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Bumper Fleet of 18 Flying Fifteens for Misty DBSC Thursday Race

2nd July 2021
Flying Fifteen racing on Dublin Bay
Flying Fifteen racing on Dublin Bay Credit: Afloat

Misty thriller on Dublin Bay!
"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun,
Conspiring with him how to load and bless, with fruit
The vines that round the thatched eaves run."
From: John Keats "Ode to Autumn"

One would not imagine that a reference to mist, and persistent mist at that, was not what Keats had in mind for a July evening. But this is what a bumper fleet of eighteen Flying Fifteens found on Dublin Bay last night.

While it was quite pleasant onshore, though not as nice as the evening before, in the area of last night's DBSC start, there was a distinctly cooler atmosphere on the water caused in the most part by a very substantial bank of mist that had been hovering offshore all day. The "Windy" app was projecting 7 knots of breeze from 129°, but there was more than that at the start, and the tide had already turned across the race area.

DBSC Race Officer Jack Roy and his team set a sterling course, with one of the longest beats we have had for a long time – Bulloch, Island, Harbour, Island, Harbour, Finish, with Harbour – Island a long upwind trek, but rewarded by a long spinnaker leg in the reverse direction.

The enthusiastic fleet necessitated the flying of a General Recall for the first start, but the RO reminded the fleet that the ebbing tide had to be compensated for and advised that the second start would be under a "U" flag. The post-race results show that 4 boats transgressed the "U" flag warning.

The fleet was evenly distributed along the line for the second start with a clutch of boats vying for the pin. Included in this group were McCarthy & Doorly (4085), Colin & Casey (4028), Mulligan & Bradley (4081) and possibly Mulvin & Beirne (4068). Closer to the committee boat, one might have found the Colmans, Mr & Mrs (4008) and Tom Murphy & Karel (4057). Some of the pin end group persisted in going to sea, but others bailed out early heading inshore. It was a case of balancing tide and wind strength. Mulligan went right, shore-wards, a little later than some of the others and found himself working the middle and right of the first beat to Bulloch. In close proximity were Colin & Casey, Green (4026) and Mulvin & Beirne.
As the fleet converged on Bulloch, it appears that those who has worked the right-hand side of the beat were well placed, and Mulligan too was where he would have wanted to be! At the mark, Mulligan led by a "short head", followed by Green, Colin & Casey and Mulvin & Beirne. The leg to Island was a two-sailer and Mulligan managed to eke out a short lead on Green who in turn was being pressed by Colin and Mulvin.

The run to Harbour brought out a consultation on the bearings as at this stage the fleet were on the fringes of the bank of mist and Harbour was a long way Westwards. On the run to the west, Colin & Casey worked the left-hand side of the course while Green were outside Mulligan & Bradley. Just behind these three was Mulvin & Beirne. At this stage, McCarthy & Doorly were further back in the peloton. Green & Mulligan were in close company, and their respective paths to Harbour crossed every now and again before Green decided to take the left-hand line being pioneered by Colin. Mulligan went a bit further right and put in a late gybe to round Harbour in the lead followed by Green and Colin. At this stage, there was no question of spotting Island and even the committee boat had disappeared behind the grey curtain.

Working on the shifts, Mulligan & Bradley gained the impression that they were pulling away from the chasing pack and using the angle of other boats in other fleets in their approach to Island found that they weren't too far off the ideal line for rounding Island.

Mulligan & Bradley felt they had a good lead at Island but as the run to Harbour progressed the fleet closed in on them – McCarthy & Doorly and Green were dead astern and to their port side respectively while Colin & Casey were again at odds with everyone by working the right-hand side of the run. As we passed Omega and Pier, the chasing boats got even closer.

At Harbour for the second time, Colin & Casey rounded first, followed by Mulligan & Bradley, Green and McCarthy & Doorly. Also, in close proximity were the Colmans (4008) and Mulvin & Beirne. Less than ten boat-lengths covered Mulligan, Green and McCarthy. At this stage, even the committee boat had disappeared from sight. Colin went inshore, as did Green.

McCarthy went offshore and Mulligan also took this approach but a little bit later than McCarthy. He also took a hitch inshore earlier than McCarthy and found himself rewarded by putting distance between himself and Green and closing on Colin.

In the final approach to the finish, McCarthy had gained the upper hand as he came in from the left-hand side, though both Coin and Mulligan were close to him. Colin held on for second with the sequence thereafter, Mulligan, Mulvin, Colman and Green.

In the eighteen-boat fleet, there were two DNFs and 4 UFDs. It was a very good course set by the race team and a most enjoyable evening's racing as a consequence. Thanks Jack!

Results here 

Published in Flying Fifteen, DBSC
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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