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There was little if any surprise when Graham Vials and Chris Turner came ashore at the National Yacht Club this afternoon that the Derwent Reservoir Sailing Club duo had claimed their fourth Flying Fifteen World title after a marathon long Dublin Bay Championship fortnight.

Vials and Turner sailing  GBR 4071, 'Floaty McFloatFace'  made short work of the 72-boat opposition in a dominant showing that gave them a final 18-point winning margin after a testing 12 races on Dublin Bay. In turn, their GBR teammates took the top 14 places overall with even the fourth-placed Australian entry skippered by British ace Mike Hart. 

Second overall was Fiery Chariot sailed by Andy McKee and Richard Jones of Dovestone Sailing Club. Third was Richard Lovering and Matt Alvarado of Hayling Island Sailing Club.

The best of the Irish was Strangford's Andy and Rory Martin in 17th followed by their clubmates Hammy Baker and Peter Chamberlain in 19th. The host club's David Gorman and Chris Doorly, the Irish champions, were 20th overall.

Full results here

Horizon Job on Dublin Bay

Vials and Turner of Derwent Reservoir SC sealed world title number four in a fitting way by doing a horizon job on the fleet on the final day of the Subaru Flying Fifteen World Championship at Dun Laoghaire. The breeze was so light they literally had to drift across the finish line in a shortened 2 lap windward/leeward course.

The 72 boat fleet headed out for one final race in hazy sunshine and a light breeze that was always predicted to drop by lunchtime. Despite a few nervous last-minute shifts racing got underway shortly after 1100 hrs in a very light 5 - 7 knot North Westerly.

The breeze ebbed and flowed in patches providing a real test of nerves for sailors trying to decide which side of the course to choose. As is now customary, Graham Vials and Chris Turner just coasted up the middle of the course playing the shifts to perfection.

They rounded the weather mark in fourth just behind some new faces amongst the leaders. David Heron and Chris Ducker (Royal Windermere YC) led the fleet from South African’s Campbell Alexander and Dave Herridge and Australia’s Chris Vila and Mark Holmes. The run was particularly slow and painful but Vials and Turner just floated off into the distance pulling away from the mixed crew of Justin Waples and Jackie McKellar who were proving that their 3rd yesterday was no fluke.

As the lead bunch crossed gybes trying to sniff out the breeze the world champions elect were rounding the gate for a shortened beat for the second and last time. Whilst the British crew sailed off into the hazy sunshine places 2 to 5 were still very much up for grabs. The second run was reduced to an absolute crawl in barely 2 - 3 knots of fickle breeze.

As Vials and Turner turned for home at the gate the majority of the fleet were crawling down the run with limp spinnakers. They had to tack several times to drift across the finish line to claim their 4th world title sailing as a team in their newly named boat ‘Floaty McFloat Face’.

At one point it looked like the extended time limit of 30 minutes might cancel out a vast majority of the fleet but in the scramble to get across the finish line Justin Waples / Jackie McKellar drifted across to finish second. Third place was decided on the line when John Hassen and Kevin Griffiths of South of Perth YC had to give way to fellow Australians Chris Vila and Mark Holmes on the line. Fifth boat to cross was another Australian crew Mike Hart and Dean McAullay (RFBYC).

A number of the overall regatta leaders trailed in quite deep, Andy Mckee and Richard Jones (Dovestone SC) finished in 18th to claim second place overall and Richard Lovering and Matt Alvarado (Hayling Is SC) 12th to settle for third overall.

Australia’s Mike Hart and Dean McAullay finished 4th overall splitting up the dominance of the British fleet. South Africans Campbell Alexander and Dave Herridge finished the last race in 9th to claim 15th overall, a good effort in this highly competitive fleet. Andy and Rory Martin became top Irish boat in 17th just ahead of the New Zealand crew, Hayden Percy and Scott Pedersen.

First of the Classic boat division is the oldest boat in the fleet GBR250 ‘Fighting Fit’ sailed by Nick Heath and Pip Chapman from Cam Sailing Club.

Quotes:

Graham Vials & Chris Turner - winners:

“We had our ups and downs during the week but we have come away with the win which is fantastic. This has been the hardest title to win, Andy and Richard and Richy and Matt have been so consistent and we used up our discard with two days to go, so it has been pretty hard. It is really hard to be consistent in a fleet as competitive as this. It is good for the fleet as a whole.”

Chris on the name of the boat:

“All of our previous boats names have been a little bit risky shall we say and the urban dictionary didn’t have much left in the ‘F’s) so my kids actually came up with the name ‘Floaty McFloat Face’. 

Andy McKee & Richard Jones - second overall:

“Our performance this week has been incredibly consistent which has been the story of our season, Chris and Graham put together a really good series and we just didn’t have the cutting edge to challenge them in the end but we are really pleased to come second overall. It has been really challenging conditions out there you can see from the high scores.”

Richard Lovering and Matt Alvarado - third overall:

“It has been a fantastic week here sailing in Dublin Bay, we are delighted to come away with third position overall. We are very pleased, this is our Olympics, this is the second World Champs we have done and we only get to do it every 4 years. For the most part the racing has been just awesome. We have had plenty of breeze, lots of ups and downs, shifts and the race officer has done a brilliant job. We are super happy and we will have a few beers tonight.”

Top Ten Overall of 72 boats:

1 GBR4071 Floaty McFloat Face - Graham Vials / Chris Turner - 20.8 pts
2 GBR4005 Fiery Chariot - Andy McKee / Richard Jones - 38 pts
3 GBR4002 Hyderated - Richard Lovering / Matt Alvarado - 47 pts
4 AUS4063 Firefly - Mike Hart / Dean McAullay - 52 pts
5 GBR4070 Ovington Boats - Nathan Batchelor / Ricky Rigg - 59 pts
6 GBR3760 no name - Jeremy Davy / Martin Huett - 77 pts
7 GBR4030 Aatha - Greg Wells / Andrew Jameson - 77 pts
8 GBR3957 Fourwinds - Charles Apthorp / Alan Green - 80 pts
9 GBR4059 Puffa Fish - Hamish Mackay / Andrew Lawson - 92 pts
10 GR4065 Pondskater - David McKee / Mal Hartland - 95 pts

Published in Flying Fifteen
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After the disappointment of sitting out two races yesterday due to boat damage in a collision for which they were awarded redress, Britain’s Graham Vials and Chris Turner sailing 'Floaty McFloatFace' from (Derwent Reservoir SC) are on the verge of winning their fourth world title after a flawless race today. There was only one race scheduled for day 6 of the Subaru Flying Fifteen World Championship at Dun Laoghaire on the penultimate day of the regatta.

