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For a Class that has been synonymous with the National Yacht Club, for a significant period of time, – there are seventeen Flying Fifteens parked on the deck – it was entirely appropriate that there should be a good turnout for the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Club. Thirteen boats from the host club were joined by two from the DMYC and one from the RStGYC for the three-race event on Saturday past.
XCWeather was forecasting 12- 15 knots with gusts in the 18/19 range and that was an accurate assessment of what was enjoyed on the water. Wind direction was slightly north of west and that wasn't too far of the mark either.

International Race Officer Con Murphy and his team were able to give his charges – SB20s, Sportsboats, Dragons, Fifteens, Ruffians and Shipmans a good-length beat with two laps for each race.

The consensus view as to go left off the first start line towards the shore and by halfway up the beat it was apparent that Ian Mathews and Keith Poole (3864, The Gruffalo) were going to be the boat to catch. By the rounding of the first weather mark they had a comfortable lead and could watch the peloton chasing them with some comfort. The peloton consisted of John Lavery & Alan Green (4803, Phoenix), Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (4028, Ffuzzy), Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley (4801, Enfant de Marie), and Alistair Court & Conor O'Leary (3753, Ffinnisterre). While Mathews & Poole were undisturbed after the first weather mark, Lavery, Colin and Mulligan found themselves in reasonably close company for the balance of the race, before finishing in the order, Lavery, Colin, Mulligan, Court, behind Mathews.

Mulligan & Bradley led the second race to the first weather mark and enjoyed the same position down the first downwind leg. However, Lavery & Green were lurking and towards the last third of the second beat, they took the lead and applied a loose cover on Mulligan to the second weather mark. Behind these two Colin & Casey were having an excellent day sitting in third place with Niall Meagher & Nicki Mathews (3938, The Ffantastic Mr Fox) appearing well up the pecking order. Tom Murphy & Karl (4057, Fflagella) were also part of the peloton chasing the lead pair. Mathews & Poole were conspicuous by their absence and they would eventually finish in 9th place. Ahead of them, the finishing order was Lavery, Mulligan, Colin, Meagher and Murphy.

For the final race of the day, Mathews & Poole got the "bit between their teeth" to quote my helm and repeated the performance of the first race, storming into a first-leg lead that they never relinquished. Colin & Casey were also well up the order in a podium place, enjoying the fresh conditions. Murphy too had an excellent star and first beat to establish a place at the head of the fleet. Lavery found himself having to chase the lead boats to get into the race and he and Mulligan joined the bunch chasing Mathews. Throughout the race, the two new boats were either crossing tacks or watching each other down the offwind legs and in the second run down to the leeward mark a poor gybe by Bradley saw Lavery park his bow very close to Mulligan's transom. This was enough to give Lavery an incentive to chase Mulligan into the finish-line upwind of the committee boat and with the boats overlapped on the finish line, Lavery got the nod to finish fourth, behind Mathews, Colin and Murphy.

With no formal prize-giving for the day, the DMYC boats, Colin and Mulligan headed westwards and tried to work out the overall results for the day – the debate being – Was a discard applicable or not? The first iteration of an overall result had an incorrect result for Lavery and a discard applying. That gave the regatta win to Mathews & Poole (1, 1) versus 1,4 for Lavery, 2,3 for Colin and 2,4 for Mulligan.

Then the correction was applied to Lavery's first race result giving him back his second place. With a discard applying Mathews was still in pole position, but Lavery jumped to second, with Colin down to third.

But if all races were to count, the result changed again with Lavery taking pole position (2, 1, 4), Colin second (3,3,2), Mathews third (1,9,1) and Mulligan fourth (4,2,5).

It appears the NoR may have specified the discard rule for "less than three races" and "more than three races", but not for the actual three races sailed.

But for the purposes of this report the results (of the races) are;

  1. John Lavery & Alan Green, NYC; 4083, Phoenix: 2, 1, 4
  2. Neil Colin & Margaret Casey, DMYC; 4028, Ffuzzy: 3, 3, 2
  3. Ian Mathews & Keith Poole, NYC; 3864, The Gruffalo: 1, 9, 1
  4. Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley, DMYC; 4081, Enfant de Marie: 4, 2, 5
  5. Tom Murphy & Karl, NYC: 4057, Fflagella: 9, 5, 3

IRO Con Murphy gave us an excellent day's racing and post the event many people noted how physical the day had been – but in a very pleasurable way!

