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It’s a double bill this weekend at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on Belfast Lough where the RS Elite Irish Nationals and the McMillan Shield for Squibs will be held.

It has been a busy year for the local Elite fleet, with many of them having travelled to England for various events, culminating in the Brewin Dolphin RS Elite International Grand Prix in Cowes, with 43 boats on the start line. Of these, Royal North’s Simon Brien finished fifth in Kin. The Irish Elite event will be smaller with ten expected, to be joined by ten Squibs.

It looks as if the RS Elite lineup could be an open field this year with Stephen Polly on Storm and Mike Browne’s Love Bug stiff competition. Polly took runner up in last year’s Irish Nationals Tiffany Brien will be helming the family’s Kin and given past performance will be in the pack. Jeff Ralston will also be a contender in Up Front along with the Vaughan family on Joint Venture.

The Squib Easterns at Howth Photo: Paddy JudgeThe Squib Easterns at Howth Photo: Paddy Judge

The Squib line up for the McMillan Shield looks like being headed up by Gordon Patterson on Fagan who won the Northerns at Killyleagh in May and more recently the Easterns at Howth. The RNIYC Squib Fleet are super competitive, and David Eccles on Inshallah will want to win this event. Hot on his heels will be Peter Wallace on Toy for the Boys who might be a thorn on the side. The Killiners are on Maximus are relatively new to the fleet so it will be good to see how they progress.

Race Officer is Sam Lynas, formerly of Squib Worm, and he will have a good understanding of both these fleets but given that the forecast is for light winds, may have to deal with delicate situations!

Racing gets underway on Saturday (27th) at 11.30 and again on Sunday 10.30 at Cultra.

Published in Squib
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“Mixed feelings” might describe the ordinary host club members’ feelings in contemplating the results of the Squib Easterns at Howth. For although Derek Bothwell, one of HYC’s elite squad of Race Officers, managed to pull a very complete set of results out of what might be seen in future as the “last rose of summer” event, with sunny breezes having to be set off against king-sized Spring tides, the overall results sheet showed that the visitors did very nicely indeed, thank you.

The overall winner in the Gold Fleet was Fagin from Royal North of Ireland YC, sailed by Gordon Patterson and Ross Nolan. And the overall winner of the Silver Fleet was Tiger Roll, sailed by Carla Fagan of the host club. Enthusiasts of Dickens will have a field day with all this, meanwhile, HYC members are increasingly wondering if the women sailors on the peninsula do all the winning while the men are fit for nothing but the washing up.

Rising star – Carla Fagan’s Tiger Roll enjoying the heatwave by stayng cool – and first in the final race – out in Fingal BayRising star – Carla Fagan’s Tiger Roll enjoying the heatwave by stayng cool – and first in the final race – out in Fingal Bay

Maybe ’twas ever thus. Anyway, in a good fleet of 24 boats in which the most northerly came from Belfast Lough, the most easterly from Holyhead in Wales, the most southerly from Kinsale and the most westerly from Lough Derg, it was actually Emmet Dalton and Neal Merry of the host club who were tops of the locals in fourth in the Gold Fleet. But rising HYC star Carla Fagan crewed by Stephen Quinn had the dream trajectory, as she started with a very L-plate 19th, but thereafter it was onwards and upwards with 13th, 3rd and 1st to provide first in the Silver fleet.

Striking a blow for the Crews’ Union – winning pit man Ross Nolan (RNIYC) with HYC Commodore Paddy JudgeStriking a blow for the Crews’ Union – winning pit man Ross Nolan (RNIYC) with HYC Commodore Paddy Judge

Silver stars – crewman Stephen Quinn with Silver Fleet winner Carla Fagan and Paddy Judge.Silver stars – crewman Stephen Quinn with Silver Fleet winner Carla Fagan and Paddy Judge

However, as the result sheets show, there was no gainsaying the fact that it was Fagin of RNIYC on first with 4,1,1,2, Firecracker of Killyleagh (Steven Bridges & Matthew Bolton) on second with 1,2,2,9, and Granat of Royal Irish YC (David Stewart & Brian Hare) on third at 2,5,5 and a discarded 11. It’s no wonder so many visitors have since been in touch to send thanks to HYC for providing such a lovely time……..

It was a very satisfactory spread of entriesIt was a very satisfactory spread of entries

Published in Squib
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The fleet set out in classic Kinsale weather with 20 knots and waves. The championships were both decided on the water in the final race at the Bandon Co-op Squib National Championships.

