Report & Photos ©Jonny Fullerton, Regatta Services
The first day of the Subaru Flying Fifteen World Championship was raced in a gnarly offshore NW breeze in Dublin Bay. At midday there were gusts of 28+ knots on the race course and white water so PRO Jack Roy had to be patient holding the fleet ashore. By 1500 hrs the wind had abated enough to send the fleet out for one race for the day.
A slightly reduced fleet of 70 boats representing 9 countries from all over the globe headed out in over cast conditions for a 1600 hrs start. By the time the course was set the wind had reduced to around 15 - 18 knots with some feisty gusts. PRO Jack Roy set a two lap windward/leeward course. The first start was a general recall but competitors had been warned that the tide was underneath them and they could be carried over the line if they were not cautious. The second go under U flag was a lot more orderly.
The majority of the fleet headed out to the right (offshore) on the 0.9nm leg to the top mark. Rounding in the lead was the angloirish crew of Charles Apthorp and Alan Green representing Hayling Island SC, followed by local Irish boat ‘The Gruffalo’ sailed by Ian Mathews and Keith Poole. On the first run downwind the lead pack split gybes and Graham Vials and Chris Turner (Ovington Boats) from Derwent Reservoir, surged down in a fast lane to close off the three lead boats and round
the bottom gate in the lead. Apthorp and Green and Mathews and Poole rounded in tandem behind. A pack of British boats were closing down on the leaders split up by Australians Mike Hart and Dean McAullay, rep resenting the Royal Freshwater Bay YC in Perth. Some meaty gusts claimed a few victims with several boats suffering some damage. One boat capsized with a spinnaker halyard wrapped round their stays and a few victims of the choppy waters returned to Dun Laoghaire harbour full of water. The shorter second lap was more a case of Vials and Turner covering their opposition to the finish to record their first winning gun of the championship claiming the Dixon Trophy.
Graham Vials (GBR) sums up the first day of the regatta: “It was a relief to finally get sailing really, it was breezy as it has been for the practice event. We rounded in good shape, about 8th around the first mark and spotted some pressure on the run so we were the first to gybe and we had a nice lane by ourselves and could concentrate on going fast. The tricky thing out there was the chop, it was hard to get over the waves so we were able to power through to go from 8th to 1st by the bottom gate of the first leg. The second lap was just a job of consolidating and making sure we just bring it home and be first in the shower back at the club.”
There was a bit of a shuffle of the lead pack down the second run. Richard Lovering and Matt Alvarado of Hyde Sails worked up to snatch second place on the final upwind leg to the finish. Taking third was current European Champions Hamish Mackay and Andrew Lawson from Royal Thames Yacht Club. Charles Apthorp and Alan Green just snuck around the finish pin to finish a very bankable fourth and Andy McKee and Richard Jones (Dovestone SC) made it a British top 5. Hart and McAullay of Australia finished in 6th and a great result of 8th for the local National Yacht Club boat sailed by Ian Mathews and Keith Poole.
Four boats from Hong Kong had a tough time getting to the event with their container of boats impounded in customs for a few days but alas arrived in time to compete. Of those Barry Hayes and Helen Selden sailing a HKG flagged boat ‘Hakuna Katoa Katika’ under the burgee of the Royal Irish YC, sailed a great race to finish in 9th. More good performances by the Irish boats include a very credible 13th for Gavin Doyle and Dave Sweeney from the National YC and 14th for Lee Statham and Andrew Paul from Waterford Harbour SC. Ian Mathews (IRL) was happy with his opening race (8th):“We had a good start, stayed away from the fleet in clear air down the line towards the pin and went initially left. Then we tacked across and went round the weather mark in second. Down the run the other guys came from left and right, we took the rhumb line, caught a few waves and we managed to round the gate in 3rd. We were delighted just to hold it, we lost a few spots on the final leg but to finish 8th we are very happy with that.”
