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McCartin and Porter Lead RS400 Winter Series After Day One at Royal North

7th November 2022
The RS400 Winter series kicked off for the 15th year from Belfast Lough’s Royal North of Ireland YC.
The RS400 Winter series kicked off for the 15th year from Belfast Lough’s Royal North of Ireland YC.

The RS400 Winter series kicked off for the 15th year on Sunday 6th, November out of Belfast Lough’s Royal North of Ireland YC.

For this very popular series, many people come to compete from all over NI, sometimes fly-in from UK & up from Dublin such is the rewarding format of racing, focused on fun!

With 20 entries to date, many boats started arriving in the days before, filling up the dinghy park to tweak and tune their beloved vessels before racing was to kick off 1.30 pm that Day.

Event PRO Gerry Reid performed the Briefing before sailing, commending everyone’s participation and the intention for 3 x quick-fire Windward-Leeward races each day.

The plan being to get on and off the water as quickly as possible so as to claim heat by the fire and have a beer/debrief of the day in the Clubhouse for a rest.

The RS400 Winter series kicked off for the 15th year from Belfast Lough’s Royal North of Ireland YC.

For Day 1 Sunday 6th Nov, the forecast was to feature SW 11-20kts, so an exciting first day in store beckoned. As everyone arrived, after a bit of chatting, rigging, some last-minute drilling and repairing as well as some uncovering their boats for the first time, the fleet hurriedly made it out to the start line. (Kites up on a reach, full plane putting a smile on everyone’s face before we even started!)

The first race quickly went into a sequence as 15 boats took the start line and got away at first attempt bar one; event sponsor Bob Hastings (1353) called over the line and even punished himself by capsizing as he went back round the committee end!

As for the other boats, they took off upwind in 11-15kts with Hammy Baker/Dan Sheriff (1006) leading at windward followed by BMcCartin/J Porter (1406) and Will Findlay 877. The leaders swapped on the downwind as the fireball-lightweights in 1406 got through only at the leeward mark/next beat to have issues getting their “simpler” asymmetric spinnaker down. This let Andrew Vaughan (1438) come back into the top 3 where he stayed on the second beat as a bit more wind right-hand side benefited. Come the finish, Baker/D Sheriff (1006) got back in lead for 1st, Will Findlay (who won this year’s Irish Traveller’s Trophy in 877) in 2nd place.

The second race kicked off shortly after, (9-12kts) this time a clean start with some pin bias and a strong flooding tide against you meant each boat had to get laylines right.

McCartin/Porter (1406) got away to lead followed by Mikey Ferguson/ S Kane (1339) and winner of the CSC Autumn series L Donnelly/R McCaig (1405). The wind was shifting and gusty so finding pressure was key. The top 3 reversed as L Donnelly/R McCaig rounded 2nd lap in the lead, which they held on the run. In 2nd McCartin/Porter attacked-opting a higher planing mode and the last cross at the leeward gate it was super-close;  in the end, McCartin/Porter (1406) won by a boat length at a windward finish. In 3rd was Ferguson/Kane, Hastings/Higgins (1353) kept it upright this time for a 4th, Baker/Sheriff (1006) in 5th.

The 3rd and final race got off in 8-11kts and again port bias, lighter wind against tide making lay lines critical. There was some noise down pin-end as one boat bravely tried to port-start but managed to (just) tack under and get away. McCartin/Porter (1406) this time lead throughout a bit more comfortably, although kept honest by Ferguson/Kane (1339). Baker/D Sheriff 3rd, Hastings/Higgins (1353 4th and Will Findlay (877) rounding out the top 5 after a mishap in race 2. That concluded the first day of sailing as all retreated for a shower.

The event continues for six more consecutive weeks through to the final-feature Christmas Race on the 18th of December. As well as the 20 x Rs400s entered, there is an expected  12 GP14 entries that day as well which will include mulled wine and followed by a Prizegiving dinner party. Visitor boats are welcome to join for even 1 day or the whole series via signup here

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