When you bring together Ireland’s biggest sailing event, RS21s and a weather forecast that promised a downwind ride that would take the fleet to the edge, you could get something pretty special, and that is exactly what we got for Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2023.
After four epic days of racing, three big nights out and two Bee Gees cover bands, the event came down to one final race to decide it all. Three boats were in contention for the overall win in the last race. ‘Sailingfast’ (GBR290 Duncan Heppelwhite) from Scotland, a point behind Emsworth’s ‘Responsible Sailing’ (GBR303 Paul Fisk), with the ‘RS Ireland’ team (IRL233 Nick Redding) a further point back. Ultimately, it was winner takes all!
Despite tactical moves at the high end of the risk spectrum from ‘Sailingfast’ and ‘RS Ireland’ in a southerly breeze that built from 10 to 18 knots, it wasn’t to be. ‘Responsible Sailing’ played the shifts, ignored those tempting dark patches of water and took the win in convincing fashion, able to sail the final beat in a conservative manner while the rest of us rolled the dice.
This final showdown came after a week of the highest calibre racing, socials and entertainment that will live long in the memory.
“Volvo Dún Laoghaire Regatta pulled out all the stops for the RS21s”
Volvo Dún Laoghaire Regatta pulled out all the stops for the RS21s (and other fleets), to create an event feeling more like a festival interrupted by a sailing race than the other way around. They know how to enjoy their racing in Dublin!
Congratulations to the ‘Responsible Sailing’ team of Paul Fisk, Pippa Jubb, Caroline Fisk and Richard Tucker on taking their first win of the season and many thanks to salmon instruments who tracked the whole event for us allowing the opportunity for debriefs and coaching between races – not to mention recording a top speed of a whopping 17 knots.
You can relive the race at this link here
As the RS21 race circuit continues to build momentum, we look forward to the UK Nationals – there were signs of great thing to come from the young and talented A-Plan Insurance Team supported by Haven Knox Johnson, from NED305 (Michiel Geerling) with multiple race wins, and new international entrants SUI 291 representing Yacht Club CERN (Geneva) with a crew from as far afield as Switzerland, Newport Rhode Island, Wicklow SC, and the Royal Cork. Despite being new to the class, they showed how dangerous anyone can be in such a tight fleet.
New to the boat, Emmet Ryan summed up his experience, “Thanks again for a fantastic event! We thoroughly enjoyed the RS21 with all its user-friendly features, which made it very easy to step into and compete in challenging conditions. We were also extremely impressed with the boat speed and ease of handling, both up and downwind. The crew are already looking at options for getting into the 21 again soon!”
Next for the RS21s
Next up for the RS21s is the National Championship in Lymington from the 3 – 6 August, and will include a launch party for the 2024 calendar, which is already shaping up to offer a healthy mix of standalone events along with those integrated into a bigger regatta. So far, we have 25 Nationals entries, with Italian and Irish teams also making the journey. The World Championship follows in Porto Rotondo, Sardinia from 27 – 30 September, with fleets from across Europe coming together in a world-class sailing venue. Back in the UK, the final circuit event of the season sees the RS21 fleet join Hamble River Sailing Club’s One Design Championship in October, where the fleet also aims to take part in the winter series running into December.
A highlight of 2024 will be Cork Week, with RS Sailing committed to building a thriving RS21 fleet in Ireland over the next 18 months. Boats are already racing in Dublin and with Kenneth Rumball’s RS Sailing Ireland in support, there is a great future for RS21 International One Design racing in Ireland.
Final thanks go to Volvo Dún Laoghaire Regatta, David Wilkins and the Race Management team for great racing, to those people from the RS Ireland for their support with logistics and always being there to lend a hand, and to the Yacht Clubs of Dún Laoghaire for hosting us all!