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Displaying items by tag: SOD

Many people who visit Ireland's sea coasts under sail are unaware that they're really only seeing half of the story. For the unseen inland Ireland is a vast watery place of myriad lakes and winding waterways, so much so that it's said of Fermanagh - the most completely watery county of all - that for six months of the year, the lakes are in Fermanagh, but for the other six months, Fermanagh is in the lakes.

Be that as it may, in times past, the waterways played a key role for the transport of goods and people. So inevitably, as some folk became more affluent than others, their personal transport boats began to reflect this, and before anyone really knew where they were, they'd become yachts. Then, Ireland being Ireland, yacht clubs soon followed, with Lough Ree Yacht Club formed in 1770, Lough Erne YC in 1820, and Lough Derg YC in 1835.

Thus the inner Ireland, far from being a vague reflection of coastal Ireland, is a thriving sailing world complete unto itself. But while its very varied sailing accommodates many boat types, there is one unique craft that symbolises its special character - the una-rigged Shannon One Design. 

Shannon One Designs in a "One-Reef Breeze". The long slim clinker-built hulls are so flexible that it's said "they can turn round and look at you".Shannon One Designs in a "One-Reef Breeze". The long slim clinker-built hulls are so flexible that it's said "they can turn round and look at you"

The class may or may not be celebrating its Centenary in 2022, for as I recall from crewing with the class deity Alf Delany at Dromineer in a special regatta in 1972 to celebrate the SODs' Golden Jubilee, there were those there who argued they were a year out, as it was all to do with whether or not you count the first year as zero or one…..

Either way, they're gorgeous boats which may have been seen sailing on the saltwater at classics regattas at Dun Laoghaire and Glandore, but somehow they never look completely right except when sailing on their own great lakes, or else taking part in the 40-plus miles Long Distance Race from Lough Ree down the Shannon to Lough Derg.

Though the prevailing south to southwest wind will make it a beat down Shannon from Lough Ree to Lough Derg, every so often some meandering of the river will provide a brief few moments of fair windThough the prevailing south to southwest wind will make it a beat down Shannon from Lough Ree to Lough Derg, every so often some meandering of the river will provide a brief few moments of fair wind

This involves an overnight stop at Shannonbridge, where the hot rum and chocolate at Killeen's bar & grocery at the top of the street is renowned for bringing exhausted SoDs back to life, for in getting there from Athlone, they may well have made more tacks than could be counted, and in all, there are only two locks to provide a break.

A class like this evolves its own mythology, often comprehensible only to those closely involved. But fortunately, over the years, people like Douglas and Ruth Heard and others were recording it on film from a time well before everybody had a film camera whenever they took out their mobile phone.

Thanks to those pioneers, the class are having a closed Zoom session on Saturday night for a showing, commentary and discussion around Ruth Heard's 8mm movie of the 1988 Shannon One Design season, a show which will then be available to the world at large on YouTube in due course.

While the 1921-designed Shannon One Design may not have a standard planing hull, given enough breeze a helm with nerves of steel can get her riding the bow-wave with the best of themWhile the 1921-designed Shannon One Design may not have a standard planing hull, given enough breeze a helm with nerves of steel can get her riding the bow-wave with the best of them

While the 1921-designed Shannon One Design may not have a standard planing hull, given enough breeze a helm with nerves of steel can get her riding the bow-wave with the best of them.

Published in Inland Waterways
Tagged under

#SOD - The Shannon One Design Association (SODA) has announced its latest Long Distance Race for the weekend of Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 June.

First raced in 1953, the Shannon One Design (SOD) competition is the longest inland dinghy sailing race in these islands.

And it’s a challenging one at that, with crews counting tacks often into the thousands while jockeying for position down a narrow river given to serious south-westerlies, though a northerly breeze can make for enjoyable downwind racing.

Either way, the race remains physically and mentally demanding over the two days, says SODA chairman John Leech, whose own mother crewed the race’s winning SOD in its inaugural outing, topping it with a win in her own right in the race's second year.

Race officer Edwin Hunter, who celebrates his 50th year in charge of proceedings, is also making it a family affair as his son and assistant David will take over his duties from 2018 onwards.

The race starts in Lough Ree Yacht Club on the Saturday, with the first leg taking the fleet to Athlone Lock.

