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Spring was very much in the air - for the time being anyway - as the intriguing selection of boats in a growing fleet took to the water in glorious sunshine in the HYC Dinghy Frostbites on Sunday, with the
prospect of a good morning's racing and leaderboard consolidation top of the agenda.

Race officer Liam Dineen planned for three races: two windward-leewards followed by one all triangles. As the breeze sparked up in Race 2, the support RIB cover was put to work, aiding some unfortunate capsizes on
the runs, so the decision was confirmed to send competitors on a more stable triangular course to close out the day. The breeze was from the west, sharpened with a building flood tide in the sound to push some sailors over the start line.

Out on his own. Daragh Sheridan, with the RS Aero 6, regained his overall lead in the PY division. Photo: HYCOut on his own. Daragh Sheridan, with the RS Aero 6, regained his overall lead in the PY division. Photo: HYC

The PY Fleet turned out in growing strength, with 17 sailors across 9 boat types. Daragh Sheridan (Howth) undoubtedly came away as the winner of the day with race victories in his RS Aero 6, while the GP14s of Sam
Street (Blessington), Alan Blay (Sutton) and Conor Twohig (Sutton) took the remaining podium places for the first two races.

In Race 3, HYC's Fiachra and Cormac Farrelly stormed onto the podium in their "John the Baptist" Melges 15, taking their first third place of the year in HYC's latest doublehanded class, which should be present in strength when the next series comes around. Sheridan regains the lead on the series overall with 12 points, followed closely by Alan Blay on 14, with Sam Street on 30.

Alan Blay's GP14 is two points off the overall lead in the PY Division. Photo: HYCAlan Blay's GP14 is two points off the overall lead in the PY Division. Photo: HYC

BALTIMORE LEADS ILCA 7s

The ILCA 7s had 10 boats on the water, and Rory Lynch of Baltimore showed why he continues to lead the series with a 2, 1, 1 across the races. Race 1 saw an individual recall for Dave Kirwan and Conor Murphy,
who returned and then had to fight their way through the packed fleet. Dan O'Connell (Cove of Cork) stormed into the lead, followed by Lynch and Colm Cunningham (Howh). Race 2 saw another individual recall, this time for Rory Lynch, who fought hard and tenaciously made his way through the fleet, regaining the lead by the end of the six leg race, followed by a photo finish between Murphy and O'Connell. The shift to a triangular course didn't slow Lynch down, and he was joined on the podium by Cunningham and Kirwan, making the most of the fast reaches. Lynch extends his lead on the series (11), followed by Murphy (16) and
O'Connell (22).

Cork's Dave O'Connell with it nicely in hand for the time being on Conor Murphy (Howth) and Dave Kirwan (Malahide) Photo: HYCCork's Dave O'Connell with it nicely in hand for the time being on Conor Murphy (Howth) and Dave Kirwan (Malahide) Photo: HYC

The ILCA 6s were flying once again, in the mix with the ILCA 7s for much of the racing across the day. Ciara McMahon started the day strong with a win in Race 1, followed by Tom Fox (Rush) and Viktor Samoilov. Tom Fox then went on to win the remaining 2 races, followed by McMahon & Peter Hassett in Race 2, then Hassett and Samoilov in Race 3. Fox extends his lead on the series counting just 10 points, with Hassett (18) and Samoilov (21) not far behind. The ILCA 4s saw Oleksandr Bezpalyi take the win over Charlie Power in each of the races, bringing Bezpalyi to the top of the leaderboard.

INCREASING FOCUS ON ISLAND RACE IN MARCH

With two Sundays remaining in the regular Frostbite series, attention will soon shift to the annual Round the Island Race Every-which-way on Saturday, 9th March. With plenty of prizes up for grabs, it's sure to be
a great day on the water followed by a memorable lunch and prizegiving, so be sure to get signed up. Entry is available on www.hyc.ie. Series results are available here.

Spring was very definitely in the air off Howth on Sunday, but there might be a brief return of winter in a day or two. Photo: HYCSpring was very definitely in the air off Howth on Sunday, but there might be a brief return of winter in a day or two. Photo: HYC

Published in Howth YC
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Although some five day forecasts had made any resumption of Howth’s Frostbites seem unlikely, a sudden change of tone and a very welcome weather window arrived over the weekend. After a three-week enforced break, when each named storm had seemed to run into the one ahead while pulling along the one behind, the HYC Dinghy Frostbites resumed regular service on Sunday, 11th February.

With those three weekends missed, the race organisers aimed to complete three races to get the show back on the road. 24 boats across the ILCA and PY fleets hit the water, where they raced in a westerly breeze up to 20 knots, with a strong ebb tide for the sailors to fight against as they headed upwind. Jim Lambkin set fair windward/leeward courses for each of the races.

Darragh Peelo of Malahide in windward action. Despite pessimistic forecasts at mid-week, the weekend weather came goodDarragh Peelo of Malahide in windward action. Despite pessimistic forecasts at mid-week, the weekend weather came good

BALTIMORE, CORK AND HOWTH BATTLE FOR HONOURS

The ILCA 7s saw series leader Rory Lynch (Baltimore) battling with Dan O'Connell (Cove SC) and Conor Murphy (Howth) for podium places in the first two races, with Conor taking a win in the first and Rory taking it in the second. The 3rd race saw a strengthening tide pushing everyone down onto the pin, and an individual recall was signalled, so a number of boats returned to restart.

And why shouldn’t he be smiling? After three close contests on the morning, Rory Lynch of Baltimore SC emerged from Sunday’s racing as the overall leader of the ILCA 7sAnd why shouldn’t he be smiling? After three close contests on the morning, Rory Lynch of Baltimore SC emerged from Sunday’s racing as the overall leader of the ILCA 7s

Conor Murphy didn't return, either being confident he was not OCS or - with a number of his competitors returning to restart – hoping he’d an opportunity to gain some distance on them. He called it right to lead the race, followed by Colm Cunningham (Malahide) and Rory Lynch to round out the podium. Lynch now leads the series overall on 9 points, followed by Murphy (10) and O'Connell (18).

