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DBSC Flying Fifteens Find Difficult Winds for Upwind Racing on Dublin Bay

13th August 2021
Some of DBSC's Racing-Marks on Dublin Bay
The Race Officer set the course for the DBSC Flying fifteen race as MW4, an upwind leg to Pier (P), followed by a three-sailer to Poldy(S), inshore to Battery(S), back to Poldy(S) and what turned out to be a two-sail fetch to Molly(P), before a hitch into the committee boat finish

Twenty-four hours ago, the forecast for Dublin Bay was showing strong winds for the morning and early part of the afternoon but that the wind would start dropping off as late afternoon and evening set in. Still, by 18:45, the suggestion was that there would still be 10 – 12 knots with some heavier gusts. And certainly, immediately outside Dun Laoghaire's harbour mouth, that synopsis looked correct. However, as we sailed downwind further into Scotsman's Bay, the sense was that the wind had got softer again. However, in contrast to the previous three Thursdays, the breeze was healthy. An ebbing tide meant that a slightly less conservative start could be contemplated, the wind was blowing from the SW, which meant that the first upwind leg was "contra-tide".

The DBSC Flying Fifteen Race Officer set the course for the night as MW4, an upwind leg to Pier (P), followed by a three-sailer to Poldy(S), inshore to Battery(S), back to Poldy(S) and what turned out to be a two-sail fetch to Molly(P), before a hitch into the committee boat finish. (See above course card).

The decision with respect to the leg to Pier was to stay inshore with possibly less tide and maybe a slightly better wind direction or go right where there appeared to be more breeze. Frank Miller & Susie Mulligan (3845) pioneered the hard right and by Pier that had been proven not to be the way to go. In a similar position were Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley (4081), who had started going left off the start line but found themselves being squeezed by Alistair Court & Conor O'Leary (3753) and tacked off. It seems Court & O'Leary were, in turn, being squeezed by Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (4028). The nett result was that at Pier anyone who had shown any form of bias towards the inshore route was "in the clover".

For what should appear to be an obvious reason, I am not able to recall exactly what the rounding order at Pier was, so let me just say that the following boats were in the leading pack – identified as much by spinnaker colours as anything! Alan Green and daughter (4026), Ken Dumpleton (3955), Alan Balfe (3995), David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne (4068), Colin & Casey, Court & O'Leary, Louise McKenna & Hermine O'Keeffe (3697)……….you get the idea! The spinnaker leg to Poldy was quite tame because although there was a bit of a swell, the wind was already showing signs of dropping off.

From Poldy to Battery, the majority of the fleet went right before heading inshore at the latter stages of the leg. Going inshore initially proved to be very frustrating and became a bit of a tease, the wind seeming to suggest that as a straggler, it might let you back in only to serve you with another header just as you thought you had thrown a double six with the dice. At Battery, Green, Dumpleton and Colin were well placed. Mulvin and Balfe were a bit further back. Most boats sailed the rhumb line to Poldy while at least one sailed a more westerly line and put in a gybe to get down to Poldy for the second time – that didn't work either. The leg to Molly was a two-sailer and consequently there appeared to be little change in the pecking order that this correspondent could see other than us losing 13th place on the water to Joe Coughlan (3913).

There was to be no redemption on the hitch to the finish either!

Thursday Series; Race 8: 1. Alan Green & daughter (4026), 2. Ken Dumpleton & crew (3955), 3. Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (4028), 4. David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne (4068), 5. Alistair Court & Conor O'Leary (3753), 6. Adrian Cooper & crew (3198), 7. Peter Sherry & Mick Quinn (3749), 8. Alan Balfe & crew (3995), 9. McKenna & O'Keefe (3697), 10. Miller & Mulligan (3697).
In terms of the Thursday Series, Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (20) have opened a two-point gap on Ken Dumpleton & Joe Hickey. Shane McCarthy & Chris Doorly are in third on 31pts with Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley 4th on 35 points, one ahead of David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne.

Footnote (1): This correspondent readily acknowledges the time and effort that all Race Officers and Race Management Teams expend in preparation and execution so that we can all go racing. Accordingly, if there was any suggestion in my report of last Thursday's race, that the race was not properly managed, I apologise. The intention of my reporting of the race is to provide a commentary that is interesting to read; it is not intended to be a critique of how the race was managed, or indeed set up. If there is ever a need to do that, the report would be worded accordingly.

Footnote (2): The Flying Fifteen Championship of Ireland is being hosted at Whiterock in Strangford Lough in two weeks' time. Given the modest turnout of travellers for the Northern Championships in Portaferry a few weeks ago, they are anxious to have a more appropriate turnout. They have set up a WhatsApp group for pre-regatta communications. Please join the group so that you can be kept informed on what is happening. It also provides a connection to the entry form. A "runners and riders" preview of the Championship will be prepared shortly.

Published in Flying Fifteen
Cormac Bradley

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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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