The Annual Student Yachting Worlds, sailed in performance keelboats each Autumn in France, has seen Irish overall success in times past, a noted international varsity star being Nicholas “Nin” O’Leary during his college days in Cork writes WM Nixon
But as it is raced in keelboats – in November 2016 at La Rochelle they sailed the Grand Surprise 31 – the selection trials in Ireland are staged as a separate event from the Irish Intervarsity Nationals, which are raced in dinghies (usually Fireflies), with 2017’s already staged in mid-March in Clifden in Connemara, and Trinity College Dublin, captain by Richard Roberts from Cork, winning overall.
However, with keelboat skills required for the Student Yachting Worlds, their 2017 selection will emerge from a series to be sailed this weekend in the Howth YC’s Club Flotilla of J/80s.
The format of the SYW is based on each nation being represented by its top-performing college, rather than by a national squad selected from the best-of-the-best in each crew, so the Selection Trials are one hotly contested inter-varsity event.
Last year in France at La Rochelle, there was unprecedented Trantlantic domination, with the Canadian team winning overall from the USA’s California Maritime Academy by one point. Southampton University (England) was best of the Europeans, with Ireland represented by Cork Institute of Technology taking fourth after a series in which at one stage they’d been very well in the frame.
Cork Institute of Technology take this World Series very seriously indeed, so they’ve two teams entered for this weekend’s selectors, CIT 1 captained by Jay Stacy, and CIT 2 headed by Ewan O’Keeffe. The “local varsity”, Dublin City University from just up the road, is also in the mix, skippered by Colm Roche.
The eight contenders are completed by University of Limerick (captain Chris McDaid), Queens University Belfast (Jocelyn Hill), University College Dublin 1 (William Byrne), NUI Galway (Sean Mahon) and Trinity College Dublin 1 (Rory McStay)
Six relatively light wind races completed at Howth Yacht Club gave Charles Dwyer and his crew Nin O'Leary and Richie the overall win of the inaugural six–boat National 18s Eastern Championships in Dwyer's new boat.
A tie break behind them saw Tommy Dwyer, Peter O'Donovan and Charlie Moloney take second with Colin Chapman, Morgan O'Sullivan and Ronan Walsh taking third.
The National 18s continue racing in Cork Harbour with Wednesday leagues already in operation and Saturday racing beginning at the start of May.
Sixteen SB20s battled it out off Ireland’s Eye last weekend in a hotly contested Eastern Championships. With 0-6 knots winds forecast for the weekend, PRO Paddy Judge and his Howth YC team did an excellent job getting six fair, high quality races completed over the two days.
Race 1 on Saturday saw the fleet head off from a in a patchy 6 knot easterly breeze. The holes were treacherous and highly localised and if you were unfortunate enough to find one, you could easily lose several boat lengths on a competitor mere boat lengths away from you. The boats that tacked off early and headed towards the island on the right hand side of the course fared best with Sacre Bleu (Colin Galavan, Chris Arrowsmith and Dave Cahill) rounding just ahead of Ridgefence (Peter Kennedy, James Espey and Steve Kane) and Sin Bin (Michael O’Connor, Owen Laverty and Ed Cooke) in a close third. Finding clear air and picking the right shifts and puffs downwind were of paramount importance and Ridgefence and Sacre Bleu called it to perfection extending their lead over the fleet down the run. Also making a charge to the front were the teams aboard Sharkbait (Darren Martin, Simon Murray, Roger Pannell) and Alert Packaging (Justin Burke, Henrik Olerund and Gareth Nolan). At the finish, Ridgefence had managed to overtake Sacre Bleu with Sharkbait completing the podium places.
