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Another Light Night DBSC Flying Fifteen Thriller on Dublin Bay!

8th July 2022
David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne (4068) one of three Irish crews who are competing in the UK Flying fifteen Nationals at Hayling Island.
David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne (4068) one of three Irish crews who are competing in the UK Flying fifteen Nationals at Hayling Island Credit: Afloat

Sixteen Flying Fifteens took to the water for the first July Thursday race of DBSC and needed a second attempt at starting to get the race underway. Race Officer John McNeilly set a simple “triangle – sausage course” using Bulloch, Island and Pier, with the “sausage” being between Pier and Island. There was then a short upwind leg from Pier to the finish. Despite John’s warning of the consequences of an ebbing tide a General Recall was signalled for the first start and thereafter the fleet got underway under a “U” Flag. It is only on review of the results for this report that I see that one boat fell foul of the “U” flag.

The wind was not in accordance with the forecast I use, coming from a SE direction, hence the use of Bulloch as the windward mark. With an ebbing tide all evening, the question was, “Where was the better wind”, which wasn’t in huge supply in the first place. The first beat had crews sitting on the windward deck but that was about as good as it got. At the pin end of the start that got away, we had two boats attempting a port-tack start. One was more successful than the other, Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (4028) clearing the entire fleet off the line. Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley (4081) didn’t quite achieve that and had to wend their way through the starboard tack boats to get clear air. Others at the pin end, coming from the committee boat end included Adrian Cooper & Joe McNamara (3896) and Ken Dumpleton & Joe Hickey (3955). These two would dominate the front end of the fleet for the whole night with Adrian & Joe McNamara leading the race around every mark bar the last one, when Ken & Joe took over that mantle.
Having worked their way to the inshore side of the course Colin and Mulligan found that others who had started off inshore were in slightly better shape. In this latter bunch we would find Gerry Ryan & crew (4045) Niall & Susan Coleman (4008), Niall Meagher & Nicki Matthews (3938) and Peter Murphy & Ciara Mulvey (3774). At the rounding of Bulloch the order was Cooper, Dumpleton, Ryan, Colin & Mulligan with Meagher, Coleman, Alistair Court & Conor O’Leary (3753) and Murphy & Mulvey breathing down Mulligan’s neck.

The long spinnaker leg to Pier saw the fleet spread across the course and initially those who went off to sea fared better, but further down the leg, having transitioned from inshore to offshore, Mulligan looked to have gained places, until breeze came in from the inshore side to see, Meagher, Court, Murphy (P) and Coleman squeeze him wide of the mark. Ahead of this group were Cooper, Dumpleton and Colin.
Mulligan stayed “out of step” from the rest of the fleet and worked the inshore side of the second beat to Island. At times it looked very good, but it didn’t last long enough and with the ebbing tide taking him up to the mark, an easing of sheets marked the final approach to Island. With the fading breeze, the leg to Pier seemed even longer than the first time and the spread of the fleet was even more significant. Cooper and Dumpleton initially took as slightly offshore route which got progressively more offshore as the leg proceeded. At on stage they looked as though they were making a beeline for Clontarf. Between them and Mulligan on the inshore side of the run could be found – Colin, Coleman, Meagher, Murphy (P) with Court marginally further inshore. From this initial position there was a lot of changes with Colin and Coleman gybing to come inshore. Court went offshore and then came back, while Murphy (P) stayed out longer before he too came back inside. Meanwhile Cooper and Dumpleton were still ploughing an offshore furrow. All this in fading breeze.

Colin’s gybe brought him much closer to Mulligan and Coleman followed suit, with both sitting inshore of Mulligan. Slightly later Murphy was in the same position. Mulligan got one or two zephyrs that the others didn’t get and sailed away from them. By this stage we were in the final run in to Pier. Dumpleton had taken Cooper’s place at the head of the fleet and these two arrived at Pier before two Ruffians and two Shipmans that would impact on the rounding of Pier for Mulligan, Coleman, Colin, Murphy (P) and Court. The latter four boats found themselves inside a red-hulled Ruffian who seemed determine to give away the least amount of room possible. Mulligan sailed around the outside of both Ruffians, red-hulled and white-hulled, and a Shipman and holding onto spinnaker till the last possible moment squeezed through a gap that opened up behind the first Shipman. This was enough to get him away from Pier on port tack, in clear air. A subsequent tack to occupy the weather slot relative to Coleman on the starboard tack to the finish, allowed Mulligan to steal third place – an unlikely result give the way the race had gone earlier.

Dumpleton and Copper led the fleet home, in that order and behind Mulligan the finishers, in sequence, were Coleman, Murphy (P), Court and Colin.

Flying Fifteens DBSC, Thursday 7th July.
1. Ken Dumpleton & Joe Hickey 3995
2. Adrian Cooper & Joe McNamara 3896
3. Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley 4081
4. Niall & Susan Coleman 4008
5. Peter Murphy & Ciara Mulvey 3774

Flying Fifteens DBSC Overall.
1. Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (24)
2. Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley (45)
3. Keith Poole & Others (49.5)
4. David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne (59.5)
5. Ken Dumpleton & Joe Hickey (60)

In Hayling Island starting today (Friday), the UK Flying Fifteen fleet has their Nationals and there is Irish representation in the form of John Lavery & Alan Green (4083), David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne (4068) and I assume (but am not certain) Shane McCarthy (4085). The latter has just won the Irish GP14 Nationals as a run-up to the GP14 Worlds, scheduled for August in Skerries. We wish them all fair winds.

Published in Flying Fifteen, DBSC
Cormac Bradley

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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 Afloat.ie

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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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