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Attention all keelboat sailors: Howth Yacht Club is running a one-day spring warmers event on Saturday 27 April for Cruiser Classes 1, 2, 3 and J80s.

The club says this is a perfect opportunity to dust down the cobwebs and get ready for the season. In other words: race, train and have fun!

First gun will be at 10:55 am with four sprint style races and 50 tacks and gybes to get crews mobilised after the winter break.

The day will also feature on-the-water coaching and a video debrief from sailmaker Barry Hayes and offshore sailor Kenny Rumball.

Sign up for the HYC Spring Warmers HERE.

If you are interested in chartering one of the club J80s for the day, contact the HYC sailing office.

Published in Howth YC
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Howth Yacht Club is celebrating the recent installation of its new pontoons adjacent to the crane in the marina.

Supplied by Inland and Coastal Marina Systems, the pontoons provide a safer area for launches, refuelling and boat crane-in and crane-out.

Half the project costs were approved for grant aid support under the Brexit Blue Economy Enterprise Development Scheme, and HYC has now submitted its application for grant assistance from BIM under the scheme.

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Howth Yacht Club’s staple Autumn League series has been off to a rough start this year, with two of the first three race days — half of the six-week schedule — cancelled due to poor weather.

But week two was a chance for many of the 82 entrants to battle it out as Principal Race Officer David Lovegrove maximised everyone’s time on the water.

Southerly winds between 20 and 16 knots greeted Class 1, whose race was won in convincing style by Checkmate (Dave Cullen and Nigel Bigg). Class 2 saw a similarly confident performance by Mojo (Pat O’Neill).

A stronger breeze kept some of Class 3 from taking to the start, with only eight boats making start line, and it was a tighter contest for first with Insider (Stephen Mullaney) followed closely by Alliance II (Vincent Gaffney) and Gecko (Kevin Darmody).

The HYC website has much more on last Saturday’s racing from open events chair Jill Sommerville HERE.

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The National Yacht Club has announced the Dun Laoghaire Match Racing Cup to take place on Saturday 30 September and Sunday 1 October.

Ten teams will complete in the club’s Elliott 6M fleet on what promises to be an action-packed weekend, with a full round-robin of races set for the Saturday while the Sunday kicks off with a repechage phase before the knockout finals.

What that means for those taking part is many an opportunity to race, progress and turn the cards around before a true champion emerges. Read the Notice of Race and more on the race format HERE.

NYC head coach Thomas Chaix will also be afloat taking notes and videos towards a Saturday evening discussion around winning moves, overtaking opportunities and “how the races were ultimately won”.

With the fleet limited to 10 teams, don’t miss out — lodge your team’s expression of interest now to ensure your receive your invitation.

Published in National YC

With the forecast showing the makings of an Indian summer, Howth Yacht Club is looking forward to decent weather for the start of its Autumn League in just two weeks’ time on Saturday 16 September.

While Howth’s keelboats are understandably focusing their attention on next week’s ICRA Nationals, the club is encouraging boats to join Checkmate XX — recently the overall winner in the offshore fleet at the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regattaand others in the Autumn League as soon as possible so the class bands can be sorted ahead of the first race.

Keelboat crews can read the Notice of Race and sign up on the HYC website HERE.

This year’s Autumn League runs over six Saturdays from 16 September to 21 October: six individual race days with first gun at 1400 (except for the final race on 21 October with first gun at 1300).

With the rugby on most Saturdays, there will be a lively après-sail scene at the clubhouse where the bar will have weekly drink specials.

And the opening weekend will be a something of a double header, with the rescheduled Gibney Classic, previously set for early August, confirmed for Sunday 17 September. Online registration, the Notice of Race and entry list are on the HYC website.

Published in Howth YC

This year has already seen a plethora of successes for Howth Yacht Club in the ILCA division, including a one-two brother-sister punch from Ewan and Eve McMahon — who won the ILCA 7 and ILCA 6 fleets respectively in the ILCA Ulster Championships last month — and a double-silver for Sienna Wright in the ILCA 6 Youth Worlds and Europeans.

