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Irish Flying Fifteen Nationals at National Yacht Club - Overall

by Cormac Bradley 1 Oct 16:06 BST 28-30 September 2018
Irish Flying Fifteen Nationals (l-r) Mick Quinn, DL Flying Fifteen Class Captain, Dave Dalton, Deloitte, Dave Gorman, winning helm & Chris Doorly, winning crew © Cormac Bradley

The Deloitte sponsored Championship of Ireland for the Flying Fifteen class ended on Sunday with a sinew-stretching, gut-busting race in the strongest wind of the weekend with thrills and spills on the top reach of the triangle!

However, by the time the last race started, the new National Champions had exited "stage left". The speculation on Saturday night was that a 6th place in either of the two races on Sunday would be enough to see the host club's Dave Gorman and Chris Doorly crowned National Champions. They duly made sure of their title by finishing in second place in the first race which was won by Charles Apthorp and Alan Green, their closest rivals. That meant they could retire to shore early, derig and enjoy an early shower before the balance of the fleet came in. Talking to Dave Gorman after the prize-giving, he admitted to being a bit nervous going out as they had to drop their rig on the Saturday night when the jib halyard was seen to be unravelling. Not the best of preparations for the last day of a regatta. Fortunately a spare was offered by Bryan Willis, but even then some modifications were required to get it all back in place.

Sunday morning had brought a distinct change in the weather, cloudy conditions, a cooler temperature and a stiffer breeze, but still out of the western quadrant of the compass. Another new phenomenon was a short rain shower which on approach seemed to ramp up the wind strength, but on passing the wind dropped marginally again. Race Officer Jack Roy got proceedings started promptly but found himself having to use the General Recall for the first attempt at a start. That prompted the "shaking out" of the "U" Flag which trawled five boats out of the race.

It was a brisk race with great downwind conditions on the sausage and a preference for the left-hand side on the beats. It also brought a new combination to the individual race podium with a third place for Hammy Baker & Peter Chambers out of Strangford Lough. They were fast downwind! Bryan Willis & John McPeake were also having a much better half of the regatta, following a first place in the last race of the Saturday they would score a 5th and a 2nd on Sunday.

Having set six windward-leeward courses thus far, the "T" flag was broken out for the last race of the regatta – maybe as a reward for our perseverance! The breeze also came to the party with probably the hardest beats of the regatta. Charles Apthorp & Alan Green dominated the race to win by a country mile and all this with Charles wearing an orthopaedic boot and walking around the club with a single crutch – how determined is that! The top reach of the second lap triangle was exhilarating, provided you could keep the boat upright. There were quite a few spills on the leg with some very distinguished combinations showing their keels for all the world to see.............but what happens on the water, stays on the water, so no names will be divulged.

One of the better stories saw a crew slide out on the foredeck to recover a broken spinnaker sheet so that it could be retied to the sail after the gybe mark for the second reach. The last beat of the regatta really was a battle with the wind getting up as forecast. It made for some very hard but exciting sailing.

So, after a seven-race series, the Class has new National Champions and we were treated to exceptionally good race management by Jack Roy and his team. We had three different days of weather and the adage "there was something for everyone" rang true in this instance. We were also very grateful for the sponsorship of Deloitte and Dave Dalton of the sponsoring company was in attendance to hand over the prizes together with National Yacht Club Commodore, Ronan Bierne, a Flying Fifteen crew himself, Mick Quinn, Dun Laoghaire Class Captain and Frank Burgess who co-ordinated the award of the right prize to the right combination. Due thanks were recorded to the various volunteers who made the regatta possible.

The various winners in the different fleets and the top ten are listed below.

Overall Results:

PosHelm & CrewClubSail NoR1R2R3R4R5R6R7
Bronze Fleet
1Ken Dumpleton & John McNallyNYC395516RET611221215
2Gerry Ryan & Peter DolanNYC40451412122716UFDDNF
3Alan Balfe & John WhelanNYC399526151624191820
Silver Fleet
1Gavin Doyle & Dave SweeneyNYC37076141358107
2Jeff Harrison & Rory HicklandABC3648139181713UFDDNF
3Charlie Boland & Fintan StanleyWHSC3682124171921RETRET
Gold Fleet (Top Ten)
1Dave Gorman & Chris DoorlyNYC3902322132DNC
2Charles Apthorp & Alan Green Hayling Island39574101UFD511
3Roger Chamberlain & Charlie HorderSLYC3962135711113
4Andrew McCleery & Colin DouganPortaferry403725718679
5Lee Statham & Andrew PaulWHSC38967192RET95
6Hammy Baker & Peter ChambersSLYC37568133914310
7Gavin Doyle & Dave SweeneyNYC37076141358107
8Bryan Willis & John McPeakeCo. Antrim37291823146152
9Alastair Court & Conor O’LearyRStGYC37532388312138
10Ian Matthews & Keith Poole NYC3864516OCS16946

In the preview to this regatta, the author speculated that the winners should come from the following boats. The figure, in brackets after each name is where they finished overall:

Dave Gorman & Chris Doorly (1), Charlie Apthorp & Alan Green (2), Ian Matthews & Keith Poole (10), Andy & Rory Martin (11), Andy McCleery & Colin Dougan (4). This is not meant as a "clever-clogs" close but just a modest justification for my original selection.

The Flying Fifteen regatta season wraps up in Lough Derg Yacht Club over the weekend of 13/14 October with the final regatta in the Worlds selection series... of which further anon!

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