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Displaying items by tag: Howth Yacht Club

It's one of the hottest tickets in international Corinthian sailing, and invites to take part are like gold dust.

It's the biennial New York Yacht Club Invitational, raced in Mark Mill-designed IC37s in the sacred waters off Newport Rhode Island.

Yet although Royal Cork YC with Anthony O'Leary as skipper had made something of a speciality of being Ireland's sole representative with regular appearances in the top three, it seems that Howth YC's debut last year with a crew led by Darren Wright has passed muster, as they've been invited back for 2023's series.

But with the Howth offshore racing division currently experiencing an upsurge of success, team selection is going to be a hot topic, and HYC Commodore Paddy Judge has asked for realistic proposals for potential teams by Friday, May 20th (yes, that is indeed this coming Friday) as the NYYC plans to have the lineup confirmed by mid-June 2022, nearly 14 months in
advance.

Published in Howth YC
Tagged under

There was much movement ashore and afloat pre-dawn on Saturday, with many groups and crowds all over Ireland gathering in preparation to mark the Pieta House-supporting "Darkness into Light" initiative. At Howth
YC
, the nautical version was "Sailing Into Light", and it was still a clear night as a diverse fleet put to sea to witness the dawn in the waters off the harbour and around Ireland's Eye.

In fact, "diverse" scarcely does justice to the gathering, as daylight revealed that it ranged through everything from paddle-boarders by way of GP 14s and other dinghies, through some hot cruiser-racers and on
into the distant-horizons realms of Pat Murphy's famous world-girdling cutter Aldebaran. But with the daylight came increasing wraiths of weaving mist, making it time to return to the harbour for a thoughtful
collective reflection on the deeper meaning of what had been so rewardingly involved in a shared achievement.

Pre-dawn off Howth - the moment of anticipation for sunrise. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyPre-dawn off Howth - the moment of anticipation for sunrise. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

A GP14 bathed in that magic moment which has inspired the human race for hundreds of thousands of years. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyA GP14 bathed in that magic moment which has inspired the human race for hundreds of thousands of years. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

It wasn't long before the predicted morning mist began to assert itself........ Photo: Annraoi BlaneyIt wasn't long before the predicted morning mist began to assert itself........ Photo: Annraoi Blaney

....and in Howth Sound it was soon the dominant feature. Photo: Annraoi Blaney....and in Howth Sound it was soon the dominant feature. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Before the mist set in, Pat Murphy's world-girdling Aldebaran was able to give sunlit morning greetings to the gannets nesting on the Stack at Ireland's EyeThe fellowship of a significant goodwill gesture well done - harmony afloat as paddle0borders head back to the harbour. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

The fellowship of a significant goodwill gesture well done - harmony afloat as paddle0borders head back to the harbour. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyThe fellowship of a significant goodwill gesture well done - harmony afloat as paddleborders head back to the harbour. In all, 28 SUPers from North Dublin Discover SUP.ie took to the water in their own Darkness into Light event, and raised €1,173 for Pieta House Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Published in Howth YC
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The recent Sailing on Saturday for April 16th discussed how the new-to-Ireland Mark Mills Cape 31 design will be making its Irish debut with four boats at Howth's Wave Regata, which is built around the
long-established Lambay Race, scheduled in 2022 for Saturday, June 4th.

The story made the point that in 1996 the first Mark Mills design of note, the 31ft Aztec - built by David Harte & Gareth Connolly's Mizzen Marine for Peter Beamish - likewise set the world alight with her first race programme including the Lambay Race of 1996.

More than a quarter of a century later, Aztec is now Raptor, and owned by the Royal Irish YC syndicate known as FOFC (Friends of Fintan Cairns). And yes, the word today is that Raptor is poised to strike - as befits her name - on the Lambay Race of 2022.

All of which makes us look afresh at the most recent images of Raptor, and really the only significant change you'd expect nowadays is twin rudders. To which Mark Mills might very reasonably respond that in our header photo, she seems to be tracking very neatly indeed under just the one rudder, despite being well heeled. And of course, historical perfectionists would argue that if you took the twin rudder option, she'd no longer be a true classic to a completely original 1996 design.

