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Lough Derg Yacht Club Serves Up Full Set of Results For Four Keelboat Classes

21st October 2021
Squibs and Flying Fifteens picking up speed as the breeze builds at Dromineer, with FFs Triggers Bush (3896, Lee Statham & Andy Paul, Waterford Harbour SC) and Duff Extra (3737, Gavin Doyle & Dave Sweeney, National YC) keeping their wind clear
Squibs and Flying Fifteens picking up speed as the breeze builds at Dromineer, with FFs Triggers Bush (3896, Lee Statham & Andy Paul, Waterford Harbour SC) and Duff Extra (3737, Gavin Doyle & Dave Sweeney, National YC) keeping their wind clear

The annual October Freshwater Keelboat Regatta at Dromineer, (hosted by Lough Derg Yacht Club and staged last weekend) has been no stranger to hyper-strong winds in times past. But in 2021's unusually gentle Autumn, it provided two to three days of very usable sailing breezes, mostly from the southwest. And if the sun tended not to put in an appearance until late afternoon despite the high-pressure area moving over the country, a least it provided welcome brightness when it did show up for the healthy outdoor prize-giving ceremonies.

LDYC Commodore Joe Gilmartin and his team, led by Honorary Sailing Secretary Fergal Keating, welcomed a strong fleet across four keelboat classes, with John Leech serving as Race Officer for the Dragon and SB20 area, while Liam Moloney looked after the Squibs and Flying Fifteens. All classes had sufficient numbers for good racing among boats which had come from many parts of Ireland. But it was the Squibs, currently on a roll and further buoyed by the prospect of the big championship – effectively the Squib Worlds – in Kinsale next June, which were in a league of their own, with a pandemic-defying turnout of 29 boats representing most Irish centres, and including a couple of cross-channel challengers.

Regatta time at Lough Derg Yacht ClubRegatta time at Lough Derg Yacht Club

Morning promise of a good day's racing as the breeze comes whispering in – Dragons, Squibs and SB20s in Dromineer HarbourMorning promise of a good day's racing as the breeze comes whispering in – Dragons, Squibs and SB20s in Dromineer Harbour

The Squibs had the biggest fleet, and here Slipstream (102, Robert Marshall & Neil Logan, Killyleagh YC) leads from Fuggles (Sean & Paul Murphy, Kinsale YC).The Squibs had the biggest fleet, and here Slipstream (102, Robert Marshall & Neil Logan, Killyleagh YC) leads from Fuggles (Sean & Paul Murphy, Kinsale YC).

Part of the Squibs' attraction is that they're not afraid to move away from standard white hulls, and LDYC Honorary Sailing Secretary Fergal Keating's Bodacious (crewed by David Maher) has had a particularly attractive paint job.Part of the Squibs' attraction is that they're not afraid to move away from standard white hulls, and LDYC Honorary Sailing Secretary Fergal Keating's Bodacious (crewed by David Maher) has had a particularly attractive paint job.

Part of the Squib's growing success lies in their entertaining and informative Irish Squib Forum, and its recently-posted enthusiastic response to the Lough Derg event by Fiona Sugrue-Ward of the Kinsale fleet joyfully captures the flavour of the class and the place and the pace very well indeed:

Lough Derg Yacht Club was the venue for the final Regional Squib Event of 2021. A bumper turnout of 29 Squibs raced in the Freshwater event, and it is great to see such numbers on the start line. The Fleet love going to Lough Derg, and as always the Club ran a super event, both on and off the water.

With six races held over the two days, conditions on the lake were almost perfect with southwesterlies averaging 10-12 knots making racing fair across the racecourse. There were 5 different individual race winners leading to a final race where any one of eight Squib combinations could have won outright.

Racing had been really close and placings up and down the fleet were impossible totally on the spot. When the numbers were finally crunched in the Race Office, it was Quickstep from Cultra with a consistent top and finishes and one race win which danced to overall victory with the Royal North of Ireland's Gordon Patterson and Ross Nolan.

Sunshine finally breaking through – Fantome (730 Fergus O'Kelly & Ronan MacDonnell, Howth YC) chasing Granat (David Stewart & Brian Hare, Royal Irish & Royal Dee YCs)Sunshine finally breaking through – Fantome (730 Fergus O'Kelly & Ronan MacDonnell, Howth YC) chasing Granat (David Stewart & Brian Hare, Royal Irish & Royal Dee YCs)

Bookending the weekend with wins in Race 1 and 6, Kinsale's Outlaw 785 secured 2nd overall for Ian Travers and Keith O'Riordan. Local Squib Femme Fatale 24, with Lough Derg's Joe O Byrne and Vincent Delany helming, went for 3rd overall.

Other notable mentions must go to race winners Toy for the Boys, Fantome and Firecracker. The fleet were delighted to have overseas visitors in Squib 11 with Pam and Dick Batt, and a Welsh Dragon was welcomed flying over Lil Quickie with Tudor Roberts and Ieuan Williams.

A fleet of 29 is a fabulous end to the 2021 Squib season, the close racing amongst the fleet makes for great events. The Class are already planning and looking forward to next year with Regional events and of course the combined UK & Irish National Squib Championships in Kinsale.

Squib Results Here

Volante is another boat from Killyleagh on Strangford Lough – sailed by Simon Watson & "Jordy", she place eighth overall. Volante is another boat from Killyleagh on Strangford Lough – sailed by Simon Watson & "Jordy", she place eighth overall. 

