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The National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire has preparations well underway to host the 2019 Flying Fifteen World Championships. 

The event was launched on Wednesday and will see up to 80 two-person boats take to the water for the qualifying Pre-worlds from Sept 2 – 7 and thereafter the World Championships proper on Sept 8 -13.

Crews from as far away as Australia and Hong Kong are preparing for make their way to Ireland for the event – which will take place 50 years after the first Flying Fifteen boats came to Dublin Bay and the National Yacht Club.

Ireland has hosted the Flying Fifteen World Championships twice before – in 1992 and 2003 but this year’s event will be biggest operation yet. In 2003 the event was sponsored by Subaru Cars and once again in 2019 the car brand will take on the role as a primary sponsor.

The National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire are the hosting Club and Commodore Martin McCarthy described the plans for the World Championship: “The National YC is proud to be hosting this major event – the only keelboat Sailing world championships to be held in Ireland this year. We have an army of local and club volunteers lined up to support the operation on and off the water. We are delighted to be welcoming visitors from around the world to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown and show global sailing influencers that Dublin Bay and Dun Laoghaire is a marvellous venue for large, high-quality sailing championships”.

Event Chairman Niall Meagher added: “The event is possible thanks to the generous and active support of a number of parties. Our primary sponsor Subaru Ireland, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, Flying Fifteen International, Sailing Ireland and other enthusiastic supporters. There is major spinoff for tourism in the Borough and for  building its reputation as a global sailing venue.”

Pat Ryan, Managing Director of Subaru Ireland commented ‘We are delighted to be providing this additional sponsorship support to the Dún Laoghaire Flying Fifteen fleet and to assist with preparations for the busy year ahead. Subaru were the official sponsor of the Flying Fifteen World Championships way back in 2003 which was the last time this event came to Ireland so we are delighted to be involved again this time around. Subaru have a range of versatile, safe and capable AWD vehicles which are perfect for towing and as a result we feel our association with the sailing community, and in particular, the Subaru Flying Fifteen World Sailing Championships, is a perfect match for our brand’.

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With the Subaru Flying Fifteen World Championships combined with an International event and the Championships of Ireland, this September promises to be a festival of sailing on Dublin Bay hosted by the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire.

Preparations are well underway and all countries have completed their qualification series with the closing date for those qualified and early entries to the event of 30th April. There are also a number of places available in the Pre Worlds which is the Championship of Ireland, for crews to enter the World Championships. The event takes place 50 years after the first Flying Fifteens raced in Dublin Bay.

The Worlds and Pre Worlds will have prizes a plenty, the fleet will fight it out for Orange, Green and Blue fleet prizes as well as day and spot prizes so if you have not already entered there is still time to get your entries in!.

Joining the expected good number of local boats, crews from as far away as New Zealand, Australia and Canada, as well as closer neighbours from Spain, France and the UK., are all preparing to make their way to Ireland for the event. These include current World Champion Steve Goacher & Tim Harper (UK), European Champions from Lake Garda Hamish McKay & and Andrew Lawson (UK) along with the National Champions of most countries including Ireland's Dave Gorman & Chris Doorly from the host club.

April 30th also sees the official launch of the event at the National Yacht Club with the main title sponsor Subaru along with a number of other sponsors that will all help make it a successful championship.

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Thirteen Flying Fifteens answered Race Officer Jack Roy’s call to the start of the first race of the Dublin Bay Sailing Club’s 2019 Summer Season and two of those were so excited at the prospect of the return of summer evening sailing that they were recorded as OCS. It was anything like “summer” during the day with overcast conditions and drizzle than gave way to rain and a forecast that suggested a boisterous start to the evening’s proceeding but a wind that would fade away. And so, it proved!

With an ebbing tide and the wind in the SSE quadrant of the compass, it was a lumpy sea that greeted the Fifteens on their way out to the start area and the first wave over the top was a VERY cold one!

