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Five RS400s hit the water in Cork on Saturday, the first day back for a fleet that has now grown to 11 boats in Cork Harbour.

Hosted by the Royal Cork Yacht Club, racing took place on the Curlane Bank and the 10 hardy souls completed 5 races in glorious sunshine and winds gusting to 25 knots.

John Downey and Sandy Rimmington of Monkstown Bay were clear winners on the day with a score line of three 1sts and two 2nds.

Dublin based dinghy supremos Barry MacCartin and Ronan Wallace were a convincing second and are proving to be the ones to watch for the regional circuit.

Twice national champs Alex Barry and Richie Leonard could only manage third however were delighted with their swimming practice.

George Kenefick paired up with Royal Cork junior Harry Durcan and they finished fourth, also getting in plenty of swim time as they blew off the cobwebs.

New to the class Tom McGrath rounded it out in 5th. It was great to see the young blood getting involved and Junior ace Harry Durcan joined Tom, moving to the front of the boat for the first time.

Thanks to OOD Ciaran McSweeney and all of his helpers on the day.

The class have a packed local and national schedule this year as they build towards the nationals in Schull in August.

Published in RS Sailing

The second series of the DMYC Frostbites started with a bright and gusty afternoon in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. A competitive fleet of six RS’s hit the water for two closely fought races in tricky conditions.
In race one, Sean and Heather Craig played the shifts skilfully and held off Ger Owens and Phil Lawton in their RS200 to take the win.
Making his debut in the RS400 was Kenneth Rumball of the Irish National Sailing School. An uncharacteristic windward capsize in the first race blew any remaining New Year’s cobwebs away. After his dunking, Kenny got to grips with the boat scoring an impressive 2nd in race two behind Emmet and James Ryan.
Good news for anyone eager to join in on the action. The DMYC are offering a 40% discount for entries to the 2016 series.

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Roll it back a year, with storms and millponds alternating weekly, we had completed only four races by this stage of the Autumn series. Roll forward a year and thankfully after three days racing at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club we are already at nine races completed on Belfast Lough. If we continue like this it is set to be a 36+ race bonanza RS400 Autumn Series writes Dave Cheyne RS Ireland Chairman.

Glorious conditions have prevailed these last two Sundays, and despite a backdrop of Ireland’s sad exit from the other great sporting show in town, the RS400 sailors are in high spirits with great racing fresh in our minds. The first Sunday had been a little topsy-turvy, but that is a distant memory now, with a cracking series to remember well underway.

A few regulars forgot to turn up, presumably solstice responsible for that, though we still had 9 ships on the start line, some without clocks and compasses, which to be honest aren’t that big a help with Gerry Reid calling the last minute out followed by a 100 metre sprint for a beat.

Each race lasts about 15-20 minutes, but this is intense, and teams were wheezing and gasping as they quickly contend with all the hoists gybes and drops. The busy roundings abound and its great competition. For this type of racing all you need is a good Race Officer, a RIB, three marks, and the right attitude as a fleet. Everyone agreed that this was more fun than many of the well-attended full championships we have enjoyed all season.
So Liam Donnelly, in “Zimmer Frame” has established an early lead, Cushendall’s Paul Mclaughlin and Mick McKinley should really be second, but until the discards (could be 6 by the series end….) kick in, DrC and Stevie/Charlie sit in second, with everyone else snapping at their collective heels.

How lucky we are to be involved in this sailing, and what a great focus for the week this is. 