Conor Murphy (Howth) chasing Dan O’Connell (Cove SC) as the February sunshine reached its peakConor Murphy (Howth) chasing Dan O’Connell (Cove SC) as the February sunshine reached its peak

The afternoon cloud starts building over the land to close the weather window, but with their racing still in sunshine, Dan O’Connell (Cove) leads Darragh Peelo (Malahide)The afternoon cloud starts building over the land to close the weather window, but with their racing still in sunshine, Dan O’Connell (Cove) leads Darragh Peelo (Malahide)

ILCA 6 SYMMETRY

The ILCA 6s' results showed some symmetry, as results were the same in the first 2 races, with Tom Fox (Rush SC) followed by Peter Hassett (Dublin Bay SC and Viktor Samoilovs (Howth & Malahide). Their pace was undeniable, making inroads into the usually faster ILCA 7 fleet. The 3rd race saw a shake up in the results, with Peter Hassett claiming victory, followed by Tom and Darragh Peelo. Fox leads the series on 9 points, followed by Samoilovs (15) & Hassett (20).

TRAINING BENEFITS A DUNNE DEAL

The ILCA 4s were on the water early, with many of them taking part in the preliminary training session led by national stars Luke Turvey & Rocco Wright. Harry Dunne seems to be the biggest beneficiary of the training, coming away from the day with a 2, 1, 1. Stan O'Rourke had a great day, following closely with a 1, 2, 2. Oleksandr Bezpalyi and Freddie Doig claimed the remaining podium places for the day. O'Rourke has a healthy lead on the series with 8 points, followed by Oleksandr Bezpalyi (20) and Connor O'Sullivan (24).

A time to stay cool. Alan Blay does the balancing act as his spinnaker-toting GP14 closes in on the lee mark just as a 20-knot gust arrivesA time to stay cool. Alan Blay does the balancing act as his spinnaker-toting GP14 closes in on the lee mark just as a 20-knot gust arrives

The battle between GP14s and RS Aeros continues to rage in the PY Fleet. Daragh Sheridan's RS Aero, and the GP14s of Conor Twohig & Alan Blay(both of Sutton) each had a race win in the hard day. Sam Street's GP14 from the mountains of Blessington rounded out the podium places among the race winners listed, such that Alan Blay holds a narrow lead on the series over Daragh Sheridan, followed by Sam Street in third place.

Coming up from the lee mark, Darragh Sheridan with his RS Aero keeps a brace of GP 14s firmly in placeComing up from the lee mark, Darragh Sheridan with his RS Aero keeps a brace of GP 14s firmly in place

The annual Round the Island Race will take place on Saturday 9th March, followed by an afternoon of prizes, lunch and rugby on the TV in the HYC clubhouse. It's always a great day, entry and NOR will be available on www.hyc.ie shortly.

Full results are available below.

The Annual “frostbite finishing” race round Howth’s island of Ireland’s Eye is scheduled for Saturday March 9th. The traditional event’s USP is that each skipper can choose to go clockwise or anti-clockwiseThe Annual “frostbite finishing” race round Howth’s island of Ireland’s Eye is scheduled for Saturday March 9th. The traditional event’s USP is that each skipper can choose to go clockwise or anti-clockwise

Published in Howth YC
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Howth Yacht Club is set to host the biennial Wave Regatta in May 2024, inviting sailing enthusiasts from Ireland and beyond to compete in a showcase keelboat-racing event.

The three-day regatta welcomes all cruiser-racing class boats competing under current IRC and ECHO handicap ratings, providing an opportunity for seasoned sailors and rising stars to test their mettle against the best competition in Ireland.

As Wave Regatta organiser Brian Turvey told Saturday's ICRA cruiser-racer Conference at Dun Laoghaire, for those who prefer a Saturday-only event, the famous Lambay Races promise exhilarating action on the water and the unique and serene backdrop of Lambay Island. One-design keelboats will join the fray, ensuring a diverse and competitive fleet.

Wave Regatta's prestigious trophyWave Regatta's prestigious trophy

But Wave Regatta isn’t just about keelboat racing; it’s a celebration of all things nautical during the event weekend. There will be opportunities for anyone not competing in the main regatta to learn to stand-up-paddleboard, wing-foil and cheer on rowing competitors as they battle it out on the shore.

The event promises to deliver a legendary three-day party, with an outdoor festival bar serving refreshing drinks and party cocktails, a catering village providing delectable bites all-day, and non-stop music from top bands and DJs, including the incomparable Mark Covell and Howth’s own Vogue Williams.

Party time. Wave Regatta features live performances: Non-stop music to the beat of top bands like Riff Shop and top DJs, including the incomparable Mark Covell and Howth’s own Vogue Williams, spinning tunes that bridge continentsParty time. Wave Regatta features live performances: Non-stop music to the beat of top bands like Riff Shop and top DJs, including the incomparable Mark Covell and Howth’s own Vogue Williams, spinning tunes that bridge continents

Online entry is now open at waveregatta.com, with an early entry discount available, but act swiftly, as time moves fast! 

Wave Regatta is organised by Howth Yacht Club, one of Ireland’s largest and most famous sailing clubs. Since its inception in 2018, Wave Regatta has become a highlight of the Irish sailing calendar, attracting sailors, spectators, and thrill-seekers from Ireland and around the world.

Published in Wave Regatta

In recent years, the large and varied membership of Howth Yacht Club have seen so many major anniversaries come and go – after proper programmes of lively celebration afloat and ashore – that casual observers might expect an element of festival fatigue to be creeping in.

Not a bit of it. Last year may have seen the 125th Anniversary of the unique Howth 17 One Designs, with the highlight being a boisterous Cruise-in-Company to some of the choicest destinations in West Cork. But this year it’s the turn of the ultimate Sailing Secret Society to celebrate forty years as a recognised club class at the peninsular port, which they naturally insist we recognise as being in East Fingal rather than the usual off-hand designation of North Dublin.

