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Northern Ireland's Andy McCleery and Colin Dougan were the winners of Sunday's East Coast Flying Fifteen Championships at County Antrim Yacht Club.

The NI pair tied with National Champions Dave Gorman and Chris Doorly of Dublin Bay going into the last race but McCleery and Dougan prevailed to win in very light airs.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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A 16-boat Flying Fifteen fleet had an interesting course that made use of the temporary replacement of Harbour mark and took us to a new mark that we haven’t visited for quite some time: Island.

The race proceeding commences in a lively wind that came out of the north-west and with the wind fighting the tide, there was the prospect of playing some nice waves under spinnaker.

At the outset, let me say that there will be several names missing from this report — three Fifteeners were on the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race but by the time of the DBSC start one of those had been forced into retirement.

Messrs Colin, Green and O’Leary had been riding bigger boats since 18:00 the previous evening but Colin’s steed had to pull in to Kilmore Quay with steering difficulties.

On our race course there were some new combinations out, or rather the usual combinations weren’t out. So, for example, Keith Poole helmed The Gruffalo, rather than crewing it. Niall Coleman (Flyer) had a new crew because Mick Quin is still on the injury list; Alan Balfe and Ken Dumpleton seemed to have changed crews; and Ben Mulligan took the evening off and was replaced by Glenn Fisher, making his Flying Fifteen helming debut. So, if in the course of this report, you aren’t named, it’s because I don’t have the names.

Dave Gorman and Chris Doorly (3920, Betty) made their initial break from the fleet off the start line where virtually everyone went inshore. They were the first to break onto port to make a bee-line for Harbour, broke away by a short distance, rounded Harbour first and were never headed again.

Behind them there was a reasonably tight cluster of Dave Mulvin and Ronan Bierne (4068, Ignis Caput Duo), Ken Dumpleton (3955, Rodriguez), Niall Coleman (4008, Flyer) Tom Murphy (4057, Fflagella) and Keith Poole (3864, The Gruffalo).

The leg from Harbour to East was the best of the night — good waves for the downwind spinnaker leg, good breeze and virtually everyone was in the company of an adjacent Fifteen to make sure there was competition down through the fleet.

The gybe at East to go inshore to Bulloch was deceptive and to a certain extent we all played ‘follow my leader’. As the blue spinnaker of Gorman and Doorly dropped, we all assumed it was too tight to hold the spinnaker to Bulloch — it wasn’t and about halfway down this leg the colours were broken out again.

Indeed, the middle of the fleet had more courage, and Hugh and Michael Cahill (3606, Frenetic) made huge gains by flying spinnaker from the off. Others who closed the gap included Frank Miller and Ed Butler (3845, Glass Half Full) with Brian O’Hare (4045, No Name) sticking with two sails to get himself back into the game.

From Bulloch, the fleet had a beat back up to Bay and it appeared that the inshore route to the mark was best. Having lost places in the rounding of Bulloch, Fisher and Bradley (3688, As Good as It Gets) hauled themselves back into the middle of the fleet again by working a slightly more offshore course, but a bit of conservatism at Bay allowed Ross Doyle & Cas (3737, Eleni) to sneak in ahead of them.

By now the wind was starting to ease and the leg to East and on again to Island were softer with much less dynamism. With a flooding tide, the choice should have been to stay low to Island, knowing that the tide would push you from left to right, but it was amazing to see so many boats upwind of the rhumb line to Island which made for a much slower approach to the mark.

From their comfort position at the head of the fleet, all that Gorman and Doorly needed to do was keep an eye on what the others were doing and there was a wide range of choice.

The majority of the fleet worked middle and left of the beat but by my reckoning, the boat with the name ‘Flyer’ took a flyer and went very hard right. It didn’t seem to pay as much as he might have liked. The beat to the finish was not easy as the wind was running out of puff, but there was still a slightly bumpy sea to negotiate.

