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Displaying items by tag: Bangor Town Regatta

Northern Ireland's biggest sailing event, Bangor Town Regatta, scheduled for June has been cancelled due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

The Belfast Lough biennial event has sadly joined the queue of cancelled sailing events this year.

Chairman of the BTR Organising Committee, Gavin Watson has had to announce the fate of this popular regatta. "The BTR organising team and Royal Ulster Yacht Club have been meeting to decide on the future of our event for this year 2021. After much discussion and deliberation with the relevant event stakeholders and authorities, we regret to inform you that Bangor Town Regatta will not take place in June 2021".

Eight months on from when the 2020 fixture was postponed and competitors should have been enjoying the fabulous sailing arena of Belfast Lough, the warm hospitality of Royal Ulster Yacht Club and Bangor town itself, the Chairman is doubtful if any of the organising team knew what was ahead, and the difficulties the sport of yacht racing was going to face in the coming months.

Chairman of the BTR Organising Committee, Gavin WatsonChairman of Bangor Town Regatta, Gavin Watson of Royal Ulster Yacht Club

He adds "As we sit here today in lockdown across the UK and Ireland, the world of sailing is still facing many uncertainties. Aside from the Government restrictions that are currently in place the organising committee felt that it was important that Bangor Town Regatta run without compromise in the way we remember past regattas with a full programme on and off the water.

On a brighter note, Gavin is pleased to announce that with the vaccination programmes well underway in the UK and government restrictions allowing, the event will be run from Thursday 23rd to Sunday 26th June 2022.

He adds " We hope to see all our competitors back with us in 16 months' time. With another extra year to plan, we will be coming back bigger and better than ever!  It only remains for me to say thank you for all the support we have had over the last few months in particular to Royal Ulster Yacht Club and Ards and North Down Borough Council. I look forward to seeing you all in Bangor in 2022".

Published in Belfast Lough
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Bangor Town Regatta on Belfast Lough was a casualty of COVID-19 this year, (in fact the regatta would have been on the water last week), but a 2021 date has now been set for Thursday 24th till Sunday 27th June.

Building on the success of previous years and what is expected to be the biggest inshore sailing event in Northern Ireland next year, BTR21 will be run out of Bangor Marina and hosted by Royal Ulster Yacht Club in partnership with Ards and North Down Borough Council. Entry fees will be frozen at this year’s level.

Yacht Racing at Bangor Town Regatta

Event Chairman, Gavin Watson said, “I am really looking forward to welcoming all sailing competitors and supporters to Bangor in June 2021. This will be four days of sailing and socialising to remember. The sailing waters off Bangor offer exciting opportunities to the very best sailors from around the UK and Ireland and coupled with the impressive backdrop of our host venue Royal Ulster Yacht Club, the event is shaping up to be a memorable occasion”.

Two separate race courses set in Belfast Lough will see competitors battle it out over four days of close racing across a variety of fleets. A highly experienced race team, including International Race Officer, Robin Gray.

Further information will be available on the event website and on Afloat's dedicated Bangor Town Regatta page

Published in Belfast Lough
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The wholesale cancellation of early 2020 regatta fixtures, is impacting the 2021 season with some conflicting dates appearing for May and June 2021.

So far, four key fixtures of Irish interest appear to be affected next season.

Firstly, Scotland's biggest sailing event, The Scottish Series at Troon, cancelled amid Covid-19 concerns last week, has published its usual UK Bank Holiday date of May 28-31 for 2021's edition. The Loch Fyne event is a traditional season opener in which Irish boats have dominated in recent years but 2021 may now lack Irish competition because this is also the date of the 2021 ICRA National Championships at the National Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay.

A month later, Bangor Town Regatta on Belfast Lough, also cancelled last week, has been rescheduled for June 24-27, but this is the same long-standing date occupied by Kinsale Yacht Club's biennial Sovereign's Cup on the south coast.

So far, the rest of the 2021 season appears to be non-conflicting with the Dun Laoghaire Dingle 2021 Race on June 9 and Dun Laoghaire Regatta on July 8-11.

Attempts are usually made to avoid regatta date clashes because organisers typically like to attract visiting boats from outside a local catchment area for major events but when dates overlap this becomes impossible.

Published in News Update

Northern Ireland's biggest sailing event, Bangor Town Regatta on Belfast Lough has been cancelled over Covid 19 concerns.

A statement from the organising club, Royal Ulster, says: - “It is with deep regret that the Organising Committee of Bangor Town Regatta has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 regatta. This is a decision that has not been taken lightly and we do so in full consultation with the current Government guidelines on the ongoing Covid-19 situation which is expected to last into at least June 2020”

The Regatta was scheduled for 25th - 28th June with a programme of nine races and had already attracted 63 entries from across the British Isles and the Republic of Ireland.

The neighbouring Scottish Series, Scotland's biggest sailing event that was scheduled for the Clyde on May 22, has also become a casualty of Coronavirus restrictions and was cancelled last Friday.