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Ballyholme Yacht Club in Belfast Lough was chosen not just for its exemplary history of race management and churning out National Champions, and its excellent access to open waters with minimal tide, but also for its ease of access for the Northern UK Fleet of RS400 sailors, in the hope of attracting some of the biggest names in the UK fleet over writes David Cheyne. So it happened that Mike Sims and Richard Brown, recently crowned UK National Champions and reigning Inland Champs, were tempted, along with Josh Metcalfe and Jack Holden from North Wales, a regular top 5 UK team, to see how much our top teams had improved through 2015. How would the cream of Ireland’s two person dinghy sailors fare against the top names of one of the most competitive fleets in the UK.
Much has been said of the RS400 fleets continued expansion in Ireland, with fleets popping up everywhere, and now strongholds in Cork and Belfast Lough, and ongoing growth in Dublin, Howth and the inland clubs like Killaloe. But how is the standard of sailing coming on? One look at the shots taken from the committee boat down the start line, of about 150 metres length, with no midline sag, is testament to the skills and standard right through the fleet, along with the compression of the fleet which finished most of the 45 minute races within 5 minutes from front to back.
Within the fleet itself, there had been a quiet excitement building towards this event, with everyone turning up, resulting in a stunning line up of talent spanning 40 years, and with nearly the entire top 20 being National Champions or better. However, what was most impressive was how tight the racing turned out to be in rest of the 50 strong fleet. Nobody seemed to be struggling, and everyone was out fiddling with rig settings and fine tuning, only a year on from many people trying to work out how to sail the boats for the first time.
Racing on Friday looked like a walk in the park for the top UK team, who took all the bullets, however after a day off to reflect on the Saturday, when the wind refused to play ball, the Irish teams came out fighting and nearly overhauled the visitors who had a much more torrid time of things, with boats speed difference now neutralised, and any sense of intimidation no longer felt. Notable performances came from established pairing Paul McLaughlin and Mick McKinley of Cushendall, who seemed to be flying around the course and regularly chasing the top 5; Barry McCartin, 2014 and 2015 Irish Fireball Champion, and top Irish performer in 11th place at the recent Fireball Worlds, sailing with Finbar Bradley, not long in the fleet, constantly chasing the leading pack; top Irish Laser sailor and coach Chris Penney, with Simon Martin, and George Kenefick, 2011 ISA Helmsman’s Champion filling out the top ten.
It was clear however, that there was a top 5, with the two top UK teams and three Irish teams of 2014 Champions Alex Barry and Richie Leonard, 2013 Champions Bob Espey and Michael Gunning, and multiple Irish National Champion in many fleets, Gareth Flannigan, with Dave Fletcher of the home club, knocking ten bells out of each other, and indeed Espey out of his boat at one top mark rounding!
Going into the last day, Flannigan was looking strong in pole position, but the points quickly reversed with discards kicking in, and ever present Alex Barry overhauling the Ballyholme duo before Flannigan was black flagged in the penultimate race to really put the pressure on, as Barry claimed his first win of the series. With the expected jostling for position in the final start, it was the Monkstown team who squeezed out ahead, as Flannigan struggled to pull back through from mid fleet, and it was they who claimed their second successive Irish RS400 title.
So how was it for the rest of the competitors? Well, one of the great things about the fleet is the coming together of so many old friends and adversaries of years gone by, with the likes of 63 year old Liam Donnelly, along with Brian Holmes, Richard Bolton, Charlie Horder and Simon Hutchison of the Scorpion fleet of years gone by, all feeling enthused again to be able to compete against each other again after several years without a double hander to sail. It is such a refreshing sight to see 50 dinghies in a single class with jibs and kites whizzing about, after so much concentration on single handed racing in recent years. The fun of having to get so many variables covered in such a beautifully easy boat to sail fast, looks to be re-energising sailing in Ireland. Who knows what 2016 holds – bring it on!

Published in RS Sailing
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#rs400 – It was a case of perpetual disorientation, but also a high point for Hastings, one of the fleet's main movers and supporters, as he judged the spiralling wind, or Carlingford Kettle, to perfection writes David Cheyne. As those around him thrashed around helplessly, Hastings bore off in a smooth arc, with crew Neil Calvin maintaining perfect kite trim, and scribed a perfect circle, with no adjustments to sheeting angle, truly an incredible sight for all to witness. As the mini tornados spun their way across the lough, availing of the unique local topography, many others did the more traditional 360 rotation, with the rig passing under the boat, and so it came to pass that we had a very odd days racing on Saturday. With a similar South Westerly breeze forecast for the Sunday, many went to bed worried about another day of randomness.

