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#allirelandsailing – Royal Cork sailors lead the way into tomorrow's All Ireland Sailing Championship final at Howth Yacht Club. RCYC's Ian Nagle and Stefan Hyde topped their respective flights after six preliminary races in near perfect 12–northerly winds. Full results from both flights are below.

Another Royal Cork helm, Commodore's Cup champion Anthony O'Leary, was first to get a win this morning, closely followed in Race 1 by defending champion Ben Duncan and Northern Irish Squib Champion Ross Vaughan. A technical problem with Ian Nagle's J80 keelboat meant he was unable to finish the race. His score would be awarded based on his average for the next two races - something that would later yield a dramatic change of the leader board.

Race two returned some interesting results with the initial top competitors all finishing back mid-fleet. Ben Duncan took the final bullet in Race 3 but a 1, 2 from Nagle gave him an average of 1.5 and total of 4.5 points to pip Duncan to the top spot. O'Leary, tied on points with Duncan but losing on count-back, earned the final guaranteed place in the Final. Ross Vaughan, Pat O'Neill, Flor O'Driscoll and Conor Turvey must now sail in the repechage in the hopes of progressing.

In Flight 2 former All Ireland Champion Stefan Hyde from Royal Cork stormed into the lead, winning the first two races. A 2nd in Race 3 gave him a total of 4 points putting him straight through to the Final in overall pole position. Chris Helme from the Royal St George and Alex Barry from Monkstown Bay Sailing Club finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. Joining the Flight 1 sailors in the repechage will be Richard Evans, Conor Phelan, Laurence Hanley and Guy Kilroy.

There are two races planned for the repechage tomorrow with racing scheduled to get underway at 10.15am. Only the top two teams will be given the opportunity to compete against the top six sailors in the Final. Flight results from today will carry forward to the four-race Final with a discard being applied after four races. Racing is under the direction of ISA President David Lovegrove.

Flight 1 Results

Boat

Helm

Club

R1

R2

R3

Total

6

Ian Nagle

Royal Cork YC

1.5

1

2

4.5

5

Ben Duncan

 

2

5

1

8

8

Anthony O'Leary

Royal Cork YC

1

4

3

8

7

Ross Vaughan

Royal North of Ireland YC

3

6

4

13

3

Pat O'Neill

Clontarf Y&BC

5

2

8

15

2

Flor O'Driscoll

Royal St George YC

6

3

6

15

1

Conor Turvey

Howth YC

4

8

7

19

4

Jonathan O'Rourke

National YC

7

7

5

19

Flight 2 Results

Boat

Helm

Club

R1

R2

R3

Total

2

Stefan Hyde

Royal Cork YC

1

1

2

4

6

Chris Helme

Royal St George YC

3

5

1

9

1

Alex Barry

Monkstown Bay SC

4

2

4

10

7

Richard Evans

Howth YC

2

6

5

13

5

Conor Phelan

Royal Cork YC

6

4

3

13

8

Laurence Hanley

Lough Ree YC

5

3

6

14

4

Guy Kilroy

Royal Irish YC

7

7

7

21

3

Roy Van Maanen

Greystones SC

8

8

8

24

Published in All Irelands

#hyc – No sooner had Howth Yacht Club successfully staged a new double–handed fixture on the capital's waters this month than the north Dublin Club is back with a further announcement on a new format for the Howth Yacht Club Autumn league. Now opens for entries, MSL Park Motors Mercedes-Benz have announced a three-year sponsorship deal for the League that is celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2014.

With final date for entries of next Wednesday 10th September, entry-forms are arriving steadily with strong demand across all classes. Organisers are predicting a fleet of around 120 boats across in nine divisions starting on Saturday 13th September and ending on 18th October.

Although London 2012 Olympian Annalise Murphy was present for the announcement today (Tuesday 2nd September 2014) the Laser Radial sailor won't be competing in Howth as she will be on the road in her Mercedes Vito Mixto, en route to the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander where she hopes to qualify for Rio 2016.

Cruiser classes 1 to 3 will have racing under IRC and ECHO handicaps as will two white sails divisions competing on a separate course between Ireland's Eye and Lambay Island. Meanwhile, Puppeteer 22's, Squibs, Sailfleet J80's and the classic Howth Seventeen footers will have a separate course inshore closer to Howth. Racing begins at 1430 on each racing day.

"Our new three-year association with Howth Yacht Club is a perfect match between a world class sailing club and our North Dublin Mercedes-Benz dealership at MSL Park Motors," commented Brendan Grace, Managing Director at MSL Motor Group. "Sports sponsorship isn't new for us but sailing and Fingal's beautiful coastline makes this event an ideal fit for Mercedes Benz."

