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Willowbrook Foods Flying Fifteen British Championship at Strangford Lough Yacht Clu

by Flying Fifteen Class 4 Jul 14:34 BST 27-30 June 2018
Flying Fifteen British Championship 2018 at Strangford Lough © Simon McIlwaine /

Strangford Lough YC in Northern Ireland hosted the Willowbrook Foods 2018 Flying Fifteen British Championships from 27th-30th June, which also incorporated the Irish Flying Fifteen Northern Championship.

The class hadn't visited Strangford Lough for some 18 years but by the end of the event the superb scenery of the venue, plus the even better hospitality of the host club, had us all vowing to come back much more quickly next time – and that was despite us managing to complete only a single day of racing!

On the first day of the event the strong fleet of 50 boats was poised and ready to race, and we even had a BBC camera crew in attendance to record the action – but unfortunately, with barely a breath of wind, there was never a question of the boats even launching so our moment of TV fame on the evening news became combined with a feature about Belfast Zoo struggling to keep their elephants cool in the hot weather. (Actually, that's being unkind – they dedicated a lengthy section on the show to the Flying Fifteens, including the ubiquitous interview with Steve Goacher – that man always manages to get himself in front of a camera...)

The second day again dawned with cloudless skies, zero wind and 30-degree temperatures, and again the fleet didn't launch. The club worked very hard to keep everyone entertained though, including organizing a bunch of members to take visitors on guided tours around the lough in a variety of craft, plus hiring a fleet of kayaks for further exploring and putting-on a movie night in the clubhouse. Cycling, swimming, golfing, Guinness-drinking and Titanic-museum-visiting were also the order of the day – all told it was turning out to be a very pleasant holiday for everyone concerned, sailing or no sailing.

Conditions were forecast to improve though, and on the third day the fleet did at last launch and for a while it looked like a race would be possible - but then the glassy-calm returned and the spirit of the Mary Celeste overtook a number of boats in the waiting fleet as fully-rigged Flying Fifteens became swimming platforms in the middle of the lough.

By the third day of the event the competitors had apparently already managed to drink the club bar dry on no less than three occasions – now though, with a decent wind forecast for the final day of the event and with the sailing instructions amended to allow a 9am start on the following morning, after another superb meal organized by the club people retired to bed relatively early.

The forecast held true and three 45 minute races were held in a good steady breeze on the final day. The no-discards all-or-nothing nature of the sailing now put added pressure on those at the front of the fleet, with a number of big names counting OCSs and UFDs in their overall results. The first race was won by Greg Wells and Andrew Jameson from Hayling Island SC, with current World Champions Steve Goacher and Tim Harper from Royal Windermere second and the Irish boat of David Gorman and Chris Doorly in third. Goacher & Harper went one better in the second race, winning from another Royal Windermere boat – that of Nigel and Gavin Tullet – in second place, and Ian Pinnell and Paul Busby from Northampton SC in third.

By this time another even-the-good-guys-make-mistakes factor was become apparent as a handful of boats, including top contenders such as Ian Cadwallader and Ellie Deveraux, fell foul of a rule in the sailing instructions that forbade boats from passing through the newly-set finish line whilst sailing downwind on the run.

The final race saw Goacher & Harper again take the victory, followed on this occasion by David Tabb and Chewey Sherrell from Parkstone YC and the consistent Wells & Jameson.

Overall then it was decisive victory for Steve Goacher and Tim Harper, who won so much silverware that it needed its own table at the prize-giving. Second overall was class stalwarts Greg Wells and Andrew Jameson, with relative newcomers Ian Pinnell and Paul Busby in third. First Irish boat, and therefore also winners of the Irish Northerns, was David Gorman and Chris Doorly in fourth overall.

So, with the fleet packing-up immediately after racing to catch various ferries home, all talk in the dinghy park was of what fantastic scenery and hospitality Strangford Lough YC had provided, with everyone having thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience despite the unprecedented loss of three days of sailing. We all appreciate the effort it takes for a smaller club especially to put on a major championship event, and SLYC and it's members did the job superbly. Huge thanks too to the main sponsors Willowbrook Foods, and the prize sponsors Goacher Sails and Hyde Sails.