After the many black flags of yesterday, the fleet got off first time with just an individual recall flag showing. Once again it was RicO’Shea who took an early lead and were well off into the distance (more on that later) however it was the Irish fleet who really had the hang of the big weather and it was going to be a hard-fought race throughout with Fagin, Allegro and Outlaw and Fuggles all battling for the win.

Fantastic surfing on the downwind legs was had by all and in the end, it was Bacchante VII, Joe Henry and Roly Wilson who took the win ahead of local Kinsale Commodore, Matthias Hellstern and Colm Daly in Fifty Shades.

Championship Winner Tom Jeffgate and Mark Hogan receive the Chris Hogan Memorial Trophy From John O' Looney Bandon Co-Op Photo: Bob BatemanChampionship Winner Tom Jeffgate and Mark Hogan receive the Chris Hogan Memorial Trophy From John O' Looney Bandon Co-Op Photo: Bob Bateman

The team of Sean Murphy and his father Paul in Fuggles took a well-deserved third to assure that as crane driver the fleet would be lifted out in a super-efficient manner.

Ric O Shea were unfortunate to be one of the receivers of the individual recall flag.

John O'Looney of Bandon Co-Op presents Irish Squib National Championships winners Ian Travers and Keith O' Riordan with their trophy Photo: Bob BatemanJohn O'Looney of Bandon Co-Op presents Irish Squib National Championships winners Ian Travers and Keith O'Riordan with their trophy Photo: Bob Bateman

Overall a fantastic week was had by all, with superb racing organised by the Race Offer, Peter Crowley, and his team on SpareTime and all the fleet are hugely appreciative of their time and effort in ensuring a great week of racing.

The Bandon Co-op Irish National Champions 2022 are local team Outlaw, Ian Travers and Keith O’Riordan, second went to Royal North of Ireland team Fagan, Gordan Patterson and Ross Nolan whilst Kinsale’s Allegro, Colm Dunne and Rob Gill took the bronze.

The Squib National 2022 was won by South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club’s Ric O Shea, Tom Jeffcoate and Mark Hogan. Second place went to Lucky Counts, Jono Brown and Chris Agar from the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club ahead of team mate Spoof, Micky Wright and Alex Porteous in third.

Squib Championships Kinsale 2022 Prizewinners Photo Gallery by Bob Bateman

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The weather came in and the Bandon Co-op Squib Nationals fleet left the harbour to embark on a three-race day, the gentle breeze turned southerly and the first race today was race four of the Championships, a nice 10 knots saw the fleet split and the favoured side saw the newest squib in the fleet Harry VI take line honours ahead of the Lucky Counts and the ever quick Ric O Shea.

By race two, the predicted win was up just shy of 20 knots plus knots. A few starters fell fall foul of the black flag start penalty, including previous race winner Harry VI and Lady Penelope.

Ric O Shea had no such problems and won race five. Kinsale locals Outlaw took second and the highest placed first boat thus far this week. The third place was Lucky Counts.

The final race of the day and the wind had built further along with the wave, the ever consistent Ric O Shea took the lead from the start whilst the battle for second and third developed behind. Ultimately it was Aquabat who took second place whilst Spoof were able to reel Allegro in to grab third place. Ric O Shea is now the overnight leader in the final day’s racing.

On the other side of the results, the Irish nationals are being led by locals Outlaw with The Royal North's Fagin hot on their heels, Allegro sits currently in third having had an unlucky race 5 with an outhaul issue.

Results are provisional here

Published in Squib
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The third day of the Bandon co-op Squib National Championships at Kinsale Yacht Club gave the competitors the chance to do boat repairs and check out the settings of the competition as the race officer, Peter Crowley, was forced to raise the postponement flag.

The forecasted rain has not appeared but despite some promising sunshine the clouds have kept the much hoped-for sea breeze away and ultimately the decision has been made to postpone Race 4 until tomorrow.

Evening entertainment will go ahead as scheduled on the balcony of the Club.

Published in Squib
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Day one of the Bandon Co-op Squib National championships in Kinsale started in a strong 16kt northern breeze with significant gusts.

The Traditional Practice race gave visitors a good beat and run across the racecourse before Race 1 officially got underway.

The record will show that it was Kinsale locals Colm Dunne and Rob Gill won the ‘Practice’ race in Allegro.

