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National Yacht Club's Lavery & Green Successfully Defend Irish Flying Fifteen Title on Strangford Lough

30th August 2021
Peter Chamberlain (Regatta Organiser) with the winning helm, John Lavery (centre) and winning crew, Alan Green (right).
Peter Chamberlain (Regatta Organiser) with the winning helm, John Lavery (centre) and winning crew, Alan Green (right) Credit: FFAI

With top-five results in all seven races sailed – and three race wins to boot – John Lavery and Alan Green successfully defended their Irish Flying Fifteen title in a light air contest at the weekend.

The pair, sailing Phoenix from the National Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire, retained their 2020 title by a huge margin of some 16 points overall in the 22-boat fleet at Strangford Lough.

There was a three-way point tie for second place overall, with Greystones duo Shane McCarthy and Andy Thompson finishing as runners up. Locals Peter Chamberlain and Hammy Baker were third. 

Sunday 29th August produced grey skies and a wind that had undergone an almost 180°degree shift to come from a northerly quarter. Contestants were encouraged to launch as promptly as possible due to a falling tide and the Race Officer's declared intention to start racing promptly with the prospect of three races for the day.

The fleet obliged and after some deliberation as to where the weather mark should go due to the wind shifting left and right the fleet got underway under another "Black Flag" starting procedure.
Regatta leaders John Lavery & Alan Green (4085) stamped their authority on the fleet again by taking the race win, followed home by Shane McCarthy & Andy Thompson (40485) and Niall Meagher & Nikki Matthews (3938) who continued from where they had left off the previous day, counting a second in race four. Lavery & Green led this one from the start and were never really challenged.

Race 6 saw another win for Bryan Willis & John McPeake (4074) giving them a second bullet which one would have thought would help them up the overall ladder. However, the previous 2 x 9th and an 11th put a brake of sorts on their upward trajectory. They did win this race with a margin on the rest of the fleet. Second and third went to Hammy Baker & Peter Chamberlain (3756) and Lavery & Green, who benefitted yet again from finding an extra gear to get through the fleet after an average, by their standards start and first beat. Fourth went to Roger Chamberlain & Paddy Spratt (3962), while 5th went to Ian Matthews & Keith Poole (4093). Newcomers to the Irish fleet, Nigel Biggs and Simon Pritchard Jones (4092) were finding the going a bit tougher on the Sunday compared to their exploits on Days 1 and 2. They weren't the only ones!! McCarthy & Thompson "hung in" with a sixth place.

In what was the best breeze of the weekend in terms of strength, though we are talking very fine margins here, the fleet got a seventh race in, under another black flag regime.

Yet again, an average start and first beat saw Lavery & Green mixing it with the "mere mortals" only for them to benefit from some judicious calls by Green, according to Lavery, and grind their way to another first place. It is uncanny watching how they repeatedly got themselves out of difficult situations in terms of place in the fleet to elevate themselves to podium places. As John alluded to in his prize-giving thank you speech, Tuesday night practice sessions, in company, went a long way to winning this title. Behind them the finishing order was McCarthy, Trevor Darcy (3782), Biggs & Pritchard Jones and Meagher & Matthews.

In overall terms, Lavery & Green dominated the regatta with three race wins. However, there were some races where, by their own admission, they had to draw on accumulated experience and practice sessions to extract themselves from middle of the fleet positions to get into the smaller single figure places that lend themselves to winning major regattas. After discard, they won by a whopping 16pts, with their worst result a 5th place in Races 1 and 4.

McCarthy & Thompson led three boats home on a post-discard score of 29pts, the final order here being McCarthy, Hammy Baker & Peter Chamberlain (3756), Peter Kennedy & Stephen Kane (3920). Two boats were tied on 40pts after discard with Chamberlain & Spratt getting the nod over Biggs & Pritchard Jones. On 41pts we find Trevor Darcy & Crew, followed by two boats on 43pts, Willis & McPeake and Meagher & Matthews. The top ten was closed out by Ian Matthews & Keith Poole (4093) with 51pts.

Andy Thompson (2nd placed crew), Peter Chamberlain and Shane McCarthy, 2nd Helm.Andy Thompson (2nd placed crew), Peter Chamberlain and Shane McCarthy, 2nd Helm.

The Race Officer Team are to be commended on getting a seven-race series completed. As the three reports for this regatta testify to, winds were light, resulting in one race being abandoned, with only one race completed on the Saturday. Three races were sailed on each of the two "short-working days" Friday and Sunday. In addition to being light, the wind fluctuated continuously giving the mark-layers lots to do over the three days.

Peter Chamberlain (3rd placed crew), Roger Chamberlain (5th placed helm) and Andrew (Hammy) Baker (3rd placed helm).Peter Chamberlain (3rd placed crew), Roger Chamberlain (5th placed helm) and Andrew (Hammy) Baker (3rd placed helm).

SLYC's hospitality was to the fore again with teas and coffee and bacon butties available on all three mornings and despite the ongoing Covid regulations we were able to enjoy a sponsor hosted championship meal on the Saturday night in the clubhouse.

A special word of thanks to the regatta sponsor Ridgeway Engineering who were represented in the fleet by Stephen Kane, crewing for Peter Kennedy (3920). As was advised in the prize-giving, the sponsorship was provided in a very measured and generous fashion without a great deal of song and dance but in their prize-giving remarks both Peter Chamberlain, as Regatta Organiser, and John Lavery, as winning helm, thanked Stephen for his company's contribution to what was a very enjoyable and successful weekend.

Peter Kennedy (4th placed helm), Peter Chamberlain and Stephen Kane (4th placed crew).Peter Kennedy (4th placed helm), Peter Chamberlain and Stephen Kane (4th placed crew).

The Race Team and the host of volunteers, in the kitchen and bar, on the water and in the water, in terms of the launching and recovery teams, were thanked by Peter and John as well.

In his closing remarks, John paid tribute to his crew, the "evergreen" Alan Green who has won this Championship of Ireland, with five different helms. He acknowledged the judicious decisions by Alan on the water that allowed them to convert "difficult" first beats to low single digit scores. In a wider context he suggested that the Flying Fifteen can accommodate a wide spectrum of crew weights as was evidenced by the teams here this weekend and suggested that his crew would be a very good point of reference to anyone who needs to attune their boats in accordance with their crew size.

John also acknowledged the contestants who had travelled to the event from Dunmore East, Howth, Dun Laoghaire, Belfast/Larne and within Strangford Lough itself.

For the Irish Fifteen fleet. The next event is the Easterns which are scheduled for Dun Laoghaire on the weekend of 18th & 19th of September. Just enough time for a recalibration for those who need it!!

Results are downloadable below.

Downloads

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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