A record breaking turnout of 72 RS dinghies descended on Belfast Lough for the three day Irish Nationals and Euro-Cup making it one of the biggest dinghy sailing events to be held in the country this year. The fleet was made up of 44 RS400's, 19 RS200's and 9 RS Feva's.
Irish Nationals and Euro-Cup
The top quality race management on the water was matched by a fantastic reception ashore by all involved at the Royal North of Ireland YC. In the RS400 class a strong contingent made the journey from Scotland with several of the top boats from the English circuit making the trip too. Also joining the class were several Irish Olympic campaigners and former national champions including James Espey (Laser London 2012), Fraser Brown (49er Athens 2004) and Gareth Flannigan to name but a few.
With such a quality fleet and tactically testing conditions the slightest boat handling error or missing of a wind shift would cost over ten places instantly and clawing back up through the traffic was easier said than done.
Despite local sailors Bob Espey and his crew Mike Gunning putting up a strong fight for the first half of the event it was Roger Carter and Ian Robertson from Scotland who managed to master the predominantly light and shifty breezes. In second place and only one point off top spot was former Enterprise World Champion Stewart Robertson with his wife Sarah crewing. In third Place were Howard Farbrother and Dan Martin of Queen Mary SC.
The top three Irish 400's were Bob Espey and Mike Gunning in fourth, Michael Ferguson and Jeremy Tomalin in fifth and Emmet and James Ryan in eighth place.
The turnout for the RS200s, showed continuing steady growth in this class. The fleet included three UK entries. The eventual winner counting four firsts was John McKelvie and Sarah Watson from Strangford Lough YC followed by Julian Bradley from the UK. In the light and fickle winds there was much place changing during all the races and after a slightly shaky start to the event Roy Van Maanen and Glen Reid improved their performances to take third overall and second Irish 200. Third Irish went to Frank O'Rourke sailing with his son Kevin also from Greystones SC who finished their series with an impressive win.
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