There was drama on the finish line of the Subaru Flying Fifteen World Championships today in Dun Laoghaire as regatta leaders Graham Vials and Chris Turner (Derwent Reservoir SC) were involved in a collision which holed their boat forcing them to come ashore to make urgent repairs.
After the layday three more races were held in typical puffy and choppy conditions in Dublin Bay on day 5 of the Championship. A day of contrasting fortunes begun at midday under semi-overcast skies with a blustery 15 - 19 knot Westerly accompanied by a sharp chop influenced by a changing tidal flow across the race course.
Race 8 of the championship started at 1200 noon with a single recall. A number of local boats headed right (offshore) however these included a couple of Australian crews including Mike Hart / Dean McAullay (Royal Freshwater Bay YC). Whilst the bulk of the fleet came off the pin and worked the inshore side of the beat, Hart / McAullay popped round the windward mark in great shape with a comfortable lead, accompanied by some new faces, Ireland’s Ben Mulligan and Cormac Bradley (Dun Laoghaire MYC) and Britain’s Richard Hope and Mike Stenson (Draycote Water SC).
On the first gusty run, some of the top British crews did not take long to chase down the lead pack but Hart / McAullay had already established a nice lead which they continued upwind on the second leg. This time the vast majority of the fleet chose the offshore option. Despite a late effort by Andy Mckee and Richard Jones (Dovestone SC) closing down on the second run, Hart / McAullay were able to close out the race for their first championship bullet. Mckee / Jones were 2nd and Britons Nathan Batchelor / Ricky Rigg (Tynemouth SC) 3rd. Richard Lovering / Matt Alvardo (Hayling Is SC) worked through the fleet to take a handy 4th and Hamish Mackay / Andrew Lawson (Royal Thames YC) 5th.
The aptly named ‘As Good as it Gets’ sailed by Ben Mulligan and Cormac Bradley of Ireland scored a great result with an 8th and fellow Irishmen Hammy Baker and Peter Chamberlain (Strangford Lough YC) finished a worthy 10th.
There was however drama on the finish line as regatta leaders Graham Vials and Chris Turner (Derwent Reservoir SC) were involved in a collision which holed their boat. Although their finish position was recorded as 23rd, the former world champions were forced to come ashore to make urgent repairs. At the resulting protest hearing, they were awarded redress for the two races missed ashore.
The conditions were unchanged for R9, the second of the day but PRO Jack Roy set a slightly longer course of windward/leeward, triangle, windward/leeward. There was a more even spread upwind and this time it was back to the top British boats to dispute the lead. Jeremy Davy / Martine Huett (Draycote Water SC) led lap 1 from Andy Mckee / Richard Jones (Dovestone SC) and Richard Lovering / Matt Alvarado (HISC). Ireland’s Andy and Rory Martin (Strangford Lough YC) and club mates Hammy Baker and Peter Chamberlain were top Irish boats to shine.
The top three British teams fought down the run and back up the second beat. Lovering / Alvarado chose their moment to attack on the blazing reaches of the triangle. By the leeward mark they had established a lead of 3 - 4 boat lengths over Mckee / Jones. Lovering then extended but Australia’s Mike Hart / Dean McAullay made a late challenge for a podium spot.
Hyde Sails representatives Lovering / Alvarado closed out the win, their first of the championship. Mckee / Jones added another 2nd to their series. The battle for third went down to the wire, narrowly claimed by Hart / McAullay. Jeremy Davy / Martin Huett 4th and Greg Wells / Andrew Jameson (Hayling Is SC) 5th. Top Irish boat in this one was Andy and Rory Martin in 13th.
The final race of the day (R10) was started around 1445 hrs local time in the same conditions using the w/l course with two laps. A clean start and an even split inshore and offshore. A crowded first rounding saw another new leader (briefly), in Chris Villa and Mark Holmes from Lake Macquarie YC in Australia and South Africa's Campbell Alexander and Dave Herridge in the mix.
David McKee and Mal Hartland (Dovestone SC) quickly pounced down the run to lead at the gate from Jeremy Davy / Martin Huett (Draycote Water SC) and Hamish Mackay / Andrew Lawson. On the second upwind leg, Davy / Huett tacked inshore splitting tacks with McKee and Hartland. Davy came out on top at the final windward mark by 30 seconds from Richard Lovering / Matt Alvarado and Mackay / Lawson. The British pair from Draycote Water SC held on to score their first winning gun of the championship. Lovering / Alvarado crossed 2nd and McKee / Hartland 3rd. Andy McKee / Richard Jones finished 4th to close in on the overall lead. Ending the day with a 1/3/5 was Mike Hart / Dean McAullay of Australia to break up the lead British boats overall.
British pair Justin Waples and Jackie McKellar (RCYC/WSC) sailed a great day 9/12/11 and lie 16th overall just ahead of the Irish pack. Best performance on the day by the local boats was Hammy Baker and Peter Chamberlain (SLYC) with 10/14/31 which places them in 19th overall.
Now that 10 races have been sailed sailors are allowed two discards. Having been awarded redress for the two races they were unable to compete in, Graham Vials and Chris Turner (GBR) now lead the regatta on 19.6 points net but have discarded a 19 and 23 so cannot afford any mishaps on the final two days of racing. Andy Mckee / Richard Jones has 29 points, Lovering / Alvarado move up to 3rd overall on 31 points, Batchelor / Rigg and Hart / McAullay share 39 points each for 4th and 5th.
Thursday is the penultimate day of racing with racing due to commence at 1300 hrs local time.
Dean McAullay sums up his day 1/3/5:
“We started at the top end of the line and the bulk of the fleet went down the bottom end so we able to have a very clean start and just sail fast and got into high numbers. We sailed across the bunch on the left which we did easily and lead them back to the top mark so we had a comfortable lead but you cannot rest, they were catching us by the last run, they had halved the distance.
We are just making gains, we have not sailed together before so by the end of the week we are happy to be in the top 5 with two days to go.”
Andy Mckee on his 2/2/4:
“We thought we were going quick both upwind and downwind, good height and good speed, a big decision in the first race we gybed out early at the windward mark and that gave us a good lane to overtake a few boats down the run and then we could just consolidate for the rest of the race.
The second race we had a pretty decent start and felt there was a pretty big line sag. On the second lap it would have been nice if we had checked the course board and not set off down the run instead of the reach when we were in the lead!
The last race we were just trying to grind it out, we were running out of energy at the end of the day so we were just trying to keep the speed on”.
Richard Lovering with 4/1/2 finishes:
“It's about being patient out there today, we were looking pretty deep off a couple of starts, some good boats were out to the right so we just had to be patient and wait for the wind to go left. We kind of got lucky a bit.
We seemed to have good boat speed today we were lucky with a few of our lanes when we thought a couple of boats might tack on us but they didn’t but there is a lot of luck involved when you are positioned in the teens.”
Results are here