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Runners & Riders for the Flying Fifteen Championship of Ireland

24th August 2021
Ian Mathews and Keith Poole will contest the Irish Flying Fifteen National title in the world's newest Flying Fifteen worldwide (4093)
Ian Mathews and Keith Poole will contest the Irish Flying Fifteen National title in the world's newest Flying Fifteen worldwide (4093) Credit: Afloat

As we are days away from the Flying Fifteen Championship of Ireland, to be hosted by Strangford Lough Yacht Club in Whiterock, from Friday 27th to Sunday 29th August, it seems entirely appropriate to publish an assessment of who might be in the running for a podium place at the regatta.

The difficulty is that with only one open event sailed this year, the Northern Championships, in Portaferry, Strangford a few weeks ago, at which there were only two southern travellers, there is no real form book by which to make the assessment.

I also know of one combination who may not be in attendance due to a very important social occasion, a wedding!

The Dun Laoghaire fleet may hold the view that as the largest fleet in the country, the form teams should be drawn from the waters of Dublin Bay, but in recent years that hasn't been the best yardstick for results away from home.

So, if I concentrate on the Dun Laoghaire fleet, who are the form horses at present. One way to embark on this assessment is to tabulate the results of the Thursday and Saturday Series and see who is "top of the pile" in Dublin Bay.

Flying fifteen league table

On this basis, it could be argued, that the form teams are Ken Dumpleton, Ben Mulligan, Dave Mulvin, Neil Colin, Peter Murphy and Shane McCarthy. But of course, there are those who will argue that the above assessment is as much based on attendance as it is on form. For example, Shane McCarthy missed last Saturday's races as he was contesting the GP14 Nationals and Ben Mulligan missed two Saturday races as he was at the Northerns. And of course, this table doesn't take into account the form of John Lavery and Alan Green (4085) the defending National Champions from a four-race regatta in Dunmore East last year. Lavery & Green are never too far away from the front of the fleet, so they simply can't be discounted!!

Word on the street is that Greystones' Shane McCarthy is bringing in the heavy guns for the event – an Irish crew based in the UK who has been sailing the Scorpion Nationals this past week and finishing 5th overall in a 40+ fleet.

And with the newest Flying Fifteen worldwide (4093), recently delivered to Dun Laoghaire, who would put it past Ian Mathews and Keith Poole to open their racing account with a podium place in their brand-new boat.

Stephen Kane (left) and Peter Kennedy - on home waters in Strangford LoughStephen Kane (left) and Peter Kennedy - on home waters in Strangford Lough

Up north, in Portaferry, the pace was set by Stewart Harrison and the Portaferry Shane McCarthy with the former taking the title in a last race decider. But others who showed flashes of form included Andy McCleery, Bryan Willis and Roger Chamberlain. And in the northern fleet, they have an Olympian in Peter Kennedy. With the event on their doorstep, one has to ask the question "Will the Martin brothers come out of temporary FF inactivity to race?"

Charlie Boland & Rob McConnell from Waterford HarbourCharlie Boland & Rob McConnell from Waterford Harbour

On the south coast, we have Charlie Boland & Rob McConnell who also contested the Northerns in Portaferry and they regaled us on how Lee Statham and Andy Paul thought they had the 2019 Championship wrapped up, unaware that a fourth race was going to be sailed.

We all know that Covid has decimated the sailing calendar, so trying to predict podium places without any events to go by is very difficult.

So, with due respect for the fact that I can't predict who will be travelling (though I know some who won't be) and the consequent assumptions that go with an article of this nature, my predictions are;
Top Ten (in no particular order): 2 x Shane McCarthys, John Lavery, Stewart Harrison, Lee Statham, Bryan Willis, Roger Chamberlain, Peter Kennedy, David Mulvin, Ben Mulligan. Of course, if some of the people I believe won't be there, turn up, I reserve the right to change my mind…

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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