For in sailing, there are secret societies, there are top secret societies, there’s the Forbidden City, and then there are the Howth Puppeteer 22s. These manageable little boats-with-a-lid may have originated with designer-builder Chris Boyd of Killyleagh in Strangford Lough in the 1970s. But by 1984 enough of them had found the sailing and racing waters off Howth to be so congenial to their needs and capabilities that the class has just grown and grown, until nowadays most of the Puppeteer 22s in active existence are with this one class in this one location.

Trick or Teat (Alan Pearson & Alan Blay) will be defending her Puppeteer 22 National Champion status during 2024Trick or Teat (Alan Pearson & Alan Blay) will be defending her Puppeteer 22 National Champion status during 2024

A WORLD OF THEIR OWN

And they seldom interact by going anywhere else, for Howth’s sailing area with its two islands of Ireland’s Eye and Lambay is its own maritime universe. But the outside world was given a glimpse into this mini-universe recently with the Puppeteer 22 Annual Dinner and Prize-giving in the HYC clubhouse. It behoves us to publish the official report in its entirety, with the observation that despite being One Design, like the Howth 17s the Puppeteer 22s diligently maintain a parallel handicap division.

BIGGEST KEELBOAT OD CLASS AT HOWTH

“The Dinner marked the start of the celebrations for the fleet’s 40th year as a standalone Class at Howth Yacht Club. During that time the Club’s fleet has grown from its initial four boats to being the biggest one design keelboat fleet at Howth, or indeed any Irish club. The first four were Snowgoose, Sanderling, Gannet and Ibis, three of them still in the same families, and they are still among the fastest in the fleet. It now counts 32 boats afloat with four more in HYC, currently either resting ashore or undergoing refurbs.

Made for each other…..Puppeteer 22s with Ireland’s Eye beyond. Photo: HYCMade for each other…..Puppeteer 22s with Ireland’s Eye beyond. Photo: HYC

2023 saw two additions to the fleet, Ms Emma (B Mohan) making a long journey by road from northern parts, while Pinocchio (J McMahon) made a relatively short but incident packed voyage from its previous abode in Malahide.

EACH BOAT TABULATED

A programme of birthday celebrations is planned for 2024 and the awards night saw it get underway when each boat was presented with an encapsulated sheet featuring a photograph of the boat sailing, and a list of its ownership history and record of successes. Gerry Sargent is ‘Mr Puppeteer’ in Howth YC and his records of each of the 54 boats, which were built in Northern Ireland to Chris Boyd’s design, is an invaluable archive of the history of a unique 32 county story of sailing success. Mary McDyer and Olibhe Ní Bhraonain are sharing the party planning, and the awards night was a fantastic start to the celebrations.

Twenty-four boats took part in Club racing in 2023 and, with 18 afloat on a number of the evenings, competition was keen. The three series over the summer and the short end of season Mini-Series were dominated by Yellow Peril (Murphy/Costello) and Trick or Treat (Pearson/Blay). In the scratch series, each enjoyed two wins and two runner-up positions while, in the handicap events, the four wins went to Odyssey (P&R Byrne), No Strings (T. Harvey) and Gannet (T. Chillingworth) with Blue Velvet (G. Kennedy) and Papagena (K&B Barker) getting on the prize winners’ list as runner-ups. The two Saturday Series were won by Odyssey and by WeyHey (I. Dickson).

Always there or thereabouts – Yellow Peril (Neil Murphy& Con Costello) finished last season on a high. Photo: W M NixonAlways there or thereabouts – Yellow Peril (Neil Murphy& Con Costello) finished last season on a high. Photo: W M Nixon

The undoubted star performer of 2023 was Trick or Treat which, apart from its share of success in Club racing, won the Lambay Races, National Championship and Autumn League to take a clean sweep of the three major Class events of the year. Outgoing Class Captain Paul McMahon thanked the sailors for supporting the Class and Club racing and congratulated the prizewinners. Club racing starts again on April 23rd and competition promises to be fierce with both newcomers and increasingly quick old-timers determined to challenge the 2023 dominance of Trick or Treat.

With plenty of other Puppeteer 22s still racing, particularly in Northern Ireland, the Howth fleet looks forward to welcoming their Classmates this summer to share the celebrations and sample the racing area that so well suits these beautiful and long-lived boats”.

Published in Puppeteers

Celebrations in Argentina on Friday night for Howth Yacht Club's Sienna Wright (15) were well earned as she added to her ILCA 6 medal haul with a silver medal – and the under 17 title, too – on the final day of racing at the 2024 class Youth's Women Fleet of the World Championships at Yacht Club Argentino.

After 12 races sailed and one discard, the Irish youth world bronze medalist had an eight-point margin in the 31-boat fleet to claim the silver prize and, as Afloat reported previously, held second overall going into the final rounds.

Barely a month after taking to the podium at the Youth World Sailing Championships, Ireland's Sienna Wright has won the Under 17 world title as well as the overall silver medal in her ILCA6 class this weekend (Buenos Aires, Argentina Friday 19th January 2024). Photo:  Matias CapizanoBarely a month after taking to the podium at the Youth World Sailing Championships, Ireland's Sienna Wright has won the Under 17 world title as well as the overall silver medal in her ILCA6 class this weekend (Buenos Aires, Argentina Friday 19th January 2024). Photo:  Matias Capizano

On the sixth and final day of the championship, the last races were held with a south wind of approximately 8 to 12 knots.

Italian Maria Vittoria Arseni became the overall champion after sailing consistently well all week. The third-place award went to Italian Ginevra Caracciolo.

The 15-year-old Dubliner included three race wins in her tally (including a standout performance on a penultimate day by winning the first race of the day), but discarding a retiral from race six, so on 25 points, Arseni ended up some 12 points clear at the top.