Day 2 of the Subaru Flying Fifteen World Championship
The fleet of 75 boats from 9 nations head out to the start line in overcast but dry weather for two more windward / leeward races. After one false start the first race was started under U flag at 1115 hrs in an 11 - 13 knot northerly with a slight chop but a weaker tidal flow than yesterday. Both sides of the beat had a fairly even spread but three boats played the shifts well to arrive at the windward mark with a healthy lead. David Tabb and Chewey Sherrell from Parkstone YC in Poole, who placed third at the UK Nationals last July, sailed an excellent upwind to lead from yesterday’s star Irish performer Ian Mathews and Keith Poole from host club the National Yacht Club. Third round was another local boat from NYC, Dave Gorman and crew Chris Doorly. Down the first run, regatta leaders Graham Vials and Chris Turner were already breathing down the necks of the lead three boats. Also moving through the gears were the British armada including Steve Goacher, Nathan Batchelor, Andy Mckee and Ian Cadwallader. On lap two Tabb and Sherrell maintained their lead but had Vials and Turner on their transom. The two lead boats split gybes with the two Irish boats trying desperately to hold off the hunting Brit pack but down the second run the pressure was beginning to tell. Rounding for the short upwind leg to the finish it was a two horse race which was going tack for tack to the line. David Tabb fell ago nisingly short pipped on the finish line by Vials / Turner who scored their second win of the championship. Steve Goacher and Tim Harper (Royal Windermere YC) broke through for 3rd. Gorman / Doorly (NYC) were an excellent 4th and Andy Mckee and Richard Jones from Dove stone SC in the UK, a consistent 5th. Richard Lovering and Matt Alvarado (HISC) were a bit disappointed to drop a few places on the last leg to finish 13th. Other good performances included Ireland’s Andy and Rory Martin from Strangford Lough YC, in 11th, John Wilson and Matthew Summers from South of Perth YC in Australia, who finished 14th and the oldest boat in the fleet GBR 2520 a classic F15 sailed by Nick Heath and Pip Chapman (Cam Sailing Club). The pair punched well above their weight with a 30th place. Local Irishman Dave Gorman sums up an excellent 4 / 11 in races today: “We were delighted with racing today, the conditions suited us a lot better. We had a bad enough start in the first race but spotted some cloud on the right and got a nice knock out there and rounded second at the weather mark. We were waiting for all these fast guys to come through but we just wanted to sail as well as we can and we were 2nd, 3rd 4th round the marks, so we were delighted we were able to keep our own in an older boat. Ironically we had a much better start in the second race but we went up the middle of the course which was probably the wrong thing to do and got into the 20’s at the first mark. We were going to gybe set at the mark but luckily we decided not to because the breeze filled in down the run and when we got to the gate in about 11th we had taken about 15 places on the run. So we were delighted to get two counters today.”
Race 2 of the day and 3 of the championship started shortly after at around 1245pm under U flag again at the second go. The breeze had shifted a bit more N/NE and dropped to around 8 - 10 knots. Nathan Batchelor (Ovington Boats) and Ricky Riggs from Tynemouth SC got a peach of a start leaping out to a two boat length lead off the start line. Again the spread was fairly even across the course but the British pair rounded the weather mark just behind Australians Mike Hart and Dean McAullay from the Royal Freshwater Bay YC in Perth. Again the leaders were largely made up by the British boats but this time regatta leaders Graham Vials and Chris Turner copped a penalty losing a lot of ground. The first run was quite well spread but Batchelor and Riggs got a bit of a jump on the fleet to lead at the gate. Jeremy Davy and Martin Huett (Draycote Water SC) moved up into the lead pack with Andy Mckee / Richard Jones and Richard Lovering / Matt Alvarado and Australians Ashley Smith and Charlie Aprhorpe. On the second lap of the windward / leeward course, Batchelor / Riggs had established a com fortable lead ahead of Lovering / Alvarado but the battle was still full on for third place. The pre worlds regatta winners closed out the win followed by Lovering but the tacking duel for third involved three boats. On the line Andy Mckee / Richard Jones just claimed 3rd, Davy and Huett, 4th and the Aus tralians, Smith / Apthorpe 5th. Nathan Batchelor winners of race 2 of the day: “We had a great time today, we had a bit of damage on the boat before the start of the first one, the mast ram lever broke but we got a good start and were going quickly so we got a 9th in the first race which was pleasing. The second race we had a great transit on the start line and Riggy had confidence in where we were and called us forward with about 15 seconds to go so we started a couple of boat lengths ahead of the boats around us so it always makes it a bit easier. Despite the forecast to go right all day, which it did in the first race, it actually went 30 degrees left on the second beat so plenty of shifts to play but the second lap got a bit light and we got a bit of distance ahead at the bottom as the other boats were fighting each other so it was just a covering job to the finish.”
Vials / Turner never recovered after their penalty turns to score a lowly 19th. Ian Pinnell (HISC) stayed in the mix with a 10th and top of the local boats was again David Gorman and Chris Doorly with a solid 11th. Other good performances in race 3 included Chris Villa and Mark Holmes from Lake Macquarie YC in Australia with 14th, Jonathan Ward and Roger Deane (Ogston SC) GBR with 15th and another local boat Alastair Court / Conor O’Leary (Royal St George YC) Dun Laoghaire in 17th.
