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Strangford Lough's Peter Kennedy and Steven Kane Make it Three in a Row at Royal North's RS400 Frostie Series

20th December 2023
Frank McFarlane and Brian Conway from CSC negotiate some big gusts on Belfast Lough in the final race of the RS400 Frostie Series at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club
Frank McFarlane and Brian Conway from CSC negotiate some big gusts on Belfast Lough in the final race of the RS400 Frostie Series at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club Credit: Lindsay Nolan

The last Sunday of the RS400 Frostie Series at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club was raced on the 27th of December, and the excitement was building as it looked like it was going to be a big day, and it was for many reasons.

On arrival at the club, there was a bit of negativity kicking about as there were some massive gusts on Belfast Lough. The rescue boat went out for a scout around and reported back that the wind had a base rate of about 25 knots. A quick check of the wind speed at the Stena terminal a few miles up the lough showed a massive gust of 41knots. It wasn’t looking good. The fleet gathered and had a discussion and decided to have a go, but it would be quick blast, some crews thought it was too much and decided to pack up early. When the boats were about to launch, another big gust came through and capsized Liam Donnelly’s boat on the slip, nearly taking out another. The fleet weren’t even on the water, but they still took a chance and blasted out to the start line.

A start at the RS400 Frostie Series at Royal North of Ireland Yacht ClubA start at the RS400 Frostie Series at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club Photo: Lindsay Nolan

The first race got underway with 16 boats crossing the start line and it was a leg burner all the way the windward mark. First to round was Bob Espey & Mike Ferguson in 1533 closely followed by Peter Kennedy & Stevie Kane in 1522. Up went the kites and everyone jumped to warp speed 9 and this is when the fun began. Most people blasted to the lay line and gybed and more than half the fleet went for a swim. Liam Donnelly & Rick McCaig in 1405 bottled it and took their kite down and did a chicken gybe, or in other words, a tack and to be fair it probably was the best option as they stayed upright and they picked off the majority of the fleet. When heading to the final leeward gate, Hastings & Torrens in 1353, their rudder un-cleated and popped up, they lost control and they corkscrewed around and missed Calvin and Corkhill in 1264 by inches then promptly capsized spectacularly to windward. We later learnt that Dan Sherriff and Daniel Corbett, in 1006, capsized, and somehow, Dan’s foot got entangled in the outhaul on the boom, luckily a rescue boat was close by, and the crew had to cut him free, a very close shave! They and two other boats called it a day. At the end of the demolition derby, Espey & Ferguson in 1522 took the win, followed by Kennedy & Kane in 2nd with Donnelly & McCaig in 3rd.

The RS400 Frostie Series crews gathered at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club Photo: Andy CorkhillThe RS400 Frostie Series crews gathered at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club Photo: Andy Corkhill

Race two started with 13 boats and by this time the wind had dropped a few knots but it was still punchy. This time Espey & Ferguson in 1533 lead the fleet but sometimes even the best can blot their copy book and when in putting in a gybe, they went over and a massive cheer could be heard across the fleet! Kennedy & Kane in 1522 were leading the pack with Findley & Cameron in 877 doing really well in 2nd at the gate. Espey & Ferguson in 1533 managed to get their boat back up right in record time and they were chomping at the bit.

In the second lap they managed to pick off 877 but they couldn’t do enough to stop Kennedy & Kane in 1522 to take the win.

It was decided enough was enough, we had done well to get two good races in. 

After a brief stint in the bar, all the crews and volunteers were treated to a Christmas Dinner with all the wine kindly provided by Steven Kane.

Over the series, we had 24 different boats sailing, 20 races started, and there were no days blown out, which must be a record. There were 5 different race winners and 9 different clubs represented, and we must have had over 50 different sailors on the water racing the RS400s over the 7 weeks.

Down to the results: 

  • 5th = Jocelyn Hill & Rowan Berry of Co. Antrim YC on 92 points.
  • 4th = Liam Donnelly & Rick McCaig from Carrickfergus SC on 86 points.
  • 3rd = Andrew Vaughan & Ross Vaughan/Martin Weatherspoon from RNIYC on 72 points.
  • 2nd = Tom Purdon & Olivia Hayes from Strangford Lough YC on 51 points. (If discards were not used, Tom & Olivia would have won the event with the lowest points)

Taking the overall trophy Trophy in 1st place and for the third year in a row, Peter Kennedy & Steven Kane from Strangford Lough YC & RNIYC with 36 points.

(Above and below) Peter Kennedy & Steven Kane from Strangford Lough YC took the overall trophy Trophy for the third year in a row(Above and below) Peter Kennedy & Steven Kane from Strangford Lough YC took the overall trophy Trophy for the third year in a row Photos: Lindsay Nolan and Gavin Vaughan

(Above and below) Peter Kennedy & Steven Kane from Strangford Lough YC took the overall trophy Trophy for the third year in a row

At the speeches, the race officer Gerry Reid, Mark Layers, rescue teams, result compiler Jack Anderson, and all the other volunteers were thanked.

Andrew Irvine & Aisling O’Grady were also mentioned for travelling most weekends from the National YC in Dublin to participate.

Onto 2024 and beyond, the RS400 fleet is looking very buoyant with numerous new crews buying boats, crews returning to the fleet 

The Champion of Champions events in the RS400s at RNIYC in October 2024, and beyond that, the UK RS400 National Championships is coming to RNIYC in August 2025.

RS400 Frostie Series at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club

RS400 Frostie Series at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club

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At a Glance - Irish RS Dinghy 2024 Calendar

May 4th/5th:
RS200/400 Northerns EABC.

June 8th:
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July 6/7th:
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August 9-11th:
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September 20/21st:
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  • RS Open Training Strangford SC 29/30 April
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  • Irish RS Games - Nationals - Blessington Sailing Club 23-25 June (open to all RS classes)
  • Feva Northerns - East Down YC - 26/27 Aug / Southerns - Monkstown BSC- 23/24 Sept

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