With a dying wind forecast, PRO Paddy Judge very wisely chose to keep things moving along swiftly and once all the fleet had finished, the marks were re-laid and the fleet were quickly back into a starting sequence for Race 2. Defending champion Lia (Dave Barry, Phil Lawton and Kevin Johnson) stole the biased pin end and tore away from the line like a scalded cat. However, with the wind forecast to veer all day and the right side of the course being favoured up to that point, there were soon anxious glances over their shoulders looking for an opportunity to get back across to the right and consolidate their lead on the fleet. By the time that they did manage to get across, things had evened out somewhat and there was the usual melee at the windward mark with no quarter asked or given. Again, the ability to find clear air and pick the right shifts and laylines downwind resulted in large gains and Alert Packaging picked their way down the run beautifully to lead at the leeward mark from an overlapped Sin Bin and Ridgefence. The three lead boats battled it out over the next lap and at the finish it was Sin Bin in first from Ridgefence in second and Alert Packaging in third.
After a short break, the race team decided to get Race 3 off and running. Sacre Bleu showed a return to form and stormed into a healthy lead that they would not relinquish. Alert Packaging were relishing the light air conditions and added a solid second place to their already impressive 4, 3 scoreline from races one and two. Meanwhile, Bango (James Gorman, Isaac Mccarthy Fisher and Gleb Romantchik) with a new crew on board for the first event of the season seemed to have got the hang of things sailing together and sailed exquisitely to grab a very creditable third place, showing their nerve to keep the chasing pack at bay up the last short beat to finish.
At the end of day 1, the boats returned to shore mentally exhausted for the second half of the Munster match, pints and chats in the bar of the always hospitable Howth Yacht Club. It was very tight at the top of the scoreboard with Sacre Bleu (2,5,1) on 8 points leading from Alert Packaging in second (4,3,2) on 9 points. Ridgefence (1,2,8) and Sin Bin (6,1,4) were a further two points back on 11 points, with Sharkbait (3,4,6) on 13 points in fifth with a 7 point cushion on defending champion Lia (5,6,9) on 20 points in sixth. With more breeze forecast on Sunday and a discard to kick in after race 4, it was all still to play for on day 2.
Day 2 dawned without a zephyr showing on the water. With the forecast being for the wind to veer and build, the race committee signalled a brief postponement on shore and patiently waited for the wind to fill in. The wind (what little of it there was) shifted around from the north west to the east and began to build as promised so the race committee dropped the AP and made their way out to the race course in a 5 knot easterly. The course for Race 4 was set and the fleet were in sequence until a large right hand shift 1 minute before the start meant that the race committee abandoned the start sequence and again signalled a short postponement to allow them time to reset the marks and provide an even course. Once the course was re-laid, the fleet got away and again it was Colin Galavan and his crew on Sacre Bleu that showed a clean pair of heels to the fleet, taking their second gun of the weekend. This time, it was Darren Martin et al on Sharkbait doing the chasing on behalf of the pack with Michael O’Connor et al on Sin Bin taking third. Peter Kennedy and the team on Ridgefence were most unfortunate to be involved in a collision at the first top mark which threw them somewhat and they could only manage ninth in race 4. After the discard was applied, the team on Sacre Bleu were on an impressive 4 points overall (counting a 1,1,2) and had extended their lead to four points over Sin Bin and five points over Alert Packaging and Sharkbait.
As always in SB20 racing, you can’t count your chickens and Race 5 threw in a curve ball to make for a spectacular interesting finale. Race 5 got off at the second time of asking under U-flag and saw Timber (Marty Cuppage, David Bailey and Chris Chapman) boss the pin end of the line before making their way out to the better breeze on the left side of the course followed closely by Sin Bin on their hip. Series leader Sacre Bleu were for the first time a little line shy and were forced to tack onto port shortly after the start and head out to the less favoured right hand side of the course. At the weather mark, Timber led from Sin Bin with Sharkbait in a close third. One by one, the boats gradually peeled off onto port gybe to get out of the adverse current on the right hand side of the run. At the leeward mark, the three lead boats converged with Timber and Sharkbait coming in on starboard gybe and Sin Bin coming in on port gybe. All three of the lead boats rounded together with Timber on the inside, Sin Bin on the outside and Sharkbait the filling in the sandwich. The three lead boats battled hard around the next lap and in the end it was Sin Bin that took the gun from Sharkbait with Timber just pipped for third place by a charging Ridgefence. Another notable result was the newly formed team on Binn Eadair (Cillian Dickson, Diana Kissane, Sam O’Byrne and Gordon Stirling) bagging a fifth place in Race 5. They certainly didn’t take long to get the hang of things!
