Please select your home edition
Selden 2020 - LEADERBOARD

Flying Fifteen Irish Northern Championship at Portaferry Sailing Club

by Cormac Bradley 26 Jul 11:14 PDT 24-25 July 2021
(l-r) Stewart Harrison, winning helm, Flying Fifteen Northern Championship, Shane McCarthy, Commodore Portaferry Sailing Club, John McAlea, Race Officer and Conor, winning crew Flying Fifteen Northern Championship © Ben Mulligan

For those who were unable to make the first "away" regatta since the summer season of 2019, you missed glorious sunshine, great hospitality, fickle winds, and challenging tides!

The venue was Portaferry on the northern shores of the narrows at the entrance to Strangford Lough and the event attracted a 14-boat fleet, made up principally of Strangford clubs, Strangford Lough Yacht Club, Strangford Sailing Club, Killyleagh Yacht Club and Portaferry Sailing Club. There was one Belfast Lough boat and two from southern Ireland, from Dun Laoghaire and Dunmore East respectively.

The races area was towards the Killyleagh side of the Lough and Race Officer John McAlea did very well to get all five races in. Conditions on Saturday were light, probably of the order of 5-7 knots and in those conditions, tide was always going to be a significant factor.

Race wins were shared between three boats on Saturday: Brian Willis and John McPeake (4074) in Race 1, Shane McCarthy & Jeremy Rodgers (4018) in Race 2 and Alan McLernon & Crew (3782) in Race 3. The third race win was quite something at face value as the FF was using the sail number IRL1974. However, by the close of business on the Saturday, as ever, consistency allowed the cream to rise to the top. McCarthy & Rodgers (4018) had posted a 5,1,2 race score to leave them with a 4-point cushion on the second boat. At this stage they were the only boat with a single figure points total. Stewart Harrison & Conor (3892) sat in second place overnight with a 3,5,7 and two boats were tied in 3rd, Alan McLernon, and Brian Willis (17pts).

Most boats had at least one good race, but such was the vagaries of the racing that a good result in one race was not an indicator of form in the next. Consider some of the score cards that were on display on Saturday night - 12, 4, 3 from McCleary & Dougan (4037), 2,10,10 from Roger Chamberlain (3962) and 9, 2, 9 from Mulligan & Bradley (4081). Still, the sun had shone all day and we were all back ashore in time to see the majority of the SA V the Lions. Portaferry Sailing Club fed everyone as part of the entry fee and the post-mortems and other assessments of "Life, the Universe, and Everything" went long into the evening.

If Saturday was light, then Sunday gave the appearance of being better - at least looking at the water surface on the way out to the start. It would be a different matter on the racecourse! RO McAlea had obviously been doing some beseeching to have wind because promptly at 11:00 he started the sequence for Race 4. In Race 4 McCleary played the Pied Piper and took a number of boats with him to the right-hand side of the course. Two of these, McCleary himself and Charlie Boland & Rob McConnell (3883) bailed out early and went left to try and reconnect with the fleet. That left Mulligan & Bradley ploughing a lonely furrow on the right and it got lonelier as they never re-engaged with the rest of the fleet.

Stewart & Connor led for most of the race but were challenged by McCarthy at various stages. Their upwind speed invariably got them out of trouble when the downwind legs didn't quite work out. Behind these two, McLernon, Chamberlain and Willis were having a good race. McCleary finished 9th while Boland got up to 7th.

Harrison's win had opened Pandora's Box in terms of the destiny of the title. Effectively, if Harrison won again and McCarthy was worse than 5th, Harrison could take the title. McAlea responded to the movement of the wind by moving the weather mark leftwards from his committee boat position. Remember that in the previous race, going right was the death-knell for this correspondent.

A pin-end port tack start by Mulligan caught the fleet on the hop but came to a quick halt by starboard tacked boats coming out of the middle of the line. An individual recall was sounded; and one boat was seen to go back - Boland & McConnell. The boats that worked the left-hand side found that they were being hammered by those who had gone right, the complete opposite of the previous race. Harrison led at the first weather mark with McCarthy buried in the peloton, in 9th place. McCleary, who had struggled in the previous race now found himself as the fox to Harrison's hare and McLernon was also watching the hare very closely. McCarthy's frustrations must also have boiled over when his spinnaker drop on the middle leeward mark (laps of three) resulted in Rodgers standing on the foredeck flicking a spinnaker halyard to free the jib.

