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Ballyholme Yacht Club will be the venue over the weekend of 19th till 21st August for an RS championship event which organiser Bob Espey hopes will attract around 60 competitors.

The event will be held in the waters of Belfast Lough and consists of two different championships; the two day six race RS Aero, RS Feva and RS 2000 Northern Championship 2022 on the Saturday and Sunday and the three day nine race RS 400 and RS 200 National Championship which starts on Friday 19th August.

This will the first time the RS2000 class will have an individual start.

Entrants are encouraged to take advantage of the Early Bird entry fees if booked before 15th August, and the first 30 entries will get a free one-off event T shirt. And among the prizes will be the daily Mug of the Day award, a frequent fun feature of BYC competition and a new idea, the best Social Media post of the event.

RS championship

The Race Officer for the two-day event, sponsored by Simply Telecom and supported by Ridgeway, will be Aidan Pounder, and for the RS200/400 event, Sheela Lewis.

More information is here 

Published in RS Sailing

Just like on the previous Sunday the competitors in the final race day of Royal North of Ireland’s RS400 Winter Series hosted by the club on the south shore of Belfast Lough gathered last Sunday (19th) looking out at a mirror-like Lough. But this time it stayed like a mirror and the series came to a quiet end with the results for the previous week standing as the final results for the series.

It was close at the top after 19 races and the top prize went to Strangford Lough Yacht Club’s Peter Kennedy (former Olympian, All Ireland Champion Helm and Afloat Sailor of the Month for October 2018) and Stevie Kane of Royal North who finished with 44 points. The closest to Kennedy were two local boats, Andrew Vaughan and Toby McCullough on 54 points and Liam Donnelly and Rick McCaig, (56). The previous holders of the Bosun Bob’s Trophy, Trevor D'Arcy & Alan 'Ginge' McLearnon from across the Belfast Lough at Carrickfergus were fourth. Other visitors represented Coleraine YC, Newcastle YC, Ballyholme, and Newtownards. Another helm was two-time World Mirror champion, Ross Kearney.

This event has been running for about 14 years and built up from a handful of boats to the 20 entered this winter. The event always ends on the Sunday before Christmas.

The previous week bang on time for the Race 1 start a good southerly breeze materialised and thirteen crossed the line. For Race 2 and 3 wind direction was much the same and with the wind still building gains and losses were made on the downwind legs. Race Officer Gerry Reid, who has been running the series since its inception, made the most of those perfect conditions and slotted in one more race, repositioning the course in the increasing wind. Winners on that day were local crew Andrew Vaughan and Ross Nolan with Kennedy and Kane second in what was a very close set with only six points separating the top six boats.

Andrew Vaughan, the event director, thanked the support crews on Mark laying boats, the Committee boat and the Race Officer for series, Gerry Reid, Jack Anderson for the Results as well as the Office Staff.

Traditionally Royal North runs a Spring Series in the same format, and it is hoped that this will be possible in ’22 given the Covid 19 pandemic.

Published in Belfast Lough
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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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The RS 400 Winter Series continued last Sunday at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on Belfast Lough. The series is now twelve races in and has thrown up some surprises, twenty boats currently entered.

Race 10 started in a fresh breeze from the North, with 18 boats on the start line. Trevor D’Arcy and Alan McLearnon (on 1366) got a good start along with Liam Donnelly and Rick McCaig (on 1405) with the rest of the fleet in hot pursuit. Liam got to the windward mark first, however, by the end of the first lap D’Arcy had taken the lead followed by former Olympian Peter Kennedy and Steve Kane (on 1339) and Andrew Vaughan (on 1348) 3rd. At the race end D’Arcy held on and took the win, with Andrew Vaughan 2nd and coming up the outside Neil Calvin (on 1245) to take third. Incidentally, this was Barry McCartin’s old boat and after 9 races Neil had seemingly found its gears!!

