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RS Dinghy Sailing Continues to Build Across Ireland

3rd February 2015
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RS action in Cork harbour. Photo: Shane Goggin
RS Dinghy Sailing Continues to Build Across Ireland

#rssailing – Lots of enthusiastic experienced RS sailors are racing the new sailors on the block up and down the country writes David Rose of the Irish RS class association. The winter is being used more and more as an opportunity to sharpen up for the exciting summer circuits on offer, and the boats keep arriving on these shores in ever greater numbers.
2014 has been a fantastic year for the Irish 400 fleet. 2015 is already showing signs of shining even brighter. There has been a massive uptake in new 400's on order in the UK as the Irish are threatening to take over, by buying every good boat in sight on the market for the last few years. It has gotten to the stage that those who were responsible for the initial uptake in sailing these fast hiking double handers can now sit back and watch as the fleet takes on a momentum of its own.
I spoke to Ben Fusco who is involved in Feva training in Dublin. Ben - "We have 12-14 boats training regularly. We are looking at maybe 8-10 boats to go to the RS Feva worlds in Travemunde in Germany, as an Irish team. The season opener for 2015 is the confusingly named RStGYC Christmas Cracker on Feb 7th, we will have a separate Feva Start."
"We love the level of competition" - Emmet Ryan 2012 400 Champ. "The RS boats are fantastic, and we have had great fleets for many years now in Ireland. We hit a tipping point last season, it's really taken off. We are seeing many different generations of dinghy sailors converging on this class like never before. This is largely due to the wide competitive weight band for these boats, we have super light crews up against heavy crews and no matter what the wind speed, both can be competitive."
It is not all about the pointy end either, lots of teams of various standards are getting involved. There is an opportunity here for people with kids, to have a double stacker and turn up to an event with any combination of Feva, 200 and 400. Couples are a regular sight on the race course in both the 200 and the 400 classes, and we have had lady helms and crews competing well all season. All of this creates an atmosphere that is exciting and friendly. Events tend to have camping available where ever possible to keep costs to a minimum.
Meeting up with the UK fleets in sunnier places like 2014 Lake Garda in Italy, or in 2015, Carnac France, and you end up with a recipe for fun and success. There are also excellent training holidays available in the Canaries, with a full Range of RS boats. The UK events are very accessible next season and all the calendar details are available online. The Irish fleet are starting to record ever better results when mixing with the excellent UK scene. In the UK, the 200 nationals has over 100 boats and the 400 has 70+. Our Irish fleet sizes are very healthy too, our traveler's series recorded 31 RS200's seeing competitive action and 56 RS400's.
The RS scene in Ireland right now is all about well attended regional events and sprints (sprints are often one day and less formal), and travelling numbers have been great, but there is also a growing local racing scene in the bigger hubs of Belfast, Dublin, Cork and Limerick. There are plans to have excellent training in these locations next season as well as regular fleet racing.

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The RS classes are delighted to be involved in the Mixed Dinghy week in the Royal Cork Yacht Club. The RCYC has been a great supporter of the RS classes in the last few years and the 400 Southern champs will be part of the event along with the 200 and Feva National championships. This has the effect of allowing some sailors to take part in both the 400 Nationals and either the 200 or Feva main event. The 400 Nationals is heading north this year to Ballyholme Yacht club.
Dave Cheyne comments on the 200 class. "We are starting to see a few more 200's arriving in Ireland for next season. I have bought one myself and look forward to racing it with my son. I will still campaign the 400, both boats have lots to offer."
Marty O'Leary who previously had a 400 is now fully focused on the 200 and won in impressive style at the well-attended southerns last year. He continues to show the boat to be competitive under yardstick racing in Dublin. I have been told that Marty is likely to include a few UK200 events next season and test himself against the very high standard on those shores also.
We expect the already good numbers in the Irish 200 fleet to grow quickly next season as so many more people have been exposed to the RS scene in Ireland. Keep an eye out for test days at your club. This is an exciting year for the 200 as the boats are getting an updated sail plan that includes a fully transparent main bringing their looks up to date and making it easier to see traffic.

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Published in RS Sailing
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