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Limbo 6.6 'FA2' Leads as Antrim Boat Club’s Summer Series Gets Underway on Lough Neagh

28th May 2024
A good entry of 12 boats will race in the northwest corner of Lough Neagh at Antrim Boat Club’s Summer Series
A good entry of 12 boats are racing in the northwest corner of Lough Neagh at Antrim Boat Club’s Summer Series

Antrim Boat Club’s Summer Series returned on 25th May. Eight races, in round-the-can style, are scheduled for Thursday evenings.

A good entry of 12 boats will race in the northwest corner of Lough Neagh. As in the Winter Series, the sponsor is Rolo’s Traditional Fish and Chips.

At the halfway point after four races the good form of FA2 (Limbo 6.6) of Charlie McAllister and Jeff Harrison and the H boat Final Fling’ of Alfie Mayrs from the winter has continued for the summer racing. The leaders are currently racing in Class 3 at the Howth Wave Regatta in Charlie McAllister’s new boat SKB, a Jacques Fauroux Quarter Tonner, which he will also race at Bangor Regatta in mid-June.

Race 1 started with light winds. A downwind start to the Main Mark saw FA2 slip away from the fleet, picking the best of the light airs while the rest of the fleet remained compacted until the turn at Main Mark. A long beat to Kettlebottom saw FA2 extend their lead. Final Fling and the bigger sistership Peter Frazier’s H323, TicTac managed to get away from the rest of the fleet. As the wind faded the McAllister/Harrison due took line honours and the handicap win with Final Fling and TicTac second and third. Ronnie Walker’s Elan (MG Spring), sporting a new mainsail continued their improved form from the last 12 months to finish fourth.

The second time out, it was Final Fling making the best start and excelling in the moderate breeze and flat water. A downwind leg like the previous week to Main Mark and FA2 struggled to hold onto the faster Final Fling downwind. The two MG Springs of Elan and Jamie Jess (Willy McIlvenna) were locked in battle behind. Elan opted to whitesail while Jamie Jess had difficulties with the spinnaker, letting Elan get away for their third place. Final Fling was first over the line and first with FA2 second and Elan third. The fleet seemed pessimistic that there would be no wind to get a race in. McAllister and Harrison remained optimistic and motored out to the race course; the wind filled in, and after a postponement, the wind had settled. FA2 took advantage of Final Fling’s absence to lead the fleet on the beat to Kettlebottom. Tic Tac was early for the line and had to battle hard to get through the fleet. Another battle ensued for the last podium place as the rest of the fleet had compacted. FA2 continued their good speed on the downwind finish to win with TicTac clear in 2nd. As the rest of the fleet approached the last mark, the wind had changed, and Jamie Jess, using their experience, had opted for a higher course, avoiding a tack and improved spinnaker work from the previous week, helped her into third place. The rest of the fleet had struggled to get round the mark with wind shift and a dying breeze.

Race 4 had a strong breeze and the fleet raced on a longer course with another downwind start. The fleet compacted and hugged the shoreline to Kettlebottom Mark. From there it was a two-mile reach to WaterTower. The fast reach was welcome and the fleet closed in on the leader FA2. The trip to WaterTower meant a very long beat home. In an easing but shifty wind, the tussle for first was won by FA2, with Final Fling second. Third was Jena Ciollier’s Beneteau 211 Bandersnatch. She had worked hard to overtake several boats to get her best finish of the series.

At the halfway point, 2 points separate leaders FA2 from Final Fling. The battle for third overall is hotly contested with four places separated by 1 point.

Antrim Boat Club’s Summer Series2024 Antrim Boat Club’s Summer Series results

Betty Armstrong

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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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