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Displaying items by tag: Lough Derg Yacht Club

wJosh Porter and Cara McDowell are the new Fireball Munster Champions after seven races at Lough Derg Yacht Club over the weekend. The pair showed outstanding consistency and speed over the races in a wide variety of conditions.

Their achievement is all the more impressive because they beat the rest of the 15-boat fleet in a relatively older Fireball which was totally refurbished by Porter over the last two winters. Going by the premise that Winder built FRP Fireballs remain stiff and light right throughout their lives he removed all the original gel coat and recoated the boat in two-pack acrylic paint.

The result is a twenty-something aged boat that actually looks, and obviously performs, like a brand-new boat.

The two-day event saw sailors challenged by a massive range of conditions, from quite light in the early race on the Saturday to impressive squalls on the Sunday. Race officer John Leech and his team gave the fleet a variety of courses from plain triangles to Olympic Triangles. Turnarounds were extremely impressive, especially considering that the racecourse was shared with the Mirror class competing in their Southern Championships. Sailing conditions throughout the two days of racing were as varied as you might expect from a lake famous for its decent winds, but a lake nonetheless.

For most of the races, crews were in trapezing mode and at times some of the lighter teams struggled with the conditions, especially on tight spinnaker reaches. In race one, a short triangular course in light airs, Louise McKenna and Hermine O’Keeffe got away cleanly off the line and sped away from the competition finding wind on the right side of the course and proved uncatchable by the chasing fleet. They were followed across the finish line by Ed Og Butler sailing with Ismail Inan and Josh Porter/Cara McDowell.

Fireball Munsters Photo Gallery by Joe St. Leger

Race two was another triangular race in much better breeze and this was won by Porter/McDowell, with Butler Og/Inan closely behind. Race three was won by the Thompson brothers Daniel and Harry, though this fast pairing struggled somewhat to find their usual speed and consistency throughout the event.

A forensic overnight rigging analysis on the Saturday identified a couple of issues that kept them off their usual pace. Porter/McDowell won the final race on the Saturday and went into a solid overnight lead, with Butler Og/Inan lying second and Frank Miller/Ed Butler Snr lying third, just a point ahead of McKenna/O’Keeffe.

Sunday morning racing was due to start at 9.55 am and race officer John Leech’s early call proved correct as the fleet awoke to bright sunshine and a snappy breeze. In the autumn sunshine, Lough Derg provided a stunning backdrop to the day’s activities.

Courses for the day were of the Olympic Triangle and races longer than the previous day in the improved breeze. Porter/McDowell won race five in good breeze but with significant shifts and light patches, with Butler Og/Inan again close behind. Before the start of race six the sky darkened and with signs of a squall approaching rigs were altered. The squall arrived in time for the first reach forcing lighter crews to drop their kites while the heavier teams revelled in the conditions. By the time the second reach was over the squall had passed and the more skilled sailors found the best routes around the course in the somewhat shifty conditions which followed. Once again Porter/McDowell emerged on top, this time with the Thompsons in second.

The final race was especially challenging with the fleet dealing with a gentler squall and uneven wind over the course. As the breeze appeared to be softening the race was shortened to the finish line after the second leeward mark rounding at the end of the run. On that run, however, places changed with those opting early for the gybe to the inside winning out. Thus, Butler Og/Inan and Miller/Butler Snr winning out over previous leaders. Butler Og took that win with the Thompson brothers second and Miller/Butler Snr in third. McKenna/O’Keeffe were particularly unlucky as they had led for much of the race and their 5th place in that race effectively lost them third overall in the series. When the scores were added up Porter/McDowell were the absolutely deserving winners on ten points with Butler Og/Inan a reasonably close second on 13 points. Miller/Butler Snr were 3rd overall of 20 points due to relatively a consistent Ent performance and four third place scores.

The silver fleet trophy was won by Killaloe sailors Andrew Mullaly and David Tanner, with Mick O’Callaghan/Neil Cramer second and Paul and Moris Ter Horst third. Clodagh Nash and Moris Ter Horst won the Under-21 prizes. Special mention should be made of transition year youth team Oscar George and Ella O’Callaghan who sailed one of the two Fireball class loan boats.

The lightweight pair showed gumption and promise and did extremely well for a first outing in a Fireball which they saw for the first time three days before the event. They were awarded the Classic Prize for their efforts and the class have awarded them a loan boat to practice throughout the winter with a view to competing in the World Championships at the club from 21st to 26th August next year. The 2021 Munster Championships proved to be a fantastic challenging event for all sailors, with a variety of conditions to test sailors of all abilities and weights. The event gave competitors a taste of what to expect for the worlds next August when some 80 Fireballs from around the world are expected to enjoy sailing in one of Ireland’s most beautiful sailing destinations.

