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Howth Yacht Club’s Aoife Hopkins has announced her retirement from Olympic campaigning.

The ILCA 6 (Laser Radial) sailor and former U21 European Champion had been readying for the Paris 2024 qualifying campaign, following the disappointment of missing out on Ireland’s sole spot at the Tokyo 2020 games last year.

Only this past summer it was announced that 23-year-old Hopkins would share with fellow HYC prospect Eve McMahon in The Olympic Federation of Ireland Paris Scholarships fund for their Olympic preparations.

Sailing since she was nine years old and well regarded as one of Ireland’s top sailors, Hopkins achieved her personal best result when she placed 17th overall at the 2021 ILCA 6 World Championships in Oman, where she also scored one of two World Championship race wins in her career.

Before that, arguably her biggest highlight was her win at the U21 Europeans in 2017 — just weeks after sitting her Leaving Cert — and that same year she graduated to the senior Irish Sailing Team.

Hopkins balanced sailing with her studies for a maths degree over the subsequent years, and together with Aisling Keller helped secure Ireland’s single qualification place for the ILCA 6 at Tokyo 2020 during the class Worlds in Japan in 2019.

However, Hopkins’ hopes of securing that spot were dashed when the following summer’s Olympic trials were cut short in the early months of the COVID pandemic, and Rio 2016 silver medallist Annalise Murphy was selected instead.

Aoife Hopkins had been gearing up for the Paris 2024 qualification campaign after the disappointment of Ireland’s Tokyo 2020 selectionAoife Hopkins had been gearing up for the Paris 2024 qualification campaign after the disappointment of Ireland’s Tokyo 2020 selection

At the time, both Keller and Hopkins expressed their dismay, with the latter saying: "I really can’t understand the decision not to continue with the trials. I am utterly and completely devastated.”

Hopkins did not appeal the decision by Irish Sailing and took some time out to reassess her situation.

The young sailor missed the Irish ILCA 6 title nationals on a tie break in Kerry in August but did lift the ladies' salver. Her most recent victory on the water was as helm of the J80 Ladies of the Kite, leading a team of under-25s to the Sportsboat title at last month’s Women at the Helm regatta.

Aoife (second from left) among the winners with the ILCA 6 Ladies' Salver in Tralee in AugustAoife (second from left) among the winners with the ILCA 6 Ladies' Salver in Tralee in August

Before the event, Hopkins said: “Events like these are super important for women in sport and women in sailing … and it’s brilliant to see the turn out today. This is the one event of the year when the women’s changing rooms are busier than the men’s!

"It gives women the opportunity to helm boats that they might not have and to actually showcase their skills and what they can do because it’s not really about capabilities, it’s about opportunities.”

Afloat.ie wishes Aoife Hopkins the very best in her future endeavours.

Back in July 1982, HYC’s new Marina opened for business. This meant that - come September - the club’s diverse cruiser and keelboat fleet, which in those days still included a goodly number of wooden craft, could safely and conveniently follow the example of the low-maintenance Squibs. They were now able to have themselves a fully-fledged Autumn League which provided great sport right up to the threshold of Hallowe’en, when in times past the entire fleet would have long since been laid up ashore.

The fibreglass Squibs had been at the Autumn thing since 1979. But when the full fleet for the new all-comers series turned out for the first time in the third weekend of September 1982, it was something else altogether. It was mind-blowing. The lack of today’s other distractions and domestic expectations meant this was the only show in town, and it had the benefit of novelty, so much so that significant numbers came from other centres, and even across Dublin Bay.

Today, we’re accustomed to year-round sailing should we wish it. There’s also a huge marina in Dun Laoghaire. And forty years ago, there was much less access to the temptation of second boats based in the still-summery Mediterranean. Thus by comparison with 1982, it was a more modest fleet of 87 boats which entered for the weekend’s first race of the 2022 Beshoff Motors Autumn League to celebrate the Ruby Jubilee of the series, and have some rather good racing while they were at it.

While the sun shone, there’s no doubting it was Autumn with a cool northerly breeze which was soft enough in places. But with the ebb obligingly setting in at mid-race, the fleets were brought home to their finish lines in the Sound and off the harbour in a timely fashion, even if that same ebb’s accelerating power gave distinct advantage to the lower-rated boats in some of the handicap classes.

 The day started well……you don’t have to fly to New York and then fly back again to get pics like this, but this is how Howth looked for the latest image in the Stephen White collection . Photo: Stephen White The day started well……you don’t have to fly to New York and then fly back again to get pics like this, but this is how Howth looked for the latest image in the Stephen White collection . Photo: Stephen White

J/97s MAKE HAY IN CLASS 1

This was particularly so in Class 1, where Robert Rendell’s stately Grand Soleil 44 Samatom took very clearcut line honours, but when the sums were done it was the little J/97s which diced for the honours, with Stephen Quinn’s Lambay Rules taking it narrowly on IRC, while sister ship Jeneral Lee (Conor & Cathy Kavanagh) was just there on HPH.

