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Volvo Noble Marine RS400 UK & Irish Nationals at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club - Preview

by Gerry Reid 21 Aug 18:49 BST 25-29 August 2019
An epic weekend for the RS200/400/Feva Irish National Championships © Thomas Anderson / www.taphotos.co.uk

The Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club are proud to be hosting the Volvo Noble Marine RS400 UK and Irish National Championships in association with Neil Mathews Architects, on Belfast Lough.

Gerry Reid, the Event Director, said "This is the first time this event has been hosted in Ireland waters, and also the first time that both the UK and Irish have been combined. This combination should throw up an interesting challenge, for the top UK RS400 sailors and the Top Irish RS400 sailors. Currently we are expecting 56 boats on the start line!"

From England, we have Mike Simms, former Laser aficionado, and in more recent years a very quick RS400 helm, and former winner of the Nationals. Then we have Nick Craig, who can make most boats go very fast, and is certainly one of Britain's most successful sailors at the moment. Hot on the heels of the aforementioned is Steve Cockerill, who by all accounts could get a bath tub to win a race!

However, the local talent will not make it easy for the visitors. Barry McCartin has had a terrific year along with his regular crew Andrew Penny, winning most of the Traveller events this year, and is the current holder of the Bosun Bob trophy, He knows Belfast Lough well.

Bob Espey also knows the Lough well and has won many past events, we would expect to see these guys at the top of the fleet. Peter Kennedy, a former Olympic sailor, is a local sailor who can make any boat go very fast, and Peter will be mixing it up at the front.

From Greystones, Sean Cleary was second in Garda recently. Sean will be a threat to those at the front, and can certainly show a turn of speed!

Other local contenders showing form are Paul McLaughlin from Cushendall, and Hammy Baker and Mike Ferguson. We would think these guys are more than capable of winning a race or two. Oli Loughead and Tiff O'Brien are a shoe-in for the top couple. Ross Vaughan is making a welcome return to sailing at this event, sailing with his cousin Andrew Vaughan, and it will be interesting to see how they get on.

The fleet arrives on Saturday, with racing starting on Sunday afternoon (25th) running through to Thursday (29th), with two races per day scheduled. The Race Officer Robin Grey plans to run the racing between Royal North and Greypoint. The event also has a busy social schedule to keep the competitors entertained off the water.

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