Race 11 the wind had clocked slightly to the left, course-corrected, Race Officer Gerry Reid got the race away again sharply. This time the fleet was pushing the line, with 2 boats over Tom Purdon (on 1004) to be fair has been nailing the starts on the series, however on this race, he nailed it a bit to hard, found himself in the pack and struggled to get back to the line, but back to the line he went now following the whole fleet. Unfortunately for D’Arcy they pushed on believing they were having a terrific race. Liam Donnelly was once again first to the windward mark and first on lap one, followed by D’Arcy (OCS) and Ross & Jane Kearney now lying 2nd, and Peter Kennedy 3rd. By now Donnelly was going well with a comfortable lead right up to the last leeward mark were a spinnaker issue stopped them dead in the water allowing a few boats to pass on the short run-up to the line. Peter Kennedy took the win followed by Ross Kearney and Neil Calvin in third. Donnelly was robbed into 4th!

The breeze was still nice and steady-going into the third race of the day (race 12) possibly it was the extremely cold conditions that the entire fleet was keen to start, quickly followed by a General recall. Conditions didn't allow for a normal restart and the race got underway with a black flag start. They were all less keen this time around to push the line so aggressively as before. By now the wind started to drop yet once again Liam Donnelly was going well in a heavy pack making for the windward mark. By lap one Peter Kennedy had taken the lead, followed by Donnelly with Andrew Vaughan in third. In lap 2 the wind continued to lighten. But still over 7kns. By the finish, Neil Calvin had accelerated into the fist spot with PK in second and Tom Purdon third. It was deemed to cold for a fourth race as many of the crews were blue not to mention the Rescue and Committee boat teams!! Some credit has to be given to Neil Calvin who had a great day and has shown a huge improvement in his performance over the series so far.

The RS 400 Series continues for another three Sundays, finishing up on the 19th of December for the Big Christmas Race.

Download results below as a pdf file

Published in RS Sailing
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After a hiatus of two years, Northern Ireland's RS400 Winter series is back. The Belfast Lough sailing event will kick off on Sunday 31st October for eight consecutive weeks up to 19th December.

This event was the last run in 2019 before the Covid pandemic paused things; at that point, it was a well-supported winter event with a regular 18 boats on the start line and an extensive fleet turnout for the last day, known as the Christmas Race.

The series draws boats and very talented sailors from all over the country, with some boats travelling from Dublin.

Race Officer Gerry Reid told Afloat, "A typical Sunday race will consist of three quick-fire races of about 20 minutes each. We remember that it gets cold for the competitors and the event team, so we don't hang about. This all came about back in 2007 when a few 400' guys approached the Club and asked about a few races around Halloween; this developed into its present guise of three races per day over eight weekends the numbers just built. We are delighted to get this event going again."

Racing can be watched from the shore at Cultra, starting at 1.30 Sunday 31st October.

Published in Belfast Lough
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The RS Nationals were recently held at Rush Sailing Club. The event included the RS400, RS200, and Feva classes.

Three days of racing were scheduled under David Lovegrove and Harry Gallagher and the Rush racing team. 

Day 1

Friday started light and shifty and took a while for the breeze to settle. After a few false starts with fickle winds racing eventually got underway. Only RS400 and RS200s were racing on Friday. A full programme of three races were conceded with some very tight and competitive racing. In the RS400s it was very close racing at the top with the venerable Robert Espey & Richard McCullough leading by a slender margin of 5 point just ahead of Christopher Eames & Rachel Tilley fresh from competing in the UK RS400 Nationals in second with 6 points, followed by Barry McCartin & Andrew Penney in third on 8 points.

In the RS200s Frank O'Rourke & Rachel O'Leary dominated proceedings with 1,1,2 - followed by David Jones & Rob Keal, Sarah Dwyer & Henry Start, Tadgh Donnelly & Meabh Ryan, and Martin & Vicky Dews at their first event having recently joined the RS200 fleet!

Dying breeze and strong tides made conditions challenging for both the race committee and competitors with up to 4 marks drifting at various stages due to strong tides. 

Barry McCartin & Andrew PenneyBarry McCartin & Andrew Penney in the RS400 Photo: Sean Weldon

Day 2

Day two dawned with the promise of more wind. It didn’t disappoint! The competition was fierce from the start with UFD flags very quickly being deployed for all starts as the battle for position on the line intensified.