The 72 boat fleet were kept ashore for two hours whilst the offshore breeze settled down enough to send the fleet out. It took several recalls and one abandoned race after the wind shifted all round the compass. Under dark black rain clouds and some light rain, finally, the Dublin Bay breeze decided to go back to the NW/W sector for long enough for the PRO Jack Roy to set a longer length windward / leeward race course.

Under black flag the fleet started around 1545 hrs in 16 - 19 knots sailing in the now familiar short chop. The first upwind was well spread from one side of the course to the other and it was difficult to predict a top mark leader. Early in the race Graham Vials and Chris Turner appeared to be ducking sterns but as all true champions do, they seem to carve a lane for themselves to appear at the windward mark in the lead, ahead of Irish boat Andy and Rory Martin of Strangford Lough YC and Charles Apthorp and his crew, local National Yacht Club member Alan Green.

Niall MeagherFfantastic Mr Ffox sailed by Niall Meagher and Nicki Matthews of the host club Photo: Frank Miller

The leaders split down the run with Vials / Turner going offshore and another British boat sailed by Justin Waples and Jackie McKellar (RCYC/WSC), going inshore. Vials and Turner had already carved out a handsome lead at the turn at the gate ahead of GBR’s Andy Mckee and Richard Jones (Dovestone SC) who had also turned on the afterburners down the run. Waples / McKellar made significant gains down the run.

The long beat back up to windward saw Vials / Turner extending again and McKee / Jones also establishing themselves in control of the second. However, the remaining top 5 - 6 spots were still up for grabs. British boats David Tabb / Chewey Sherrell (Parkstone YC), Richard Lovering / Matt Alvarado (Hayling Is SC) and Hamish Mackay / Andrew Lawson (Royal Thames YC) all had their chances but by the final gate rounding Waples / Mckellar looked to have third place under wraps.

The final winning margin for Vials / Turner, the champions-elect, was a healthy 1 min 30 secs over second-place overall McKee / Jones. Waples / McKellar scored their best result of the regatta so far with a very good 3rd, the highest position for a mixed crew in the championship so far. NB: Jackie McKellar is sailing her first major regatta in the Flying Fifteen class!. Lovering / Alvarado just squeezed over the finish line for 4th just ahead of Tabb / Sherrell in 5th.

Justin Waples and Jackie McKellar on their excellent podium finish:

Justin: “We saw the first aborted start and how it paid to go right and actually looking at the smoke from the chimney we decided it worked first time and it worked again so it was really as straight forward as that really.”

Jackie: “I think we made about 4 or 5 places by going down the right (inshore) on the first run. We were very pleased with that. It is a mixed boat and our first world championship sailing together.”

The final race of the championship is scheduled for Friday with Graham Vials and Chris Turner firmly in control on 19.8 points some 11 points ahead of Andy McKee and Richard Jones on 31 points. They do however hold discards of 19 and 23 as opposed to Mckee’s 21 and 7, so technically they do still have to keep their powder dry in the final race of the championship. Richard Lovering / Matt Alvarado remain in 3rd overall with 35 points, Australia’s Mike Hart / Dean McAullay 4th on 47 points and Nathan Batchelor / Ricky Rigg 5th on 49 points.

Andy and Rory Martin were top Irish boat with their best result of the championship 9th. Despite some fairly rough sailing conditions some of the visitors from France, Spain, Canada and Hong Kong have completed almost all races of the series never giving up showing the true essence of the corinthian competitor in the Flying Fifteen class. Indeed one of the boats sailing under the flag of Hong Kong is aptly named ‘Hakuna Katoa Katika’ which is Swahili for ‘Never Give Up’. She is sailed by Barry Hayes and crew Helen Selden. Worthy of mention to is the all-female crew of Louise McKenna and Hermine O’Keefe who sail under the burgee of the Royal St George YC in Dun Laoghaire. The ladies have sailed very persistently all week and only failed to finish one race by being one of 60 odd boats outside the time limit.

Andy Martin IRL3974 9th today:
“We were so jammy that the first race was abandoned!, and jammy in the start because under black flag we were being so careful because we have already got one DNF. We sailed the middle and got it our own way today and it is the first time in the regatta we were able to sail the shifts. My brother Rory who sails with me, his work rate is massive, he managed to pull us around the weather mark second, then I took a bit of a kamikaze gybe off and sailed right down the middle where we thought there was pressure but we must have done at least six gybes. We went around the bottom mark 3rd and then it's just a fight to hang on to places.”

Graham Vials on his horizon job today:
“We had a good win today, yesterday was slightly traumatic with the hole in the boat so to just go out and sail was nice. We were going well today, you have a game plan and our game plan is usually up the middle and take the shifts but be conservative,not to be too extreme. At one point we took some sterns because we thought the wind was going to go right which it did. We got into that and towards the top we got a really nice lift and what you can use out there was the chimney with the smoke. You see the breeze in the future and what it might shift.
Having rounded in the lead it was pretty easy from there on. We cannot rest on our laurels we still need a good day tomorrow.”

Published in Flying Fifteen
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There was drama on the finish line of the Subaru Flying Fifteen World Championships today in Dun Laoghaire as regatta leaders Graham Vials and Chris Turner (Derwent Reservoir SC) were involved in a collision which holed their boat forcing them to come ashore to make urgent repairs.

After the layday three more races were held in typical puffy and choppy conditions in Dublin Bay on day 5 of the Championship.  A day of contrasting fortunes begun at midday under semi-overcast skies with a blustery 15 - 19 knot Westerly accompanied by a sharp chop influenced by a changing tidal flow across the race course.

FF 4071 2Overall leaders Graham Vials and Chris Turner (4071) were holed in a finish line incident Photo: Frank Miller

Race 8 of the championship started at 1200 noon with a single recall. A number of local boats headed right (offshore) however these included a couple of Australian crews including Mike Hart / Dean McAullay (Royal Freshwater Bay YC). Whilst the bulk of the fleet came off the pin and worked the inshore side of the beat, Hart / McAullay popped round the windward mark in great shape with a comfortable lead, accompanied by some new faces, Ireland’s Ben Mulligan and Cormac Bradley (Dun Laoghaire MYC) and Britain’s Richard Hope and Mike Stenson (Draycote Water SC).

On the first gusty run, some of the top British crews did not take long to chase down the lead pack but Hart / McAullay had already established a nice lead which they continued upwind on the second leg. This time the vast majority of the fleet chose the offshore option. Despite a late effort by Andy Mckee and Richard Jones (Dovestone SC) closing down on the second run, Hart / McAullay were able to close out the race for their first championship bullet. Mckee / Jones were 2nd and Britons Nathan Batchelor / Ricky Rigg (Tynemouth SC) 3rd. Richard Lovering / Matt Alvardo (Hayling Is SC) worked through the fleet to take a handy 4th and Hamish Mackay / Andrew Lawson (Royal Thames YC) 5th.