Fireball Munster Championships scoresheetFireball Munster Championships scoresheet

Prizegiving photographs by Joe St Leger

Fireball Trophies prior to presentation  at Lough Derg Yacht clubFireball Trophies prior to presentation at Lough Derg Yacht Club

Overall winners - Cara McDowell and Josh Porter Overall winners - Cara McDowell and Josh Porter

Second overall - Ed Og Butler with Ismail Inan and Commodore of LDYC Joe GilmartinSecond overall - Ed Og Butler with Ismail Inan and Commodore of LDYC Joe Gilmartin

Third overall - Ed Butler Snr and Frank Miller with Commodore Joe GilmartinThird overall - Ed Butler Snr and Frank Miller with Commodore Joe Gilmartin

Silver fleet winners -David Tanner and Andrew MullalySilver fleet winners -David Tanner and Andrew Mullaly

Classic prize - Youth sailors Oscar George and Ella O'Callaghan with Commodore Classic prize - Youth sailors Oscar George and Ella O'Callaghan with Commodore

Race officer John LeechRace officer John Leech

Published in Fireball

So, as the sun rises hopefully on a welcome return to international regattas, the Irish Fireball Class, in tandem with Fireball International and the Lough Derg Yacht Club are delighted to announce that the World Championships of the Class with be hosted at the Lough Derg venue in August 2022.

The Covid pandemic has decimated the sailing calendar worldwide for the past 15 months, and the Fireball Class has not been immune to the inability to host regattas due to a plethora of reasons, including health issues, quarantining and the absence of international travel. Countries around the globe have had to endure different regimes of quarantining and rates of recovery from the initial and subsequent surges of the virus, and this has played havoc with the original schedule of international regattas for the Fireball Class.

However, a combination of circumstances allows us to make this announcement now, and a number of parties need to be acknowledged as being fundamental to the return of the Fireball Worlds to Ireland.

Host to the 2022 Fireball Worlds – Lough Derg Yacht Club, Ireland. Host to the 2022 Fireball Worlds – Lough Derg Yacht Club, Ireland.

Howth Yacht Club initially sowed the seed of bringing the event back to Ireland to mark their 125th Anniversary in 2020. However, the onset of Covid caused that event to be abandoned and subsequently, Howth's commitment to another international regatta in 2022 and the lack of certainty to the timetable for dredging works to Howth harbour in 2022/23 precluded them from hosting in 2022 or 2023. We thank them for their support of the Irish Fireball Class in promoting the 2020 event, which included their Principal Race Officer and Regatta Organisers attending the 2019 Worlds in Canada.

The Australian Fireball Association were due to host the Worlds after Howth in 2022, but their domestic situation with respect to Covid led them to request Fireball International to defer this regatta. Fireball International was persuaded that with the time-lapse since Canada in 2019, a European-based Worlds was more likely to attract a bigger fleet of boats. On that basis, Fireball International consented to the Irish Fireball Association seeking a venue for 2022, and we are delighted that Lough Derg Yacht Club have stepped up to the plate to host the event. Within the past few days, we have had confirmation from Fireball International's Executive Committee that the event can go ahead.

Established in 1835, Lough Derg Yacht Club (LDYC) is based in Dromineer on the shores of Ireland's third largest lake with a surface area of 118km². Their most recent international regatta was the Mirror Worlds which was a very successful event, and they have a long pedigree of hosting National, Provincial, and domestic regattas and the Fireball Class have been regular visitors to their club. The club is ideally situated with easy access to a multitude of racing areas, has ample space for mobile homes, caravans and tents and has additional "roof and four walls" accommodation within easy access of the club. While it is an inland venue, travelling to the club from Ireland's major airports and ferry terminals is relatively simple with good roads, and the journey will afford competitors a chance to see more of Ireland and its "forty shades of green"!

For the Irish Class Association, this regatta provides an opportunity for a re-building of the domestic fleet with the incentive of a locally based Worlds. It also affords the Race Management Team, which will be led by a well-recognised International Race Officer the chance to run a Worlds on "their own doorstep".

All parties to the regatta are excited by the return of international sailing with the regatta scheduled for August 2022 between the 18th and 26th consisting of a two-day Pre-Worlds, a day for measuring and the normal Sunday to Friday race timetable with a Wednesday lay-day.

We look forward to a great event and invite more Irish sailors to consider our high-performance two-person dinghy for their next international challenge!

