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Displaying items by tag: Portaferry Sailing Club

Strangford Lough didn’t disappoint the Irish Flying Fifteen fleet at the weekend with the usual mixture of sunshine, wind, no wind, tides in both directions, thunder, lightning and hail stones as big as marbles and a bit of sailing thrown into the mix!

The Flying Fifteen Northern Championships was hosted by Portaferry Sailing Club at the weekend and was won by former World Champion and guest UK helm Charles Apthorp with Alan Green (NYC) crewing. Ian Mathews & Keith Poole were second with Dave Gorman & Chris Doorly (NYC) a close third.

On Saturday the wind settled to be reasonably steady from the sw and there were three races. In race 1 Gorman was out of the blocks quickly and led all the way, Mathews was second with .McCleery third and Apthorp fifth after having to do penalty turns. The wind was holding and the right was generally favoured, Apthorp won Race 2 with Mathews second again after gybsetting on the run to get inside Gorman who finished third with Brien Willis fourth. Shortly after Race 3 got going, Gorman got stuck on the second row as most sailed on, surprisingly no one was over the line. Gorman cut out to the right to get clear wind and work the shifts and came in second behind Apthorp at the weather mark. It was a triangle course and Apthorp went too high looking for the mark allowing Gorman to take the lead. It was short lived as Apthorp passed him at the gybe mark, a bit of rustiness in the crewing! It is strange that triangles are been taken out of club racing and then when we go to regional events we end up doing something we don’t practice, we live and learn!. On to the next beat, Gorman was flying and took the lead again but again it was not to last downwind. Apthorp won by a couple of boat lengths from Gorman with McKee and Darren Martin third and Mathews fourth. Over night it was Gorman just ahead of Apthorp with Mathews a close third- all to play for on Sunday with two races and a discard to come into the equation.

Sunday started off with little or no wind, ir was difficult for the PRO and each time he set a course and started the sequence it shifted and the AP went up. Eventually he started with the zephre of wind from Killleagh in the west. It was adrift up the beat, at one stage Ben Mulligan was flying over the glass like pond, soon spinakers went up and yet the ‘race’ went on, Apthorp, Mathews, Willis and Gorman all arrived at the weather . . or was it the leeward mark together but then it changed into a run as the wind filled in, Andy & Rory Martin who are back in the fleet were flying out on the right. The course was strangly shortened while there was wind, you could have thrown a blanket over the first six boats but it was Apthorp who continued his good form to win, Willis was second, Mathews third, the Martin boys fourth and Gorman suffered in sixth place.

The forecasted wind from the south slowly made its way up from the south and Race 5 got going after the course was reset. Gorman, the holder, still had a chance if he won the race but it was not to be as he had a poor start and got stuck in a pile up at the committee boat end, unfortunate as Apthorp also had a poor start. On the first beat right seemed to pay with McKee leading from Shane McCarthy and the Martin brothers and Ian Smith. The second beat the left paid, Apthorp was making inroads and moved to third, that was the way it was to stay and this was enough for Apthorp & Green to deservedly win the event which is the oldest Flying Fifteen trophy in the land. As the fleet headed back towards Portaferry the heavens opened with thunder and hailstones pounding on to the frozen crews, it was a sight and sound to behold!

As this year is the 30th anniversary of the foundation of the Flying Fifteen Association of Ireland its first President and Flying Fifteen stalwart Jim Rodgers presented the prizes to the Gold fleet while Colin Coffey also a member of the original committee presented the prizes to the Silver and Bronze Fleet winners.

Special thanks to the PRO and his team who did a great job in really difficult conditions, to Shane, Peter, Jo and all the local sailors and volenteer’s who made the event happen. It’s always a pleasure to go to Portaferry which is one of the friendliest clubs in the country. Those who didn’t travel missed out on a great weekend.

Published in Flying Fifteen

#flyingfifteen – Strangford locals Andy McCleery and Colin Dougan won the 2014 Flying Fifteen Irish title at Portaferry Sailing club today by a single point but it was not until the final race of the six race series did the Killyleagh duo clinch the keelboat cup. Overall results are downloadable below as a jpeg file.

Dublin Bay's David Gorman and Chris Doorly made the best of Strangford's fickle north–westerlies on Saturday with some consistent sailing to be overnight leaders after four races.

Local skippers Peter Lawson and Brian McKee also proved consistent in races that featured forty degree windshifts or more and were in Sunday's shake–up for the top spot in one of Ireland's leading one design classes.

As it turned out, McCleery and Dougan took two final race wins on Sunday, enough it turned out to take the title North from Dun Laoghaire holders Ian Mathews and Keith Poole who finished 19th.

