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Kennedy & Kane Top RS400 Winter Series at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club

8th December 2021
14 RS400s dinghies are contesting the Winter Series on Belfast Lough
14 RS400s dinghies are contesting the Winter Series on Belfast Lough

The RS 400 Winter series continued to thrive with 14 boats out on a sunny Sunday on Belfast Lough at RNIYC.

As the fleet set off to the race area, a steady 10 knots started to fade and by the start of Race 1 the breeze dropped off and half the fleet were being swept across the line with what seemed like an extra-strong tide.

As the pin end bunch battled for that killer start unfortunately there were two OCS casualties in Trev D’Arcy and Ginge and Brian Homes and Wendy Smith. As the majority of the fleet headed left off the start, they seemingly sailed into a hole which gave the struggling windward end boats battling to make it round the committee boat a much-needed chance.

First to escape the committee boat chaos were Ross and Jane Kearney who managed to tack right and find some pressure which got them into a comfortable lead at the windward mark. Once the wind filled in, the pecking order remained very steady throughout the fleet with Peter Kennedy/Stevie Kane and Liam Donnelly/Rick McCaig chasing hard right to the finish.

Star performer last week Neil Calvin sailing with RNIYC ‘s Leah McCleave had a great 4th place with Leah stepping back into Dinghy sailing after a few years sabbatical.

Race 2 kicked off with a favoured pin end being fairly crowded, with the fleet getting away cleanly and with the wind going slightly left the leaders came in from this side of the course. The first run saw various place changes, Stephen Nelson/Brian Conway gybing off early into clear breeze along with Andrew Vaughan/Peter Todd working out the left side had paid well but it was Bosun Bob and Rory

Higgins who carried on down the right side of the run and judged the lay line perfectly to jump into a nice lead by the leeward mark.

This leeward mark during race 2 saw plenty of action, if there was an action camera attached it would be prime time reality tv viewing! Between 3 boats trying to squeeze into the same spot to PK and Stevie deciding to do some fishing and then mount the leeward mark, it had it all.

Rob and Rory sailed off into the distance thankfully on the lookout as the wind had shifted 40 degrees they had spotted the new windward mark position way out left.

Andrew and Pete chased Rob and Rory hard to the finish with PK and Stevie pulling off a rescue mission to get back into 6th.

With the rescue crew looking cold, race 3 started very quickly, Gerry not holding back to enable us to get 3 great races completed. With some members of the fleet using smoke signals to identify subtle wind shifts prestart along with the strong tide they managed to get caught out and miss the start.

With the line lying more committee boat biased this time, the leaders worked right and continued their form from race 2, Bob and Rory, Steven and Brian, Uncle Liam and Rick had led the fleet round the first lap.

Liam and Rick managed to build and hold a good lead with Ross and Jane, Bob and Rory chasing hard.

A notable performance was from wind shift guru Woo Kearney and Nick Thallon recovering from a late start to finish in 6th.

Following 15 races, Peter Kennedy and Stevie Kane are sitting in pole position with a pack of 3 chasing hard behind.

Published in RS Sailing
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