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A Kick Up The Transom of Sailing Trophies

3rd October 2018
Jim Doyle Mbsc owner of Green Sleeves with the 'Alta To Starboard To Finish' Trophy Jim Doyle Mbsc owner of Green Sleeves with the 'Alta To Starboard To Finish' Trophy

Hello and welcome to my weekly Podcast …

Sailing the 27-foot yacht he has owned for 20 years, Jim Doyle helmed Green Sleeves to win the ‘Alta to Starboard Trophy’ in Monkstown Bay.

It’s an unusual trophy, made by the club to replicate a racing navigational mark close to the club’s finish line which was used by a lady who was their Race Officer to test the ability of sailors.

Goldie Cronin insisted that they must get inside the yellow wooden Alta mark, mounted on a tyre to keep it afloat and pass it to starboard to finish a race. That, with varying conditions such as strong tides, often caused the Vagabond dinghy sailors a fair bit of difficulty, which Goldie watched with interest…

The “Goldie Cronin Alta to Starboard to Finish Trophy” must have one of the longest names for any trophy. The replica was made, a small wooden yellow race mark, mounted on a black trolley wheel on top of a wooden base, to mark her many years of race duties, first with the then 12-foot Vagabond dinghies and later with the club’s Cruiser Class when those sailors became older, more mature and moved into the bigger boats. Goldie moved with them and her Alta to Starboard to finish instruction ….… That made even more demands on the sailors!

The trophy is proof that sailing can be a sport for life. Though Goldie has now passed away, it is still a desired win for the cruisers.

Jim Doyle’s crew were Denis Long and John Creagh and they won it on the day of a Cork Harbour Combined Clubs League race, when the other boats in the fleet also passed Alta to finish in Monkstown, honouring the memory of Goldie and her special race instruction. The trophy isn’t awarded just for winning a race, ability and commitment to the sport are taken into consideration and the Cronin family decides the winner.

He had dispatched them back to sea with “a kick up the transom"

It isn’t the only unusual trophy in Monkstown Bay’s collection… There is also the ‘Kick Up the Transom Trophy’, made by the Vagabonds after the arrest of the gun-running ship, Claudia, which in 1973 was detained in the Naval Base at Haulbowline, across Monkstown Bay from the MBSC clubhouse. It had a huge collection of weaponry, guns, ammunition, anti-tank weapons from the Libyan leader Gaddafi aboard, all of which was unloaded at the Base. IRA members aboard were later jailed, but the ship was, amazingly, released on the orders of then Minister for Defence Paddy Donegan and its crew was not charged. The Minister said he had dispatched them back to sea with “a kick up the transom".

"Any club got other unique trophies like these?"

KICK UP THE TRANSOM TROPHY MONKSTOWN BAY SCMonkstown Bay Sailing Club's Kick Up The Transom Trophy

That didn’t impress the Navy or security forces who had detained it off Helvick in a major security operation which was the first of its kind for the Irish Government and it was a rather inept comment. Monkstown Bay sailors had another thought - for a trophy – a wooden one, showing a boot kicking a ship up the transom… and that too is now competed for by the grown-up dinghy sailors, now in cruisers….

Any club got other unique trophies like these?

Listen to the podcast below.

Published in Tom MacSweeney
Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for He also presents the radio programme Maritime Ireland on radio stations around Ireland.

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