Following a most enjoyable Liffey Challenge, when the Flying Fifteens ousted Col Gadaffi from the front page of The Irish Times (Saturday 27th August 2011), the class raced around Dalkey Island. Ronan Beirne reports.
Nine boats were at the starting line off the East Pier bandstand at 11.30 on Sunday, August 28. Class Captain Davy Mulvin advised the fleet to leave the island to port, as the tide would be on the ebb on return.
Of the nine boats in the race, five were crewed by juniors, and the Balfes & Murphys made up a crew of three in each boat.
“Family” boats were given a five minutes advantage and once around the pier the fleet enjoyed a NNE breeze of c. 10 knots, with spinnakers down past Bullock and into Dalkey Sound. Spinnakers were held on rounding the battery at the end of the Island and then dropped for the beat back against the tide.
The wind increases to .c 18 knots, with the Sherrys and O’Sullivans opting for the long tack out onto the bay. Others opted for the half-way tack, heading into Bulloch mark. Meanwhile, the seniors were making good way, and again they split between the offshore and inshore course.
From the attendant rib in the middle course, it was initially hard to tell which side would get the advantage, but as the inshore boats tacked out it became apparent that the offshore course was the way to go.
Meanwhile, the “seniors” were making up the ground, resulting in a convergence of five boats off the lighthouse on the East Pier. With calls for “water” and some close tacking, the boats changed places, with the O’Sullivans crossing the line first, followed by the Sherrys, and Ken Dumpleton and Hugh Cahill close on their heels.
Boats were back on the platform after an enjoyable 90 minute race, where the Captain distributed the lemonade to the hard-working junior crews.
With 12 boats the Fifteen fleet presented the biggest number of one designs in the NYC end-of-season race. After the conclusion of the Dublin Bay programme, the October series for Fifteens and Mermeaids will commence, and the class annual dinner is planned for November 11th at the National Yacht Club.