Thursday 13th June – DBSC Thursdays 1

  1. Dave Gorman & Chris Doorly, 3920, Betty
  2. Ken Dumpleton & Crew, 3955, Rodriguez
  3. Dave Mulvin & Ronan Bierne, 4068, Ignis Caput Duo
  4. Tom Murphy & Crew, 4057, Fflagella
  5. Keith Poole & Crew, 3864, The Gruffalo
Published in DBSC
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The excitement is building for the first regional event of the year with the Flying Fifteen Northern Championships being hosted this weekend by Strangford Sailing Club. It is one of the first events to be held since the rebuilding of the clubhouse after a fire destroyed the premises last year and the class are delighted to have this event there where there has been an active and vibrant fleet of Fifteens since racing started on the Lough.

There is also a vibrant fleet within Strangford Lough and also along the northeast coast and with good numbers turning out at club racing a fleet of over 20 boats are expected. It is an important year for the class with the Subaru World Championships taking place in September so getting good racing in is a priority for this season.

As usual in this fleet, it is very hard to call the winner as the racing is always close and exciting and any of a number of boats could win. Locals Andy McCleery & Colin Dougan (PSC) will be one of the favourites knowing this patch of water so well along with other Strangford Lough crews including Roger Chamberlain & Charlie Horder (SLSC) along with Andy & Rory Martin (SLSC). A strong contingent is also travelling up from Dublin including current National Champions Dave Gorman & Chris Doorly (NYC) and Ian Mathews & Keith Poole (NYC). Tom Murphy and David Mulvin in their new boats will also be hoping to make an impression.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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Beijing Olympian Tim Goodbody junior of the Royal Irish Yacht Club finished second overall sailing an elderly Flying Fifteen in Palma Vela in Mallorca, Spain at the weekend.

Originally created as a regatta for Maxis, and formerly known as the Maxi Race Week, the Spanish regatta has grown since 2004 to now feature racing from a raft of one design classes each May.

Goodbody was sailing 'a 30-year-old boat with pretty old sails' with crew Vincent Harris to take second in the ten boat fleet.

He wasn't the only Irish sailor in the fleet either with County Antrim's Jocelyn Hill fourth. Results are here

The 16th Palma Vela regatta delivered a perfect European season curtain raiser with warm spring sunshine and a full range of light to moderately fresh winds and everything from flat calm waters to rolling waves in the Bay of Palma.

The Flying Fifteen fleet sailed the full complement of 9 races over a three day weekend, sharing a course with Vipers, Dragons and J80’s. The Flying Fifteen fleet was one of the biggest with sailors from Spain, the UK, Ireland, Australia and South Africa. There was also mixed and family teams sailing together, all returning ashore with broad smiles after long days out on the water.

The experience also varied greatly. A new father and son team of Juan and Miguel Agular Caballero representing the local club Real Club Nautico Palma sailing an old boat for the first time. Juan is a teenage local Oppi champion. Also an experienced dinghy sailor Jocelyn Hill helming a chartered boat with her dad Alan stepping into the F15 for the first time. At the other end of the scale are regular Flying Fifteen sailors who sail out of the Port of Pollensa at the Northeastern tip of Mallorca. These included an ex-Olympic sailor from Ireland, James Waugh and his Australian crew Ben Carwadine, and an ex-America’s Cup sailor David Miles sailing with his wife Corinne.

The first day’s racing was a gentle introduction to the Bay of Palma with a light to moderate afternoon sea breeze. All three races were won by James Waugh and crew Ben Carwardine sailing ‘Puffin’. However, they were pushed hard by a local team of Tim Goodbody and Vincent Harris sailing ‘Perfect Alibi’ who had stepped back in the Flying Fifteen after a long break sailing other classes.

Both these teams benefitted in the first race of the regatta when the majority of the fleet sailed an extended course having not read the sailing instructions well enough! The Northern Irish team of Jocelyn and Alan Hill also took advantage of the error to finish 3rd. The middle order places were mostly taken up by the RNCP Pollensa teams.