From there the race continues to Clonmacnoise (leg 2) for lunch, Shannon Bridge (leg 3) and Banagher (leg 4), then resumes Sunday to Meelick Lock (leg 5) before finishing in Portumna (leg 6).

Leech expects a sizeable fleet of up to 50 boats this year and late entries are still welcome — anyone interested in taking part should contact the SODA Honorary Secretary at [email protected] for details.

Published in Racing
Tagged under

#helmsmans – The stakes are raised in this weekend's All Ireland Senior Sailing Championship at Dromineer on Lough Derg following the success of the Junior Championship in Schull a fortnight ago. In some of the best sailing conditions of 2012, the new junior title holder by a clear margin was West Cork's Fionn Lyden (17), who has since been declared the Afloat.ie/Irish Independent "Sailor of the Month" for September.

But Lyden has been allowed little time to reflect on his success. He's back in the fray this weekend in the seniors event, and the lineup he will face racing in the SailFleet J/80s contains some formidable talent, including defending champion George Kenefick (24) of Crosshaven.

Former champion Mark Mansfield has been on top form recently, heading the racing in the 1720s, and he is fired up to avenge the narrow defeat inflicted on him by Kenefick at the same venue a year ago in this championship.

As the racing is in a specialized boat which does not feature as a supported class at any Irish sailing centre, the hope is that the competition will be as even as possible among sailors who usually helm craft of many different types. But of course the wind strengths will play a major role regardless of how even the racing is in theory, and predictions for this weekend suggest a wide variety of conditions.

Today's expected light breezes could inflict havoc in the programme, but the prospect of a freshening southeaster tomorrow – albeit with rain later – will provide ample opportunities to get a result before the weekend is out.

The lineup includes an interesting mixture of sailing specialities, including two veterans of the 2012 Olympics, Star class helm Peter O'Leary from Cork and the 49er's Ryan Seaton from Ballyholme.

Carrickfergus is putting forward Trevor Kirkpatrick, the helm from the Ruffian 23 class on Belfast Lough. It is of course the hope of all club sailors that some day the All Ireland will throw up an unexpected winner from one of the minor leagues. But that hasn't happened for a long time now, and by tomorrow afternoon the smart money is betting that it will be the big guns yet again in the final shootout.

Thus the likelihood of Royal Cork dominating with Mansfield, Kennefick and O'Leary setting the pace is high, but as well there are several highly possible contenders in the form of Tim Goodbody, Ben Duncan, David Dickson, Fionn Lyden, and Alan Ruigrok.

THE SOD IS YOUR FLEXIBLE FRIEND

When you consider the nationwide spread of the home ports of these top sailing talents, there's inescapable logic in staging the All Ireland on Lough Derg, as it and Lough Ree are about as central as you can get in Ireland. It was back in 1982 that I first saw what Dromineer could do when the Helmsmans Championship was staged in Shannon One Designs, and the winner was Dave Cummins of Sutton, crewed by Gordon Maguire no less, and Joe MacSweeney.

There was no lack of wind at that championship, but as John Lefroy's 1874-built all-iron former steam yacht Phoenix was the committee boat, the race officers (Jock Smith was OOD) at least were comfortably ensconced, and when the racing was completed we took the Phoenix up the lough at full chat just for the hell of it, giving a passable impression of a destroyer at the Battle of Jutland.

SailSatpic2

She'd turn round and look at you". Even in a moderate breeze, the Shannon One Design (sailed here by Sid Shine of Lough Ree) develops a marked twist in her hull.

As for the Shannon One Designs being sailed as hard as they could go by Ireland's brightest and best, they coped remarkably well, though inevitably there were breakages. The design having been developed from slim lake boats, the clinker hulls tend to twist a bit when pinned in for hard windward work - as Pompey Delaney used to say, in a breeze they'd turn round and look at you.

Both Dave Cummins and Gordon Maguire have been Australia-based for many years now, and of course Gordon was sailing master aboard the superb 63ft Loki, overall winner of the most recent Sydney-Hobart Race. He was home recently with his family for a few weeks holiday, and caught me out round the back of Howth YC in the boatyard in the midst of the keel and rudder re-configuration which is the current boat project (and has been for quite some time). Fortunately the great man dropped by at a stage when the job was going well, which isn't necessarily always the case. It's a bit unnerving, to say the least, to have your work evaluated by a Sydney-Hobart winner who is also trained in engineering, but if he thought the whole thing was crazy, he was still too polite to say so.