The forecast for day 3 of the Subaru Flying Fifteen World Championship was for very light airs all day but by the time competitors started to arrive at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire on Sunday morning, a faint breeze wafted around Dublin Bay tempting PRO Jack Roy to send the fleet of 75 Flying Fifteens out for two more races. Race 4 of the championship started on time at 1300 hrs under hazy skies and some threaten ing black clouds over the city of Dublin. The breeze held up at around 7 - 9 knots from an Easterly direction for a two lap windward/leeward course. GBR’s Greg Wells / Andrew Jameson, Ian Pinnell / Jeremy White both of Hayling Island SC, and Aus tralia’s Mike Hart / Dean McAullay (RFBYC) ap peared to get good starts but after a shifty first leg with the fleet split over both sides of the bay, it was the Apthorp family who popped round the weather mark in the top three. Charles senior with his Irish crew Alan Green and Charlie junior crewing for the Australian entry from the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, steered by Ashley Smith. These two were pursued by Wells / Jameson, the multiple world champions Graham Vials / Chris Turner (GBR) and Nathan Batchelor / Ricky Rigg (Tynemouth SC). The pack shuffled downwind as the breeze ebbed and flowed and the early leading pack split gate marks. Upwind for the second time Ashley Smith / Charlie Apthorp kept a close eye on Charles Apthorp / Alan Smith. Greg Wells, Nathan Batchelor and Graham Vials were in close pursuit. It was all about looking for the pressure and staying in it on the second run and the rich got richer and the poor got poorer as the fleet spread out and the breeze softened. Australia’s Ashley Smith and crew Charlie Apthorp managed to get one over dad, Charles senior who crossed second and Wells / Jameson third. Britain’s Batchelor finished 4th and Vials 5th. Mike Hart and Dean McAullay from Perth, Australia banked a useful 6th. Charlie Apthorp became one of the youngest crews to win a Flying Fifteen Worlds race and celebrated with a ‘whoop’ as he crossed the line. Of course the worlds is not all about the semi-pros and the top guys, the corinthian club sailors are racing to improve on their own standards. South Africa’s Patrick Harris and crew Jere my Kriek from the Royal Natal YC sailed a great race to finish 24th and representing Spain, Jonny Walker (nothing to do with the whisky brand)! and his local stand in crew Carden Kent, sailing for the Royal Club Nau tico Puerto Pollenca in Mallorca, finished a superb 26th.
A quick break and PRO Jack Roy got race 2 of the day (5 of the championship) started around 1435 hrs as the skies had darkened over Dun Laoghaire. Clear start this time but the breeze had already started to fade. Again the 75 boat fleet spread both left and right upwind and pressure was king. Nathan Batchelor / Ricky Rigg (GBR) rounded just ahead of Mike Hart / Dean McAullay (AUS) followed by the usual persistent British bulldog pack. Australia’s Hart / McAullay took the offshore route whilst Batchelor / Rigg went inshore. Batchelor / Rigg squeezed round the leeward gate with a four boat length lead over the Aussies. The Brit pack were fighting for the remaining top places joined this time by David McKee and Mal Hartland (Dovestone SC). By the time the majority of the fleet started the second beat the breeze was really struggling and the skies going black above. The second lap was reduced to a crawl as the leaders rounded the gates for the last time and much of the fleet were beginning the final run with drooping spinnakers. Hart / McAullay had reduced Batchelor / Rigg’s lead to just about three boat lengths with just a very short work to the finish line. Rounding third was Vials / Turner. Mike Hart tried a last ditch attempt to attack Batchelor but Vials used all his considerable experience to continue on one tack to come in and intercept the Aussies and slam dunk in front of them on the finish line. There was then an agonising wait to see how many boats could finish before the time limit. McKee and Hartland (GBR) crossed 4th and Steve Goacher / Tim Harper 5th. 20 boats man aged to limp across the line before the dreaded race officers hammer came down. The luckless Australians Chris Villa and Mark Holmes from Lake Macquarie, sailing an aptly named boat ‘Up Ship Creek’ were only a boat length form the line when the time limit lapsed. Many others had to record a DNF on their scoresheet. Mike Hart sums up his days racing: “Pretty good, its quite interesting because we went hard right in the first race of the day and came out quite good and the second race of the day we went hard left and were second round the windward mark so we couldn’t work out which side was paying, pressure was the key today. Staying in pressure gave you a 5 degree lift every time, it was very tricky. There was a lot of indecision on what side to the course to go, I don’t think it mattered which way you went as long as there was pressure there. It was especially tricky on the run because once you were on one side it was very difficult to get across to the other, you just had to live with it.” “In the second race of the day we caught Nathan and Riggy going down the second run and got within about 3 or 4 boat lengths of them at the leeward mark so decided to attach them on the short beat to the finish, fully aware that it could go wrong and Graham got past and that was what happened but such is life and any result in single figures is good on a day like today.”