The writing was on the wall for Saturday, as we started the briefing in 20 knots of South Easterly, and finished in 20 knots of South Westerly 10 minutes later. Most relevant question was probably "how deep is it out there?"

The weekend saw the welcome return to battle of 2013 Circuit kings, Dr Bob "Bucky" Espey, and newly engaged Michael Gunning, finally making it back out after a few forays in the SB20 fleet. It was to be fascinating to see how they would fare against all conquering 2014 RS400 champion, Alex Barry of Monkstown, fresh from his win the 1720 Irish Nationals. As seems to be the case from event to event, the calibre of the RS400 fleet becomes ever more stellar, and there cannot have been many more talent loaded one design fleet racing in Ireland, with most of the top 10 being National Champions in many classes, along with resident World top ten 49er and Irish Olympian, Ryan Seaton helming Pretty Boy's boat in the absence of Chunky Ferguson. Figaro competitor and 2013 Irish Sailor of the Year Dave Kenefick, kicked off proceedings with an impressive bullet and looked like he had got himself dialled in quickly in his new boat, but the standard of those around him was quickly evident and he was to have a tough time thereafter, eventually finishing 10th overall.


Diane Kissane chases David Rose in race 4

Diane Kissane from Howth was another new face to the fleet, borrowing the RNIYC try-it-out boat #510. Typically for the forward thinking RS400 fleet, these RNIYC enthusiasts bought this old boat for about £1500, on EBay I believe, and it has been given the Uncle Liam tender loving care refurb. Diana with crew Finbar Bradley gave the fleet the big thumbs up, and after finishing 13th out of the 31 boat fleet, plan to hit the circuit next year in their own boat, adding yet another National Champion to the list, Diana having been double Irish Optimist Champion in 2005 and 2006.
After a lot of difficult and competitive sailing, going into the final race, there were just three points separating the top 3 of Bob Espey and Micheal Gunning in first from Chris Penny and Simon Martin in second and third placed David Rose and Ian Heffernan, who had won the first race on day two. Just seven points separated first to sixth. This is a clear indication of the quality that we now have throughout the 400 fleet.
Last year the Southern teams were starting to quickly overhaul the established Northern dominance of Espey and Gareth Flannigan, and whilst Flannigan had a mixed event and was to succumb to gear failure after a 2nd place in the Sunday morning opener, the top two slots were to go to the brilliant Espey followed by Olympian Ryan Seaton and Philip Adams, with Ex 400 Irish Champs Emmet and James Ryan two points clear of Rose and Heffernan in third and fourth. Chris and Simon had to settle for fifth.

Other notable performances were from Paul McLaughlin and Mick McKinley in 9th, and a strong showing from George Kingston and Ian McNamee in 7th, taking a split decision over the highly talented, but well past sell by date pairing of DrC and Stevie Kane, who shocked themselves by posting the best total over three races on Sunday (only getting this mention as I am writing the report obviously). Alex Barry, sailing this time with Andrew Lane finished an unaccustomed 6th after being joint leaders overnight.

Other big improvers were Brian Holmes sailing with a completely new crew, progressing nicely and representing the Scorpion fleet of yore, and Peter Bayley getting well in the mix. Sadly, our eldest statesman Liam Donnelly, succumbed to a Mountain Biking injury, and a punctured lung, and wasn't able to race on Sunday, but will no doubt be back to full fighting form for the next one.

So things go from strength to strength in the 400s, with an amazing 31 boats for a regional, and one can only imagine a record turnout for the Irish Nationals 18-20 September at Ballyholme, with about 10 extra teams expected from the UK fleet in what should be the hardest fought of any Irish Championships in 2015.

RS200 and Feva :

In the RS200 fleet, Greystones SC pairing of Aaron Jones and Conor Cleary dominated from the off scoring five straight race wins which allowed them to sit out the final race and be first boat ashore. Ensuring that Jones and Cleary were kept on their toes for the weekend was Meg Tyrell and Katie Noonan from the Royal Irish/Greystones. They scored five 2nd places and a well-deserved win in the final race. In third place was Ciaran & Siobhan Keogh with a great showing representing the newly emerging Cullaun Sailing Club RS fleet.