Published in Fireball

"The seas is for sailing and the lakes are for fishing". Quite. It's a gross over-simplification to put any analysis of the Irish public perception of our use of waterways into such crude terms. But we didn't get where we are today by any highfalutin tendency towards subtlety in the popular optics of waterborne activity. Thus you mightn't be a million miles out in reckoning that Joe Public watches for any transgression of lockdown rules in the inevitably high profile saltwater sailing, but as a result, he and Mrs Joe have their backs turned on the lakes when they focus their critical attention.

Which is a pity, for not only does our high-quality lake racing deserve every bit as much interest as the seaborn version, but the leading lake clubs have been absolutely exemplary to the point of being national trailblazers in showing how to comply with the strictest regulations and still get great sport. And in so doing, they have provided our rather complex vehicle-based activity with a useful template of how to have "sport behind closed doors" within prescribed number limitations.

It has been an emotionally demanding task at Lough Ree Yacht Club, where incoming Commodore John McGonigle took over from Garrett Leech with the club's many good ideas for celebrating its Quarter Millennium in 2020 taking on a distinctly pared-back look, or indeed disappearing altogether as in the case of Garrett Leech's keenly-anticipated ClinkerFest for the long weekend as May became June.

Lough Ree Yacht Club is a renowned après-sail party venue, but even on its Quarter Millennium, it had to be very careful in maintaining social distancingLough Ree Yacht Club is a renowned après-sail party venue, but even on its Quarter Millennium, it had to be very careful in maintaining social distancing.

Ireland is a paradise in its variety of clinker-built boats. We have to thank the Vikings for that, even if their memory along the Shannon lakes is not something which is otherwise cherished. But as soon as the brilliant idea of the Clinkerfest was floated, it became a cherished ambition among clinkerfolk of all sorts to take part, and its total cancellation was an action of national significance in sailing, a matter of enormous regret, and a wake-up call – were it needed – of the enormity of the problems being faced.

It's at such junctures that the underlying strength of long-established organisations - structures which have survived and thrived through times good and bad - provide the fallback strength to continue whatever is possible. And of course down Shannon way, no-one would argue other than that that the 1920s vintage Shannon One Designs are the strong golden thread which holds it all together.

Shannon One Design Association Chairperson Erica Mulvihill and SODA Hon. Sec. Naomi Algeo racing with Rachel Guy on SOD 162. The women in charge – Shannon One Design Association Chairperson Erica Mulvihill and SODA Hon. Sec. Naomi Algeo racing with Rachel Guy on SOD 162.

To put it in another context, in Dublin Bay the 1884-founded Dublin Bay Sailing Club became the fallback point of reference in difficult times, while for offshore racers the newer Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association played a key role. So much so, in fact, that as 2020's pandemic took hold, an almost unreasonable pressure was put on DBSC Commodore Jonathan Nicholson, his Honorary Secretary Chris Moore and their other officers to make decisions and take actions on behalf of Dun Laoghaire enormous fleet, actions which would define how 2020's season would pan out.

The fact that a busy programme is now under way - with Thursday evenings in Dublin Bay, in particular, seeing keelboat turnouts which would be reckoned as a fine regatta fleet in other locations - speaks volumes of how successfully the DBSC people read the situation and called the shots, and in this they were greatly aided by DBSC's remarkable sense of continuity.

Dublin Bay Sailing Club racing. The DBSC experience of 136 years of organising races in the bay has given it an exceptional authority in over-seeing the resumption of sailingDublin Bay Sailing Club racing. The DBSC experience of 136 years of organising races in the bay has given it an exceptional authority in over-seeing the resumption of sailing. Phito: O'Brien

Meantime on the Shannon, while the two main clubs – Lough Ree YC at Ballyglass near Athlone in Westmeath dating back to 1770, and Lough Derg YC at Dromineer near Nenagh in Tipperary with its foundation in 1835 – have their own values and traditions with other classes involved. But nevertheless, they are greatly strengthened by the unifying link of the Shannon One Designs, which in turn reflects each club's strong core of family association and active involvement, handed down and faithfully upheld through many generations.

This confidence of a healthy river-long tradition with local applications has made the very firm imposition of the COVID regulations at the Shannon Regatta Weeks somehow seem less of an arduous duty than has been experienced at other clubs. Maybe this has something to do with the lifting of the spirits that comes for stressed East Coast folk as they approach the great river with its promise of soothing relaxation, but somehow even the strict enforcement of the 200-people limit for the Lough Ree Regatta in the first week of August - with all places taken up in less than a day after going online – was given a more human face when former LRYC Commodores Alan Algeo and Eileen Brown berthed their barges Linquenda and Rud Eile across on the Roscommon shore, thereby freeing up extra approved people-space in the LRYC compound.

