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Three National Champions Crowned at RS Nationals at Rush Sailing Club

19th September 2021
Marty O'Leary and Kevin Johnson competing in the RS400 at the National Championships in Rush
Marty O'Leary and Kevin Johnson competing in the RS400 at the National Championships in Rush Credit: Sean weldon

The RS Nationals were recently held at Rush Sailing Club. The event included the RS400, RS200, and Feva classes.

Three days of racing were scheduled under David Lovegrove and Harry Gallagher and the Rush racing team. 

Day 1

Friday started light and shifty and took a while for the breeze to settle. After a few false starts with fickle winds racing eventually got underway. Only RS400 and RS200s were racing on Friday. A full programme of three races were conceded with some very tight and competitive racing. In the RS400s it was very close racing at the top with the venerable Robert Espey & Richard McCullough leading by a slender margin of 5 point just ahead of Christopher Eames & Rachel Tilley fresh from competing in the UK RS400 Nationals in second with 6 points, followed by Barry McCartin & Andrew Penney in third on 8 points.

In the RS200s Frank O'Rourke & Rachel O'Leary dominated proceedings with 1,1,2 - followed by David Jones & Rob Keal, Sarah Dwyer & Henry Start, Tadgh Donnelly & Meabh Ryan, and Martin & Vicky Dews at their first event having recently joined the RS200 fleet!

Dying breeze and strong tides made conditions challenging for both the race committee and competitors with up to 4 marks drifting at various stages due to strong tides. 

Barry McCartin & Andrew PenneyBarry McCartin & Andrew Penney in the RS400 Photo: Sean Weldon

Day 2

Day two dawned with the promise of more wind. It didn’t disappoint! The competition was fierce from the start with UFD flags very quickly being deployed for all starts as the battle for position on the line intensified.

In the RS400s Robert Espey & Richard McCullough continued to dominate with two race wins from 4, closely followed by Christopher Eames & Rachel Tilley who secured a race win in the last race where the wind shut down completely at times on the last leg. Paul McLaughlin & Owen McKinley won race three proving that the fleet is tough and competitive and the leaders will have to work hard to stay ahead.

A similar story unfolded for the RS200s with Frank O'Rourke & Rachel O'Leary extending their lead, but not without challengers as Tadgh Donnelly & Meabh Ryan won the first race of the day, and Martin & Vicky Dews won the last race with some impressive “ferry-gliding”/tactical use of strong tide and no wind!

RS Feva racing at Rush Sailing ClubRS Feva racing at Rush Sailing Club Photo: Sean Weldon

The Fevas had their first day of racing with Isobel Bloomer & Oscar Legge keeping their noses in front on countback from Emily Ridout & Annabel Ridout with 2 race wins as both teams were tied on points. Siofra O’Donnell & Saoirse Corry followed in a close third meaning that it was all to play for in the final day of racing. Isobel Bloomer & Oscar Legge continue their strong form after winning the RS Feva Inlands and Emily Ridout & Annabel Ridout are serious contenders after a 3rd place at the RS Feva Northerns.

Day 3

The final day of racing was going to be a challenge - the forecast was not looking great coupled with strong tides in Rush. After an initial postponement ashore a whisper of breeze developed above what was forecast and David Lovegrove and Harry Gallagher pulled the trigger to proceed. One final race was sailed enabling an additional discard for the RS400 and RS200 fleets.

Marty O’Leary & Kevin Johnson secured the win throwing a cat among the pigeons wich might have seen Christopher Eames & Rachel Tilley win the event on countback had they secured the win, so they had to settle for 2nd. Robert Espey & Richard McCullough secured a 3rd ensuring a 2nd National title in a row. Barry McCartin & Andrew Penney had a tough day finishing 6th, but this did not affect their 3rd place finish.

Frank O'Rourke & Rachel O'Leary also had a tough day finishing 6th but this did not change their dominant performance on previous days to secure another National title. Tadgh Donnelly & Meabh Ryan made the best of the conditions to secure a final race win cementing their 2nd place overall. Sarah Dwyer & Henry Start managed to fend of a last-ditch 3rd place finish by David Jones & Rob Keal to secure 3rd place overall on count back, pushing the Cork lads to 4th.

Sarah Dwyer & Henry StartSarah Dwyer & Henry Start Photo: Sean Weldon

Isobel Bloomer & Oscar Legge stamped their authority on the event with a final race win after a disappointing 5th in the last race on Day 2. Ronan Blake-Hickey & Hugh Meagher secured a 2nd to cement a solid 4th place overall. Jane Collins & Noah Doherty from Cullan SC had their 1st podium finish which is great to see different teams securing top spots. Emily Ridout & Annabel Ridout and Siofra O’Donnell & Saoirse Corry had a tough last day but they had both done the hard work on Day 1 to secure 2nd overall and 3rd overall respectively. 

Results

RS400

RS400. winners - Robert Espey & Richard McCulloughRS400 winners - Robert Espey & Richard McCullough

1 - Robert Espey & Richard McCullough

2 - Christopher Eames & Rachel Tilley

3 - Barry McCartin & Andrew Penney

RS200

RS 200 winners - Frank O'Rourke & Rachel O'LearyRS200 winners - Frank O'Rourke & Rachel O'Leary

1 - Frank O'Rourke & Rachel O'Leary

2 - Tadgh Donnelly & Meabh Ryan

3 - Sarah Dwyer & Henry Start

Feva

Feva winners - Isobel Bloomer & Oscar LeggeFeva winners - Isobel Bloomer & Oscar Legge

1 - Isobel Bloomer & Oscar Legge

2 - Emily Ridout & Annabel Ridout

3 - Siofra O’Donnell & Saoirse Corry

Next Events

Marty O’Leary will represent the RS400s in the Senior Champion of Champions event in the Royal Cork Yacht Club. Conor Galligan will represent the RS400s in the Junior Champion of Champion event in Schull. The next event will be the RS Southerns in Baltimore on October 2nd/3rd and the final national event will be the RS Easterns in Greystones on October 23rd/24th

Published in RS Sailing
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