Day two of the regatta started very similarly in very light airs and warm sunshine. Most of the fleet needed a tow out of the harbour to get to the race course, one of four different courses in the Bay of Palma. Race 4 of the regatta was again won by the Irish/Australian team sailing ‘Puffin’ followed by Tim and Vincent in ‘Perfect Alibi’. Third this time was RNCP Pollensa sailors Scott Walker and Andrew Harvey sailing ‘Ffiel Good’.

The second race of the day was started in similar light winds but on the first downwind leg of the windward/leeward course the breeze swung a full 90 degrees forcing the race committee to abandon. There then followed a long wait in the mid day sun when the breeze went into the transition phase waiting for the afternoon sea breeze. Just as most sailors were settling down for an afternoon nap, bobbing about, out of nowhere came a full on blast from the North directly offshore. The breeze quickly developed into a 20+ knot gusty blow causing a rapid change of sailing gear for those who had brought out their wet gear!

Race 5 was a real blast, ‘Puffin’ took an early lead but a kite failure on the first downwind leg lost them distance. ‘Perfect Alibi’ scorched past with another chartered boat, ‘Wight Flyer’ with RCNP Pollensa helm Jonny Fullerton sailing with another light scratch crew from South Africa ‘micro Milan’ surfing downwind in pursuit. Lap two took its tole on a number of competitors with breakages and retirements. Tim Goodbody and Vincent Harris extended their lead to take the gun from a great downwind dog fight between ‘Wight Flyer’ and ‘Puffin’ who had fixed their boat and got back in the race. On the last gybe before the finish a major wipe out by ‘Wight Flyer’ had them on their side allowing the Puffin to snatch 2nd. ‘Wight Flyer’ recovered for 3rd.

Whilst most of the fleet were sailing for home the Flying Fifteens were kept out for their final race of the day having had one abandoned earlier. The gusty conditions continued causing a bit more drama on the start line when ‘Wight Flyer’ broke her tiller and collided with David and Corinne Miles’ ‘Stormtrooper 1V’. The remainder of the fleet struggled round scoring low points just by finishing. The race was won by Tim Goodbody and Vincent Harris reducing the overnight lead of James Waugh and Ben Carwardine to just 2 points.

After the usual parties on the terrace of the Real Club Nautico Palma backed up by a mega ‘cook your own BBQ’ there were a few sore heads and some weary sailors for the final days racing.

It looked to be Deja-vu with a light breeze early morning but it soon built to deliver champagne sailing in another moderate 16 - 18-knot Seabreeze. The fleet heads out for the final three races.

James Waugh and Ben Carwadine looked to had done enough by winning race 7 but the locals in ‘Perfect Alibi’ reversed the tables in race 8 until the very last 100m of the downwind leg. By stuffing the bow of ‘Puffin’ across the finish line a nose ahead the Irish/Australian pair had done enough to seal the regatta win without sailing the final race.

The last race was sailed by a reduced fleet late in the afternoon. It was comfortably won by Tim Goodbody and Vincent Harris sailing ‘Perfect Alibi’ into second place overall. With a string of consistent third places, RNCP Pollensa team Jonny Walker and Stephen Babbage claimed third overall sailing ‘Fuego Fatuo’.

The 16th Palma Vela was the perfect start to the European season and a great chance to scratch some of the rust off before a busy calendar of Flying Fifteen racing. The local F15 fleet has their ‘Mallorcan Championship’ to be sailed on the weekend of 8 - 9 June at Port de Pollensa and a number of the Spanish fleet are polishing up their acts for the Flying Fifteen Subaru World Championships hosted by the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire in September.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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At 17:00 yesterday afternoon, no one would have been too put out if the DBSC Flying Fifteen racing for the evening had been “canned”. A day of heavy rain with very little wind, it was more akin to a late September day than a day that was closer to summer. However, between 17:00 and 17:30, the rain disappeared, the sun came out and what was revealed from the greyness was a light breeze from an easterly direction.