Overall Results:
If you finished in the top ten at the Flying Fifteen nationals then enter your Gear Guide information here

PosSail NoFleetBoat NameHelmCrewR1R2R3Pts
1stGBR 4021GoldThe Whippet and the WopperSteve GoacherTim Harper2114
2ndGBR 4030GoldAgathaGreg WellsAndrew Jameson1438
3rdGBR 4060GoldEasy TigerIan PinnellPaul Busby83718
4thIRL 3920GoldBettyDavid GormanChris Doorly361322
5thGBR 4052GoldOne TabbDavid TabbChewey1213227
6thGBR 3760GoldVLGJeremy DavyMartin Huett491427
7thGBR 4005GoldFiery ChariotDavid McKeeMal Hartland1410529
8thGBR 4033GoldSparks & Bubbles Take TwoJustin WaplesNick Bacon9142043
9thGBR 4044GoldWindwhistlerSimon PattersonSimon Thompson13111943
10thIRL 3962GoldThe Final ResortRoger ChamberlainCharlie Horder17221150
11thIRL 3648BronzeSenninhaJeff HarrisonRory Hickland11122952
12thIRL 3974GoldF'feckin HallionAndy MartinRory Martin740956
13thGBR 4002GoldHyderatedRichard LoveringMatt AlvaradoUFD5459
14thIRL 4037GoldFfastanticsAndrew McCleeryColin Dougan18202159
15thIRL 3665SilverDerangedNeil ColinMargaret Casey1583760
16thGBR 3957GoldFour WindsCharles ApthorpAlan Green5OCS661
17thGBR 4031GoldNifftyNigel TullettGavin TullettUFD21062
18thGBR 3889GoldFFantasyPip HudsonAlice Hudson10183563
19thIRL 3646BronzeQuintessentialStuart HarrisonTim Sheard30161864
20thIRL 3864GoldThe GruffuloIan MathewsKeith PooleDSQ7865
21stIRL 3896GoldTriggers BrushLee StathamAndy Paul35251272
22ndGBR 3707SilverNellyGavin DoyleDave Sweeney29192573
23rdGBR 3914GoldDefying GravityAdrian TattersallRichard Popper31271674
24thGBR 3192GoldTouch WoodBrian McKeeJohn Gibson28311776
25thGBR 4046GoldFram FreyrRichard DrabbleStephanie Brown24302276
26thIRL 3608SilverMonkey BusinessIan SmythEmily Smyth20243478
27thGBR 3875GoldMiffysoffilaeBrett DingwallTim ScarisbrickDSQ151580
28thGBR 4041GoldQuindiciBill ChardAmy Chard6354283
29thGBR 3936GoldMaggieJeremy ArnoldKeith Jamieson36173184
30thGBR 3902GoldDeffiant IIRichard HopeDarren Cushley27263285
31stIRL 4008SilverFlyerNiall ColemanMichael Quinn16462486
32ndIRL 3688SilverAs Good As It GetsBen MulliganCormac Bradley26372386
33rdIRL 3893SilverFFRIG-ITPeter LawsonOrla Lawson22234489
34thIRL 3753SilverFfinisterreAlastair CourtConor O'Leary34282789
35thGBR 3939GoldJust PassingAthol KingTrevor Bellis19323990
36thIRL 3729GoldSmooth GoldBryan WillisJohn McPeake23412690
37thIRL 3682SilverHard CurrencyCharlie BolandRobb McConnell33293395
38thGBR 3694GoldDream CatcherOliver CurranSean Curran383630104
39thGBR 4042GoldFfoxy LadyTim O'BrienSam Neal392145105
40thGBR 4056GoldNo NameAndy GoddardTom Goddard253941105
41stIRL 3748GoldHigh FlyerGerry ReillyJane McMeekin21DSQ36107
42ndGBR 3926GoldFifty FiftyAndrew MillbandWilliam Morris323838108
43rdIRL 3845BronzeGlass Half FullFrank MillerEd Butler413343117
44thIRL 4057SilverFflagellaTom MurphyAndrew BrackenDSQ3440124
45thGBR 4055GoldEllie's RoundIan CadwalladerEllie DevereuxUFDDSQ28128
46thGBR 3971GoldFFLANERSRaymond FlanaganEmer Flanagan374447128
47thIRL 3737BronzeEleniRoss DoyleRobbie Richardson404246128
48thIRL 3749BronzeA Mere TrifflePeter SherryMichael Cotter424348133
49thIRL 3892BronzeStifflers MomJohn McCannEvgeni KisimovRET4549144

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