The Howth sailor delivered a highly consistent 12-race series across the wind range in which she took three bullets and featured in the top six leading boats for most of the event Photo:  Matias CapizanoThe Howth sailor delivered a highly consistent 12-race series across the wind range in which she took three bullets and featured in the top six leading boats for most of the event Photo:  Matias Capizano

Scroll down the results for the girl's division results below.

Published in Howth YC

More than thirty boats hit the water for Week 2 of the post-Christmas Howth YC Dinghy Frostbite series on Sunday morning writes Conor Murphy, when they were met with perfect breezes of 10 knots with some gusts and lulls either side of it, combined with bright sunny skies and a fun-seeking tide switching direction halfway through the day's racing. Race Officer Ronan McDonnell of HYC got the racing underway on time, sending all fleets around windward-leeward courses for both races.

That said, the first attempt at an ILCA start fell foul to a general recall, thanks to both over-eager ILCAs in their growing fleet, and the initial flood tide pushing everyone over the start line. A U flag for subsequent ILCA starts ensured all were much better behaved.

With 2024 being their Golden Jubilee Year at Howth, it is expected the ILCA/Laser fleet will continue to increaseWith 2024 being their Golden Jubilee Year at Howth, it is expected the ILCA/Laser fleet will continue to increase

A museum of Dinghy Racing – GP 14 leader Alan Blay (Howth/Sutton) battling it out with Ryan Cairns (Clontarf) in the 1946 & 1938-originating IDRA 14A museum of Dinghy Racing – GP 14 leader Alan Blay (Howth/Sutton) battling it out with Ryan Cairns (Clontarf) in the 1946 & 1938-originating IDRA 14

The ILCA 7s had 10 sailors on the water, and competition was fierce all across the fleet, with every spot hard fought for. Rory Lynch of Baltimore SC took an early lead in Race 1 and maintained it around the 3 laps, however the remaining 2nd-6th place spots swapped hands multiple times throughout the 40 minute race.

The ILCA in its various forms continues to be the most numerous boat-type – Stan O’Rourke (left, of Malahide) showed why he leads the 4.7s by being up with clubmate Alex Deasy in his ILCA 6The ILCA in its various forms continues to be the most numerous boat-type – Stan O’Rourke (left, of Malahide) showed why he leads the 4.7s by being up with clubmate Alex Deasy in his ILCA 6

Conor Murphy (Howth) ultimately claimed 2nd, while Daragh Kelleher (Skerries) just pipped Dan O'Connell (Monkstown Bay) to take 3rd on the finish line. In Race 2, Dan O'Connell (sporting an interesting video rig on his transom) led from the first windward mark and extended his lead from there, followed by Rory Lynch and Conor Murphy. Rory Lynch leads the fleet in the series, but with 14 more races scheduled and the fleet growing, the leaderboards will no doubt see many changes before the end.

Carla Fegan (Howth) racing in the ILCA6 class.Carla Fegan (Howth) racing in the ILCA6 class

PY FLEET A MARITIME MUSEUM OF DINGHY RACING

The eclectic PY fleet saw yet another new addition this week in the form of the blue-sailed Enterprise, sailed by Kay Cornally of HYC. GP14s continue to dominate the podium places of the PY fleet, claiming 2 of 3 spots in each race. In Race 1, however, Daragh Sheridan's RS Aero of the home fleet claimed victory, closely followed by Sam Street's GP14 down from the Wicklow mountains at Blessington, and in third came Matthew Cotter of Sutton DC, helming The Wrong Trousers after taking a stepping backwards in the boat, as he’s usually crews for Conor Twohig.

Once upon a time, many of us raced Enterprise dinghies. Kay Cornally of Howth keeps the torch aloft, albeit in a glassfibre versionOnce upon a time, many of us raced Enterprise dinghies. Kay Cornally of Howth keeps the torch aloft, albeit in a glassfibre version

Continuing GP14 ding-dong between Sam Street of Blessington (left) and Matthew Cotter of SuttonContinuing GP14 ding-dong between Sam Street of Blessington (left) and Matthew Cotter of Sutton

In Race 2, the GP14s made their way to the front of the fleet, with HYC & Sutton's Alan Blay taking first, followed by the consistent Sam Street, and then Daragh Sheridan. The fleet continues to have a variety of other boats including B14, Melges 15 and IDRA 14 - time will tell which boat and sailors will master the variety of conditions that the series will throw at them over the nine week series, but currently Alan Blay & Hugh McNally's GP14 of Sutton & Howth leads the fleet with 3 points after counting 3 races.

Charlie Robertson’s RS Feva against the classic background of Ireland Eye in its winter coatCharlie Robertson’s RS Feva against the classic background of Ireland Eye in its winter coat

The ILCA 6s had a strong turnout, with eight boats on the water. Viktor Samoilovs (Malahide & Howth 1, 3), Tom Fox (Rush SC, 3,1) and Peter Hassett (Dublin Bay SC:2, 2) were the podium finishers in the two races, but each spot was closely ought for, with Ciara McMahon and Darragh Peelo fighting every inch of the way.

Tom Fox leads the fleet by one point over Viktor Samoilovs. In the ILCA 4s, Stan O'Rourke (Malahide & Howth) continued his run of form with back to back wins, followed by Connor O'Sullivan and Charlie Power in that order in each race. Stan leads the series with 3 points from 3 races counted.

How’s the local economy? Try counting the active tower cranes. Jeremy Beshoff and Declan McManus in the B14 speeding towards the re-development of Howth’s old Techrete site to become the new up-market Claremont Apartments.How’s the local economy? Try counting the active tower cranes. Jeremy Beshoff and Declan McManus in the B14 speeding towards the re-development of Howth’s old Techrete site to become the new up-market Claremont Apartments

Full results are available below, there are 7 weekends left in the series, followed by the annual Round the Island Race and prize-giving lunch in March 9th.

