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Big Turnout for the Flying Fifteens’ DBSC Facet Trophy

1st August 2022
Facet Trophy winners - from left to right: John Lavery, winning helm, Pat Shannon (Facet Jewellers), Frank Burgess (MC), Alan Green, winning crew
Facet Trophy winners - from left to right: John Lavery, winning helm, Pat Shannon (Facet Jewellers), Frank Burgess (MC), Alan Green, winning crew.

Sixteen Flying Fifteens made the start of the first race of the two-race programme for the Facet Trophy – an August Bank Holiday weekend fixture for the Dublin Bay class, now in its tenth year.

At 10:00, the signs for a good day’s racing were scarce. Dublin Bay was very calm and the tricolour at the end of the East Pier was wrapped around itself there was so little wind. An hour later the first signs of breeze manifested themselves as the flag began to flutter with a breeze from a westerly direction. My forecast App had suggested we would be sailing in S – Westerlies of about 6 – 8 knots. Others had better forecasts, going as high as 13 knots.

The sail out to the race area, deep in the west of the Bay, suggested the higher wind forecast would be more accurate. Indeed, the sail out was a bit squally.

Race Officer, Barry O’Neill, had his hands full! From an early stage in his pre-race preparation, it was obvious from his conversation with the weather rib that the breeze was moving around between 235 and 270°. Eventually, he settled for a compromise bearing of 250° and a 1500m beat – with prizes at stake we were going to work today!

“Out of the West, be at your best” may be an appropriate philosophy for sailing in the top left-hand corner of Dublin Bay. I recall an international Laser (as it was then) regatta sailing in this area, the boats that went inshore came out roses. We now also have the incinerator to give us a gauge of wind direction and strength and of course clouds gathering over the hills behind Dun Laoghaire with rain in them are a good indicator of what might be coming the sailor’s way. Too many gauges of wind to balance? And then there is the ebbing tide, flowing out of the Bay all Saturday afternoon.

The author and his helm (4081) tried a port-tack, pin end start but bailed out at the last moment, not convinced they could get through the quickly closing gap unscathed. In many ways that cooked their goose for the balance of the race as they took multiple sterns crossing the start line on starboard before getting a gap to sail in a coarse approximation to the direction of the weather mark. The majority of the fleet headed inshore. The podium places on the water were filled at an early stage of this race, but not everything went smoothly for those in these lofted positions. David Gorman & Tom Galvin (4099) may have rounded first but down the run they had a major spinnaker problem that was not resolved for a long period. It may be that on this leg John Lavery & Alan Green (4083) overtook Gorman & Galvin, but from my vantage point I couldn’t be certain. The alternative theory and one that David might endorse is that John rounded first, followed by David because David advised on shore afterwards that his spinnaker troubles didn’t cost him that much on the water. In the last podium place we saw Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (4028), who needed to keep an eye on Peter Murphy & Ciara Mulvey (3774) and Adrian Cooper & Joe McNamara (3896). Adrian is enjoying enhanced competitiveness since he upgraded from 3198 to 3896 at the start of this season.

The places at the front end of the fleet did not change significantly over the balance of the race and the competitive arena on the water shifted to the chasing pack with the likes of Cooper, Murphy P, Alistair Court & Conor O’Leary (3753) Niall & Laura Coleman (4008), Tom Murphy (4057) and Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley (4081) fighting it out to fill positions 4 – 10.

Race 1: John Lavery, David Gorman, Neil Colin, Peter Murphy and Adrian Cooper.

While the location of the weather mark may have been tweaked for the fluctuating wind, the length of the course was left unchanged, as evidenced by the fact that the second race was of the same duration as the first, two laps of a windward-leeward course. A conspicuous absentee from the first race, Mike Wazowski, sailed by Ian Mathews & Keith Poole (4093), would dominate this race from start to finish, winning by a comfortable margin. Behind them we find the ever-consistent Lavery & Green and Gorman & Galvin. For the first upwind leg of the course, these three had a distance on the rest of the fleet, but the chasing pack closed down the off-wind leg. Included in this group was Ken Dumpleton & Joe Hickey (4026), Colin & Casey, Niall Meagher & Nicki Matthews (3938), Mulligan & Bradley and Court & O’Leary. These five spread themselves the width of the downwind leg and converged in a tight pack on the first leeward mark.

Up the second beat, Dumpleton & Hickey sailed a “Cracker” to get into the mix with the top three. Indeed, Gorman’s transom didn’t seem quite so far away going up the 2nd beat and even the author was encouraged by where we appeared to be on the water. While Mathews and Lavery were secure in first and second respectively, Gorman must have been a little concerned rounding the weather mark for the second time that his podium spot might be in jeopardy. Down the second off-wind leg his comfort levels would have risen as he put some more distance between himself and the chasing pack. The next five boats continued their quest for the minor placings in reasonably close quarters with each needing to be careful of the other four. They finished in a short sequence.

Race 2: Ian Mathews, John Lavery, David Gorman, Ken Dumpleton, Neil Colin.

Frank Burgess as MC opened the prizegiving in the National Yacht Club after racing by thanking all the competitors for turning out for the day’s regatta. As he stated, given that we are still in holiday mode and it is a Bank Holiday weekend, a turnout of 16 boats was an exceptional gesture of support to the sponsor Facet Jewellers. Further, it is a significant birthday for the regatta as this is the tenth anniversary of the first Facet Trophy Regatta. He thanked the sponsor’s representative, Pat Shannon, who had taken time out from his own post-race relaxation to award the prizes. Pat in turn thanked the competitors, Frank Burgess, the National Yacht Club and DBSC for facilitating today’s racing and prizegiving.

In a very generous gesture, prizes were awarded to the first, second and third places in each of the bronze, silver and gold fleets.

In reverse order;

Bronze Fleet
3. John O’Sullivan and Pat Keirsey 3762 31pts
2. Mick Quinn and Mary Jane Mulligan 3960 28pts
1. Adrian Cooper & Joe McNamara 3896 17pts

Silver Fleet
3. Jill Fleming & Frank Burgess 23pts
2. Tom Murphy & Kathy 22pts
1. Alistair Court & Conor O’Leary 14pts

Gold Fleet
3. Neil Colin & Margaret Casey 8pts
2. David Gorman & Tom Galvin 5pts
1. John Lavery & Alan Green 3pts

As the winning helm, John Lavery thanked the sponsors for their generosity and support, the competitors for taking part and his crew, Alan Green for keeping them on the straight and narrow on the water.

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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