Sailing sweetly to success - Aztec with Peter Beamish on the helm in the 1996 Lambay Race.Sailing sweetly to success - Aztec with Peter Beamish on the helm in the 1996 Lambay Race

Published in Wave Regatta

With at least four Mark Mills-designed Cape 31s making their Irish class debut at the Wave Regatta in Howth from June 3rd to 5th, we will see one very important wheel come full circle. For it was a 31ft Mark Mills design making her debut at Howth in 1996 that launched the tyro designer on a stellar career which today sees him established as an internationally-recognised and much-awarded race-winning innovator. But he still finds the best space to think and create in Ireland, as he has moved his productive design studio even deeper into the peaceful rural depths of the lush Wicklow countryside, where he and his team come forward with frontline designs of all sizes up to super-maxis, designs that win at the top level for racing and style in five continents.

Yet twenty-six years ago, it was quite something - a real leap in the dark - to be the first owner to appreciate this nascent talent. That personal distinction falls to Peter Beamish of Dun Laoghaire, who in 1995 placed the order for a completely new 31ft Mills-designed offshore racer to the then-dominant CHS rule. Peter Beamish was to show an exceptional talent for spotting potential, for in the 21st Century he has been one of the quietly effective supporters of Ronan O Siochru and his sailing school, the remarkably successful Irish Offshore Sailing in Dun Laoghaire. But back in late 1995, it was a Fingal-based boat-building partnership, Mizzen Marine, which he commissioned to build the new boat.

Aztec on her maiden sail at Howth, May 1996. Photo: WM NixonAztec on her maiden sail at Howth, May 1996. Photo: WM Nixon 

Cape 31 in full cry – raceboat design has moved on, but there’s no doubting the family link to Aztec. Photo Rick TomlinsonCape 31 in full cry – raceboat design has moved on, but there’s no doubting the family link to Aztec. Photo Rick Tomlinson

The two main movers in Mizzen Marine were David Harte – now of Fastnet Marine & Outdoor Centre in Schull – and Garrett Connolly, an Olympic crew in the Soling. They drew on the talents of Darragh Peelo and Robin Evans as coal-face workers in this intriguing project, with further input from the multi-talented Johnny Smullen, who subsequently became California-based and the personal boat-builder to America’s Cup legend Dennis Conner.

So in all, with ideas being bounced between designer, builders and owner, it was something of a magic circle that created the boat that was initially known as Aztec, and is now known as Raptor in Dun Laoghaire, where she’s owned and sailed by the FOFC, otherwise known as the Friends of Fintan Cairns.

As Aztec in May 1996, she was a star from the start, winning her first inshore race by a clear 3.5 minutes, and making her big time debut in the Lambay Race before going on to sweep Dublin Bay and the Solent. So with the Lambay Race continuing at the heart of the Wave Regatta (it’s on Saturday June 6th), the appearance of the Cape 31s (and let’s hope Raptor as well) will mark a very special stage in the Mark Mills design career.

Aztec makes her debut – she may have been the first of the line, but she was a thoroughbred from the startAztec makes her debut – she may have been the first of the line, but she was a thoroughbred from the start

History in the making. And Aztec fulfilled all her promised, winning her first race - a short inshore – by 3.5 minutes. Photo: W M. NixonHistory in the making. And Aztec fulfilled all her promised, winning her first race - a short inshore – by 3.5 minutes. Photo: W M. Nixon

And it will show how our concepts about boat purposes have moved on too. Aztec aspired to be a proper offshore racer, with overnight capabilities. But the Cape 31s make no such promises -they’re pure day-sailing sportsboats, and indeed at the moment they’re even exploring the possibilities of a foiling version. Yet the fact that they reflect Aztec’s overall length rings a bell, and there’s no doubting a distant but distinct family relationship in their appearance.