Class 2 was an X-Yachts Festival bar one, which happened to be the winner, with Fergal Noonan & Robert Chambers’ vintage Corby Impetuous taking it on both rating systems, with the usual suspect Dux having to make do with a second and a third. Class 2 had Sigma 33 superstar Insider (Stephen Mullaney) doing the business on IRC, but Kahera from Malahide (Russell Camier) won on HPH, while a Blast from the Past came second in IRC with Coner Fogerty’s “home boat”, the Ron Holland-designed 1976 Half Ton World Champion Silver Shamrock, getting her umpteenth podium place in third.

Stephen Harris’s First 40.7 Tiger with her seemingly enormous mainsail defied the anti-size tendency by winning White Sails 4 on both systems, and in White Sails 5 the bigger HPH Division saw the history-laden Club Shamrock Demelza (previous sailors include Mark Mansfield and Neville Maguire) win HPH for Steffi & Windsor, but they won IRC for good measure, with Joe Carton’s Dehler 34 Voyager second both ways.

INTER-CASTLE CONTEST FOR CLASSICS 

The 124-year-old Howth 17s had a real ding-dong finish with David Nixon in Erica (built 1988 at Howth Castle) getting it by 20 seconds from Michael Duffy’s Hera (built 1898 at Carrickfergus Castle), third place going to the Tiger Prawn Syndicate in Deilginis.

After their lively and well-attended Class Championship a week ago won by the McMahons in Shiggi Shiggi, the Puppeteer 22s reckoned rightly that they’d have an even better turnout for the Rube Jube, and with 19 boats they’re the biggest class. But while Shiggi may be garlanded with the Nat Honours, it was the Alans – Pearson & Blay - who won this time with Trick or Treat, while the returned-to-racing-and-very-welcome David Clarke was second with Harlequin, and Paul & Laura McMahon with Shiggi took third.

No sooner do the Squibs in Howth get themselves back towards critical mass (the class used to be several dozens) than you find key performers have rival Autumnal distractions, such as going off to secret locations to indulge their personal vice of racing Foiling Moths. So even with the ever-keen Robert Marshall down from Killyleagh for the fun, there were only seven on the line-up, but even so Marshall’s notable performer Slipstream had to be content with second by a whisker under both systems, as Jeff Kay’s Chatterbox won on scratch while the club-owned Tiger Roll won on HPH.

The 40th Anniversary of the HYC Autumn League – the Ruby Jubilee – fits neatly with Jeremy Beshoff’s specialist car company.

TEAM SPIRIT

To add to the enhanced sense of community which the Autumn League has engendered in its forty years, there’s an across-the-classes Team Trophy, three boats drawn from three classes. After the first race of the Beshoff Autumn League, it’s the TITs very clear ahead with wins for all three – Tiger, Insider, and Trick or Treat.

As all this was being calculated, the BBQ was going full blast, and the various music machines were gearing up to do the same. It was something special. There were veterans from the first series of 1982 racing. Yet many of the Ruby Jubilee Celebrants hadn’t even been born when it all started way back when. In this extraordinary 2022 season with successes at home and abroad, Howth Yacht Club just keeps rolling along

Detailed Results below

Published in Howth YC
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“Regatta weather” has provided the perfect sunny racing conditions for Day 3 (Thursday 1 September) of the J24 Euros ’22 at Howth Yacht Club.

But any notions of lolling around in leisurely style were soon dispelled by the determination of race officer David Lovegrove to register three sets of results while the brisk east-to-nor’east breeze kept up. And by the time the fleet returned to harbour, they certainly knew that they’d been sailing through intensely competitive racing conditions.

With seven sets of results now in the can, they already have an acknowledged championship posted even if the expected deterioration in conditions through Friday and Saturday is so total that none of the remaining three possible races is sailed.

But some boats which have been finding the pace with more confidence as the championship progresses will undoubtedly be looking for further bites at the cherry.

However, the Greek star Jmania will probably be more than happy to leave things as they are, as they posted a solid 3,6,2 to put them on 24 points after the single discard, well clear of Germany’s Stefan Kersunke on 30, who won Race 7 after being very much among “the others” with a happily discarded 18th in Race 6.

By special arrangement with management, any clouds stayed over the land and the sun shone strongly at sea all day as the breeze kept up | Credit: Christopher HowellBy special arrangement with management, any clouds stayed over the land and the sun shone strongly at sea all day as the breeze kept up | Credit: Christopher Howell

The local multi-denominational talent in Headcase looked to be digging themselves out of something of a trough with 2,1 in the first two races. But just as things were looking hopeful for their nationwide support club, the wheels came off in Race 7 with a 19th — yet despite that they now lie fourth overall.

When you’re looking at a scorecard from seven races, fresh permutations emerge, and the “Kids from Kinsale” with Kinsailor logged a very respectable 5,11,3 today to move themselves up to 6th overall, putting them ahead of the defending champions from the Italian Navy in seventh. They in turn are on equal points with another navy man, that very seasoned sailor Admiral Denny Vaughan from Seattle, racing Easy Street.