SB20s saw a starring role played by young Ben Graf seen here helming Bango owned by Kevin Fenton (forward) with LRYC Commodore John McGonigle amidships Other classes featured in the LRYC 250th, and the SB20s saw a starring role played by young Ben Graf seen here helming Bango owned by Kevin Fenton (forward) with LRYC Commodore John McGonigle amidships. During 2020 Ben Graf has also starred in the Fireballs and the 420s at National level. Photo: Alex Hobbs

As for the racing, thanks to the efficient multi-tasking abilities of the Shannon One Design Association's Honorary Secretary Naomi Algeo and the steady encouragement of Class Chairperson Erica Mulvihill, a Class Newsletter was out in a timely manner after the last race at Lough Derg in mid-August. All the most effective classic classes in Ireland such as the SODs, the Water Wags, the Howth 17s, the Mermaids and even the Lasers – now that they've passed their Golden Jubilee – seem to communicate partially through some sort of telepathy which even WhatsApp can't supplant, thus something clearly delineated is enormously helpful to the outside world.

So we're going to quote shamelessly from this News Letter to give a flavour of how the Shannon sailors coped with both the pandemic restrictions and an increasingly volatile Atlantic weather pattern which in time was to combust itself in Storm Ellen, from which few had fully recovered before Storm Francis came along. But when those two beauties followed each other darkly over the hills, the Shannon One Design Championship 2020 was already decided.

Ian Croxon recounts the story for the Lough Ree Regatta:

Celebrating its 250th year, LRYC certainly proved they can still learn new tricks

After many months of lock-down lethargy, the sheer sound of a sail filling or water rushing off a bow would have been enough for most to call this regatta a week well spent. The organisers went a whole lot further in providing us with a remarkably enjoyable event.

There were no packed-out nights at the bar,
 no bellowing by the piano, and the rumour 
mills were fuelled with antics from the water rather than the shadows of the clubhouse. All the same, we got to experience the essentials - sailing, sociability – albeit distanced - and the serenity of the Shannon.

25 Shannon One Designs appeared for the long weekend and with little else to tempt them away, the vast majority remained for the week. For the records, 200 people was
 the cap set by the government for outdoor meets, and this was strictly adhered to by a very diligent committee. We were in for a regatta that produced a few new precedents, but not all were planned.

 Social-distance-compliant briefing at Lough Ree Yacht Club Social-distance-compliant briefing at Lough Ree YC. Photo: Naomi Algeo

No half measures at the Bar – Sean, the shepherd of thirsty sailors, outdid himself this year. Keeping everyone comfortable while constrained is no mean feat. Basil Fawlty would have eaten his hat observing the slick operation of dining every evening, with multiple sittings to ensure as many could get a seat at the table while we remained at a safe distance.

What's the code flag for 'lie-in'? – On Tuesday, many of the fleet were still in bed when they heard the happy news... "No sailing for the day, already decided." It was blowing smoke. The race officer's name was blessed over the eventual breakfast to follow.

A family feud – The top end of the fleet got a lot taller this year. On multiple occasions, it seemed the fleet was watching a feud for first between the two McMullin boats, 151 and 67. Needless to say not a word was whispered as they remained hot on each other's heels. Great Danes never tend to bark I suppose!

The SODs at Lough Ree experimented with windward-leeward coursesIn a Con Murphy innovation this year, the SODs at Lough Ree experimented with windward-leeward courses. They found that there were more place changes on the runs than on the beats. Photo: Con Murphy

Horses for Courses – Generously helping out
 on the committee boat, Con Murphy and Cathy Mac Aleavey joined Alan Algeo and the team for the first three days and brought with them a common course used in the Water Wags, a sausage with a gate at the leeward end. The shape has other names of course, but all the same, it is a rarity to experience a dead downwind in Shannon One Designs. In the suitable wind strengths we had, it proved hugely beneficial in keeping the fleet tighter together, and on several occasions, more places changed downwind than back up the following beat.

Ironically (against its intention) it also proved
 to result in considerably more chaos at the leeward roundings with death-defying angles 
of approach and crash gybes a-plenty.

Shannon One Designs get to grips with a lee gate"After you". "Oh no, after you…." The Shannon One Designs get to grips with a lee gate. Photo: Con Murphy

A sensational showdown – I'd welcome the correction from any reader on the point of stating this was the most competitive championship we have ever seen. Leading into the final race, four boats could have taken gold. They'll each agree however that remaining at the top of the fleet through the week was no mean feat. We had numerous race winners throughout the week and every race proved to be a game 
of snakes and ladders with a few wings being clipped, and several Lazarus recoveries.