With the post-pandemic rising profile of the Wright Group-sponsored Wave Regatta becoming evident, June 2022 is confirming predictions of being an exceptionally busy month for the offshore brigade. But there’s much more to Wave than Cruiser-Racer competition, and while as already reported in Afloat.ie there has been a remarkable uptake in entries for Classes 0 and 1, with three race areas available. And a user-friendly pick’n’choose programme means there’s every option available from the opportunity to enjoy three days of intense competition to the more traditional choice of simply doing the Lambay Race, which was first sailed in 1904, and continues as a special way of celebrating the existence of a very handsome and unspoilt island only 22 kilometres from Dublin city centre.

Lambay – the perfect unspoilt island, yet it is only 22 kilometres frOm the heart of Dublin city.Lambay – the perfect unspoilt island, yet it is only 22 kilometres frOm the heart of Dublin city.

Howth’s long tradition of One-Design keelboat racing will be much in evidence, for in addition to the locally-rooted Howth 17s of 1898-vintage and the Puppeteer 22s dating from 1978, the Squibs are undergoing one of their number surges in anticipation of the big championship in Kinsale at the end of June, while at the other end of the scale, the Sigma 33s are indicating growing strength, with the Howth-based Insider (Stephen Mullaney and Ian Martin) the current Irish champion.

Post-finish celebration aboard the Irish Champion Sigma 33 Insider after another race win. Photo: Conor LindsayPost-finish celebration aboard the Irish Champion Sigma 33 Insider after another race win. Photo: Conor Lindsay

The peninsular harbour also has a small but potent J/109 flotllla sailing from its marina, including Irish class champion Storm (Pat Kelly, Rush SC) , and they will be on their mettle, as J/109 star Mojito from Pwllheli (Vicky Cox & Peter Dunlop) is already into the mix, and now the class have made Wave a designated event for their Eastern Championship.

The Howth-based J/109s Outrajeous (Richard Colwell) and Storm (Pat Kelly) racing off the Fingal coast. The J/109s have designated the Wave Regatta as their Eastern Championship.The Howth-based J/109s Outrajeous (Richard Colwell) and Storm (Pat Kelly) racing off the Fingal coast. The J/109s have designated the Wave Regatta as their Eastern Championship.

HYC’s own club-owned fleet of J/80s made their impressive 2022 debut with the Irish Universities Keelboat Championship in the last weekend of March (when the weather was much more spring-like than it has been since), and that successful series of 18 sunlit races has inspired college crews to put down their names for charter of J/80s for more of the same.

The HYC fiotilla of J/80s making the best of bright March sunshine during the recent Irish Universities Keelboat Championship. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyThe HYC fiotilla of J/80s making the best of bright March sunshine during the recent Irish Universities Keelboat Championship. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

With normal club racing on the East Coast in full swing before the end of April (DBSC Opening is today week), there’s no doubt that it will take time for the full buzz to manifest itself again, but in Howth there’s an impressive harbour/community effort underway to ensure that Wave is an effective launching pad for the national and international programme, with Howth Harbour Master Captain Harry McLoughlin pulling out all the stops to optimise the port’s potential, while the Michael J Wright Group are joined as sponsors by Fingal County Council, Euro Car Parks, WD 40, Cassidy Travel and CKS Finance.

As for the weather, that’s in the lap of the Gods. But for anyone immersed in the culture and lore of Irish sailing, the prospect of the ancient Howth 17s racing round Lambay as they have done for 118 years in tandem with the presence of the very modern reminders of Mark Mills’ first boat in the same place is profoundly moving.

The Howth 17s Aura and Pauline racing round Lambay - as they have been doing for 118 years. Photo: John DeanThe Howth 17s Aura and Pauline racing round Lambay - as they have been doing for 118 years. Photo: John Dean

Published in W M Nixon

With less than two months to go before the first races in this year‘s Wave Regatta in Howth, entry levels across all classes reflect the pent-up demand for top class sailing events and anticipation of a return to near-normality from sailors around the country and beyond.

The Class One start-line might be one of the largest ever seen in Ireland. No doubt encouraged by the provision of deep-water berthing in Howth’s inner harbour, owners of these deepest-keeled racing boats have been quick to recognise the opportunity to enter and join a highly competitive racing fleet for the first time in many years.

In tandem with the rapidly-populating entry sheet, International Race Officer David Lovegrove and his team are building their race course plans to cater for the demands of both the large IRC fleet and one-design keelboat classes including Sigma 33s, J/24s, J/80s and 1720s as well as indigenous local classes such as Puppeteers, Squibs and Howth 17s.