So, after five races and going into the sixth and final race, Sacre Bleu and Sin Bin were tied on 9 points with Sharkbait in third on 11 points and Ridgefence by no means out of it on 14 points. Any of these four boats had a realistic shot at the title and it was all to play for. By now, the breeze had increased to an oscillating 10 knot breeze from the south east. Again, there was a pin end bias on the line and with a favourable tide (going upwind) and more breeze on the left side of the course, competition for a place on the front row was vicious. Timber once again took the pin with Ridgefence drag racing with them up the beat, with Ridgefence leading Timber around the top mark. Race six also saw a welcome return to form of 2016 Western Champions Venuesworld.com (Ger Dempsey, Chris Nolan, Rory Groves and Graham Barker) and recent Spring Warmer victors Two Men and their Monkey (Daragh Sheridan, Shane Murphy and John Phelan), both boats picking their way skilfully up the beat to be in contention at the weather mark.
As Ridgefence extended their lead all the way to the finish for their second win of the regatta, followed by Two Men and their Monkey in second and Venuesworld.com in third, there was nothing more that Ridgefence could do other than see how the other three contenders behind them fared and see how the final points tallied up. Astern, the other three contenders for the title were in a tightly knit bunch. Going up the first half of the final beat, as the boats crossed tacks there was no more than three boat lengths separating Sacre Bleu, Sin Bin and Sharkbait, with Sharkbait leading the bunch and Sacre Bleu battling at the back of the trio. On the second half of the beat, both Sacre Bleu and Sharkbait tacked towards the right hand side of the course while Sin Bin split looking for pressure on the left hand side of the course. The pressure stayed steadier on the left and Sin Bin rounded the last weather mark in 5th one place and a few boat lengths ahead of Sharkbait with Sacrebleu a few places further back. Unfortunately for Sacre Bleu, they couldn’t make up the ground on the run and their race was effectively run. It was down to Sharkbait and Sin Bin to fight it out around the last few hundred metres. By the leeward mark, both boats had caught up with Timber (who were previously in fourth) so there was still hope for Sharkbait of putting Timber between them and Sin Bin in an effort to clinch the series. In the end, Sin Bin just held on to take fourth from Sharkbait in fifth, with Sacre Bleu finishing race 6 in eighth.
Overall, Sin Bin won the Eastern Championships with 13 points from Ridgefence in second on 15 points. Sacre Bleu took third place on countback from Sharkbait, both on 16 points. The winner of the Silver fleet was Timber. Next up is the Northern Championships in the Royal Ulster Yacht Club, Bangor on 27th/28th May.
SB20 Eastern Championship 2017
Howth Yacht Club
Provisional Results as of 15:05 on April 23, 2017
Sailed: 6, Discards: 1, To count: 5, Rating system: TCF, Entries: 16, Scoring system: Appendix A
|1||Sin Bin||Michael O'Connor||RStGYC||(6.0)||1.0||4.0||3.0||1.0||4.0||19.0||13.0|
|4||Shark Bait||Darren Martin||Strangford Lough YC||3.0||4.0||(6.0)||2.0||2.0||5.0||22.0||16.0|
|5||Alert Packaging||Justin Burke||NYC||4.0||3.0||2.0||7.0||11.0||(12.0)||39.0||27.0|
|7||Two Men & their Monkey||Daragh Sheridan||HYC||(10.0)||9.0||5.0||10.0||6.0||2.0||42.0||32.0|
|9||Timber||Marty Cuppage||RStGYC||12.0||7.0||10.0||(17.0 DNF)||4.0||6.0||56.0||39.0|
|10||Binn Eadair||Cillian Dickson||HYC||(13.0)||11.0||12.0||8.0||5.0||9.0||58.0||45.0|
|11||Monkey||Keith Cassidy||HYC||7.0||(17.0 OCS)||11.0||13.0||8.0||13.0||69.0||52.0|
|12||Scorpio Beag||Dominic O'Connell||14.0||(17.0 OCS)||14.0||6.0||9.0||10.0||70.0||53.0|
|14||Bango||James Gorman||NYC||11.0||12.0||3.0||(17.0 DNF)||17.0 DNF||17.0 DNC||77.0||60.0|
|15||Sunday Brunch||David Dwyer||RStGYC||15.0||10.0||(17.0 DNF)||11.0||17.0 DSQ||11.0||81.0||64.0|
|16||Defiant||Gerard Jones||NYC||16.0||14.0||15.0||(17.0 DNF)||14.0||14.0||90.0||73.0|
Racing at least once a year round the beautiful and unspoilt island of Lambay seven miles north of Howth has been part of the Howth Yacht Club DNA for so long that nobody is 100% certain when this intriguing sporting challenge was first introduced writes W M Nixon.