The fleet all started on starboard tack with an even distribution along the line. There were some different crew combinations on the line, one brand-new boat, a sail number I didn’t readily recognise and as indicated two boats that were recorded as OCS. From my vantage point, I thought it was more!

Course J2 was set, with the first mark being Battery (T) and the fleet was split on whether to go offshore or inshore. Those boats which started on the committee boat had declared their hands in this regard – earliest opportunity to get inshore. And this charge was led by 3198, Adrian Alex, 3995, Alan Balfe and 3864, Alan Green and they were later joined by 3845, Frank Miller and 4068, Dave Mulvin. At Battery Alan Green, crewed by Keith Poole “snuck” into first place followed by Mulvin and Immediate Past Commodore, NYC, Ronan Bierne. In third place was Miller with Cormac Bradley at the pointy-end. 3198 was also in the bunch, with Balfe “loitering with intent”. A quick hoist helped Miller/Bradley into the weather berth and they and Green/Poole and Mulvin/Bierne started to open a gap on the balance of the fleet.

Omega (Y) was really only a passing mark en-route to Molly (N) and the leading three boats swapped gybes in the final approach to the mark. Green/Poole rounded clear ahead while Miller/Bradley having got ahead of Mulvin/Bierne still felt obliged to remind them that they didn’t have water. While Green and Miller headed inshore, Mulvin broke off earlier to take a hike out to sea. This time Omega was a turning mark and it turned out that the inshore route was the way to go. Green had maintained a lead over Miller, but Mulvin had lost some ground. The run out to Molly was played safe by everyone and the 1-2-3 stayed “as-was” but the likes of Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (4028) and Balfe (3995) closed the gap somewhat.

Rounding Molly for the second time led to a much longer beat to Bulloch (R). Again, the trend was to go inshore. Miller closed the straight-line distance to Green and sailed beyond him but dropped to leeward. Green tacked earlier than Miller who probably went 100m further inshore. When they met again Green’s lead was down to a boat-length and his attempted cross of Miller on port tack had to be abandoned for a crash tack that also necessitated Miller taking avoiding action. Green/Poole led into Bulloch and headed lower than Miller/Bradley who had been checking the course of the sole Dragon ahead of them, with a luminous pink spinnaker, and stayed high. Their decision was vindicated early on when both Colin and Balfe also stayed high. It was further vindicated when they saw a luminous “P” on Poldy mark.

Green/Poole sailed a tight spinnaker reach to hold onto second place but now they had to be wary of the chasing Mulvin, Colin and Balfe. Poldy to Pier (V) was a comfortable spinnaker leg with surfing conditions in the big waves but the wind had eased off.

Rounding Pier, Miller/Bradley sailed on to the inshore slot to ensure they could cover Green/Poole into the finish.

1. 3845: Glass Half Full – Frank Miller & Cormac Bradley
2. 3864: The Gruffalo – Alan Green & Keith Poole
3. 4068: Ignis Caput II - Dave Mulvin & Ronan Bierne
4. 3995: Perfect Ten – Alan Balfe & Crew
5. 4028: No name – Neil Colin & Margaret Casey

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The Flying Fifteen class will return to Strangford Sailing Club for its Northern Championships this May, the first time the keelboat class has sailed at the County Down venue since the clubhouse was destroyed by fire in 2017.

The new club structure is now in place but the Strangford Sailing Club lost all its memorabilia pictures and trophies in the blaze.

Writing in the latest edition of the Flying Fifteen newsletter, class President Chris Doorly says 'we will celebrate Strangford's new start with our Northern Champs on May 18'.

Key dates for the club in 2019 are the SSC Open Day on Saturday 4th May and the Bar Buoy race on Friday 12th July. The SSC Regatta is on Saturday 13th July.

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In near perfect conditions for the month of November, fifteen Flying Fifteens turned out at the weekend on what was dubbed 'Super Saturday' with six races for the conclusion of the Mitsubishi Flying Fifteen Frostbite Series hosted by the NYC.

