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Irish RS Eastern Championships at Rush Sailing Club

by RS Ireland 9 May 13:11 BST 5-6 May 2018
Irish RS Eastern Championships © Sean Weldon

The second event of the 2018 RS season happened over the bank holiday of 5/6 May in Rush Sailing Club, North Co. Dublin to host the Eastern Championships for RS400s/200s/Fevas, proudly sponsored by www.ropedock.com

In total there were 30 boats entered, 60 sailors with many other in support for the event to sail at the rumoured best kept sailing venue secret on the East coast and very accessible for everyone to get to with lots of space and camping facilities to go with.

Forecasts for the weekend seemed to promise first signs of summer for the country and this was exactly to be the case as by about 12pm a sea breeze started literally rolling in with waves from the South to boot. PRO Richard Kissane sent the fleet out the river for first some tacking practice and then three races in the building and fantastic conditions.

There were many runners and riders for the event but with one notable absentee Alex Barry and Richard Leonard question was who could step up?

In conditions 15-18 knots racing got underway and local legend/chancer Alan Ruigrok and Max McKnight stormed away to show the fleet they were in the mood. Gareth Flannigan and David Fletcher pulled in a second with moving up from school in the 200s Neil Spain and Ross McDonald coming in third.

In the second race Alan Ruigrok and Max McKnight lead again but Neil Spain and Ross McDonald got them downwind to take win with Barry McCartin and Andrew Penney third. The final race Alan Ruigrok and Max McKnight blitzed away again to take bullet, Gareth Flannigan and David Fletcher second and Neil Spain and Ross McDonald third. Racing among the boats was so tight with many photo finishes required throughout the three races and the big waves taking a few victims as they fell in downwind.

In the 200s Cian Jones and Luke McGrath revelled in conditions for three bullets. Aaron Jones and Katie Kane not far away with three seconds and Ben Ferris and Peter Darragh completing the over night top three. In the Fevas Lily Thorup and Sibeal Nic Giolla Coda dominated with three firsts - followed by Matthew McClernon and Erin McClernon with an equally consistent three second places and Alannah McGuire and Rachel Keane completing the over night top three.

Everyone retreated ashore in awe of a great day sailing and first pints were flowing by 4pm to make things even better. The club staged a great BBQ, bar and band to keep everyone entertained. Stories were shared and the inaugural prize for "dope of the day" where crews can nominate helms with some including a certain a David Sweeney pulling his boat up onto beach close to race area to supposedly fix something but had a picnic instead, may have been a lovely lady present we are not quite sure. The winner however was grandad of the fleet R400 Liam Donnelly for a very obvious port-starboard called out to him five minutes before but decided to go for the T-bone steak anyway with the fleets own Ed Sheeran otherwise known as Stephen McLernon. The craic went on long into night, way too long for some with many wounded bodies found trying to put one foot in front of the other next day a challenge.

Day two lead to a slight postponement as some fog came in before fleet were sent out in a building 11-14 knot breeze. More tacking practice out the harbour and soon enough course was laid and races began. In the first race the racing was super close with only one minute separating the top 10 by finish but Gareth Flannigan and David Fletcher won squeezing Alan Ruigrok and Max McKnight into second, Neil Spain and Ross McDonald third. The second race wind picked up slightly again giving more surfing conditions. This time Alan Ruigrok and Max McKnight won after a very tight battle with Paul Mclaughlin and Owen McKinley with Barry McCartin and Andrew Penney in third. This secured the event for Alan Ruigrok and Max McKnight but places behind were all to play for especially given retirement due to unfortunate toe-strap break on Gareth Flannigan and David Fletcher's boat sending them home early.

This time Paul Mclaughlin and Owen McKinley sailed a great race only for Alan Ruigrok and Max McKnight (sailing on anyway) to come from way back as the wind got light and patchy to steal it at the death. Neil Spain and Ross McDonald came in third. This made the final results as follows: Alan Ruigrok and Max McKnigh in first with a near flawless scoreline, Neil Spain and Ross McDonald second, Paul McLaughlin and Owen Mckinley in third, Barry McCartin and Andrew Penney fourth and Gareth Flanagan and David Fletcher in fifth.

The 200s had closer racing as few more boats get in the mix including another Ruigrok Erica Ruigrok and Lauren O'Hare to mix in the top three - standing head and shoulders above... her crew with very well practised capsize technique. But in the end Cian Jones and Luke McGrath added three more wins to make a perfect scorecard and win Boat of the weekend (just to ruin Alan Ruigrok and Max McKnigh's weekend a little bit:)) followed by Aaron Jones and Katie Kane in second and Ben Ferris and Peter Darragh third.

In the Fevas Alannah McGuire and Rachel Keane upset the pecking order with a win in the first race of the day. Matthew McClernon and Erin McClernon secured the top spot in the next two races giving them the series overall relegating the dominant Lily Thorup and Sibeal Nic Giolla Coda to second overall.

A great credit to PRO Richard Kissane and Race Committee who ran the races like clockwork both days setting perfect courses with his mark-team to keep to the schedule and get in six races over the weekend. Also to all the organisers, shore teams, canteen personnel and BBQ legends and of course the bar personnel keeping the fleet well oiled long into the night. The photographers/drone operators did an amazing job capturing some great footage of the weekend.

And to answer rumour at the top of report, after such an amazing weekend all round, the entire fleet would agree Rush as one of best venues for sailing, hospitality, great craic and one that everyone will talk about for a long time. Just look at the photos/video to prove it.

Finally, if you don't know it then ensure to make it to next event RS National Championships 6-8 July being hosted by Ballyholme YC in conjunction with the Bangor Town regatta for big boats to make it even larger still. Already entry is Open here with a lot of planning in place by a club who are well know at running big events and last time they hosted RS championships there was 50 RS400s on startline so let's hop for even more still so certainly not to be missed!

Overall Results:

RS400
1st Alan Ruigrok and Max McKnight
2nd Neil Spain and Ross McDonald
3rd Paul Mclaughlin and Owen McKinley

RS200
1st Cian Jones and Luke McGrath
2nd Aaron Jones and Katie Kane
3rd Ben Ferris and Peter Darragh

Feva
1st Matthew McClernon and Erin McClernon
2nd Lily Thorup and Sibeal Nic Giolla Coda
3rd Alannah McGuire and Rachel Keane

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