In the week when there was a “macro-committee” meeting of the organising team for the Subaru Ireland sponsored Flying Fifteen World Championship 2019, a slightly reduced fleet took part in the penultimate race of the Flying Fifteen 2019 DBSC midweek summer season writes Cormac Bradley.
The series leaders, Messrs Gorman & Doorly were absent as were fellow NYC-ers Niall Coleman & Mick Quinn, the RStGYC contingent was at 50% with Alistair Court & Conor O’Leary AWOL and Frank Miller & Ed Butler at the Fireball Worlds in Montreal Canada, where three races have been completed in the North American/Pre-Worlds Regatta. The Coal Harbour were fully represented in Hugh & Michael Cahill and the DMYC had a 66% turnout. In total, 13 boats gathered at the start line.
The forecast was for a WSW of between 10 and 17 knots in the early evening but fading as the evening wore on. The tide was ebbing, so we had tide and wind going in the same direction. Race Officer Jack Roy was advising the competitors by radio that the wind was being a bit fickle in terms of direction, but he settled on the “N” suite of courses to acknowledge the 270º aspect of the wind direction.
The Fifteens got N2 – Harbour, Omega, Poldy, Omega, Poly, Bay, East and finish and Mulligan & Bradley made a late arrival at the start area to remove any debate as to which way to go up the first beat – they were on time, but the pin appeared to be the best option for them having just dropped the spinnaker. This was proving fruitful in the early stages of the port-tack beat up to Harbour, but at the latter stages of the leg the boats inside them started to benefit more and about four or five boats arrived at the mark in quick succession inside them. In this bunch were Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (4028) who rounded first, John O’Sullivan (3762) who may have hit the mark, Ken Dumpleton (3955), Brian O’Hare & Tonia McAllister (4043) and David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne (4068). My recall is that Team Cahill were also lurking with intent.
Mulligan & Bradley sailed a bit further inshore on the premise that the wind was more likely to come off the shore and sailing that bit higher would give them more “wriggle-room”. The others who had simply borne off seemed to be a bit reticent about flying spinnaker. Mulligan’s green and yellow duster was therefore well up the pecking order in being hoisted and the pair worked their way through the fleet on the tight reach from about sixth place at Harbour to tuck in behind Colin & Casey at Omega for the run down to Poldy. Behind then Dumpleton and Mulvin appeared to be to the fore in the chasing pack, though Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (3697, Ffandango) were also well up.
At Poldy Colin rounded in the lead followed by Mulligan and having pulled away from the rest they played a tactical game going up to Omega for the second time. The wind was indeed fickle with big lifts being evident on the port tack which made getting inshore a selective exercise. The gap between them stretched and receded but only by boat-lengths. Colin led around Poldy for the second time while Mulligan & Bradley practised their gybes trying to close the gap. At this stage O’Hare & McAllister were starting to extract themselves from the chasing bunch towards the leaders.
The two leaders took slightly different approaches to the long beat up to Bay with Colin initially favouring a more inshore route to Mulligan’s port-tack approach parallel to the shore. Again, the distance between the boats ebbed and flowed but again, also by small margins. About three-quarters of the way to Bay, Mulligan was significantly inshore of Colin and got a major lift towards Bay and this gave him the break to get ahead of Colin. Mulligan rounded Bay first with Colin a short distance astern. Mulligan adopted a more easterly line to the next mark, East, relative to Colin. In the meantime, O’Hare had closed on the lead two and he sailed a line that was even further east of Mulligan. Behind O’Hare, Mulvin and McKenna were keeping in touch at the head of the chasing pack.
Mulligan gybed a couple of times on his way to rounding East first, O’Hare rounded second but not before “engaging” with a Ruffian on their respective approaches to the mark. O’Hare rounded on the transom of the Ruffian with Colin a short distance astern. Colin was the first to take an inshore “hitch” but this was merely an attempt to clear his wind. Mulligan was able to sail in a windward slot relative to O’Hare and with Colin astern of him. All three boats sailed to the finish on port tack before each of them, in turn, closed on the finish line with a short starboard hitch.
- As Good As It Gets: 3688; Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley
- Nimble: 4043; Brian O’Hare & Tonia McAllister
- No Name: 4028; Neil Colin & Margaret Casey
- Ignus Caput Duo: 4068; David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne
- Ffandango: 3697; Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keefe
Flying Fifteens for sale here