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The excitement is building as six crews from the National Yacht Club head of to Lake Garda this weekend for the Flying Fifteen European Championships hosted by club Fraglia Vela Riva in Riva Del Garda. It promises to be quiet an adventure with five boats already on the way in a car transporter and the sixth, Ian Mathews & Keith Poole making their way overland.

This mode of transport is not new for this vibrant fleet as they have previously gone to Mallorca and La Rochelle in France to participate in big events.

A year out from the World Championships in Dublin Bay and following the British Nationals in Strangford Lough recently this is another opportunity to participate in a larger fleet. The bonus here being the warm weather and constant breeze that is particular to Lake Garda.

As Aloat.ie reported earlier, It's difficult to not look beyond current holders, World Champions and recently crowned British Champions Steve Goacher & Tim Harper (UK) for the favourite tag but others such as Ian Pinnell, Greg Wells along with Dublin Bay's Ian Mathews & Keith Poole and our own travellers hoping to make their mark too.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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A strong fleet from Ireland travels to the Flying Fifteen Open European Championship that takes place from Sunday 2nd to Friday 7th of September at one of Europe’s favourite sailing venues, Lake Garda. The Irish fleet, largely from Dublin Bay, will be using the Europeans as vital training for the 22nd World Championship which is due to take place in exactly one years time at the National Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire.

The Flying Fifteen Open European Championship takes place from Sunday 2nd to Friday 7th of September at one of Europe’s favourite sailing venues, Lake Garda. The crystal clear deep waters and regular ‘Peler’ and ‘Ora’ breezes make the venue one of the more glamorous locations to hold a regatta. The host venue, Riva del Garda is perched at the Northern end of the lake surrounded by mountains which makes the race course a true test for the best of crews.

Registration takes place on Sunday 2nd September, with racing commencing on Monday 3rd through to Friday 7th September. Twelve races are scheduled with no more than three races per day. The overall winner of the FFI European Championship will be awarded the Uffa Fox Memorial Trophy. (Uffa Fox designed the Flying Fifteen)

There are just under 40 entrants to the championship with the vast majority travelling from Great Britain. These include the current World and European Champions, Steve Goacher sailing with regular crew Tim Harper. This pair won the last World Championship held in Napier, New Zealand in February 2017 and previous to that, the last Europeans held at Medemblik in the Netherlands in September 2016.

There is a plethora of ex UK national champions and flying fifteen regulars amongst the fleet, some sailing with different crews. These include Greg Wells, (2nd at the last European Championship), who is sailing this time with crew Andrew Jameson and Charles Apthorp, who came 4th at the last World Championship in Napier.

The Brit pack also includes Flying Fifteen regulars, Simon Kneller sailing with Dave Lucas, David Tabb and Chewey Sherrell, Ian Cadwallader and Steve Graham, Chris Gorringe and Nadia Hosie and Adrian Tattersall and Richard Pepper, to name just a few.

There is also an entry from the globetrotters representing Hong Kong in the shape of Ashley Smith and Kym Thumpkin

Published in Flying Fifteen
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In unsettled conditions 17 Flying Fifteens took part in Saturdays Dublin Bay racing. The steady westerly winds in the morning faded completely as the boats went out but soon came in from the east and eventually clocking around to the south. Added to the challenge was a strong outgoing tide and the black flag had to be introduced in both races after general recalls.

After a poor start race 1 was won comfortably in the end by Gorman & Doorly as they headed right towards the clouds they got more breeze to lead all the way. It was a closer affair behind with places changing. Sherry was going really well but McCourt & O’Leary and the Meaghers were hot on his heels. At the last windward mark, the Meaghers moved into second place and were followed by McCourt in third and Ryan & Dolan moving up to an excellent fourth.

The wind was up and had moved to the south-east for race 2. Those on the right again looked good but as they approached the weather mark it all changed and those left led by Dumpleton & Galvin and including the Mulvins, Green and McCourt were clear ahead. Gorman was back in seventh but a quick gybe set saw him move quickly to third and eventually on the last beat overtook the Mulvins to second place. All along Dumpleton was sailing superbly well and stayed ahead to take a well-deserved win.

Many thanks to Barry O’Neill and his team for getting two races completed in tricky conditions. Results here.

Next week some of the fleet head off to Lake Garda for the European Championships - hopefully, it will be as pleasant as Dublin has been all summer!