Andrew Mannion in Number 97 came out tops, his crew including subsequent Irish Mirror National Champion Caolan Croasdell who did the Mirror business up in Sligo a week later as reported on, where for obvious reasons he acquired the nickname of "The Hat".

Andrew Mannion in 97, his crew including Irish Mirror National Champion 2020 Caolan Croasdell, was Shannon One Design Overall Champion at Lough Ree YC Quarter Millennial RegattaAndrew Mannion in 97, his crew including Irish Mirror National Champion 2020 Caolan Croasdell, was Shannon One Design Overall Champion at Lough Ree YC Quarter Millennial Regatta. Photo: Con Murphy


Having put in a determinedly-compliant event at Lough Ree, everyone knew that the complexities of the regulated transference of fleet operations downriver to Lough Derg would see some change in personnel, and though 25 Shannon One Designs raced at Lough Ree and 18 raced at Lough Derg (where general fleet numbers were made up by additional classes such as the Squibs), in all only five SODs managed to do both and thereby qualify for the Delany Memorial Salver.
Stephen Day take up the story of the Week at Dromineer:

Hot off the heels of a successful Lough Ree Annual Regatta, 18 Shannon One Designs turned up for a week's racing on the shores of Lough Derg, but unfortunately, on several occasions the wind did not make it to Dromineer.

Patrick Blaney obliged as PRO, but he and his team had their work cut out all week.
 Where Lough Ree had a stop-everything gale on the Tuesday, a week later we were held ashore by calm for the morning, and despite best efforts to race in the afternoon, we couldn't.

Lough Derg Yacht Club at Dromineer has its origins in 1835Lough Derg Yacht Club at Dromineer has its origins in 1835

Instead, we
 were distracted by the LDYC
 Commodore Joe Gilmartin water-skiing past the sitting
 SODs, and sailing turned into a lazy afternoon of swimming and socialising on the lake.
 On Wednesday every effort was made to sail the famous Belle Isle Plate and St. David's Cup, but they were not to be, sailing was called off for the day, and this time Alan Algeo, who has served two terms as Commodore of LRYC, got suited and booted and went water-skiing for the first time in 15 years. He certainly hasn't lost his balance and only had one fall.

While Alan was entertaining 
us all, the single-handed race was taking place. Johnny Horgan in the 167 was leading from the first windward mark right through to the finish, having gone back through the starting line, but was closely followed by Rachel Guy in 142 and Simone Hanley in the 118.

Driftathon for Squibs at Lough Derg YCDriftathon for Squibs at Lough Derg YC Photo: Oisin Higgins

The all important Juvenile Race followed, where under 16s take charge of our classic boats. With the breeze dying and a wind shift to boot, it
was a fetch home. Oscar Flynn in the 148 was triumphant, with Eoin Keogh in 142 second and Trevor Bolger in 164 third.

As the forecast had promised, Thursday morning had a gentle breeze on the lake, much to the PRO's delight. With two races in the morning Frank Guy in the 142 was in the groove taking both bullets, followed by Alan Algeo in 138. 

That afternoon Ian Croxon laid out the course 
for the Ted Croxon Perpetual Pint. Due to the weather he had to keep it short and sweet, but Laurence Hanley in the 118 had a dream running start and could not be caught, even though Alex Leech and Mary Cox kept him 
on his toes, with both finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Laurence Hanley in the 118 took one more race on Friday, with Alex Leech in the 164 getting a much deserved bullet (by a country mile, too) in the final championship race of the week. Alex also took home the Milligan Cup – for the youngest helm of the week at just sixteen. You can sail a Shannon One Design before you can drive a car, but a car is definitely easier. Johnny Horgan in 167 rounded off 
the week with a winning finish through Goose Island in the '54' Perpetual Cup and Lifeboat Pennant – the latter which was awarded to the girls in the 144.

Frank Guy leads the Shannon ODs at Dromineer – he went on to wind the LDYC Regatta 2020 overall.Frank Guy leads the Shannon ODs at Dromineer – he went on to wind the LDYC Regatta 2020 overall. Photo: Oisin Higgins

The overall LDYC Championship was very close with Alex Leech finishing a very impressive 3rd in
 164, Alan Algeo was 2nd in the 138 and 
Frank Guy in the 142 taking home the Perpetual Challenge Cup. Frank's crew Rachel Guy and Laura Prentice were both deserving winners
 of the Bruce Plaque and McNally Knot. The Starters Gun went to Alan Algeo in the 138, with Frank Guy in the 142 2nd, and Johnny Horgan in the 167 in 3rd.

