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Ryan Wins Facet Trophy for Flying Fifteens on Dublin Bay

6th August 2019
Gerry Ryan was the winner of the Facet Trophy for Flying Fifteens Gerry Ryan was the winner of the Facet Trophy for Flying Fifteens Photo: Afloat

With the Subaru sponsored Flying Fifteen World Championships only 26 sleeps away, the enthusiasm for racing on Dublin Bay has continued apace writes Cormac Bradley.

After a light wind session on the preceding Thursday that prompted a very shortened course to be sailed, there was a much healthier contribution to the proceedings on the August Bank Holiday Saturday from Mother Nature. The forecast was for 10 – 17 knots from SSE, according to XCWeather and while some of that strength was in evidence the wind didn’t go quite that far south.

The Facet Trophy had its origin in an attempt to stem the fall-off in Flying Fifteen numbers racing under the DBSC burgee on the August Bank Holiday weekend and enjoys the support of Pat Shannon of Facet Jewellers. This year that objective was achieved when 21 boats came under starters orders for the first race of the day. The fleet also included a visitor from Dunmore East. And even that number could have been increased as at least 1 boat was struggling for a crew and two other potential entries were absent altogether. Race Officer Brian Mathews set a triangle course for the first race – triangle-sausage-triangle and found that he had a very competitive fleet on his hands as they jostled for position on his start line.

While some of us went right, we were to be proven wrong as the leading bunch at the weather mark all came in from the left. Among those was Joe Coughlan (Ash; 3913), Alistair Court & Conor O’Leary (Ffinisterre; 3753), Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (No Name; 4028). The exception to this assessment was Niall Coleman & Mick Quinn (Flyer; 4008) who from memory were one of those on the right; but ended up in the lead bunch. I can only assume that they crossed the course at some stage. Joe led the fleet into the leeward mark with Court/O’Leary in second place.

The three-sail reach across the top of the course was exhilarating and some found it more comfortable than others. Unfortunately, the discomfort of the “others” didn’t translate to places being lost. The “reward” of getting to the gybe mark with three sails was that the second reach was a lot more comfortable. The inside track of the second reach paid some dividends and this correspondent gained a few places here.

The breeze had moved left which meant that the second beat wasn’t quite the challenge it might have been. For all that it wasn’t a fetch to the mark either, so getting clear air was quite important.

At the top mark, the lead appeared to have changed hands as Court/O’Leary were the first to show and as they sailed down the sausage to a shortened course finish, the pecking order was Court/O’Leary, Coughlan, Colin, Coleman, and Gerry Ryan. Dave Mulvin & Ronan Bierne (Ignus Caput Duo; 4068) were well placed in the race until Ronan decided to do some “knitting” with the spinnaker on the foredeck. This was very commendable when one considers that Ignus Caput Duo has a fly-away pole system. Despite Ronan’s stringent efforts, they were relegated to a much lower finishing position than their first-half efforts warranted.

For the second race, Brian Mathews set a Windward/Leeward but by now the wind was starting to move around with directions varying from 120 - 155º - a race officer’s nightmare. Add to that a fleet that was “champing at the bit” to get away and there was only one inevitable result – a “U” Flag start, followed by a “Black Flag” start after the first conventional start was unsuccessful.

After several attempts the fleet did get away and on the water the Dunmore East raiders showed everyone a VERY clean pair of heels. Well sailed Lee and Andy, sailing “Trigger’s Brush”! Behind them there was a very interesting competition going on among the DBSC registered boats. Gerry Ryan and crew (4045) were again well placed as were a few others, Coleman & Quinn, Colin & Casey, Court & O’Leary. Included at the front was “Snow White”; 3747, sailed by Gill Fleming and Frank Burgess, the driver behind getting the fleet out to support the generosity of Facet Jewellers.

The left-hand side of the run paid dividends the first time but wasn’t quite so generous the second time but racing in the pack was very close with both mark-roundings very busy locations.

Gerry Ryan came out on top in the second race, followed home by Coleman & Quinn, Fleming & Burgess, Colin & Casey with Louise McKenna & Owen Sinnott (Ffandango;3697) claiming fifth.

At a very convivial prize-giving in the National Yacht Club, prizes were handed out by Facet Jeweller’s Pat Shannon.

Gold Fleet

Helm & Crew

Sail Number

Race 1

Race 2

Total Pts.


Gerry Ryan & Crew






Niall Coleman & Mick Quinn






Neil Colin & Margaret Casey





Silver Fleet

Gill Fleming & Frank Burgess





Bronze Fleet

Hugh & Michael Cahill





Due thanks were recorded to Pat, Brian Mathews for his Race Officer role and the DBSC race team.

Next weekend sees the last provincial regatta before the Subaru-sponsored Flying Fifteen Worlds when the Southern Championships are hosted by the Royal St George Yacht Club. A discussion item at the Facet Trophy prize-giving was the modest on-line entry thus far. On a day when 21 Flying Fifteens were on the water, less than 15 entries had been registered with the RStGYC. Please get your entries sorted!!

FF Dun Laoghaire Class Captain, Conor O’Leary, who also sails out of the “George” advised that a BBQ will be available immediately after sailing and is included in the entry fee. Race Officer for the Southerns is Barry O’Neill.

On completion of the Southerns the focus will fall on the final preparations for the Worlds. As with all international events, volunteers are critical; So, if you have some free time over the period 31 August to 13 September and want to get involved in the hosting of a World Championship, please get in touch with the Flying Fifteen Class or the National Yacht Club.

Published in Flying Fifteen
Cormac Bradley

About The Author

Cormac Bradley

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Dublin Bay Fireballer Cormac Bradley was appointed Rear Commodore of the International Fireball Class in 2017. He is a regular dinghy and one design correspondent on

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Flying Fifteen - At A Glance

Overall Length 20 ft6.1 m

Waterline Length 15 ft4.6 m

Mast Height 22 ft 6 in6.86 m

Sail Area 150 sq ft14 sqm

Spinnaker Area 140 sq ft13 sqm

Hull Weight 300 lb136 kg

Keel Weight 400 lb169 kg

Minimum Weight 685 lb305 kg

Racing Crew Two

Ideal Crew Range 18 - 28 st145 - 185 kg

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