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Kennedy & Kane Still Lead at Royal North of Ireland Yacht RS400 Frostie Series

13th December 2021
Light air racing for the RS400s on Belfast Lough
Light air racing for the RS400s on Belfast Lough

On the penultimate race day of the series, the RS400 crews gathered at the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club with a mirror-like sea on Belfast Lough, that was not looking positive. The forecast was for the wind to be at least 10 knots and building all afternoon. In fact, Met Eireann had a yellow amber warning out for strong winds to the West of Ireland so it wasn’t a case of if, but when would the wind arrive. As someone had organised it, the wind appeared bang on time for the start of Race 1, we were able to take the bungs out of the bailers. The breeze was nice, a stable double-digit knot southerly and it was coming straight off the shore from Holywood.

Race 1 got underway with thirteen boats crossing the start line. The majority banged of to the left which seemed to pay off, I went off right and quickly realized, that was not the right way to go. Charles Kearney & Nick Thallon took a commanding lead at the windward mark closely followed by Andrew Vaughan & Ross Nolan and Trevor D’Arcy & Alan (Ginge) McLarnon all hot on their heels. Charles and Nick’s spinnaker leg didn’t go to plan as their wing wangs (Spigot) went wrong. 1188 sailed by Ryan Wilson and his crew who were in fifth, decided to go for a swim, this took them to the back of the fleet.  At the end of race one, Trevor & Ginge took the bullet, followed by Andrew & Ross in second and Peter Kennedy & Stevie Kane in third.

Race 2 was very similar to race one, the wind stayed in the same position and the race started cleanly. Only twelve starters this time as Charles & Nick were busy trying to fix their wing wang. The wind was still building and it was the downwind legs where the gains and losses were being made. Nelson & Conway in 728 were up to sixth, but after a gybe which resulted in a swim, they threw in the towel, but they weren’t the only crews capsizing. Trevor & Ginge, the seasoned professionals also got into trouble, but somehow managed to shift their combined 200+kg onto the centreboard and pulled off a dry capsize and only dropped one spot! After two laps, Peter & Stevie took the bullet followed by Robert Hastings & Josh Porter in second and Andrew & Ross in Third.
Race 3, the wind was still building and for us, we were in the wrong spot at the start, we were pinned and were spat out the back of the fleet, yes dead last. Everyone went right this time, we had nothing to lose so sailed off the left and to our great pleasure the wind clocked to the left and low and behold, we tacked, we were in the better breeze and were bang on the windward mark and at the right end of fleet. The only crunching noise of the day happened at the second windward mark when Peter & Stevie came into the mark on port and didn’t see Robert & Josh on Starboard and boom! Luckily no damage and the industrial language was kept to a minimum. This put Pete & Stevie who were on for the third into sixth. After two laps, Andrew & Ross took the bullet, Liam Donnelly & Rick McCaig were second and Luke McIllwane & Hammy Baker into third which was impressive as they were seventh after round one.

As the conditions were perfect the race team kept us out for one more race. The rescue boats repositioned the course more to the left as the wind clocked and increased again. Eleven boats started and off they trucked to the windward mark. Frank McFarland & Gemma Vance in 500 had a nightmare as after going around the windward mark they anchored themselves to the wing mark and had to watch the fleet sail by. Trevor & Ginge lead from start to finish, Peter & Stevie leapfrogged numerous boats by getting a lucky gust on starboard and squeezed into second, pushing Luke & Hammy and Robert & Josh into third and fourth respectively.

Andrew Vaughan & Ross Nolan took the honours for the day with 11 points, Peter & Stevie were second on 12 points and Trevor and Ginge in third on 15 point. The racing on the day was so close there were only six points separating the top six boats.

As for the full series, it is also close at the top. After discards, Peter & Stevie are on 44 points, Andrew Vaughan is on 54 points and Liam and Rick are on 56 points.

Next Sunday the 19th December will be the last of the series. Racing will start at the earlier time of 12.30 and if the weather behaves itself, the race team hope to run four races which would fulfil the total amount of races for the series. Following the racing for the day, the crews will tucking into their Christmas Dinners followed by the prize-giving, which is always a good bit of craic. Any RS400s that have not taken part in the series but would like to join for the last day are very welcome.

The previous holders of the Frostie Series Trophy were D’Arcy & Ginge……will they still be the keepers of it after next weekend?

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Published in RS Sailing
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