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214 Recorded Finishes at Ballyholme YC's Irish RS Sprint Championships

27th May 2014
214 Recorded Finishes at Ballyholme YC's Irish RS Sprint Championships

#rs – Some statistics from the Irish RS Sprint Championships 2014 at Ballyholme YC  last weekend. 46 individual competitors (including Neill Strain's swaps), 40 Flight Starts, 214 recorded finishes, 490 individual hoists and drops (taking out DNFs etc), and a lot of weary bodies, not just the competitors! Full Sprint results are available to download below as a pdf file.

The Irish RS400 fleet has a full calendar for the year, along with the RS200s and Fevas, but with the exam season in full progress, there is usually a gap in May. The Sprints have thus been moved to fill this gap, and the excellent turn out justified the ongoing inclusion of this event in the calendar.

23 RS400s and an RS200 rolled out for the Annual Irish RS Sprint Championships, held for the first time in the North, with hosts Ballyholme Yacht Club under the guidance of our favourite Race Officer Robin Gray, putting on a tremendous event, in what always seems to me to be a complete nightmare of an event to run. Robin clearly loves a challenge, as he has offered to do it again next year!

Always a great opportunity to get some boat handling practice in, it also provides a workout for those of us navigationally challenged, and more than a few salvages were provided on my boat by Steve advising me where to point the boat next. The whacky M course was a great success, sort of slaloming to the left, and then having an on the edge kite reach across the bottom, to make sure you didn't recover too much before the next race.
We have always asked that we are not kept sitting around too long, and Robin's team kept things pinging off at a furious rate, not giving you time to realise how your body was slowly disintegrating as the afternoon progressed. That said, I was pleased to see that some of the young ones were whinging as much as we elder statesmen, about how battered they felt.

In a Northerly there are few better venues than Ballyholme, with champagne conditions (can we finally park that expression, though it does serve the purpose I guess) of 15 knots steady, a 3-4 foot short swell allowing some fruity downhill slides. As good as it gets I'd say. Also clearly suits the locals, with Bob Espey and Gareth Flanagan and their respective engineers, Mike Gunning and Dave Fletcher, leading the way, along with Sean Cleary and Steve Tyner from Greystones, current Inlands Champs, in amongst the leaders. The flights were rejigged midway through Saturday, and again for Sunday, giving no-one any idea who was winning, apart from the obvious fact the Bob and Mike were running away with it. That said, everyone had a piece of the action, and as always, when the racing is good, we all go home happy.

Biggest thanks however have to go to the mark layers, who did an unbelievable job to lay and move so many marks with so little delay, outstanding.

Next up is the slightly less chaotic RS Northerns at Strangford Lough Yacht Club in late June, with usual format windyleewards; though if the size and intensity of the Easterns was anything to go by, carnage and chaos will return. We should have some serious entertainment, as the deep southerners, from the fast growing and worryingly talent packed Cork fleet, fresh from their own Sprint event, rejoin the fray. Great times for the RS fleet.

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Published in RS Sailing
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