The plan now is to run the Bangor Regatta from June 24-27 in 2021.

The statement continues:  “We understand that this will be deeply disappointing to competitors, as it is for everyone involved, however, the health and wellbeing of our competitors, volunteers, supporters and the residents of Bangor are our utmost priority.  The preparation involved in an event of this size is considerable both for the event organisers, host yacht club, suppliers and of course for competitors and their families and it is with this in mind that we have made the decision at this point.  Full refunds will be available to those who have paid already and can be obtained by contacting the Royal Ulster Yacht Club Office.

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A charity yachting organisation that was originally planning to sail from Scotland to Northern Ireland to save competition costs at Bangor Town Regatta this June has had its transport costs covered.

Murray McDonald, skipper of the Hunter 707 Autism on the Water, will now travel by ferry across the North Channel from Cairnryan in Scotland to Larne without charge.

With the original plan to sail across but with weather conditions being unknown for that time of year, it was decided to look into safer options of travel. Royal Ulster Yacht Club has worked with the charity to assist AOTW with transport to the event in A courier will transport the boat from Inverkip to Cairnryan.

AOTW Chairman and founder Murray said "this generosity from P&O is overwhelming and I cannot thank them enough. It is a big commitment for us to undertake this event because our boat is so small. We are pleased to have had so much help from P&O and the support of RUYC. We really are so very excited to be taking part in the regatta and we are planning to run a competition during the event with a prize of funding towards a sailing activity for an Autistic child based in the Bangor and Belfast area".

As Afloat previously reported, AOTW will compete in IRC Class 3. Murray McDonald, who is also autistic, will skipper the Hunter 707 with a well-drilled crew. The team’s main priority is to raise awareness of autism, but Murray hopes that a race win can be possibly achieved giving the right weather conditions.

Published in Bangor Town Regatta
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Royal Ulster Yacht Club has extended its Early Bird entry discount for June's Bangor Town Regatta. The move comes after consultation with some of the competing classes who haven’t quite finalised their racing calendar for this year.

As a result, the Early Bird discount has been extended and will now run until 14th March.

The current entry of 63 continues to grow with the largest class at present being the Sigma 33s who are racing for the Irish Championship within the event.

Online entry is here

Published in Bangor Town Regatta

Bangor Town Regatta’s Class 3 sports a first-time entrant in Murray McDonald from Port Edgar, who confesses he has never been to the town before. Murray’s debut is in a Hunter 707 which has been raced competitively in the growing one-design fleet in Scotland and achieved success in events such as the Scottish Series and West Highland Week. The name is catching – Autism on the Water.

It’s a Scottish registered charity which raises awareness of the Autistic spectrum through the sport of sailing. Murray, the charity’s founder, who is autistic, has been building up this fantastic initiative which has become recognised not just across Scotland and the UK but also as far as Hong Kong, Australia and Antigua. The charity’s main ambassador is David Witt who skippered Sun Hung Kai Scallywag in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race and he has been heavily involved in the charity’s success.

Autism on the Water provides opportunities for Autistic people of all ages to experience day sailing and more notably weekend outings on the tranquil Crinan Canal. The charity owns the Hunter 707. Murray skippers the boat with a crew who all have backgrounds involving autism; some are autistic themselves and others have relatives with Autism, all involved with the programme whilst wanting to create a better understanding of Autism through sailing.
Murray said “I have sailed for over 25 years and have never ever been to Bangor before! This year we are making a huge effort to race in this event hosted by Royal Ulster Yacht Club”. It also has had support from IRC Rating and RORC who have provided the boat with a generously discounted IRC Handicap Certificate.

The preferable way to get the boat to Bangor would be by ferry so the charity is looking to negotiate an achievable price. They are aware that it is costly but worth the exposure, and so Autism on the Water is hoping for sponsorship to help cover their logistical costs such as entry, ferry costs and transport. There would be substantial coverage on press and social media. More here

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The six RS Elites entered for Bangor Town Regatta on Belfast Lough now warrant their own class and with three days of the early bird entry left, there is still time for more to join them at the bargain rate.

Among the six are Jeff Ralston’s Upfront from Royal North, last year’s Irish champion as well as the second-placed boat in that event, the host club’s Storm (Polly, Kelso and Gunning). Storm was also the highest-placed boat from Northern Ireland in the National Championship last year at Dun Laoghaire Regatta, at eighth overall in the 31-boat fleet.

At present four of the six Elites are from Belfast Lough, and the others, John McRobert’s Swallow comes from Ballyronan Boat Club on Lough Neagh, and Janice McCrudden’s Bamboozled hails from Strangford Lough YC.

And it’s worth noting that berthing for boats not normally berthed in Bangor’s Quay Marina is included in the entry fee, as is, for the RS Elite class only, cranage. The Race Documents can be found on the Event website

Bangor Town Regatta entry is now open and it’s the Sigma 33s who lead the way with five entries already for the June event writes Betty Armstrong.