BRASS MONKEYS

The Cruiser-Racers, having poked their noses out into the ocean on New Year’s Day, are taking most of January off in order to allow their very varied personnel the time to go ski-ing or head down to South Africa to check out their vineyards and diamond mines, nevertheless we’re assured they’ll be resuming their Brass Monkeys series on January 28th to continue until March 2nd, and the entry list is still open.

Published in Howth YC

The post-Christmas series of Howth YC's ever-expanding Dinghy Frostbites began on Sunday, 7th January, under light but bright conditions to kick off everyone's year. With the very celebratory Achievers Awards party in the clubhouse the night before, not all who had entered for the nine weekends appeared on this first sunny but decidedly crisp and sometimes rainbow-blessed January morning, as some absences were also away ski-ing - piste and off-piste, as you might say.

Nevertheless, 23 boats made it out to the start line, where the race management team, led by Liam Dineen, sent the fleets out on a windward leeward course for both races. Light winds of 3-6 knots, shifting between 210-260 degrees made for some snakes and ladders around the course, with the added challenge of an ebb tide coming against and across the fleet as they made their way upwind. Both races were shortened to two laps instead of the usual 3.

It was “as you were” with the ILCA 7s, with Rory Lynch of Baltimore leading from Conor Murphy of Howth and Tom Fox (ILCA 6) of Rush thirdIt was “as you were” with the ILCA 7s, with Rory Lynch of Baltimore leading from Conor Murphy of Howth and Tom Fox (ILCA 6) of Rush third

In the ILCA 7s, Rory Lynch of Baltimore SC continued his winning ways following a pre-Christmas series win, and took 1st in the first race of the day, unchallenged after a great start and first beat. Dave Kirwan (Malahide) fought his way through the pack on the second upwind to claim second, while fellow MYC sailor Colm Cunningham took third.

In the Race 2 of the day, Conor Murphy of the host club led the fleet for the first lap, but Rory Lynch didn't take it lying down, and slowly but surely closed the gap over the following lap. While the two used to race together in UCD team racing, on Sunday they were trading blows with each other around the final few hundred metres of the course, with Murphy just about sneaking the win. Dan O'Connell of Cove SC took third.

“I am their leader, which way did they go?” Alan Blay (Sutton) in his GP14 in the PY Fleet and Viktor Samoilov (Malahide & Howth) in the ILCA 6s aiming at different targets“I am their leader, which way did they go?” Alan Blay (Sutton) in his GP14 in the PY Fleet and Viktor Samoilov (Malahide & Howth) in the ILCA 6s aiming at different targets

TIGHT LEADERBOARD IN ILCA 6s

The ILCA 6s see a packed leaderboard after the first 2 races, with 4 sailors on equal points in the form of Tom Fox (Rush SC) Ciara McMahon (Howth), Darragh Peelo (Malahide) and Viktor Samoilov (Malahide). With more entrants set to return in weeks to come, it will be all to play for as the fleet expands and the discards kick in.

In the ILCA 4s, Stan O'Rourke and Oleksandr Bezpalyi traded first and second in each race, and Conor O'Sullivan took 3rd in both. Stan leads the fleet on countback. The junior ILCA 4 and 6 sailors are continuing to benefit from frequent training led by the HYC coaches of Luke Turvey and Rocco Wright.

PY FLEET DIVERSITY

The PY class continues to show its diversity, with an IDRA 14 entered by Ryan Cairns of Clontarf joining the fleet for this series. An Enterprise dinghy has also entered and will be on the water in the weeks to come, so with a B14 and at least one Melges 15 in the fleet along with the GP14s, it will be like a living history of two-person dinghy racing.

 Two-boat Champion. Alan Blay of Sutton & Howth is current Puppeteer 22 National Championship, and he has taken a title or three in the GP 14s, seen here crewed by Hugh McNally on is way to success on Sunday Two-boat Champion. Alan Blay of Sutton & Howth is current Puppeteer 22 National Championship, and he has taken a title or three in the GP 14s, seen here crewed by Hugh McNally on is way to success on Sunday

While Daragh Sheridan's RS Aero is a frequent race winner in the PY fleet, he had to settle for a second and a third in the day's racing, as the light weather, windward-leeward racing didn't suit him as much as it did the symmetrical GP14 and IDRA 14.

Alan Blay and Hugh McNally in their GP14 made their return to the series with a bang, taking two bullets. Ryan Cairns' IDRA 14 and Daragh Sheridan traded second and third in each race. Jeremy Beshoff's B14 took line honours in both races, but was fourth in both races after handicaps applied.

Blast from the past. Ryan Cairns of Clontarf racing the “plastic fantastic” IDRA 14, whose design origins go back to 1946 and even 1938Blast from the past. Ryan Cairns of Clontarf racing the “plastic fantastic” IDRA 14, whose design origins go back to 1946 and even 1938

The series runs for eight more weekends, and will be followed by the annual Round the Island Race, a staple of the dinghy calendar, attracting sailors from all over to determine who can make their way around Ireland's Eye the fastest. Full results are below and more entries to the series are still encouraged and made welcome through the HYC website.

 Some places had magic weather on Sunday, and Howth was one of them. The pink asymmetric is Jeremy Beshoff’s B14, but like the Melges 15, she found that the symmetricals did best on the day Some places had magic weather on Sunday, and Howth was one of them. The pink asymmetric is Jeremy Beshoff’s B14, but like the Melges 15, she found that the symmetricals did best on the day

Published in Howth YC
Tagged under

What with the lockdowns and other upsets to the regular progression of sailing life, three years have passed since Howth Yacht Club has been able to make a thorough-going job of hosting its annual winter-time Achievers Awards ceremony. But all that was put right with the bonus of being able to banish any post-festive blues as well on the Twelfth Day of Christmas, January 6th, which very obligingly was last Saturday.