Published in Flying Fifteen
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What has now become an established event in the DBSC Flying Fifteen calendar the Facet Jewellers Trophy presented and donated by Pat Shanahan of Facet Jewellers took place over the weekend with a 17– strong fleet and was won by David Gorman & Chris Doorly (NYC).

In warm conditions, a sea breeze kicked in to give great sailing conditions. It generally paid to go right out of the strong incoming tide. Race 1 was a close race with Mathews and Poole just pipping Gorman after a gybing duel downwind. The Meaghers, all three of them, were third with Gerry Ryan fourth.

Race two was won by Gorman and Doorly after going right paid on the first beat to give them a comfortable lead that they kept. McCourt was second to win the Silver fleet prize, Mathews third with Sherry fourth which was good enough to give him the Bronze prize.

Many thanks to the PRO and his team for two great courses and to Frank Burgess for organising the day.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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In a four day series dramatically reduced to one day of racing due to lack of wind, former world champion Steve Goacher and Tim Harper were crowned Flying Fifteen Champions of the British Isles at Strangford Lough with a minimum of three races sailed.

Second was former European Champion Greg Wells and Andrew Jameson with Ian Pinnell and Paul Busby third in the 50–boat fleet.

The top Irish boat at the County Down event was Dun Laoghaire's David Gorman and Chris Doorly of the National Yacht Club in fourth overall.

Chris Doorly David gormanChris Doorly (left) and David Gorman celebrate as top Irish boat at the FF British Nationals in Strangford Lough

Download results below.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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Flying Fifteen sailors are bearing the brunt of the high-pressure weather system over Ireland.

In what is being described as 'unprecedented' for a Flying Fifteen Championships of the British Isles, the third day of racing was lost on Strangford Lough, County Down today for the 50–boat fleet gathered there. 

The fleet went afloat today but winds did not materialise. Racing is scheduled again for tomorrow.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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Up to 100 sailors will take to the water this month, as Strangford Lough Yacht Club hosts boats from all over the UK and Ireland to compete in the Flying Fifteen Championships of the British Isles.

Beginning on 27th June, the four-day event will see helms and crews compete for the Flying Fifteen Association of Ireland’s Northern Championships. This hotly-contested event has attracted previous and current world champion helmsmen, including Charles Apthorp and Steve Goacher.

The championship marks the diamond jubilee of Flying Fifteen Sailing on Strangford Lough, which remains home to many previous winners of this prestigious trophy. Strangford’s flat waters and picturesque scenery make it ideal for water sports, especially sailing.

This year’s event is sponsored by Ireland’s largest bagged salad producer Willowbrook Foods, based in Killinchy on the shores of Strangford Lough. Willowbrook Foods Managing Director, John McCann MBE, is a former National Champion and New Zealand Champion sailor:

“As a County Down based business, we are delighted to be supporting this event and look forward to welcoming competitors, families and old friends back to sail and enjoy our beautiful landscape. As an ex Flying Fifteen sailor, I have enjoyed the boats for years and visited many foreign climes, enjoying the hospitality of other clubs. It is great to be able to ensure the viability of another great championship on our doorstep and support the sport I have enjoyed so well. It is a great honour to host the event here in Northern Ireland,” said John McCann MBE.

The racing can be viewed from several locations around the lough including Whiterock, Kirkubbin, Sketrick and Mahee. A high number of competitors, spectators, volunteers and visitors are expected in the area. In turn tourism revenue for local businesses and accommodation providers will be generated, as event organiser Roger Chamberlain explains:

“The Flying Fifteen is a two-man high-performance planning keelboat with a symmetrical spinnaker which is spectacular to watch. It was the chosen racing boat of Prince Phillip, and still attracts many of the top sailors in the country. These boats take a great deal of skill to sail competitively and with a growing fleet in Ireland and the UK, we can expect some great racing and some fantastic evening entertainment for friends and families alike. 

“We have over 50 entries to date from the UK and are expecting to match that from all corners of Ireland. Most will stay locally and enjoy our great hospitality and produce, which we will showcase in the evening events through partners such as Copeland Gin and Finnebrogue Artisan. 

“Events like this would not be possible without the support of our main sponsors Willowbrook Foods and Ards and North Down Borough Council, as well as the huge number of volunteers who have given up their time to help out.”

