ROYAL Ulster were delighted to be hosting two keelboat events last weekend. 

The RS Elite one-design class held their Irish Championships at the Club with 14 boats competing over the two days. There were visitors from as far afield as Hayling Island and Lymington on the south coast of England who joined more local visitors from Strangford Lough, Belfast Lough, and Lough Neagh.

Three races were sailed on Saturday in a good breeze and sunshine. Tom Hewitson and crew, from Hayling Island, in Soak Therapy stated their intentions with a win in Race 1 and second in Race 3 with Royal North of Ireland’s Warren Polly taking Race 2 in the Vaughan’s Toucan. 

Race 3 went to another RNIYC boat, The Love Bug, helmed by Michael Browne and they also had two second places leaving them in a good position overnight.

On Sunday the weather could not have been more different with light wind and persistent rain.

Race 4 went to Soak Therapy with RUYC home club boat Storm, helmed by Stephen Polly in second. The Love Bug had a bad result in Race 4 but with the four races sailed they were able to use this as their discard. 

Race 5 was another win for Soak Therapy with their fellow HISC members in Eclipse coming in second.  This result clinched the overall win for Soak Therapy. 

The top Irish boat was Jane Buchanan’s The Love Bug which was second overall followed by Toucan in third.  The RS Elites have now headed to Strangford Lough YC for their UK National Championship.

On a separate racecourse over the weekend, RUYC also hosted the Vantage Health & Life IRC – RC-35 Championships. 

Unlike the Elites, which race on a first-past-the-post one design system, the bigger boats race under IRC handicap.

Within the six-boat fleet, five boats qualified for the RC-35 division which is boats whose IRC handicap falls within set parameters. This fleet, with visitors from Howth and Fairley, also sailed three races on Saturday with race wins for Pat Kelly’s Storm and Ben Shelley’s Mocking Jay in the RC-35 class. 

Mocking Jay was winner in IRC 2 with Aidan Pounder’s Caesium winning IRC 3.  Storm took the win in both divisions in Race 2 with Michael Eames’ All or Nothing winning in IRC 3. 

Race 3 on Saturday saw RUYC home favourite John Minnis’s Final Call taking first place in both IRC and RC-25 with Caesium getting the win in IRC 3.

With wins in both races on Sunday, despite not being able to discard the unfortunate result in Race 1, Final Call won the RC-35 division by virtue of a tie break with Storm by counting more first places. 

Pat Kelly and the crew in Storm did however take the overall IRC Prize with Storm coming in second and Mocking Jay third in both IRC and RC-35.

Great credit goes to event organiser Rory Flannigan and his whole team along with Race Officers Con Murphy and Michael Conway, the race officials and mark layers. 

There are some terrific images of the racing by Andrew Gallagher on his web site  Race results on, Results Central.