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In a closely fought series of fleet races, followed by match racing semi-finals and finals, the 31.7 Flying Machine, owned by Conor and Donal O'Gallagher, emerged victorious to claim the Best In The Bay 2011 honours. In second place were the Dragon team of Diva, owned by Richard Goodbody, Rick and Rob Johnson and third place went to the Cruisers 3 team of Supernova, owned by Sybil McCormack, Pat Shannon and Ken Lawless.

The Best In The Bay 2011 took teams from the highest ranked DBSC boats from various keelboat classes in the Dun Laoghaire Regatta and pitted them together to do battle on the ISA Sailfleet J80 for the title of Best In The Bay 2011 with thanks to DBSC, Viking Marine, Redstart Graphics and TotalMedia4u.com.

Representatives from Cruisers 1,2,3 and 5 along with the Sigma 33, SB3, 31.7 and Dragon fleets started with a series of fleet races with no discard to decide the top 4 boats who would enter the match racing phase of the event.
The first race finished Cruisers 3, 31.7, Dragons and SB3 but a 7 by Richard Goodbody (Dragon) and an 8 by Ken Lawless (Cruisers 3) dropped the Dragons out of qualifying positions and allowed in Tim Goodbody of the Sigma fleet. Howard Knott of Cruisers 5 banged in a 3rd to end up one point off qualifying but it was all close racing as 3 points separated the bottom 7 boats. Race 3 saw Tim Goodbody seemingly blowing has chances with an 8 as son Richard hammered back into contention with a bullet. The Supernova entry for Cruisers 3 also seemed to have damaged their chances with a downwind penalty called on them by Chief Umpire Cxema Pico which dropped them to 5th on the race. The 31.7 entry, driven by Martin Mahon, had kept their nose clean and had built a 4 point lead going into the final fleet race.

With 1 race to go, the qualification looked like 31.7s, then followed by Richard Goodbody of the Dragons, John Hall of Cruisers 1 and Phelim O'Connell of Cruisers 2 with Tim Goodbody in last place overall, but he controlled the fleet for the entirety of the final race to reverse his blip with a bullet! Ken Lawless followed in with a 2nd and Richard Goodbody a 3rd and the ever consistent Martin Mahon and his 31.7 crew firing in a 4th.

The final shake up saw the 31.7s leading the fleet series followed by the Dragons with Ken Lawless and Tim Goodbody dragging themselves into the top 4 with Cruisers 1 John Hall only missing out based on the final race result!

The match racing of the top four qualifiers pitted the 31.7s against the Sigmas. Martin Mahon won the first match coming in on starboard and forcing a pre-start penalty on Tim Goodbody but Tim leveled the series in the second match to bring it all down to a decider. Mahon won the 3rd match to progress into the final.

The Dragons were then pitted against Cruisers 3 in the second series. Lawless had Richard Goodbody pinned on the 1st beat but Goodbody squeezed his boat to windward to allow him to escape and lead by a boatlength to the top mark. After that successful downwind defence left Goodbody in pole position to take the first match. In the second match, Lawless had Goodbody seemingly dead and buried but excellent downwind positioning by Goodbody put him back in control at the leeward mark and a 2-0 semi-final victory.

The finalists ramped up their pre-start engagements as Martin Mahon successfully controlled Richard Goodbody into a starboard start. Despite Goodbody's best efforts, the 31.7 team escaped the port layline pin to lead into the top mark and to continue onto to take the first match. The Dragon team proved they could dish it as well as take it forcing the 31.7s into an OCS for the second match which ensured a decider would be required.

The final match saw nip and tuck in the pre-start with Mahon just managing to keep control and lead Goodbody, despite his best efforts to reverse the position and hook Mahon. Half a boat length was the margin at the top mark but superb positioning by Mahon on the downwind leg consolidated his position at the leeward mark which led to an overall 2-1 victory to team 31.7 Flying Machine!

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The Royal Irish Yacht Club is gearing up to host the inaugural Best In The Bay 2011 Shootout this Sunday the 31st July 2011.

The Best In The Bay is a new sailing event designed to take the top helms from the various Dublin Bay Sailing Club keelboat classes and put them and their trimmers and tacticians head to head in the ISA Sailfleet J80 keelboats.
The competitors have been selected based on the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta results, with the highest finishing DBSC boat based on either IRC, scratch or standard ECHO qualifying.

The event structure has two qualification fleet racing flights with the finals then emphasising match racing tactics in a reduced field final.

Notables in the field include Supernova, the boat of the week in the VDLR, competing against White Mischief, the VDLR one design boat of the week as well as J109, Cruisers 1, SB3, Dragon and other Cruiser fleet representatives.
The sailing will be kept close inshore to entertain the Bank Holiday crowds in Dun Laoghaire and will feature on the water judges for instant penalties and short match racing style courses for maximum tactical opportunities.

The Best In The Bay is modelled on the successful formula already used in the ISA All-Ireland Helmsman Championship and the King of Cowes event to bring the top helms from differing classes that would not normally compete against each other into an event on one design boats for a head to head challenge.

For further information, please contact Mark McGibney, Sailing Manager, Royal Irish Yacht Club, 087 9481707, mark@riyc.ie
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