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Murphys Lead Brisk DBSC Flying Fifteen Race From Start to Finish

31st May 2024
DBSC Flying Fifteens had their first breezy Thursday DBSC race of 2024
DBSC Flying Fifteens had their first breezy Thursday DBSC race of 2024

On the first blustery night of the 2024 DBSC Thursday night series, there appeared to be some reticence about going on the water and that was to be expected in a week in which the dinghies didn’t get out on Tuesday and the Water Wags cancelled on Wednesday. Additionally, the forecast suggested that there would be brisk winds with XCWeather predicting 14 – 22 knots from a westerly direction.

On my arrival at the NYC, it seemed the Flying Fifteen Race Officer was already afloat assessing the situation, and nobody was quite sure what the decision would be, but eventually, a decision was made that we were going racing. While launching off the slip wasn’t so much of a problem, the sail out through the harbour was a challenge with wind coming from all directions and buffeting off walls and the mini cruise liner alongside the Carlisle Pier. Immediately on exiting the harbour we found our committee boat, Freebird, in a lumpy sea which characterised the first leg of the race. Given the direction of the wind, a Windward-Leeward Course was signalled, RW4 – Harbour – Bullock - Island – Molly – Pier – Harbour.

The majority of the reduced fleet chose to start at the committee boat end with a solitary pioneer of a port tack start at the pin end. It was a tactic that nearly paid off for the loner, but not quite because they were obliged to duck a few transoms as they went across to the right-hand side of the short beat to Harbour. Peter Murphy (3774), sailing with his son Tom, was first to show at the head of the fleet and this was a position that he didn’t relinquish throughout the race. The initial chasing pack was made up of Tom Galvin & Cormac Bradley (3757), Alan Green and daughter Caroline Hanniffy (4026), Phil Lawton & Neil (3803) with Alastair Court & Conor O’Leary (3753), Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (4028) and Keith Poole & Niall Meagher (4093) chasing the chasers.

The Murphys had a lead of about 50-60m at the first mark, but Green, Galvin and Lawton rounded in close company, Galvin hampered by having shipped a lot of water on the beat to Harbour. This not only slowed him on the water but stalled the spinnaker hoist allowing Lawton and Green to put some distance on him. These four headed inshore initially, but the wind direction soon dictated that gybes were required as all four sped towards Bullock. At this stage the wind started to abate a little! Court & O’Leary caught up with Galvin & Bradley and slightly further back, Poole & Meagher also closed.

With a shift of body positions in the boat, sitting further forward, Galvin closed the gap to Court again and as they rounded Bullock on a three-sail reach to Island they were bow to transom. Green didn’t fly spinnaker on this leg and didn’t seem to lose out as a consequence. Galvin sailing higher on the spinnaker reach than Court and broke through to windward allowing him to round Island with Court outside him and slightly to leeward.
Island to Molly was a good beat but with the wind dropping marginally, it wasn’t quite the slog from the start line to Harbour. Initially the leaders all went right, but in the conditions, it wasn’t so easy to spot where Molly was other than to keep an eye on the SB20s ahead of us. Galvin was the first to break rank, taking an inshore hike before coming back across to the right-hand side. Ahead of him, Green and Lawton were in closer company and ahead of them Murphy was comfortable.

Molly to Pier was a two-sail fetch that saw no real change in the running order. From Pier to Harbour and the finish Murphy had the comfort of watching Green and Lawton concentrate on each other rather than closing on him. Behind them, Galvin was getting closer but knew there wasn’t enough “runway” to catch them on the water. Poole, Court and Colin were also enjoying the need to keep an eye on each other, but Poole gave the other two a break when his boat was flattened, possibly in a tack. Colin took a more seaward route to the finish and closed considerably as a consequence.

In the final approach to the finish, a tacking duel evolved between Lawton and Green with the former endeavouring, successfully, to protect a second place on the water. Galvin finished fourth, with Colin pipping Court by a couple of feet to fifth. Poole was seventh with Alan Balfe, Adrian Cooper and Joe Coughlan and their respective crews closing out the finishing order of the ten-boat fleet.
After Connemara this past weekend, this was another muscle-stretching session, which, with hindsight, was very enjoyable.

DBSC Thursday nights: Flying Fifteens, 30th May.

1. Peter & Tom Murphy, 3774.
2. Philip Lawton & Neil, 3803.
3. Alan Green and Caroline Hanniffy, 4026.
4. Tom Galvin & Cormac Bradley, 3757.
5. Neil Colin & Margaret Casey, 4028.

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%
  • 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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