We know for sure that a cup for the race was first put up in 1899 in the early days of Howth SC, which had been founded in 1895. But it seems the earliest record of results of a race taking place date from 1904. However, there could well have been earlier stagings of it, but as Howth’s sailing functioned in a very laid back and often un-reported style as a contrast to the formality of Dublin Bay’s newspaper-highlighted grand manner of yachting, it’s possible a Lambay Race happened pre-1904.
Whatever, we know for sure that by 1921 it was a cherished part of the annual calendar, as noted by noted cruiser-racer enthusiast Pat Walsh, who wrote enthusiastically for a sailing journal about the race and his participation in it, with a second place gained in that year’s race.
The Lambay Race has definitely been scheduled every year since, and numbers have waxed and waned and waxed again. For 2017, this classic event is receiving a major boost with sponsorship from the Michael J Wright Hospitality Group, which owns and operates renowned establishments which make Howth such a magnet for discerning visitors.
With a return to what used to be a weekend-long event, this year's HYC annual summertime keelboat regatta has been re-formatted to celebrate the traditional weekend that was the Lambay Races & Howth Regatta. The return to a historical format on the June bank holiday weekend (3rd to 5th June 2017) includes racing around Ireland's Eye on Friday night followed by the traditional Lambay Races on Saturday and a cruise-in-company/family day on Sunday.
While the emphasis is on fun sailing, Howth’s on-water racing administration is of international standard. So those who go to the Lambay Weekend for the hottest competition will be well catered for, but so too will other sailors intent mainly on pleasure afloat. As for pleasure ashore, with the Wright Group feeding in its welcome presence (which now includes the new Thai restaurant, Diep, in the group’s flagship pub Findlater’s) the après sailing buzz will be world class.
Afloat, competing classes will be divided into three fleets each with their own race management team. The large offshore fleet will comprise of five 'cruiser classes' along with the Shipman Class, while the inshore fleet includes One-Design fleets such as J80s, Ruffians, E-Boats, Puppeteers and the Squibs. Consolidating the theme of returning to the historical 'weekend' regatta, Howth's indigenous class, the Howth Seventeens will join the 'Classic Classes', starting and finishing off the East Pier. This will be the third year that visiting classic boats will join the event.
The short race on the Friday evening will conclude with a prize-giving in the clubhouse along with a reception for those visitors sailing from further afield and planning to race (or cruise) the following day and on Sunday.
The Lambay Races on Saturday provide a unique opportunity and challenge for racing teams to compete in what might at first glance appear to be a relatively straightforward windward-leeward race, but encompassing a variety of extras including coastal navigation, tidal considerations, shoreline rock-hopping and sailing in a variety of weather conditions on the different points of the course.
Speaking at the launch of the sponsorship announcement, HYC Commodore Joe McPeake said: 'The club is delighted to have the partnership with Michael and his team, and there is no doubt that the involvement of the Michael J Wright Hospitality Group will add a significant extra dimension to this ever-popular regatta.'
