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Shortened Programme for DBSC Flying Fifteens on Saturday

30th May 2022
Flying Fifteen racing on Dublin Bay (file photo)
Flying Fifteen racing on Dublin Bay (file photo) Credit: Afloat

Given that the Heineken Cup, as it was then, has made an appearance in at least one of the Dun Laoghaire clubs at a major regatta in times past (a Volvo Regatta), it was hardly surprising that Saturday’s DBSC’s schedule of races was adjusted to accommodate those who wanted to watch the Leinster – La Rochelle game first-hand rather than rely on a delayed recording. For the 14 Flying Fifteens and others on the Green Course that meant we had a single race with a start area literally just outside the harbour mouth. Of course, this location was also impacted by the fact that the Dragons (12 boats) were having an East Coast Championship NE of the harbour and the ILCAs were having a Masters’ Championships to the West and all the other DBSC fleets were out. Even the DBSC dinghies sailed inside the harbour!

Green Course Race Officer Barry O’Neil set a long Windward -Leeward course, with weather mark offset, with 4 laps signalled but the prospect of a shortened course in his radio briefing to the fleet. In the better-than-expected easterly breeze which moved around a bit and under an ebbing tide, there was some excitement when Alan Balfe, crewed by his son, (3995) decided to upset what had, until then, been an orderly approach to the start. There was nothing improper about his manoeuvring other than the fact that it wasn’t what we were expecting. Post-race David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne (4068) were of the view that it didn’t help their cause whereas it opened an opportunity for Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley (4081) that Mulvin had endeavoured to cut off.

The gap created by these “shenanigans” allowed Mulligan and Bradley a clean break to go right initially, before working the left-hand side of the beat on port tack. Further to leeward of them on port tack were David Gorman & Michael Huang (4099), the aforementioned Mulvin & Beirne, Tom Murphy & Carel (4057) and Alistair Court & Conor O’Leary (3753).

With what appeared to be better breeze on the left-hand side of the course, Mulligan was able to go into the lead at the first rounding of the weather mark. Behind him were Gorman, Mulvin and Murphy, in close company. These four stayed on the right-hand side of the run and then put in late gybes to get round the leeward mark, by which time Mulligan had pulled out by a couple more boat-lengths.

On the second beat, Mulligan followed the recipe from the first, working the middle and left of the beat. The others had twigged to what he was cooking and while the gap didn’t close significantly initially, Gorman, Mulvin, Murphy and latterly, Jill Fleming & Margaret Casey (4028), made sure Mulligan & Bradley didn’t get too comfortable and by the end of the beat Gorman and Mulvin were just that bit closer for Mulligan’s comfort. For all three, the starboard tack run lasted longer before late gybes were again put in to get around the leeward mark.

A slight wind shift came into play as the fleet rounded the leeward mark and Gorman took best advantage to gain the weather slot relative to Mulligan. Mulvin peeled off immediately at the mark to go left but Mulligan and Gorman worked the right-hand side on port tack with Gorman pulling through Mulligan’s weather to go into the lead. As they got further up the course, they went right working the shifts, but Gorman didn’t relent and extended his lead into the weather mark for the third time. Mulvin, too had closed on the lead pair.

With spinnakers set, Gorman had 10 – 15 boat lengths on his chasers, while only a couple of boat lengths separated Mulvin and Mulligan with Mulvin to starboard of Mulligan and also to weather. For Mulligan the challenge was not to let Mulvin past as well. As they approached the leeward mark with a RIB flying an “F” flag and making sound signals – “Go straight to the Finish” - a potential fly in Mulligan’s ointment appeared – a Squib who didn’t quite grasp the significance of the F flag and sound signals. It left Mulligan having to go around the Squib, while Mulvin had the better choice of going to windward. Naturally, he seized the chance with both hands and closed on Mulligan – to within half a boat length. However, Mulvin’s attempts to pass to weather were thwarted each time and at the finish, there may have only been a boat length between the two red-spinnakered boats, in Mulligan’s favour.

DBSC; Saturday 28th May 2022. Flying Fifteens (14 boats)

  1. David Gorman & Michael Huang 4099 
  2. Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley 4081 
  3. David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne 4068 3. Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley 18pts
  4. Tom Murphy & Carel 4057 4. David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne 20pts
  5. Jill Fleming & Margaret Casey 4028 5. Niall Coleman & crews 33pts.

Saturday Series Overall: 7 Races sailed/5 to count

  1. David Gorman & Michael Huang 8pts
  2. Neil Colin/Jill Fleming & Margaret Casey 15pts
  3. Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley 18pts
  4. David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne 20pts
  5. Niall Coleman & crews 33pts.
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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2024 Irish Flying Fifteen Worlds Qualification Events Calendar

  • FFAI Westerns 25th + 26th May - Sruthan, Connemara
  • British Nationals 19th - 22nd June - SLYC, Co Down. Rank +50%
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  • FFAI East Coast - 21st - 22nd Sept - Dublin.
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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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