However, Johnny Horgan's dogged determination to do both Lough Ree and Lough Derg while complying with restrictions was rewarded, as 167 was one of the five boats which managed to qualify for the Delany Memorial Salver and he won it, with second place going to DJ and Alan Algeo in 138 while Laurence Hanley was third and the youngest helm in the entire SOD fleet, Alex Leech, was fourth.

Shannon One Designs racing on Lough Derg as they have raced for more than 90 yearsShannon One Designs racing on Lough Derg as they have raced for more than 90 years. 138 with Stephen Day, Daragh O'Brien and Tom Day comes to the mark. Photo: Oisinn Higgins

In spite of the foregoing few months when there had been a real uncertainty as to whether the event could even take place, LDYC deserved special credit for organising a week's sailing which managed to overcome the shortage of wind. And though Autumn is now increasingly in evidence, it is hoped that experience gained in staging successful regatta weeks at both Ballyglass and Dromineer will enable the Shannon One Designs and other classes on the lakes to get in some more meaningful sailing before winter closes in. And perhaps Lough Ree and Lough Derg will be an inspiration to other centres where some clubs have buckled in face of the challenge of providing total compliance.

evening breeze at Dromineer for the single-handed race If we move, we race – evening breeze at Dromineer for the single-handed race, won by Johnny Horgan who also won the Delany Memorial Salver.

Published in W M Nixon

This year’s Watersports Inclusion Games, which had been set for 5-6 September at Lough Derg Yacht Club, have been cancelled over continued coronavirus concerns.

In a statement, Irish Sailing said that “the current trajectory of the virus spread, coupled with the logistics, people involved and format of the event brought us to this decision”.

Ireland’s national governing body for sailing expressed its thanks to all “who worked so hard in trying to bring this year’s Inclusion Games to fruition”.

Lough Derg YC will instead host next year’s games, being planned for 18-29 June 2021.

The news follows the cancellation of the Women at the Helm Regatta later this month over similar concerns.

Published in ISA

Lough Derg Yacht Club’s Laser Radial contender Aisling Keller has been named in the shortlist for Her Sport’s Young Athlete Of The Year gong, voted on by the website’s readers.

She joins a list with nine other remarkable Irish sportswomen who “provided some of the most thrilling and memorable moments, in what was arguably one of our greatest sporting years of all time”.

Keller, who secured her place at the Tokyo Olympics at the Laser Worlds last July, was also named Afloat’s Sailor of the Month (Olympic) for November as is in the running for the overall award next month.

Published in Olympic

Lough Derg Yacht Club is hosting its annual keelboat regatta on the weekend of the 11th and 12th of October. The event will be a wrap up to the season for many of the competitors and over 50 entries are expected from three classes - making it one of the biggest sailing events of the year on the Shannon.

The big attraction for many sailors is the beautiful autumnal setting of Lough Derg but also the opportunity to thoroughly wash the boat out in freshwater at the end of the season. 

The Squibs will be welcoming visitors from the UK as well as Belfast, Strangford Lough, Howth, Kinsale and Dun Laoghaire. As Afloat reported earlier, Kinsale Yacht Club will be promoting their UK and Irish Nationals which are being held in June 2020.

Irish Sailing President Jack Roy and his daughter Jill have indicated they will compete as will UK champion Dick Batt. Squib stalwart Vincent Delany, second in the recent Irish Nationals, is also sailing as is Irish Champions Gordon Patterson and Ross Nolan from Royal North. 

The SB20s have just announced that the Irish Nationals will be hosted in Lough Ree in Sept 2020 and a good fleet is expected - including Lough Derg and Lough Ree entries.

The Flying Fifteen fleet, who have just completed a World Championship in Dun Laoghaire are also reported to be travelling to Dromineer in numbers, just a week after the class hosts the All Ireland Sailing Championships at the National Yacht Club. It may be the only winter sailing for the FF's at Dun Laoghaire Harbour given the current winter hard standing woes currently in place.

Unfortunately, the Dragons this year are not competing due to 90th birthday celebrations in Italy where nine Irish boats are competing.

Published in Inland Waterways

The annual pilgrimage of the Squib Class to the Whiskey Still Pub Lough Derg Yacht Club in the picturesque village of Dromineer on Lough Derg was somewhat interrupted/disrupted this year by the passage of Storm Brian during the weekend of October 21st-22nd.