Going into Race 6, it was to be winner takes all between Dun Laoghaire pairing Dave Gorman & Chris Doorly (NYC) and local Killyleagh boys Andrew McCleery & Colin Dougan (KYC). After a long weekend of sailing in a variety of conditions tensions were high in the prestart, after a bit of cat and mouse the gun went with both boats close to the pin end but McCleery was to weather- general recal! All to do again now with a black flag up. The wind had shifted slightly to the right and Gorman had a good start at the committee boat end, this also gave him the option of taking off in the shifts, McCleery was down the line below him. McCleery came across to the right and did a few tacks up the middle but was covered by Gorman. Other boats went out to the left and to the right but it was the middle that actually paid with local Portaferry man Seamus Byers leading at the weather mark with Gorman second, Logan third and McCleery fourth. Gorman got held up at the gybe mark and eventually got over Byers to move into the lead as McCleery moved into second place on the reach, it was now the top two fighting it out at the front!

On the next beat both went to the right out of the strong tide, tack for tack Gorman covered and stayed ahead going down the run. Into the last beat, still the cover was on but it was close as Gorman was only a few boat lengths to weather but it was enough for now. Within 100 meters of the weather mark both tacked out to the apparently stronger wind, the wind pressure was very up and down on this beat, there were local gusts and patchy light areas. Suddenly there was a big knock and McCleery tacked to be above Gorman, opportunity taken! Rounding the weather mark it was McCleerys red and white spinnaker first with Gorman just a boat length behind, around the gybe mark Gorman was to weather, there was still a chance if he could get inside at the leeward mark but alas it wasn't to be, McCleery crossed the line to take the gun and the trophy in dramatic circumstances. It was their first time winning this trophy after many years getting very close and they were deserving winners. Previous winners Gorman & Doorly live to fight another day.

Further back the Lawsons were having a similar dual with McKee and it was the Lawsons who came third in race 6 and third in the regatta. David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne (NYC) also had a great event and won the Silver fleet.

Race 1 was sailed on Friday with 29 boats at the start line, a windward leeward course was a strange affair, with the winds from the NW, the tide was going in and out at the same time depending where you were! Shortly after the start the winds died, those on the right with the tide with them seemed to be cleaning up, what to do? Some cut their loses and tried to get over but to no avail and were spat out the back door, others on the left just stayed and hoped something would come. To make matters worse it was very difficult to actually see the weather mark. The breeze came along the shore after a long wait, Gorman was in a good position with the Meagher but local boys Logan and Lawson got closest to the shore and got the wind and to the weather mark first. It stayed Logan first, Lawson second, Gorman third, McCleery fourth and the Meaghers fifth.

Race 2 on Saturday also had winds from the NW. Gorman got a good start and tacked out to the strong tide, taking some good shifts he built up a good lead from McCleery and Lawson. This is how it stayed till the last beat, dark menacing clouds were looming and the sea was getting rough. Most boats were out on the right but McKee and Lavery went left towards the Killyleagh shore. Gorman arrived at the weather mark after increasing his lead over McCleery, to strong winds and heavy rain. On the reach the visibility was poor and the mark couldn't be seen, the spinnaker was up and it was a full plane down, finding the gybe mark it was a reach to the finish to take the gun. McKee was second with Lavery third and McCleery fourth. It was a long way back to the others as the localised stormed had passed through and they drifted slowly to the finish line.

Race 3 was close, Gorman and McCleery were at the weather mark but McCleery jybed just before the wing mark to get inside and lead, there was no hurry for Gorman as there were still two laps to go. At the leeward mark the winds were light and to the surprise of all the course was shortened so it finished with McCleery first, Gorman a close second, the Meaghers a fantastic third and brother and sister act Peter and Jo Lawson fourth.

Race 4 the winds had settled or so we thought. After a great start Shane McCarthy got his nose in front and stayed there, up the first beat McCleery was second but Gorman had gone left and suffered coming into the weather mark in about tenth position. Down the run not a lot change but on the next beat many boats went left, strange as it didn't pay on the first beat. Shane covered them all but Lawson and Gorman went right and after a while the wind shifted to lift them up to the mark ahead of all those on the left! Shane won, followed by McKee. Lawson, Gorman and the Meaghers.
So overnight it was Gorman leading from McCleery and Lawson on equal points with the Meaghers and McKee tied in fourth place. A great meal was put on by the club that night and tales of an interesting day on the Lough were exchanged into the early hours.

What would Sunday bring, nothing in Strangford Lough is straight forward and anything could happen. The forecast was for little or no wind and that was the case for the morning but it was to fill in from the SE later. After arriving at the race area assisted only by the tide the wind did come in and the PRO soon got Race 5 going with a windward/ leeward course. McCleery hit the left side and got into a quick lead followed by Shane McCarthy and then Gorman. The wind was steady but there were small shifts, on lap two Gorman went out left and into the tide, quickly they went back but McKee and Willis had slipped through. This was how it stayed. McCleery and Gorman were both on 10 points going into the last race.

