An impressive turnout of 30 RS400's and RS200's braved extremely testing conditions inside Dun Laoghoire Harbour for the running of the first edition of the RS Sprint Trophy. The crews, who made the trip from as far a field as Cushendall Co. Antrim, were rewarded with 8 fantastic races. On the tight short courses the emphasis for the day was definitely on boat handling. Any minor mistakes made by the crews were immediately punished.
An RS400 start in yesterday's Dun Laoghaire RS sailing event. Photo: Bob Hobby
With the east pier weather station clocking gusts of over 32 knots, the race management team of Barry O'Neil, Jim Dowling, and Bob Hobby along with an excellent backup team both on and off the water played a blinder. They somehow managed to squeeze a challenging parallelogram course inside the tight confines of the harbour walls. The competitors were grateful for every inch of space. The harbour seemed a very small place once the boats were blasting at full plane under spinnaker!
With a larger than expected entry, both classes were split into two flights. The scores from each flight were calculated after five races, then the classes were separated into Gold/Silver fleets. A further three races followed. With no discards for the series and the final race counting for double points, there was still all to play for going into race 8.
In the RS200 fleet, national champions Roy Van Maanen and Glen Reid won the day. All of their experience and superior boat handling counted to a very consistently high performance. Second place in the 200 fleet went to the husband and wife team of Sean and Heather Craig. This was an impressive result as it was their first dinghy event together this season. Third spot in the class went to Greystones junior Enzo Michel in his new boat. Seeing how well Enzo preformed on the day is sure give those juniors planning to make the move up from the RS Feva plenty of encouragement.
In the RS400 class it was again the national champion, Simon Herriott who prevailed. Simon showed blistering pace downwind and nailed every gybe flawlessly with his new crew Shane McCarthy. Second in the 400's went to the Royal North pairing of Liam Donnelly and Andrew Vaughan, this despite breaking their spinnaker pole in the penultimate race. In third place and also from the Royal North were Simon Hutchinson and Rosemary Moore who put in a great performance.
The winners from each class were rewarded with two fittingly impressive perpetual trophies, which were very kindly sponsored by www.noonanboats.com
The consensus amongst everyone who took part was that this event would be a definite on next years RS calendar. The Sprint Trophy proved to be a uniquely exciting format that rounds off a hugely successful season for the growing RS Classes.
In addition to the racing a number of trial sails were run by Pete Vincent of www.2ndhanddinghies.com and his expert crew Charlotte Cotter who made the trip from Southampton for the event. The feedback given by those who had a trail sail was emphatically positive. Pete also gave a presentation after racing to prospective RS200 junior sailors and parents. Those who took the opportunity to see the boats first hand commented that they could see why the two classes are so popular in the UK, with the RS200 attracting 157 boats to the UK Nationals and RS400 boasting an entry of 86 boats. Both classes are sure to see growing numbers for next season. Some new faces in the both the RS200 & RS400 have already signed up to enter this years DMYC Frostbite series.