In the RS400s Robert Espey & Richard McCullough continued to dominate with two race wins from 4, closely followed by Christopher Eames & Rachel Tilley who secured a race win in the last race where the wind shut down completely at times on the last leg. Paul McLaughlin & Owen McKinley won race three proving that the fleet is tough and competitive and the leaders will have to work hard to stay ahead.

A similar story unfolded for the RS200s with Frank O'Rourke & Rachel O'Leary extending their lead, but not without challengers as Tadgh Donnelly & Meabh Ryan won the first race of the day, and Martin & Vicky Dews won the last race with some impressive “ferry-gliding”/tactical use of strong tide and no wind!

RS Feva racing at Rush Sailing ClubRS Feva racing at Rush Sailing Club Photo: Sean Weldon

The Fevas had their first day of racing with Isobel Bloomer & Oscar Legge keeping their noses in front on countback from Emily Ridout & Annabel Ridout with 2 race wins as both teams were tied on points. Siofra O’Donnell & Saoirse Corry followed in a close third meaning that it was all to play for in the final day of racing. Isobel Bloomer & Oscar Legge continue their strong form after winning the RS Feva Inlands and Emily Ridout & Annabel Ridout are serious contenders after a 3rd place at the RS Feva Northerns.

Day 3

The final day of racing was going to be a challenge - the forecast was not looking great coupled with strong tides in Rush. After an initial postponement ashore a whisper of breeze developed above what was forecast and David Lovegrove and Harry Gallagher pulled the trigger to proceed. One final race was sailed enabling an additional discard for the RS400 and RS200 fleets.

Marty O’Leary & Kevin Johnson secured the win throwing a cat among the pigeons wich might have seen Christopher Eames & Rachel Tilley win the event on countback had they secured the win, so they had to settle for 2nd. Robert Espey & Richard McCullough secured a 3rd ensuring a 2nd National title in a row. Barry McCartin & Andrew Penney had a tough day finishing 6th, but this did not affect their 3rd place finish.

Frank O'Rourke & Rachel O'Leary also had a tough day finishing 6th but this did not change their dominant performance on previous days to secure another National title. Tadgh Donnelly & Meabh Ryan made the best of the conditions to secure a final race win cementing their 2nd place overall. Sarah Dwyer & Henry Start managed to fend of a last-ditch 3rd place finish by David Jones & Rob Keal to secure 3rd place overall on count back, pushing the Cork lads to 4th.

Sarah Dwyer & Henry StartSarah Dwyer & Henry Start Photo: Sean Weldon

Isobel Bloomer & Oscar Legge stamped their authority on the event with a final race win after a disappointing 5th in the last race on Day 2. Ronan Blake-Hickey & Hugh Meagher secured a 2nd to cement a solid 4th place overall. Jane Collins & Noah Doherty from Cullan SC had their 1st podium finish which is great to see different teams securing top spots. Emily Ridout & Annabel Ridout and Siofra O’Donnell & Saoirse Corry had a tough last day but they had both done the hard work on Day 1 to secure 2nd overall and 3rd overall respectively. 

Results

RS400

RS400. winners - Robert Espey & Richard McCulloughRS400 winners - Robert Espey & Richard McCullough

1 - Robert Espey & Richard McCullough

2 - Christopher Eames & Rachel Tilley

3 - Barry McCartin & Andrew Penney

RS200

RS 200 winners - Frank O'Rourke & Rachel O'LearyRS200 winners - Frank O'Rourke & Rachel O'Leary

1 - Frank O'Rourke & Rachel O'Leary

2 - Tadgh Donnelly & Meabh Ryan

3 - Sarah Dwyer & Henry Start

Feva

Feva winners - Isobel Bloomer & Oscar LeggeFeva winners - Isobel Bloomer & Oscar Legge

1 - Isobel Bloomer & Oscar Legge

2 - Emily Ridout & Annabel Ridout

3 - Siofra O’Donnell & Saoirse Corry

Next Events

Marty O’Leary will represent the RS400s in the Senior Champion of Champions event in the Royal Cork Yacht Club. Conor Galligan will represent the RS400s in the Junior Champion of Champion event in Schull. The next event will be the RS Southerns in Baltimore on October 2nd/3rd and the final national event will be the RS Easterns in Greystones on October 23rd/24th

Published in RS Sailing
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Hoping to kick things off in late April at Greystones in County Wicklow, the RS Ireland dinghy class has set out its 2021 racing calendar.