The club is encouraging everyone to get afloat that weekend - racing or not, there will be something for members and visitors of all ages to enjoy. A massive entertainment and hospitality programme is being assembled and it will include an event reception on Friday evening, live bands after racing on Saturday with themed bars and 'Diep' catering providing a lively party through to prizegiving and after the Lambay Dinner, more live music and dance into the small hours.
Sunday's cruise around Ireland's Eye and a family day ashore will no doubt be aided by the 'lay-day' that the Bank Holiday Monday will provide. And every boat that enters the Regatta also gets a €50 voucher for the newly-opened Diep restaurant, which makes the Lambay Weekend 2017 unique. Enter online here
As Afloat.ie previously reported, the National 18s, the RS400 and RS200 fleets will share the limelight off Ireland's Eye. The SB20s and N18s will race on one course and the RS400 and RS200s on another.
Back from the Vendee Globe, solo skipper Enda O'Coineen is set to rejoin the sportsboat fleet for the first championships of 2017 as is the National Yacht Club's Roger Bannon, who has taken on the role of class measurer.
The 2017 season is an important build–up for the class as the SB20 Europeans will be staged by the Royal Irish Yacht Club in 2018.
Howth Yacht Club’s annual 'Brassed Off' Cup for Optimist Sailors wil be held on the traditional day of Good Friday, 14th April. This fun Optimist dinghy event is designed as a great opportunity for junior racers to dust off their gear and get sailing on the safe waters just north of Howth harbour.
The event has been building into a popular and well attended one over the past few years with more than 60 Main & Regatta Fleet sailors from across Dublin being expected to take part.
Three short races are planned from 12 noon and the Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions are available here.
The 2017 Spring Warmer series sponsored by Key Capital Private came to a conclusion at Howth Yacht Club on Saturday. The final day of the season opener provided the sailors with some champagne sailing conditions with 15–knots of breeze and glorious sunshine.
In the Cruiser Class Paddy Kyne’s Maximus with two race wins took the honours by one point from the very consistent Flashback (Patterson/Paddy Gregory /Don Breen). In third place was Stephen Quinn’s Lambay Rules.
The J24 racing was dominated by Steve Atkinson’s Bad with three first places and a fourth. Second was Jumpin Jive (M. Usher). The new K25 team completed the podium. It was great to see three K25 youth teams out competing.
Howth Yacht Club’s “Taste of Sailing” initiative goes from strength to strength. The programme sees experienced sailors racing with those new to the sport or new to HYC. Five teams took to the club J80s for the Spring Warmer this year.
The SB20 fleet was the largest fleet with 10 boats. Locals Shane Murphy, Daragh Sheridan and John Phelan on Two Men & Their Monkey won the event with a race to spare from Colin Galavan’s Sacrebleu who scored a race win in the final race with a fantastic first run setting them up for a big lead which they never relinquished. Third place was Dave Barry on Lia.
The SB20s are staying in the same venue for their Eastern Championships to be held in two weeks’ time on 21 & 22 April.
The prizegiving took place with Vice Commodore Emmet Dalton on hand to present the prizes.
A lifetime of enthusiastic and effective dedication to voluntary work in international sailing administration has very deservedly resulted in the award of World Sailing’s Gold Medal to Ireland’s Helen Mary Wilkes writes W M Nixon.
She is originally from Scotland while her husband Robert is from England. But when they settled in Ireland in 1969, Howth became their home, sailing became their family sport, and both their sons Tom and Rupert sailed – and still sail - for Ireland.
However, the fact that Helen Mary and Robert together provided a brilliant administrative and creative team was quickly recognized locally and nationally, and it was recognition which became international when Howth Yacht Club took on the staging of the Optimist Worlds in 1981.
That would be a relatively straightforward business with today’s modernized facilities. But Howth in 1981 was in the throes of harbour re-development, yet bits of it still functioned as both a sailing and fishing port.
Thus the staging of the worlds was based on the beachside Claremont Hotel immediately west of the Harbour (it has long since disappeared into a large complex of up-market apartments), and much of the running of this huge event had to be developed from scratch.
