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CoastWaterSports 2014

Flying Fifteen Thursday evening racing at Dublin Bay Sailing Club - Race 5

by Cormac Bradley 9 Jul 17:11 BST 8 July 2021

19 Flying Fifteens answered the Race Team's call for starters last night and Race Officer Susan McGarry responded by giving them one of the longest courses we have enjoyed this season so far - Battery, Bulloch, Island, Molly, Island, Molly, Harbour - Finish.

For the second Thursday in a row, Harbour was a mark of the course which saw the fleet traverse the harbour mouth in an east to west direction, which given the wind conditions and tide, might have been a bit daunting.

The web-based forecasts were suggesting 6/7 knots of breeze a few degrees either side of South and in the build up to the starting sequence (for all the classes), the Race Team confirmed a wind direction of 165 degrees with a promise of some strength in it.

The fleet was distributed along the line and some might have misjudged the strength of the tide pushing them behind the line, which also meant, thankfully, that the fleet got away first time. As to be expected there were those who went to sea hoping for more wind but knowing there would be more tide. Others decided than inshore was best even if the SB20s who had gone inshore seemed to be struggling.

Battery was a "staging mark" so ultimately everyone had to come inshore, and it appeared that those who had chosen that course were better off. In this collection were Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (4028), Peter Murphy & Ciara Mulvey (3774), Alistair Court & Conor O'Leary (3753), Dave Mulvin & Ronan Beirne (4068). Others who seemed to be well placed Ken Dumpleton & Joe (3955), Frank Miller & Ed Butler (3845), Tom Galvin (3757), Tom Murphy & Karel (4057) and Niall Meagher & Nicki Mathews (3938). This correspondent was a bit further back having taken a short hitch to sea before going inshore.

At Bulloch and Island the pecking order was pretty well established, Colin, Murphy, Shane McCarthy & Chris Doorly (4085), Meagher, Mulvin, Court, Tom Galvin, Tom Murphy, Mulvin, Dumpleton and Mulligan. At Island some kept on starboard tack, notably Colin and P Murphy, but very early on the gybes were being put in by the chasing pack. However, the leg to Molly was quite sedate and while there may have been some closing up the overall picture didn't change. Colin led round Molly followed by P Murphy with McCarthy third.

The significant part of the fleet decided that the best way to get back to Island was to go inshore but the outcome of this tactic varied enormously for individuals. Mulligan gained hugely to get up to fifth place behind McCarthy, Colin, Murphy (P) and Meagher at Island. Behind him was Dumpleton and Mulvin. This "change of scenery" was most dramatic for the likes of Court, Galvin, Murphy (T) who saw good positions evaporate. Whether this upset was due to tide or streaky wind I have no idea.

On the second run to Molly from Island, Colin & Murphy stayed right while the next three gybed to pursue an inshore course. Colin hung on a bit longer than Murphy and was rewarded by leading the fleet around Molly for the second time. Mulligan close marginally on Meagher but on the next spinnaker leg to Harbour, Meagher pulled away again. Colin, Murphy, and McCarthy had a bit of a lead on fourth and fifth and Mulligan gained a bit of distance on Dumpleton (sixth) and Mulvin (seventh).

The decision at Harbour was "Which way now"? to get to the upwind finish at the committee boat. Initially, Colin, Murphy, Meagher, and Mulligan went inshore. But Murphy and Meagher bailed early to go back offshore again. As with McCarthy it paid off - Shane went to first place and Meagher jumped up to second, pipping Colin on the line. Murphy took fourth with Mulligan and Dumpleton coming in behind him.

A long race that ran well past 20:30, even for the leaders. Those further down the pecking order had an even slower finish in the fading breeze and found themselves paddling part of the way home.

In the overall Series, Colin leads by a point from Mulligan, who has two points on McCarthy, who has a two-point cushion on Dumpleton who doubles this cushion on Meagher.

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