And in a new development for the long-running series, racing has been switched from Sunday mornings to Saturday afternoon. "We made the change as we recognise that while competitors enjoy the half-day competition format, they also want to socialise with the other crews and friends after racing ends so Saturday makes better sense," commented Brian Turvey, Commodore of Howth Yacht Club. "The new timing will boost racing and bring the crews ashore in time for a great social programme at the club."

Published in Howth YC

#hyc – The new one-day Howth YC Double-Hander, with sponsorship from Aqua Restaurant and shaping its course round the islands and rocks of Fingal plus the Kish Lighthouse, struck a successful chord for its inauguration yesterday (Saturday August 23rd). Brainchild of Simon Knowles, who discovered his enthusiasm for double-handed challenges in last year's Dun Laoghaire-Dingle Race, it got off to a fine inauguration with 33 starters writes W M Nixon.

A fleet which had been comfortably on the 22 mark at mid-week surged on the day to these 33 boats, most of them from the host club, and ranging in size from Roy Dickson's Corby 25 Rosie and Vincent Gaffney's Laser 28 Alliance II up to craft like Stephen's Harris's First 40.7 Tiger and Stephen O'Flaherty's Spirit 54 Soufriere.

They were divided into Spinnaker and White Sail, with each division having both IRC and the Howth variant on the ECHO handicap. With the morning's crisp and sunny nor'west breeze forecast to fade as the day went on, and with a big tide hitting High Water an hour and a half after the 1000hrs start, it was reckoned the best option was north to Lambay and then southeast to the Kish, which would allow for the new flood in late afternoon to bring in stragglers to finish where they'd started, at the old HYC line on Howth's East Pier.

It was a reaching start, which seems to be the best option with double-handed events, and the non-spinnaker division first away saw Stephen Harris read it to perfection with Tiger. By the time they were shaping their course up the east side of Ireland's Eye the dark blue First 40.7 was well out on her own.

Things were closer in the more numerous spinnaker division, with David Kelly in the J109 Storm, Ross McDonald in the X332 Equinox, Jonny Swann in the classic Humphreys Half Tonner Harmony, and Ian Dickson in Rosie hitting the line together at the front of the fleet, with Equinox getting the best of it to be first around the turning mark.

howth_two_handed_yacht_race2.jpg
A reaching start is the preferred option for Double-Handed events. In the spinnaker division, Storm, Equinox, Alliance II and Rosie have the best of it. Photo: W M Nixon

howth_two_handed_yacht_race3.jpg
Stately and conservative perhaps, Soufriere plays it safe at the start, but very soon was milling her way past the fleet. Photo: W M Nixon

However, the queen of the fleet Soufriere was not only looking very well in the morning sunshine, but after an understandably conservative start, Stephen O'Flaherty and David Cagney wound the big girl up, and in conditions made for her, she marched through the fleet on the long leg to Lambay, and then consolidated her lead on the even longer run down to the Kish in the sluicing ebb.

But the zing was going out of the wind, and by the time the tailenders got to the Kish it had evaporated altogether - some reported being becalmed for nearly an hour before a faint new breeze began to make in from the east. Soufriere meanwhile was still on the pace closing in towards the Nose of Howth, her crew working so hard you couldn't help but think that it would be more fair if boats in these short-handed events were allowed to carry a percentage of their racing crew – something like 33% would be more equitable - instead of everyone racing with just two regardless of boat size.

howth_two_handed_yacht_race4.jpg
Nearly there.....Soufriere gets close to the finish in the very last of the original breeze. Photo: W M Nixon

howthaqua5_1.jpg
With the last of the ebb still against her, Soufriere has stopped very near the line, even though the two Howth 17s are still finding breeze close in to Ireland's Eye. Photo: W M Nixon

Be that as it may, Soufriere nearly made it, but the wind gasped its last within less than half a mile of the finish. Eventually, she got across in a little local zephyr from the southwest at 15.10.02, which was good going for the day that was now in it, and it looked better and better as the boats still at sea weren't getting anywhere much.

However, the new easterly sharpened just that tiny bit, and the Swann/Freyne team on Harmony were perfectly placed to take full advantage of it, heading steadily for the finish under spinnaker ahead of some much larger boats, and with the other classic Half Tonner, Dave Cullen's King One, somewhat out of it fifteen minutes astern.

howthaqua6_1.jpg
Trickling in to the finish with the new easterly breeze are Colm Bermingham's Bite the Bullet. David Kelly's Storm tacking to lee northward, and Stephen Harris's Tiger leading the non-spinnaker class. Photo: W M Nixon

howthaqua7_1.jpgDave Cullen's classic Half Tonner King One is going well in the easterly nearing the line, but Harmony is already finished. Photo: W M Nixon

Harmony was in just before 4.0pm, correcting to five minutes ahead of Soufriere which nevertheless stayed in second three minutes ahead of Equinox, with Demot Skehan's MG34 Tough Nut taking fourth ahead of King One in fifth.

