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Larne Lough Weekend at East Antrim Boat Club

by Tom Jobling 5 Jul 2018 11:24 BST 30 June - 1 July 2018
FNGR8 during the Larne Lough Weekend © Nicola Williamson

Larne Lough Weekend - sponsored by Larne Port - is an integral part of the Belfast Lough Yachting Conference's programme of summer regattas. Ten clubs make up the Conference and their individual regattas run from June through to September.

Over the weekend of June 30th/1st July the sun shone strong for East Antrim Boat Club. The club's cruiser fleet was enhanced with visiting yachts from Bangor, Carrick and beyond. It was all shaping up to be a champagne event - that was, until the early thermals decided to do battle! But local Race Officer Richard Doig and his team aboard the committee boat 'Serenity' was not to be defeated. After a short postponement he had the first fleet away into the new SE breeze.

After a two mile beat the mixed fleet converged on windward mark. It is a mark which incidentally lies under the shadow of Magheramourne's Lough-side quarry - the main film site for Game of Thrones. The J92s 'Jack' rounded first, followed by 'FnGR8' a modified First Class 8. Both had however, rounded the mark on the wrong hand; 'FnGR8' unwound herself, 'Jack' didn't!

Unbeknown, more hurdles lay ahead for the fleet. A veritable 'Saragossa sea' state and a 'black hole' near the lee mark bunched-up the fleet, but it was the visiting Carrickfergus yachts led by Steve Atkinson's J24 'Bad' which were first to find the escape route...

Ashore for lunch, and an intake of 'liquid' to offset the mid-day sun and all too soon it was back afloat. The breeze had by now settled and was blowing the length of the Lough. The tide was high and with it race two was quickly and efficiency under way. As the fleet used the expanses of Larne Lough again it was the scratch craft, 'Jack' which led the way. At the close of play on day one the results sheet for the IRC division showed that 'Bad' and 'FnGR8' both had wins. In NHC the Sigma 33 'Meka 2' and 'FnGr8' were on the score sheet. A modified Starflash 'Jonathon Star' and the North Channel 29 'Wildwood 'also featured strong within this division.

Conditions for the Sunday races were similar except that Rory Fekkes and his FnGR8 which features a complete 'black' paint job, had not only secured the overall event but won both divisions as well - a great result for the young (ex) Laser sailor, and cage fighter, from Carrickfergus.

In the second fleet of classic yachts it was a similar story with the Great Dane 'Magdar' owned by EABC's Richard & Debbie Bates in dominant form.

Overall Results:

PosBoat NameBoat TypeSkipperClub
1stFnGR8First Class 8 (mod)Rory FekkesCarrickfergus SC
2ndJackJ92sDoig FamilyEast Antrim BC
3rdBadJ24Steve AtkinsonCarrickfergus SC
2ndJonathon StarStarflash (mod)Garth LindseyRoyal Ulster YC
3ndMeka 2Sigma 33Jim ShieldsCarrickfergus SC
1stMadgarGreat DaneMr&Mrs R. BatesEast Antrim BC
2ndDarth VegaAlbin VegaMR&Mrs A. WilliamsonEast Antrim BC

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