They stayed out to the right side and came home ahead of Portsmouth’s Joe Henry and Roly Wilson in Bacchante VII. 3rd were last year’s UK national champions in Harry VI, Mike Budd and Mark Greaves.

After a short break things got serious and the fleet launched off the start line at the first attempt.

The wind had eased slightly to 14kts and Race officer Peter Crowley and his team set a 3-round windward /leeward course.

A three-round windward/leeward course was deployed for the first race of the championships A three-round windward/leeward course was deployed for the first race of the Squib championships Photo: Bob Bateman

First to the windward mark was Lady Penelope, Malcolm Hutchings and Andy Carley who held the lead from start to finish and won Race 1 of this year’s Combined Championships, a number of the hot favourites were in their slipstream with a number of positional jockeying going on showing that the rest of the week is sure to be a hotly contested event.

The final run sorted the positions and it was the UK’s RCYC from Burnham that had the podium 1,2,3.

Following Lady Penelope was Lucky Counts, Jono Brown and Chris Agar whilst 3rd was Spoof helmed by Micky Wright and crewed by Alex Porteous.

The Irish Championship leader overnight is Allegro, followed By Outlaw with regatta Director Ian Travers and Keith O Riordan, and local Commodore Matthias Hellstern helmed Fifty Shades with Colm Daly crewing.

Results are here

Squib Photo Gallery Day One by Bob Bateman

Published in Squib
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The Bandon Co-Op-sponsored week-long British & Irish Squib Nationals getting underway this weekend in Kinsale - with the first racing on Sunday, June 19th - is an eloquent example of the imaginative thinking that is needed to get sailing back to post-pandemic normality. Or maybe it’s some sort of new normality.

Whatever, the notion that we can emerge from paralysis by combining formerly constrained major fixtures seems to be working in this case, with 58 top entries. They’re drawn from all the Squib racing centres in Ireland and the main ones in England and Wales, the furthest travelled being from Suffolk on the East Coast and Portsmouth in the south. Their efforts, in particular, look like being rewarded, as the ten-day forecasts are suggesting that next week will see a fair effort at real summer in Ireland, but across in England, they’ll be under their own private low-pressure area, with much rain to match.

Kinsale Harbour is at the heart of The Land Flowing in Milk and Honey, and next week’s championship may provide appropriate summer weather for its full enjoymentKinsale Harbour is at the heart of The Land Flowing in Milk and Honey, and next week’s championship may provide appropriate summer weather for its full enjoyment

Kinsale meanwhile may well be firmly in line next week for the contest for Central HQ of the Land of Milk and Honey and Sunny Summertime Stakes. And that - combined with the picturesque port’s reputation for hospitality and the sponsorship of a multi-faceted locally-based agri-business – will give some idea of the developing flavour of an event in which the notable camaraderie of the Squib class will interact dynamically with the special venue’s unique sense of itself.

For although the Squib Class in Ireland – headed by the affable Class President Robert Marshall of Killyleagh on Strangford Lough – seems to be a by-word for amiable sport, that’s just a matter of keeping to the spirit of this attractive little 19th keelboat. In fact, they race at least as competitively as anyone else, but it’s regarded as distinctly un-Squibbish to give the impression of trying too hard.

While the Squib Class may like to project a laid-back approach, they race as hard and close as anyone elseWhile the Squib Class may like to project a laid-back approach, they race as hard and close as anyone else

Thus in order to deal with a fleet of 58 hot crews determined to get in as much competitive racing as they can while appearing to be simply going out for some agreeable sailing with a spot of racing thrown in, Organising Committee Chairman Ian Travers and his team, with Fiona Sugrue-Ward looking after communications, have been building up a formidable corps of volunteers to ensure that all the various logistical challenges are calmly met, while the legendary Peter Crowley – former RCYC Admiral and ISA President – is in the key role of Senior Race Officer.

As for the competition, while there were restricted-movement British Nationals at Abersoch in Wales and an Irish Championship at Killyleagh in 2021, the mood for the class in Ireland going into the winter lockdown was set at the Freshwater Regatta on Lough Derg in October when – after some great sport – “See you in Kinsale in June” was the parting greeting, and so it has come to pass.

