Defending Irish Flying Fifteen champions David Gorman and Chris Doorly of the National Yacht Club are out of this weekend's Championships at Whitehead in County Antrim following a dismasting on Dublin Bay.
The excitement is building for the Flying Fifteen Championships of Ireland being hosted this weekend by County Antrim Sailing Club with sponsorship provided by the local Wrights Spar shop and P&O Ferries, a welcome move to entice visitors from the UK. It seems the weather is also building so it promises to be a weekend of drama and great racing for these one design boats.
With good numbers of Flying Fifteens turning out at club level in Dublin and Strangford Lough in particular they now take to the road and head to Whitehead a picturesque location at the tip of Belfast Lough. There is also a vibrant fleet along the north east coast in Larne and Cushendall so a good fleet is expected.
As usual in this fleet it is very hard to call the winner as the racing is always close and exciting and any of a number of boats could win.
Holders Gorman and Doorly of the National Yacht Club have had to pull out as they had a mast break in a windy DBSC race last weekend. This leaves it open for those who have been in form in the regional events where we have had a different winner in each event, Brian McKee & Ian Smith (SLSC) and Willis & McPeak (CAYC) along with Andy & Rory Martin (SLSC) are all in good form and sailing well. Others hoping to go well are Andy McCleery & Colin Dougan (KYC), Ian Mathews, who has lost his regular crew to injury but Hugh Cahill is filling in. Word is that Alan Green has a top helm from the UK lined up to compete, all will be revealed on Friday but rumour is it is current World Champion Steve Goacher.
There is plenty to sail for and as this is the last ranking event of the season so the Travellers trophies for the Gold, Silver and bronze fleets are up for grabs.