On the way out to the starting area, Race Officer Jack Roy advised the fleet that while conditions were light in view of the fact that we had lost the previous Thursday due to no wind at all, the race team were going to persist with the evening’s activities. He set, by his own admission, a shorter course to try and allow for the light wind and a strong ebbing tide and by way of the latter, warned starters that the tide would be pushing them over the start line.

This correspondent’s approach to the start was late due to the light winds inside the harbour and possibly a slightly late arrival at the club. The consequence was that two of the three DMYC entries on the evening were out late and missed the start by the order of 1½ - 2minutes.

However, they were joined by two OCS boats who returned late while there was a suggestion on the water that a third OCS had gone back much earlier relative to the start signal. That at least meant that we had some company on the water as we were ahead, on the water, of the late OCSs, but the majority of the fleet had a distinct advantage.

The majority view was to head out to sea on the way to East Mark and Dave Mulvin and Ronan Beirne (4068) led the charge in that regard. The rounding of East Mark was led by Mulvin with Dave Gorman & Chris Doorly (3920) in second – this identification based on spinnaker colours only. Also, well placed were Tom Murphy & Karl (4057) and Niall Coleman (4008). By East Mark this correspondent was nipping at the back end of the punctual starters and in the company of Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (4028), Frank Miller & Cas (3845) and slightly further ahead Alistair Court & Conor O’Leary (3573).

The two spinnaker legs to Molly and Bay didn’t generate much change, though the distances between the boats in our company did close. Molly to Bay was a “semi-tight” reach. After Bay, there was a long beat to Poldy and Mulvin/Bierne seemed to get even further ahead on this leg.

Having got back into the “middle body” of the race at Bay, this correspondent saw distance lost on the leg to Poldy to some of the boats ahead but retention of the boats behind. After Poldy, there was a spinnaker leg to Molly and onto Pier with the leaders staying out to the right-hand side of this latter leg before gybing back inshore and then again to round Pier. Mulvin & Bierne were comfortable throughout the race and were never challenged. Gorman & Doorly were in the same situation, but my sense is that there may have been some shuffling going on behind them. Regrettably, I was not close enough to the action to give a more detailed account, so all I can do is record the finishing positions.

  1. Dave Mulvin & Ronan Bierne, 4068, Ignus Caput II
  2. Dave Gorman & Chris Doorly, 3920, Betty
  3. Niall Colman & Crew*, 4008, Flyer
  4. Tom Murphy & Karl, 4057 Fflagella
  5. Adrian Alex & Crew*, 3198, Gulfstream.

*I was too far away to identify individual crews and some regular crews are on the “injury list”, so apologies to those whose names I have missed.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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The National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire has preparations well underway to host the 2019 Flying Fifteen World Championships. 

The event was launched on Wednesday and will see up to 80 two-person boats take to the water for the qualifying Pre-worlds from Sept 2 – 7 and thereafter the World Championships proper on Sept 8 -13.

Crews from as far away as Australia and Hong Kong are preparing for make their way to Ireland for the event – which will take place 50 years after the first Flying Fifteen boats came to Dublin Bay and the National Yacht Club.

Ireland has hosted the Flying Fifteen World Championships twice before – in 1992 and 2003 but this year’s event will be biggest operation yet. In 2003 the event was sponsored by Subaru Cars and once again in 2019 the car brand will take on the role as a primary sponsor.

The National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire are the hosting Club and Commodore Martin McCarthy described the plans for the World Championship: “The National YC is proud to be hosting this major event – the only keelboat Sailing world championships to be held in Ireland this year. We have an army of local and club volunteers lined up to support the operation on and off the water. We are delighted to be welcoming visitors from around the world to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown and show global sailing influencers that Dublin Bay and Dun Laoghaire is a marvellous venue for large, high-quality sailing championships”.