Many J/24s will plan to use the event as an ‘acclimatisation' for their Easterns and European Championships which will be held in the same waters off Howth in August. This will present Wave Regatta as an attractive option for the many young teams including the vibrant Under-25 cohort that are enjoying superb growth in that class this year. The ‘youth’ theme will be further buoyed by the recent move to include some of the university sailing teams within the J/80 Class for the regatta.

Teams trailering yachts to the event (including sports boats) are being encouraged to enter as soon as possible so that trailer storage during the event can be efficiently accommodated. See notice of race for crane arrangements.

Wave regatta

The shoreside experience is also growing in ambition and Wave Regatta’s entertainment co-ordinator Grace McAleese explains: ‘We’ve been thrilled to benefit from the generous support from sponsors Fingal County Council, Michael J Wright Group, Euro Car Parks, WD40, Cassidy Travel and the recent addition of CKS Finance. This allows us to create a shoreside experience that breaks boundaries - even for such a major sailing event. We can’t wait to present the full weekend of entertainment and hospitality’.

Full details and online entry are available here

Published in Wave Regatta

Q – What is 18 + 15? A – XX of course! The arrival of a new First 50, Checkmate XX into Howth Yacht Club will see the crews of Nigel Biggs’ Checkmate XVIII joining forces with Dave Cullen’s Checkmate XV crew.

Biggs and Cullen first sailed together on John Biggs’ MGRS34 Checkmate over 30 years ago and they have been lifelong friends ever since racing together on various boats. More recently, Biggs’ interest in racing half tonners was contagious with the two friends racing against each other for the last few years on the two Checkmates.

As they came out of the pandemic, both realised that age was "rapidly catching up with them" and that perhaps the time had come "to sail something with a few more creature comforts and a proper tea set".

While Nigel’s Checkmate XVIII has found a new owner in Howth, Cullen is keeping Checkmate XV where he will try to retain his title at the Half Ton Cup in Cowes in August, whilst the crews will race separately at the forthcoming WAVE regatta in Howth before they come together for a number of events, including the Round Ireland, Kingstown/Queenstown, ISORA, Cork Week and of course Greystones Regatta amongst others.

Nigel Biggs commented “Covid has highlighted the importance of making the most out of each day and the privileged lives we have. There is little better than being able to share these experiences with lifelong friends. I look forward to continuing to help Dave learn about the sport I love and live in hope that one day he may eventually be able to call himself a sailor too.”

Recently appointed ICRA Commodore, Cullen commented “I have spent many years weaning Nigel over to the Irish way of doing things and look forward to sailing together for many more years to come! He is a great advocate and reminder that you should always sail with someone worse than you to make you look better. He frequently reminds that sailing with your friends is a far better prize than any trophy on a cabinet (although he does actually have a few of those)!”

Afloat predicts the banter will continue…

Published in Howth YC

The last weekend of March in Ireland is usually not noted for an almost-dangerous amount of highly-radiated sunshine and light breezes. But Race Officer Scorie Walls had to cope with both at Howth in putting through the full 18-race programme for the Irish Universities Sailing Association Keelboat Nats in the HYC J/80s over the two days, a pair of days when she skillfully chose the race areas where the fitful-enough breeze might be expected to fill in with most vigour.

Mad March day at Howth? Early morning calm, and a welcome tow to the race area. The only evidence that this isn’t mid-July is the Howth Boat Club fleet still in winter quarters on the East Pier. Photo: Emmet DaltonMad March day at Howth? Early morning calm, and a welcome tow to the race area. The only evidence that this isn’t mid-July is the Howth Boat Club fleet still in winter quarters on the East Pier. Photo: Emmet Dalton

Thanks to the pandemic lockdowns and the fact that the series is usually scheduled for this last weekend of March, it was 2019 which saw the last staging of this usually annual event. But despite lockdowns, the Irish third level education scene has been developing so rapidly during the three years since that the winners in 2019, Cork Institute of Technology skippered by Harry Durcan, no longer exists. It is now just the Cork Campus of the Munster Technological University, whose other main centre is in Tralee in County Kerry.

