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Kinsale Yacht Club Remains Committed to Squib Nationals

22nd March 2020
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Ian Travers at the helm of a Squib in Kinsale Ian Travers at the helm of a Squib in Kinsale

A “squib” I was told when first shown one of these boats by its owner, is “an explosive boat.

Several of them were riding nicely on the rippling water at Kinsale Marina that day two years ago when it was announced that Kinsale Yacht Club would be the location for a joint event bonding the Irish and Uk fleets in both their national championships together, then to be held in two years’ time.

“Explosive in performance, challenging and fast .. a great boat to sail,” I was told. That was back in 2018 and the Squib owner was making the point that they would be every bit as important to Kinsale as cruisers, “a major part of the club’s sailing fleet.”

Above and Below Local Squib duo Colm Dunne and Rob Gill sailing in Kinsale Harbour Photo: Bob BatemanAbove and Below: Local Squib duo Colm Dunne and Rob Gill sailing in Kinsale Harbour Photo: Bob Bateman

There are Squibs in the fleets of several clubs around the country and they come to my mind this week because they were the last big racing fleet on the water before the shut down of sailing. We are at the stage where there is neither physical contact with our boats in most cases, as well as social isolation in our sport and uncertainty about when it will be able to resume.

Squib Kinsale2

The Squib is a racing keelboat for a crew of two, designed in 1967 by Oliver Lee as a successor to the Ajax 23. It is a one-design class of 5.79 metres long and a beam of 1.87 metres. The Royal Yachting Association in the UK gave them national keelboat recognition. They have the advantage of being trailed pretty easily, according to their advocates.

One of the big tactical successes in promoting Squibs was made by the class In 1974 when, with sail numbers approaching 400, leading British yachting journalists were invited to Burnham-on-Crouch to race Squibs, in an event called the ‘Squib Symposium.

“This resulted in raising the Squib's profile with the yachting press,” says the Class. And there was an extra benefit from all that publicity! Around this time, the UK Design Council put the Squib on its index of selected designs. A pretty good recognition.

The original boat design by Oliver Lee for Hunter Boats has had changes made by the Class as interest evolved. The dinghy is credited for having led to the building of the Hunter 19, which was described as putting “a lid on the Squib.” The Squib also spawned the Sandhopper, a boat with shoal draught and triple keels of which 45 have been built and raced on the British East Coast.

The Squib National Championships and UK Championships are due to be held this Summer at Kinsale Yacht Club, scheduled for June 21-26. A lot of work has been put into the preparation of the event and now, of course, the Coronavirus Covid-19 crisis is causing a degree of concern.

Squib Kinsale3A recent Squib class start at Kinsale in February 2020 Photo: Bob Bateman

The Committee in Kinsale, led by Regatta Director Ruth Ennis, announced this weekend that it remains “committed to running the championships. We are aware that the situation regarding Covid-19 continues to evolve.” If the event must be postponed or cancelled a full refund will be available it says to those who have already entered. The club has an experienced organising team in place, building on the success of many previous large events hosted by KYC.

Custom Rigging Frostbite Series at Kinsale Yacht Club

For the record, that last competitive event before the sailing close-down was the final day of the Custom Rigging Frostbite series at Kinsale Yacht Club and it was a testing one for all competitors. Wind speeds gusted to 30 knots, averaging between 19 and 21 with gusts going from 27 to 30.

"There were eleven Squibs racing in the Series"

There were eleven Squibs racing in the Series, with sponsor Harry Lewis amongst them. Sailing with Sean O’Riordan in Longshot, the duo won third prize overall.

The series winner was Allegro raced by Colm Dunne and Rob Gill. They had seven first places and finished third across the line in two other races. Second was Outlaw, sailed by Ian Travers and Keith O’Riordan, who won two of the races in the series and had five second places. Allegro finished on 7 points, Outlaw had a total of 12 and Longshot 25 points.

The Squibs also raced under ECHO handicap, in which the final positions changed from the premier division. Under ECHO, Outlaw finished 1st, Allegro was 2nd and Sibu, sailed by Geraldine and Denis Kieran got third place.

And that explosive” comment about the performance of the boats, made by that Squib owner in Kinsale has an appropriate definition. The word “squib” is defined in dictionaries as “a small firework that burns with a hissing sound before exploding….”

Listen to the podcast below:

Published in Tom MacSweeney
Tom MacSweeney

About The Author

Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for Afloat.ie. He also presents the maritime radio programme This Island Nation on community radio stations around Ireland.

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