Event no.2 of the 2018 RS season happened over the bank holiday of 5/6 May in Rush Sailing Club, North Co. Dublin to host the Eastern Championships for RS400s/200s/Fevas, proudly sponsored by Ropedock.com
In total there was 30 boats entered/60 sailors with many other in support for the event to sail at the rumoured best kept sailing venue secret on the East coast and very accessible for everyone to get to with lots of space and camping facilities to go with.
Forecasts for the weekend seemed to promise first signs of summer for the country and this was exactly to be the case as by about 12pm a sea breeze started literally rolling in with waves from the South to boot. PRO Richard Kissane sent the fleet out the river for first some tacking practice &then 3 races in the building and fantastic conditions.
There were many runners and riders for the event but with one notable absentee Alex Barry and Richard Leonard question was who could step up?
In conditions 15-18knots racing got underway and local legend/chancer Alan Ruigrok & Max McKnight stormed away to show the fleet they were in the mood. Gareth Flannigan & David Fletcher pulled in a 2nd with moving up from school in the 200s Neil Spain & Ross McDonald coming in 3rd.
In the second race Alan Ruigrok & Max McKnight lead again but Neil Spain & Ross McDonald got them downwind to take win with Barry McCartin & Andrew Penney 3rd. The final race Alan Ruigrok & Max McKnight blitzed away again to take bullet, Gareth Flannigan & David Fletcher 2nd & Neil Spain & Ross McDonald 3rd. Racing among the boats was so tight with many photo finishes required throughout the 3 races and the big waves taking a few victims as they fell in downwind.
In the 200s Cian Jones & Luke McGrath revelled in conditions for 3 bullets. Aaron Jones & Katie Kane not far away with 3 2nds and Ben Ferris & Peter Darragh completing the over night top 3. In the Fevas Lily Thorup & Sibeal Nic Giolla Coda dominated with 3 firsts - followed by Matthew McClernon & Erin McClernon with an equally consistent 3 2nd places and Alannah McGuire & Rachel Keane completing the over night top 3.
Everyone retreated ashore in awe of a great day sailing and first pints were flowing by 4pm to make things even better. The club staged a great BBQ, bar and band to keep everyone entertained. Stories were shared and the inaugural prize for "dope of the day" where crews can nominate helms with some including a certain a David Sweeney pulling his boat up onto beach close to race area to supposedly fix something but had a picnic instead, may have been a lovely lady present we are not quite sure. The winner however was grandad of the fleet R400 Liam Donnelly for a very obvious port-starboard called out to him 5mins before but decided to go for the T-bone steak anyway with the fleets own Ed Sheeran otherwise known as Stephen McLernon. The craic went on long into night, way too long for some with many wounded bodies found trying to put one foot in front of the other next day a challenge.
Day 2 lead to a slight postponement as some fog came in before fleet were sent out in a building 11-14 knot breeze. More tacking practice out the harbour and soon enough course was laid and races began. In the first race the racing was super close with only 1min separating the top 10 by finish but Gareth Flannigan & David Fletcher won squeezing Alan Ruigrok & Max McKnight into 2nd, Neil Spain & Ross McDonald 3rd. The 2nd race wind picked up slightly again giving more surfing conditions. This time Alan Ruigrok & Max McKnight won after a very tight battle with Paul Mclaughlin & Owen McKinley with Barry McCartin & Andrew Penney in 3rd. This secured the event for Alan Ruigrok & Max McKnight but places behind were all to play for especially given retirement due to unfortunate toe-strap break on Gareth Flannigan & David Fletcher's boat sending them home early.
This time Paul Mclaughlin & Owen McKinley sailed a great race only for Alan Ruigrok & Max McKnight (sailing on anyway) to come from way back as the wind got light and patchy to steal it at the death. Neil Spain & Ross McDonald came in 3rd. This made the final results as follows: Alan Ruigrok & Max McKnigh in 1st with a near flawless scoreline, Neil Spain & Ross McDonald 2nd, Paul McLaughlin & Owen Mckinley in 3rd, Barry McCartin & Andrew Penney 4th &and Gareth Flanagan & David Fletcher in 5th.
The 200s had closer racing as few more boats get in the mix including another Ruigrok Erica Ruigrok & Lauren O'Hare to mix in the top 3 - standing head and shoulders above... her crew with very well practised capsize technique. But in the end Cian Jones & Luke McGrath added 3 more wins to make a perfect scorecard and win Boat of the weekend (just to ruin Alan Ruigrok & Max McKnigh's weekend a little bit :) ) followed by Aaron Jones & Katie Kane in 2nd & Ben Ferris & Peter Darragh 3rd.
In the Fevas Alannah McGuire & Rachel Keane upset the pecking order with a win in the first race of the day. Matthew McClernon & Erin McClernon secured the top spot in the next 2 races giving them the series overall relegating the dominant Lily Thorup & Sibeal Nic Giolla Coda to second overall.
A great credit to PRO Richard Kissane and Race Committee who ran the races like clockwork both days setting perfect courses with his mark-team to keep to the schedule and get in 6 races over the weekend. Also to all the organisers, shore teams, canteen personnel and BBQ legends and of course the bar personnel keeping the fleet well oiled long into the night. The photographers/drone operators did an amazing job capturing some great footage of the weekend.
And to answer rumour at the top of report, after such an amazing weekend all round, the entire fleet would agree Rush as one of best venues for sailing, hospitality, great craic and one that everyone will talk about for a long time. Just look at the photos/video to prove it.
Finally, if you don't know it then ensure to make it to next event RS National Championships 6-8 July being hosted by Ballyholme YC in conjunction with the Bangor Town regatta for big boats to make it even larger still. Already entry is Open (http://ballyholme.com/events/bangor-town-regatta-2018/) with a lot of planning in place by a club who are well know at running big events and last time they hosted RS championships there was 50 RS400s on startline so let's hop for even more still so certainly not to be missed!
Photo/Drone credits to: Sean Weldon
1st Alan Ruigrok & Max McKnight
2nd Neil Spain & Ross McDonald
3rd Paul Mclaughlin & Owen McKinley
1st Cian Jones & Luke McGrath
2nd Aaron Jones & Katie Kane
3rd Ben Ferris & Peter Darragh
1st Matthew McClernon & Erin McClernon
2nd Lily Thorup & Sibeal Nic Giolla Coda
3rd Alannah McGuire & Rachel Keane