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With the Deloitte sponsored Irish Flying Fifteen National Championships only ten days away Cormac Bradley speculates on the runners and riders in what will double up as the third leg of a selection process for the host fleet of the 2019 World Championships which are scheduled for late summer 2019 at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire.

In order to review the status of the fleet, this review will go back to 12 months ago and the 2017 National Championship in Whitehead, Co. Antrim where the title was won comfortably by Steve Goacher & Alan Green (4021), by a margin of 8 points, with the pecking order behind them being Andy McCleery & Colin Dougan (4037), Andy & Rory Martin (3974), Brian McKee & Ian Smith and closing out the top five, Lee Statham & Andrew Paul (3896). So while the Dun Laoghaire fleet may boast significant fleet numbers, three of the top five at the National Championship of Ireland from 12 months ago came from outside Dun Laoghaire and half of the winning crew was also not resident in the borough even if he is a popular and regular visitor to these parts. The fifth-placed crew came from a club which has only two boats – Waterford Harbour Sailing Club! However, it should be noted that as the last day of the 2017 Championship was a breezy one, a significant number of boats decided not to race and this did influence the final finishing order. But, the suggested advantage of sailing in the large and competitive fleet in Dun Laoghaire on Thursday evening s and Saturdays was not translating to significant results on the regatta circuit.

1878143ddfeb51325c2f76cd4b1eb069 L2017 winners Steve Goacher and Alan Green

At the first election event of the 2018 season, in Ballyholme, two of the top three in the final pecking order were again outside the Dun Laoghaire fraternity with Dave Gorman & Chris Doorly finishing second to the Martin brothers and ahead of McCleery & Dougan. Messrs Gorman & Doorly were leading overnight in Ballyholme but that was due to an unfortunate breakage for the Martin brothers in one race on Saturday – a situation that was attested to in the report on Afloat on the Saturday evening.

Since the Ballyholme event, there have been two significant regattas that may give a “heads-up” to the National Championship of Ireland – The Flying Fifteen British Isles Championships & Northerns in Whiterock, Strangford Lough, the second 2019 selection event for the Irish fleet and the European Championships in Lake Garda. But the results at both events are nominally skewed for reasons unique to each event.

In Strangford, an event that was due to run from Wednesday to Saturday was devoid of any meaningful wind for three days and the regatta was shoe-horned into a three-race series on the Saturday morning. That meant a “no-discard regatta”, doubly hard on indiscretions on the water.

Gorman Doorly 3534Dave Gorman and Chris Doorly were best of the Irish in fourth place at this year's British Nationals Photo: Afloat.ie

Dave Gorman & Chris Doorly were the best of the Irish in 4th place, with a score-line of 3, 6, 13 to finish fourth overall, with the winners, Steve Goacher & Tim Harper accumulating 4 points. Second of the Irish in 10th overall and a scorecard of 17, 22, 11 were Roger Chamberlain & Charlie Horder (3962), with Irish boats finishing 11th and 12th overall, Jeff Harrison & Rory Hickland (3648) (11, 12, 29) from Lough Neagh followed by the Martin brothers (7, 40, 9) respectively. McCleery & Dougan were 14th, with Neil and Colin & Margaret Casey 15th. Despite carrying a 50-point penalty for a DSQ, Ian Mathews & Keith Poole (3864) were 20th as their other scores were 7th & 8th and the DSQ was a good result on the water.

Thus, after two selection events, the FFAI posted the following “provisional” status of the selection process. The emphasis on provisional by the author is not to challenge the validity of the document but simply to afford it the status given to it by the Association.

Provisional Ranking – Selection Series

World Championships 2019*

East Coast Championships Ballyholme

Northern Championships Strangford

Total

Dave Gorman & Chris Doorly

49

50

99

Andy & Rory Martin

50

47

97

Andy McCleery & Colin Dougan

48

46

94

Roger Chamberlain & Charlie Horder

42

49

91

Ian Mathews & Keith Poole

44

43

87

Brian McKee & Ian Smith

47

40

87

Stewart Harrison & Tim Sheard

39

44

83

Jeff Harrison & Rory Hickland

33

48

81

Neil Colin & Margaret Casey

36

45

81

Lee Statham & Andrew Paul

38

42

80

Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley

43

37

80

*As posted to the What’s App Flying Fifteen Group.

The highlighted boxes indicate those who are in qualifying places as of early July and again are a provisional declaration by the Association.