The aptly named ‘As Good as it Gets’ sailed by Ben Mulligan and Cormac Bradley of Ireland scored a great result with an 8th and fellow Irishmen Hammy Baker and Peter Chamberlain (Strangford Lough YC) finished a worthy 10th.

David MulvinDavid Mulvin and Ronan Beirne of the National Yacht Club Photo: Frank Miller

There was however drama on the finish line as regatta leaders Graham Vials and Chris Turner (Derwent Reservoir SC) were involved in a collision which holed their boat. Although their finish position was recorded as 23rd, the former world champions were forced to come ashore to make urgent repairs. At the resulting protest hearing, they were awarded redress for the two races missed ashore.

Ian PinnellIan Pinnell and Jez White of Hayling Island Sailing Club Photo: Frank Miller

The conditions were unchanged for R9, the second of the day but PRO Jack Roy set a slightly longer course of windward/leeward, triangle, windward/leeward. There was a more even spread upwind and this time it was back to the top British boats to dispute the lead. Jeremy Davy / Martine Huett (Draycote Water SC) led lap 1 from Andy Mckee / Richard Jones (Dovestone SC) and Richard Lovering / Matt Alvarado (HISC). Ireland’s Andy and Rory Martin (Strangford Lough YC) and club mates Hammy Baker and Peter Chamberlain were top Irish boats to shine.

The top three British teams fought down the run and back up the second beat. Lovering / Alvarado chose their moment to attack on the blazing reaches of the triangle. By the leeward mark they had established a lead of 3 - 4 boat lengths over Mckee / Jones. Lovering then extended but Australia’s Mike Hart / Dean McAullay made a late challenge for a podium spot.

Hyde Sails representatives Lovering / Alvarado closed out the win, their first of the championship. Mckee / Jones added another 2nd to their series. The battle for third went down to the wire, narrowly claimed by Hart / McAullay. Jeremy Davy / Martin Huett 4th and Greg Wells / Andrew Jameson (Hayling Is SC) 5th. Top Irish boat in this one was Andy and Rory Martin in 13th.

The final race of the day (R10) was started around 1445 hrs local time in the same conditions using the w/l course with two laps. A clean start and an even split inshore and offshore. A crowded first rounding saw another new leader (briefly), in Chris Villa and Mark Holmes from Lake Macquarie YC in Australia and South Africa's Campbell Alexander and Dave Herridge in the mix.

David McKee and Mal Hartland (Dovestone SC) quickly pounced down the run to lead at the gate from Jeremy Davy / Martin Huett (Draycote Water SC) and Hamish Mackay / Andrew Lawson. On the second upwind leg, Davy / Huett tacked inshore splitting tacks with McKee and Hartland. Davy came out on top at the final windward mark by 30 seconds from Richard Lovering / Matt Alvarado and Mackay / Lawson. The British pair from Draycote Water SC held on to score their first winning gun of the championship. Lovering / Alvarado crossed 2nd and McKee / Hartland 3rd. Andy McKee / Richard Jones finished 4th to close in on the overall lead. Ending the day with a 1/3/5 was Mike Hart / Dean McAullay of Australia to break up the lead British boats overall.

British pair Justin Waples and Jackie McKellar (RCYC/WSC) sailed a great day 9/12/11 and lie 16th overall just ahead of the Irish pack. Best performance on the day by the local boats was Hammy Baker and Peter Chamberlain (SLYC) with 10/14/31 which places them in 19th overall.

Now that 10 races have been sailed sailors are allowed two discards. Having been awarded redress for the two races they were unable to compete in, Graham Vials and Chris Turner (GBR) now lead the regatta on 19.6 points net but have discarded a 19 and 23 so cannot afford any mishaps on the final two days of racing. Andy Mckee / Richard Jones has 29 points, Lovering / Alvarado move up to 3rd overall on 31 points, Batchelor / Rigg and Hart / McAullay share 39 points each for 4th and 5th.

Thursday is the penultimate day of racing with racing due to commence at 1300 hrs local time.

Quotes:

Dean McAullay sums up his day 1/3/5:
“We started at the top end of the line and the bulk of the fleet went down the bottom end so we able to have a very clean start and just sail fast and got into high numbers. We sailed across the bunch on the left which we did easily and lead them back to the top mark so we had a comfortable lead but you cannot rest, they were catching us by the last run, they had halved the distance.
We are just making gains, we have not sailed together before so by the end of the week we are happy to be in the top 5 with two days to go.”

Andy Mckee on his 2/2/4:
“We thought we were going quick both upwind and downwind, good height and good speed, a big decision in the first race we gybed out early at the windward mark and that gave us a good lane to overtake a few boats down the run and then we could just consolidate for the rest of the race.
The second race we had a pretty decent start and felt there was a pretty big line sag. On the second lap it would have been nice if we had checked the course board and not set off down the run instead of the reach when we were in the lead!
The last race we were just trying to grind it out, we were running out of energy at the end of the day so we were just trying to keep the speed on”.

Richard Lovering with 4/1/2 finishes:
“It's about being patient out there today, we were looking pretty deep off a couple of starts, some good boats were out to the right so we just had to be patient and wait for the wind to go left. We kind of got lucky a bit.
We seemed to have good boat speed today we were lucky with a few of our lanes when we thought a couple of boats might tack on us but they didn’t but there is a lot of luck involved when you are positioned in the teens.”

Results are here

Published in Flying Fifteen
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As the Subaru Flying Fifteen World Championship reaches the halfway stage at the National Yacht Club, Dublin Bay delivered another blustery day to complete two more races in the 12-race series.

Early in the morning, the wind was howling but by race 6 start time of 1300 hrs it had moderated to a puffy 14 - 18 knots with a pronounced chop caused by wind against tide.

Race 6 started on the first attempt with a new course configuration of w/l triangle w/l and a short beat to the finish which offered the chance for the fleet to stretch their legs with some fast reaching.

First to show on lap 1 of race 6 was current European champions Hamish Mackay and Andrew Lawson (Royal Thames YC), clearly enjoying the heavier conditions. They led from Richard Lovering / Matt Alvarado (Hayling Is SC) and Andy McKee / Richard Jones (Dovestone SC) rounding in tandem. The usual suspects with GBR sail numbers chased down the run.

Subaru FF Worlds McKee 6624Second - Andy McKee and Richard Jones Photo: Afloat

McKee / Jones snatched the lead by a whisker at the gate with the Brit pack in close attendance broken up by the rather unusual but pleasant site of Campbell Alexander and crew Dave Herridge (Royal Natal YC) in South Africa.