After 5 races have been completed the first discard comes into play leaving Graham Vials and Chris Turner in pole position with 9 points net. In second overall is fellow Brits Nathan Batch elor and Ricky Rigg (15 points) meaning the two Ovington Boats representatives sit in 1/2 overall. Andy McKee and Richard Jones are in 3rd overall on 20 points. The first boat to break the British stranglehold is Mike Hart / Dean McAullay (AUS) in 6th overall. Two local Irish boats remain in 14th and 15th respectively, Ian Mathews / Keith Poole and David Gorman / Chris Doorly both of host club The National YC) The current New Zealand Flying Fifteen champions Hayden Percy and Scott Pedersen from Napier, sailing a chartered boat, continue to collect very credible top 20 finishes, they scored 20 / 17 to sit in 16th overall. Another long distance traveller, Campbell Alexander and Dave Herridge from Natal YC in Durban, South Africa also continue to put in some very worthy performances finishing 18 and 19 for the day which places them in 17th overall.
Kiwi Hayden Percy on sailing at Dun Laoghaire: “The boat we have chartered is a difficult boat to get used to but we are getting there slowly, time in the boat means a lot but every race we feel like we are improving but it is pretty tricky. You feel like you get it going one day and then you go the wrong side the next day. Today was a lot steadier for us, you could just take the small shifts, the last couple of days have been hard because the wind would shift 20 degrees one way then carry on another 20 degrees the same way and you can never pick that. We are enjoying it here in Dublin, the weather is probably similar to our winter in New Zealand! “
As the Subaru Flying Fifteen World Championship reaches the half way stage Dun Laoghaire delivered another blustery day to complete two more races. Early in the morning the wind was howling but by race 6 start time of 1300 hrs it had moderated to a puffy 14 - 18 knots with a pronounced chop caused by wind against tide. Race 6 started on the first attempt with a new course configuration of w/l triangle w/l and a short beat to the finish which offered the chance for the fleet to stretch their legs with some fast reaching. First to show on lap 1 of race 6 was current European champions Hamish Mackay and Andrew Lawson (Royal Thames YC), clearly enjoying the heavier conditions. They led from Richard Lovering / Matt Alvarado (HISC) and Andy McKee / Richard Jones (Dovestone SC) rounding in tandem. The usual suspects with GBR sail numbers chased down the run. McKee / Jones snatched the lead by a whisker at the gate with the Brit pack in close attendance broken up by the rather unusual but pleasant sight of Campbell Alexander and crew Dave Herridge (Royal Natal YC) in South Africa. Despite a number of shifts and a short chop the places remained similar upwind for the sec ond time but then came the long fetch/reach to the wing mark. With a number of competitors choosing between hoisting or two sail reaching then hoisting, places got a bit mixed up. By the time the lead bunch got to the wing mark, the rounding and the following run was a big tussle between Andy Mckee, Hamish Mackay and Richard Lovering. Meanwhile loitering with in tent on his own course was three time world champions Graham Vials and Chris Turner (DRSC). As the breeze appeared to drop going upwind for the final weather mark rounding Vials / Turner made their move sprinting into a two boat length lead over McKee / Jones with Jeremy Davy and Martin Huett (DWSC) moving into third. Places remained the same on the short hitch to the finish line confirming Vials / Turner’s third race win from 6 races. Mackay / Lawson settled for 4th and Lovering / Alvarado 5th. South Africans Campbell Alexander / Dave Herridge finished an impressive 8th. Local Irishmen Andy and Rory Martin from Strangford Lough YC had a superb race finishing 14th and best of the Irish Flying Fifteen team.
Campbell Alexander from South Africa on his 8th in Race 6: “We were up to 4th but we are still learning how to reach! We got a good start and pushed to the right but generally watched the good guys and took the shifts and watched our compass most of the time. We are good upwind but slow down wind generally but we can improve there. We were in with the guys and it was just great fun.”
