Sailors out in force for the return to Narrows

Sailors out in force for the return to Narrows

14 July 2021

AFTER a year in abeyance, the Narrows were ablaze with colour again this weekend as competitors lined up for the famous Bar Buoy Race, the opening night of the Narrows Regattas Series.

The series itself is run and managed by the combined efforts of both Strangford Sailing Club and Portaferry Sailing Club and this year the event was supported by The Hole in the Wall, Strangford, who sponsored the Bar Buoy Race, and Freeman’s Fuels, who sponsored the subsequent Narrow Series. 

Fortune favoured the brave at the Bar with a standing swell making conditions challenging for the competitors, but it was nothing that Scottish visitor Animal couldn’t handle as she romped home in first place showing the locals how it is done.

A similar picture occurred in NHC2 where Shiggi Shiggi, under Paul McMahon from Howth, also picked up a first place.   

In the highly competitive Flying 15 class, a close finish set the tone for the weekend for the Portaferry team of Shane McCarthy and Jeremy Rodgers with a win the Bar Buoy race the precursor to winning the Narrows series overall.

Similarly in NHC restricted sail 2, Don Bridges’ Nirvana of Rhu took the first of the four first places they achieved in the series — a perfect score for all concerned.   

Saturday morning opened with very light winds, to the consternation of race officers Gerry Reilly (SSC) and John McAlea (PSC), but luckily, as the forecaster predicted, a steady breeze soon filled in and over 100 yachts took part in Strangford Sailing Club’s 75th anniversary regatta.

Stepping up for Portaferry was Brian Bailie who was not Taking it Easy when he won the Flying 15 class, while Paul Savage did sail a Scorcher winning the NHC1 class by over 5 minutes.

The highly respected Harold Curran in Yabba Dabba Doo also grabbed one for the home team as he won the restricted sail class, beating Ryan Kelly in Scampalong by only 24 seconds. It was an Impala one-two for EDYC, however, as Peter Thompson’s Alcyone beat club mate Stephen Lynn in Mipaal to take the podium spot.   

After two days at Strangford, it was Portaferry’s turn to run the next two days’ racing, and what a difference a day makes as Sunday opened with much stronger winds and some challenging gusts.

In NHC2, Billy White’s Shanty took the honours for the home club, helmed by his grandson, Brady Kelly, for the day.

Consistency in the River and Glen classes saw the prizes going to Kenny Smith in Laragh and Mike Stephens in Glenoe 

respectively, while SLYC club mate Stephen Andrews picked up the honours in NHC1 in Scary Bird.   

With all to play for in many classes, a consistent 100 competitors turned up to finish the event on a glorious Monday, with wall to wall sunshine and a light breeze.

In NHC2 the SLYC Sonatas became highly competitive, with three over the line at the start and only Jack Kennedy in Meltemi making the difficult decision to retake the line.

Meanwhile in the big IRC1 class, Animal ensured her visit was worthwhile, powering home to take the race and the series in commanding style.  

In NHC1, the Dark and Stormy Syndicate’s Elan 37 added a first to her two seconds, picking up the series win, with David Kelly Snr’s newly returned and refurbished Fantan grabbing second, much to local delight.

In the NHC1 restricted sail class, Self Expression was on a mission and claimed a first, and the series, ahead of Stephen Andrews’ Scary Bird, with the second Kelly flagship, Scampalong, in third.

A shock result in the River class had Enler, under Graham Smith snatch a first from brother Kenny in Laragh, but Laragh still claimed the overall prize.

The Glen class had a similar upheaval with Richard Aitken’s Glen Lark taking pole position, but again it was not enough to take the series away from Mike Stephens in Glenoe. 

While all the large yachts were racing on the lough, Castleward Bay played host to four days of dinghy sailing under the direction of Jane McMeekin and John and William Findlay.

Over 30 dinghies turned up overall to compete, making the sailors on the main course look placid on occasions as the race officer dealt with recalls and protests abounding in the 10 race series in the bay.

In the RS400 class, SSC commodore William Findlay and little brother Connor romped ahead of Paul McMeekin and Torren Stock to take a first overall, while in the Laser Radial class, consistency was the order of the day, taking Colin Crichton into first overall, ahead of Evie McLaughlin and Olivia Mooney.

Finally, in the highly popular Topper class, SLYC’s Bobby Driscoll showed he was a chip off the old block, taking a first place from club mate Autumn Halliday, with EDYC’s Sam Kelly in third.  

The next regatta in the SLRC calendar is this Saturday at Killyleagh Yacht Club.



Bar Buoy Race

IRC1: 1 Animal, Kevin Atiken, 2 Le Basculer, Mike Spence, 3 Hijacker, Stuart Cranston.

IRC2: 1 Mipaal, Stephen Lynn, 2 Alcyone, Thompson/Watson, 3 Romper, Margie Crawford.

NHC1: 1 Scorcher, Paul Savage, 2 Adelante, Dark and Stormy Syndicate, 3 Cascade, Harte & Orr.

NHC2: 1. Shiggi Shiggi, Paul McKenna.

Flying 15:  1 Final Fling, McCarthy/Rodgers, 2. Ffast Antic, McCleery/Dougan, 3 Fer Fox Sake, Baker & Chamberlain.

NHCRS1: 1 Self Expression, Ramsey/Findlay, 2 Apache, Jonathan Gifford, 3 Scary Bird, Stephen Andrews.

NHCRS2: 1 Nirvana of Rhu, Don Bridges, 2 Tarka, G & G Baker, 3 Casulen, Charles Slevin.

River:  1 Laragh, Kenny Smith, 2 Roe, Hicks/Irwin, 3 Glynn, Faulkner, Cooke, Stephens and Linford.

Glen: 1 Glenoe, Mike Stephens, 2 Glenann, Anstey/Cooke/Clinch, 3 Glen Elg, Patrick Storey. 

Narrow Series

IRC1: 1 Animal, Kevin Atiken, 2 Hijacker, Stuart Cranston, 3 Le Basculer, Mike Spence.

IRC2: 1 Alcyone, Thompson/Watson, 2 Mipaal, Stephen Lynn, 3 Apache, Jonathan Gifford.

NHC1: 1 Adelante, Dark & Stormy Syndicate, 2 Magdaleyne, M Petticrew, 3 Soma, Sinead Byrne.

NHC2: 1 Shiggi Shiggi, Paul McKenna, 2 Shanty, Billy White, 3 Mr McGregor, Niall Eames.

Flying 15:  1 Final Fling, McCarthy/Rodgers, 2 Fer Fox Sake, Baker & Chamberlain, 3 Taking it Easy, Brian Bailie.

NHCRS1: 1 Self Expression, Ramsey/Findlay, 2 Scary Bird, Stephen Andrews, 3 Scampalong, Ryan Kelly.

NHCRS2: 1 Nirvana of Rhu, Don Bridges, 2. Sea Borne, Robert Dow, 3. Tarka, G & G Baker.

River: 1 Laragh, Kenny Smith, 2 Enler, G&C Smith, 3 Lackagh, J Andrews.

Glen: 1 Glenoe, Mike Stephens, 2 Glen Orchy, P & J Martin, 3 Glen Shiel, Ian Gleadhill.