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Kennedy and Kane Produce the Goods on Day Two of RS400 Winter Series at Royal North of Ireland YC

13th November 2023
Ross and Andrew Vaughan are the overall leaders of the RS400 Winter Series at Royal North of Ireland YC on Belfast Lough
Ross and Andrew Vaughan are the overall leaders of the RS400 Winter Series at Royal North of Ireland YC on Belfast Lough Credit: Calum Dalzell

Week two of the RS400 Winter Series at Royal North of Ireland YC series on Belfast Lough arrived dank and dismal on Sunday with light rain and a forecast including 29-knot gusts; what a contrast to the previous bright and sunny weekend, which had seen the return of Bob Espey into the class, notching two bullets but with the overall lead being taken by cousins Ross and Andrew Vaughan. The forecast likely put off a few potential players as only 15 boats out of the 25 entered reached the start line.

In fact, the wind strength had dropped considerably in the hour before the scheduled start, although still from the southeast, meaning that the breeze was diminished by the Holywood hills, leaving anything from 5-18 kts with direction varying around 40 degrees in short-lived gusts tumbling down over the trees. Carrickfergus SC, on the north side of Belfast Lough, had been forced to cancel their racing, facing the full force of the southerly breeze.

Andrew Vaughan was now the helmsman in his boat – cousin Ross, unable to make it this weekend, had suggested that he headhunt a “top helm” to make sure that their good start in the series was consolidated, but Andrew answered in the best way possible, scoring another 2,3,4 for the day, the same as with Ross at the back of the boat the week before!

15 boats out of the 25 entered for the RS400 Winter Series at Royal North of Ireland YC contested the second Sunday of racing Photo: Calum Dalzell15 boats out of the 25 entered for the RS400 Winter Series at Royal North of Ireland YC contested the second Sunday of racing Photo: Calum Dalzell

Peter Kennedy and Stephen Kane had fared badly last week and decided the answer to an OCS and RET was to cheer themselves up with a new (one-year-old) boat!

Setting a start and first beat was a challenge for any race officer, with Gerry Reid finding a mean direction for both and settling for that; there was a big left shift 30 seconds before the first start with several boats trapped too low and unable to cross the line, leaving Jocelyn Hill and Rowan Berry to tack onto port at the pin and sail into a comfortable lead at the first mark; however they were hunted down by Tom Purdon and Olivia Hayes who found a nice shift and gust down the last run to sneak past them at the last mark and take the first gun, also his maiden win since his first appearance at the RNIYC winter event. Liam Donnelly and Rick McCaig did something they hadn’t managed for many years and rolled in for a swim, nosediving after a gybe into an unyielding wave.

There was controversy at the start of the second with race officer Reid rolling into the 3-minute start sequence – after his capsize, Donnelly was heading up the short last beat when the three sticks appeared, with half of the fleet still catching breath after the first race; again it was Hill who was most alert and took the lead after the start. Kennedy was close behind, and they swapped the lead over the next couple of legs, with Vaughan also getting past Hill on the last downwind after he took a brave foray to the left-hand corner and found a long-lasting gust to move him up to second behind Kennedy.

The last race marked the return of Donnelly – the fleet might have stopped to applaud his perfect port tack start at the pin, as he raced into a big lead up the first beat, only to ruin it by getting his legs tangled in rope on the last tack, getting stuck in irons and letting three boats past. Kennedy was there to capitalize, and he stretched into a safe lead over the next few legs; Purdon was in second to complete an excellent 1,2,6 result for the day.

Three races were completed in tough conditions for competitors and race management alike.

RS400 Winter Series - Daily Results for 12 Nov 2023

RS400 Winter Series - Daily Results for 12 Nov 2023RS400 Winter Series - Daily Results for 12 Nov 2023

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