The second race of the day (R8) was sailed under the same semi-overcast skies and slightly less breeze 14 - 17 knots with a swing to the North causing a quick re-jig of the course marks. On the third attempt under black flag the fleet of 72 Flying Fifteens got underway cleanly. A new leader appeared at the top mark yet another British boat Ian Pinnell crewed by Jez White (Hayling Is SC) and more new faces in David McKee and Mal Hartland (Dovestone SC) and Chris Waples and Peter Bannister, also from HISC. The fleet split on both sides of the course downwind with Graham Vials / Chris Turner and Greg Wells / Andrew Jameson both choosing the inshore route. At the gate Vials and Wells chose well enjoying the better pressure squeezing round the gate in front of the other three British boats. At the top of the course second time around the leading boats nearly made a big mistake by missing out the spreader mark on their way to the wing mark of the triangle. The long reach turned out to be more of a fetch and again there was indecision about kites or no kites. By the gate second lap it was turning into a race between Wells and Vials for the turn home. Rather predictably Vials / Turner found a way to get past Wells / Jameson on the final beat to take his fourth win of the championship in 7 races. Mackay / Lawson claimed 3rd, Lovering / Alvarado 4th and Pinnell / White 5th. Australians John Wilson and Matthew Summers from South of Perth YC finished with their best score in the regatta (11th) and fellow Aussies Greg ‘Levo’ Leaversuch sailing with crew Peter ‘Bad Boy’ Barblett sailing their best race for 15th. Irish sailors Hammy Baker and Peter Chamberlain sailed two great races to finish 16 / 16 clearly enjoying the gutsy conditions and fellow Irishmen Roger Chamberlain and Charlie Horder from Strangford Lough YC finished a solid 17th in R7. So at the halfway stage of the regatta Graham Vials / Chris Turner have started to show their class by opening up a 17 point lead with a total of 11 points net. Andy Mckee / Richard Jones are second with 28 points and Nathan Batchelor / Ricky Rigg on 31points. Hamish Mackay scores a 4 / 3 on the day to move up to 14th overall: “We are good when the breeze is up because we are quite big so that helps us but in all honesty we had two good starts today. We were first round in the first race, Graham passed us on the first reach on the second round but it was a good day for us. Pressure was key but in the second race there was a lot of shifts as well and they counted and different patches all over the course so it made it an interesting day.”
Weary sailors came home to beer and snags and a presentation on the 2021 Flying Fifteen World Championship to be hosted by the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in Perth and sailed on the waters of Fremantle on the ocean.
After the layday three more races were held in typical puffy and choppy conditions in Dublin Bay on day 5 of the Subaru Flying Fifteen World Championship at Dun Laoghaire. A day of contrasting fortunes begun at midday under semi-overcast skies with a blustery 15 - 19 knot Westerly accompanied by a sharp chop influenced by a changing tidal flow across the race course. Race 8 of the championship started at 1200 noon with a single recall. A number of local boats headed right (offshore) however these included a couple of Australian crews including Mike Hart / Dean McAullay (Royal Freshwater Bay YC). Whilst the bulk of the fleet came off the pin and worked the inshore side of the beat, Hart / McAullay popped round the windward mark in great shape with a comfortable lead, accompanied by some new faces, Ireland’s Ben Mulligan and Cormac Bradley (Dun Laoghaire MYC) and Britain’s Richard Hope and Mike Stenson (Draycote Water SC). On the first gusty run some of the top British crews did not take long to chase down the lead pack but Hart / McAullay had already established a nice lead which they continued upwind on the second leg. This time the vast majority of the fleet chose the offshore option. Despite a late effort by Andy Mckee and Richard Jones (Dovestone SC) closing down on the second run, Hart / McAullay were able to close out the race for their first championship bullet. Mckee / Jones were 2nd and Britons Nathan Batchelor / Ricky Rigg (Tynemouth SC) 3rd. Richard Lovering / Matt Alvardo (Hayling Is SC) worked through the fleet to take a handy 4th and Hamish Mackay / Andrew Lawson (Royal Thames YC) 5th. The aptly named ‘As Good as it Gets’ sailed by Ben Mulligan and Cormac Bradley of Ireland scored a great result with an 8th and fellow Irishmen Hammy Baker and Peter Chamberlain (Strangford Lough YC) finished a worthy 10th. There was however drama on the finish line as regatta leaders Graham Vials and Chris Turner (Derwent Reservoir SC) were involved in a collision which holed their boat. Although their finish position was recored as 23rd, the former world champions were forced to come ashore to make urgent repairs. At the resulting protest hearing they were awarded redress