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Irish Flying Fifteen Nationals at the National Yacht Club - Day 1

by Cormac Bradley 2 Sep 21:28 PDT 2-4 September 2022

Consistency pays!

Yachties, like any other sportspeople, enjoy consistency. Footballers and rugby players want consistency of interpretation of the rules when they are playing. Football has introduced VAR to try and enhance the application of consistency to offside decisions and instances of foul play.

For those of us who practice their sport on the water, we want the wind to be consistent, so that when one side of the beat pays, that same side of the course also pays on the subsequent downwind leg. Today, at the Flying Fifteen Nationals, sponsored by Thomson Process Engineering and CMI and hosted by the National Yacht Club, that fundamental principle of consistency didn't apply, unless of course you were the winner of the first two races of the regatta, Peter & Juliette Kennedy (3920) who as a consequence have a 9pt cushion to second place, occupied by Bryan Willis & John McPeake (4074), counting a 9th and a 2nd, who have three points on Olympian Phil Lawton & Neil O'Hagan (3803) (7,7), with Hammy Baker & Peter Chamberlain (3756) (4, 12) and John Lavery & Alan Green (4083) (5,11) tied on sixteen points.

And to highlight the challenges of the racing today, we only have to look at some of the scores that were recorded. Former Flying Fifteen National multiple champions scored a 22 and a 14, a successfully campaigned boat in this year's DBSC series scored a 26, 8, and other high profile DBSC campaigners rendered scores of 27 & 20, 11 & 26, 12 & 24 and 26 & 8. And these varied results weren't limited to the locals, a South Coast boat scored a 3,23 and a World, British and Irish National winner (in another class) scored a 6,15.

Thirty-one boats contested the first two races under the Race Management of Eddie Totterdell, who declared in his briefing that it was his intention to start proceedings on time, 13:55. Given that there was little wind on the bay when he said this, it was deemed slightly optimistic, but on exiting the harbour and monitoring the airwaves between committee boat and windward mark, there was a breeze of 6.5knots at an early stage coming from a direction of approx. 120 degrees. The wind fluctuated a bit going as far right as 140 degrees but the RO got the fleet away in the first race at the first time of asking. The right-hand side paid and the likes of Ian Mathews & Keith Poole (4093), the Kennedys, Lawton & O'Hagan, Baker & Chamberlain and Lavery & Green availed of this advantage. The left-hand side of the run paid this time and some who had not got the correct side of the beat got back into the frame. The same group were leading at the second weather mark of the 2-lap Windward-Leeward course but there was a split in how the run was sailed. Lawton went hard right while Kennedy and Mathews went left. Left paid off but not by much as the post-race view was that Lawton went too far to the left in the closing stages of the leg letting Kennedy and Mathews through to take the first two places, followed by Lee Statham & Andy Paul (4070), Baker & Chamberlain, Lavery & Green, Shane McCarthy & Damien Bracken (4085), Lawton & O'Hagan, Stuart Harrison & Conor Brennan (3892), Willis & McPeake and Tom & Eamonn Galvin (3757).

The second race got away under "U" after a General Recall and some of us were intrigued that a clear start was called. Again, the right side paid and this time the likes of Lavery, Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley (4081), Joe Coughlan & Andrew Marshall (3913), Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (4028) and Niall Coleman & Justin Geoghegan (4008) were looking good. A port/starboard incident between Mulligan and Coughlan resulted in the former taking turns which halted their presence in the lead group, but by going left down the run they managed to regain some of the lost distance. By the second beat, shortened by the RO, the wind was starting to fade. And the second run became tortuous for those on the left as the breeze virtually shut down. Out on the right-hand side, theoretically fighting the tide, the likes of Kennedy, Willis, Lawton and Colin were making major inroads with the Kennedys very comfortably ahead of Willis & McPeake. Among those whose momentum stalled on the left were Mulligan, Harrison, Statham, Gorman and Mathews.

At the finish the Kennedys were comfortable winners and Willis & McPeake were also comfortable in 2nd place ahead of Peter Murphy & Ciara Mulvey (3774), Andrew McCleery & Colin Dougan (4037), Niall Coleman & Justin Geoghegan (4008), Niall Meagher & Nicki Matthews (3938), Lawton & O'Hagan, Colin & Casey (4028), Adrian Cooper & Joe McNamara (3896) and Peter Lawson & Chris Hannon (3893).

Results after Day 1:

1. Peter & Juliette Kennedy: 1, 1 = 2pts
2. Bryan Willis & John McPeake: 9, 2 = 11pts
3. Phil Lawton & Neil O'Hagan: 7, 7 = 14pts
4. Hammy Baker & Peter Chamberlain: 4, 12 = 16pts
5. John Lavery & Alan Green: 5, 11 = 16pts

Three races are schedule for Saturday. The weather forecast (as of 00:04) is for more light breezes with some rain.

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