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Tight Racing for Flying Fifteens at National Yacht Club 150th Race Day

7th September 2020
Flying Fifteen racing on Dublin Bay Flying Fifteen racing on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat

For a Class that has been synonymous with the National Yacht Club, for a significant period of time, – there are seventeen Flying Fifteens parked on the deck – it was entirely appropriate that there should be a good turnout for the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Club. Thirteen boats from the host club were joined by two from the DMYC and one from the RStGYC for the three-race event on Saturday past.
XCWeather was forecasting 12- 15 knots with gusts in the 18/19 range and that was an accurate assessment of what was enjoyed on the water. Wind direction was slightly north of west and that wasn't too far of the mark either.

International Race Officer Con Murphy and his team were able to give his charges – SB20s, Sportsboats, Dragons, Fifteens, Ruffians and Shipmans a good-length beat with two laps for each race.

The consensus view as to go left off the first start line towards the shore and by halfway up the beat it was apparent that Ian Mathews and Keith Poole (3864, The Gruffalo) were going to be the boat to catch. By the rounding of the first weather mark they had a comfortable lead and could watch the peloton chasing them with some comfort. The peloton consisted of John Lavery & Alan Green (4803, Phoenix), Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (4028, Ffuzzy), Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley (4801, Enfant de Marie), and Alistair Court & Conor O'Leary (3753, Ffinnisterre). While Mathews & Poole were undisturbed after the first weather mark, Lavery, Colin and Mulligan found themselves in reasonably close company for the balance of the race, before finishing in the order, Lavery, Colin, Mulligan, Court, behind Mathews.

Mulligan & Bradley led the second race to the first weather mark and enjoyed the same position down the first downwind leg. However, Lavery & Green were lurking and towards the last third of the second beat, they took the lead and applied a loose cover on Mulligan to the second weather mark. Behind these two Colin & Casey were having an excellent day sitting in third place with Niall Meagher & Nicki Mathews (3938, The Ffantastic Mr Fox) appearing well up the pecking order. Tom Murphy & Karl (4057, Fflagella) were also part of the peloton chasing the lead pair. Mathews & Poole were conspicuous by their absence and they would eventually finish in 9th place. Ahead of them, the finishing order was Lavery, Mulligan, Colin, Meagher and Murphy.

For the final race of the day, Mathews & Poole got the "bit between their teeth" to quote my helm and repeated the performance of the first race, storming into a first-leg lead that they never relinquished. Colin & Casey were also well up the order in a podium place, enjoying the fresh conditions. Murphy too had an excellent star and first beat to establish a place at the head of the fleet. Lavery found himself having to chase the lead boats to get into the race and he and Mulligan joined the bunch chasing Mathews. Throughout the race, the two new boats were either crossing tacks or watching each other down the offwind legs and in the second run down to the leeward mark a poor gybe by Bradley saw Lavery park his bow very close to Mulligan's transom. This was enough to give Lavery an incentive to chase Mulligan into the finish-line upwind of the committee boat and with the boats overlapped on the finish line, Lavery got the nod to finish fourth, behind Mathews, Colin and Murphy.

With no formal prize-giving for the day, the DMYC boats, Colin and Mulligan headed westwards and tried to work out the overall results for the day – the debate being – Was a discard applicable or not? The first iteration of an overall result had an incorrect result for Lavery and a discard applying. That gave the regatta win to Mathews & Poole (1, 1) versus 1,4 for Lavery, 2,3 for Colin and 2,4 for Mulligan.

Then the correction was applied to Lavery's first race result giving him back his second place. With a discard applying Mathews was still in pole position, but Lavery jumped to second, with Colin down to third.

But if all races were to count, the result changed again with Lavery taking pole position (2, 1, 4), Colin second (3,3,2), Mathews third (1,9,1) and Mulligan fourth (4,2,5).

It appears the NoR may have specified the discard rule for "less than three races" and "more than three races", but not for the actual three races sailed.

But for the purposes of this report the results (of the races) are;

  1. John Lavery & Alan Green, NYC; 4083, Phoenix: 2, 1, 4
  2. Neil Colin & Margaret Casey, DMYC; 4028, Ffuzzy: 3, 3, 2
  3. Ian Mathews & Keith Poole, NYC; 3864, The Gruffalo: 1, 9, 1
  4. Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley, DMYC; 4081, Enfant de Marie: 4, 2, 5
  5. Tom Murphy & Karl, NYC: 4057, Fflagella: 9, 5, 3

IRO Con Murphy gave us an excellent day's racing and post the event many people noted how physical the day had been – but in a very pleasurable way!

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 Afloat.ie

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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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