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Flying Fifteen East Coast Championships: The Runners & Riders

17th September 2020
The first Flying Fifteen Championship of the year on Dublin Bay will be sailed this weekend from the National Yacht Club The first Flying Fifteen Championship of the year on Dublin Bay will be sailed this weekend from the National Yacht Club Photo: Afloat

There is always a danger with putting together an article of this sort! People who are omitted from the assessment could be offended! Assumptions that people will be in attendance may be unfounded! So, in the best interests of putting together an assessment that enhances the reputation of a very competitive class and therefore promotes the class, I apologise in advance to those who might feel they have been left out of this runners and riders of this weekend's Flying Fifteen East Coast Championships at the National Yacht Club.

One person (singular) who can't be offended by being left out is Ian Mathews, who has returned to his place of work and will not be sailing………but that is not to suggest that "The Gruffalo", 3864 will not be on the water with Keith Poole.

"The Gruffalo", 3864 will on the water with Keith Poole but Ian Mathews is away"The Gruffalo", 3864 will on the water with Keith Poole but Ian Mathews (left) is away

From a Dun Laoghaire perspective, there is always the sense that because we have a large fleet of Fifteens "in-situ" we should be better prepared for fleet racing when the regattas come around. Our "out of town cousins" are quite happy to undo that sense of preparedness by upsetting our applecart on our home waters of Dublin Bay. However, with new boats in the fleet and one new combination on the water this weekend, maybe the DL fleet is the best place to start.

Over the past two weekends we have had the Captain's Prize (12th Sept)) and the NYC's 150th Anniversary Race Day (5th Sept) which both had good turnouts. So, these would be a good starting point!

For the Captain's Prize, the clear winners were Shane McCarthy & Chris Doorly (Frequent Flyer, 3970) with two race wins, the first by a comfortable margin and the second with a small element of Sir Alex Ferguson's "squeaky-bum" time when the chasing boats got close to them at the second weather mark. Saturday's weather looks similar to what we enjoyed last weekend, so I am going to state that I expect this combination to be knocking at the podium's door. Not too far behind them in the queue to gain access to the podium are John Lavery and Alan Green (Phoenix, 4083). They were 3rd overall in the Captain's Prize and won the NYC 150th Race Day after the fourth iteration of the results was declared as the final result! Add in the fact that they won the 4-race Nationals in Dunmore East and their collective pedigrees in Fifteens and they must be in the frame. However, they have not had everything their own way in the Dublin Bay "skirmishes". Still, class will always out! Another consistent contender over the past two Saturdays in conditions that heretofore they would not consider to be their favourite is the combination of Neil Colin and Margaret Casey (Ffuzzy, 4028). They were second overall on both Saturdays, so can't be discounted in the DL pecking order. Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley will enjoy the more robust winds and over the past two weekends found themselves occupying larger proportions of their race time and the sharp end of the fleet in the new boat, Enfant de Marie, 4081. The new boat is so well set up (by Phil Evans) that they have quickly got into their stride and were in good company these past two Saturdays. Another combination who have been sailing well and seem to have found consistent boat speed is David Mulvin and Ronan Beirne (Ignus Caput Duo, 4068). Their results in DBSC Thursdays have seen them finish third overall.

Alistair Court & Conor O'Leary (Ffinisterre, 3753)Alistair Court & Conor O'Leary (Ffinisterre, 3753)

Other boats who may be just a little bit off the podium places include Alistair Court & Conor O'Leary (Ffinisterre, 3753) and Tom Murphy with Karl (Fflagella, 4057). On their day, either of these two could upset the "perceived" pecking order. Sunday looks a bit lighter which means the likes of Niall Meagher & Nicki Mathews (The Ffantastic Mr Fox, 3938) have a distinct advantage over some of the heavier crews. And it would never do to discount Niall Colman (Flyer, 4008) or Ken Dumpleton (Rodriques, 3955).

Ken Dumpleton and John McNeily (Rodriques, 3955)Ken Dumpleton (left) and John McNeilly (Rodriques, 3955)

From outside the "pale" there are serious contenders from both Northern Ireland and the SE corner of Ireland.

Stephen Kane (left) and Peter KennedyStephen Kane (left) and Peter Kennedy

Taking the "northerners" first, a number of names come to mind – Rory & Andy Martin (Feckin Hallion, 3974), Peter Kennedy (3920), Bryan Willis & John McPeake (Simply Gold, 4074), Roger Chamberlain (Final Resort, 3962) and Andy McCleary & Colin Dougan (4013).

Andy McCleary & Colin Dougan (4013)Andy McCleary & Colin Dougan (4013)

Roger ChamberlainRoger Chamberlain (Final Resort, 3962)

Peter Kennedy bought 3920 after a hugely successful 2019 in the hands of Dave Gorman & Chris Doorly, when among other Class successes, they won the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Boat of the Regatta. Kennedy's Olympic reputation (Seoul 1988 and Barcelona 1992) makes him a podium candidate every time he takes to the water and add to that a third at the Dunmore East Nationals. The Martin Brothers are perpetually at the front end of the fleet and were the first Irish boat overall at the Worlds in DL in September. Andy & Bryan will also make a point of mixing it with the front end of the fleet so they can't be discounted.

From the SE, we have to look at Lee Statham and Andy Paul (Trigger's Brush, 3896) who finished second at the Nationals in home waters.

Rory & Andy Martin (Feckin Hallion, 3974)Rory & Andy Martin (Feckin Hallion, 3974)

So, the most dangerous paragraph is the penultimate one – a declaration of the likely favourites. With apologies to those who don't get into this paragraph, I am going with a top-five (not in order) of; McCarthy & Doorly, Lavery & Green, Kennedy, Martin Brothers, Statham & Paul. Others who will get in the mix in individual races are; Colin, Mulligan, Mulvin, Chamberlain, McCleary and Murphy.

What must be borne in mind this is based on DL racing, a reduced Nationals fleet and the fact that this is only the second regatta of the season.

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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