Despite a number of shifts and a short chop the places remained similar upwind for the second time but then came the long fetch/reach to the wing mark. With a number of competitors choosing between hoisting or two sail reaching then hoisting, places got a bit mixed up. By the time the lead bunch got to the wing mark, the rounding and the following run was a big tussle between Andy Mckee, Hamish Mackay and Richard Lovering. Meanwhile loitering with intent on his own course was three-time world champions Graham Vials and Chris Turner (DRSC).

As the breeze appeared to drop going upwind for the final weather mark rounding Vials / Turner made their move sprinting into a two boat length lead over McKee / Jones with Jeremy Davy and Martin Huett (DWSC) moving into third. Places remained the same on the short hitch to the finish line confirming Vials / Turner’s third race win from 6 races. Mackay / Lawson settled for 4th and Lovering / Alvarado 5th. South Africans Campbell Alexander / Dave Herridge finished an impressive 8th. Lo-cal Irishmen Andy and Rory Martin from Strangford Lough YC had a superb race finishing 14th and best of the Irish Flying Fifteen team.

Subaru FF Worlds Cadwallader 8118Ian Cadwallader and Dave Sweet (foreground) from Chew Valley Lake Sailing Club are lying 12th overall

Campbell Alexander from South Africa on his 8th in Race 6:

“We were up to 4th but we are still learning how to reach! We got a good start and pushed to the right but generally watched the good guys and took the shifts and watched our compass most of the time. We are good upwind but slow downwind generally but we can improve there. We were in with the guys and it was just great fun.”

The second race of the day (R8) was sailed under the same semi-overcast skies and slightly less breeze 14 - 17 knots with a swing to the North causing a quick re-jig of the course marks. On the third attempt under black flag the fleet of 72 Flying Fifteens got underway cleanly.

A new leader appeared at the top mark yet another British boat Ian Pinnell of P&B crewed by Jez White (Hayling Is SC) and more new faces in David McKee and Mal Hartland (Dovestone SC) and Chris Waples and Peter Bannister, also from HISC.

The fleet split on both sides of the course downwind with Graham Vials / Chris Turner and Greg Wells / Andrew Jameson both choosing the inshore route. At the gate Vials and Wells chose well enjoying the better pressure squeezing round the gate in front of the other three British boats.

At the top of the course second time around the leading boats nearly made a big mistake by missing out the spreader mark on their way to the wing mark of the triangle. The long reach turned out to be more of a fetch and again there was indecision about kites or no kites.

By the gate second lap, it was turning into a race between Wells and Vials for the turn home. Rather predictably Vials / Turner found a way to get past Wells / Jame-son on the final beat to take his fourth win of the championship in 7 races. Mackay / Lawson claimed 3rd, Lovering / Alvarado 4th and Pinnell / White 5th.

Australians John Wilson and Matthew Summers from South of Perth YC finished with their best score in the regatta (11th) and fellow Aussies Greg ‘Levo’ Leaver-such sailing with crew Peter ‘Bad Boy’ Barblett sailing their best race for 15th.

Irish sailors Hammy Baker and Peter Chamberlain sailed two great races to finish 16 / 16 clearly enjoying the gutsy conditions and fellow Irishmen Roger Chamberlain and Charlie Horder from Strangford Lough YC finished a solid 17th in R7.

Subaru FF Worlds Baker 8207Hammy Baker and Peter Chamberlain

So at the halfway stage of the regatta, Graham Vials / Chris Turner have started to show their class by opening up a 17 point lead with a total of 11 points net. Andy Mckee / Richard Jones are second with 28 points and Nathan Batchelor / Ricky Rigg on 31points.

Hamish Mackay scores a 4 / 3 on the day to move up to 14th overall:

“We are good when the breeze is up because we are quite big so that helps us but in all honesty, we had two good starts today. We were first round in the first race, Graham passed us on the first reach on the second round but it was a good day for us. Pressure was key but in the second race there was a lot of shifts as well and they counted and different patches all over the course so it made it an interesting day.”

Weary sailors came home to beer and snags and a presentation on the 2021 Flying Fifteen World Championship to be hosted by the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in Perth and sailed on the waters of Fremantle on the ocean.

Tuesday is a layday and racing resumes with three races planned with an earlier start time of 1100 hrs on Wednesday.

Results here

Published in Flying Fifteen
Tagged under

The forecast for day 3 of the Subaru Flying Fifteen World Championship was for very light airs all day but by the time competitors started to arrive at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire on Sunday morning, a faint breeze wafted around Dublin Bay tempting PRO Jack Roy to send the fleet of 75 Flying Fifteens out for two more races.

Race 4 of the championship started on time at 1300 hrs under hazy skies and some threatening black clouds over the city of Dublin. The breeze held up at around 7 - 9 knots from an Easterly direction for a two-lap windward/leeward course.

GBR’s Greg Wells / Andrew Jameson, Ian Pinnell / Jeremy White both of Hayling Island SC, and Australia’s Mike Hart / Dean McAullay (RFBYC) appeared to get good starts but after a shifty first leg with the fleet split over both sides of the bay, it was the Apthorp family who popped round the weather mark in the top three. Charles senior with his Irish crew Alan Green and Charlie junior crewing for the Australian entry from the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, steered by Ashley Smith. These two were pursued by Wells / Jameson, the multiple world champions Graham Vials / Chris Turner (GBR) and Nathan Batchelor / Ricky Rigg (Tynemouth SC).

The pack shuffled downwind as the breeze ebbed and flowed and the early leading pack split gate marks. Upwind for the second time Ashley Smith / Charlie Apthorp kept a close eye on Charles Apthorp / Alan Smith. Greg Wells, Nathan Batchelor and Graham Vials were in close pursuit.

It was all about looking for the pressure and staying in it on the second run and the rich got richer and the poor got poorer as the fleet spread out and the breeze softened. Australia’s Ashley Smith and crew Charlie Apthorp managed to get one over dad, Charles senior who crossed second and Wells / Jameson third. Britain’s Batchelor finished 4th and Vials 5th. Mike Hart and Dean McAullay from Perth, Australia banked a useful 6th. Charlie Apthorp became one of the youngest crews to win a Flying Fifteen Worlds race and celebrated with a ‘whoop’ as he crossed the line.

Of course, the worlds is not all about the semi-pros and the top guys, the corinthian club sailors are racing to improve on their own standards. South Africa’s Patrick Harris and crew Jeremy Kriek from the Royal Natal YC sailed a great race to finish 24th and representing Spain, Jonny Walker (nothing to do with the whisky brand)! and his local stand in crew Carden Kent, sailing for the Royal Club Nautico Puerto Pollenca in Mallorca, finished a superb 26th.