There is always a great welcome at Portaferry Sailing Club, many thanks to the members and volenteers for making a success of the event. Also thanks to the PRO and his team on managing the event in difficult conditions and getting a full programme of races in. Congratulation to Andrew and Colin on winning.

Published in Flying Fifteen

#flyingfifteen – The Flying Fifteen Championships of Ireland take place in Portaferry Sailing Club on Strangford Lough tomorrow. Up to 30 boats are expected with boats travelling from four sailing centres across Ireland; Antrim, Carlingford, Dun Laoghaire and Dunmore East.

Reigning National champions Ian Mathews & Keith Poole of Dun Laoghaire will be one of the favourites. Local knowledge is expected to play a deciding role. Class President Roger Chamberlain from the lough is in great form and won the recent Northern Championships. Brian McKee and the David McClery and Colin Dougan combination are as consistent as ever as are Peter Lawson and Shane Carty from the local Portaferry Sailing Club.

Also from Dun Laoghaire previous winners David Gorman and Chris Doorly, National YC (NYC) and John Lavery and David O'Brien (NYC) will also be competing. 

The Northern Ireland venue featured last week in WM Nixon's Sailing blog: Strangford Lough Sailing Secrets Revealed.

Published in Flying Fifteen
17th July 2009

Portaferry Sailing Club

History – 1968 to 2009

The Club now based in its clubhouse at 38-40 Shore Road, Portaferry started as Cooke Street Sailing Club in 1968, named after a previous sailing club in the town which ceased operating in 1956. The Club initially provided racing for Wychcraft, a locally designed racing dinghy, and supplied a social base for local sailors and their supporters as well as visiting boat crews from all over the world.

It ran its first Regatta in 1969 and as the years progressed the Club added various classes of boat to its fleet before settling with Flying 15’s as its main and most popular class. In 1970 the Club felt it needed to be more representative of the town as a whole and changed its name to Portaferry Sailing Club

Over the next period of years it developed a junior sailing fleet using optimists and toppers. It also introduced and has developed cruisers racing. This fleet along with the Flying 15’s continues to expand and compete regularly in the Club’s weekly points racing and in local and international sailing events and championships throughout the season.

The Club itself has been responsible over the years for running national and international sailing events and is recognised as an excellent centre for competitive racing in Strangford Lough. Events like the ‘Galway Hooker Regatta’ for traditional boats, run annually at the end of June, have brought worldwide fame and recognition to the Club.

Portaferry Sailing Club was a premier mover and one of the founding organisations in the establishment of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in Portaferry in 1979. To this day many of our members are on the crew, guild and management committee of the local station. The Club still loyally supports and assists with fundraising.

In 1991 the Club made history when it twinned with Poolbeg Yacht Club in Dublin. This was the first ever twinning of Sailing Clubs and more importantly it was cross border. Close relationships have continued with our friends at Ringsend ever since with many social and sailing visits between the clubs each year.

The Club’s social activities/events have always tried to support and complement events on the water and without the associated financial support the Club could not operate as effectively as it does. In this respect our clubhouse is quite unique and famous for its welcome to visitors to the area. The addition of a restaurant to the bar facilities over ten years ago has made the Club one of the best equipped clubs to cater for its members and visitors in Strangford Lough and indeed Northern Ireland.

Since its establishment the Club has always supported and taken part in the development of sailing in Ireland. It has also helped the local community develop and has added to the social and economic wellbeing of the town and its people.


By road follow the A20 from Newtownards, there are local bus connections from Belfast and the nearest airport is Belfast City.
From the sea Portaferry is 4 miles from the Strangford Fairway buoy, position 54 22 72'N, on the east shore of the narrows position 05 32 85'W, 100 meters south of the ferry slip.
Chart 2156 gives details on Strangford Lough, chart 2159 gives details on the Strangford narrows. High Water Portaferry is + 02 00 hrs Dover / + 01 50 Belfast.
There is a strong tidal flow in the narrows 7.5 Knots Spring.

Club House

Our clubhouse provides changing and showering areas. We have a full range of bar facilities, food is also available from our restaurant. For more information please click on this restaurant link.
To contact the club write to: 38 Shore Road, Portaferry, Co. Down BT22 1JZ, N. Ireland, tel: 028 4272 8770, email: [email protected]

Portaferry Marina

The Marina is managed by Portaferry Development Committee and is situated right outside our clubhouse. It has berths for up to 30 boats, on site water and electricity.

To contact the Marina Office write to: John Murray, Marina Manager, Barholm, 11 The Strand, Portaferry BT22 1PF, tel: 028 4272 9598, mobile: 077 0320 9780, fax: 028 4272 9784.

Additional launching and berth facilities are available at Cook Street Jetty.

(Details courtesy of Portaferry Sailing Club) 

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Published in Clubs

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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