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Salute for Winners Includes Us All as Sailing Resumes in Steady Steps

12th June 2021
Flying the flag……new spinnaker for Ireland's Olympic 49ers Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove, who are currently training in Santander in Spain for the Tokyo Olympics which will dominate late July and early August
Flying the flag……new spinnaker for Ireland's Olympic 49ers Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove, who are currently training in Santander in Spain for the Tokyo Olympics which will dominate late July and early August

When the Royal Cork Yacht Club was undergoing one of its infusions of new life and ideas during the early 1840s in order to keep up the necessary levels of vitality in a remarkable organisation which dates back to the Water Club of the Harbour of Cork of 1720, one of the rules it added to its already formidable array of regulations and requirements was an instruction for the club battery, viz:

Rule 4: Any yacht of the club which has won a prize at any Regatta out of Cork Harbour, shall on her return receive a salute of nine guns. Such yacht must shew her number on coming in sight of the club flag-staff, and on it being answered by the affirmative flag, shall hoist the distinguishing flag which she had worn during the race, under her burgee. The salute to be fired when she is passing the battery.

Unfortunately, today's succession of toots on a race-starting foghorn won't quite have the same impact as a nine gun salute. But nevertheless, we can only hope that some sort of recognition will be ready for the Murphy family's Nieulargo when she returns to Crosshaven in the next day or two (if she's not back already), after her outstanding performance in the Dun Laoghaire-Dingle Race, with the Crosshaven crowd making for a proper socially-distanced reception, while not going so far as to make a Holy Shew of themselves.

The Royal Cork YC and the marinas of Crosshaven. The welcoming home of successful race boats nowadays would probably be best done at the entrance to Cork Harbour. Photo: Robert BatemanThe Royal Cork YC and the marinas of Crosshaven. The welcoming home of successful race boats nowadays would probably be best done at the entrance to Cork Harbour. Photo: Robert Bateman

For if you set out to design a significant sailing event to get people out competing on the water, and yet still complying with the current phase of Pandemic Regulations, then you'd probably come up with something very similar to this week's outstandingly successful National Yacht Club Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race, every twist and turn of which we've tried to record in Afloat.ie.

The event ticks so many boxes, starting as it does from a commodious harbour, with four yacht club buildings and a Marina Office to facilitate maximum distancing for the preliminaries, with all the administrative work being minimized as the fleet was restricted for this year to Irish boats. And they're familiar Irish boats at that, as everyone more or less knows everyone else.

This might be the place to give Nieulargo a ceremonial welcome home to Cork Harbour, seen here as she finishes at Roche's Point to win the Fastnet 450 race in 2020. Photo: Robert BatemanThis might be the place to give Nieulargo a ceremonial welcome home to Cork Harbour, seen here as she finishes at Roche's Point to win the Fastnet 450 race in 2020. Photo: Robert Bateman

For the race itself, each boat is its own bubble – or was until the seamanlike crew on Freya efficiently fulfilled their duty and instinctive humanity by taking a diversion to pick up a drifting kite-surfer off the north Wexford coast. He didn't seem to be wearing a face mask, and we don't know if he had been vaccinated. But we can take comfort from reflecting that it's unlikely that he'd have felt inclined to go kite-surfing a couple of miles offshore if he'd the slightest signs of those earliest feverish stages of COVID-19, in Variation Z or whatever.

Be that as it may, the rest of the fleet were very definitely in bubbles until they got to Dingle, by which time some of them were feeling they'd been in a goldfish-bowl, but never mind.

In Dingle, they then found a welcoming seaport which has already shown it's very prepared to bend over backwards to cater for the social-distancing needs of visitors, and though most of the competitors had experienced more than enough fresh air by the time they reached the finish, the required fresh air allocations will be mandatory for any post-race socializing.