The overall format for the Freshwater Keelboat Regatta is the Dragons do three days starting on the Friday while the SB20s, Flying Fifteens and Squibs do two. But whatever your programme, the social highlight is the dinner on the Saturday night, an epic event even by the legendary hospitality standards of Lough Derg Yacht Club, which has been honing its hosting skills since 1835.

LOUGH DERG BOAT WINS SB20s

While there was convivial inter-class mingling, after the past 18 months of pandemic limitations, inevitably there were close-knit celebrations within classes that had seen little enough of each other since March 2020. The festive levels were notably high in the SB20s, where John Malone of Lough Ree Yacht Club was Presiding over his last on-water event, having served as top honcho with success despite lockdown limits, with the SB20s making a special effort to take their class message wherever and whenever it was permissible and welcome.

LDYC Commodore Joe Gilmartin (right) with Andrew Deakin's winning SB20 crew which included Aoife (11) and Claire (9).LDYC Commodore Joe Gilmartin (right) with Andrew Deakin's winning SB20 crew which included Aoife (11) and Clara (9).

This has been partially in anticipation of the Worlds being in Dun Laoghaire with the Royal Irish Yacht Club in 2022. But equally, there was a determination to make the best of the here and now with commendable attention to detail, which is one race saw the President taking time out to check the mooring lines on one of the race marks, unselfishly sacrificing what would have been a good result in Race 3 in order to do so.

SB20 President John Malone taking his Presidential duties very seriously with the time-honoured inspection of race mark moorings…..SB20 President John Malone taking his Presidential duties very seriously with the time-honoured inspection of race mark moorings…..

……which is a ritual process, and done very thoroughly……which is a ritual process, and done very thoroughly

Even with that, he and his crew of Emmet Sheridan and Alex Leech got to the 7th and final race well in contention for the win against the host club's Andrew Deakin crewed by Brian & Colm McElligott after notching victory in Race 6. But as the President candidly admits, they were having such lovely sailing that they failed to do the strategic calculations on how to conduct a cunning final race, and the Deakin boat Sonic Boom – whose crew betimes included Oppie sailors Aoife (11) and Clara (9) - took the bullet and the series one point ahead of El Presidente.

SB20 Result here

Things are looking rather better for the outgoing SB20 President, nicely placed in 3040, but in the end he was second by one point. Things are looking rather better for the outgoing SB20 President, nicely placed in 3040, but in the end he was second by one point. 

CARRICKFERGUS & CONNEMARA DOMINATE FLYING FIFTEENS

The Flying Fifteens in Ireland have a fascinating development with a seriously-raced class taking hold in the heart of Connemara in the strongholds of the ancient Galway Bay traditional boats. It all started quite far back with older boats brought down by families for holiday sailing, but as our report on the Cong-Galway Race down Lough Corrib this year revealed, the far sailing waters of Connacht now include some hot newer craft of all types. The Fifteens are reflecting this, with Niall & Ronan O'Brien of FF Chonamara turning up at Dromineer with Buckfast and competing to such good effect that they took second in a fleet of ten.

Flying Fifteens on the run, Squibs on the beatFlying Fifteens on the run, Squibs on the beat

Their scoreline included a couple of firsts, but it was Belfast Lough sailors Trevor D'Arcy and Alan McClernon of Carrickfergus who were on top of their game with three first and a second and fourth to win by one point, while Alan Green and David Mulvin of the NYC in Dun Laoghaire were third after notching best results of a first and two seconds.

Flying Fifteen results here

LITTLE FELLA WINS TIE BREAK IN DRAGONS

It doesn't do to rush the final few miles down the winding road to Dromineer from Nenagh with an International Dragon in tow, for it's a boreen which might have been set up with Advanced Towing Driving Tests in mind. But at least the boats which came from Dun Laoghaire had motorway most of the way until Nenagh, whereas the hotshots from Kinsale had to contend with some of those nationally-notorious bottlenecks on the Cork-Limerick road before getting anywhere near their destination

This may have sharpened their determination to succeed once they got the fresh air of Lough Derg in their lungs, and with their elite three-day programme providing eight races, it came right down to the wire between two Kinsale boats, with Brian Goggin's Serafina and Cameron Good's Little Fella both on 17 points.

Dragons finding some sunshine on the run, with eventual overall winner Little Fella (211, Cameron Good KYC, left) making a successful break for it.Dragons finding some sunshine on the run, with eventual overall winner Little Fella (211, Cameron Good KYC, left) making a successful break for it.

However, 2021 is Little Fella's year, and she added another title by winning the tie-break, with third place going to Peter Bowring of Royal St George YC in Dun Laoghaire with Phantom.

International Dragon Results here

The season is by no means completely over on Lough Derg, but there's no doubting that this year's successful Freshwater Keelboat marks a significant changing of the pace, with a distinct change in the weather now upon us to emphasise this. It's really anybody's guess what the country has to go through during the coming winter, but down Dromineer way they're already thinking of the bright weather of next summer. For in addition to its busy home programme and of course the Freshwater Keelboat Regatta in October (date is October 15th-16th, put it in the diary now), Lough Derg Yacht Club is hosting the Fireball Worlds 2022 from August 20th to 26th.

Autumn is well upon us – evening sunlight at DromineerAutumn is well upon us – evening sunlight at Dromineer

WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

Email The Author

William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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