Published in Flying Fifteen
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On the way to Dun Laoghaire no one knew what to expect as there had been little or no wind all week. Dublin Bay is full of surprise’s and we were greeted with a nice S-SE breeze and dense fog! 

Visibility was safe enough to race and an impressive fleet of 21 Flying Fifteens were on a busy DBSC start line which was fairly square and fair. The fleet soon split in two, Mulligan, Murphy headed towards the shore while Green, Dumpleton, Cahill and newcomer to the fleet Frank Miller headed out before coming back across the incoming tide.

Green & Doorly got to the windward Bullock mark first with Murphy and Mulligan close behind. It was an impressive sight to see 21 boats reaching out to Poldy and down to Pier. It was a long beat back to Island but Green was playing the shifts and adapting to the fluctuating pressure and after rounding Island there was a nice tidal gate under Frequent Flyer that enabled them to increase their lead as the others battled against the tide.

Behind things were a lot closer, Mulligan was second and stayed there to the line, Colin & Casey nipped in ahead of Fleming & Burgess to take third with Tom Murphy fifth. After sailing the fleet gathered for their monthly get together over dinner at the NYC.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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Andy & Rory Martin (SLYC) sailed a near perfect series counting four firsts in windy conditions in winning the Flying Fifteen East Coast Championships at Ballyholme Yacht Club on the south shore of Belfast Lough. As this was the first in the qualifying series for next year there was a good turn out of 22 boats from around the country.

There were three races on Saturday, in their eagerness the fleet had a general recall in the first start. The Martins were quick out of the blocks but a number of boats all converged at the weather mark together. On the next lap places changed hands but eventually settled with Martin winning, McKee second and Gorman third.

In race two the Martins led all the way to take the gun, Chamberlain was second with McCleery third and Gorman a close fourth. The wind was still strong from the south for race three with the outgoing tide not really having a big impact. Crews were tiring at this stage but the thoughts of the club BBQ kept them going! A cluster of boats arrived at the weather mark but Gorman nipped inside and took the lead downwind, a lead he extended to the finish to take the gun, Willis & McPeak were second with McKee third. The Martins had gear failure during the race and had to retire.

"The Martins had gear failure during the race and had to retire"

After three races Gorman & Doorly led overnight from McKee and Chamberlain but when the discard kicked in then the Martins would be back in the mix.

A great BBQ was provided by the club and the evening finished with most of the travellers visiting and touring the old RUYC which was founded over 150 years ago.

For Sunday more breeze was forecast, still from the south. It was blowing hard at 23knots with gusts of 28 knots. The PRO put up the AP to delay and see if the winds would settle. It was an interesting scenario if sailing was abandoned Gorman would win, if we went out Martins were likely to win in the big breeze. But we were here to sail and the winds settled to a steady 20knots plus and out we went.

Race 4 was close as usual but the Martins continued their good form and led all the way, Harrison and Green were in contention on the first lap but on lap 2 Gorman was working hard and moved into second place chasing the Martins but that’s how it stayed to the finish line. Green & Bracken (NYC) who were having a great event were third followed very closely by Mathews.

Race 5, the final race! Gorman could still win if the Martins had a poor race and finished below fifth. But it wasn’t to be as the Martins showed their best form in the conditions to win the last race while Gorman had to retire with gear failure at the first windward mark. Gorman finished second overall with McCleery & Dougan third. The Silver Fleet was won by Stuart Harrison & Tim Sheard (LNYC) and the bronze by Alan Balfe & John Whelan (NYC).

It is the class’s first visit in a long time to the club that had a thriving Fifteen fleet in days gone by, it was a successful return with great racing provided by PRO David McMullen and great hospitality.
Also a special word of thanks to coordinator Jimmy McKee and the local diving club members who helped in the launching and retrieving of boats.

The next event is the Championship of Northern Ireland in June at Whiterock in Strangford Lough.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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Former Irish Flying Fifteen champions David Gorman and Chris Doorly lead a 20-boat East Coast Championships at Ballyholme Yacht Club today.

The National Yacht Club pairing is two points ahead of Strangford Lough's Roger Chamberlain and Charlie Horder.

Third after three one hour races over triangular courses is another Strangford pair Brian McKee and John Gibson. 

Results are downloadable below.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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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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