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Meagher & Mathews Take DBSC Flying Fifteen Thursday Race Where Tide was a Big Factor

24th June 2022

On arrival at the National Yacht Club on Thursday evening, the prospects for sailing didn’t look that good. The forecast had been for a handful of knots and the boats trying to finish the Round Ireland race were limping down the east coast of the island in very fickle winds. However, the Irish flag at the end of the East Pier had some life to it and so we launched.

Flying Fifteen Race Officer John Mc Neilly had situated “Freebird” just east of the harbour entrance to avail of a forecast that suggested the wind would start SSE and slowly migrate to SSW. He also, rather cleverly, set a windward-leeward course using two of the fixed Dublin Bay marks, Bulloch (R) and Pier (V), with the length of race set at 3 laps, leaving both marks to Port. It took a bit of thought to decipher the course declaration but when the “penny dropped” it made infinite sense.

We (4081) decided that the thing to do was to get out of the flooding tide, as low water had been in the early afternoon and a preliminary first beat before the start suggested that was the way to go. However, a late check of the line also suggested that the pin was the place to start, which is what we did! Others who shared that view, but with slightly less conviction were Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (4028), Ken Dumpleton & Joe O’Reilly (3955) and Tom Murphy & Keith Poole (4057).

Niall & Susan Coleman (4008) didn’t share that view and started closer to the committee boat before working the inside half of the beat. Of the quartet at the pin, Colin bailed first, followed by Mulligan (4081), Murphy (4057) and finally Dumpleton (3955). Mulligan and Colin were looking good halfway up the beat and then it all went pear-shaped. The Colemans looked very good on the inside and to windward, Dumpleton and Murphy also seemed to have found something extra. The rounding order at Bulloch, for the first time was Dumpleton, Murphy, Coleman, Colin and Mulligan with a vanguard of boats behind Mulligan of Frank Miller & Conor O’Leary (3845), Adrian Cooper (3896) and Niall Meagher & Nicky Mathews (3938), all in a threatening position.

Adrian Cooper took a decidedly inshore course to Pier and flying a green spinnaker to great effect, closed on the boats ahead of him in such fashion that he rounded Pier in either first place or a very tight second. Dumpleton, Murphy and Coleman rounded in quick succession and Meagher wasn’t too far off the pace.

By now the breeze was easing which meant that tide was becoming a much bigger factor and the fleet split significantly. Meagher & Mathews went to sea and trumped everyone as a consequence to round Bulloch for the second time in the lead. Colin and Mulligan worked the inshore side of the beat and never got any change out of that approach. Coleman and Murphy managed to hold on to that which they already had as did Dumpleton. At Bulloch for the second time the order was Meagher, Cooper, Coleman, Murphy, Dumpleton and Mulligan had Miller and Frazier (3790) just ahead for very close company. Mulligan gybed early to pursue an inshore course and a second gybe brought him into a shortened course, downwind finish at Pier. Dumpleton was a little too far ahead to catch, but we got close. The better angle of attack allowed two places to be pinched at the finish, leaving a finishing order of Meagher, Cooper, Coleman, Murphy, Dumpleton, Mulligan, Frazier and Miller.

All agreed that getting a race in was a significant achievement given our pre-race scepticism. And RO John McNeilly was commended for shortening when he did – no-one missed the idea of another upwind leg to Bulloch!

DBSC; Thursday 23rd June.

Flying Fifteens (11 boats).
1. Niall Meagher & Nicky Mathews 3938
2. Adrian Cooper & crew 3896
3. Niall & Susan Coleman 4008
4. Tom Murphy & Keith Poole 4057
5. Ken Dumpleton & Joe O’Reilly 3955.

Overall (with discards)
1. Neil Colin & Margaret Casey 16pts
2. Keith Poole & others 24.5pts
3. David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne 34.5pts
4. Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley 35pts
5. David Gorman & Michael Huang 36pts

Published in Flying Fifteen, DBSC
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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