While there was some movement in the fleet the light winds and the tendency to work a single side of the beat meant that the pecking order didn't change dramatically. And thus, though he recovered to 6th place McCarthy & Rodgers lost the title to Stewart & Connor by virtue of the latter pair winning the last race. And for all the endeavour of the port tack start, Mulligan and Bradley went over the finish line to silence - ruled as an OCS! The post-race discussion with the RO was polite and brief - he had photographic evidence!

Overall Results: (top five)

PosSail NoHelm & CrewR1R2R3R4R5Pts
13892Stewart Harrison & Conor3571110
24018Shane Mc Carthy & Jeremy Rodgers5122610
33782Alan McLernon & Crew7914315
44037Andy McCleary & Colin Dougan12439218
54074Brian Willis & John McPeake112451020

So, a very good weekend for Stewart Harrison and his crew Conor, who flew in from Scotland to sail the event. Commiserations to Shane McCarthy & Jeremy Rodgers who also sailed a very consistent regatta.

Congratulations also to Niall Bradshaw who won the bronze division. Speakers at the prize-giving were Shane McCarthy, John McAlea from PSC and Class President Hammy Baker. All three thanked everyone for attending and made particular reference to the volunteers who had given up their weekend in order that we all could sail. A small token of appreciation from the fleet was presented to John McAlea as RO and the gentleman who had offered the use of his boat for the Committee Boat on the Friday night. Shane reminded the audience that the National Championships are due to be sailed out of Whiterock in late August before he bade everyone "Safe Home".

Related Articles

Flying Fifteens at Broxbourne
Flat calm and drizzle opens the Southern Travellers Series event Flat calm and drizzle greeted the fifteen competitors on Saturday morning. After a long postponement a very light breeze developed from the approximately expected direction and the race officer started a race around 3:00pm. Posted on 18 Oct
VOOM Keelboat Weekend at Ullswater
Forty-seven sailors in 21 boats compete Forty-seven sailors in 21 boats competed in the VOOM Keelboat Weekend at Ullswater Yacht Club on October 9 and 10, enjoying six close windward/leeward races against the beautiful backdrop of the Lakeland fells. Posted on 11 Oct
Flying Fifteen Inlands at Chew Valley Lake
Classic inland conditions on Sunday after a flat calm on Saturday The 2021 Flying Fifteen Inland Championship at Chew Valley Lake SC on October 9th and 10th saw 24 entries, including six from the home fleet. Posted on 11 Oct
Flying Fifteen Inlands at Chew Valley Lake preview
Including a training day with multiple World Champion Chris Turner on Friday With just a few days to go, the entry list is looking very strong for the Flying Fifteen Inland Championship at Chew Valley Lake SC on October 9th and 10th. Posted on 5 Oct
16 classes confirmed for Poole Regatta 2022
Set to compete for The Canford Cup The well-loved International Paint Poole Regatta is to return from 30th April to 2nd May 2022. Sixteen racing classes are currently committed to racing against the backdrop of the sailing paradise around Poole. Posted on 23 Sep
Hong Kong Autumn Regatta sponsored by HSBC Expat
More than 600 sailors across 7 one-designs, sportsboats and big boats With two typhoons in the region, light winds had been predicted for the weekend but luckily for all Autumn Sponsored by HSBC Expat was successfully held with decent breeze holding over the weekend raising the curtain on RHKYC's 2021-2022 sailing season. Posted on 12 Sep
Flying Fifteen Inlands online entry now open
To be held at Chew Valley Lake on 9-10 October The Flying Fifteen Inland Championship returns to Chew Valley Lake on 9-10 October, for the final championship event in the UKFFA calendar for 2021. Posted on 12 Sep
UYC VOOM Keelboat Weekend preview
Tempests, Flying Fifteens, VXOnes and SB20s invited Ullswater Yacht Club is putting the 'VOOM' into an open weekend of racing especially for keelboats on October 9 & 10. Posted on 3 Sep
Irish Flying Fifteen Nationals overall
John Lavery & Alan Green stamp their authority to win the title Sunday 29th August produced grey skies and a wind that had undergone an almost 180 degree shift to come from a northerly quarter. Contestants were encouraged to launch as promptly as possible due to a falling tide. Posted on 30 Aug
Irish Flying Fifteen Nationals day 2
Mirror-like conditions to start with on Strangford Lough As was feared at the close of business yesterday, the weather on arrival at Strangford Lough Yacht Club was reminiscent of the British Championships sailed at the same venue a couple of years ago when we sat ashore for three days under an AP flag. Posted on 28 Aug
Armstrong-Logo-Only-728x90 gif BOTTOMRooster 2020 - Impact BA - FOOTERHenr-Lloyd BLU FOOTER