Yet on the evening, instead of the usual sense of winding down, the mood was decidedly and even boisterously upbeat for the very good if slightly crazy reason that some of the most important awardees were away, furthering their careers on international competition in the Southern Hemisphere. In other words, it was as much about the anticipation of major success in 2024 as the recollection of it in 2023, and organiser Jill Sommerville of HYC puts it in perspective:

CELEBRATING IN STYLE

“HYC provided celebration with style for its 2023 Achievers Awards on Saturday, with the presentation of awards in nine categories. The event was sponsored by Celtic Candles, and each of the 38 nominees received a gift from the sponsor.

Commodore Neil Murphy and families who donated the Trophies were on hand for the presentations before a full house of members.
The standard of sailors in HYC is now so high at the top level that among the 38 nominees across the nine categories, there are two current World Champions, three European Champions, and five National Champions.

New HYC members Michael Hennessy, Kay Cornally and Carol Cribbin were tops of the voting for the Sunshine Radio TrophyNew HYC members Michael Hennessy, Kay Cornally and Carol Cribbin were tops of the voting for the Sunshine Radio Trophy

The Silver Fox Trophy which is donated by the Kelly family for those who excelled in racing cruising or organisation. This winner was Ross McDonald who retained the 1720 European Championships in Rope Dock Atara with five race wins out of nine races, and then added second place in the Irish Nationals to his record for 2023.

SUPER-HOT JUNIOR COMPETITION

The next award was the Seaward Bell donated and presented by Kevin Darmody to a Junior who excelled in open events at home or abroad. This is always a very competitive category as Howth has so many international Juniors and the members Voted for Harry Dunne for his Optimist Achievements, having won the Irish Youth Nationals in Howth last April as well as the Optimist Class Leinster, Munster and National titles. He represented Ireland at the Optimist Worlds in Spain in 2023. Harry has now moved into the ILCA 4 and Howth looks forward to following his sailing career.

Geraldine Dunne receives the Seaward Bell from Kevin Darmody on behalf of her champion sailing son Harry, who was “away on international sailing business”Geraldine Dunne receives the Seaward Bell from Kevin Darmody on behalf of her champion sailing son Harry, who was “away on international sailing business”

After this award, a question and answer session was held with Sienna Wright to hear all about her recent bronze medal at the ILCA Youth World Championships in Brazil and her future plans.

The next award was the GM Trophy presented by General Manager of HYC Aideen Doran. This trophy is presented annually to the junior sailor who enhances the spirit of HYC. It was a closely fought contest between three fantastic juniors, Dan Cullen, Sam McQuade and Zara DeNeve with Zara coming out as the recipient of this award. She won the award for many reasons including her charm, consideration to other sailors and most definitely her undeniable spirit distinguished her and her ability to get others involved in having fun while sailing was well appreciated by both her instructors and peers.

Both are top awardees - Zara DeNeve and Brian TurveyBoth are top awardees - Zara DeNeve and Brian Turvey

BOAT OF THE YEAR

Boat of the Year Trophy was fought between Bite the Bullet, Checkmate, Delginis and Outrageous all of which had an outstanding record of achievements through 2023. The Howth 17 Delginis was voted by the HYC membership as “Boat of the Year” – well done to the Massey Family and other owners who not only partook in the historic rounding of the Fastnet Rock last summer but also were overall winner in the 83 boat fleet that took part in the monday.com Autumn League, winning its own Class by an eight point margin.

Ace helm Mikey Toomey (centre) thinks that the 1907-built Howth 17 Deilginis becoming the HYC Boat of Year 2023 is a matter for Zen-like contemplation, but Commodore Murphy (left) and Nick Massey (right, who rescued the boat from dereliction 51 years ago) reckon it’s something to be cheerful aboutAce helm Mikey Toomey (centre) thinks that the 1907-built Howth 17 Deilginis becoming the HYC Boat of Year 2023 is a matter for Zen-like contemplation, but Commodore Murphy (left) and Nick Massey (right, who rescued the boat from dereliction 51 years ago) reckon it’s something to be cheerful about

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

For Volunteer of the Year, seven names were proposed as going above and beyond for HYC in 2023. HYC is lucky in that it is supported by over 150 volunteers throughout the season who wore tirelessly to keep the club running. Many of the nominees have played unseen but crucial roles to make HYC the best sailing club in the country. The nominees included, David O’Shea who captained the Howth 17 class and all their events in this important year of their 125 anniversary, Kieran Barker for his role in leading the race results team, Kieran Jameson for his ongoing commitment to managing all the HYC club boats, Michael Pearn for his work with new members, Robert Orr for his tireless work getting all the club racing teams & rosters in place. The winners of this category were Susan Kavanagh and Sarah Toomey for the fantastic work they have done for their organisation, development and leadership of the Cruising Group. Susan and Sarah are jointly the driving force ensuring that the Cruising Group members have a full programme of lectures, social events, cruises and 'armadas' and have access to the experience of their fellow members in all things nautical. They have also created a pathway to get newcomers out sailing and then building their experience afloat.

The Sailing Instructor of the Year award went to newcomer Bharat Mohan for his competency and example that he set among the instructors.

 Introducing the many beginners or basic sailors who improve their skills at Howth Yacht Club is a challenge for an impressive team, and it was reckoned that in 2023, Bhorat Mohan (above with Commodore) was the Sailing Instructor of the Year Introducing the many beginners or basic sailors who improve their skills at Howth Yacht Club is a challenge for an impressive team, and it was reckoned that in 2023, Bhorat Mohan (above with Commodore) was the Sailing Instructor of the Year

The Murphy family were on hand to present the Cliona Murphy Memorial Trophy for an Adult sailor who represents and enhances the spirit of HYC sailing. The nominees in this category were Brian Turvey, Gerry O’Neill, Gerry Sargent and Maureen Muir. The members chose Brian Turvey as the 2023 winner for all the work his does in HYC for the K25 squad, MC at events, his brilliant social event photography, his commitment to Wave Regatta and his support on the social media front, all of which really are only a fraction of what Brian does for HYC.