The ultimate offshore race destination – Dingle in West Kerry has devised ways of being hospitable while complying with current regulations.   The ultimate offshore race destination – Dingle in West Kerry has devised ways of being hospitable while complying with current regulations.  

Either way, it has all gone extremely well indeed in challenging circumstances, and congratulations to Adam Winkelmann and his organising team for a job well done, with the provisional results (still dependent at time of writing on the decision of how much redress Freya is allowed for her good deed and any other protests) being as follows:

  • Line Honours: 1st Freya (Xp50, Conor Doyle Kinsale YC) ET 1d 15h 16m 50s; 2nd Samatom (Grand Soleil 44, Robert Rendell, Howth YC)1:18:21:48; 3rd Aurelia (Chris & Patannne Power Smith, RStGYC) 1:18:24:0; 4th WOW (Xp44, George Sisk, Royal Irish YC) 1:18:32:24; 5th Rockabill VI (JPK 10.80, Paul O'Higgins, Royal Irish YC) 1:18:57:22; 6th Nieulargo (Grand Soleil 40, Denis & Annamarie Murphy, Royal Cork YC) 1:19:12:53.
  • Overall Corrected time: 1st Nieulargo 1:20:4:44; 2nd Searcher (Sun Fast 3600, Pete Smyth, National YC) 1:21:0:40; 3rd Rockabill VI 1:21:6:14; 4th Hot Cookie (Sun Fast 3600, John O'Gorman, National YC) 1:21:7:44; 5th Aurelia 1:21:34:48; 6th Freya (subject to redress) 1:22:39:29.
  • Class 1: 1st Nieulargo; 2nd Searcher: 3rd Rockabill VI.
  • Class 2: 1st Artful Dodjer (J/109, Finbarr O'Regan, Kinsale YC), 1:22:39:38; 2nd Juggernaut 2 (J/99, Andrew Algeo, RIYC) 1:23:2:0; 3rd Indian (J/109, Simon Knowles, Howth YC) 2:0:16:3.
  • Class 3: 1st Blackjack (Pocock 38, Peter Coad, Waterford Harbour SC); 2nd Desert Star (Sunfast 37, Ronan O Siochru & Conor Totterdell, Irish Offshore Sailing); 3rd Gambit (Sigma 38, Joe Kiernan, Foynes YC).
  • Two-handed: 1st Cinnamon Girl (Sun Fast 3300, Cian McCarthy & Sam Hunt, Kinsale YC) 1:23:14:10; 2nd Blackjack; 3rd More Mischief (First 310, Grzegorz Kalinecki).

UPDATE: A 20% time penalty imposed on five D2D boats on Friday evening by the race committee impacts the overall results. See official results sheet here - Ed

With the Dingle Race (or most of it) safely in port, we move on towards the next stages of this modified yet real 2021 season. At home, the Sovereign's Cup Regatta is gathering real strength in Kinsale in a fortnight and abroad the Olympic Games in just six weeks time is looming ever more significantly above everything else, for all the world like the Himalayas high above the dusty plains.

Regardless of the views of the ordinary people of Japan, it looks as though it will all happen, and certainly the Irish sailing squad of Annalise Murphy in the Women's Laser Radial, and Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove in the 49er, are doing their best in difficult circumstances to ensure they're at optimum performance when the show is up and running.

The Howth Seventeens race round Lambay today – as they have been doing annually since 1902. Photo: John Deane   The Howth Seventeens race round Lambay today – as they have been doing annually since 1902. Photo: John Deane  

Meanwhile, at Dickson's home club of Howth, today sees the annual Lambay Race, a club event this year, while across Dublin Bay in Dun Laoghaire the Royal St George YC hosts what is almost a pop-up Irish Laser Masters Nationals. Both events of course involve some very serious racing, but after months of being starved of any post-racing socialising, there'll be those keen to explore the limits of what is permissible in adapted club compounds as the sailing community makes the best of what is allowed.

Published in W M Nixon
Afloat.ie Team

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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