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Bosun Bob's/Rockshore RS400 Winter Series at the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club - Day 5

by Robert Hastings 5 Dec 2023 02:42 PST 5 November - 17 December 2023
Bosun Bob's/Rockshore RS400 Winter Series day 5 © Calum Dalzel

Supported by Bosun Bob's Chandlery & Rockshore

If you had checked the half a dozen forecasting apps like me, Sunday's wind forecast would have ranged from two to five knots from either east or west and it was going to be very cold, and sure enough it was very cold. On arrival, crews that had arrived early had spinnakers hanging limply from their masts and the wind cups on the club's mast were barely turning so it was no surprise that only half the fleet turned up and the half that did were pondering why they had even bothered.

The decision was made to go and get changed into our wet gear because there might be a chance, luckily we did as the murk disappeared, the sun came out and a lovely breeze filled in from the east.

A few of the usual faces were missing. Frostie Series leader Peter Kennedy had to abandon racing due to emergency route canal surgery, so luckily Mike Ferguson parachuted into the driving seat in 1522. Jocelyn Hill had the dreaded lurgy and had been locked away so her sister Emily took her position in 741, and lastly Bob Espey couldn't make it, so his new chariot was offered to GP14 duo Ross Kearny & Dan Nelson.

The first race got under way sharp at 13.30. The start line had a massive committee boat bias so everyone was jostling for space at the committee boat and with the little breeze, it was easy to stall and get pushed out the back like me. 1522 with Ferguson & Kane lead the way to the windward mark, closely followed by Donnelly & McCaig in 2nd. It appeared to pay on the downwind leg to go for the lay lines, anyone who gybed off early seemed to suffer for it.

Andrew Vaughan in 1438 with Martin Weatherspoons seemed to suffer even more as their wing-wang had gone wrong and as a result they had no control of the gennaker pole. They completed the race in 9th then threw in the towel for the day. Taking the bullet was 1522 Ferguson & Kane, followed by 1405 Donnelly & McCaig in 2nd, then 1533 Kearney & Nelson in 3rd.

Race 2 the race committee did move the start line forward to square it off but by the time the race started there was still a committee boat bias and again there was a good turn out at the committee boat. With twelve boats all having a clean and start, the fleet slowly took off up to the first windward mark with a good split going left or right and it appeared that the boats which sailed more right took the advantage.

First to the windward mark were Ferguson & Kane, with Purdon & Hayes and Donnelly & McCaig following suit. On the down wind, the wind clocked around and the boats that gybed early took the gains and you could nearly hit the leeward marks if you soaked hard enough. Ben Martin in 1179 managed to leapfrog four boats which he was pleased with as he had been at the rear of the fleet. It was in the second beat where GP14 champ, Ross Kearney who knows how to sail fast couldn't get 1533 to point.

He eventually realised that he wasn't in a GP and figured out if you put the centreboard fully down you could actually point these RS400s. Ferguson & Kane held on to the lead, followed by Purdon & Heyes in 2nd and Donnelly & McCaig in 3rd.

By Race 3 the race committee adjusted the start line again. Ferguson & Kane in 1522 thought that they would take a chance with a cheeky port end flyer, but the wind shifted just before the start and they were totally in the wrong spot. Kearney & Nelson in 1533 selected the right gears and lead the fleet to the windward mark. Ferguson & Kane put in a lot of hard work in to get back up to second around the mark.

Hammy Baker & Dan Sherriff in 1006 were doing a good but irritating job of cover taking 1353 Robert Hastings & Peter Todd, but they were victims of their own doing by putting in a downwind gybe and somehow, they sailed over their kite which stopped them dead. I didn't snigger, honestly! Ferguson & Kane made some unusual mistakes, going to the wrong leeward gate mark and they also went up the wrong side if the beat for too long which didn't do them any favours.

In the end, Kearney & Nelson in 1533 held on to take the win, Purdon & Hayes took second again, but they were given a run for their money on the last leg with 1353 Hastings & Todd taking a close 3rd. It was great to see Will & Rachel Browne in 1188 who are new to the fleet and to double handers taking 4th.

Overall we were all pleased to get out, the breeze filled in, the sun came out and we got three good races in. Hot showers and a pint or two later, you couldn't beat it with a big stick.

Well done to the winners for the day's racing, 1533 Kearney & Nelson, with a 3, 5 & 1. In second place with exactly the same points 1004 Purdon & Hayes with 5, 2 & 2.

With 15 races now completed and discards kicking in, the overall series leaders are still 1522 Kennedy & Kane on 29 points. In second place is 1004 Purdon & Hayes on 42 points and in third are the Vaughans on 53 points. With a few more Sundays to go before Christmas, The Bosun Bob's Trophy is not in the bag just yet!

Thanks as always to the race, rescue and mark layers who put in the time each weekend to let us have fun, it is greatly appreciated.

Series Results so far:

PosSail NoHelmCrewR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8R9R10R11R12R13R14R15Pts
1st1522Peter KennedyStephen Kane(RET)(OCS)321133211211829
2nd1004Tom PurdonOlivia Hayes5‑7516212‑1073152242
3rd1438Ross VaughanAndrew Vaughan3244232438459(RET)(DNS)53
4th1405Liam DonnellyRick McCaig6‑92‑118585495823671
5th741Jocelyn HillRowan Berry75(RET)34711‑1254241091081
6th1353Robert HastingsRory Higgins‑146885658‑16361274381
7th1179Ben MartinRory Flannigan10‑12‑125944119583481191
8th1006Hammy BakerDan Sherriff217RET1011676   677111
9th877William FindlayPeter Cameron841063871011   8104114
10th1415Frank MacfarlaneBrian Conway9‑15(RET)101110991510121012119137
11th1533Rob EspeyTBC1OCS1   OCS11   351152
12th888Stephen DonnellyTim Leonard121413RET149151712   131212184
13th1188Will BrowneRachel Browne      1715176771165191
14th1316Stephen McLernonEdwina Ternan43977RETOCSRET8      196
15th825Paul RobinsonA Byres/A Robinson   DNS15RET13RETRET296   219
16th1264Neil CalvinSharon Corkhill   912DNS1067      235
17th1178Brian HolmesWendy Smith151014      11119   245
18th762Patrick McMeekinJane McMeekin111111   121313      246
19th840Mo BlackZak Dalzel      141414DNF1311   255
20th1044Andrew IrvinAisling O'Grady161315DNS13RET         264
21st1001Woo KearneyNick Thallon      1616DNSDNF1013   265
22nd1440Simon HutchinsonBen Williams1386            277
23rd728Ben McMeekinLaurence McVeigh      RETRETDNS      313
24th1245Luke McIlwaineRyan Wilson               325

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