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Bosun Bob's/Rockshore RS400 Winter Series at the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club - Overall

by Robert Hastings 20 Dec 2023 14:42 GMT 5 November - 17 December 2023
Bosun Bob's/Rockshore RS400 Winter Series day 7 © Lindsay Nolan

The last Sunday of the series was fast approaching and the excitement was building as it looked like it was going to be a big day and it was for many reasons. On arrival at the club, there was a bit of negativity kicking about as there were some massive gusts.

The rescue boat went out for a scout around and reported back that the wind had a base rate of about 25knots. A quick check of the wind speed at the Stena terminal a few miles up the lough showed a massive gust of 41knots. It wasn't looking good. We all gathered and had a discussion and decided to have a go, but it would be quick blast, some crews thought it was too much and decided to pack up early. When the boats were about to launch another big gust came through and capsized Liam Donnelly's boat on the slip nearly taking out another and we weren't even on the water, but we still took a chance and blasted out to the start line.

Gerry Reid, our race office who goes out in all weathers has always had to officiate from a very uncomfortable open Dory. After a lot of begging letters to Santa for something nicer, he was eventually awarded with a new to the club motorboat with a small cabin that he can now hide in so his hair doesn't get wet, and it worked very well.

The first race got under way with 16 boats crossing the start line and it was a leg burner all the way the windward mark. First to round was Bob Espey & Mike Ferguson in 1533 closely followed by Peter Kennedy & Stevie Kane in 1522. Up went the kites and everyone jumped to warp speed 9 and this is when the fun began. Most people blasted to the lay line and gybed and more than half the fleet went for a swim. Liam Donnelly & Rick McCaig in 1405 bottled it and took their kite down and did a chicken gybe, or in other words, a tack and to be fair it probably was the best option as they stayed upright and they picked off the majority of the fleet.

When heading to the final leeward gate, Hastings & Torrens in 1353, their rudder un-cleated and popped up, they lost control and they corkscrewed around and missed Calvin and Corkhill in 1264 by inches then promptly capsized spectacularly to windward. We later learnt that Dan Sherriff and Daniel Corbett in 1006, capsized and somehow Dan's foot got entangled in the outhaul on the boom, luckily a rescue boat was close buy and the crew had to cut him free, a very close shave! They and two other boats called it a day. At the end of the demolition derby, Espey & Ferguson in 1522 took the win, followed by Kennedy & Kane in 2nd with Donnelly & McCaig in 3rd.

Race two started with 13 boats and by this time the wind had dropped a few knots but it was still punchy. This time Espey & Ferguson in 1533 lead the fleet but sometimes even the best can blot their copy book and when in putting in a gybe, they went over and a massive cheer could be heard across the fleet! Kennedy & Kane in 1522 were leading the pack with Findley & Cameron in 877 doing really well in 2nd at the gate. Espey & Ferguson in 1533 managed to get their boat back up right in record time and they were chomping at the bit. In the second lap they managed to pick off 877 but they couldn't do enough to stop Kennedy & Kane in 1522 to take the win.

It was decided enough was enough, we had done well to get two good races in. Everyone was wet and getting cold so we sailed to the shore to be greeted with a lovely cup of mulled wine. I had young Adam Torrens crewing for me, he usually sails a GP14. On the way in, we put the kite up and heated it up. Hanging on for dear life Adam shouted with a big smile on his face "You can't do this in a GP!" I think he is converted.

After a brief stint in the bar, all the crews and volunteers were treated to a Christmas Dinner with all the wine kindly provided by Steven Kane.

Over the series we had 24x different boats sailing, 20x races started and there were no days blown out which must be a record. 5x different race winners, 9x clubs represented and we must have had over 50x different sailors on the water racing the RS400s over the 7 weeks.

Down to the results:

5th = Jocelyn Hill & Rowan Berry of Co. Antrim YC on 92 points
4th = Liam Donnelly & Rick McCaig from Carrickfergus SC on 86 points
3rd = Andrew Vaughan & Ross Vaughan/Martin Weatherspoon from RNIYC on 72 points
2nd = Tom Purdon & Olivia Hayes from Strangford Lough YC on 51 points. If discards were not used, Tom & Olivia would have won the event with the lowest points!

Taking the Bosun Bob's Trophy in 1st Place and for the third year in a row, Peter Kennedy & Steven Kane from Strangford Lough YC & RNIYC with 36 points. Well done guys!

At the speeches, the race officer Gerry Ried, mark layers, recuse teams and result compiler Jack Andrerson, and all the other volunteers, were thanked for turning up each week to let us all have fun, I think they have fun too. RNIYC, the sponsors Bosun Bob's Chandlery & Rockshore were also thanked for hosting and supporting the fleet.

A big thank you was also given to all who had travelled some way, but especially to Andrew Irvine & Aisling O'Grady who travelled most weekends from the National YC in Dublin to take part as they knew it is the best racing around and they have promised to come back in 2024.

Onto 2024 and beyond, the RS400 fleet is looking very buoyant with numerous new crews buying boats, crews returning to the fleet and there are a lot of enquiries on how to get into the fleet and why? For starters the Frostie Series is great craic, and the enthusiasm is rubbing off and people are taking note. The Irish Sailing Association is holding the Champion of Champions events in the RS400s at RNIYC in October 2024 and beyond that, the UK RS400 National Championships is coming to RNIYC in August 2025 and this will attract the best of the best sailors from across the UK & Ireland. RS400 sailing is looking really good for years to come!

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8R9R10R11R12R13R14R15R16R17R18R19R20Pts
1st1522Peter KennedyStephen KaneRNIYC/SLYC(RET)(OCS)321133211211(8)1562136
2nd1004Tom PurdonOlivia HayesSLYC5(7)516212(10)(7)315222135551
3rd1438Ross VaughanAndrew VaughanRNIYC324423243845(9)(RET)(DNS)5856472
4th1405Liam DonnellyRick McCaigCSC6(9)2(11)858549582363(OCS)13886
5th741Jocelyn HillRowan BerryCAYC75(RET)347(11)(12)5424109104444692
6th1353Robert HastingsRory HigginsSLYC/RNIYC(14)6885658(16)36(12)74310109129119
7th877William FindlayPeter CameronStrangford SC841063871011(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)8104771073123
8th1179Ben MartinRory FlanniganBYC/RUYC10(12)(12)5944(11)958348119971011126
9th1415Frank MacfarlaneBrian ConwayCSC9(15)(RET)10111099151012101211912(OCS)1497179
10th1006Hammy BakerDan SherriffBYC/SLYC/CAYC217RET1011676(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)677DNCDNCDNCRETDNS198
11th1533Rob EspeyRichard McCulloughBYC1OCS1(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)OCS11DNCDNCDNC351DNCDNCDNC12211
12th1188Will BrowneRachel BrowneSLYC(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNC1715176771165113131113220
13th888Stephen DonnellyTim LeonardCSC121413RET149151712(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)131212141411RETDNS232
14th1264Neil CalvinSharon CorkhillCSC(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)912DNS1067DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC822810246
16th1178Brian HolmesWendy SmithColeraine YC/SLYC151014(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNC11119DNCDNCDNCRET1212DNCDNC319
17th1044Andrew IrvinAisling O'GradyNational YC161315DNS13RET(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC131316RETDNS321
21st762Patrick McMeekinJane McMeekinStrangford SC111111(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)121313DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC357

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