The class has seen a resurgence of RS numbers in the garden county harbour, with the 400 fleet growing to 16 boats, the 200s to 12 and eight Fevas actively sailing through a reduced season in summer 2020.

Greystones Sailing Initiative

Greystones Sailing Club have put two new initiatives in place to further encourage the growth of the RS class, with one Saturday of each month being designated as an open day, meaning anyone can come along with their boat and join in the racing free of charge.

There are usually three races each Saturday with the first gun at 2pm. For those who are keen to do more and join the growing fleet, there is a discounted visitor rate for those who are already a member of another club.

RS dinghy sailing in Greystones Bay, County WicklowRS dinghy sailing in Greystones Bay, County Wicklow Photo: Scott Evans

Irish RS Dinghy 2021 Fixtures

All dates below are obviously subject to the relevant COVID-19 guidelines in pace at the time of the events.

  • Easterns - Greystones Sailing Club - Wicklow - April - 24/25
  • Southerns - Baltimore Sailing Club - Cork- May 29/30
  • Leinsters Dun Laoghaire Regatta - Dublin - July 2/3/4 - 200/400 Only
  • RS Eurocup - Lake Garda, Italy - July 26-30
  • Inlands - Blessington Sailing Club - Wicklow - July 24/25
  • Northerns - Carrickfergus Sailing Club - Antrim - August 14/15
  • Nationals - Rush - Dublin - September 10-12

The class is also targeting the Volvo Dun Laoghaire one design event, entry is now open. it falls nicely three weeks before a number of Irish boats are planning to decamp to Lake Garda for the 2021 RS Eurocup, planned for the end of July.

Published in RS Sailing
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The RS200, RS400 and RS Feva dinghy classes have published a provisional 2021 racing calendar subject to COVID restrictions.

The year starts at Greystones Harbour with the Eastern Championships on April 24/25 and a month later the three fleets will travel to the Southern Championships at Baltimore Sailing Club in West Cork on May 29/30. 

As Afloat previously reported, the RS class was an early sign-up to Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta for its one-design event from July 2nd.

The full calendar is below:

RS200, RS400 and RS Feva 2021 Fixtures (Provisional)

  • Easterns - Greystones Sailing Club - Dublin - April - 24/25
  • Southerns - Baltimore Sailing Club - Cork- May 29/30
  • Leinsters Dun Laoghaire Regatta - Dublin - July 2/3/4 - 200/400 Only
  • RS Eurocup - Lake Garda, Italy - July 26-30
  • Inlands - Blessington Sailing Club - Wicklow - July 24/25
  • Northerns - Carrickfergus Sailing Club - Antrim - August 14/15
  • Nationals - Rush - Dublin - September 10-12
Published in RS Sailing
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The Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club hosts the RS 400 UK and Irish National Championships on Belfast Lough this weekend.

This is the first time this event has been hosted in Ireland waters, and also the first time that both the UK and Irish have been combined. This combination should throw up an interesting challenge, for the top UK RS 400 sailors and the Top Irish RS 400 sailors. Currently, we are expecting 56 boats on the start line!”, according to Gerry Reid, the Event Director.

From England, Mike Simms, a former Laser aficionado, and in more recent years a very quick RS 400 helm, and former winner of the Nationals is competing. Also, racing is England's Nick Craig. 

From home waters, Barry McCartin has had a terrific year along with his regular crew Andrew Penny, winning most of the Traveller events this year, and is the current holder of the Bosun Bob trophy, He knows Belfast Lough well.

Bob Espey also knows the Lough well and has won many past events, we would expect to see these guys at the top of the fleet. Peter Kennedy, a former Olympic sailor, is the local
guy who can make any boat go very fast, and Peter will be mixing it up at the front.

