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Irish IOM Ulster Championships at East Down Yacht Club

by Gordon Neil on 5 Sep 2012 1-2 September 2012

The Noel Pantry Trophy

A new R.C. sailing club showing great enthusiasm and a great desire to develop the sport of radio controlled sailing, especially in the International One Metre Class (IOM), by the younger generation, existing larger boat sailors and older sailors who might find that they can continue with real competitive sailing without the exertions, and expense of bigger boat ownership: East Down Yacht Club, situated on western shores of Strangford Lough, South of Belfast and near the village of Killyleagh, County Down.

Not content to just enjoy sailing their IOMs, the Club decided to invest time and considerable effort in setting up and acting as Host Club for 'The Ulster IOM Championship'. This was a two day event held over the weekend of 1st and 2nd September, 2012. Twelve skippers from various clubs registered to compete, including five from Scotland.

Racing commenced at 11.15am on the Saturday with light winds from the South, rapidly increasing in strength, demanding an immediate change down to number two rig for the subsequent races. The control area was restricted to a floating pontoon running roughly North to South. Race Officer duties were spread among all the skippers, each skipper standing down to carry out the task and receiving a third place for his efforts.

It quickly became apparent that the major battle for the laurels would be between Pat Johnston of Greenock Model Yacht Club sailing his "Lintel", and Jeff Kay from Howth Yacht Club sailing his "Obsession".

Fifteen races were sailed on the first day with Jeff Kay finishing in the lead with 18pts, Pat Johnston with 23pts, Gordon Neil with 39pts and Gordon Allison with 42pts.

The races were unusual, especially for the Scottish contingent, as strong tidal runs from the South were experienced throughout the day. The skill in 'Ferry Gliding' was slowly acquired!

Unfortunately due to spring tides a deal of heavy seaweed was encountered by various boats, drastically affecting the results of the individual races. Racing was also interrupted, to an extent, by the berthing of 2 full size yachts onto the pontoon.

Only six races were held on the second day with the wind having veered to the North West, being fairly light in strength and shifting at random. A suitable course was hard to determine due to the restricted sailing area. A 'best compromise' was achieved and racing commenced.

The fleet opted, without exception, to sail using the number one, top rig and it was a great pity that Jeff Kay was unable to sail on the second day, but much to the relief of his main competitors! The top three skippers of the day were Pat Johnston of Paisley Model Yacht Club – the overall winner of the Nigel Pantry Trophy, sailing his Lintel, Gordon Allison, also of Paisley Model Yacht Club and sailing a McShee and Gordon Neil of Ayr Bay Model Yacht Club, also sailing a McShee, with 11pts, 11pts and 14pts respectively.

Home skippers Brian O'Neill & Don Howes struggled to find consistency on both days, however Graeme Farrington's newly-launched self design & build fared well in the Sunday's lighter conditions until winch & other teething problems forced him to retire early.

Overall Results: (21 races)

PosHelmClubPts
1stPat JohnstonGreenock Model Yacht Club31
2ndGordon AllisonPaisley Model Yacht Club47
3rdGordon NeilAyr Bay Model Yacht Club53
4thJeff KayHowth Yacht Club56
5thBill LeesAyr Bay Model Yacht Club81
6thGordon RaeAyr Bay Model Yacht Club84
7thBrian O'NeillEast Down Yacht Club89
8thDon HowesEast Down Yacht Club104
9thGraeme FarringtonEast Down Yacht Club125
10thP FarringtonEast Down Yacht Club130
11thSam PerryCarrick Fergus Model Yacht Club135
12thJohn DarcyCarrick Fergus Model Yacht Club137

A very enjoyable 2 days of racing was had by all concerned. Congratulations are due to East Down Yacht Club for undertaking the organisation and implementation of the Event. It is hoped that the Club radio controlled sailing class will grow in strength and skills.

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