The RS Feva fleet enjoyed a competitive event with three different race winners all hailing from Dun Laoghaire. The top three boats showed great consistency in spite of the shifty conditions, with none of them scoring worse than a 3rd placing. Coming out on top was Toby Hudson Fowler and Greg Arrowsmith who grew in confidence as the weekend progressed winning the final four races. In second was a very impressive display by Triona Hinkson and Kathy Kelly who managed to hold off the challenge of Clare Gorman and Sarah Fogarty in third.

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#rssailing – The RS200 has replaced the Topper Argo as the Endeavour Championship boat for the 2015 event to be held 9-11 October at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club.

The generous support of Topper Sailboats, suppliers of a brand-new fleet of Xenons and Argos for the annual Endeavour Championship for nine years, has come to a natural end, leaving the RS200 to take the role as the new Endeavour boat.

Unlike the Topper Xenons and Argos that Topper Sailboats supplied as ready-to-sail fleets however, competitors for this year's event will need to source their own boat on a charter basis.

Sally Campbell – RS200 class secretary – said the RS class association will be on hand to help however they can: "We are absolutely delighted that the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club has chosen the RS200 for this most prestigious event. We will do all we can to support the organisers and the sailors."

To ensure the racing for this Champion of Champions event remains as fair as possible, RS Sailing will supply each boat with identical suits of new sails and spinnakers, which will be offered at a significant discount to the owners of the boats following the event. In addition, Kingfisher will provide mainsheets and jibs for each boat.

Edwin Buckley, event organiser commented: "We are so grateful for all the invaluable input from Topper over the years. However, we are delighted that the new format will bring exciting changes to the event and we are looking forward to working alongside the RS200 class association, and RS Sailing who are offering support."

Matt Burge, current Endeavour champion said he couldn't think of a better class to replace the Argo: "On behalf of all competitors who raced at the Endeavour between 2005-2014 I'd like to extend a huge thank you to Topper, who through their extreme generosity in supplying identical brand-new boats each year, created the fairest contest of sailing possible between the different dinghy classes.

"The selection of the RS200 for this year's event is a sensible next-best alternative being strictly one-design, widespread (making borrowing one easier) and catering for a relatively wide crew-weight range. They are easy to sail and not overly technical to set-up, so competitors should be able to get up-to-speed relatively fast and negate any advantage held by those familiar to the class."

To assist those unfamiliar with the class RS technicians will also be on hand to help with rigging/set up throughout the Endeavour weekend. There will also be an RS class trainer in attendance.

Given the new format, a demand for suitable boats in the run up to the October event is likely. Plans for chartering therefore, should ideally be made as soon as possible following the completion of individual class championships.

An RS200 open meeting at the Royal Corinthian YC on 26-27 September – two weeks before the Endeavour Championship takes place – could tie in as a good charter handover location.

Published in RS Sailing
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#rs400 – Mid–way through the RS400 Eurocup in Carnac, France and Monkstown Bay Sailing Club's Alex Barry and Richard Leonard lie fourth overall in the international dinghy sailing championships. The Cork Harbour duo 'pulled it together' yesterday afternoon with a 6,3,1 scored to move into medal contention in the 31–boat fleet.

There were blue skies in Carnac and 12 knots of breeze for yesterday's races.The AP was raised ashore until the breeze filled in at 1pm. The three races yesterday were sailed in a very steady breeze. Three more races are scheduled today and two for Tuesday.

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#rssprint – After watching the forecast fluctuate from a force 7 to a force 2 during the week, the fleet of RS400's were treated to a nice force 3-4 breeze and sunshine on the morning of the RS sprints at the Royal St. George Yacht Club. While numbers were smaller than usual at RS400 open events, the fleet felt more than big enough due to the tight start lines and short courses. The standard of the fleet also remained very high. Every boat in the fleet has had their time at the top including the newest members to the RS400 fleet, Barry McCartan and Connor Kinsella. They are current Fireball national champions and their entrance to the fleet is a shining example of what cyber peer-pressure can achieve. Also making a welcome appearance for the first time in the class was Olympian, Dan O'Grady.