A quick break and PRO Jack Roy got race 2 of the day (5 of the championship) started around 1435 hrs as the skies had darkened over Dun Laoghaire. Clear start this time but the breeze had already started to fade. Again the 75 boat fleet spread both left and right upwind and pressure was king. Nathan Batchelor / Ricky Rigg (GBR) rounded just ahead of Mike Hart / Dean McAullay (AUS) followed by the usual persistent British bulldog pack.

Australia’s Hart / McAullay took the offshore route whilst Batchelor / Rigg went in-shore. Batchelor / Rigg squeezed round the leeward gate with a four boat length lead over the Aussies. The Brit pack were fighting for the remaining top places joined this time by David McKee and Mal Hartland (Dovestone SC).

By the time the majority of the fleet started the second beat the breeze was really struggling and the skies going black above. The second lap was reduced to a crawl as the leaders rounded the gates for the last time and much of the fleet were beginning the final run with drooping spinnakers.

Hart / McAullay had reduced Batchelor / Rigg’s lead to just about three boat lengths with just a very short work to the finish line. Rounding third was Vials / Turner. Mike Hart tried a last ditch attempt to attack Batchelor but Vials used all his considerable experience to continue on one tack to come in and intercept the Aussies and slam dunk in front of them on the finish line.

There was then an agonising wait to see how many boats could finish before the time limit. McKee and Hartland (GBR) crossed 4th and Steve Goacher / Tim Harper 5th. 20 boats managed to limp across the line before the dreaded race officers hammer came down. The luckless Australians Chris Villa and Mark Holmes from Lake Macquarie, sailing an aptly named boat ‘Up Ship Creek’ were only a boat length form the line when the time limit lapsed. Many others had to record a DNF on their scoresheet.

Mike Hart sums up his days racing:

“Pretty good, its quite interesting because we went hard right in the first race of the day and came out quite good and the second race of the day we went hard left and were second round the windward mark so we couldn’t work out which side was paying, pressure was the key today. Staying in pressure gave you a 5-degree lift every time, it was very tricky.”

“There was a lot of indecision on what side to the course to go, I don’t think it mattered which way you went as long as there was pressure there. It was especially tricky on the run because once you were on one side it was very difficult to get across to the other, you just had to live with it.”

“In the second race of the day we caught Nathan and Riggy going down the second run and got within about 3 or 4 boat lengths of them at the leeward mark so decided to attach them on the short beat to the finish, fully aware that it could go wrong and Graham got past and that was what happened but such is life and any result in single figures is good on a day like today.”

After 5 races have been completed the first discard comes into play leaving Graham Vials and Chris Turner in pole position with 9 points net. In second overall is fellow Brits Nathan Batchelor and Ricky Rigg (15 points) meaning the two Ovington Boats representatives sit in 1/2 overall. Andy McKee and Richard Jones are in 3rd overall on 20 points. The first boat to break the British stranglehold is Mike Hart / Dean McAullay (AUS) in 6th overall.

Two local Irish boats remain in 14th and 15th respectively, Ian Mathews / Keith Poole and David Gorman / Chris Doorly both of host club The National YC)

The current New Zealand Flying Fifteen champions Hayden Percy and Scott Pedersen from Napier, sailing a chartered boat, continue to collect very credible top 20 finishes, they scored 20 / 17 to sit in 16th overall. Another long distance traveller, Campbell Alexander and Dave Herridge from Natal YC in Durban, South Africa also continue to put in some very worthy performances finishing 18 and 19 for the day which places them in 17th overall.

Kiwi Hayden Percy on sailing at Dun Laoghaire:

“The boat we have chartered is a difficult boat to get used to but we are getting there slowly, time in the boat means a lot but every race we feel like we are improving but it is pretty tricky. You feel like you get it going one day and then you go the wrong side the next day. Today was a lot steadier for us, you could just take the small shifts, the last couple of days have been hard because the wind would shift 20 degrees one way then carry on another 20 degrees the same way and you can never pick that. We are enjoying it here in Dublin, the weather is probably similar to our winter in New Zealand! “

Racing continues on Monday with a start time of 1300 hrs and a more promising forecast of a bit more breeze.

Results here

Published in Flying Fifteen
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After three races sailed at Dun Laoghaire, British boats have total control of the Subaru Flying Fifteen World Championships at the National Yacht Club on Dublin Bay and take the top 12 places overall after three races sailed. Lying in 13th place is Irish champions Dave Gorman and Chris Doorly.

Racing was brought forward to an earlier start time on day 2 due to a forecast of a fading breeze later in the afternoon. The fleet of 75 boats from 9 nations head out to the start line in overcast but dry weather for two more windward/leeward races.

After one false start the first race was started under U flag at 1115 hrs in an 11 - 13 knot northerly with a slight chop but a weaker tidal flow than yesterday. Both sides of the beat had a fairly even spread but three boats played the shifts well to arrive at the windward mark with a healthy lead. David Tabb and Chewey Sherrell from Parkstone YC in Poole, who placed third at the UK Nationals last July, sailed an excellent upwind to lead from yesterday’s star Irish performer Ian Mathews and Keith Poole from host club the National Yacht Club. Third round was another local boat from NYC, Dave Gorman and crew Chris Doorly.

Richard Lovering 8755Second - Hyderated (GBR 4002 Richard Lovering and Matt Alvarado from Hayling Island Sailing Club Photo: Afloat

Down the first run, regatta leaders Graham Vials and Chris Turner were already breathing down the necks of the lead three boats. Also moving through the gears were the British armada including Steve Goacher, Nathan Batchelor, Andy Mckee and Ian Cadwallader.

On lap two Tabb and Sherrell maintained their lead but had Vials and Turner on their transom. The two lead boats split gybes with the two Irish boats trying desper-ately to hold off the hunting Brit pack but down the second run the pressure was beginning to tell.

Flying Fifteen worlds 8068Third - Ovington Boats GBR 4070 Nathan Batchelor and Richard Rigg from Tynemouth Sailing Club

Rounding for the short upwind leg to the finish it was a two-horse race which was going tack for tack to the line. David Tabb fell agonisingly short pipped on the finish line by Vials / Turner who scored their second win of the championship. Steve Goacher and Tim Harper (Royal Windermere YC) broke through for 3rd. Gorman / Doorly (NYC) were an excellent 4th and Andy Mckee and Richard Jones from Dovestone SC in the UK, a consistent 5th.

Graham Vials 8700Fourth - Graham Vials and Chris Turner from Derwent Reservoir Sailing Club

Richard Lovering and Matt Alvarado (HISC) were a bit disappointed to drop a few places on the last leg to finish 13th. Other good performances included Ireland’s Andy and Rory Martin from Strangford Lough YC, in 11th, John Wilson and Mat-thew Summers from South of Perth YC in Australia, who finished 14th and the oldest boat in the fleet GBR 2520 a classic F15 sailed by Nick Heath and Pip Chapman (Cam Sailing Club). The pair punched well above their weight with a 30th place.