Event Chairman Niall Meagher added: “The event is possible thanks to the generous and active support of a number of parties. Our primary sponsor Subaru Ireland, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, Flying Fifteen International, Sailing Ireland and other enthusiastic supporters. There is major spinoff for tourism in the Borough and for  building its reputation as a global sailing venue.”

Pat Ryan, Managing Director of Subaru Ireland commented ‘We are delighted to be providing this additional sponsorship support to the Dún Laoghaire Flying Fifteen fleet and to assist with preparations for the busy year ahead. Subaru were the official sponsor of the Flying Fifteen World Championships way back in 2003 which was the last time this event came to Ireland so we are delighted to be involved again this time around. Subaru have a range of versatile, safe and capable AWD vehicles which are perfect for towing and as a result we feel our association with the sailing community, and in particular, the Subaru Flying Fifteen World Sailing Championships, is a perfect match for our brand’.

Published in Subaru
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With the Subaru Flying Fifteen World Championships combined with an International event and the Championships of Ireland, this September promises to be a festival of sailing on Dublin Bay hosted by the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire.

Preparations are well underway and all countries have completed their qualification series with the closing date for those qualified and early entries to the event of 30th April. There are also a number of places available in the Pre Worlds which is the Championship of Ireland, for crews to enter the World Championships. The event takes place 50 years after the first Flying Fifteens raced in Dublin Bay.

The Worlds and Pre Worlds will have prizes a plenty, the fleet will fight it out for Orange, Green and Blue fleet prizes as well as day and spot prizes so if you have not already entered there is still time to get your entries in!.

Joining the expected good number of local boats, crews from as far away as New Zealand, Australia and Canada, as well as closer neighbours from Spain, France and the UK., are all preparing to make their way to Ireland for the event. These include current World Champion Steve Goacher & Tim Harper (UK), European Champions from Lake Garda Hamish McKay & and Andrew Lawson (UK) along with the National Champions of most countries including Ireland's Dave Gorman & Chris Doorly from the host club.

April 30th also sees the official launch of the event at the National Yacht Club with the main title sponsor Subaru along with a number of other sponsors that will all help make it a successful championship.

Published in National YC
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Thirteen Flying Fifteens answered Race Officer Jack Roy’s call to the start of the first race of the Dublin Bay Sailing Club’s 2019 Summer Season and two of those were so excited at the prospect of the return of summer evening sailing that they were recorded as OCS. It was anything like “summer” during the day with overcast conditions and drizzle than gave way to rain and a forecast that suggested a boisterous start to the evening’s proceeding but a wind that would fade away. And so, it proved!

With an ebbing tide and the wind in the SSE quadrant of the compass, it was a lumpy sea that greeted the Fifteens on their way out to the start area and the first wave over the top was a VERY cold one!

The fleet all started on starboard tack with an even distribution along the line. There were some different crew combinations on the line, one brand-new boat, a sail number I didn’t readily recognise and as indicated two boats that were recorded as OCS. From my vantage point, I thought it was more!

Course J2 was set, with the first mark being Battery (T) and the fleet was split on whether to go offshore or inshore. Those boats which started on the committee boat had declared their hands in this regard – earliest opportunity to get inshore. And this charge was led by 3198, Adrian Alex, 3995, Alan Balfe and 3864, Alan Green and they were later joined by 3845, Frank Miller and 4068, Dave Mulvin. At Battery Alan Green, crewed by Keith Poole “snuck” into first place followed by Mulvin and Immediate Past Commodore, NYC, Ronan Bierne. In third place was Miller with Cormac Bradley at the pointy-end. 3198 was also in the bunch, with Balfe “loitering with intent”. A quick hoist helped Miller/Bradley into the weather berth and they and Green/Poole and Mulvin/Bierne started to open a gap on the balance of the fleet.