There was an S/SE breeze with a big swell from the incoming tide so generally the fleet were behind the start line and PRO Ian Mathews and his hard-working team on the rolling committee boat were able to get all the races completed. As each race was just one lap the racing was close so any mistakes would be punished, combined with the fact that none of the contenders could afford a bad result as the discards were all used. Three races combined constituted one race so anything could happen but consistency would be key.

Brian Willis & John McPeake (CABC) were quickest out of the blocks and won the first two races with Green & Doorly (NYC) and Harrison & Sheard (LNSC) close behind Going into the last series of races which combined was race 2 Green & Doorly had a good lead overall but still could not afford a bad result. Playing the shifts, keeping clear air and avoiding trouble they won the next two races which combined with a fourth in the last race secured the series overall. The last race was won comfortably by Coughlan & Marshall (NYC) which gave them the Silver fleet prize with the bronze fleet prize going to O’Sullivan & O’Donnell (NYC)

This event has expanded over the years and this year we had visitors from Antrim and Lough Neagh who’s efforts in travelling down were rewarded with great racing by Ian Mathews and his great team on the committee boat and in the ribs. It also bring an end to what was an exciting and long season and with the World Championships in Dublin next season there is a lot to look forward to.

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Jonny Fullerton chats with Boat Builder Nathan Batchelor at Ovington Boats regarding the development of the Flying Fifteen and the future prospects for the class.

The Flying Fifteen is described as ‘the original sportsboat’ although unlike today’s modern sportsboats, it does not feature hydrofoils, bowsprits, asymmetric kites or carbon rigs. However, the class continues to flourish with good fleet numbers around the world racing every weekend and most importantly, enjoying club sailing!

Background on the FF class

The Flying Fifteen Is a two-person keelboat sailed and raced in many countries around the world on the sea, estuaries and inland waters. Club racing is the most important aspect of Flying Fifteen sailing. It is like a big dinghy with a keel so it is ideal for those who have sailed dinghies but are tired of or too old to cope with capsizes!

Flying fifteen 3135Dublin Bay pair Ian Mathews (right) and Keith Poole competing at the Flying fifteen Irish Nationals Photo:

Unlike many modern sports boats you only require one other person to sail with you, crew combinations come in all sizes, genders and ages, it is just a matter of tweaking the boat to suit your combination. It is easy to launch by two people either off a ramp or using a hoist and it is also easy to tow behind a family car.

The legendary Uffa Fox designed the Flying Fifteen in England in 1947, and his vision of a high-performance planing keelboat continues to flourish around the world, thanks to some judicious and intelligent class management. By embracing and carefully controlling the use of modern materials, the Flying Fifteen has maintained it’s exhilarating performance without becoming too expensive to build or maintain.

Flying fifteen 3582Strangford's Andrew Baker Photo:

Jonny Fullerton (JF) chats with Nathan Batchelor (NB) at Ovington Boats about the past and present Flying Fifteen versions.

JF: Can you provide some background on the relationship between the class and Ovington boats?

NB: Dave Ovington started building F15’s in around 1990 having obtained the mould from Roy Windebank.

The boat has been modernised over the years with Uffa Fox agreeing to changes towards the end of his life to improve the design specification and sail plan. In 2006 we designed and built a new deck mould to improve the ergonomics and simplify fit out and in 2012 we built another new mould and now offer a choice of non-slip on the foredeck. Most sailors choose to upgrade to having a carbon hull which makes the boat stiffer for longer.

JF: Can you tell me some more detail on the design changes along the way?

NB: The first Ovington built F15’s were built out of the MK 9 mould, which after 3 years was re-faired to take out the undulations in the hull and became affectionately known as the ‘Smoothie’. We built around 180 boats out of the MK 9 and the Smoothie moulds, before wanting to make more improvements and replace the ageing mould. The MK 10 mould came online in February 2002 and the hull shape has been virtually unaltered since then.

JF: What is the latest version and main design features?