Steve Goacher 8964Fifth - The Whippet and the Whopper (GBR 4021) Steve Goacher and Tim Harper from Royal Windermere Yacht Club

Local Irishman Dave Gorman sums up an excellent 4 / 11 in races today:

“We were delighted with racing today, the conditions suited us a lot better. We had a bad enough start in the first race but spotted some cloud on the right and got a nice knock out there and rounded second at the weather mark. We were waiting for all these fast guys to come through but we just wanted to sail as well as we can and we were 2nd, 3rd 4th round the marks, so we were delighted we were able to keep our own in an older boat.”

“Ironically we had a much better start in the second race but we went up the middle of the course which was probably the wrong thing to do and got into the 20’s at the first mark. We were going to gybe set at the mark but luckily we decided not to be-cause the breeze filled in down the run and when we got to the gate in about 11th we had taken about 15 places on the run. So we were delighted to get two counters today.”

Race 2 of the day and 3 of the championship started shortly after at around 1245pm under U flag again at the second go. The breeze had shifted a bit more N/NE and dropped to around 8 - 10 knots.

Nathan Batchelor (Ovington Boats) and Ricky Riggs from Tynemouth SC got a peach of a start leaping out to a two boat length lead off the start line. Again the spread was fairly even across the course but the British pair rounded the weather mark just behind Australians Mike Hart and Dean McAullay from the Royal Freshwater Bay YC in Perth. Again the leaders were largely made up by the British boats but this time regatta leaders Graham Vials and Chris Turner copped a penalty losing a lot of ground.

The first run was quite well spread but Batchelor and Riggs got a bit of a jump on the fleet to lead at the gate. Jeremy Davy and Martin Huett (Draycote Water SC) moved up into the lead pack with Andy Mckee / Richard Jones and Richard Lover-ing / Matt Alvarado and Australians Ashley Smith and Charlie Aprhorpe.

On the second lap of the windward / leeward course, Batchelor / Riggs had established a comfortable lead ahead of Lovering / Alvarado but the battle was still full-on for third place. The pre-worlds regatta winners closed out the win followed by Lover-ing but the tacking duel for third involved three boats. On the line, Andy Mckee / Richard Jones just claimed 3rd, Davy and Huett, 4th and the Australians, Smith / Apthorpe 5th.

Nathan Batchelor winners of race 2 of the day:

“We had a great time today, we had a bit of damage on the boat before the start of the first one, the mast ram lever broke but we got a good start and were going quickly so we got a 9th in the first race which was pleasing.”

“The second race we had a great transit on the start line and Riggy had confidence in where we were and called us forward with about 15 seconds to go so we started a couple of boat lengths ahead of the boats around us so it always makes it a bit easier. Despite the forecast to go right all day, which it did in the first race, it actually went 30 degrees left on the second beat so plenty of shifts to play but the second lap got a bit light and we got a bit of distance ahead at the bottom as the other boats were fighting each other so it was just a covering job to the finish.”

Vials / Turner never recovered after their penalty turns to score a lowly 19th. Ian Pinnell from P&B (HISC) stayed in the mix with a 10th and top of the local boats was again David Gorman and Chris Doorly with a solid 11th. Other good performances in race 3 included Chris Villa and Mark Holmes from Lake Macquarie YC in Australia with 14th, Jonathan Ward and Roger Deane (Ogston SC) GBR with 15th and another local boat Alastair Court / Conor O’Leary (Royal St George YC) Dun Laoghaire in 17th.

Alistair Court 8286Alistair Court and Conor O'Leary from the Royal St. George Yacht Club

In the provisional overall results Andy McKee / Richard Jones head a pack of 12 British boats, two Irish boats occupy places 13 and 14 overall.

The World Championship continues with another two races scheduled for Sunday but the weather forecast is for very light winds. 

Results are here

Published in Flying Fifteen
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British National Champions Graham Vials and Chris Turner of Derwent Reservoir Sailing Club have taken an early lead in the Subaru Flying Fifteen World Championships at Dun Laoghaire today.

British boats took the top five places in the single race sailed in blustery north-westerlies on Dublin Bay that gusted up to 20 knots.

The top Irish finisher in the opening race was The Gruffalo sailed by Ian Mathews and Keith Poole of the host club who were second round the first weather mark and finished in eighth place.

The first day of the World Championship was raced in a gnarly offshore NW breeze. At midday, there were gusts of 28+ knots on the race course and white water so PRO Jack Roy had to be patient holding the fleet ashore. By 1500 hrs the wind had abated enough to send the fleet out for one race for the day.

Flying Fifteen worlds 7579The National Yacht Club venue Photo: Afloat

A slightly reduced fleet of 70 boats representing 9 countries from headed out in overcast conditions for a 1600 hrs start. By the time the course was set the wind had reduced to around 15 - 18 knots with some feisty gusts. PRO Jack Roy set a two-lap windward/leeward course.

The first start was a general recall but competitors had been warned that the tide was underneath them and they could be carried over the line if they were not cau-tious. The second go under U flag was a lot more orderly.

Flying Fifteen worlds 7579The recalled start

The majority of the fleet headed out to the right (offshore) on the 0.9nm leg to the top mark. Rounding in the lead was the Anglo-Irish crew of Charles Apthorp and Alan Green representing Hayling Island SC, followed by local Irish boat ‘The Gruffalo’ sailed by Ian Mathews and Keith Poole.

Flying Fifteen worlds 7579Apthorp and Green

On the first run downwind the lead pack split gybes and Graham Vials and Chris Turner (Ovington Boats) from Derwent Reservoir, surged down in a fast lane to close off the three lead boats and round the bottom gate in the lead. Apthorp and Green and Mathews and Poole rounded in tandem behind. A pack of British boats were closing down on the leaders split up by Australians Mike Hart and Dean McAullay, representing the Royal Freshwater Bay YC in Perth.

Ian Matthews 8007Mathews and Poole

Some meaty gusts claimed a few victims with several boats suffering some damage. One boat capsized with a spinnaker halyard wrapped round their stays and a few victims of the choppy waters returned to Dun Laoghaire harbour full of water.

Flying Fifteen worlds 8534

The shorter second lap was more a case of Vials and Turner covering their opposition to the finish to record their first winning gun of the championship claiming the Dixon Trophy.

Graham Vials (GBR) sums up the first day of the regatta:

“It was a relief to finally get sailing really, it was breezy as it has been for the practice event. We rounded in good shape, about 8th around the first mark and spotted some pressure on the run so we were the first to gybe and we had a nice lane by ourselves and could concentrate on going fast. The tricky thing out there was the chop, it was hard to get over the waves so we were able to power through to go from 8th to 1st by the bottom gate of the first leg. The second lap was just a job of consolidating and making sure we just bring it home and be first in the shower back at the club.”