Part of the annual Freshwater Regatta, with the weekend also shared by the Dragon, SB20 and Flying Fifteen Classes, given the time of year there is always the strong possibility of some extreme of weather during the weekend, be it calm or gales! With the forecast clearly indicating that racing was going to be unlikely on Saturday, the organisers notified the competitors on Thursday that the Regatta would be going ahead anyway (the Dragon Class start their Regatta on Friday) with the intention of an earlier start on Sunday morning for the Classes that would likely miss racing on Saturday with the intention of getting four races in. For those who couldn’t travel early on Friday, the prospect of towing a boat in winds gusting 35-45 knots plus on Friday evening, or during Saturday, inevitably meant that many boats that had intended to travel decided to wisely stay at home. Nevertheless, 12 Squibs came to the start line early on Sunday morning in winds generally in the 12-14 knots range from the South West. With a slight delay to allow the last boats which had just launched to make their way to the course area North of the Corrikeen Islands (the Squibs and Flying 15’s shared the same course).

With a tight schedule, OOD John Leech wisely decided to keep the courses simple and run windward-leewards. Ably assisted by Start-Sequence-Controller-and-Master Adair Leech, assisted by Jenny Kent and Captain Patrick Blaney (who kindly provided his services and his wonderful motor cruiser Bo Derg as the Committee boat) racing ran smoothly and effortlessly all day (once the Leeward Gate was secured to the Lake bed!).

The first race gone underway without any drama with a well-set line and it wasn’t long before the usual suspects were at the top of the fleet in winds which were fluctuating in direction and generally increasing. There were some very close battles going on throughout the fleet which kept the race fun and interesting. Continuing the form that they have shown all year (outside of the Irish & UK National Championship and despite a late night in the Whiskey Still Pub with some other leading Squib aficionados) Colm Dunne with No.1 crew Fiona Ward on 134 Allegro showed that they meant business by leading the fleet home, followed by Sam Lyness and Eric Heyes on 824 The Worm who were keen to show that last years win wasn’t a flash in the pan! They were followed home by current National Champions Peter Wallace and Martin Weatherstone on 818 Toys for the Boys.

With a wind that was shifting 20-25 degrees at times requiring some adjustment of the course and increasing to 20-22 knots during the race, Race 2 was a livelier affair. After an uncharacteristically poor start from Allegro leaving them with it all to do to catch up, it was Toys for the Boys who took the win with a resurgent Gordon Patterson and Ross Nolan on 100 Fagan taking the 2nd having shaken off the cobwebs, with Allegro recovering to take a well-deserved 3rd. With winds continuing to increase, despite the forecast (the OOD recorded a gust of 31 knots during the race), Race 3 was won with a convincing performance by none other than Irish Sailing President, Jack Roy, crewed by daughter Jill on 130 Kanola. They were followed home by Toys for the Boys with Allegro taking the 3rd to keep them in contention going into the last race. Race 4 saw the wind drop off dramatically, right down to 5-6 knots, resulting in the OOD shortening the final beat to keep more-or-less on schedule. Allegro went hard left up the beat while the others went middle to right. She got a ‘lucky’ wind shift (according to the lads elsewhere on the course!) and got a jump on the fleet giving them a comfortable win with Fagan taking 2nd and Toys for the Boys coming in 3rd.

This gave Colm & Fiona a well-deserved win with Toys for the Boys taking 2nd overall and Fagan 3rd.

Much thanks must go to LDYC for their persistence despite the weather, to the many volunteers ashore and on the mark boats and also to the OOD John Leech and his team on the Committee Boat.

We will be hoping for more favourable weather next year and a record turnout of Squibs for what is regularly the most popular event of the season.

Published in Squib

The National Yacht Club's David Mulvin and Ronan Beirne lifted the Flying Fifteen Western Championships after four races sailed on Lough Derg yesterday as part of the Lough Derg Yacht Club's Freshwater Keelboat Regatta writes our special correspondent.

The annual Freshwater Regatta incorporated the Flying Fifteen West Coast Championships and was deservedly won by the National Yacht Clubs David Mulvin and the clubs Commodore Ronan Beirne with Rory & Andy Martin (SLSC) one point behind in second place. Despite Storm Brian’s best efforts the regatta was not all lost as four races were raced on Sunday after Saturday's cancellation. As forecasted the winds had moderated in this area for Sunday.

A few boats didn’t make it down for the weekend but it was their loss as the racing was close, exciting and very competitive in a shifty W-SW wind. The race team with PRO (and Commodore) John Leech did a great job with short courses and quick turnarounds. Because of the short course there was plenty of drama and excitement with plenty of close calls and near misses but the fleet showed great seamanship in the varied conditions. One of the most exciting moments came after Race 2 when Green & Doorly were not happy with their downwind angles as their winddex was damaged so Alan decided to climb up the mast, capsize the boat, fix it, swim back and pop into the boat as it righted itself- no bother to him but read on to see if it made a difference!

