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Another Wind Versus Tide Challenge for the DBSC Flying Fifteens

10th May 2024
A turnout of fourteen boats for DBSC Thursday race is indicative of the strength of the Flying Fifteen Class across the Dun Laoghaire waterfront
A turnout of fourteen boats for DBSC Thursday race is indicative of the strength of the Flying Fifteen Class across the Dun Laoghaire waterfront Credit: Afloat

With five Dun Laoghaire-based Flying Fifteens away in France at the European Championships, a turnout of fourteen boats for last night’s DBSC Thursday race is indicative of the strength of the Class across the waterfront and even at that there were a few boats who aren’t in France who were not out last night. As it was the fleet was made up of a good proportion of the Royal St George based fleet, with the balance coming from the National Yacht Club.

Low water was at 18:50 but in the starting area, the flood was already underway. The forecast was for light SSE winds of the order of 4-8 knots. On the way out to the start area there was a sense that there was a bit more breeze, but the forecast was for it to go further southwards but stay light.

Our assessment was that the committee boat end was favoured and a number of others seemed to share that view, most notably Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (4028) and Ken Dumpleton & Joe Hickey (3955). We were a bit further away from the committee boat than planned and found ourselves pinned on starboard by a number of boats, the closest of which was Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (3697). To leeward we had Alistair Court & Conor O’Leary (3753). A few minutes after the start gun there was a group of five boats heading offshore, with the balance pursuing a variety of inshore courses.

The tack onto port and an inshore passage saw us engage with what would turn out to be the lead bunch, Messrs Dumpleton, Colin and Phil Lawton (3803). Going inshore had paid, though I am not quite sure where Lawton had started on the line. McKenna who had tacked earlier than us to head inshore was also in close company and some of those who had headed offshore joined the peloton.

While Bulloch (R) was the first mark of the course, the reality is that Island (Q) was the further weather mark on course GW4, so in effect, Bulloch wasn’t a “turning mark”. By the time the leaders had passed Bulloch, the pecking order was Dumpleton, Colin, Lawton and Galvin & Bradley (3757), with Peter Murphy & Ciara Mulvey (3774), Court and McKenna following on. Dumpleton went furthest out to sea on the run down to Pier (V) while the other three gybed shortly after rounding Island to pursue a more inshore course. Colin got away from the other three and was followed around the mark by Dumpleton. Lawton was third but Galvin was followed around Pier by a 1720, who effectively blanketed him allowing both Murphy and Court to get an upper hand on him. Of these six boats, five went inshore, the exception being Dumpleton who went “big” offshore. At this stage Colin looked to be in control, staying between the mark and chasers. Galvin’s interaction with the 1720 seemed to be overcome when towards the latter stages of the leg to Island (directly from Pier) he was able to close on both Murphy and Court. However, at Island for the second time Colin led from Lawton with Court, Murphy and Dumpleton ahead of Galvin.

On the second run to Pier, Colin appeared to be “waltzing away” on a similar course to the run he had previously sailed. Lawton, however, went much deeper into Scotsman’s Bay and, as the breeze started to fade, he caught right up to Colin and got ahead of him in the rounding of Pier. The next three boats closed to a certain extent, for the same reason, with the flooding tide becoming more dominant in the fading breeze.

The ”hitch” upwind to the finish was challenging. Lawton won by going left. Colin initially looked good by going right but the transition to get across to the finish line was slow and with Court also going left, Colin was in jeopardy of losing another place on the water. However, he just managed to get across with Court finishing a very close third. Dumpleton was next to finish but had Murphy and Galvin for close company. Murphy is recorded as finishing next by the smallest of margins (even though a well-placed official had a different verbal take on the finishing order when he came ashore).

As the wind faded the dominance of the tide grew even more and the later boats had a real challenge to get to the finish with places lost in the dying moments of the race. Some were very aggrieved that a downwind finish wasn’t available!

Race Officer, John McNeilly, has now had three challenging Thursdays in a row, 1st Thursday was also a wind versus tide saga, 2nd Thursday was cancelled due to no wind and last night was a virtual repeat, with the same course as 1st Thursday. He will be looking forward to healthier winds!

DBSC Thursday Nights; Flying Fifteens; 9th May 2024

1. Phil Lawton & Crew; 3803.
2. Neil Colin & Margaret Casey; 4028
3. Alastair Court & Conor O’Leary, 3753
4. Ken Dumpleton & Joe Hickey, 3955
5. Peter Murphy & Ciara Mulvey, 3774.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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%
  • FFAI Champs of Ireland - 6th - 8th Sept – Dunmore Rank +50%
  • 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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