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RS 400s, 200s & Feva Easterns At Royal St George Yacht Club

27th April 2016
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Ballyholme Yacht Club RS400 Winners Gareth Flanagan and David Fletcher blasting along on Dublin Bay Ballyholme Yacht Club RS400 Winners Gareth Flanagan and David Fletcher blasting along on Dublin Bay

It was a weekend of superb sailing for the RS Fleets in Dublin Bay. Having the season opener in the east at the Royal St. George Yacht Club usually brings out a great fleet and that’s what we had with 42 boats across the three RS fleets at the Championships this year writes David Rose.  Full results are downloadable below as PDF files.

The RS200’s is a class that is heating up considerably this season, with lots of quality sailors already in the fleet and a real injection of fresh competitors in the dinghy park. A few boats are sporting the sharp new design see-through sails, which make the boats look great as well as giving a better view of traffic on the race course. 

The standard in the RS400 fleet has yet again gone up a notch. It is now more like the racing standard at a UK nationals or Europa cup. Our Olympian and multiple Fireball national champion turn Race officer for the weekend Barry O’Neil and his team were impressed by the standard of starting. “It was like Olympic class starting, all boats finding a lane and no mid–line sag. Not much bad behaviour and if the line was not 100% square then it was always going to result in a recall.”

Many thanks go to Barry and his team, including the mark layers giving their time on a bright but cold weekend. The team had to manage large wind shifts, and did so admirably. A new format for the courses was being used for this event. The RS200’s and RS400’s were sharing the same windward leeward, rather than in previous events where the trapezoid course was used for the RS200’s. This was making it hard for the OOD to adjust the course once the 200’s were off. Barry has given feedback already to the classes, and this may result in tweaks for future events.
Michael Keogh provided results and photography at the weekend, and Michael Tyrell was race officer for the RS Feva class, running a separate course inside the harbour.
Thanks go out to club Commodore Justin McKenna and vice commodore Michael Pomeroy and the RstGYC members. The facilities at the George are superb and the fleets really enjoy sailing out of the club. The welcome was extremely friendly and there were many people giving their time both at registration and with the smaller details like helping with trolleys.

Sailing Conditions

Day one was light to medium conditions averaging about 12 knots out of the North. There was a sometimes tricky short chop, and no shortage of oscillation on top of larger shifts that hung about for longer.
Day two had similar shifty conditions, again off the land and this time out of the North West, with more exciting gusts of 20 knots plus at times.

RS400 Easterns Report

What a weekends racing for the 20 top class teams that fought it out for national level honours this weekend. It’s a testament to the quality of the field that there were five different race winners over six races. The runner up for this regatta, was to be two time National RS400 champion Alex Barry with local sailor Conor Byrne as crew this time out. The pair were denied any race win in the series but were still extremely consistent as Alex has been for the last two seasons in the class.
Alex was gracious in defeat in round one of a long season and when asked for his thoughts on the weekend he said, “This weekend was exceptionally tight racing, in a fleet full of talent”.
Day one saw the excellence of MBSC sailors John Downey and Sandy Rimmington. They put out their stall early with a superb 2, 1, 6, on a day where most people had at least one bad result. The score was only bettered by one team and by one point. Gareth Flannigan and David Fletcher (BYC) had posted a 1, 2, and 5. Robert Espey and Michael Gunning (BYC) were very well placed also carrying a 3, 11, and 1.
Looking further down the sheet, local RstGYC stars and ex national champion Emmet Ryan and James Ryan were lying ninth, and needed to post some good results. They were to open day two with considerably more form carding a bullet. They finished the regatta stronger than they started moving to sixth overall one place ahead of Corks David Rose and Ian Heffernan in seventh.