Published in Flying Fifteen

Flying Fifteen International has announced Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy in the UK, has been selected as the venue for the 2023 FFI World Championship to be sailed between 12 - 25 August 2023.

The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy is a world-class sailing venue based on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, UK. The location provides easy access to Portland Harbour and Weymouth Bay, arguably some of the best sailing waters in the world.

Peter Allam of WPNSA commented,  "We are delighted to have been awarded the opportunity to host the 2023 Flying Fifteen World Championship. We hope that our facilities, with access to some of the best sailing waters in the world and all situated on the World Heritage status Jurassic Coastline, will encourage record numbers to participate.  Our aim is to run an international regatta in tandem with the world championship where we hope to see fleets of Silver & Classic Flying Fifteens participate, making the occasion inclusive for as many members of the global Flying Fifteen community who would like to attend. We very much look forward to welcoming you in 2023!"

WPNSA has operated on the waters of Portland Harbour and Weymouth Bay for over 20 years and has been privileged to host multiple major international and national championships, for a wide variety of classes. The hosting of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic sailing events were a significant milestone, the legacy from which has created a pool of highly experienced volunteers supported by the equally experienced professional staff of WPNSA.

As a venue WPNSA has access to multiple racecourses enabling the centre to offer more Flying Fifteen sailors the opportunity to compete at the event. The location of WPNSA provides quick access to the sheltered waters of Portland Harbour. This racecourse is ideal for the Classic Fleet World Championship races and also for the International Championship, enabling Flying Fifteen sailors with older boats and those that have not qualified for the World Championship, an opportunity to be involved. This provides a chance for club sailors to compete at a first class sailing venue and socialise with the best Flying Fifteen sailors in the world.

The revised schedule of European and World Championships is as follows:

  • The deferred 2020 European Championship will be sailed at École Navale, Lanvéoc-Poulmic, Brest, France between 13 -15 May 2021.
  • The 2022 Flying Fifteen World Championship to be sailed at Fremantle, Western Australia in February 2022, deferred from 2021 due to Covid-19. 
  • 2022 also sees the 75th Anniversary of the Flying Fifteen Class and will be celebrated between 20 - 26 August 2022 at Cowes Corinthian YC, Isle of Wight, UK. This regatta will also be a European Championship.
  • The 2023 Flying Fifteen World Championship to be sailed at Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy in the UK, from 12 - 25 August 2023.
Published in Flying Fifteen
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A rejuvenated Flying Fifteen fleet in Connemara, County Galway is boasting one of the largest fleets in the country with up to 27 actively club racing. 

Sailing takes place in clear blue seas and lovely scenery in Casla Bay from Sruthan pier in the heart of the Connemara Gaeltacht. 

Amazingly, there are a few boats still around from when the class originally arrived in Carraroe over 22 years ago. For example, Dun Laoghaire's The Real Thing, the 1988 British Championship winner sailed by Gerry Donleavy, (number 3108) is still an active racer.  3145 Havoc and 3203 Simply Red are both with the same owners. 

Since the mid-noughties, however, fleet numbers dwindled and at one point there was only a handful sailing to pass the time on summer evenings. A few attempts to revive the class over the years were made but it wasn't until the class started a local Facebook page in 2018 that the club grew from eight to 27 Flying Fifteens at present!

Flying Fifteen sailing takes place in Casla Bay from Sruthan pier Flying Fifteen sailing takes place in Casla Bay from Sruthan Pier

The introduction of a number of young people has added to the interest and helped to bring the numbers of boats up.

The current sailors range in age from 14 to around 60 so there is a large span of experience.

The Connemara Flying Fifteen fleet now numbers 27 boatsThe Connemara Flying Fifteen fleet now numbers 27 boats

The boats range from around 15 years old, from numbers in the IRL3600s, to the oldest at over 30 years, IRL1250.

Since the move to promote online, the demand for Flying Fifteens has increased and more local people wanting to join up.

The club has a summer league with two races sailed every Friday evening no matter what conditions they are keen to get out and compete.

The club is still in its infancy but it is ambitious and, according to spokesman Chris Higgins, it is a goal to be able to host an Irish Flying Fifteen West Coast championships – or even national championships – on the West Coast in the future.