The first 3 races saw the Ryan brothers dominate in tricky conditions with the wind beginning to drop and shift. Race 4 saw Sean Cleary and crew Luke Murphy gain a lead after a tough start. However, the breeze died off completely just before they rounded the leeward mark and the fleet grinded to a halt with the strong tide leading to the race being abandoned.

A steady southerly breeze kicked in 20 minutes later and the fleet began racing again. Races 4 and 5 saw the Ryan brothers take 2 more bullets. As the breeze continued to build, Ross McDonald took over at the front scoring firsts in the final 3 races.

Racing, as usual for the 400's was extremely tight in each and every race. Results were inconsistent for everyone showing how close the competition was. The Ryan brothers finished first. Second was McDonald/O'Grady and third was Paul McMahon and Laura Houlihan who showed great form throughout the event.

Next up is the RS Northerns in Carlingford Lough on the 27/28th of June where large numbers in all fleets is expected!

Published in RS Sailing

#rssailing – To the untrained eye it was business as usual for the RS400 class racing out of the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire over the weekend. We had a big and very competitive fleet of 25 RS400's add to this the sight of new sails pouring out of the McCready's sailboats van on the first morning and the scene was set. The expectation of great racing, and a forecast for good wind and sun had everyone excited.

Overall results sheets for each fleet are downloadable below as pdf files.

The fleet's current top names are all well-established now. But look down the fleet at the new names and the general quality of the field and you will know that this event and this season is something special in Irish Sailing. Nobody in the top 12 was a rookie this year and Sean Cleary, defending Eastern Champion and runner up at the Sothern's and for the overall traveler's series last season was to finish up 12th. He was sailing with a new team mate Donal Murphy who had helped him to second RS400 in the local frostbites a few weeks earlier. Sean heads to England for a new job now and he will be sorely missed at Irish regionals. We look forward to following his progress, no doubt at the front of the UK 400 scene. He is expected to re-appear at the Irish Nationals later in the season.
New class member and Ex-helmsman's champ George Kenefick finished 16th overall. He will no-doubt be more competitive as the season progresses, and expressed some frustration at his form, he is one to watch over the season. Ex-Mirror world runner up and Ex-Mirror National Champion Andrew Woodward and crew Michael Walsh on their first outing with fresh sails came in 13th. Of course this is just one event and high quality sailors like Andrew, Sean and George will always find a way to excel in a class, but there is a feeling now in this class that anyone can be outside the top 10 in any race. A notable statistic looking at the results is that only three sailors managed to have all six race results inside the top ten over the Eastern championship weekend.

Now let's talk the business end of the fleet. Coming into this regatta, Alex Barry and Richie Leonard of MBSC/RCYC had been pushed hard for all of the 2014 season, but were an unbeaten pairing in the Irish events they attended together and had taken the travelers title, and Nationals. Gareth Flannigan and David Fletcher were of a pedigree that had them likely to compete for top honours, with a history of winning national titles in a variety of classes including the Laser and SB20. Local RStGYC team and Ex RS400 national champion paring of Emmet Ryan and his brother James were together again for their first regional since the 2013 season (James had been on a year of travel).

The Ryan team had been tuning up in the frostbites and it showed, with a great recovery from an average start line position and an opening race win to set their stall out early. They would be competitive to the end, and had they won the last race would have been champions. In the end the Ryan's had to make do with a couple or race wins that contributed to their 3rd place overall. James will be proud of the fact that he clearly has not lost his competitive edge on his travels.
Gareth Flannigan showed why he has about six nicknames mainly describing him as some sort of fish in water as he and David Fletcher had pace to burn upwind and were extremely consistent all event off the start line. Like Ryan he recorded two bullets, but he also managed to keep his other scores in the top 5 and had the sort of regatta dreams are made of.

