As the RS400 fleet comes together on Belfast Lough this weekend, the newly crowned RS200 champion Chris Bateman reviews the recent RS gathering at Galway Bay Sailing Club that provided a weekend of racing in tight competition.
As Afloat previously reported here, several events were to be run over the three days. RS 400s and Fevas were competing in their Western championships, with the RS200 fleet competing in their National Championships. Two days of racing were scheduled for those entered in Westerns, three days were scheduled for those racing in the RS200 Nationals.
It was a grey start to day one of the RS 200 nationals. Cloud and light rain created an authentic scene for the west of Ireland. The sailors arrived early to rig their boats. With a short briefing at 10:30am, the competitors were ready to sail.
A twelve-knot breeze blew down the bay. With a long course set, racing was underway. Taking the win for race one was Conor and Jack Galligan from Greystones SC. Race two was won by Chris Bateman and Atlee Kohl (MBSC/RCYC). With the wind dying slowly, racing became tricky. Jocelyn Hill and Katie Kane from Co. Antrim SC showed good speed, winning the final race of the day. Conor and Jack Galligan sailed well, giving them an overnight lead after day one.
Another dull morning greeted the fleet for day two. The RS 200’s were joined by the 400’s and Fevas, who arrived early to make it in time for the 11 am start. Howling winds blew across the bay, with winds in excess of 25 knots. A one-hour postponement later, and racing was called off for the day.
Day three dawned with much more promising views. A steady 10-12 knot breeze had filled in overnight and racing was sure to go ahead. The competitors had a quick briefing and in no time were on the water. Four races were scheduled, and conditions were perfect.
The RS 400 fleet started first, with 11 boats lining up on the start. Barry McCartin and Andrew Penney (CSBC/RstGYC) took first place in race one of their westerns. The RS 200 fleet started second, and as points were tight the start line was a competitive place. Taking another win was the Galligans. In the Feva fleet, two boats joined the other RS sailors to race in their Westerns.
Race two saw Barry McCartin and Andrew Penney take first place. This was the second of four wins in total (a clean sweep). In the RS 200 fleet, Adam Power and Jack Young (Previous RS 200 nationals winners) took the win, having sailed exceptionally well around the course.
Race three and four were got underway quickly, to finish racing within the time limit. In the RS 400’s McCartin and Penney got two more wins. In the RS 200 fleet, Chris Bateman and Atlee Kohl also clinched two wins, in very tight racing.
The sailors returned to shore, tired but having had a solid day sailing. A few protests later, and prizegiving was underway. In the RS 400 fleet, Barry McCartin and Andrew Penney took first place, winning the Western championships. In second was Chris and Niall Eames (SLYC). In third place was Govan Berridge and David Coleman (Killaloe SC).
For the RS 200 Nationals, it had been tight racing with high competition. Winning the Championships was Chris Bateman crewed by Atlee Kohl (MBSC/RCYC). In second place (a point below) was Conor and Jack Galligan (Greystones SC). In third place was Frank O’Rourke and Emma Hynes (Greystones SC), having sailed fast, and holding a very consistent series.