The Connemara Flying Fifteens have ambitions to stage the Irish National Championships in the futureThe Connemara Flying Fifteens have ambitions to stage the Irish National Championships in the future 

Published in Flying Fifteen
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Despite the recent upheavals due to COVID-19 and after much deliberation and consultation the Flying Fifteen Association of Ireland has confirmed that the Championship of Ireland will proceed as planned at Waterford Harbour Sailing Club in Dunmore East starting on 21st August.

Competitor numbers will be down for the Toyota Waterford Championships. A turnout of about 16 is expected, half of which are travelling from the North of Ireland, according to the Class President Chris Doorly.

In 2019, the Championship was part of the Subaru Pre-World Championships at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. UK visitors Nathan Batchelor and Richard Rigg who clinched the title then are not defending in 2020, so there should be a new name on it by Sunday evening August 23rd.

Despite the small fleet, racing will be very competitive, As Afloat reported previously, 1988 and 1992 Olympian Peter Kennedy, also a former Irish SB20 champion, is back in the fleet and so is 1995 Fireball world champion, John Lavery, sailing with Alan Green, with some early success already on Dublin Bay. Strangford Lough's Andy and Rory Martin will also be among the favourites in the small but competitive outing.

Waterford Harbour duo Lee Statham and Charlie Boland lead the local challenge.

The club has put in procedures based on Government and Public Health Guidelines and have appointed a COVID Officer for the event with the priority being the safety of club members, competitors and the local community. The changing rooms and showers will not be available and there will be limited access to the club depending on numbers and social distancing.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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The Flying Fifteen Facet cup being presented by Facet Jewellers based in Dun Laoghaire, as an added encouragement to race on the August Bank Holiday weekend, has become one of the domestic Class‘s main events of the season and as ever was well supported by one of the biggest One Design fleets in the bay, with all but three of the DBSC registered boats on the water.

Racing was held in the Sandymount side of the bay, and with the offshore breeze proved to be a mental challenge to all but the winners, who scored a double win. Others having a mixed bag of results. In both races “Frequent Flyer” with guest helm John Lavery found the best path to the first mark, and never looked back.

The overall result for the day was; First 3970 John Lavery, Second 4045 Gerry Ryan, Third 3955 Ken Dumpleton.

Pat Shannon from Facet Jewellers kindly presented the prizes from a “social distance” in the dinghy park in the National Yacht Club.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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The Dublin Bay Flying Fifteen class continue to get good numbers out racing in the DBSC series with 13 boats on the start line last night.

A good SE breeze with strong gusts and a big sea made for great sailing and race officer Brian Mathews set a great course.

Frequent Flyer was quick off the start line and soon lead the race but were chased closely all the way by McCourt & O’Leary.

These two established a good lead away from the pack but Green & Doorly in Frequent Flyer held their nerve while navigating the other fleets to take the gun followed closely by McCourt & O’Leary.

Sherry and Quinn took third place with the Meagher’s a close fourth.

Results of last night's race are here

Published in Flying Fifteen
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The second Dublin Bay Sailing Club Thursday evening race with a stiff 15 knots breeze off the shore was a contrast to the previous week with light airs shakedown race. The revised format for this year has additional classes starting from the committee boat with a course using one of the set marks and two temporary buoys.

PRO for the evening Brian Mathews positioned “Freebird” S.E. of the piers in the area of Molly mark which was the leeward mark of the course. Twelve Flying Fifteens were out to record the biggest fleet in the bay. In the pre-start gusts, 3749 (Peter Sherry & Mick Quinn) had to return to shore with a broken gooseneck fitting.

The first two classes off, SB20s and Sports Boats opted for the committee boat end and off up the bay on a beat to the weather mark in a position off the mouth of Dun Laoghaire Harbour. On the Flying Fifteen start, 4068 David Mulvin and Ronan Beirne opted for the pin end as did 3753 Alastair Court and Conor O’Leary and 3970 Chris Doorly and Nicki Mathews. 3753 got to the weather mark first closely followed by 4068 who took the lead on the downwind leg. The first triangle was followed by a sausage. On the leeward mark, 4068 opted to gybe set with the others opting for a later gybe. This was followed by the final long triangle beat with 4068 keeping cover on 3753. At the final leeward mark, there was the classic Dublin Bay Thursday situation with two Shipman 28’s, a Dragon and 4068 converging on the mark. David Mulvin used the agility of the fifteen to steer a course and inside the other yachts at the mark to round and sail the final beat to the line ensuring cover was kept on 3753. “Ignis Caput” kept to her name “fire ahead” to get the gun in Dublin Bay’s biggest class on the evening.