Alex Barry and Richie Leonard were not going to be easy to beat, and showing their class, after a string of top 3 finishes, the top Irish pairing fought off David Rose and Ian Hef on the last run of the last race to record a bullet and do enough it would seem to take the regatta. As it turned out, a boat that had been disqualified for being OCS on day one had been reinstated (It felt from where I was sitting that a few boats were over on that start) and Alex and Richie were to be denied due to this points change and only by the a countback, having matched Gareth and David's 11 point tally.

This fleet is super competitive and there were just six points separating the 3rd placed Ryan team on 20 points with 5th and 6th placed teams Chirs Penny (Artemis-Racing) and Simon Martin, and David Rose and Ian Hef on 26. Ross McDonald and Dylan Gannon finished 4th just two points behind Ryan on 22, after an excellent regatta. Ross is an Ex-Laser National Champion. So congratulations to Gareth and David sailing out of BYC who are well deserved 2015 RS400 Eastern Champions. Excitement is already building for the Northern champs up next in the regional calendar. Remember for those in the fleet looking to sharpen up their skills, there is a sprint regatta out of the Royal St George Yacht Club on May 9th, for RS200's and RS400's.


RS Fevas

Sixteen Feva teams turned out to compete for the Eastern title this year. This is an exciting year with a trip to the worlds coming up later in the season. The fleet included two visiting teams from Galway (GBSC), and both fared very well in the event with a fourth for Aaron O'Reilly and David Carberry and a seventh for Brian Murphy and David O'Reilly. Great to see Feva's that are willing to travel and make this class really exciting.

The top three places were all local Dublin bay RSGYC sailors. Triona Hickson and Kathy Kelly won the first two races of the event and finishing just 3 points off the lead in third place could easily have been champions.
Toby Hudson-Fowler and Greg Arrowsmith had an excellent regatta and would finished second on 10 points, just one point behind Tom and Henry Higgins, who took the championship in the last race.
Congratulations to Tom and Henry Higgins who are RSFeva Eastern Champions for 2015.


There were many very well attended events last season in Ireland. This season is an exciting one for the RS200's particularly as the fleet welcomes a revamped sail plan that modernizes the boats look and feel.
The turnout for this event was effected by exam season for the younger members of the class, so expect bigger fleets as the season progresses.

The top end of this fleet looked very familiar, as Marty O'Leary and Rachel Williamson sailing out of RSGYC continues to dominate the RS200 Class in Ireland with a performance including three bullets, two seconds and a third. Marty and Rachel had showed their class before the event, finishing runner up to the Ryans RS400 team in the frostbites.

They were matched this time on points by the every present Ex National champion Sean Craig and Heather King, who would only be second on countback having matched Marty and Rachel this time also on a final point's tally of 7. Frank O'Rourke and Sarah Byrne were eight points back in third, and Luke Murphy and Patrick Cahill had some great moments and finished fourth overall. Luke and Patrick are strong prospects for the future and sail out of RSGYC. Congratulations to Marty and Rachel who are RS200 Eastern Champions for 2015.

Published in RS Sailing

#rssailing – Last Sunday, no one was quite sure what wind to expect with Windguru forecasting a 8-14 knots and the Atlantic charts saying otherwise. Racing got underway in the harbour where the tide was exceptionally high due to the recent ecclipse.

Race 1 got underway in a South Easterly breeze of around 12 knots. The fleet had a clean start and immediately split with Rumball, Emmet opting for the left side and Cleary going for the right side. Rumball and Emmet reached mark a good distance ahead leaving Cleary to play catch up. The racing eventually settled down with Emmet/James crossing the line first followed by the Rumball and Cleary boat respectively after the race was shortened.

The wind was beginning to drop and back whilst waiting for race 2 which was to a starboard rounding course. The line was quite biased to the pin end(now on the right) which led to a bit of a queue to round the pin.

This time, the fleet stayed more compact with the patchy wind not allowing anyone to get too far ahead.

A broken Wing-Wang line saw the Rumball boat retire. Riding on the last bit of wind on the last lap, Cleary closed the gap to Emmet. However, the last phase of the race was to be in slow motion with a nice pile-up at the out-loop leeward mark involving a few Kamikaze lasers fire their way in! Emmet/James finished first just 2 seconds clear of Cleary/Donal!


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