With Charles Hurst Jaguar Land Rover as headline sponsors, the event incorporates the Sigma British and Irish championships, so Class 6 is already showing considerable interest.

It is also part of the RC35 Celtic Challenge.

The 2018 regatta was a resounding success so with this year repeating the tried and tested four-day formula out of the Quay Marina Bangor, 2020 should be no different.

"This year repeating the tried and tested four-day formula"

There’s racing for ten classes ranging from the biggies to the smaller RS Elites, and Waverley and Fairy dayboats.

The Sigmas listed include the well-known local successful Squawk (Emma and Paul Prentice) as well as Mark Bradshaw’s Busy Beaver from Fairlie, James Miller’s Mayrise (Helensburgh), Insider owned by Stephan Mullaney of Howth and Partisan (Dan Lewis).

Sigma 33s 3712Sigma 33s will race for National Championships honours at Bangor Town Regatta in June Photo: Afloat

Jay Colville’s Forty Licks from East Down and RUYC comes with history, having clocked the same points as Rockabill VI in Division 0 in last year’s Frank Keane BMW ICRA Nationals in Dun Laoghaire.

Murray McDonald’s Port Edgar based Hunter 707, Autism on the Water, races in Class 3. It represents an internationally recognised charity that provides growth in the awareness of Autism and helps Autistic people access sailing and boating in general.

Phil Davis’s RUYC regular Giggle, completes the list so far.

Bangor Town Regatta on Belfast Lough hopes to attract more than 60 boats and build on the success of the 2018 event, the formal launch of the regatta was told writes Betty Armstrong.

Charles Hurst Jaguar Land Rover is the prestigious headline sponsor of the regatta, hosted next year by Royal Ulster Yacht Club. At the formal launch of the event Head of Business Alan Thompson and Ruth Kimbley, Marketing Manager expressed their optimism and excitement at supporting what should be the largest regatta in Northern Ireland next year. The event will run from 25th till 28th June.

The gathering was welcomed to the club by Rear Commodore Maurice Butler who spoke about the success of the 2018 event. “We are trying to build on that success by running an even bigger event in 2020. We cannot do that without the support that our sponsors and our local Council provide. We are truly grateful for that support”.

BTR20 Chairman Gavin Watson was keen to convey his hopes for a great four days. He said that the competitors would be “welcomed to the town and to Bangor’s Quay Marina, and the club would strive to give them a yachting competition which will provide plenty of good racing and just as importantly a warm welcome to the Royal Ulster clubhouse”.

It’s expected that the fleet will number upwards of 60 with several hundred crew and supporting visitors. Among the classes expected are IRC, Sigma 33, RS Elite, and day boats such as Waverleys and Fairies.

BTR20 Launch 4(from left to right) Bangor Town Regatta Chairman Gavin Watson, Alan Thompson of sponsors Charles Hurst and Robbie Milhench

Strong interest has been shown by Jay Colville’s First 40, Forty Licks, who had a class win in IRC1 at the Scottish Series this year and by Jamie McWilliam’s Signal 8, the Ker 40, (Royal Hong Kong YC), a competitor in 2018, with Bangorian Jamie Boag on board. Also, on the horizon is El Gran Senor, Jonathan Anderson’s J122 from the Clyde, runner up to Forty Licks at Tarbert. A substantial RC35 fleet, who obviously liked the previous BTR is said to return. The Sigma 33s will hold their class championship within the event, so a good size fleet is expected in which local man Paul Prentice in Squawk will no doubt aim to better his Scottish Series runner up slot. A feeder race from Dun Laoghaire is scheduled for 20th June.

"A feeder race from Dun Laoghaire is scheduled for 20th June" 

The fleets will race out of the Bangor’s Quay Marina, (another important supporter), on what is Belfast Lough’s enviable area of tide and hazard free waters. Two round-the-buoys courses within a manageable distance from the marina will provide testing but enjoyable racing and in addition, coastal races every day will give those who prefer somewhat more leisurely competition, the opportunity to use the whole of the Lough.

Forty Licks 2Jay Colville’s First 40, Forty Licks Photo: Afloat

Racing will be in the capable hands of International Race Officer and National Judge, local man Robin Gray, whose skill and expertise is well known, and the Race Office will be conveniently located at the Marina close to where the après sailing will be well catered for with a bar and food stall beside the chandlery.

Alan Thomson of Charles Hurst said that Bangor Town Regatta is “a very exciting addition to the Jaguar Land Rover sailing calendar and one we are very proud to sponsor”. Alderman Bill Keery, Mayor of Ards and North Down Council emphasised that BTR20 would provide a boost to the local economy and that “by working together we would be able to grow and improve on the successful 2018 regatta”.

The Notice of Race will be posted on the event website 

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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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