for the two races missed ashore. The conditions were unchanged for R9, the second of the day but PRO Jack Roy set a slightly longer course of windward/leeward, triangle, windward/leeward. There was a more even spread upwind and this time it was back to the top British boats to dispute the lead. Jeremy Davy / Martine Huett (Draycote Water SC) led lap 1 from Andy Mckee / Richard Jones (Dovestone SC) and Richard Lovering / Matt Alvarado (HISC). Ireland’s Andy and Rory Martin (Strangford Lough YC) and club mates Hammy Baker and Peter Chamberlain were top Irish boats to shine. The top three British teams fought down the run and back up the second beat. Lovering / Alvarado chose their moment to attack on the blazing reaches of the triangle. By the leeward mark they had established a lead of 3 - 4 boat lengths over Mckee / Jones. Lovering then extended but Australia’s Mike Hart / Dean McAullay made a late challenge for a podium spot. Hyde Sails representatives Lovering / Alvarado closed out the win, their first of the champi onship. Mckee / Jones added another 2nd to their series. The battle for third went down to the wire, narrowly claimed by Hart / McAullay. Jeremy Davy / Martin Huett 4th and Greg Wells / Andrew Jameson (Hayling Is SC) 5th. Top Irish boat in this one was Andy and Rory Martin in 13th. The final race of the day (R10) was started around 1445 hrs local time in the same conditions using the w/l course with two laps. A clean start and an even split inshore and offshore. A crowded first rounding saw another new leader (briefly), in Chris Villa and Mark Holmes from Lake Macquarie YC in Australia and South Africa’s Campbell Alexander and Dave Herridge in the mix. David McKee and Mal Hartland (Dovestone SC) quickly pounced down the run to lead at the gate from Jeremy Davy / Martin Huett (Draycote Water SC) and Hamish Mackay / Andrew Lawson. On the second upwind leg, Davy / Huett tacked inshore splitting tacks with McKee and Hartland. Davy came out on top at the final windward mark by 30 seconds from Richard Lovering / Matt Alvarado and Mackay / Lawson. The British pair from Draycote Water SC held on to score their first winning gun of the championship. Lovering / Alvarado crossed 2nd and McKee / Hartland 3rd. Andy McKee / Richard Jones finished 4th to close in on the overall lead. Ending the day with a 1/3/5 was Mike Hart / Dean McAullay of Australia to break up the lead British boats overall. British pair Justin Waples and Jackie McKellar (RCYC/WSC) sailed a great day 9/12/11 and lie 16th overall just ahead of the Irish pack. Best performance on the day by the local boats was Hammy Baker and Peter Chamberlain (SLYC) with 10/14/31 which places them in 19th over all. Now that 10 races have been sailed sailors are allowed two discards. Having been awarded redress for the two races they were unable to compete in, Graham Vials and Chris Turner (GBR) now lead the regatta on 19.6 points net but have discarded a 19 and 23 so cannot afford any mishaps on the final two days of racing. Andy Mckee / Richard Jones has 29 points, Lover ing / Alvarado move up to 3rd overall on 31 points, Batchelor / Rigg and Hart / McAullay share 39 points each for 4th and 5th.
Thursday is the penultimate day of racing with racing due to commence at 1300 hrs local time. quotes: Dean McAullay sums up his day 1/3/5: “We started at the top end of the line and the bulk of the fleet went down the bottom end so we able to have a very clean start and just sail fast and got into high numbers. We sailed across the bunch on the left which we did easily and lead them back to the top mark so we had a comfortable lead but you cannot rest, they were catching us by the last run, they had halved the distance. We are just making gains, we have not sailed together before so by the end of the week we are happy to be in the top 5 with two days to go.” Andy Mckee on his 2/2/4: “We thought we were going quick both upwind and downwind, good height and good speed, a big decision in the first race we gybed out early at the windward mark and that gave us a good lane to overtake a few boats down the run and then we could just consolidate for the rest of the race. The second race we had a pretty decent start and felt there was a pretty big line sag. On the second lap it would have been nice if we had checked the course board and not set off down the run instead of the reach when we were in the lead! The last race we were just trying to grind it out, we were running out of energy at the end of the day so we were just trying to keep the speed on”. Richard Lovering with 4/1/2 finishes: “It's about being patient out there today, we were looking pretty deep off a couple of starts, some good boats were out to the right so we just had to be patient and wait for the wind to go left. We kind of got lucky a bit. We seemed to have good boat speed today we were lucky with a few of our lanes when we thought a couple of boats might tack on us but they didn’t but there is a lot of luck involved when you are positioned in the teens.”
