St Francis College, Rochestown, all Royal Cork members, pictured recently at Bough Beech Sailing Club in Kent competing in the British Schools Team Racing Nationals where they finished in the top four places. The team was sponsored by Brian O’Donoghue of BOD Vehicle Support Services (www.bodvss.ie).Photo: Back Row – Chris Phelan, Brendan Lyden, Conor Lyden (Capt) Front Row – Dermot Lyden, Luke Slattery, Peter Stokes.
The team (all RCYC members) departed from Cork airport midday on Sunday the 3rd of July. Everybody was very excited about the prospect of racing against the elite of British secondary schools as well as schools from Denmark and Germany. We all had an idea of what we were going to come up against from doing the event last year but with this little bit of experience came more expectation with everyone hoping to improve on last year’s 5th place result.
We arrived at Bough Beech sailing club early on Monday morning for a briefing to the 24 team entry on how the event was to be run and the schedule of races etc. The weather was touching 30 degrees Celsius and plenty of sun-cream was being applied as well as in taking plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. The racing on day 1 was very stop-start as the wind was very light and made it difficult for the race committee to set a course. We didn’t sail as well as we would have liked during the first day and as a result of this we were put into the silver fleet for the final day. This however was not the end of the world as we knew that if we won the silver fleet we would be put into a play-off against the 4th best team in the gold fleet to decide on who gets a place in the semi-final.
We sailed excellently throughout the last day and won the silver fleet with a 100% record, beating schools such as Eton, Tonbridge, Norwich, Magdalen Oxford and the Royal Grammar School Guildford who have fees up to £75,000 pounds per year. Our performance meant we were rewarded with a sail-off against Sevenoaks for a place in the semi finals. Our great form continued as we beat Sevenoaks to book a place against our fellow Irish team Schull community college in the first semi final. However we just lost out in the best of three closely fought races against the west cork team which included some contentious decisions from the international jury who travelled from countries such as India, France and Italy. Schull were unfortunately beaten in the final but it was still a fantastic achievement to have 2 Irish schools in the top 4. This achievement is even more impressive considering we were the two smallest schools in the event by a long way.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable and extremely well run event and we hope to go back next year and improve on our result. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our School for their continued support.
Rochestown College Team
Conor Lyden (captain) R.C.Y.C/B.S.C
Chris Phelan R.C.Y.C
Brendan Lyden R.C.Y.C/B.S.C
Peter Stokes R.C.Y.C/B.S.C
Luke Slattery R.C.Y.C
Dermot Lyden R.C.Y.C