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Flying Fifteens Enjoy a Longer Course on Dublin Bay

8th May 2023
Flying Fifteen sailing on Dublin Bay

With six Dun Laoghaire-based Flying Fifteen crews contesting the Western Championships in Connemara and one other absentee, a turnout of ten boats for the second Saturday of DBSC 2023 wasn’t too bad a head count and those who made the effort to get out enjoyed a hut-based start and a single long race with a course that spanned Bullock in the East and Seapoint in the West of Dublin Bay.

Some new combinations were on the water with Alastair Court crewing for Peter Sherry and Cormac Bradley crewing for David Gorman but there were regulars in attendance as well; Ken Dumpleton & Joe Hickey, Niall & Laura Coleman, Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keefe and Mick Quinn & Mary Jane Mulligan.

The wind strength was around 10knots with maybe a little more in the gusts, and the Race Officer picked a course from the “H suite of courses”, suggesting a wind direction of SSE, which was in keeping with the forecast I studied beforehand.
Our assessment was to start at the outer end of the line to benefit from the “just-turned” tide and avoid any wind shadow from the harbour wall. A number of others shared that view with the Colemans, Dumpleton & Hickey, and McKenna & O’Keeffe in a group at the outer end of the line. We didn’t see a signal that anyone had been declared OCS, but it turned out there were a number of transgressors in this regard.

The Colemans went furthest on the initial starboard tack off the start line and were followed in this respect by Gorman and Dumpleton. Gorman soon felt that he was not where he wanted to be and took a short port hitch to clear his wind before reverting to his starboard tack course. About 3 – 400m off the start line he was crossed by Coleman on his inward journey to the shore. However, Gorman persevered with his seaward route and by keeping a weather eye on the SB20s and the Dragons (2), soon made his decision to commit to the port layline for the rounding of Battery. At this stage, while the Colemans were much further inshore, they were also quite a bit down on Gorman, meaning that Dumpleton, who had stayed out to sea that bit longer, was Gorman’s closest chaser. Gorman rounded Battery with a 50m lead on Dumpleton, and these two kept close company all the way to Pier, where a J80 was soon made aware that trying to get around Pier in the close company of two competitive Flying Fifteens wasn’t in his best interests.

With Dumpleton astern and slightly to leeward, Gorman applied a loose cover to make sure nothing untoward happened on the second beat to Bullock. At Bullock, the rewards for that tactic were a slightly enhanced lead over the chasing boat. Behind them the Colemans, Adrian Cooper & Tom, the ladies and Sherry & Court were a moderately comfortable distance astern of Dumpleton.

On the next spinnaker leg to Pier, Gorman pulled out a short distance on Dumpleton which meant that it was a case of watching his chaser rather than actively applying the cover to be doubly sure he wasn’t catching. By Omega, however, the scene had changed for Dumpleton. Now he had two boats to watch, the Colemans and Cooper, one either side of him. The attention of Dumpleton to his more immediate situation meant that Gorman was able to get away a bit more on the long spinnaker leg to Seapoint – which must be one of the longest legs of the suite of DBSC courses on offer. At this stage, all the fleets that had started at the hut were converging on Seapoint so the general location of this mark was easy to distinguish.

The three Fifteens behind Gorman kept close together, with the Colemans sailing the inshore track and Cooper outside Dumpleton. Dumpleton may have lost second place at the preliminary stages of this leg, but at Seapoint, he and Coleman rounded with probably less than a boat length between them. By going in low, Dumpleton came out high and into the weather slot relative to Coleman. That allowed him to dictate how the last leg would be sailed. Cooper dropped out of the running by not being able to maintain the height of the other two.

From Seapoint to Turning mark it was an easy beat until a tack was required inside Turning mark for the short hitch to the finish. Silence greeted the Colemans and Peter Sherry/Alastair Court on crossing the finish line.

DBSC: Saturday 6th May.
1. David Gorman & Cormac Bradley, 4099
2. Ken Dumpleton & Joe Hickey, 3995
3. Adrian Cooper & Tom, 3896
4. Jill Fleming & crew, 3747
5. John O’Sullivan & Pat Keirsey, 3762.

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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