Sunday last was the first race in the Coleraine Yacht Club Winter Series race on the River Bann.
Fleet launching for the 1430 hours start included Lasers Toppers R S Fevas and one of the Clubs new RS Visions. The Vision is being demonstrated over the next two weeks by Brian Holmes and Jonny Campbell.
Today Jonny is in charge on the helm. Jonny and Brian are R S 400 sailors and have just come from a third position from Royal Norths R S 400 Winter series; a great result considering that some of the Irish top R S 400 sailors are competing there.
When the start gun went the Lasers of Alan McCann, Bruce McFarlane and Ivor Paul were first away on starboard at the pin end of the line with other Laser sailors including Duncan Chapman and James Campbell getting it all wrong at the committee end.
It was a long beat against the fast flowing current to the windward mark with McFarlane rounding first followed by McCann. The Vision with Campbell and Holmes rounded third as the fleet headed for the gybe mark.
Campbell and Holmes in the Vision were having trouble holding their spinnaker and appeared to totally ignore the gybe mark but on the run were soon reminded by a hail from McFarlane who sounded to have just a little too much glee in his voice.
Once rounding was complete the spinnaker on the Vision went up once again and on the run they started to pick off the tail enders.
The Toppers in the junior fleet were having difficulties in the strong current but the best of these was T C Baxter who is quickly proving himself as the top junior in the Club and the man to beat on race day.
The increasing wind meant mayhem for some sailors on the downwind legs with spectacular capsizes from Duncan Chapman and Ivor Paul, Paul retiring soon after.
James Campbell in a Laser who had started last, launching late and almost failing to make the line on time moved slowly through the fleet and his cautionary downwind approach was paying dividends.
On the third leg he overtook the Vision of Jonny Campbell and Brian Holmes to move into third place behind Alan McCann with Bruce McFarlane still well ahead in first place.
A tacking duel ensued on the last beat between Campbell and McCann and in the now force 5 winds Campbell’s youth prevailed and he caught Alan but although the gap was closing with McFarlane the veteran intrepid sailor kept first place by a margin.
1st Bruce McFarlane Laser
2nd James Campbell Laser
3rd Jonny Campbell and Brian Holmes RS Vision
1st T. C. Baxter Topper