Chris Doorly, crew in the winning team, gives his round-up of a hard-fought Championship of Ireland. The competition was so close that the result couldn’t be called on the water … Full results
The Flying Fifteen Championships of Ireland took place in Dun Laoghaire at the weekend of June 17-19, with a healthy 29 boats entered, and were hosted by the National Yacht Club. The forecast was mixed for the weekend with winds from the w- nw.
The welcome and hospitality put on by the local class captain David Mulvin and the club were great, and very appreciated by those who travelled.
Two races were due on Friday. On arrival we were greeted with force 6-7 winds from the south but it was forecast to pass through so after a short delay the boats headed out.
Once out, the wind completely disappeared and after about three hours when people were cold, (it was mid-June after all!) and all the cigarettes were gone, PRO Con Murphy sensibly decided to bring us in. The winner today was Tom Murphy, who was still abroad and due back to race on Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday morning we all arrived at the club to be greeted by a great breakfast donated by one of our sponsors, CMI. There was a steady breeze, about force 3 from the west, and the plan was to get 4 races in.
Race 1: After a frantic start and at least one general recall those on the right came in at the weather mark first, Andy and Rory Martin led from local man Brian O’Donnell but with the variable conditions the lead would change many times.
We were on the left side on the beat and didn’t look good at the mark, however a quick gybe-set got us tucked into second place just behind the Martins, who led for the first lap, we hit the lead coming into the final windward mark, just as we were about to get excited the wind dropped and we could do nothing as we watched Andy & Rory come in from the left. The race was far from over and on the line Roger Chamberlain/Jason Scannell took the lead and the gun from McKee second, the Martins third and us fourth, which we were happy with.
Race 2: Again very shifty, with varying wind pressures on the course. The tide was pushing the fleet over the line and Con’s patience eventually ran out and the black flag was introduced. We did a good first beat to the right of middle and, together with Lawson/Fitzmaurice (PSC) and Logan/Bridges (KYC), pulled away from the fleet. We took the gun, Logan got into second, Lawson third and McKee finished fourth after been back mid fleet earlier in the race.
Race 3: Lawson showed the way from the start and crossed the whole fleet on port and went on to win. Martin was second, we hung in with a third place and Malcolm Crighton was fourth. McKee was back in tenth possibly a good discard!
Race 4: The PRO kept things going and, despite crews tiring, the fourth race started. Again the black flag was used. We were much more comfortable with this, as it prevented people sailing down on top of you. Racing was very close, with Roger Chamberlain getting his second win of the day followed by McKee in second, McCleery third, and we were fourth. The overnight leader (after a discard) was Chamberlain and we were second with McKee third. We were very happy with this and felt that hanging in there getting thirds and fourths could help us on Sunday.
The club laid on a great dinner on Saturday night, which most people attended, and the crews were able to relax after a long day. The local fleet were under strict orders to make sure Roger and Jason were entertained into the early hours! Sunday morning the crews were ready for three more races well some of them were, another long day ahead!
Race 5: Again the black flag came into play after the fleet kept going over the line, McCleery& Dougan (KYC) led all the way followed by Jay and Ben, with Balfe, Gorman, McKee and Coleman close behind. Jay and Balfe were BFD but we didn’t know this at the time. The leader board was beginning to be a three-way battle between McKee, Chamberlain and ourselves, a position we were more than happy with two races to go.
Race 6: There was a steady breeze from the west. We decided to sail our normal race, keeping clear wind and deal with any tactical issues in the last race. To our horror, we were pushed out beyond the pin by barging boats while McKee, McCleery and Chamberlain got away led by Alan & Ian (NYC) who sailed a great beat to lead the way to the weather mark.
With silent curses we gybed around the back of the fleet and set off determined to catch up. At the first weather mark we were about 18th. Dave was in brilliant form, like a man possessed sailing the shifts downwind and upwind and with excellent mark roundings, we clawed our way back leg by leg and by the third lap were somehow second.
Was this to be a championship winning race? McKee got the gun, while McCleery got third, with Chamberlan fourth.
Race 7: All to play for, McKee and ourselves were tied on 12 points each but Chamberlan was also within striking distance on 17: if results went his way, he could win. We had to beat McKee or keep him down below fourth.
The race started at the first time of asking. McKee was on our weather and sitting on us comfortably for the first lap. The title was slipping away, or so we thought. But it’s never over till its over and our determination and adrenaline were still flowing.
Then an opportunity came at the gates, McKee went to the left one and we made an early call to the right which seemed to be more upwind, when we tacked back onto port we were inside McKee and were able to take advantage. With the wind steady we covered him all the way to the line finishing third, inches ahead of Niall Coleman & Mick in fourth and McKee in fifth.
Chamberlain took the race, his third win, with local men Michael & Peter second. It was too close to call and with frazzled heads and tired bodies we couldn’t be sure of the outcome. Ashore, the results were confirmed and we were named as winners of the Flying Fifteen Championship of Ireland, a very nice feeling!
The silver fleet was won by Niall Coleman & Mick Quinn (NYC) and the bronze fleet was won by Charlie Boland & Luke Tritchler (WHSC). All the results can be seen on website www.flyingfifteen.ie.
The racing was as good and as competitive as ever, but it has to be said that Con Murphy and his fantastic team were hugely responsible for making this an enjoyable and successful event.
Champions: Chris and Dave receive their trophy