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Blustery Close to the DBSC Season for the Flying Fifteens

3rd October 2022
David Gorman and Michael Huang/Chris Doorly were the Flying Fifteen DBSC Saturdays (All Season) winners
David Gorman and Michael Huang/Chris Doorly were the Flying Fifteen DBSC Saturdays (All Season) winners Credit: Afloat

One of the smaller Flying Fifteen fleets of the year, ten boats, turned out for the last DBSC Saturday of 2022.

A number of crews were away sailing Fireballs in Killaloe, and some others are away on holidays, and it is possible that a weather forecast that was suggesting gusts of up to 25 knots from the West might have put others off.

The late morning/early afternoon on the platform at the National Yacht Club was bathed in sunshine and the protection from the West make have created a false impression of what was going on outside the harbour.

The subsequent sight of a J70 pinned to leeward with a flogging spinnaker and an SB20 also struggling under spinnaker as they exited the harbour were two tell-tale signs that there was plenty of wind out on the Bay.

Race Officer Barry O’Neill positioned Freebird in the western corner of the Bay and the sail out to the racecourse was a modestly wet one as the wind fought the incoming tide. There were also some fierce gusts as a rain cloud passed west to south on the fringes of the water. Our wind reading gave us a 265° course to the weather mark and we made a decision to start at the committee boat end with the intention of sailing towards the left-hand side of the course. It seems our plan was not to the satisfaction of the Race Officer who called us back as an OCS. Everyone else had made a clean start and at the outer end of the line we could see Tom Galvin & Keith Poole (4093), Tom Murphy & Conor O’Leary (4057), Peter & Alex Sherry (4056), Peter Murphy & Ciara Mulvey (3774) and Niall Meagher & Nicki Matthews (3938). Ken Dumpleton and Joe Hickey (3955) were on our transom and as our sail number was called over the radio, Ken politely confirmed our status as OCS.

Rounding the committee boat to restart we headed inshore as per the original plan and soon found that boat speed was allowing us to catch some of the lighter crews on the water. However, Galvin, Murphy (T) and Dumpleton were proving to be bigger nuts to crack…….understandably. In the final approach to the weather mark, Murphy & O’Leary were slightly outside the port lay line while Galvin and Dumpleton were on the inside of the port lay line, having come across the course on starboard with Dumpleton seemingly in the controlling position. The order of rounding was Murphy (T), Galvin, Dumpleton and Mulligan. After the spreader mark spinnakers were set on the starboard tack but Mulligan & Bradley chose to gybe away from the other three and in so doing got stronger (!) breeze and much better surfing conditions. The others ultimately followed suit but the early gybe by Mulligan allowed him to close distance on the other three initially and a second gybe in close company with Galvin & Poole, followed by a slightly early spinnaker drop, with a third gybe, allowed Mulligan to stay inside Galvin at the mark and secure the weather berth for the second beat. Dumpleton & Hickey were still in the frame at this stage but to leeward of Galvin & Poole and a boat-length or two behind. Murphy & O’Leary has spinnaker complications that saw them drop out of the lead bunch. Galvin tacked off early to head inshore and Mulligan and Dumpleton kept loose company with each other for another 100m or so. Wind conditions were on the rise at this stage but despite the aggressive conditions Mulligan & Bradley still tried to sail by the numbers. Abandoning Dumpleton they tacked off inshore and worked the middle of the course. There were some severe “rig-rattling” gusts coming through at this stage!

At the second weather mark, Mulligan had taken over the lead with a 50-60m gap between him and Galvin. Gybing early to facilitate the fact that the spinnaker was stowed in the starboard bag, Mulligan sailed down the run on port tack till late on when a second gybe was required to round the leeward mark. Galvin followed suit as did Dumpleton. By way of attrition and having the benefit of more weight on board, Joe Coughlan & Andrew Marshall (3913) had worked their way up to fourth place.

With a short two-sail leg from the leeward mark to the finish line, the finishing sequence saw Mulligan & Bradley win, followed by Galvin & Poole and Dumpleton & Hickey, with Coughlan & Marshall 4th and Tom Murphy & Conor O’Leary 5th. Breakages also claimed a number of retirements (3) but I should acknowledge the two lady crews who finished the race in very physical conditions – Mary Jane Mulligan, sailing with Mick Quinn (6th) and Alex Sherry, sailing with dad, Peter, (7th).
Given the conditions, the second race was abandoned. And ashore we heard that it wasn’t just wind strength that had prompted that decision. I'm not sure anyone was complaining!

Ben Mulligan and Cormac Bradley were the winners of the final DBSC Saturday Flying Fifteen Race Ben Mulligan and Cormac Bradley were the winners of the final DBSC Saturday Flying Fifteen Race Photo: Afloat

DBSC – Saturday 1st October, Flying Fifteens
1. Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley, 4081
2. Tom Galvin & Keith Poole, 4093
3. Ken Dumpleton & Joe Hickey, 3955
4. Joe Coughlan & Andrew Marshall, 3913
5. Tom Murphy & Conor O’Leary, 4057.

DBSC – Saturday Series B (as designated by DBSC)
1. David Gorman & Michael Huang/Chris Doorly – 28pts
2. Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley – 42pts
3. Alistair Court & Conor O’Leary – 53pts
4. Ian Mathews/Tom Galvin & Keith Poole – 55pts
5. John Lavery & Alan Green – 57pts.

DBSC Saturdays (All Season)
1. David Gorman & Michael Huang/Chris Doorly – 49pts
2. Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley – 72pts
3. David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne – 111pts
4. Neil Colin & Margaret Casey – 122pts
5. Ian Mathews/Tom Galvin & Keith Poole – 127pts.

On behalf of the Flying Fifteen fleet, may I thank the DBSC Race Management Teams for their time and effort on the water to bring us what has been a very full season. The first Saturday of DBSC 2022 was blown out back in April and I can recall one Thursday when we didn’t get the boats wet because there was so little wind that racing was abandoned before we even went afloat. We have had everything in between and the class has enjoyed the courses set by Barry O’Neill (Saturdays) and John Mc Neilly (Thursdays) with some guest appearances by Neil Murphy (Howth).

Flying Fifteen Frostbites

The Class will now embark on a four Saturday race-day Frostbite Series starting next Saturday (8th October), with the intention of sailing two races a day (I think) with the freshwater regatta in Lough Derg the following weekend (15/16th).

Flying Fifteen agm

The Class AGM takes place this evening (3rd October) on Zoom, starting at 7pm –
Meeting ID: 883 033 1260
Passcode: spinnaker

Published in Flying Fifteen, DBSC
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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