There was a bit of a shuffle of the lead pack down the second run. Richard Lovering and Matt Alvarado of Hyde Sails worked up to snatch second place on the final upwind leg to the finish. Taking third was current European Champions Hamish Mac-kay and Andrew Lawson from Royal Thames Yacht Club.

Charles Apthorp and Alan Green just snuck around the finish pin to finish a very bankable fourth and Andy McKee and Richard Jones (Dovestone SC) made it a British top 5. Hart and McAullay of Australia finished in 6th and a great result of 8th for the local National Yacht Club boat sailed by Ian Mathews and Keith Poole.

Four boats from Hong Kong had a tough time getting to the event with their con-tainer of boats impounded in customs for a few days but alas arrived in time to compete. Of those Barry Hayes and Helen Selden sailing a HKG flagged boat ‘Hakuna Katoa Katika’ under the burgee of the Royal Irish YC, sailed a great race to finish in 9th.

Barry Hayes 7702Hayes and Selden

More good performances by the Irish boats include a very credible 13th for Gavin Doyle and Dave Sweeney from the National YC and 14th for Lee Statham and An-drew Paul from Waterford Harbour SC.

Ian Mathews (IRL) was happy with his opening race (8th):

“We had a good start, stayed away from the fleet in clear air down the line towards the pin and went initially left. Then we tacked across and went round the weather mark in second. Down the run the other guys came from left and right, we took the rhumb line, caught a few waves and we managed to round the gate in 3rd. We were delighted just to hold it, we lost a few spots on the final leg but to finish 8th we are very happy with that.”

The start time for racing on day 2 of the championship (Saturday) has been brought forward to 1055 hrs local time Dublin, to try to make use of a good forecast for breeze which is due to drop later in the afternoon. 

Flying Fifteen worlds 7579Andrew McCleery and Colin Dougan from Killyleagh Yacht Club

Flying Fifteen worlds 7579

Flying Fifteen worlds 7579(Above and below) Simon Patterson and Simon ThompsonFlying Fifteen worlds 7579Flying Fifteen worlds 7579Nathan Batchelor and Richard Rigg

Flying Fifteen worlds 7579Flying Fifteen worlds 7579Flying Fifteen worlds 7579Ben Mulligan and Cormac Bradley

Flying Fifteen worlds 7579The 78-boat fleet make good use of the pontoon facilities installed for the championships Photo: Afloat

Flying Fifteen worlds 7579The queue forms for the NYC slipway after race one Photo: Afloat

Results are here

Published in Flying Fifteen
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The Hong Kong Flying Fifteen team will race in the first race of the Subaru Flying Fifteen World Championships tomorrow following the release of their three boats from Customs at Dublin Port that caused them to miss this week's pre-world championships on Dublin Bay.

Last Sunday (September 1st), National Yacht Club championship organisers appealed to Minister for Transport Shane Ross for his assistance in expediting the situation at the Port where Hong Kong boats shipped specially to Dublin for the two-week event were in danger of missing it.

In an 'urgent request', the National Yacht Club's Commodore Martin McCarthy explained to the Minister by letter that the Asian team was temporarily 'importing their boats under the exemption of import charges'.

According to the Dun Laoghaire club's Honorary Secretary, Peter Sherry, 'the NYC appealed to the Minister as well as local politicians to intervene but it took a call from Hong Kong to the Tanaiste's Office before the wheels began to turn'.

The NYC says the boats were finally released from Customs yesterday (Wednesday) in time for the first race of the World Championships on Friday but unfortunately they did miss this week's warm-up event.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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With the Dublin Bay Buoy recording 23 knots with gusts in the low thirties, the obvious decision, to cancel today's racing at the Flying fifteen pre-world championships has been taken by Race Officer Jack Roy writes Cormac Bradley.

This leaves the results as reported last night here.

1 Nathan Batchelor & Richard Rigg 9pts.
2 Richard Lovering & Matt Alvarado 10pts
3 Greg Wells & Andrew Jameson 15pts
4 Mike Hart & Dean McAullay 16pts
5 Graham Vials & Chris Turner 20pts
11 Campbell Alexander & Dave Berridge 44pts
12 David Gorman & Chris Doorly 54pts
13 Andy & Rory Martin 56pts

The first Irishman in the overall placing is Alan Green in the Anglo Irish combination with Charles Apthorp - finishing 8th overall.

In the Silver Fleet, the honours go to the South African combination of Patrick Harris & Jeremy Kriek in 20th, followed by Lee Statham & Andy Paul (21st) (IRL) and Ashley Smith & Charles Apthorp (Jnr) (AUS) in 22nd.

In Bronze the honours go to Alistair Stevenson & Jeremy Valentine (GBR) in 36th, followed by Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley (37th) and Tom Murphy & Carel la Roux (39th), the latter two being part of the host fleet.

Prize-giving is scheduled for 18:00 with an Irish night to follow.

Results are here.

Flying fifteen keel for sale here

Published in Flying Fifteen
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The International Flying Fifteen class returns to Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay where 78 competitors from nine nations will go to battle for the 2019 title. Host club the National Yacht Club will host the event which has 12 races scheduled to be sailed from Friday 6 - Friday 13 September.

As Afloat is already reporting here and here, the majority of the competitors are already gaining valuable practice at the Pre-Worlds Championship of Ireland taking place from 2 - 4 September.

A highly competitive fleet of 78 boats has gathered in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, the same venue that hosted the 1992 and 2003 world championships.

FF Subaru 6231The National Yacht Club pontoon and below hard standing and launching

FF Subaru 6214

FF Subaru 6221Launching at the NYC - the race area is only a ten minute sail

Flying fiteen 6848A dark and blustery start to the pre-worlds on Dublin Bay

The UK has sent the largest contingent of boats with some of the big names in Flying Fifteen sailing. Among them are Steve Goacher and Tim Harper from Royal Windermere YC, sailing ‘The whippet & the whopper’.

Steve Goacher is the current world champion securing his fourth world title at Napier, New Zealand in February 2019. He first won the worlds in 1995 at Hong Kong and held the title for three consecutive championships at Cowes, UK in 1997 and Esperance Bay in West Australia in 1999. All three regattas were sailing with Phil Evans as crew. It was then some 18 years before he won the worlds again at Napier with new crew Tim Harper. He has also won a string of European and UK Championships. The ‘Goach’ a real stalwart of the class and big Tim, finished fourth at the recent UKFFA Championships at Poole Harbour and go to Dublin as one of the favourites. He can’t be expected to give up his title without a real fight!

Flying fiteen Steve Goacher 7139Steve Goacher and Tim Harper

Steve sums up his expectations:  “I think Dublin is going to be quite variable conditions, I have sailed out there quite a lot so I am familiar with the waters. We always like going to Dublin it is always a great regatta, always very welcoming.”