In the non-spinnaker class, Tiger had sailed a wellnigh faultless race, but the chips just didn't fall her way, and though she took line honours, across both handicap system the most consistent performer was Jennie O'Leary with the First 33.7 Tantrum 3, as she won under IRC and was second in the Howth/ECHO division, where Joe Carton, sailing with Mossy Shanahan in the Dehler 34 Voyager, took the honours and they also took third in IRC, the other boat in the top three in the non-spinnaker division being the McAllisters from Malahide with Force Five.

The buzz throughout this new Howth event makes a repeat next year highly likely. Indeed, the third Saturday of August 2015 is already being suggested as the logical day, as the timing of this year's event seemed to hit the spot both for regular crews, and for former shipmates to getting together to give it their best shot for a very manageable one-day reunion challenge.

Meanwhile there's no doubt but it was the weekend for women sailors at Howth. Jennie O'Leary was setting the pace in the Aqua Double-Hander, at the same time HYC were hosting the Shipman 28 Nationals and the winner was Gusto sailed by Christine Heath of Royal St George YC, and the venerable Howth 17s were also having their annual Ladies Race, where the winner was Rachel Cronin sailing Deilginis. Ironically, Rachel and her husband Paddy have just sold their own Howth 17 Gladys after many years of ownership in which they won dozens of prizes but never the Ladies Race, but Rachel has done it now, helming for the lads in Deilginis.

Published in Howth YC
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#hyc – Top performing Cork Quarter tonner, Dom Losty's 'Illes Pitiuses' has won the seven boat Irish Quarter Ton Championships at Howth Yacht ClubHigh winds in Howth yesterday meant that the final day's racing in the Euro Car Parks East Coast Championships and Quarter Ton Cup was cancelled and the positions after Saturday's exciting 3 races stood as final results.

This well attended event offered the many competitors and visitors from all around the country excellent and highly competitive racing.

The Class 3 racing was dominated by the J24s including 'J Guevara', 'Scandal' and IRC and ECHO winner 'Hard on Port' skippered by Flor O'Driscoll.

Howth's Anthony Gore Grimes and his crew on 'Dux' beat Paddy Kyne's 'Maximus' by just one point in Class 2 but 'Maximus' won the ECHO prize.

The Team Trophy was won by the Class 3 entries: Hard on Port, Tiger Nathan Kirwan Trust and Anchor Challenge. 

At the prize giving, event organiser Eddie Bourke thanked the race management team for their skill in managing Saturday's racing, as well as Euro Car Parks for their generous sponsorship and remarked on the terrific number of entries in what was a very successful event for the Class 2, Class 3 and Quarter Ton boats.

Full results here.

Published in Howth YC

#malahide – Malahide Yacht Club's annual cruiser regatta, sponsored by SPAR, attracted 24 boats in three classes who sailed two back-to-back races on courses set by PRO Neil Murphy in light southerly to south-easterly breezes.

Class 2 and 3 did windward-leeward courses while the White Sail class completed Olympic triangle courses and the day saw visiting Howth boats top the table in each class on both handicaps.

Class 2 was headed by Impetuous (Noonan & Chambers) from Sunburn (Ian Byrne) in 2nd and MYC's XtraTime (Michael & Paul Arthurs) 3rd.

Vincent Gaffney's Alliance II had two race wins to take the Class 3 honours, ahead of Blue Jay (MYC Youth Team) on ECHO and Scandal (Brian McDowell) on IRC. Scandal was 3rd on ECHO and Goyave (Russell Camier) was 3rd on IRC.

The White Sails division saw a comfortable overall win by David Sargent's Indulgence ahead of Toughnut (Simon Revill) and Spellbound (Graham Burrows).

Published in Malahide YC

#hyc – Three well known Irish half tonners make the journey to Saint Quay Portrieux in Brittany for the Half Ton Classic Cup representing Howth Yacht Club. The Evan's brothers "The Big Picture", Jonny Swan and Jim Freyne's "Harmony" and Dave Cullen's "King One" will all head in search of trophies in this highly competitive class event which is expecting 32 entries.

Following a total refurb and optimisation and following her recent second place in the ICRAs, Michael and Richie Evan's beautiful MG30 will hope to repeat her form to try and clinch the top trophy. A sister ship to the current holder, Nigel Biggs; Checkmate, these two boats should provide some very close racing for the spectators.

Harmony, incidentally a previous Half Ton Classic Cup champion in 2007 when owned by Nigel Biggs, could be a dark horse and is still one of the fastest half tonners around. Now looking fantastic following a refit, she may suffer a little from lack of time on the water.

