Subaru Flying Fifteen World Championship 2019 in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland
6 - 13 September, 2019
Graham Vials and Chris Turner are the 2019 Flying Fifteen World Champions
Graham Vials and Chris Turner of Derwent Reservoir SC sealed world title number four in a fitting way by doing a horizon job on the fleet on the final day of the Subaru Flying Fifteen World Championship at Dun Laoghaire. The breeze was so light they literally had to drift across the finish line in a shortened 2 lap windward/leeward course.
The 72 boat fleet headed out for one final race in hazy sunshine and a light breeze that was always predicted to drop by lunchtime. Despite a few nervous last minute shifts racing got underway shortly after 1100 hrs in a very light 5 - 7 knot North Westerly.
The breeze ebbed and flowed in patches providing a real test of nerves for sailors trying to decide which side of the course to choose. As is now customary, Graham Vials and Chris Turner just coasted up the middle of the course playing the shifts to perfection.
They rounded the weather mark in fourth just behind some new faces amongst the leaders. David Heron and Chris Ducker (Royal Windermere YC) led the fleet from South African’s Campbell Alexander and Dave Herridge and Australia’s Chris Villa and Mark Holmes. The run was particularly slow and painful but Vials and Turner just floated off into the distance pulling away from the mixed crew of Justin Waples and Jackie McKellar who were proving that their 3rd yesterday was no fluke.
As the lead bunch crossed gybes trying to sniff out the breeze the world champions elect were rounding the gate for a shortened beat for the second and last time. Whilst the British crew sailed off into the hazy sunshine places 2 to 5 were still very much up for grabs. The second run was reduced to an absolute crawl in barely 2 - 3 knots of fickle breeze.
As Vials and Turner turned for home at the gate the majority of the fleet were crawling down the run with limp spinnakers. They had to tack several times to drift across the finish line to claim their 4th world title sailing as a team in their newly named boat ‘Floaty McFloat Face’.
At one point it looked like the extended time limit of 30 minutes might cancel out a vast majority of the fleet but in the scramble to get across the finish line Justin Waples / Jackie McKellar drifted across to finish second. Third place was decided on the line when John Hassen and Kevin Griffiths of South of Perth YC had to give way to fellow Australians Chris Vila and Mark Holmes on the line. Fifth boat to cross was another Australian crew Mike Hart and Dean McAullay (RFBYC).
A number of the overall regatta leaders trailed in quite deep, Andy Mckee and Richard Jones (Dovestone SC) finished in 18th to claim second place overall and Richard Lovering and Matt Alvarado (Hayling Is SC) 12th to settle for third overall.
Australia’s Mike Hart and Dean McAullay finished 4th overall splitting up the dominance of the British fleet. South Africans Campbell Alexander and Dave Herridge finished the last race in 9th to claim 15th overall, a good effort in this highly competitive fleet. Andy and Rory Martin became top Irish boat in 17th just ahead of the New Zealand crew, Hayden Percy and Scott Pedersen.
First of the Classic boat division is the oldest boat in the fleet GBR250 ‘Fighting Fit’ sailed by Nick Heath and Pip Chapman from Cam Sailing Club.
Graham Vials & Chris Turner - winners:
“We had our ups and downs during the week but we have come away with the win which is fantastic. This has been the hardest title to win, Andy and Richard and Richy and Matt have been so consistent and we used up our discard with two days to go, so it has been pretty hard. It is really hard to be consistent in a fleet as competitive as this. It is good for the fleet as a whole.”
Chris on the name of the boat:
“All of our previous boats names have been a little bit risky shall we say and the urban dictionary didn’t have much left in the ‘F’s) so my kids actually came up with the name ‘Floaty McFloat Face’.
Andy McKee & Richard Jones - second overall:
“Our performance this week has been incredibly consistent which has been the story of our season, Chris and Graham put together a really good series and we just didn’t have the cutting edge to challenge them in the end but we are really pleased to come second overall. It has been really challenging conditions out there you can see from the high scores.”
Richard Lovering and Matt Alvarado - third overall:
“It has been a fantastic week here sailing in Dublin Bay, we are delighted to come away with third position overall. We are very pleased, this is our Olympics, this is the second World Champs we have done and we only get to do it every 4 years. For the most part the racing has been just awesome. We have had plenty of breeze, lots of ups and downs, shifts and the race officer has done a brilliant job. We are super happy and we will have a few beers tonight.”
Top 6 Overall of 72 boats:
1 GBR4071 Floaty McFloat Face - Graham Vials / Chris Turner - 20.8 pts
2 GBR4005 Fiery Chariot - Andy McKee / Richard Jones - 38 pts
3 GBR4002 Hyderated - Richard Lovering / Matt Alvarado - 47 pts
4 AUS4063 Firefly - Mike Hart / Dean McAullay - 52 pts
5 GBR4070 Ovington Boats - Nathan Batchelor / Ricky Rigg - 59 pts
6 GBR3760 no name - Jeremy Davy / Martin Huett - 77 pts
7 GBR4030 Aatha - Greg Wells / Andrew Jameson - 77 pts
8 GBR3957 Fourwinds - Charles Apthorp / Alan Green - 80 pts
9 GBR4059 Puffa Fish - Hamish Mackay / Andrew Lawson - 92 pts
10 GR4065 Pondskater - David McKee / Mal Hartland - 95 pts
For results and more info visit the regatta website:
by Jonny Fullerton of Regatta Services