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2015 RS Inlands Lough Derg Yacht Club 18/19 July

Report from Frank O’Rourke

The RS inlands on 18/19 July were hosted by Lough Derg Yacht Club, where most competitors took advantage of the great camping facilities starting the party on the Friday evening ahead of heavy wind forecast of F5 gusting F7. That same forecast unfortunately caused the RS Fevas to stand down in advance of the event.

With just 13 RS200s participating it was great to see the budding fleet from Killaloe and Cullaun at their first RS event. Neil and Maeve Spain from HYC also made their début on the RS scene after a few years out of dinghies.

Race 1 got away smoothly, with a physically demanding 1.5 km beat, keeping the boat dry and upright proved challenging in the choppy waves and strong gusts blowing through the fleet.  Frank and Kevin O’Rourke set the pace on the first beat, powering their way round the first mark, followed by Marty O’Leary and Rachel Williamson and the Spains. . The top reach of the trapezoid proved to be a decisive part of this race and indeed most of the subsequent ones. The O’Rourkes carrying over 150kg relished the long reaching leg and were able to carry the kite the whole way at blistering pace while most of the followers had to manage on two sails.  They carried this lead through the two outer loops through to the finish. Meanwhile many lighter crews, forced to spill wind and dump the jib up the course, opted for white sail downwind legs. Such was the breeze, all still enjoyed screaming reaches even without gennnakers. There were plenty of capsizes but all recovered and sailed on to finish,

Race 2 got underway in more breeze and followed a very similar pattern to the first. With a commanding lead, the O’Rourkes threw in a capsize on a very blustery gybe, watched and subsequently followed by Marty/Rachel.  The finishing order was very similar down the fleet as the first race. With wind and waves building, racing was called off after two races and competitors headed back to the club for welcome showers and food.

While day two didn’t quite produce with the promised forecast, the wind wasn’t quite as fresh and gusty and the class headed out for an earlier start in an attempt to get in four races. Race Officer Liam and his team got in four excellent races with time to spare, finishing the last race as the wind started to dip. With still plenty breezy enough to have fun with spinnakers, there was a lot less swimming. Frank and Kevin gave a master-class in sailing 200s ,particularly upwind, and scored another four bullets. Neil and Maeve scored three seconds and a third, a force to be reckoned with as they got the feel of their new boat.

The O’Rourke heavy hitters from Greystones were crowned Inland Championss for 2015, the Spains (HYC) coming second with Ben Arrowsmith/Patrick Lee (RStGYC) third overall and winning the Junior Category.

18 RS400s lined up for what was to be an excellent weekend of racing in LDYC this weekend. There was a notable absence of the Northern fleet with almost half the fleet hailing from the south but it certainly didn’t take from the racing. The 400s continue to reel in the big names and it was great to see recently crowned Fireball National Champions Barry McCartin and Conor Kinsella join the fleet for the first time.

Day one was rapid to say the least, two races took place in an average of 23 knots. In race One not even the National Champions were able to keep it clean and having lead at the first mark Alex Barry & Richie Leonard dipped it in at the leeward mark allowing John Downey and Sandy Rimmington shoot by and hold the lead for the rest of therace. George Kingston and Ian McNamee took second and Dave Kenefick and Grattan Roberts were third. In race Two Alex and Richie kept it upright this time and lead from start to finish, John and Sandy had been holding a second but capsized at the leeward gate and eventually finished 5th. 2013 winner Sean Cleary and Donal Murphy took second and fireball aces McCartin/ Kinsella were rapidly improving took third.

The strong breeze meant seven boats were forced to retire including the top runners Kingston/ McNamee, the Ryan brothers and Paul McMahon and Laura Holihan. Race three was canned as the OOD saw gusts approaching the 30 knot mark and rescue cover was now stretched. Overnight the two MBSC boats were tied with a 1,5 each and Dave and Grattan were only one behind with a 3,4.

Day two brought a 10am FG as the OOD moved to try and get four races in.
The breeze had softened to 15 knots and continued to ease for the day. With the courses shortened to two rounds, racing was more like the sprint style which the class is beginning to favour. The battle of the MBSC boats continued for races three and four with Alex and Richie scoring a 1,2 and John and Sandy a 2,3. With Dave/ Grattan slipping back the leader board it was looking like the winner was going to come from these two. The Ryans came back fighting on day two and started out with a 4,1 which shot them up the leader board and into third place.

The breeze was softening for race 5 and the top of the fleet was changing shape with Cleary/Murphy, George Kenefick/ Joe Bruen and Paul/Laura battling for the lead for the first 3three rounds, Alex/ Richie and John/Sandy were doing their best to keep in touch. As downwind conditions became marginal, Alex and Richie opted for a gybe set on the final run and managed to hook into the breeze allowing them sail through to first place taking the overall win as John and Sandy finished just behind the pack in sixth.
With the event decided, the battle for 3 – 10th was incredibly tight, Kenefick/ Bruen again showing their pace uphill lead to the windward followed by a chasing pack. There were big changes downhill and the Northern pair of Mike Ferguson/Philip Adams slipped into the lead with Barry/ Leonard rounding second. Places chopped and changed upwind between Kenefick/ Bruen, McMahon/ Holihan and the Ryan’s with Downey/ Rimmington, Kingston/ McNamee and local legends Peter Bayly and Paddy Blackley not far behind. Barry/ Leonard opted for the unfavoured right on the upwind and fell out of contention. A tense downhill saw Downey/Rimmington sail a great run, take the lead and win the race.
Ferguson/ Adams took second and Kenefick/ Bruen taook third.

Overall Standings:
1st Alex Barry & Richard Leonard     MBSC/ RCYC
2nd John Downey & Sandy Rimmington MBSC
3rd Emmet Ryan & James Ryan RStGYC

The 200 Nationals at the Dinghy Fest in Crosshaven in a few weeks are shaping up to be an interesting event where the newbies and the hotshots battle against the veterans of the class. The 400’ will be holding their Southerns at this same event and we expect a big showing from the very strong fleet.

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