Conditions continue to be difficult for Coleraine Yacht Club racing as they take to the water again on Sunday afternoons.
Some of the sailors have returned to Belfast Lough for the various winter championships which have restarted.
In particular Brian Holmes, the Club Vice Commodore, started his campaign at Royal North in the RS 400 series having finished a creditable third in the pre-Christmas championship. Bruce and David McFarlane continue to race the Clubs RS Vision which they are evidently enjoying. Five Lasers also lined up with three Toppers and a Laser 4.7 sailed by juniors.
As the starting gun went James Campbell in a Laser was best placed near the line but was quickly overtaken by Shane Phillips who had a perfectly timed running start. These two battled up the beat with Phillips gaining the upper hand as they approached the windward mark. However both lost out to the McFarlane boys in the Vision. Duncan Chapman was a close fourth followed by the Topper of Jonny Campbell.
The best of the Juniors was Patrick White in a Topper followed by Michael Simpson in a Laser 4.7 and Jack Culbertson in a Topper.
After the mark the Vision’s spinnaker went up and the gap widened between the McFarlanes and the body of the fleet. Shane Phillips broke away from the rest of the Lasers and was second round the gybe mark appearing to catch up the Vision for a while but he in turn was being caught by Campbell in the Laser. The Vision rounded the windward mark on the second leg ahead by three boat lengths and there was little between the three Lasers of Campbell Chapman and Phillips. Wind had gone ominously light on the run and the McFarlanes found it difficult to carry the spinnaker on this very broad reach but were still ahead as the gybe mark was rounded with James Campbell second Duncan Chapman third and Sane Philips fourth. There was little between the Lasers as they swopped places on each tack of the windward leg.
At the windward mark on the third leg the order was McFarlanes Phillips Campbell and Chapman . The junior fleet was lead by Patrick White who was sailing a superb race. The most improved sailor out today was certainly Shane Phillips who was looking very comfortable in his new Laser. Last year Shane would not have been in the leading bunch but now is right in there with them.
The skies turned black as a line squall came in from the North. Bruce and David McFarlane managed to round the gybe mark before the worst of the squall hit. Campbell following took off on a very broad reach and suffered a spectacular capsize the other Lasers of Phillips and Chapman having already gone over. A quick recovery by Campbell assured his second position. Duncan however failed to round the gybe mark and Shane was therefore third .
These positions held on the last run and beat. All other competitors who had struggled bravely in these most difficult of conditions failed to finish when the breeze dropped to nothing and the race time limit expired.
Patrick White was awarded first Junior as the special rules permit. He had sailed a great race and thoroughly deserved his place.
The CYC junior Topper fleet will be travelling to the two Pathway Race Training sessions run by Royal Yachting Association in April. It is hoped to get CYC top young sailors to these events where the fleets of up to seventy boats compete for places on the various Ulster squads.
1st Bruce and David McFarlane RS Vision
2nd James Campbell Laser
3rd Shane Phillips Laser
1st Patrick White Topper