RS400 Gareth Flanaga David Fletcher

RS400 Winners (from left) Gareth Flanagan with Commodore Justin McKenna vice–Commodore Mike Pomeroy and David Fletcher

On day two it was Espey and Gunning who showed they mean business with a 3, 2 putting them slightly ahead of the two MBSC boats vying for the title, but it was not to be and after carding a tenth that they had to carry, they dropped off the podium and had to settle for fourth place. Bob said afterwards, “Once you find yourself in the pack it’s very hard to fight back”.
Flannigan and Fletcher are a class act and signed off with a second place to finish a sublime regatta and are 2016 Eastern Champions.
Alex and Byrne were second and John and Sandy took 3rd place this time out.
Chris Penny and Simon Martin had a superb regatta and finished on a high with a win in race six and fifth place overall.
So the early season honours and silverware have headed north with Flannigan and Fletcher, the other top teams will want to ensure they don’t have it all way and successfully pluck the Northern trophy from their grasp next time out.

RS Feva Report (By Elaine Malcolm)

RS Feva winners

RS Feva Winners Henry Start and Morgan Devine with their competitors 

In order to encourage the newer members of the RS Feva class this year, the Eastern’s were sailed on a separate course inside Dun Laoghaire harbour.  The 11 boat fleet, under the capable race officer Michael Tyrrell and his team, had 8 races over the two days. 

Local RstGYC sailors Henry Start and Morgan Devine were to master the conditions and win the event.  They were challenged all the way by newcomers to the class, Tim Norwood and Finn Cleary from RIYC.  The pair had stolen a march, winning three of the four races in light winds on Saturday.

Third place went to Marcus O’Leary and Jeff McGovern who just edged out the all-girl crew of Emily Arrowsmith and Caira Little.  Malahide brothers Liam and Aidan Donnelly carded three third places on Sunday, showing their potential going forward. 

Thanks go to our coaches at the weekend Pheobe Norwood and Meg Tyrrell, who provided plenty of encouragement all weekend. Congratulations to all who competed in the RS Feva Easterns.

RS 200 Report

11 RS200s turned out for the first event of the year, the fleet was more of a “mature” crowd, with lots of couple’s combos. This is an area of huge growth in the fleet, and should marry well with the younger contingent who often miss this event due to study commitments.
One of the new faces in the RS200 was multiple fleet dinghy and keelboat champion Neil Spain, who is sailing with his wife Maeve. Another top sailor out there was Women’s match racing star Mary O’Loughlin, joined by past Irish Olympic flag bearer Ciara Peelo as crew. Unsurprisingly they proved to be very competitive. We were also really pleased to have teams up from Caullan Sailing club, which has a very strong local fleet or RS200s.

RS200 Marty OLeary Rachel Williamson

RS200 Winners Marty O’Leary and Rachel Williamson

On Saturday the fleet enjoyed 3 sharp 48 minutes races on the W/L course. Marty O’ Leary and Racehel Williamson showed their considerable pedigree. Marty was not distracted by being heavily involved in the organisation of the weekend for all classes. The pair put their stall out early and led overnight, to give themselves every chance of defending the title of which they were the holders.
It was very close from 2nd to 5th, with a point separating each team after day 1. Our former RS Fleet chairman Frank O’Rourke (GSC), sailing with college team racer Lisa Smith were the top challengers overnight.
So onto day two and the final 3 races of the championship. Sunday involved more breeze and even tighter racing as teams started to get more aggressive and accurate on the start line. O’Loughlin and Peelo seemed to think they were allowed to start before the competition, but were being a little too keen on two occasions and were duly recalled by the race management in races 4, and 5.
Craig and Cooney from the RStGYC showed some excellent pace and moved themselves up into 2nd overall going into the final race. They were not to go all the way however as the event was already signed sealed and delivered with one to go. Greystones O’Leary and Williamson had delivered another excellent performance which is the norm for this very talented pair who defend their title and remain RS200 Eastern Champions for 2016.
O’Loughlin and Peelo finally decided to start with everyone else in race six. This proved to be a very solid strategy as they have plenty of pace and lead the final race from start to finish. Frank and Lisa worked hard and managed to claw back 2nd place, leaving Craig and Cooney to take bronze a point ahead of the Spains.

See you all at the next event.

Published in RS Sailing

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