From Greystones, Sean Cleary was second in Garda recently. Sean will be a threat to those at the front, and can certainly show a turn of speed!

Other local contenders showing form are Paul McLaughlin from Cushendall, and Hammy Baker and Mike Ferguson. Ross Vaughan is making a welcome return to sailing at this event, sailing with his cousin Andrew Vaughan and it will be interesting to see how they get on.

The fleet arrives on Saturday, with racing starting on Sunday afternoon (25th) running through to Thursday (29th), with two races per day scheduled.

The Race Officer Robin Gray plans to run the racing between Royal North and Greypoint. The event also has a busy social schedule to keep the competitors entertained off the water.

Published in RS Sailing
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As the RS400 fleet comes together on Belfast Lough this weekend, the newly crowned RS200 champion Chris Bateman reviews the recent RS gathering at Galway Bay Sailing Club that provided a weekend of racing in tight competition. 

As Afloat previously reported here, several events were to be run over the three days. RS 400s and Fevas were competing in their Western championships, with the RS200 fleet competing in their National Championships. Two days of racing were scheduled for those entered in Westerns, three days were scheduled for those racing in the RS200 Nationals.

Feva sailingRS Fevas were competing for Western championships honours

It was a grey start to day one of the RS 200 nationals. Cloud and light rain created an authentic scene for the west of Ireland. The sailors arrived early to rig their boats. With a short briefing at 10:30am, the competitors were ready to sail.

A twelve-knot breeze blew down the bay. With a long course set, racing was underway. Taking the win for race one was Conor and Jack Galligan from Greystones SC. Race two was won by Chris Bateman and Atlee Kohl (MBSC/RCYC). With the wind dying slowly, racing became tricky. Jocelyn Hill and Katie Kane from Co. Antrim SC showed good speed, winning the final race of the day. Conor and Jack Galligan sailed well, giving them an overnight lead after day one.

Another dull morning greeted the fleet for day two. The RS 200’s were joined by the 400’s and Fevas, who arrived early to make it in time for the 11 am start. Howling winds blew across the bay, with winds in excess of 25 knots. A one-hour postponement later, and racing was called off for the day.

Day three dawned with much more promising views. A steady 10-12 knot breeze had filled in overnight and racing was sure to go ahead. The competitors had a quick briefing and in no time were on the water. Four races were scheduled, and conditions were perfect.

The RS 400 fleet started first, with 11 boats lining up on the start. Barry McCartin and Andrew Penney (CSBC/RstGYC) took first place in race one of their westerns. The RS 200 fleet started second, and as points were tight the start line was a competitive place. Taking another win was the Galligans. In the Feva fleet, two boats joined the other RS sailors to race in their Westerns.

Race two saw Barry McCartin and Andrew Penney take first place. This was the second of four wins in total (a clean sweep). In the RS 200 fleet, Adam Power and Jack Young (Previous RS 200 nationals winners) took the win, having sailed exceptionally well around the course.

Race three and four were got underway quickly, to finish racing within the time limit. In the RS 400’s McCartin and Penney got two more wins. In the RS 200 fleet, Chris Bateman and Atlee Kohl also clinched two wins, in very tight racing.

The sailors returned to shore, tired but having had a solid day sailing. A few protests later, and prizegiving was underway. In the RS 400 fleet, Barry McCartin and Andrew Penney took first place, winning the Western championships. In second was Chris and Niall Eames (SLYC). In third place was Govan Berridge and David Coleman (Killaloe SC).

For the RS 200 Nationals, it had been tight racing with high competition. Winning the Championships was Chris Bateman crewed by Atlee Kohl (MBSC/RCYC). In second place (a point below) was Conor and Jack Galligan (Greystones SC). In third place was Frank O’Rourke and Emma Hynes (Greystones SC), having sailed fast, and holding a very consistent series.

FrankORourke HynesFrank O'Rourke and Emma Hynes, 3rd place RS 200 Nationals

 The Galligans The Galligan's, 2nd RS 200 nationals

Chris BatemanChris Bateman crewed by Atlee Kohl, 1rst RS 200 nationals

Published in RS Sailing
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