Race On – some crews were still slightly rusty after the long lay-off. Photo: Emmet DaltonRace On – some crews were still slightly rusty after the long lay-off. Photo: Emmet Dalton

In an age of acronyms, the greatest care is need in selecting the name for a new umbrella organization, and although the Munster University of Technology might have more accurately described the new setup, nobody at either centre wanted to attend MUT, while in Tralee they’d been thanking their lucky stars for years that it had been called IT Tralee, when it might so easily have been the acronymic disaster of Tralee Institute of Technology. So, MTU it has become.

As each day’s breeze developed, the racing sharpened. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyAs each day’s breeze developed, the racing sharpened. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

That’s more like it…. On Day 2, some cobwebs needed blowing away Photo: Annraoi BlaneyThat’s more like it…. On Day 2, some cobwebs needed blowing away Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Be that as it may, even after three years it still seemed to be Cork Institute of Technology by any other name successfully defending the title as MTU, and with the same skipper too – HYC’s Emmet Dalton takes up the tale:

“Munster Technological University was crowned the Western Yacht & Small Craft Services IUSA Keelboat Champion 2022 during a weekend of glorious sunshine in Howth.

Skipper Harry Durcan and his team Ronan Cournane, Mark Murphy, Morgan McKnight and Charlie Moloney topped their Saturday qualifying group only 2 points ahead of nearest rivals TCD. Some “Interesting” spinnaker hoists and drops made sure that the dominance of some crews upwind was frequently equalised downwind.

“The great equalizers” – some crews found that advantages smoothly gained to windward soon disappeared when the coloured cloth came into the equation, but all quickly learned that having the transom clear of the water offwind in light airs is essential. Photo: Emmet Dalton“The great equalizers” – some crews found that advantages smoothly gained to windward soon disappeared when the coloured cloth came into the equation, but all quickly learned that having the transom clear of the water offwind in light airs is essential. Photo: Emmet Dalton

“Nose down, tail up - it’s the only way to fly….” Photo: Annraoi Blaney“Nose down, tail up - it’s the only way to fly….” Photo: Annraoi Blaney

By the close of business on Sunday, however, MTU had an impressive lead of 12 points over second-placed UCD, with TCD 2 points further behind. Yet that scoreline belied the closeness of the competition, with a number of races decided by hairs’ breadths.
Principal Race Officer Scorie Walls and her ever-professional team ran eighteen races over two days. The Daylight Savings Time change was not the main reason for some teams’ late start on Sunday morning, but cobwebs were soon dusted off and races 2 – 8 were close affairs.

“Done to a turn” – after two days of unremitting sunshine, the Race Team were burnt-out cases. Photo: Emmet Dalton“Done to a turn” – after two days of unremitting sunshine, the Race Team were burnt-out cases. Photo: Emmet Dalton

Hot stuff at close quarters. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyHot stuff at close quarters. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Thanking the title sponsor Western Yacht & Small Craft Services, Rear Commodore Larry Quinn paid tribute to the many volunteers including the mark layers led by Principal Mark Layer (and Commodore of Foynes YC) John Paul Buckley, who travelled all the way from Ardagh in County Limerick, home place of legendary voyager Conor O’Brien.

As for the ever-useful J/80s which in Howth are under the overall care of Kieran Jameson, J/80s bos’uns Brian McDowell and Paul Newport received special praise and thanks, as did support boat skipper David Jones and umpires Cxema Pico and Emmet Dalton.

The advice and assistance of the IUSA committee (David Carberry, Johnny Durcan, Niamh Doran and Robbie Dix) ensured that Howth provided what the competitors wanted from the championship.

HYC’s J80 fleet - the purchase of which was aided by a Sports Capital Grant in 2017 - continues to provide an ideal platform for quality racing and training. Maintaining and equalising five boats to this standard is only possible through the longterm volunteer efforts of the already-mentioned Kieran Jameson, and his other colleagues including Gerry and David Sargent.”