Now, Laser-heads set their sights on HYC for the ILCA National Championships over the weekend of 18-20 August, which the club says will be one for the books.

Entry forms and the Notice of Race are available on the ILCA Ireland website, while will have more details on race specifics and onshore entertainment throughout the weekend in the coming weeks.

Published in Laser
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Entries are now open for Howth Yacht Club’s Gibney Classic on Saturday 5 August.

Sponsored by Gibbey’s Pub of Malahide, the renowned ‘Northside’ keelboat regatta is an open event with a low entry fee — just €10 — to promote inclusiveness for what’s annually proved to be an unforgettable day of racing, camaraderie and celebration.

The Gibney Classic is also part of HYC’s Fingal Cruiser Challenge series, attracting a highly competitive fleet alongside boats from the HYC Cruising Group and Malahide Yacht Club.

Indeed, all manner of boats will be sailing on 5 August, with handicaps organised accordingly. Moreover, the event is open to all keelboats in Fingal that weekend, ensuring a diverse and spirited competition.

“Since its inception in 1992, the Gibney Classic has been an eagerly anticipated fixture in the sailing calendar, captivating sailors and enthusiasts alike,” HYC says. “This year's edition is set to be a spectacular showcase of entertainment, determination, and sheer love for the sport.”

Enter now on the HYC website HERE.

Published in Howth YC
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Based on feedback from members, Howth Yacht Club is rolling out two new initiatives for the 2023 sailing season: the HYC Race School and HYC Crew Finder.

The Race School offers HYC members a chance to get certified and get racing, whether you’re new to the line or a seasoned sailing veteran.

If you have never raced, if you already crew on someone else’s boat, or even if you have your own boat, the Race School offers opportunities for all levels to join in training sessions and improve their skills.

The first step to get started is a free consultation with sailing development officer Matthew Cotter — sign up on the HYC website HERE.

The new Crew Finder page, meanwhile, connects those looking for a chance to crew with those seeking an extra pair of hands on board, all in a single, easy-to-use platform powered by RailMeets.

Watch the demo video and sign up on the HYC website HERE.

All Race School participants will also gain HYC Crew Finder certification which will make it easier to match individual crew to boats looking for crew.

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This year’s Fingal Cruiser Challenge kicks off on Saturday 13 May with the Fingal Coastal, the first in a nine-event series that also includes the famed Lambay Races, the Asgard Race and much more.

Organised by Howth Yacht Club in association with Malahide Yacht Club, the open series of Saturday races is touted as the only alternative on the East Coast to ISORA for coastal racing.

It regularly brings together a variety of keelboat owners and racers to enjoy the action on the water, not to mention the social gatherings after the racing.

Entry is €40 which includes six races in the waters north and east of Howth Harbour, plus three combined with other events and regattas.

The full calendar for the Fingal Cruiser Challenge 2023 is as follows:

  • 13 May - Fingal Coastal
  • 27 May - Asgard Race
  • 3 June - Lambay Races
  • 17 June - Kish & Back Challenge
  • 15 July - Howth-Rockabill-Coastal
  • 22 July - Malahide Regatta
  • 5 August - Gibney Classic
  • 19 August - Dublin Bay Coastal Race
  • 2 September - Fingal Coastal Challenge

The Notice of Race is available from the HYC website HERE.

Published in Howth YC

Howth Yacht Club is hosting the resurgent 1720s for the class’ first regional event of the 2023 season this Saturday and Sunday (29-30 April).

The 1720 Easterns will see a relatively small field of 13 boats competing, but they include past champions and promise to punch above their weight in terms of action on the water.

Valuable ranking points will be up for grabs towards the new Joe English Cup, donated by the English family, which will go the top performing boat at the end of the season.

Professional coach Mike Richards will also be on hand to provide coaching throughout the weekend — including nuggets of wisdom during racing itself. The debrief will be streamed live on the 1720 Facebook page.

The Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions are also available from the HYC website.

Published in 1720
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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