The Flying Fifteen Southern Championships took place in the picturesque village of Dunmore East on August 13-14. It was the fleet’s first visit to Dunmore since 2006 and 17 boats participated in great conditions, writes Chris Doorly.
It was great to be back and the racing didn’t disappoint. The race officer Sean Jones and his on-the-water team did a great job, matched equally by the shore helpers.
Race 1: Saturday morning we all arrived at the club to be greeted by a big swell sea with force 3-4, perfect racing conditions for Flying Fifteens. Racing started at the first time of asking and Poole/Mathews (NYC) got to the weather mark just inside Gorman/ Doorly(NYC).
Gorman did a quick gybe and was off on the waves to take the lead, which he held to take the gun. McKee moved up to finish second and Poole held off Lavery to finish in third place.
Race 2: The black flag was introduced after the fleet were over the line, McKee and Lavery led, closely followed by Gorman. On the second beat, Gorman took the lead by playing the shifts. He held on in the exhilarating reaches but on the last run Lavery and McKee got inside to get water at the leeward mark. This was the way it finished, with Andy Martin in fourth place. Very close racing.
Race 3: Crews were getting tired: the big sea was taking its toll. The tide was rushing in and those who stayed out were in the lead. McKee led the way, followed by Dumpleton and Lavery, Gorman was back in the fleet after going right.
It was ding-dong with McKee and Lavery, and on the last beat McKee infringed Lavery and had to do penalty turns. This gave Lavery the win, which put him in a very strong position to retain his title.
Meanwhile, Gorman was working his way back and after going left against the tide he came into the last weather mark in third place, a good recovery and enough to keep him in the hunt.
Overnight, Lavery and McKee were on 6 points and Gorman on 7: still all to play for.
The club put on a great barbecue that evening, which included a raffle for wet suits and lifejackets from sponsors Dunmore Adventure Centre.
Race 4: The tide was going out and the boats that headed into the shore came out in front at the weather mark.. Lavery led the way, with Gorman second and Dumpleton third. McKee and Martin followed closely. Midway through the second beat, the wind started shifting more to the west, frustrating the crews.
Lavery and Gorman got around the weather mark ahead of Martin in third and McKee fourth, with David Mulvin fifth. On reaching the leeward mark, the PRO shortened the course.
Lavery’s win meant he couldn’t lose the event. Both McKee and Gorman could only tie on points, but Lavery had it on a countback, with more race wins.
Race 5:The wind was shifting to the west, most boats went in out of the tide and into breeze, but those out on the left came out in front, with Green/Mulligan leading comfortably followed by the Fletcher brothers.
As Lavery had gone home, Gorman covered McKee throughout to keep second place in the race and overall.
The Silver fleet was won by David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne (NYC) and the Bronze by local man Charlie Boland and Fintan Stanley.
John Lavery thanked the club for a fantastic event in great conditions, the sponsors Java Coffee and the Dunmore Adventure Centre, the PRO and his team, his fellow competitors, and even his crew, David O’Brien.
Those who didn’t travel missed a great event. The next event is Cushendall in September.