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Irish Flying Fifteen Nationals at Strangford Lough Yacht Club - Overall

by Cormac Bradley 30 Aug 2021 05:15 PDT 27-29 August 2021

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 and the Race Officer's declared intention to start racing on time with the prospect of three races for the day.

The fleet obliged, and after some deliberation as to where the weather mark should go due to the wind shifting left and right, the fleet got under way under another "Black Flag" starting procedure.

Regatta leaders John Lavery & Alan Green (4085) stamped their authority on the fleet again by taking the race win, followed home by Shane McCarthy & Andy Thompson (40485) and Niall Meagher & Nikki Matthews (3938) who continued from where they had left off the previous day, counting a second in race four. Lavery & Green led this one from the start and were never really challenged.

Race 6 saw another win for Bryan Willis & John McPeake (4074) giving them a second bullet which one would have thought would help them up the overall ladder. However, the previous 2 x 9th and an 11th put a brake of sorts on their upward trajectory. They did win this race with a margin on the rest of the fleet. Second and third went to Hammy Baker & Peter Chamberlain (3756) and Lavery & Green, who benefited yet again from finding an extra gear to get through the fleet after an average, by their standards start and first beat. Fourth went to Roger Chamberlain & Paddy Spratt (3962), while 5th went to Ian Matthews & Keith Poole (4093). Newcomers to the Irish fleet, Nigel Biggs and Simon Pritchard Jones (4092) were finding the going a bit tougher on the Sunday compared to their exploits on Days 1 and 2. They weren't the only ones!! McCarthy & Thompson "hung in" with a sixth place.

In what was the best breeze of the weekend in terms of strength, though we are talking very fine margins here, the fleet got a seventh race in, under another black flag regime.

Yet again, an average start and first beat saw Lavery & Green mixing it with the "mere mortals" only for them to benefit from some judicious calls by Green, according to Lavery, and grind their way to another first place. It is uncanny watching how they repeatedly got themselves out of difficult situations in terms of place in the fleet to elevate themselves to podium places. As John alluded to in his prize-giving thank you speech, Tuesday night practice sessions, in company, went a long way to winning this title. Behind them the finishing order was McCarthy, Trevor Darcy (3782), Biggs & Pritchard Jones and Meagher & Matthews.

In overall terms, Lavery & Green dominated the regatta with three race wins. However, there were some races where, by their own admission, they had to draw on accumulated experience and practice sessions to extract themselves from middle of the fleet positions to get into the smaller single figure places that lend themselves to winning major regattas. After discard, they won by a whopping 16pts, with their worst result a 5th place in Races 1 and 4.

McCarthy & Thompson led three boats home on a post-discard score of 29pts, the final order here being McCarthy, Hammy Baker & Peter Chamberlain (3756), Peter Kennedy & Stephen Kane (3920). Two boats were tied on 40pts after discard with Chamberlain & Spratt getting the nod over Biggs & Pritchard Jones. On 41pts we find Trevor Darcy & Crew, followed by two boats on 43pts, Willis & McPeake and Meagher & Matthews. The top ten was closed out by Ian Matthews & Keith Poole (4093) with 51pts.

The Race Officer Team are to be commended on getting a seven-race series completed. As the three reports for this regatta testify to, winds were light, resulting in one race being abandoned, with only one race completed on the Saturday. Three races were sailed on each of the two "short-working days" Friday and Sunday. In addition to being light, the wind fluctuated continuously giving the mark-layers lots to do over the three days.

SLYC's hospitality was to the fore again with teas and coffee and bacon butties available on all three mornings and despite the ongoing Covid regulations we were able to enjoy a sponsor hosted championship meal on the Saturday night in the clubhouse.

A special word of thanks to the regatta sponsor Ridgeway Engineering who were represented in the fleet by Stephen Kane, crewing for Peter Kennedy (3920). As was advised in the prize-giving, the sponsorship was provided in a very measured and generous fashion without a great deal of song and dance but in their prize-giving remarks both Peter Chamberlain, as Regatta Organiser, and John Lavery, as winning helm, thanked Stephen for his company's contribution to what was a very enjoyable and successful weekend.

The Race Team and the host of volunteers, in the kitchen and bar, on the water and in the water, in terms of the launching and recovery teams, were thanked by Peter and John as well.

In his closing remarks, John paid tribute to his crew, the "evergreen" Alan Green who has won this Championship of Ireland, with five different helms. He acknowledged the judicious decisions by Alan on the water that allowed them to convert "difficult" first beats to low single digit scores. In a wider context he suggested that the Flying Fifteen can accommodate a wide spectrum of crew weights as was evidenced by the teams here this weekend and suggested that his crew would be a very good point of reference to anyone who needs to attune their boats in accordance with their crew size.

John also acknowledged the contestants who had travelled to the event from Dunmore East, Howth, Dun Laoghaire, Belfast/Larne and within Strangford Lough itself.

For the Irish Fifteen fleet. The next event is the Easterns which are scheduled for Dun Laoghaire on the weekend of 18th & 19th of September. Just enough time for a recalibration for those who need it!

Overall Results:

PosHelm & CrewSail R1R2R3R4R5R6R7Pts
1John Lavery & Alan Green4083512513113
2Shane McCarthy & Andy Thompson408521162326229
3Hammy Baker & Peter Chamberlain37563486621429
4Peter Kennedy & Stephen Kane39204644412729
5Roger Chamberlain & Paddy Spratt3962145123149440
6Nigel Biggs & Simon Pritchard Jones 409273323149440
7Trevor Darcy & Crew 378291293107341
8Bryan Willis & John McPeake 4074159111911243
9Niall Meagher & Nikki Matthews3938101615238543
10Ian Matthews & Keith Poole 40931185121651051
11Peter Lawson & Chris Hannon 389381578814651
12Charlie Boland & Rob McConnell 38831271077171760
13Lee Statham & Andy Paul 389616216101311961
14Peter Murphy & Ciara Mulvey37746101891513861
15David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne4068114121311161967
16Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley40811313141512101677
17Tom Murphy & Carel La Roux40571717201117151592
18Tom Galvin & Alan Balfe 37571819131418181394
19Niall Bradshaw & Lisa Byers345419201716202018110
20Brian McKee & Crew319820181917191920112

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