A good stiff wind was harnessed with the excellent Olympic triangle course set by PRO Brian Mathews. Supported by the “Freebird” crew and mark layers provided an excellent evenings race.

Remember those plutonic courses of former years which in a wet flying fifteen one has to write down the course from a soggy course card on a slate and sometimes inside the 5 min gun, this surely is a much-improved format.

1) 4068 “Ignis Caput” David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne
2) 3753 “Finisterre” Alastair Court & Conor O’Leary
3) 4028 “Fuzzy” Neil Colin & Margaret Casey

Published in Flying Fifteen
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The 2021 Flying Fifteen International World Championship that was scheduled to be sailed at the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in Western Australia next February has been cancelled, according to Afloat sources.

There is no official news of the cancellation yet but there were growing doubts over the viability of the event due to COVID-19.

It was understood there was Irish interest in the event following the National Yacht Club's staging of the 2019 biennial Subaru sponsored World Championships at Dun Laoghaire Harbour last September.

As a result of the Fremantle cancellation, future FFI World Championships may now also need to be rescheduled.

The Flying Fifteen is one of Ireland's biggest one-design keelboat classes. The Irish National Championships are being held next month in County Waterford.

Flying Fifteen International adds (July 15): 

Flying Fifteen International in conjunction with the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club announced today that the 2021 Flying Fifteen World and Australian Championships would be postponed until 11th to 26th February 2022.

The event will remain in the same format as the proposed 2021 event, but delayed by a year due to the global COVID 19 pandemic. As previously announced the event will be sailed out of Fremantle Sailing Club (FSC) with Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club (RFBYC) being the Organising Authority. South of Perth Yacht Club (SoPYC) is also supporting the regattas.

RFBYC Commodore, Gary McNally, said:

“RFBYC fully supports the change in date and remains committed as the Organising Authority for this prestigious event. We will continue to work collaboratively with the Flying Fifteen Associations, FSC, members and volunteers from both RFBYC and SoPYC to bring this event to fruition. We look forward to welcoming regional, interstate and overseas competitors to enjoy the hospitality of the three Clubs involved and of course the superb sailing conditions off Fremantle.”
The World’s Committee recommended that RFBYC request a postponement of the World Championship event from FFI, as it was not clear that international visitors would be able to attend the event, due to travel restrictions imposed by the Australian and State Governments at the present time.

RFBYC looks forward to welcoming competitors to Fremantle, and in particular, the many visitors expected from Overseas and the East Coast. The facilities at FSC are world class and that Fremantle is renowned throughout the World for its unique sailing conditions. The proposed course area at Owen Anchorage is a location that has been used for numerous World Championship events, including the Perth 2011 ISAF World Championships and a host of other National and International Sailing events.


Published in Flying Fifteen
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After the excitement of the Subaru Flying Fifteen World Championships on Dublin Bay last year there is a renewed interest in the keelboat class with some famous names teams to spice things up in 2020.

Both 1992 Olympian Peter Kennedy from Strangford Lough and 1995 Fireball World Champion John Lavery of Dublin Bay return to the class after a number of years absence. And Greystones-based Shane McCarthy, the 2016 GP14 world Champion, is also getting in on the act so it promises to be an ultra-competitive season ahead at the top of the 20-foot one design.

Waterford Harbour Sailing Club has issued the Notice of Race for August's Flying Fifteen National Championships, the main event of the season. The event from 21-23 August is been shared with the 420 class and Brian Mathews will be the PRO.

Class President Chris Doorly said that they were delighted to be getting back on the water after the first two regional events had to be cancelled due to the COVID virus restrictions. The class was now looking forward to visiting Dunmore East one of the most popular and exciting sailing areas in the country.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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The Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) season first race was last Thursday but due to COVID-19 it never happened. To mark the occasion, the following imaginary Flying Fifteen race report was written by Cormac Bradley for the biggest one-design fleet on the Bay. The report started life as an initial post to the ultra-keen FF Dun Laoghaire WhatsApp Group and then grew by a few more paragraphs to become a 'full report' using conditions that prevailed last Thursday on an empty Dublin Bay. It is intended by Cormac to introduce a little bit of light relief, distraction and possible humour from the fact that no one is actually on the water!

