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June’s Mixed Weather Created Intense Competition For “Sailor of the Month” Awards To Provide Four Winners

2nd July 2022
49er Olympians Rob Dickson & Sean Waddilove gave their June programme a flying start with Silver at the Hempel World Cup Allianz Regatta in The Netherlands
49er Olympians Rob Dickson & Sean Waddilove gave their June programme a flying start with Silver at the Hempel World Cup Allianz Regatta in The Netherlands

With the almost melancholy passing of Mid-Summer’s Day, the sailing season is taking on a different look, a distinctly-changed mood and flavour. For in normal times – if anyone can remember when you could talk of such things – there is a tendency to pack events into late May and throughout June for at least two reasons.

One of these is the feeling that it’s a good idea to tick as many event boxes as possible early in the season, for fear that even odder and more awful weather than usual might turn up on the day, meaning that in the case of a weekend happening, there’s still the possibility for a complete re-scheduling before the summer is over.

Challenging weather during Wave Regatta at Howth with First 50 Checkmate XX (Nigel Biggs & Dave Culllen) and Sunfast 3600 Searcher (Pete Smyth) in a dicing match. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyChallenging weather during Wave Regatta at Howth with First 50 Checkmate XX (Nigel Biggs & Dave Culllen) and Sunfast 3600 Searcher (Pete Smyth) in a dicing match. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

The other reason is the changing mood of the sailing community with the swing of the seasons. People are full of vim and vigour in May and June and early July. But then with August approaching, there’s a natural slowing down of the mood in what Patrick Kavanagh so effectively captured as “the tremendous silence of mid-July”.

It hasn’t got to us yet in this, the busy first weekend of July. Dromineer is a-buzz with the Lough Derg end of the Shannon One Designs’ Two-part Centenary Regatta, Dublin Bay is alive with the Frank Keane BMW RStGYC Regatta, somewhere between Dublin Bay and Cork Harbour sundry boats are re-racing an offshore race originally sailed in 1860 (repeat, 1860) in order to be on station for Volvo Cork Week in six days’ time. And throughout the land on lake, sea and river, club events are being staged in the hope that next week’s expected good weather will arrive a little earlier than anticipated.

Summertime on Lough Derg – the 1874-vintage iron-built Phoenix (John & Sandra Lefroy) off Dromineer with a selection of Water Wags (1900) and Shannon One Designs (1922).Summertime on Lough Derg – the 1874-vintage iron-built Phoenix (John & Sandra Lefroy) off Dromineer with a selection of Water Wags (1900) and Shannon One Designs (1922).

For there’s no doubt that, taken overall, June’s weather was a decidedly mixed bag. Yet although there were major happenings that saw rough days on which the smaller classes weren’t allowed to race, the fact is that skilled race officers frequently managed to get comprehensive results in a more-than-satisfactory way.

Thus within Irish sailing there were many successful crews and skippers who merited inclusion in the long list for the Afloat.ie “Sailor of the Month” title, and when we add in achievements abroad, it’s impossible to reduce it below this short list of four top achievements.

Rob Dickson & Sean Waddilove are Sailors of the Month (Olympic) for June

The 2022 Hempel World Cup Allianz Regatta at the beginning of June in Almere on the Ijsselmeer in The Netherlands saw Ireland’s Rob Dickson and Sean Waddilove racing their 49er to victory in the final medal race. But by that stage, the top Dutch crew were so well positioned that overall they took the Gold, but the Irish team secured Silver to continue their progress through a demanding selection programme aimed at the 2024 Olympics.

Rush to the top….Pat Kelly (centre) and his all-conquering crew from the J/109 Storm at RUYC in Bangor.Rush to the top….Pat Kelly (centre) and his all-conquering crew from the J/109 Storm at RUYC in Bangor.

The Kelly family of Rush are Sailors of the Month (Regatta) for June

Sailing is often promoted as a family sport for all ages. But if anyone doubts that this can be happily achieved with racing success thrown in, then they only have to consider the Kelly clan of Rush SC with their J/109 Storm. Aboard Storm, the patriarch Pat Kelly heads a multi-talented crew which includes three generations of his family, and they clearly demonstrated they’d lost none of the successful touch shown in previous years by winning overall in the four day Bangor Town Regatta on Belfast Lough.

Mike & Richie Evans J/99 Snapshot was top Irish boat in the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race 2022, missing first overall by just five minutes. Photo: Afloat.ieMike & Richie Evans J/99 Snapshot was top Irish boat in the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race 2022, missing first overall by just five minutes. Photo: Afloat.ie

Mike & Richie Evans are Sailors of the Month (Offshore) for June

June saw the staging of a truly vintage SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race from Wicklow. But for those who think that success in events like this 704-mile marathon is only for seasoned sailors with many comparable races logged, the fact that the top Irish boat was the J/99 Snapshot (Mike & Richie Evans, Howth YC) was an eye-opener, as this was their first offshore major. And they almost won it, pacing just five minutes behind the overall winner after out-performing many comparable boats in the final very difficult miles. 

Dermot Skehan is Sailor of the Month (Regatta) for June

The Howth Wave Regatta created some sort of record for the mixture of weather it packed into its three day format, and how anyone found the energy for the legendary Saturday night party suggests superhuman stamina. With a rugged Lambay Race in its midst, Wave was for heroes, and it was the heroic Dermot Skehan - racing as ever with a crew of longtime friends and shipmates on his MG34 Toughnut - who emerged as overall winner and a worthy Sailor of the Month for June.

HYC Commodore Paddy Judge and Wave Regatta overall winner Dermot Skehan at centre of the crew of the victorious ToughnutHYC Commodore Paddy Judge and Wave Regatta overall winner Dermot Skehan at centre of the crew of the victorious Toughnut

Published in W M Nixon, Howth YC
WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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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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