squis at Lough Derg Yacht Club's Freshwater One Design Regatta
Gordon Patterson's Fagin from Royal North (centre) among a bunch of Squis at Lough Derg Yacht Club's Freshwater One Design Regatta Credit: Olly Kierse

The Lough Derg Freshwater One Design regatta last weekend was, for most, a two-day event reduced to one, and for the Northern Ireland sailors who made the long journey to Dromineer somewhat disappointing, especially for the Belfast Lough Flying Fifteen entries, Bryan Willis and Trevor D’Arcy.

But it would seem it was better not to argue with the gale force gusts on the Saturday of the eighteen Flying Fifteens entered, ten actually turned out. Of those, one of the Northern boats, Bryan Willis and David McFarland in Simply Gold had a frightening experience when Bryan was swept overboard while hoisting the spinnaker and got tangled with the spinnaker sheet as the spinnaker was still up. As it was trying to fill, it pulled the sheet tightly around him. The County Antrim Yacht Club helm Bryan said, “ If David moved from the weather side to try to pull me in, the boat threatened to capsize on top of me. It was a relief to be rescued by the Safety Boat”. He continued, “All the boats that went out on Saturday got into trouble at some point, and one was completely upside down”.

Bryan Willis in Simply Gold (4074) neck and neck with Trevor D'Arcy in Don't Look Back (3782) in the lighter winds on Sunday at Lough Derg Yacht Club's Freshwater One Design Regatta Photo Olly KierseBryan Willis in Simply Gold (4074) neck and neck with Trevor D'Arcy in Don't Look Back (3782) in the lighter winds on Sunday at Lough Derg Yacht Club's Freshwater One Design Regatta Photo Olly Kierse

Trevor D'Arcy and Alan McLernon from Carrickfergus, also on Belfast Lough, did finish, though, at second behind Niall and Ronan O’Brien. But they retired from the second race.

As Afloat reported earlier, Sunday’s conditions were the opposite, with light fluky winds, and on that day, D’Arcy scored another second, 6, 5 and 10 to finish fifth overall. Willis and McFarland redeemed themselves with a 2,3, 6 and 8 to finish ninth.

Some of the Northern Ireland Squib fleet, decided not to travel, leaving the Strangford Lough entry, Robert Marshall from Killyleagh, along with Peter Wallace Gordon Patterson, Terry Rowan and Stephen Stewart from Royal North of Ireland YC on Belfast Lough to compete in the 32 strong fleet.

With no racing on Saturday, all of day 2’s four races counted and coming out on top by one point was Royal North’s Toy for the Boys with Peter Wallace and crew Fiona Ward from Kinsale. Peter won the 2018 Squib Nationals at Royal Irish. Runner up was David Stewart in Granat from Royal Irish with the far travelled Dick Batt from Royal Victoria YC on the Isle of Wight in third slot.

The other Northern Ireland Squibs who travelled to Dromineer finished at eighth, 11th 12th and 13th, respectively: Terry Rowan in Dogwatch, Stephen Stewart in Second Chance, Gordon Patterson’s Fagin (last year’s winner), all from Royal North, and Slipstream with Robert Marshall from Killyleagh. Patterson’s crew Ross Nolan said, “ It was great to get back to Dromineer for the annual season closer and catch up with everyone. Challenging racing in light and shifty conditions, especially with shorter races due to the compressed schedule. This was typical close Squib racing and another great regatta”.

Result sheets are downloadable below

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down

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