The first regional event of the year took place at the weekend at the newly built Strangford Sailing Club with the Flying Fifteen Northern Championships being won by Roger Chamberlain & Charlie Horder (SLSC) with consistent results while all around him struggled to get consistency with the strong tides having quite an impact!
As ever it was down to the last race (Race 5) for the drama to really unfold, everyone was carrying a high number as their discard so there were several contenders including McKee, McCleery, Colin, Baker and Gorman. With a massive bias at the pin whoever got it and tacked they would have fetched the weather mark or certainly be close to fetching it. As the gun went there was a bit of a pile up at the pin with several boats not making the line due to the strong tide and infringements by boats attempting to start on port.
Eventually, it all sorted itself out but some contenders were now out of the running including Baker and Gorman. Local Portaferry sailor Shane Carthy got across the fleet and led the whole way, the Meaghers were quick to go out to sea albeit at the committee boat end and they along with Willis were well ahead and finished in that order. Chamberlain was in the middle but his nearest rivals were even further back, as the race went on he moved up to fourth and this was enough to give him the championship.
The forecast for the weekend was for light winds but PRO Gerry Riley and his efficient team got the full schedule of races completed. The winds on Saturday were N-NW coming down the Lough and the tides was coming in . . . and out at the same time!
"National champions Gorman & Doorly (NYC) were quick out of the blocks"
National champions Gorman & Doorly (NYC) were quick out of the blocks and stormed into the lead, things were looking good, however on lap 3 as they covered second place Neil Colin local men McCleery and Hammy Baker sailed further up tide and came in at the last weather mark ahead with McCleery winning the race, McKee also had a Lazarus moment on the last beat to the finish line to finish second. Race 2 got going shortly after, most of the fleet elected to go right out to the incoming raging tide. Statham & Paul (WHSC) were quickly in the clear and with it being a one-sided downwind leg and beat they held on to win with Chamberlain second, Colin third and Mulligan fourth. Gorman and McCleery were back mid fleet after a tangle on the first beat which ended up with Gorman doing penalty turns. Race 3 was similar with the right favoured, McKee won the shortened race to lead overnight with Baker second, Chamberlain third and McCleery fourth.
Race 4 on Sunday saw the wind more to the west and the incoming tide was not as strong as the outgoing tide closer to the shore. Chamberlain and Gorman soon got in the lead and finished in that order with Baker third, Colin fourth and Sherry an impressive fifth after the race was shortened as the wind dropped. This teed up everything nicely for the final Race 5.
The Silver Fleet was won by Niall & Nicki Meagher (NYC) and the bronze by Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keefe (RStGYC). The club put on a great BBQ after Saturdays racing and also had very welcomed tea and cakes as we packed our boats. Roger thanked to all at Strangford Sailing Club, especially the lads helping launch off the slip and all those who travelled to make it an enjoyable event. We look forward to returning again!
Download full results below