After the disappointment of sitting out two races yesterday due to boat damage in a collision for which they were awarded redress, Britain’s Graham Vials and Chris Turner (Derwent Reservoir SC) are on the verge of winning their 4th world title after a flawless race today. There was only one race scheduled for day 6 of the Subaru Flying Fifteen World Championship at Dun Laoghaire on the penultimate day of the regatta. The 72 boat fleet were kept ashore for two hours whilst the offshore breeze settled down enough to send the fleet out. It took several recalls and one abandoned race after the wind shifted all round the compass. Under dark black rain clouds and some light rain, finally the Dublin Bay breeze decided to go back to the NW/W sector for long enough for the PRO Jack Roy to set a longer length windward / leeward racecourse. Under black flag the fleet started around 1545 hrs in 16 - 19 knots sailing in the now familiar short chop. The first upwind was well spread from one side of the course to the other and it was difficult to predict a top mark leader. Early in the race Graham Vials and Chris Turner appeared to be ducking sterns but as all true champions do, they seem to carve a lane for themselves to appear at the windward mark in the lead, ahead of Irish boat Andy and Rory Martin of Strangford Lough YC and Charles Apthorp and his crew, local National Yacht Club member Alan Green. The leaders split down the run with Vials / Turner going offshore and another British boat sailed by Justin Waples and Jackie McKellar (RCYC/WSC), going inshore. Vials and Turner had already carved out a handsome lead at the turn at the gate ahead of GBR’s Andy Mckee and Richard Jones (Dovestone SC) who had also turned on the afterburners down the run. Waples / McKellar made significant gains down the run. The long beat back up to windward saw Vials / Turner extending again and McKee / Jones
also establishing themselves in control of second. However the remaining top 5 - 6 spots were still up for grabs. British boats David Tabb / Chewey Sherrell (Parkstone YC), Richard Lovering / Matt Alvarado (Hayling Is SC) and Hamish Mackay / Andrew Lawson (Royal Thames YC) all had their chances but by the final gate rounding Waples / Mckellar looked to have third place under wraps. The final winning margin for Vials / Turner, the champions elect, was a healthy 1 min 30 secs over second place overall McKee / Jones. Waples / McKellar scored their best result of the regatta so far with a very good 3rd, the highest position for a mixed crew in the championship so far. NB: Jackie McKellar is sailing her first major regatta in the Flying Fifteen class!. Lovering / Alvarado just squeezed over the finish line for 4th just ahead of Tabb / Sherrell in 5th. Justin Waples and Jackie McKellar on their excellent podium finish: Justin: “We saw the first aborted start and how it paid to go right and actually looking at the smoke from the chimney we decided it worked first time and it worked again so it was really as straight forward as that really.” Jackie: “I think we made about 4 or 5 places by going down the right (inshore) on the first run. We were very pleased with that. It is a mixed boat and our first world championship sailing together.”
The final race of the championship is scheduled for Friday with Graham Vials and Chris Turner firmly in control on 19.8 points some 11 points ahead of Andy McKee and Richard Jones on 31 points. They do however hold discards of 19 and 23 as opposed to Mckee’s 21 and 7, so technically they do still have to keep their powder dry in the final race of the championship. Richard Lovering / Matt Alvarado remain in 3rd overall with 35 points, Australia’s Mike Hart / Dean McAullay 4th on 47 points and Nathan Batchelor / Ricky Rigg 5th on 49 points. Andy and Rory Martin were top Irish boat with their best result of the championship 9th. Despite some fairly rough sailing conditions some of the visitors form France, Spain, Canada and Hong Kong have completed almost all races of the series never giving up showing the true essence of the corinthian competitor in the Flying Fifteen class. Indeed one of the boats sailing under the flag of Hong Kong is aptly named ‘Hakuna Katoa Katika’ which is Swahili for ‘Never Give Up’. She is sailed by Barry Hayes and crew Helen Selden. Worthy of mention to is the all female crew of Louise McKenna and Hermine O’Keefe who sail under the burgee of the Royal St George YC in Dun Laoghaire. The ladies have sailed very persistently all week and only failed to finish one race by being one of 60 odd boats outside the time limit. Andy Martin IRL3974 9th today: “We were so jammy that the first race was abandoned!, and jammy in the start because under black flag we were being so careful because we have already got one DNF. We sailed the middle and got it our own way today and it is the first time in the regatta we were able to sail the shifts. My brother Rory who sails with me, his work rate is massive, he managed to pull us around the weather mark second, then I took a bit of a kamikazi gybe off and sailed right down the middle where we thought there was pressure but we must have done at least six gybes. We went round the bottom mark 3rd and then its just a fight to hang on to places.” Graham Vials on his horizon job today: “We had a good win today, yesterday was slightly traumatic with the hole in the boat so to just go out and sail was nice. We were going well today, you have a game plan and our game plan is usually up the middle and take the shifts but be conservative, not to be too extreme. At one point we took some sterns because we thought the wind was going to go right which it did. We got into that and towards the top we got a really nice lift and what you can use out there was the chimney with the smoke. You see the breeze in the future and what it might shift. Having rounded in the lead it was pretty easy from there on. We cannot rest on our laurels we still need a good day tomorrow.”