TWO NEW CATEGORIES

The last two awards are new categories, new member of the year and International Sailor of the year.

The Sunshine Radio Trophy was presented to Carol Cribbin one of 3 nominated new members who really got into the spirit of all that HYC has to offer and embraced so many of the clubs activities from cruising, racing, day-skipper courses, mahjong, rowing, paddle boarding and she will be skippering one of the charter boats in next summer's Cruising Group flotilla in Greece. She is a great example of how quickly a new member who is prepared to try everything can settle into HYC and become part of its life.

The Sunshine Radio Trophy was presented to Carol CribbinThe Sunshine Radio Trophy was presented to Carol Cribbin

Finally, the new category of International Trophy is for a HYC sailor who excelled internationally (eg. Olympic / Worlds / Europeans). This trophy was donated by Pat and Olivia Murphy Circumnavigators and presented by Pat. As Howth has a number of seriously competitive international sailors the nominee group was made up of Olympic hopefuls in the Laser class, brother and sister Eve and Ewan McMahon, 49ers Robert Dickson & Sean Waddilove, Paul McMahon and Sam O’Byne all with an amazing set of international Achievements in 2023. The winner of the International Trophy was Eve McMahon, but as Eve is away in Argentina at the ILCA Worlds, we have the photo at top taken earlier at the height of Christmas”.

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In other areas, it seemed that if gales weren't dominating the scene, then it was storms instead. But at Howth on the ultra-grey morning after the clear sunrise of New Year's Day, they'd to wait for some wind before the ILCA 7s and others - including Brass Monkey Series cruisers - had the first races of the Laser/ILCA Golden Jubilee Year at the busy Fingal port. Cheerfully ignoring superstition, thirteen dinghies turned out for Howth's long running annual New Year's Day race, allowing the winter centreboard sailors to dust off the cobwebs and start 2024 as they mean to go on.

The New Year's Day racing is a standalone event to bridge the gap until the post-Christmas series kicks off on Sunday 7th January writes Conor Murphy. The ILCA 7s, 6s and a range of PY classes of RS Aeros, GP14, B14 and a visiting 420 were represented on the water, raceing around a triangular course, set by the race officer team led by HYC Commodore Neil Murphy. Conditions began with a light wind which built over the duration of the race, giving competitors a rare sailable gap in the recent stormy weather, with everyone snug in the clubhouse when the afternon rain set in for real.

Colm Cunningham led the ILCA 7s all the way around the course, followed closely by Conor Murphy, who couldn't quite close the gap to the leader. Xander Mackay and Jamie Staunton rounded out the finishers in the ILCA 7s. The ILCA 6s saw Peter Hassett leading the fleet, even keeping up with the ILCA 7s while keeping other ILCA6s firmly at bay to take the win for the day's racing.

 ILCA7 winner Colm Cunningham slipping along nicely with a neat demonstration of proper light breeze downwind boat crew-weight trim. Photo: Neil Murphy ILCA7 winner Colm Cunningham slipping along nicely with a neat demonstration of proper light breeze downwind boat crew-weight trim. Photo: Neil Murphy

In the PY class, HYC's Jeremy Beshoff & Declan McManus stormed ahead in their B14, taking line honours in the competitive fleet by over three minutes. However, once the PY handicaps were applied, it was Daragh Sheridan's RS Aero that took first place. GP14 The Wrong Trousers (Conor Twohig & Matt Cotter) took second place, followed very closely by the visiting 420 from Malahide, helmed by Cora McNaughton - they were only ten seconds behind on corrected time, a very competitive showing for their first race in the HYC winter racing. New classes are always welcome to come take part in the dinghy racing, it's great to see the range of classes continue to expand.

The B14 was unbeatable on scratch, but the application of PY saw an RS Aero take the honoursThe B14 was unbeatable on scratch, but the application of PY saw an RS Aero take the honours

POST-CHRISTMAS FROSTBITE SERIES TO RUN FOR NINE WEEKENDS

The post-Christmas series kicks off on Sunday 7th January (enter through HYC website). Racing promises to be as good as ever, all ILCA and PY classes are welcome and encouraged to take part over the 9 weekend series in the run up to the annual Round the Island Race on 9th March.

If it's not on your class's calendar for 2024, be sure to reach out to HYC to enquire about taking part.

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A week ago, the Howth Yacht Club Frostbite multi-dinghy racers were pinching themselves to be sure that they really did manage to slip a race in under the radar, despite the rest of the country being battened down in threatened or actual storm conditions, with Leitrim in particular taking it on the chin with tornadoes.

As a reward, for the final day yesterday (Sunday) they were gifted with unseasonably mild weather, flashes of sunlight, and a good racing sou’westerly which enabled HYC Commodore Neil Murphy as the race officer (and ace photographer) to provide them with three short sharp races to bid farewell to the 2023 season on a high note for the MG Motor Sailing Club of the Year 2023.

In 2024, Howth YC’s Lasers and their Frostbites will be celebrating their Golden Jubilee - many of the buildings on the shoreline here weren’t built when it all startedIn 2024, Howth YC’s Lasers and their Frostbites will be celebrating their Golden Jubilee - many of the buildings on the shoreline here weren’t built when it all started

Yet in the the days leading up to this final competition of the Pre-Christmas series, the range of forecast models provided a variety of predictions about the wind conditions to be expected come the time of the first gun.

BALANCING THE ODDS IN FORECASTS OF EIGHT TO 38 KNOTS

The choice spanned from eight to 32 knots (writes Conor Murphy), but thankfully the more moderate breezes prevailed, although the fleet still had to contend with gusts of up to 28 knots during the first race. With some of the earlier races in the Series having been casualties of the weather, HYC’s Commodore Murphy, moonlighting as race officer for the day, squeezed in three races over a triangular course with a windward-leeward middle lap, and course-setting options usefully increased by a flooding Spring tide steadily expanding the race area west of Howth Harbour and Ireland’s Eye, while usefully sharpening the wind-against-tide breeze when any lulls arrived.

