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DBSC Flying Fifteens Go From Autumn to Summer Within an Hour!

9th May 2022
John Lavery and Alan Green were the winners of Saturday's first DBSC Flying Fifteen race on Saturday
John Lavery and Alan Green were the winners of Saturday's first DBSC Flying Fifteen race on Saturday Credit: Afloat

On arrival at the sea-front late on Saturday morning, one might have been forgiven for thinking that Keat’s Ode to Autumn was in vogue as a mist had descended on Dun Laoghaire to the extent that there was shore-side speculation as to whether we would get to race at all. Curiously though, there was sense that there was some breeze on the water. In the absence of any sound signals or flags to the contrary, the fleets went afloat………..and were rewarded with a glorious afternoon of sunshine with and a breeze that the weather mark rib recorded as 4.5knots early in the afternoon. The Flying Fifteen fleet mustered 18 boats on the water, including Dunmore East visitors Lee Statham and Andy Paul, in their upgraded Fifteen, 4070. Their previous boat, 3896 (I think) is also in Dun Laoghaire in the ownership of Adrian Cooper.

XCWeather was suggesting a SE breeze that would go ESE as the afternoon wore on, but in the light conditions, it was also a day for watching what was happening on other parts of the Bay. Is it ever otherwise? The Race Officer took the Green Fleet west of the harbour and set up a 2-lap Windward-Leeward course for the first race of the day. At one stage the conversation between RO and Rib driver suggested a beat of 1900m, with the weather mark in the direction of the harbour.

Initially, there was a suggestion that there was more breeze out the left-hand side, but then there was the question of where the tide could be used to best advantage, given that at 14:00 it was approaching the fastest rate of flow, with high water at approx. 17:00. My recall is that the lead boats came in from the left-hand side at the top mark and on rounding the spreader mark most boats went right initially, before taking an inshore hitch. On this first downwind leg there was no sense of the leading group pulling away from the rest of the fleet, but rather there was a steady stream of boats rounding the mark. To the fore though were John Lavery & Alan Green (4083), Ian Mathews & Keith Poole (4093), David Gorman (4099), David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne (4068) and Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (4028).

Bearing in mind that there had been a promise of the wind going slightly further east, this correspondent and helm, Ben Mulligan (4081) stayed on the left-hand side of the second beat and were rewarded by catching up to Messrs Mulvin & Beirne and a low single digit placing. These two crossed each other’s paths on the downwind leg, in gentlemanly fashion and by the leeward mark, Mulligan had eked out a “short-head lead”. In the two-sail fetch to the finish, Mulligan held on to finish ahead of Mulvin.

For the second race, the Race Officer set a four-lap Windward – Leeward course with a proposal that the race might be shortened at the weather mark. Again, there was some debate as to which was the best way to tackle the beats, but for a substantial part of the race, the lead group was made up of Statham/Paul, Lavery/Green, Gorman, Mulvin/Beirne, Colin/Casey. Others who flirted with a top ten position included Niall Coleman, sailing with his daughter (4008), Tom Murphy & Carel (4057), John O’Sullivan & Cas (3762) and Peter Sherry, sailing with his daughter (4056).

While there was a bit more “oomph” for this second race, the wisdom of checking what was happening elsewhere came to the rescue of 4081. Rounding the leeward mark of a shortened three-lap race in the low teens, we observed other classes enjoying breeze beyond the top right-hand corner of our course. While the majority of the boats ahead of us had gone to sea, we ploughed an inshore furrow and found ourselves being lifted on the port tack as we moved up the course. A timely header allowed us to put in a starboard tack for the finish line and while three boats went past us, we were able a to sneak a fourth place.

Race 1: Lavery & Green, Mathews & Poole, Gorman, Colin & Casey, Mulligan & Bradley.

Race 2: Statham & Paul, Lavery & Green, Gorman, Mulligan & Bradley, Mulvin & Beirne.

Saturdays Overall (after 4 races & 1 discard)

1. Neil Colin & Margaret Casey 6pts
2. David Gorman 8pts
3. John Lavery & Alan Green 11pts
4. Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley 11pts
5. Lee Statham & Andy Paul 13pts.

Published in Flying Fifteen
Cormac Bradley

About The Author

Cormac Bradley

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Dublin Bay Fireballer Cormac Bradley was appointed Rear Commodore of the International Fireball Class in 2017. He is a regular dinghy and one design correspondent on

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Flying Fifteen - At A Glance

Overall Length 20 ft6.1 m

Waterline Length 15 ft4.6 m

Mast Height 22 ft 6 in6.86 m

Sail Area 150 sq ft14 sqm

Spinnaker Area 140 sq ft13 sqm

Hull Weight 300 lb136 kg

Keel Weight 400 lb169 kg

Minimum Weight 685 lb305 kg

Racing Crew Two

Ideal Crew Range 18 - 28 st145 - 185 kg

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