“So who needs Barcelona?” To get blues of this depth, you’d normally expect to be off Saint-Tropez in July, rather than Howth in March. Photo: Annraoi Blaney“So who needs Barcelona?” To get blues of this depth, you’d normally expect to be off Saint-Tropez in July, rather than Howth in March. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Published in Howth YC

Time was when the Student Yachting Worlds in France was quite the thing, and never more so than in October 2008 when National Universities Champion Nin O’Leary of Cork Institute of Technology won it for Ireland from a very international field. But as it’s “run by students for students” through the Paris Polytech, it has had a very uneven history for what should be a major world event, as the rapid turnover of Parisian college sailors and their club officers does not always provide the most solid administrative continuity.

Nevertheless, for the Irish Universities, it provided double value in its good times, as each year the Irish representative squad was simply the winner of the IUSA Keelboat Nationals. Thus even if there were glitches in the staging of the Worlds, the team from Ireland were already garlanded in the honour of the national title.

But with the uneven spread of the pandemic leading to major international sailing events being under total lockdown in different countries at different times, it has actually been three clear years since the Irish Universities Sailing Association Keelboat Nationals have been held, as the Worlds went into abeyance and are still in some sort of limbo.

In these weird circumstances, the best solution is simply to resume where they left off back in March 2019 at Howth as though the lost years never happened, with ten teams returning to race the HYC flotilla of J/80s on March 26th & 27th, and with Scorie Walls resuming her role as Race Officer.

If acronyms are your thing, then you can revel in all this, as the full preview of the event is summed up by stating that on 26-27 March 2022, HYC will be hosting the WY&SMS IUSA Nats 2022 for UCCx2, CITx2, UCD, TUD, DCU, NUIG, QUB & TCD.

IUSA sponsors 2022IUSA sponsors 2022

The elucidation of all that is that the Howth Yacht Club-hosted Western Yacht & Small Craft Surveyors-sponsored Irish Universities Sailing Association Keelboat Nationals for 2022 will see racing by two teams from University College Cork, two teams from Cork Institute of Technology, and teams from University College Dublin, Technological University Dublin (formerly DIT, alma mater of sailing legend Gordon Maguire), Dublin City University. National University of Ireland Galway, Queens University Belfast, and Trinity College Dublin.

In terms of college life and sport, a gap of three years is forever. But for those who are interested in pre-history, the word is that back in March 2019 in increasingly brisk winds, the winners were CIT with Harry Durcan as helm and Grattan Roberts as tactician with crew of Ewan O’Keeffe, Mark Murphy, and Morgan Knight. But it was a close run if very Corkonian thing, as they beat UCC by just one point.

 After a ferociously-fought final in a rising March wind, UCC lost by only one point. After a ferociously-fought final in a rising March wind, UCC lost by only one point.

Published in Howth YC
Tagged under

After a week of intimidating forecasts threatened the hosting of the annual Howth YC Round the Island race sponsored by Key Capital, writes Neil Murphy, Saturday, March 12th delivered a welcome morning weather window of warm sunlight and a nice sailing breeze, although the big winds promised for the afternoon were indicated by a clear blue sky to the east contrasting with increasing greyness overhead to the west. The 43 boats entered, with a Portsmouth Yardstick fleet competing for the first time, took to the water to enjoy a ‘warm-up’ race before the main event produced a high speed spin around the Island under still-blue skies.

The clear blue sky to the eastward beyond Ian & Judith Malcolm’s 1915-vintage Water Wag Barbara………..The clear blue sky to the eastward beyond Ian & Judith Malcolm’s 1915-vintage Water Wag Barbara………..

……..contrasted with the ominously greying sky to the west.……..contrasted with the ominously greying sky to the west.

The Round Ireland’s Eye Race is the traditional conclusion to the HYC Laser Frostbite Series, now closing in on its 50th anniversary this Autumn. Over that time, the names of the sailors have changed and Lasers are now titled ILCAs, but the racers’ enthusiasm for the challenges of winter dinghy sailing remains a constant. For the first time, 2022 saw an invite being issued to the broader dinghy sailing fraternity to compete in a PY handicap event and not alone test their racing skills but their ability to assess the likely wind and tide implications of a clockwise or anti-clockwise rounding of the island.

