Thirteen Flying Fifteens answered Race Officer Jack Roy’s call to the start of the first race of the Dublin Bay Sailing Club’s 2019 Summer Season and two of those were so excited at the prospect of the return of summer evening sailing that they were recorded as OCS. It was anything like “summer” during the day with overcast conditions and drizzle than gave way to rain and a forecast that suggested a boisterous start to the evening’s proceeding but a wind that would fade away. And so, it proved!
With an ebbing tide and the wind in the SSE quadrant of the compass, it was a lumpy sea that greeted the Fifteens on their way out to the start area and the first wave over the top was a VERY cold one!
The fleet all started on starboard tack with an even distribution along the line. There were some different crew combinations on the line, one brand-new boat, a sail number I didn’t readily recognise and as indicated two boats that were recorded as OCS. From my vantage point, I thought it was more!
Course J2 was set, with the first mark being Battery (T) and the fleet was split on whether to go offshore or inshore. Those boats which started on the committee boat had declared their hands in this regard – earliest opportunity to get inshore. And this charge was led by 3198, Adrian Alex, 3995, Alan Balfe and 3864, Alan Green and they were later joined by 3845, Frank Miller and 4068, Dave Mulvin. At Battery Alan Green, crewed by Keith Poole “snuck” into first place followed by Mulvin and Immediate Past Commodore, NYC, Ronan Bierne. In third place was Miller with Cormac Bradley at the pointy-end. 3198 was also in the bunch, with Balfe “loitering with intent”. A quick hoist helped Miller/Bradley into the weather berth and they and Green/Poole and Mulvin/Bierne started to open a gap on the balance of the fleet.
Omega (Y) was really only a passing mark en-route to Molly (N) and the leading three boats swapped gybes in the final approach to the mark. Green/Poole rounded clear ahead while Miller/Bradley having got ahead of Mulvin/Bierne still felt obliged to remind them that they didn’t have water. While Green and Miller headed inshore, Mulvin broke off earlier to take a hike out to sea. This time Omega was a turning mark and it turned out that the inshore route was the way to go. Green had maintained a lead over Miller, but Mulvin had lost some ground. The run out to Molly was played safe by everyone and the 1-2-3 stayed “as-was” but the likes of Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (4028) and Balfe (3995) closed the gap somewhat.
Rounding Molly for the second time led to a much longer beat to Bulloch (R). Again, the trend was to go inshore. Miller closed the straight-line distance to Green and sailed beyond him but dropped to leeward. Green tacked earlier than Miller who probably went 100m further inshore. When they met again Green’s lead was down to a boat-length and his attempted cross of Miller on port tack had to be abandoned for a crash tack that also necessitated Miller taking avoiding action. Green/Poole led into Bulloch and headed lower than Miller/Bradley who had been checking the course of the sole Dragon ahead of them, with a luminous pink spinnaker, and stayed high. Their decision was vindicated early on when both Colin and Balfe also stayed high. It was further vindicated when they saw a luminous “P” on Poldy mark.
Green/Poole sailed a tight spinnaker reach to hold onto second place but now they had to be wary of the chasing Mulvin, Colin and Balfe. Poldy to Pier (V) was a comfortable spinnaker leg with surfing conditions in the big waves but the wind had eased off.
Rounding Pier, Miller/Bradley sailed on to the inshore slot to ensure they could cover Green/Poole into the finish.
1. 3845: Glass Half Full – Frank Miller & Cormac Bradley
2. 3864: The Gruffalo – Alan Green & Keith Poole
3. 4068: Ignis Caput II - Dave Mulvin & Ronan Bierne
4. 3995: Perfect Ten – Alan Balfe & Crew
5. 4028: No name – Neil Colin & Margaret Casey