David Mulvin Ronan Beirne in Lough Derg 1David Mulvin and Ronan Beirne storming to victory on Lough Derg

Back to the racing, despite the short races it was amazing that places changes so regularly, just when you thought you were in a good position the wind gods decided to come in from the other side, in the last race when Mulvin need to finish ahead he was last on lap 1 with Roy and Andy leading and by the finish he had steered the boat into second place with Rory behind him, enough to take the title!

Race one was won by David & Ronan, they set off on the pin and were always going to be in a good position due to the bias. Willis & McPeake made a great recovery downwind and moved into second ahead of Green & Doorly, this is how it finished but Willis nearly pinched the win in the shifty last beat.

Race 2 was nearly the opposite, Rory & Andy led all the way while Mulvin was sixth. Willis was looking good with his consistency getting a second 2nd position just ahead of Gavin Doyle & Dave Sweeney..

Race 3 there was a shift and an increase in the wind, the course was adjusted. On the first downwind leg Mulvin broke away to the left showing great speed and went on to win, the Meaghers were sailing extremely well and were second with Rory & Andy third but it was all very close and you could throw a blanket over the boats as they finished.

The wind died a bit during the final race, Race 4- there were no discards (rightly so) so it was all to play for between the Martins and Mulvin- winner takes all! Everyone was eager to win a race, Coughlin & Poole and the Murphy father and son looked like upsetting the pecking order as they stormed up the right side to lead at the first mark, The Martins were in the mix while Mulvin was watching his chances of winning slip away as he held up the rear. On the last weather mark Green & Doorly led from Doyle but Doyle got inside at the gate to go on and win the race, Greens winddex clearly working now!. In a shifty phase between the gate and the finish a lot changed, Mulvin rounded everyone to get second, Martin were third with Green fourth.

Despite Storm Brian it was a great weekend and Sundays racing was fantastic with short snappy races. Huge thanks to John Leech and his team on and off the water. The meal on saturday evening was great and it is always good to share events with other classes, in this case the Dragons, SB20’s and the Squibs. The club are so welcoming and the FF's look forward to returning . . . without Brian! 

Download results below

Published in Flying Fifteen

In Lough Derg Yacht Club over the weekend of 22-23 October, Squibs will come from the North, South and East coasts of Ireland as well as from Britain to compete in what will be one of the most enjoyable regattas of the year. The British visiting boat is remarkable in many ways, it is the first Squib ever built, therefore, its name is ‘SQUIB’, and despite being 50 years old, Dick Batt and Pamela Phelan managed to lead the UK national championships, and only lost the winning of the championships on count back. They won the South of Ireland Championship in Kinsale in August. Another Squib worth noting is Peter Wallace’s ‘Toy for the Boys’ from RNIYC which dominated the Irish championship in Killyleagh in July.

The owners of ‘Fagin’, Gordon Patterson and Ross Nolan from the same club, have been runner up in this event, innumerable times in their ‘old’ Squib, which is allegedly slower that their present Squib, which is number 100. Another competitor who should not be overlooked is ‘The Worm’, Sam Lyness who easily won the event in light winds last year.

A good turnout of local Squibs will also be competing.

The format is ideal, with four races on Saturday, with the first race starting at 11.00 am, which enables some competitors to travel on Saturday. On Sunday there are only two races, which allows enough time to wash out boats with fresh water, and lift them onto their trailers.

Lough Derg never overlook the social side of sailing, they will be putting on a grand dinner in the clubhouse on Saturday evening.

Published in Squib

#Mirror - Caolan Croasdell and Alexander Farrell brought the 2017 Mirror season to a close with victory in the Southern Championships on Lough Derg earlier this month.

Close behind the defending champions were fellow Lough Ree YC pairing Ben Graf and Hannah Smith, winners at the Mirror Easterns in Clontarf in late August – and who finished behind their club mates at the Mirror Worlds this summer.

The Mirror fleet also enjoyed the company of Squibs, Fireballs and Shannon One Designs over the two days of competition at Lough Derg Yacht Club.

Mirror Sailing Ireland says the year has “finished on a high” for the class as numbers in the training and racing dingy class continue to grow.

While this year’s Mirror season may be over, there’s still sailing to be done as Croasdell and Farrell are representing the class (but racing TR 3.6 double-handed dinghies) at this weekend’s All Ireland Junior Sailing Championships in Schull.

Published in Mirror
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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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