#flyingfifteen – The Flying Fifteen Northern Championships hosted by Strangford Lough YC in Whiterock took place in perfect conditions at the weekend and was won by Dave Gorman & Chris Doorly (NYC) who sailed a very consistent series, Ian Mathews & Keith Poole (NYC) were in second place with Roger Chamberlain & Simon Murray from the local club in third place. There was also a great performance from Lee Statham & Andy Paul (WHSC) who finished fourth in their first event.
On Saturday three races were held in 10-15 knots of breeze from the northwest, the weather mark was out in the Lough so the usual tidal streams had to be negotiated but the PRO PJ Gault set great course's with good start lines. In the first Race Gorman was quick out of the blocks and headed left to stay out of the ebbing tide. He was first at the weather mark but was closely followed by Mathews, Chamberlain and Lawson, this was the way it stayed over the race to the finish.
Race 2: Mathews led the way but on the second beat current Irish Champions McCleery & Dougan took the lead and won the race, behind it was very close with Mathews pipping Gorman on the line for second place. Roger Chamberlain led all the way in Race 3, Gorman had a poor start at the pin end and managed to get back in touch by the weather mark finishing second holding off Lee Statham (WHSC) and Shane McCarty fourth.
After racing most of the competitors had food and refreshments in the club and then adjourned to Daft Eddies for more refreshments. Some visited the Down Cruising Club on board their club the old lightship Petrel which is 100 years old this week.
Sunday was again sunny with a slightly more northerly breeze. There were three boats in contention for the title, Gorman, Chamberlain and Mathews- all to play for! The tide still had an hour to come in, Gorman started at the boat end as there was more breeze on that side of the course and he had the option of tacking in the shifts. This he did and he led at the weather mark but it was all very close, Statham and McKee were close and the lead changed several times with McKee taking the gun, Gorman second, Statham third and Malcolm Crichton fourth. With Mathews fifth and Chamberlain sixth this was enough to give Gorman & Doorly the title. They sailed the last race which was a great race, Statham led the way sailing well but on the last reach he had a problem with the spinnaker and this allowed Gorman through, Statham didn't give up and as they approached the line Gorman lee bowed him to stay in front and take the gun, after over an hours racing there were second between the first five boats, great racing!
At the prize giving local class captain Roger Chamberlain thanked the many volunteers including the PRO and his team, Dave Gorman did likewise but included his long suffering crew Chris. Charlie Boland & Rob McConnell (WHSC) won the Silver Fleet.
The next event is the South Coast Championships which will be held in Dunmore East in July.