Lough Derg is another Irish centre whee the fleet is growing, in this case at LDYC at Dromineer. Photo: W M NixonLough Derg is another Irish centre whee the fleet is growing, in this case at LDYC at Dromineer. Photo: W M Nixon

On current form, Gordon Patterson & Ross Nolan of Royal North of Ireland YC at Cultra on Belfast Lough with Fagin seem to be continuing their good form of 2021 as we look at 2022’s early results. But Dick and Pam Batt of Chichester Harbour – no strangers to racing with the Irish fleet – are always a force to be reckoned with, as are Kinsale’s Colm Dunne & Rob Gill, and Ian Travers himself.

Kinsale combines history with modern amenities – Squibs racing past the harbour guardian of Charlesfort. Photo: Robert BatemanKinsale combines history with modern amenities – Squibs racing past the harbour guardian of Charlesfort. Photo: Robert Bateman

But after the pandemic shrinkage, 58 boats is a large and strong fleet. It’s going to be fascinating seeing who emerges from the pack. And if we sought a vivid example of the colourful diversity of Irish sailing, we need look no further than next week, when the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race all round our coast, and the Bandon Co-Op Squib Championship at Kinsale, are taking place at precisely the same time.

Squib entry list here

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Killyleagh Yacht Club on the western shore of Strangford Lough recently hosted the Squib Northerns and a fleet of 18 enjoyed five races under Race Officer Scott Rogers and his team in challenging conditions over the two days.

Overall winners were Gordon Patterson and Ross Nolan from Royal North of Ireland YC on Belfast Lough.

Gordon Patterson (left) with crew Ross Nolan (right)Gordon Patterson (left) with crew Ross Nolan (right)

Competitors from as far away as Holyhead in Wales, Kinsale, Lough Derg, Dublin Bay and the Isle of Wight joined the northern locals in the event which saw four boats notching up wins but apart from Race 2 which Patterson discarded, Fagin finished consistently in the first six to win by one point from Granat (David Stewart and Brian Hare) from Royal Irish.

In light winds on the Saturday morning, race 1 got underway with Granat taking 1st place, closely followed by Simon Watson’s Volante from the home club.

After a wind shift, race 2 got under way with the sailmaker Dick Batt from the Royal Victoria Yacht Club in the Isle of Wight taking first in Squib followed by the consistent Volante, Batt scored another first in Race 3, first making him the overnight leader. Second in that race was KYC’s Stephen Stewart in Second Chance. So, it was all to play for on the Sunday.

Squib Northern ChampionshipsSquibs race downwind at the Northern Championships at Killyleagh

Major wind shifts resulted in postponements on Sunday morning and when racing did get under way it was the Royal North boats on form with Gregg Bell and Jayne Kearney in Prodigal taking a win closely followed by the host club’s David Hanna in Blue and the Royal Irish Granat. So, it was all down to the last race and in a steady consistent breeze Patterson and Nolan led from the start to take a well-deserved first, closely followed by clubmates John Miller and Gary Watson in Tamerlane. Overall runners up were Stewart and Hare with Bell and Kearney third.

This event was a valuable rehearsal for the big 56 boat National Championships in Kinsale in June with eight Northern competitors travelling to that event in which the racing will take place between the Old Head of Kinsale and the Sovereigns Islands.

And Killyleagh Yacht Club would like to thank everyone for their generosity in donating £600 to the Wave Project which is a charity which helps young people reduce anxiety and improve confidence through Surf Therapy.

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The Robotic Mowers Cork One-Design Keelboat Regatta is on Sunday 1st and Monday 2nd May 2022 in Kinsale Yacht Club.

The regatta is open to Squib and Dragon keelboats. It is an open event and KYC is looking forward to welcoming entrants from Glandore Harbour Yacht Club.

Six races are scheduled over the two days, and they will be sailed in the waters between the Old Head and the Sovereign Islands.

Download the NOR below.

Published in Kinsale

The Squib Outlaw sailed by Ian Travers and Keith O'Riordan were the overall winners of the Custom Rigging Frostbites at Kinsale Yacht Club yesterday in a mix of conditions that included some heavy squalls. 

After 12 races sailed, and with a four-point winning margin, Travers and O'Riordan beat clubmates Colm Dunne and Fiona Ward sailing Allegro for victory in the 13-boat fleet. 

Third was Fifty Shades sailed by KYC Commodore Matthias Hellstern and Colm Daly

There was no Topper or March league racing at Kinsale yesterday.

Results here

Bob Bateman's Squib Frostbites Photo Gallery

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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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