Aero ace Daragh Sheridan has oodles of high water space as he tacks towards the ancient fishing port of Baldoyle along what would - at low water – be a winding sandy channelAero ace Daragh Sheridan has oodles of high water space as he tacks towards the ancient fishing port of Baldoyle along what would - at low water – be a winding sandy channel

The race management team got the course and start lines laid quickly - and adjusted as needed, to both keep the legs properly aligned – thereby keeping the sailors (not to mention the mark layers) busy and warm. The immediate turn-around from one race to the next saw all three concluded and the sailors back ashore within two hours of the first gun, helped by the fleets getting away first time in all the races, despite the enthusiasm of some over-eager starters earning themselves the undiluted joy of individual recalls.

 There were many days in the “summer” of 2023 that weren’t as good as this. Conor Twohig and Matthew Cotter of Howth and Sutton with the GP14 Wrong Trousers taking their 2023 sailing farewell in style at Howth on Sunday There were many days in the “summer” of 2023 that weren’t as good as this. Conor Twohig and Matthew Cotter of Howth and Sutton with the GP14 Wrong Trousers taking their 2023 sailing farewell in style at Howth on Sunday

TIGHT BATTLES FOR TOP PLACES

The scoreboards for each of the fleets showed tight battles for the podium places before racing started, and with three races scheduled yet only three discards available for the series with the demanding conditions forecast, anything could have happened. On the day, the south-westerly breeze coming around the west side of the Hill of Howth made for some tricky gusts and wind shifts. The snakes and ladders upwind conditions, combined with a spring tide flooding across the course area, gave everyone the feeling at some time during the morning that the finishing gun might be theirs on the day.

Far travelled - Andres Samoilov, now of Malahide YC, racing his ILCA 7 with Ireland's Eye Martello Tower asternFar travelled - Andres Samoilov, now of Malahide YC, racing his ILCA 7 with Ireland's Eye Martello Tower astern

EXCEPTIONAL CLUB SPREAD OF PODIUMISTAS

In some cases, it seems that the more distant the sailor’s home club, then the higher he or she placed in the Howth racing. In the ILCA 7s, Rory Lynch (Baltimore SC) topped off a successful year for the Lynch family by winning all three races. None of them came easy, with Dan O'Connell (Cove SC) and Daragh Kelleher (Skerries SC) jostling for the lead at every corner. With seven wins out of the eleven races sailed in the series, Lynch was a deserving winner while Daragh Kelleher took second and Dave Kirwan Malahide YC) was third. It marks the first HYC Dinghy Frostbites series win for Rory and his name being engraved on the Courtney Cup will bring to an end the Ronan Wallace of Wexford monopoly that has lasted since 2018.

Keeping those pesky Dubs under control. Dave O’Connell of Cove SC nicely to weather of the oppositionKeeping those pesky Dubs under control. Dave O’Connell of Cove SC nicely to weather of the opposition

TOM FOX RUSHES ON

In the ILCA 6s, Tom Fox (Rush SC) posted a 1, 2, 1 on this last day to seal his overall win in the series. Darragh Peelo (Malahide YC) and Peter Hassett (DBSC) tied on points for second place, while Peelo took runner-up on countback.

With five different race winners in the ILCA 6 fleet across the series, competition was fierce and no doubt will continue to be so in the post-Christmas series. In the ILCA 4s, Oleksandr Samilov (Obolon SC, it’s in Ukraine near Kyiv)) maintained his lead to win overall, despite the late charge from up-sizing Optimist National Champion Harry Dunne (Howth YC), who stormed the day's racing with a 1, 1, 2 to secure second overall.

The up-size kid, he done well….2023 Optimist National Champion Harry Dune Howth YC) placed second overall with 1,1, 2 in the ILCA 4s on the final dayThe up-size kid, he done well….2023 Optimist National Champion Harry Dune Howth YC) placed second overall with 1,1, 2 in the ILCA 4s on the final day

Stan O'Rourke (Malahide / Howth YCs) also had a very strong day with a 2, 2, 1, sealing his third place, tied on points with Charlie Power (Howth YC) who took fourth overall. This group has been getting coached by HYC's Laser Youth Worlds and Euro Champion Rocco Wright, and the progress made by them over the series, especially in the occasionally gnarly weather conditions encountered, confirm the benefit of time on the water with a good coach. No doubt the battles between them will intensify further in January.

The mountainy men going good – Blessington’s Sam Street (grandson of The Don of Glandore) and J Lloyd had their geep on form to take a PY Class race winThe mountainy men going good – Blessington’s Sam Street (grandson of The Don of Glandore) and J Lloyd had their geep on form to take a PY Class race win

In the PY Handicap Class, the RS Aeros, GP14s and the B14 battled it out on the final day before Daragh Sheridan (Howth YC) sealed the series win in his RS Aero 6 with three more firsts, building his tally of race victories to nine from the 11 races sailed, with only Michael Evans (HYC, Melges 15) and Sam Street (Blessington Lake SC, GP 14) depriving him of a clean sweep.

“We’ll get the hang of this thing yet” – Jeremy Beshoff and Declan McManus sorting it on the B14 to take third overall“We’ll get the hang of this thing yet” – Jeremy Beshoff and Declan McManus sorting it on the B14 to take third overall

The GP14s of Conor Twohig (Howth YC/Sutton DC) and Sam Street (Blessington SC) and the RS Aero of John Phelan (Howth YC) filled out the remaining podium spots on the final day's racing, with John Phelan securing 2nd overall on countback from the B14 of Jeremy Beshoff (Howth YC).

The fleet takes a Christmas break now before continuing in 2024, the Howth Lasers’ Golden Jubilee Year. First up is the New Year's Day race on 1st January, first gun at 11.55. Come on down to dust off the cobwebs and start the year right! The post-Christmas series is open to all dinghy competitors and online entry is available on the club 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