King One makes its third trip to the Continent in an effort to take the prize. Placing third in 2009, lying second in 2011 when she broke her mast and lying 4th last year when a black flag ruined any chances, she has some unfinished business!.

The Half Ton Classic Cup, sponsored by Euro Car Parks, kicks off with a practice race on Monday followed by 11 races to be held up to Friday next.

You can follow the event here

Published in Half Tonners

#hyc – This weekend, Saturday June 7th, Howth Yacht Club once again hosts one of Ireland's longest established events, the Lambay Races. The event has been part of Howth's sailing calender for well over 110 years, the first trophy dates back to 1899 and was put up by a member of what was then Howth Sailing Club. 

Saturday's event is proudly sponsored again this year,by Trustee Decisions Ltd. - a specialist company providing professional advice to trustees of private and public group pension schemes.

Apart from the usual inshore and offshore fleets, HYC will also have a throwback to the traditional Lambay races with the Howth Seventeens starting off the east pier and finishing in Howth Sound. The return to the tradtional Lambay course was discussed recently in WM Nixon's Sailing blog.

There will also be a pier start for classic boats which will hopefully include a Galway Hooker.

This change in format for traditional classes is the idea of Bryan Lynch and is to mark the centenary of Echo (no. 8) which has been in the Lynch family since 1969 and is currently owned and skippered by Bryan's daughter Harriet.

As the entries roll in, it seems that the Puppeteers will end up being one of the biggest fleets. Every inch of the 16 or so mile race track will likely be needed by whomever will end up claiming the Lambay Lady trophy, which is awarded to the boat that wins its class by the largest time differential over the boat that comes second.

Leaving aside the excellent racing that the event usually provides, the onshore festivities start early on Saturday morning with coffee and bacon rolls, bar food and barbecue available all day, the prize giving will take place at 17:30 and dinner is available in the dining room from 18:00 (booking essential).

Music and dancing will be provided by Buck Taylor, a James Taylor tribute act with DJ David O'Shea continuing the fun until late.

Entry is available on line here

Published in Howth YC

#quarterton – Hot on the heels of its Sportsboat Cup announcement for June, busy Howth Yacht Club in North Dublin has today announced that its Class 2 and 3 East Coast Championships scheduled for August will incorporate the Irish Quarter Ton Cup.  Running over the 16th and 17th August, the two day event is sponsored by Euro Car Parks.

The Quarter tonners are looking forward to a busy season with participation at Dublin's ICRA Nationals in June from June 13–15  in Dun Laoghaire before heading across the bay to Howth for the Sportsboat Cup from June 20 to 22 and then the Quarter Ton Championships itself in August. 

A class event poster and the notice of race is available to download below.

Published in Howth YC

#hyc –  Although the general forecast was for meteorological mayhem throughout Ireland on Sunday, Howth Yacht Club's Laser Frostbite Race Officer Liam Dineen reckoned that an expected but brief mid-morning patch of softer winds, coupled with the fact that it was low water to maximise shelter in the Sound inside Ireland's Eye, provided a small window of opportunity for some much-needed sport.

Admittedly, of the 43 regular entries in the Howth winter series (which has been a hardy annual since 1974), only eleven came to the line to challenge a shifty southerly which was 21 knots gusting 26, though it felt much stronger owing to the exceptional density of the mid-February air.

In fact, at one stage the breeze was recording as low as 16 knots. But most of the time it was a morning for screaming reaches, hairy gybes, and a couple of spectacular capsizes. At the front of the fleet, veteran Lasermen Mike Evans and Stephen Quinn had a head to head throughout the one race sailed before conditions closed down again, and at the finish it was Quinn in the lead with Evans still hounding him.

All agreed that with the weather we've had this winter, an hour of superb sailing in February sets you up every bit as well as a whole day of sunshine sport in high summer. The Howth fleet are looking forward to their final two weekends with this popular series, which attracts Laser frostbite enthusiasts from all along the east coast of Ireland.

They're anticipating a big turnout for their traditional concluding race round Ireland's Eye on Saturday March 15th, a highlight of the St Patrick's Weekend. It's an open event, and not restricted solely to those who have completed the Frostbite Series. The entry fee includes the legendary Laser Lunch which morphs seamlessly into the afternoon's rugby match. Details later this week on hyc.ie

Published in Howth YC
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#hyc – By popular demand, Afloat.ie blogger W. M. "Winkie" Nixon's light-hearted take on "The Story of Howth Sailing" is having a new performance with an enhanced version which now includes historic sailing film material.

It's scheduled for next Wednesday, February 26th, at 7.30pm, and this time it's in Howth Yacht Club. All are welcome, and admission is €15 as all proceeds are going to the St Agnes Youth Orchestra funding programme run by Jimmy Kinahan of Poolbeg Y & BC.

Published in Howth YC
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