Winter Series at Coleraine Yacht Club

Yachts on the River Bann at the start of the 24 hour yacht race at Coleraine Yacht Club on Saturday. INCR26-412PL
Yachts on the River Bann at the start of the 24 hour yacht race at Coleraine Yacht Club on Saturday. INCR26-412PL

Sunday saw unpredictable strong winds on the river and some sailors decided not to brave the tricky conditions thus reducing the fleet to nine boats.

A notable absence was Russell Yates who has had two firsts in the winter series and has crept up the fleet to the front during the first few weeks. Bruce McFarlane who has dominated Coleraine Dinghy racing during the season was on the starting line guaranteeing good close quarters racing.

On the starting gun it was John Herbert who shot through into the lead followed by Duncan Chapman Bruce McFarlane and Lough Foyle Yacht Club sailor Anthony Hutton. The RS Feva of Oonagh Jordon and Josh Weisman followed.

On the close reach to the first mark on the course a strong gust hit the fleet and John Herbert was not quick enough to react and suffered a spectacular capsize. By the time he had righted the boat he was well down the fleet.

Duncan Chapman took over the lead followed by Jonny Campbell. Jonny who normally crews for Brian Holmes in the Royal North RS 400 fleet certainly has been putting his time on Belfast Lough into good use as his handling of the Laser in these difficult conditions showed markable improvement. Shane Phillips in his new Laser Standard although down the fleet has developed better control and will soon be up with the big boys if he continues to develop.

A strong current was running on the river which added to the difficulty and in the very gusty conditions several boats capsized and the lead changed several times.

The heavier sailors found life a little easier but light airs sailors like Duncan must react faster to the gusts to be able to sail a proper course without allowing the boat to screw up into the wind and stop.

Bruce McFarlane took the lead but Herbert worked his way through the fleet to gain the lead with Jonny Campbell and Bruce McFarlane having a battle for second place.

At the finish John Herbert took the gun in first place followed by Bruce McFarlane with Jonny Campbell in a well deserved third place.

Results: 1st John Herbert Laser; 2nd Bruce McFarlane Laser; 3rdJonny Campbell Laser