"it is difficult to see where a winner for the National Championship of Ireland will come from"

Lake Garda in mid-September is the final regatta indicator that will be referenced in this preview and saw six Irish boats in a 35-boat fleet made up of British, Irish and a solitary Hong Kong entry, at least in terms of sail number declarations. Of the highlighted names in the table above, only one regular pairing was in Garda, Ian Mathews & Keith Poole who scored a race win (4th race of 10) and finished 14th overall, with a big points gap behind the winners, Hamish Mackay & Andrew Lawson of GBR who were tied overall with Steve Goacher (that name again!) & Tim Harper on 29 points! Other notable results from the Irish contingent were a 2nd (Race 6) and 18th overall for Alan Green & Ben Mulligan (3970) and a 4th in the same race for Niall Meagher & Nicki Matthews (3938), in 23rd overall.

Mathews Poole 3639Ian Mathews and Keith Poole were race winners on Lake Garda Photo: Afloat.ie

So that’s the regatta form and on that basis, it is difficult to see where a winner for the National Championship of Ireland will come from. It might just be that from a Dun Laoghaire only perspective, the likely candidates for a regatta win might be limited to the pairings of Dave Gorman & Chris Doorly and Ian Mathews & Keith Poole. From a northern perspective, and without knowing the entries, the speculation will be on the Martin brothers, McCleery & Dougan and Chamberlain & Hodder.

However, that is to discount the other significant factors in the Dublin Bay sailing scene of the past two years – the additional competitiveness that the introduction of Fireball combinations and a number of new boats into Dun Laoghaire that have “upped the ante” in the local racing scene. In terms of Fireball personnel sailing in the class, we have Neil Colin and Margaret Casey (3655), winners of the Thursday Series overall (and each individual series) in 2017, Cormac Bradley, sailing with FF stalwart Ben Mulligan (3688) who took the Saturday Series and DBSC’s Best One–Design performance in 2017, Alistair Court, sailing with Conor O’Leary (Laser/Squib) (3753) who looks to be heading towards the DBSC winners’ circle for 2018, Frank Miller & Ed Butler (3845), Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keefe (3697) who have all scored single digit results at the top end of the fleet racing in DBSC on Thursdays and Saturdays. This injection of new competition has enhanced the racing for other DL stalwarts of the class, among them the likes of Dave Mulvin & Ronan Bierne (4028), who have been shoreside recently, Niall Coleman & Mick Quinn (4008), who recently scored a double win on a DBSC Saturday and Ken Dumpleton (3955) who has on occasion been crewed by another Fireball connection, Glen Fisher, and was winning a Saturday race two weeks ago. Colin & Casey have upgraded from 3655 to 4028 and were getting to grips with it on a challenging Sunday last week (16th). A number of former Fireball crews have also been making guest appearances for the fleet during the summer of 2018.

The DL fleet also boasts new boats in Tom Murphy’s 4057, only three off the highest sail number world-wide I have seen in regatta reports thus far and two other new boats (to the fleet) with numbers in the 4040 – 50 age-group.

From Dunmore East, Statham & Paul and Charlie Boland & Robb McConnell (3682) won’t be making a trip to Dun Laoghaire just to make up numbers and another boat that will have particular aspirations for a low scoring series will be Gavin Doyle & Dave Sweeney (3707).

Charles ApthorpCharles Apthorp and Alan Green racing on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat.ie

Which leaves only one obvious candidate not yet specifically referenced in this piece for overall honours – Dun Laoghaire’s Alan Green? Alan, by way of his enormous racing pedigree, attracts high calibre helmsmen to steer him round the course and the speculation this time is that Mr Apthorp will be the helm for the National Yacht Club hosted regatta.

So time to make a declaration for the regatta!

Based on the combinations of current form, local knowledge and reputation, the suggestion is to look to the following in no particular order; Apthorp & Green, Gorman & Doorly, Mathews & Poole, Martin & Martin, McCleery & Dougan;

But there are a large number of combinations who will need a good result to move up the pecking order for the 2019 Worlds, so expect to see good results shared across a wide group of entrants.

No offence is intended to those not specifically mentioned and this article is just an educated guess. We all know the vagaries of Mother Nature and that racing/sailing is by its very nature, unpredictable. Hope you have a great regatta!!

Published in Flying Fifteen
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The National Yacht Club's Ian Mathews and Keith Poole won race four of the Flying Fifteen European Championships on Lake Garda today.

It moves the top Irish boat in the six–boat team to 11th overall in the 35-boat fleet. 

British boats fill the top ten places with Hamish Mackay and Andrew Lawson leading overall on 19 points from Steve Goacher and Tim Harper on 25 points.

Next best Irish is Alan Green in 16th overall.

Full results downloadable below.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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The Flying Fifteen class has confirmed Deloitte as a new sponsor of the Championships of Ireland 2018 to be sailed on Dublin Bay and to be hosted by the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire from 28th to 30th September.

With great numbers turning out for club racing in recent months it is expected that there will be a large turnout at September’s event and, with just a year to go before the World Championship take place at the same Dun Laoghaire venue, there may even be some visitors from overseas. Dublin Bay is recognised as a top class sailing venue, and with Jack Roy - international and Olympic PRO, as well as Irish Sailing President - on the bill as race officer, the day will not be short on quality race management and expertise.

