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Browne is RS Elite Irish Champion and Squib McMillan Shield Goes to Eccles

31st August 2022
RS Elite Irish Champions Left to Right, Vice Commodore Johnny Millar with Michael Browne, Jane Buchanan and Russell McGovern
RS Elite Irish Champions Left to Right, Vice Commodore Johnny Millar with Michael Browne, Jane Buchanan and Russell McGovern Credit: credit Lindsay Nolan

The wind forecast didn't show much promise at one-knot max, but given the Lough’s reputation on a good sunny day, which it was last Saturday, a favourable sea breeze could be expected. So race officer, Sam Lynas put up a two-hour postponement, after which nearly all competitors headed out to rig their boats but one or two were not convinced that the wind would come and retired for the day. Sam knew better, and by lunch, the wind had filled in nicely at six knots, and racing got underway.

RS Elite start in the Irish Championship credit Lindsay Nolan

After a really close contest throughout the event, Love Bug (Michael Browne, Jane Buchanan and Rusty McGovern) took the win, and the event overall becoming the new RS Elite Irish Champions! And David Eccles and Des Clayton in Inshallah lifted the McMillan Shield.

Winning boat "Love Bug" rounding mark in RS Elite Irish Championship credits Lindsay Nolan

First off were the Elites with the local sailor Warren Polly in Toucan suffering from an over eager start which saw him OCS and that in the end was his discard. Unaware, Toucan led the fleet round the course closely followed by Stephen Polly on Storm, Michael Browne on Jane Buchanan’s Love Bug and Tiffany Brien on Kin with the rest of the fleet chasing them. Toucan continued her lead but to no avail and with the pack changing position with each lap and in the end it was Storm taking first with Love Bug second and Kin third.

In Race 2 Toucan once again, after a clean start, led the fleet and in a fiercely competitive pack, positions regularly changed. Toucan won this one followed by Love Bug a consistent second and Storm on third.

By the end of the afternoon’s racing the race committee had contemplated a fourth race given the steady wind conditions but decided instead it had been a long day and the forecast for Sunday was more promising. The day ended with Storm leading the fleet, on five points, Love Bug second on seven points and Kin third counting 11.

"Love Bug" racing in the RS Elite Irish Championship credits Lindsay Nolan

The steady six to seven knot breeze returned for Day 2. Jeff Ralston in Upfront joined the Elites and lost no time in mixing it up, proving to be very fast and taking Race 4. The championship was still wide open and Race five turned out to be blistering for the Love Bug crew. At this race end Michael Browne’s Love Bug got the bullet, with Storm down at fourth. The last race was to be the decider as one point separated the top two and again places changed on every lap. However the Browne, Buchanan and McGovern trio in Love bug were first and emerged the RS Elite Irish Champions. Runners up were Stephen Polly, John Gunning and David Kelso in Storm with the Warren Polly, Gavin Vaughan and Ross Kearney third in Toucan.

In the Squib fleet, Gordon Patterson’s Fagin got off on a good start along with Greg Bell in Prodigal and Peter Wallace on Toy for the Boys. These three held their positions over the course of the event, never dropping out of the top four. This race went to Fagin followed by Prodigal and then Toy for the Boys. Then came a turn around for the next race where Eccles had stepped up a gear and took a convincing win, with Prodigal second and Toy for the Boys once more in third.

Squib McMillan Shield winners RNIYC David Eccles, (left) Vice Commodore Johnny Millar and Michael Wright credit Lindsay Nolan

By the end of Day 1, it was Inshallah top followed by Fagin with only one point separating the top four positions, so the weekend was still wide open for and this to change on the second day.

Squib start in the McMillan shield credits Lindsay Nolan

The discards kicked in after Race 4, with Inshallah on four points and the next three boats all on seven points. So, two more races and all still to play for. Race 5 went to the consistent Eccles assuring him a decent lead with a few points between him and the next boat Toy for the Boys. Inshallah got another bullet giving Eccles the overall first with Peter Wallace and Fiona Ward runners-up in Toy for the Boys and Prodigal (Greg Bell and Des Clayton) third.

Toy for the Boys (Peter Wallace) 818 and Inshallagh (David Eccles) credits Lindsay Nolan

 Results are downloadable below as a PDF file


Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down

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