“We’ve been at it all winter” - ILCAs going about their business. Photo: Harry Gallagher“We’ve been at it all winter” - ILCAs going about their business. Photo: Harry Gallagher

Despite the weather threat in the lead-up, 16 boats of various types took up the PY offer to provide a Boat Show Afloat with the Class entry list including some high tech modern racing dinghies such as RS Aeros (both 5 and 7 rigs), RS 600 and RS 800, the 1950s and ’60s era GP14, and 420 Classes along with a Water Wag and six IDRA 14s representing the more traditional clinker-built (or lapstrake-moulded) end of the dinghy racing spectrum.

A wide range of Clubs in PY was represented with Greystones, National YC, RStGYC, Skerries SC and Malahide YC figuring, while Clontarf’s six strong IDRA 14 fleet, along with their Laser entries, provided the biggest representation from a visiting Club. The Laser fleet also saw a turnout from around the country with boats from Monkstown Bay, Royal Cork, Rush, Lough Ree, Wexford Harbour and Blessington joining the home fleet.

“A Boat Show Afloat” – it’s not often that you’ll see a Water Wag and IDRA 14s sharing a starting line with an RS Aero. Photo: Harry Gallagher“A Boat Show Afloat” – it’s not often that you’ll see a Water Wag and IDRA 14s sharing a starting line with an RS Aero. Photo: Harry Gallagher

The event format is simple - a short Windward Leeward Race to get the competitors afloat and finalising their race strategy for the ‘big one’, followed by the RTI itself. The 6 – 8 knot breeze that welcomed the fleet to Howth Sound belied the 18 - 23 knot southerly on the forecasts but, with the opening act completed and the wind starting to prove the forecast correct, the Round the Island was ready for the off by 11.45. The course layout sees the boats race to a windward mark and then back downwind to a turning mark that this year, given the wind direction, had to be left to starboard. Arrival at the turning mark is final decision time for skippers – am I committed to the direction I decided on earlier, is there someone I want to follow or have I made a mess of the race so far and it’s time to do something different from the majority?

Another decision….D.Kirwan of Malahide choosing the offshore route as he rounds the island’s northeast corner at The Stack. Photo: Paddy JudgeAnother decision….D.Kirwan of Malahide choosing the offshore route as he rounds the island’s northeast corner at The Stack. Photo: Paddy Judge

The 15 boat PY Class was first away, followed by the 14 ILCA 7s (formerly Standard) rigs, while the ILCA 5s and 4s shared the third start. By now the breeze was hovering in the high teens and gusty and, despite Low Water not being for another 75 minutes, the tide had already started to flood north, upsetting some of the strategic decisions. Only four boats decided to chance a clockwise rounding and before they had even reached the Stack at the north east corner of the Island, less than half-way around, they were already resigned to 2023 being their next chance of success.

Close under the cliffs the Water Wag and an IDRA 14 find williwaws every which way………….Photo: Paddy JudgeClose under the cliffs the Water Wag and an IDRA 14 find williwaws every which way………….Photo: Paddy Judge

……while the newest IDRA 14 – communally built in CY & BC – seems to find the island’s cliffs overbearing after the wide open spaces of her home waters. Photo: Paddy Judge……while the newest IDRA 14 – communally built in CY & BC – seems to find the island’s cliffs overbearing after the wide open spaces of her home waters. Photo: Paddy Judge

In the anti-clockwise fleet, the RS800 of Mike Evans and Shane Hughes (HYC) streaked away but the broad reach up the east of the Island in the left-over sea from the week’s gales saw them horizontal a few times - not a good move for the scratch boat in a handicap fleet. Capsizes were frequent along the east side of the Island as the fleet broad reached on the gusty breeze, now occasionally hitting 23 knots, but the support craft were on standby to assist and only one boat needed help to return to the harbour. The Water Wag of Ian and Judith Malcolm (NYC/HYC), built in 1915 and sailing in its now-unaccustomed environment of the open sea and sizeable waves, was going well amongst its more youthful timber and GRP opposition.