As usual in this competitive fleet, where the racing is always close and exciting, it will be hard to predict the Championship’s winner and any of a number of crews could win.

Speaking ahead of the event Ronan Beirne, Commodore of the National Yacht Club said: “We are very much looking forward to seeing some great racing over the course of the weekend against the beautiful backdrop of Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and wish to thank our new sponsors Deloitte for their support.”

David Dalton, Consulting Partner at Deloitte said: “We are delighted to announce our sponsorship of the Deloitte Flying Fifteen Championships of Ireland 2018, especially at such an exciting time, in the build-up to next year’s World Championship. Sailing is a sport that requires commitment and discipline, both of which are key to our values at Deloitte.”

Ahead of the action in Dun Laoghaire, the first week of September sees a fleet of six boats from the National Yacht Club heading to compete at the Flying Fifteen European Championships in Lake Garda, Italy.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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The excitement is building as six crews from the National Yacht Club head of to Lake Garda this weekend for the Flying Fifteen European Championships hosted by club Fraglia Vela Riva in Riva Del Garda. It promises to be quiet an adventure with five boats already on the way in a car transporter and the sixth, Ian Mathews & Keith Poole making their way overland.

This mode of transport is not new for this vibrant fleet as they have previously gone to Mallorca and La Rochelle in France to participate in big events.

A year out from the World Championships in Dublin Bay and following the British Nationals in Strangford Lough recently this is another opportunity to participate in a larger fleet. The bonus here being the warm weather and constant breeze that is particular to Lake Garda.

As Aloat.ie reported earlier, It's difficult to not look beyond current holders, World Champions and recently crowned British Champions Steve Goacher & Tim Harper (UK) for the favourite tag but others such as Ian Pinnell, Greg Wells along with Dublin Bay's Ian Mathews & Keith Poole and our own travellers hoping to make their mark too.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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A strong fleet from Ireland travels to the Flying Fifteen Open European Championship that takes place from Sunday 2nd to Friday 7th of September at one of Europe’s favourite sailing venues, Lake Garda. The Irish fleet, largely from Dublin Bay, will be using the Europeans as vital training for the 22nd World Championship which is due to take place in exactly one years time at the National Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire.

The Flying Fifteen Open European Championship takes place from Sunday 2nd to Friday 7th of September at one of Europe’s favourite sailing venues, Lake Garda. The crystal clear deep waters and regular ‘Peler’ and ‘Ora’ breezes make the venue one of the more glamorous locations to hold a regatta. The host venue, Riva del Garda is perched at the Northern end of the lake surrounded by mountains which makes the race course a true test for the best of crews.

Registration takes place on Sunday 2nd September, with racing commencing on Monday 3rd through to Friday 7th September. Twelve races are scheduled with no more than three races per day. The overall winner of the FFI European Championship will be awarded the Uffa Fox Memorial Trophy. (Uffa Fox designed the Flying Fifteen)

There are just under 40 entrants to the championship with the vast majority travelling from Great Britain. These include the current World and European Champions, Steve Goacher sailing with regular crew Tim Harper. This pair won the last World Championship held in Napier, New Zealand in February 2017 and previous to that, the last Europeans held at Medemblik in the Netherlands in September 2016.

There is a plethora of ex UK national champions and flying fifteen regulars amongst the fleet, some sailing with different crews. These include Greg Wells, (2nd at the last European Championship), who is sailing this time with crew Andrew Jameson and Charles Apthorp, who came 4th at the last World Championship in Napier.

The Brit pack also includes Flying Fifteen regulars, Simon Kneller sailing with Dave Lucas, David Tabb and Chewey Sherrell, Ian Cadwallader and Steve Graham, Chris Gorringe and Nadia Hosie and Adrian Tattersall and Richard Pepper, to name just a few.

There is also an entry from the globetrotters representing Hong Kong in the shape of Ashley Smith and Kym Thumpkin

Published in Flying Fifteen
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In unsettled conditions 17 Flying Fifteens took part in Saturdays Dublin Bay racing. The steady westerly winds in the morning faded completely as the boats went out but soon came in from the east and eventually clocking around to the south. Added to the challenge was a strong outgoing tide and the black flag had to be introduced in both races after general recalls.

After a poor start race 1 was won comfortably in the end by Gorman & Doorly as they headed right towards the clouds they got more breeze to lead all the way. It was a closer affair behind with places changing. Sherry was going really well but McCourt & O’Leary and the Meaghers were hot on his heels. At the last windward mark, the Meaghers moved into second place and were followed by McCourt in third and Ryan & Dolan moving up to an excellent fourth.