Omega (Y) was really only a passing mark en-route to Molly (N) and the leading three boats swapped gybes in the final approach to the mark. Green/Poole rounded clear ahead while Miller/Bradley having got ahead of Mulvin/Bierne still felt obliged to remind them that they didn’t have water. While Green and Miller headed inshore, Mulvin broke off earlier to take a hike out to sea. This time Omega was a turning mark and it turned out that the inshore route was the way to go. Green had maintained a lead over Miller, but Mulvin had lost some ground. The run out to Molly was played safe by everyone and the 1-2-3 stayed “as-was” but the likes of Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (4028) and Balfe (3995) closed the gap somewhat.

Rounding Molly for the second time led to a much longer beat to Bulloch (R). Again, the trend was to go inshore. Miller closed the straight-line distance to Green and sailed beyond him but dropped to leeward. Green tacked earlier than Miller who probably went 100m further inshore. When they met again Green’s lead was down to a boat-length and his attempted cross of Miller on port tack had to be abandoned for a crash tack that also necessitated Miller taking avoiding action. Green/Poole led into Bulloch and headed lower than Miller/Bradley who had been checking the course of the sole Dragon ahead of them, with a luminous pink spinnaker, and stayed high. Their decision was vindicated early on when both Colin and Balfe also stayed high. It was further vindicated when they saw a luminous “P” on Poldy mark.

Green/Poole sailed a tight spinnaker reach to hold onto second place but now they had to be wary of the chasing Mulvin, Colin and Balfe. Poldy to Pier (V) was a comfortable spinnaker leg with surfing conditions in the big waves but the wind had eased off.

Rounding Pier, Miller/Bradley sailed on to the inshore slot to ensure they could cover Green/Poole into the finish.

1. 3845: Glass Half Full – Frank Miller & Cormac Bradley
2. 3864: The Gruffalo – Alan Green & Keith Poole
3. 4068: Ignis Caput II - Dave Mulvin & Ronan Bierne
4. 3995: Perfect Ten – Alan Balfe & Crew
5. 4028: No name – Neil Colin & Margaret Casey

Published in Flying Fifteen
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The Flying Fifteen class will return to Strangford Sailing Club for its Northern Championships this May, the first time the keelboat class has sailed at the County Down venue since the clubhouse was destroyed by fire in 2017.

The new club structure is now in place but the Strangford Sailing Club lost all its memorabilia pictures and trophies in the blaze.

Writing in the latest edition of the Flying Fifteen newsletter, class President Chris Doorly says 'we will celebrate Strangford's new start with our Northern Champs on May 18'.

Key dates for the club in 2019 are the SSC Open Day on Saturday 4th May and the Bar Buoy race on Friday 12th July. The SSC Regatta is on Saturday 13th July.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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In near perfect conditions for the month of November, fifteen Flying Fifteens turned out at the weekend on what was dubbed 'Super Saturday' with six races for the conclusion of the Mitsubishi Flying Fifteen Frostbite Series hosted by the NYC.

There was an S/SE breeze with a big swell from the incoming tide so generally the fleet were behind the start line and PRO Ian Mathews and his hard-working team on the rolling committee boat were able to get all the races completed. As each race was just one lap the racing was close so any mistakes would be punished, combined with the fact that none of the contenders could afford a bad result as the discards were all used. Three races combined constituted one race so anything could happen but consistency would be key.

Brian Willis & John McPeake (CABC) were quickest out of the blocks and won the first two races with Green & Doorly (NYC) and Harrison & Sheard (LNSC) close behind Going into the last series of races which combined was race 2 Green & Doorly had a good lead overall but still could not afford a bad result. Playing the shifts, keeping clear air and avoiding trouble they won the next two races which combined with a fourth in the last race secured the series overall. The last race was won comfortably by Coughlan & Marshall (NYC) which gave them the Silver fleet prize with the bronze fleet prize going to O’Sullivan & O’Donnell (NYC)

This event has expanded over the years and this year we had visitors from Antrim and Lough Neagh who’s efforts in travelling down were rewarded with great racing by Ian Mathews and his great team on the committee boat and in the ribs. It also bring an end to what was an exciting and long season and with the World Championships in Dublin next season there is a lot to look forward to.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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