Greg O'Brien and Blair Stanway from Sutton SC have won the RS400 Irish nationals

The first Irish national championship for RS400s was held at Greystones Sailing Club on 28-29 September and despite a gloomy weather forecast several UK crews made the trip to join the growing Irish fleet.

In a fresh breeze, Mark Needler/Gerard Barron were first to the windward mark in the first race followed by Mark Reddington/Colin Staite. By the leeward mark, Reddington had got through, but by the top mark on the second lap had lost out to Needler and Greg O’Brien/Blair Stanway. Reddington again had good downwind speed and had passed both boats and held on until a mistake let Needler through to win with O’Brien third.

The second race was almost a carbon copy of the first except Chris Bailey and his brother Matt entered the fray taking the lead from Reddington (who went swimming) on the last leg, with O’Brien taking second and Needler third.

The third race was held in an increasing wind and sea state, which for the lighter crews was beginning to hurt! Greg O’Brien made this race his, but once again the racing was very close with passes being made on every lap. The Bailey brothers continued their form and finished second with Needler in third again.

If the crews thought they had seen the worst of the wind they were mistaken and it blew harder again for the fourth race. The local boats, Roy van Maanen/Fiacrhra Ettchingham and Richard Moran/Heather King, featured in the results and coped ably with the conditions despite a lack of time in the boats. The race was won by O’Brien followed by Needler with van Maanen third and Moran forth. The race officer then decided that enough was enough and everybody retreated to the pub.

With the forecaster talking of the imminent arrival of a 50-60 knot breeze it was decided to try and run three races early on Sunday morning. Typically the breeze for the first start barely filled the spinnakers on the sail out, despite a large sea running. Battle was joined again between the boats of O’Brien, Bailey and Needler, but by the time the breeze filled in on the last lap Needler had come out in front to win followed by O’Brien and van Maanen.

The predicted wind started to materialise for the second race and once again close racing was the order of the day. By the last lap the Bailey boys were in front with O’Brien and Needler breathing down their neck. Unfortunately for them a mistake let both boats through, with van Maanen fourth.

Overall Results

1st Greg O’Brien/Blair Stanway, Sutton SC

2nd Mark Needler/Gerard Barron, Bartley SC

3rd Chris/Matt Bailey, Bartley SC

4th Roy van Maanen/Fiacrhra Ettchingham, Greystones SC

5th Mark Reddington/Colin Staite, Bartley SC

6th Richard Moran/Heather King, Greystones SC