Graham Vials and Chris Turner of Derwent Reservoir SC sealed world title number four in a fitting way by doing a horizon job on the fleet on the final day of the Subaru Flying Fifteen World Championship at Dun Laoghaire. The breeze was so light they literally had to drift across the finish line in a shortened 2 lap windward/leeward course. The 72 boat fleet headed out for one final race in hazy sunshine and a light breeze that was always predicted to drop by lunchtime. Despite a few nervous last minute shifts racing got underway shortly after 1100 hrs in a very light 5 - 7 knot North Westerly. The breeze ebbed and flowed in patches providing a real test of nerves for sailors trying to decide which side of the course to choose. As is now customary, Graham Vials and Chris Turner just coasted up the middle of the course playing the shifts to perfection. They rounded the weather mark in fourth just behind some new faces amongst the leaders. David Heron and Chris Ducker (Royal Windermere YC) led the fleet from South African’s Campbell Alexander and Dave Herridge and Australia’s Chris Vila and Mark Holmes. The run was particularly slow and painful but Vials and Turner just floated off into the distance pulling away from the mixed crew of Justin Waples and Jackie McKellar who were proving that their 3rd yesterday was no fluke. As the lead bunch crossed gybes trying to sniff out the breeze the world champions elect were rounding the gate for a shortened beat for the second and last time. Whilst the British crew sailed off into the hazy sunshine places 2 to 5 were still very much up for grabs. The second run was reduced to an absolute crawl in barely 2 - 3 knots of fickle breeze. As Vials and Turner turned for home at the gate the majority of the fleet were crawling down the run with limp spinnakers. They had to tack several times to drift across the finish line to claim their 4th world title sailing as a team in their newly named boat ‘Floaty McFloat Face’.
At one point it looked like the extended time limit of 30 minutes might cancel out a vast majority of the fleet but in the scramble to get across the finish line Justin Waples / Jackie McKellar drifted across to finish second. Third place was decided on the line when John Hassen and Kevin Griffiths of South of Perth YC had to give way to fellow Australians Chris Vila and Mark Holmes on the line. Fifth boat to cross was another Aus tralian crew Mike Hart and Dean McAullay (RFBYC). A number of the overall regatta leaders trailed in quite deep, Andy Mckee and Richard Jones (Dovestone SC) finished in 18th to claim second place overall and Richard Lovering and Matt Alvarado (Hayling Is SC) 12th to settle for third overall. Australia’s Mike Hart and Dean McAullay finished 4th overall splitting up the dominance of the British fleet. South Africans Campbell Alexander and Dave Herridge finished the last race in 9th to claim 15th overall, a good effort in this highly competitive fleet. Andy and Rory Martin became top Irish boat in 17th just ahead of the New Zealand crew, Hayden Percy and Scott Pedersen. First of the Classic boat division is the oldest boat in the fleet GBR250 ‘Fighting Fit’ sailed by Nick Heath and Pip Chapman from Cam Sailing Club.
Graham Vials & Chris Turner - winners:“We had our ups and downs during the week but we have come away with the win which is fantastic. This has been the hardest title to win, Andy and Richard and Richy and Matt have been so consistent and we used up our discard with two days to go, so it has been pretty hard. It is really hard to be consistent in a fleet as competitive as this. It is good for the fleet as a whole.” Chris on the name of the boat: “All of our previous boats names have been a little bit risky shall we say and the urban dictionary didn’t have much left in the ‘F’s) so my kids actually came up with the name ‘Floaty McFloat Face".
Andy McKee & Richard Jones - second overall: “Our performance this week has been incredibly consistent which has been the story of our season, Chris and Graham put together a really good series and we just didn’t have the cutting edge to challenge them in the end but we are really pleased to come second overall. It has been really challenging conditions out there you can see from the high scores.”
Richard Lovering and Matt Alvarado - third overall: “It has been a fantastic week here sailing in Dublin Bay, we are delighted to come away with third position overall. We are very pleased, this is our Olympics, this is the second World Champs we have done and we only get to do it every 4 years. For the most part the racing has been just awesome. We have had plenty of breeze, lots of ups and downs, shifts and the race officer has done a brilliant job. We are super happy and we will have a few beers tonight.” by Jonny Fullerton of Regatta Services