But with Helen Mary Wilkes in the key position as Secretary to the Organising Committee and Robert in several other roles, the racing for hundreds of Optimists - in what was then the most international sailing event ever seen in Ireland - was successfully completed. The overall winner was Guido Tavelli of Argentina, while the top girl (and best Irish at 17th overall) was 13-year-old Denise Lyttle of the National YC.
For most folk in Howth, that was enough involvement in international sailing administration until the new HYC marina and clubhouse were fully functional by 1987. But Helen Mary and Robert Wilkes had been spotted by the powers-that-be as talents that could usefully be deployed on the world stage, and Helen Mary’s subsequent rise through the global and national ranks of sailing administration has been so all-encompassing that it’s best summarized in a basic list:
International Sailing Federation (now World Sailing)
1982 - 1998 International Classes Committee
1990 - 1994 CPOC
1994 - 1998 Events Committee
1994 - 1998 Vice-chair, International Classes Committee (elected)
1998 - 2000 Match Racing Committee
2006 & 2008 Nominated for IOC Women & Sport Award
2008 ISAF President’s Development Award (jointly)
2008-2016 Vice-chair, ISAF Classes Committee
International Optimist Class
1978 - 1982 Secretary, IODA of Ireland
1982 - 1987 President, IODA of Ireland
1982 - 1985 Regatta Committee, IODA
1985- 1989 Vice-President
1989 - 1998 President
During that presidency the Class became the largest in the world:
- national membership rose by 78% to 87 countries
- participation at international events rose by 50% to 57 countries
1998 - 2005 Member of Honour
2005 - President of Honour
In 1996 Helen Mary was asked by Paul Henderson (ISAF President) to promote women’s match-racing towards Olympic status and became the first president of the Women’s International Match-Racing Association. The number of active teams and countries increased by nearly 50%.
Irish Sailing Association
1990 - 1998 Council
1992 - 2000 Olympic Committee/Group
March 2017 Gold Medal awarded to Helen Mary Wilkes by newly-elected World Sailing President Kim Andersen
While Helen Mary Wilkes’ many significant roles have made her the more prominent of this remarkable couple, Robert has been busy behind the scenes, and among other things - in addition to being Secretary for 35 years to the International Optimist Class Association - in 2007 he produced a profusely-illustrated history of the first sixty years of this incredibly successful little boat, with additional input from Clifford McKay Jr, who was the first Opty sailor in Florida way back in 1947.
Being the sons of such busy and interesting parents made for a special up-bringing for Tom and Rupert. It’s all of a piece that Tom should be involved on the technical side of sailing – he runs a carbon spar-making business in the Netherlands which, in honour of home, he calls Ceilidh Composites. As a result he is a veteran of several Fastnets and Sydney-Hobarts. Rupert has elected to work ashore, but it’s something equally interesting – he restores classic and antique buildings.
However, this week it’s their parents and their enormous contribution to national and international sailing which is deservedly top of the agenda. Our heartiest congratulations to Helen Mary Wilkes on her newly-awarded World Sailing Gold Medal.
17 RS Feva dinghies participated in the latest round of coaching for the class at Greystones Sailing Club at the weekend writes Garett Donnelly. Conditions were perfect with coaching provided for all the sailors ranging in age from 11 to 17 years of age.
Sailors from Greystones, RStGYC, RIYC, Bray SC, Malahide YC and Howth YC took part.
The Eastern Championships follow on 22 and 23 April. Entry for the Easterns is here.
Howth Yacht Club's traditional Key Capital Private Spring Warmer Sailing Series at Howth Yacht Club will run over two consecutive Saturdays with four Windward /Leeward races, starting on Saturday, 1st April with cranes and storage all included in the regatta entry fee.
There are starts for Cruisers 1, 2 & 3, SB20’s, J24’s, Puppeteers, Squibs and J80s. 'It’s a fantastic way to start the season and to get your crews back into full race mode, ' says HYC organiser Daragh Sheridan.
As last year, there will be particularly strong competition in Class two. The SB20s will also be looking to get in some time on the water with their Eastern Championships also being held in Howth later in April. More information in the notice of race downloadable below.