NB: Although the hull shape has not changed much since the early 2000’s, we are constantly looking to make improvements. The most visible change since then has been the new deck design in 2006, this has revolutionised the look of the boat. As well as improving the cosmetics, it has significantly increased the amount of buoyancy, it is virtually impossible to swamp a F15 nowadays. During this time the hull construction has swapped from fibreglass to carbon fibre, the hulls are now much stiffer than previously when changing boats yearly was commonplace.

ff aft deck design c OvingtonThe new aft deck plug Photo: Ovington Boats

JF: What design changes and features are planned for the next Ovington version?

NB: We have no big changes in the pipeline but we strive to make small, continuous improvements. In the last 3 years, we have introduced under deck jib furlers, mainsheet tubes, (enabling you to centreline the boom in all conditions) and carbon bulkheads. The F15 has been around long enough, with well-written rules, which means that things evolve rather than taking quantum leaps. Each change we make does not outclass the existing boats, but the cumulative effect makes a difference over the years.

JF: What would Ovington like the class to adopt in changes to the current hull and rig to appeal to a wider audience of sailors?

NB: There is no magic bullet, small refinements are what is needed. We think the new jib is a positive change, also the previously discussed reduction in lead correctors would be a positive step. Simplifying things is essential to attract new sailors. Some of the more traditional rules need looking at. Why do we have buoyancy bags? We already have 4 watertight compartments. Spinnaker numbers? Sailors coming into the F15 find these small things frustrating, complicated and add unnecessary cost.

JF: What is Ovington’s view of the Flying Fifteen class at present and opinions on the future for the class?

NB: The class association is one of the most organised, professional and respected groups we deal with. The class is currently ticking along, however, we do not see much growth happening at club level, it is struggling to attract new members. This is not the fault of the class, it is a problem across the sport. There is hope for the future, the population is getting older and heavier and used boats turn over and have a longer competitive life.

NB: At Ovington Boats we are fortunate having Chris Turner sailing in the class for almost 10 years now, in which time winning three world championships! This experience from on the water, combined with the experience we have gained from building over 400 F15s puts us in a good position for the future.

JF: Many thanks for your input.

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The Flying Fifteen class Mitsubishi Frostbite series continued over the weekend with Race 7 and 8 at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay. Twelve boats made it to the start line including visitors Stuart and Tim from Lough Neagh who went into the weekend as leaders and Brian Willis from Antrim Boat Club who had National Champion helm David Gorman as crew. The days racing also combined with the local class Captains (Mick Quinn) prize so lots to play for!

It was a calm morning with a light south to south west breeze and an outgoing tide. The bias was at the pin end and those on the left were in the lead group, Green & Doorly were first to the weather mark followed by Harrison & Sheard with Valerie & David Mulvin third. This is how it stayed for most of the race, the PRO shortened the race at the weather mark, Harrison went left but Green stayed right and Harrison crossed for what he thought was a win but unfortunately was over the line at the start.

The wind had shifted a bit more southerly for race 2, it was still light and if you found and had clear wind you were going to be in a good position. Harrison took it to extreme and was over the line again but only found out after crossing the line first on the water. The Meagher’s, Dumpleton, O’Sullivan and Coughlan were all going well as the fleet remained in a tight bunch. Green had a poor start and was behind but with 3 beats to do there was no panic. It was shifty and difficult to gain, the Meagher’s got the gun to win the race, Willis & Gorman second, the Mulvin’s third and Green managed to overtake a couple of boats on the last beat to take fourth. Three boats were all on equal points for the Captain's prize but Green & Doorly won on countback by having won the first race, Willis was second and the Mulvin’s third. Captain Mick Quinn presented the prizes for all three in the club afterwards- it couldn’t have been any closer.

The results and the introduction of the second discard meant that the new leaders are now Green & Doorly in Frequent Flyer going into the last weekend but there is still a lot to play for with two races scheduled. Once again Ian Mathews and his team did a fantastic job providing good close racing in tricky shifty conditions.

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As David O'Brien reports in this morning's Irish Times here, the Irish Flying Fifteen class have confirmed the seven 'automatic qualifiers' for next September's Flying Fifteen World Championships on Dublin Bay. 