Conor Haughton’s Jade from Wicklow dicing with Admiral Vaughan’s Easv Street from Seattle | Credit: Christopher HowellConor Haughton’s Jade from Wicklow dicing with Admiral Vaughan’s Easv Street from Seattle | Credit: Christopher Howell

It should be noted that the wonderful admiral is cheerfully racing on at 83 years old. So it’s likely that his personal age is only a few years short of the total combined age of the Kinsailor crew. This is decidedly thought-provoking, to say the least. But it’s altogether in keeping with the remarkable variety of people racing in this fascinating championship.

Results HERE.

Published in J24
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Eve McMahon will join a special ‘Homecoming Party’ to celebrate of Howth Yacht Club’s winning young talent this Friday 12 August.

The North Co Dublin club’s juniors have made a big splash this summer, with McMahon winning gold at the ILCA 6 Youth Worlds in Texas where club mate Rocco Wright also scored a bronze.

Both earned their stripes as our sailors of the month for July (International and Youth respectively), while Luke Turvey also made a strong showing. And more recently, Eve’s older brother Ewan McMahon retained his title at the Irish Moth Nationals this past weekend.

Eve McMahon will be on hand for the celebration at the clubhouse this Friday afternoon from 4pm to answer a few questions about her exceptional summer.

And there will be ice cream, barbecue and dancing for all — plus free treats for HYC junior members who show their club card.

Poster for Howth Yacht Club Homecoming Party on Friday 12 August

Published in Howth YC

Howth Yacht Club wants to brighten up its clubhouse interior in time for the Wave Regatta — and is calling on all members with artistic talent to contribute artworks of merit next Sunday 22 May.

The artwork needs to be ready for hanging (optimum dimensions W50cm x H40cm) and clearly labelled on the back with the following details:

  1. Title

  2. Artist’s Name

  3. Contact Details (Sales will be conducted directly with the artist)

  4. Medium

  5. Price or NFS (not for sale)



Artworks can be delivered to Trish Nixon in the Boyd Room on Sunday 22 May from 10.30am to noon. Queries can be directed to Trish at [email protected]

Published in Howth YC
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If you’re looking for a different way to get involved with this summer’s Wave Regatta, Howth Yacht Club’s rescue and mark-laying team may have a spot for you.

The team will be active across the various courses, laying marks and aiding the race management team throughout the event over the June Bank Holiday weekend.

If you hold at least a Level 2 powerboat certificate, HYC invites you to get in touch with the team at [email protected] to find out more.

Published in Howth YC
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Cadets and Young Ordinary members of Howth Yacht Club who are looking for a way to flex their competitive muscles can take to the water for weekly Pico team racing from 6pm this Friday 6 May.

Non-members are also welcome to round out the teams, which will be given a club Pico to race in as well as a reserved spot in The Light House pergola for race afters. For details see the Quest Howth website HERE.

But it’s not only Friday night lights at HYC, as Thursdays will also come alive this month with sessions for sharpening sailing skills delivered by a fully qualified Irish Sailing keelboat instructors in the club’s J80s.

The course runs for three weeks from next Thursday 12 May, from 6.30pm to 9pm and Quest has details HERE.

HYC notes that the last such course was equal parts sailing and socialising, perfect for easing into the summer season.

Published in Howth YC
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Howth Yacht Club’s Cruising Group has planned its first cruise of the year, sailing to Ardglass in Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man from Thursday 19 to Saturday 21 May.

The club advises all interested parties to contact Susan Kavanagh directly, as the Cruising Group is always happy to welcome new members into the fold.

Ahead of that, the group’s first armada of 2022 will be to Lambay Island this coming Saturday 7 May.

Early risers can get a head start by registering for the Darkness Into Light sunrise sail in aid of Pieta House. Boats will leave the harbour for Ireland’s Eye at 5am alongside the pier walk from The Light House, HYC’s new pergola.

If you would like to sail but don't have a boat, get in touch with Susan Kavanagh, who will be happy to find you a seat for this special cause.

Published in Howth YC

Howth Yacht Club offers so many ways to make your support for Ukraine go further.

The North Co Dublin club is matching donations through its crisis appeal for MSF on GoFundMe up to €5,000.

In addition, every euro of ever purchase of a flag or pennant (€15 for a small, €25 for a large) goes to the Irish Red Cross Ukraine Crisis appeal.

There are less than 25 flags left to purchase, so stop by the office this Easter weekend to get one before they’re gone.

Published in Howth YC
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Howth Yacht Club welcomes Cormac Farrelly to the clubhouse tomorrow evening (Thursday 7 April) to regale with tales from the tropics.

And the bar will be mixing Caribbean-inspired cocktails for the perfect accompaniment to the evening thats bound to inspire future cruising to — or chartering in — the West Indies.

Entrance is free for the talk which kicks off at 7.30pm — email [email protected] for more.

Published in Howth YC
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