The Goach is sure to be pushed hard by three-time world champion Graham Vials sailing with Chris Turner from Derwent Reservoir SC who returns to the class after some time out of the boat.

Flying fiteen Vials 7086Graham Vials sailing with Chris Turner from Derwent Reservoir SC

Graham: “I did three worlds on the trot and then was lucky enough to have twins so took a bit of time out which is nice but we are just getting back into it now.
We sailed the UK Inlands in Rutland in around May time, so we bought a boat for that, it was the first time we had sailed for a year to 18 months. We are a bit rusty but back into our new boat”

Graham and Chris won three back to back Flying Fifteen World Championships: 2011 at Hayling Island, 2013 at Hong Kong and 2015 at Crozon. The team then took a break and missed the last worlds in Napier in 2017. Back in the boat, the pair won the UKFFA Nationals in Poole by a margin of 18 points having won 5 out of 10 races.

Graham explains: “You get back in the boat after a while and you don’t really know how fast you are going to go and what mistakes you are going to make but everything came together really well, it has been a pleasure sailing with Chris again, we get on really well and sail the boat nice and fast so no complaints.”

Leading the Pre-Worlds Irish Championship after day one, Richard Lovering and Matt Alvarado are previous winners of the UK Flying Fifteen Championship at the Royal Northern & Clyde YC in Scotland in 2015 and again at the Royal Cornwall YC at Falmouth in 2017. At this year’s regatta at Poole, they finished fourth in a highly competitive UK fleet. 

Richard: “We haven’t sailed in Dublin Bay before, we have sailed around the coast at Howth so it will be a bit of a steep learning curve. I expect any conditions coming off the land to be quite shifty so we will have to be in the right place at the right time.”

Some of the other experienced regulars in the UKFFA fleet have swapped crews last season and claim to be a bit rusty! but are still likely to be top 10 contenders in Dublin.

Greg Wells representing Hayling Island SC, will be sailing with Andrew Jameson. He has raced at the Flying Fifteen worlds as long as he can remember. He has never won a world title but has been runner-up and has been Flying Fifteen European Champion twice.

Flying fiteen Greg wells 6542Greg Wells (right) and Andrew Jameson

Greg: “I have sailed two world championships in Dublin and there is always a full range of conditions. I like that, I know some people like good steady breezes but It will be about consistency, it will not be about just getting lots of firsts. You will have to claw your way back from bad first beats and try and get back to top 10 - 15, which will be good counting scores.”

Ian Pinnell has long been associated with the Flying Fifteen class as part of the very successful Pinnell & Bax partnership. Ian has picked up the tiller to race in the class whenever he can. He is crewed by Jeremy Wise.

Nathan Batchelor of Ovington Boats has teamed up with former British champion crew Ricky Rigg in advance of this year's worlds in Dublin. Almost all the latest Flying Fifteens come out of the Ovington Boats factory.

FF Nathan Batchelor Richard Rigg 6903Nathan Batchelor of Ovington Boats with former British champion crew Ricky Rigg

Nathan: “It is a great spot and the Irish always have a great craic so for a home regatta I am sure the Irish will be out in full force supported by family and friends, so it will be a great regatta I am sure.”

The current European champions are in Dublin. Hamish Mackay and Andrew Lawless from the Royal Thames YC had a great win in Lake Garda last September and have consistently been at the front end of the fleet for a number of years.

Other teams from the UK likely to challenge for a podium spot at the 2019 Worlds include the Anglo-Irish team of Charles Apthorp from Hayling Island SC, crewed by Irish local Alan Green. The pair finished fourth at the last worlds in Napier in New Zealand.

Flying fifteen Apthorp 6906Charles Apthorp from Hayling Island SC (left) crewed by Alan Green

Class regulars who can regularly finish in the top 10 also include Chris Waples and Peter Bannister also from Hayling Island SC and two boats representing Dovestone SC, namely David Mckee, crewed by Mal Hartland and Andy Mckee and Richard Jones.

The Australian contingent always send a strong team to any Flying Fifteen World Championship. This time around, the 2017 Napier Worlds runner up couple of Nick and Janet Jerwood are unable to compete but nevertheless there are 9 Aussie crews from all corners of the country that have made the journey to Ireland.

Of them a former world champion Dean McAullay has teamed up with seasoned F15 regular Mike Hart, sailing in ‘Firefly’ representing the Royal Freshwater Bay YC in Perth. The next F15 Worlds will take place under the burgee of the Royal Freshwater Bay YC in 2021. Dean’s club mates include the ‘Glamour Buoys’ Greg ‘Levo’ Leaversuch and Peter Barblett, currently going well at the Pre-Worlds. A number of regular F15 sailors representing South of Perth YC, Lake Macquarie YC, Royal Queensland YS and Darwin SC have all made the long journey to Dublin.

Flying fiteen David Gorman 6718Irish Champions Dave Gorman and Chris Doorly

Naturally, a strong local team of Irish competitors will be competing on home waters in Dublin Bay. The team who have been showing great form over the past two seasons are Irish Champions Dave Gorman crewed by Chris Doorly, just one of many teams from the local organising club the National Yacht Club.

Two other Irish boats representing Strangford Lough YC, Andy and Rory Martin and Hammy Baker with crew Peter Chamberlain are going well in the Pre-Worlds regatta at the time of this report.

The big Irish entry also includes teams representing Royal St George YC, Dun Laoghaire Motor YC, Waterford Harbour SC, Royal Irish YC, and Killyleagh YC.

There are four boats coming from Hong Kong, two each representing France and Spain and two boats from South Africa.

Campbell Alexander from South Africa has been on a global tour of F15 sailing and comes to Dublin off the back of a good performance at the UKFFA Championships last July in Poole. He is sailing with Debbie Cox representing the Royal Natal YC

Campbell sums up his expectations:  “We like a good breeze, give us 25 knots and we are happy. We thought that it was one of the Flying Fifteen regattas we couldn’t miss out on.”

Joining Campbell in Dublin will be Patrick Harris and Jeremy Kriek.

Also competing is the current New Zealand champions Hayden Percy and Scott Pedersen representing Napier SC and a single entry from Canada, Tim O’Connell sailing with Raymond Flanagan on behalf of West Vancouver YC.

Flying fiteen 6948Team New Zealand

Of course, the Flying Fifteens have come from all parts of the globe to not only enjoy the challenging racing conditions offered by Dublin Bay. Competitors are well aware of the Irish hospitality and the world-famous black gold tipple.

Greg Wells from the UK sums up his expectations:  “The Guinness will be good and the ‘craic’ as they say will be brilliant”.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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Page 1 of 25

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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