The wind was up and had moved to the south-east for race 2. Those on the right again looked good but as they approached the weather mark it all changed and those left led by Dumpleton & Galvin and including the Mulvins, Green and McCourt were clear ahead. Gorman was back in seventh but a quick gybe set saw him move quickly to third and eventually on the last beat overtook the Mulvins to second place. All along Dumpleton was sailing superbly well and stayed ahead to take a well-deserved win.

Many thanks to Barry O’Neill and his team for getting two races completed in tricky conditions. Results here.

Next week some of the fleet head off to Lake Garda for the European Championships - hopefully, it will be as pleasant as Dublin has been all summer!

Published in Flying Fifteen
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What has now become an established event in the DBSC Flying Fifteen calendar the Facet Jewellers Trophy presented and donated by Pat Shanahan of Facet Jewellers took place over the weekend with a 17– strong fleet and was won by David Gorman & Chris Doorly (NYC).

In warm conditions, a sea breeze kicked in to give great sailing conditions. It generally paid to go right out of the strong incoming tide. Race 1 was a close race with Mathews and Poole just pipping Gorman after a gybing duel downwind. The Meaghers, all three of them, were third with Gerry Ryan fourth.

Race two was won by Gorman and Doorly after going right paid on the first beat to give them a comfortable lead that they kept. McCourt was second to win the Silver fleet prize, Mathews third with Sherry fourth which was good enough to give him the Bronze prize.

Many thanks to the PRO and his team for two great courses and to Frank Burgess for organising the day.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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In a four day series dramatically reduced to one day of racing due to lack of wind, former world champion Steve Goacher and Tim Harper were crowned Flying Fifteen Champions of the British Isles at Strangford Lough with a minimum of three races sailed.

Second was former European Champion Greg Wells and Andrew Jameson with Ian Pinnell and Paul Busby third in the 50–boat fleet.

The top Irish boat at the County Down event was Dun Laoghaire's David Gorman and Chris Doorly of the National Yacht Club in fourth overall.

Chris Doorly David gormanChris Doorly (left) and David Gorman celebrate as top Irish boat at the FF British Nationals in Strangford Lough

Download results below.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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Flying Fifteen sailors are bearing the brunt of the high-pressure weather system over Ireland.

In what is being described as 'unprecedented' for a Flying Fifteen Championships of the British Isles, the third day of racing was lost on Strangford Lough, County Down today for the 50–boat fleet gathered there. 

The fleet went afloat today but winds did not materialise. Racing is scheduled again for tomorrow.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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Up to 100 sailors will take to the water this month, as Strangford Lough Yacht Club hosts boats from all over the UK and Ireland to compete in the Flying Fifteen Championships of the British Isles.

Beginning on 27th June, the four-day event will see helms and crews compete for the Flying Fifteen Association of Ireland’s Northern Championships. This hotly-contested event has attracted previous and current world champion helmsmen, including Charles Apthorp and Steve Goacher.

The championship marks the diamond jubilee of Flying Fifteen Sailing on Strangford Lough, which remains home to many previous winners of this prestigious trophy. Strangford’s flat waters and picturesque scenery make it ideal for water sports, especially sailing.

This year’s event is sponsored by Ireland’s largest bagged salad producer Willowbrook Foods, based in Killinchy on the shores of Strangford Lough. Willowbrook Foods Managing Director, John McCann MBE, is a former National Champion and New Zealand Champion sailor:

“As a County Down based business, we are delighted to be supporting this event and look forward to welcoming competitors, families and old friends back to sail and enjoy our beautiful landscape. As an ex Flying Fifteen sailor, I have enjoyed the boats for years and visited many foreign climes, enjoying the hospitality of other clubs. It is great to be able to ensure the viability of another great championship on our doorstep and support the sport I have enjoyed so well. It is a great honour to host the event here in Northern Ireland,” said John McCann MBE.

The racing can be viewed from several locations around the lough including Whiterock, Kirkubbin, Sketrick and Mahee. A high number of competitors, spectators, volunteers and visitors are expected in the area. In turn tourism revenue for local businesses and accommodation providers will be generated, as event organiser Roger Chamberlain explains:

“The Flying Fifteen is a two-man high-performance planning keelboat with a symmetrical spinnaker which is spectacular to watch. It was the chosen racing boat of Prince Phillip, and still attracts many of the top sailors in the country. These boats take a great deal of skill to sail competitively and with a growing fleet in Ireland and the UK, we can expect some great racing and some fantastic evening entertainment for friends and families alike. 

“We have over 50 entries to date from the UK and are expecting to match that from all corners of Ireland. Most will stay locally and enjoy our great hospitality and produce, which we will showcase in the evening events through partners such as Copeland Gin and Finnebrogue Artisan. 

“Events like this would not be possible without the support of our main sponsors Willowbrook Foods and Ards and North Down Borough Council, as well as the huge number of volunteers who have given up their time to help out.”

Published in Flying Fifteen
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