The 2020 DBSC season got underway tonight in a light WNW of about seven knots and an imposing grey sky! After a slightly "fizzled out" end to the 2019 season, following a very successful Worlds, an enthusiastic fleet of 16 Flying Fifteens gathered for the first race of 2020. As well as the established partnerships of Cahill & Cahill, Mathews & Poole, Colin & Casey, Mulligan & Bradley, and Coleman & Quinn, the fleet was joined by several new combinations who have got into the class on the back of the successful Worlds.

Flying Fifteen Worlds 7579The Flying Fifteens launch at the 2019 Subaru-sponsored World Championships at the National Yacht Club

Race Officer Jack Roy opened the 2020 DBSC account for the Flying Fifteens by giving them course N3 – Harbour-Omega-Poldy-Bay-East – all to port apart from Bay. Tidal conditions favoured those who were determined to push the line - the Fifteen start was into the very early stages of the 2nd hour of an ebbing tide. That prompted the majority of the fleet to congregate at the pin end of the line so that they could get inshore. A much smaller group of Colin, Mulligan and Alistair Court with Conor O’Leary sought the stronger breeze further out. At the first mark, honours were even between the two separate groups. At Harbour Mark the fleet was led round by Colin/Casey followed by Ken Dumpleton of the inshore group, Cahill/Cahill also inshore, Mulligan & Court from the offshore group and Mathews, Meagher, Green from the inshore track.

Spinnakers were hoisted for the leg to Omega and onto Poldy. Given that there were some gusts coming through causing the wind to go slightly more northerly, some of the chasing group including Mulvin & Beirne and Miller & Butler took the unconventional decision to give immediately at harbour to pursue a course in the stronger tide offshore and the gusts coming in from the north. Ultimately, they would have to gybe back again to leave Omega to port and make their way to Poldy. In the lead group Dumpleton and Cahill decided that there wasn't enough excitement upfront and embarked on a luffing match that saw them forced into a much more inshore route to Omega, really only a passing mark in this course configuration.

That allowed Colin to open a gap ahead while from behind Mulligan, Court, Mathews, Meagher and Green soaked offshore to guard their flanks against the "black sheep" approach of Miller and Mulvin. The breeze got up a notch or two to provide a bit more excitement on the leg to Poldy where the sequence of rounding was Colin, Mulvin, Court, Miller, Mulligan, Dumpleton, Mathews, Meagher, Green and Cahill.

With the wind building to 12 knots in the gusts, the long beat to Bay was going to stretch everyone's early-season muscles. With the ebbing tide getting stronger the perennial question had to be asked - Out of the tide or stay in the breeze?

As to be expected none of the boats at the front end of the fleet were going to do anything too radical. The kudos of the opening 2020 DBSC win was too much to throw away on a flyer. And so, it evolved! The lead boats initially took a port tack hitch back towards the harbour before peeling off at different stages to claw some inshore brownie points and to get out of the tide. Colin led this strategy being the first to peel off. Mulvin and Court followed soon after, but Green and Mulligan persisted that bit longer and with a heavier 2020 version of Bradley, compared to 2019 - too many black-tie dinners - Mulligan started to make inroads on the leader. The "late throwing of double sixes" thus fell to Coleman & Quinn who took the long offshore hike before cutting inshore on the starboard lay line. Green, with Class President Doorly on board got this leg right to leave a much-altered pecking order at Bay - Colin, with a much-reduced lead, Mulligan, Green, Coleman and Court.

The leg to East was a tame affair, nobody straying too far off the thumb line. Colin, forced to keep a wary eye on Mulligan, found himself being pulled back into the peloton while Green was able to take advantage of this cat and mouse game to close even further. These three rounded East covered by an oversized blanket. An interesting cover match must surely ensue!

While Colin and Green headed inshore, Mulligan hung right hoping to eke out an advantage from the easing breeze, there seeming to be less breeze inshore. However, when it goes light Colin is in his element and he managed to keep Green at bay, crossing the line first. Mulligan and Green approached the line from opposite ends with Mulligan attempting a lee-bow on Green but Green managed to roll him over and claim second. Behind the podium three Mulvin came home next, followed by Coleman, Court and Mathews.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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