Veteran Water Wag Barbara among some ILCAs in a real hint of SpringVeteran Water Wag Barbara among some ILCAs in a real hint of Spring.

The ILCA 7s saw a ding-dong battle along the north side of the island as the pathfinder group in the Class, Ronan Wallace (WHBTC), Ronan Kenneally (MBSC), Dan O’Connell (ISA) and Conor Murphy (HYC), tested their decisions on how close to go the lee of the cliffs, the best course to allow the shortest distance to be sailed and how to maximise the advantage from the tide.

After a relatively quick race, helped by the freshening southerly breeze and the flooding tide, the first boat to finish was the twin-trapeze RS 800, which completed the course in 30 minutes and 18 seconds. However, with a PY number of 820 and racing against boats with as high a number as 1281, it would need a big winning margin to get to the top of the list of corrected times.

The Line Honours winning RS 800 (Mike Evans & Shane Hughes). Photo: Paddy JudgeThe Line Honours winning RS 800 (Mike Evans & Shane Hughes). Photo: Paddy Judge

After a great day of sailing providing the top quality racing around the beautiful coast of a spectacular island that the sailors came to enjoy, they came ashore for lunch in HYC followed by the Ireland England rugby match and the prizegiving – happy faces all round. The winners in the ILCA Classes were ILCA 7 – Conor Murphy (HYC), ILCA 5 – Peter Hassett (DBSC) and ILCA 4 – Fiachra Farrelly (HYC).

After the computer had done its stuff, the winner of the PY Class on corrected time saw the Aeros take the top three spots, Roy van Maanen (Greystones SC) first in a 5 rig, just ahead of Daragh Sheridan (HYC) in a 7 with Sarah Dwyer (RStGYC) third in her 5 and pipping the Malcolm’s Water Wag by just 2 seconds. First of the IDRA 14s in the PY Class was Finlay McDonald of Clontarf Y&BC.

Daragh Sheridan’s Aero 7 took second in the PY Class. Photo: Harry GallagherDaragh Sheridan’s Aero 7 took second in the PY Class. Photo: Harry Gallagher

With winter sailing for the HYC dinghy fleet now completed, the next HYC Open Dinghy Event is the long-running Brassed Off Cup on Good Friday, so named because the young participants were originally those peeved at not being invited onto the team for the Easter Optimist Regatta on Lake Braassermeer in the Netherlands many years ago. Nowadays the Brassed Off Cup is the early season ‘must-do’ for juniors in the Dublin area and will be held this year on April 15th, and meanwhile, in the Fingal area on St Patrick’s Day, Malahide YC is hosting an all-comers dinghy regatta, so the new season is properly upon us.

Published in Howth YC
Tagged under

Wave Regatta will return to Howth on June 3-5 this year with a determination to inspire the returning tide of major event sailing in Ireland following two years of pandemic and embracing the inevitable pent-up demand.

Last run in 2018, the timing of this three-day biennial keelboat regatta seems to present racing sailors with an ideal opportunity to return to celebrate the return of major event sailing and long-awaited entertainment.

Built around Howth’s historical Lambay Race, which was first run in 1904, Wave Regatta comprises of three full days of racing with the additional option of Saturday only (Lambay Race) participation for all keelboat classes. The anticipated arrival and inclusion of the new Mills designed ’Cape 31s’ will draw a lot of national and international attention to the event and will be the first opportunity for many to see these Grand Prix racing boats in action.

Best described as a ‘serious racing event wrapped inside a big party’, Wave Regatta is an unmissable experience for sailors as well as for the many visitors that come to Howth for the bank holiday weekend.

Friday’s first gun from Howth Yacht Club’s flagship on June 3rd will not only prepare Ireland’s yacht racing community for 3 days of top quality competition on Fingal’s ideal sailing waters, but it will also confirm the long-awaited return of a weekend full of big regatta hospitality onshore.

Wave Regatta Director Brian TurveyWave Regatta Director Brian Turvey

Full details of Wave Regatta including online entry (with early discount) and the entertainment schedule is available here

One-design keelboat classes that might wish to utilise the opportunity of joining the event should contact the Wave Regatta organising team via the link above.

Published in Wave Regatta
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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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