After the seasons 4 qualification events, with 3 to count, seven boats have qualified automatically for the World Championships to be held at the NYC are:

1-David Gorman & Chris Doorly (NYC) 174pts
2-Roger Chamberlain & Charlie Horder (SLYC) 165.5pts
3-Andrew McCleery and Colin Dougan (PSC) 164.5pts
4-Andy and Rory Martin (SLYC) 163pts
5-Bryan Willis and John McPeake (CABC) 158pts
6-Ian Mathews and Keith Poole (NYC) 154.5pts
7-Lee Statham and Andy Paul (WHSC) 154pts

Much more news, including the announcement of a title sponsor for the event, in this morning's Irish Times Sailing Column here

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After braving the delays due to roadworks on the Motorway heading south, many of the Flying Fifteen fleet assembled for Lough Derg Yacht Club's traditional pre-event supper in the Whiskey Still at Dromineer, followed by some refreshments writes our special correspondent.

Saturday dawned, as expected, damp and very still. Fortunately, the event Race Officer John Leech made the good call to postpone and wait for the breeze and allow late arrivals to rig boats.

Still in the drizzle, the fleet assembled in the race area and racing got underway in a gentle 5-7 knots from the South on a Windward Leeward course. Early leaders were Rory Martin in the back seat with guest crew Dave Muckilveen up front. However, a fresh breeze from 90 degrees right on the second beat promoted Niall Meagher and Nicki Matthews followed by Ian Matthews and Keith Poole around the remaining legs of the course.

"The event brings down the shutter on the qualification series for the 2019 world championships"

Rory & Dave restored their honour in race two as the breeze softened in the continuing drizzle with the ever consistent Ian & Keith second and Alastair Court and Conor O’Leary finishing out the podium, the race featuring some interface with the Squib class sharing the course.

With the wind now completing a full 180 shift from the initial directions, Race 3 started in similar 5-7 knots of breeze, and the fleet separated by only a cigarette paper at the first mark. With the right side favoured, there was a healthy inter-fleet meeting at the left-hand gate at the bottom of leg 2. Avoiding the traffic Neil Colin and Margaret Casey rounded the right gate and stayed left, sailing into pressure and a ladder up to the top mark. They were followed home by Rory and Dave, and the ever consistent Ian and Keith.

Even though the Race Officer had intended to run four races, with the time lost earlier in the day and the sodden crews and mark laying volunteers, he signalled enough for the day, to the relief of everyone on the water.

Back in the club after hot showers in the warmth, a substantial dinner of Lamb or Salmon was presented, followed by swapping stories on the events of the day, and even a nightcap or two.

On Sunday, the sun shone to the relief of everyone, and the Race Officer started on time, as declared at his briefing. The start was comfortably won by Ian and Keith on a Port tack, as there were only two boats present, due to the lack of wind and time lost in re-launching boats.

Much to the relief of the remainder of the fleet, the race was abandoned, as the breeze evaporated leaving a glass flat water surface, and so it remained for the next two hours, when the decision to abandon racing for the day was made, leaving the overnight result to stand.

Thanks to the Derg volunteers, the fleets were towed home and packed their boats in the autumn sunshine.

The event brings down the shutter on the qualification series for the 2019 world championships to be staged in National Yacht Club next September, with the formal confirmation of qualifiers awaited.

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Lough Derg Yacht Club is hosting its annual Freshwater Keelboat Championships in Dromineer, County Tipperary this coming weekend with racing for Squibs and Flying Fifteens over two days.

The event is an end of season celebration and competition for sailors who love the autumnal conditions and the challenge of the vagaries of lake sailing.

Currently, the weather forecast indicates gusty, southerly winds on Saturday and Sunday

Competitors are travelling from as far afield as Norfolk, Holyhead, Strangford, Howth, Kinsale and Dun Laoghaire to join the local fleet.

LDYC Commodore John Leech is Race officer for the event.

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Page 10 of 31

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.


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. 

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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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