DESJOY FOR DESJOYEAUX

The fantastic trimarans of the MOD 70 class will by now be cherishing their memories of the great racing they had in Dublin Bay in good breezes on Saturday September 8th, as they have finally completed their European Tour at Genoa, and lack of wind has been a problem for much of the southern section of the programme.

Michel Desjoyeaux emerged as overall winner of the EuroTour on Foncia. But "emerged" is very much the word, as the final miles into Genoa saw these mighty machines crawling along at just two knots in the finest of zephyrs. It looked as though Spindrift Racing had it all sewn up, but by snatching a couple of places virtually on the finish line – just as he did on the stage from Kiel to Dun Laoghaire – the Foncia skipper carried off the cup, while Spindrift Racing was the season's winner when the Transatlantic results are combined with the EuroTour points.

Despite the subdued finish, the potential of this new class to provide spectacular sailing in a manageable budget has been amply proven, and it provides a marked contrast with the America's Cup, where the focus has swung to San Francisco and next year's series.

SailSatpic3

Foncia (Michel Desjoyeaux, seen here in Dublin Bay) has won the MOD 70s EuroTour, while Spindrift Racing is the season's champion. Photo W M Nixon

That will be raced in 70ft catamarans, and the first of these awesome and unbelievably expensive machines has been showing her paces. But meanwhile not everyone is a happy budgie in San Francisco, where a proposed major development of two piers to provide useful shore bases for challengers has been changed into an intention to have all the action focused more on the Golden Gate Yacht Club.

As ever with the America's Cup, massive sums of money top the agenda, and you can understand the frustration of the few remaining challengers as they take on the huge resources of Larry Ellison. After all, how can a few guys from New Zealand and their mates expect to face up to someone who has recently been able to buy quite a substantial Hawaiian island out of pocket money?

Published in W M Nixon
24th September 2009

Shannon One Design Association

Courtesy of the Shannon One Design Association:

164newfull.jpgThe Shannon One Design sailboat (known as a 'SOD' or 'Shannon') has a long and colourful history going back to 1920, when it was originally designed by Morgan Giles. Despite its charming looks, the Shannon One Design is a very exciting boat to sail and fleets of SODs have been racing on Loughs Ree and Derg in Ireland since 1922. The racing is very competitive, and the sailing season is filled each year with a wide variety of events. SODA is governed by a committee made up of Shannon One Design owners and sailors.

The Shannon One Design Association (SODA) is the Governing Body for the Shannon One Design Sailing Class. SODA is responsible for fixing the class rules and also for the enforcement of those rules.

 

History

The Shannon One Design (SOD) is an 18 foot boat unique to the lakes of Derg and Ree on the Shannon river in Ireland. On the 29th January 1920 a meeting of delegates from the Lough Derg, Lough Ree and North Shannon Yacht Clubs was held in the Prince of Wales Hotel in Athlone to set about the introduction of a one-design class racing boat on the Shannon. The SOD 'Design 102' by Morgan Giles was based on his Essex One Design both in profile and in sections.

The first Shannon One design trial boat was ordered in 1921 from Walter Levinge by L. Graham (Boy) Toler, and named 'Phyllis' later numbered SOD 43 and renamed 'Red Boat' in 1923. The new class should have commenced numbering at No 1, but this did not happen. Numbering of the following boats began at number 32.

The Shannon One Design began to race in earnest in 1922. New hull and sail specifications were adopted in 1989 to take into consideration emerging marine technologies. There is keen competition in the two major regattas at Lough Derg YC and Lough Ree YC in August. The Shannon One design boat register now exceeds No. 175.

Sailing Shannons has always attracted families, and generations in many cases have been involved in campaigning the same boat down through the years. Indeed many of the same family names that attended that first meeting in 1922 still feature in SOD racing today. 

 

The Boats

The Shannon One Design is a wooden, clinker-built, eighteen-foot (5.49m) racing dinghy, propelled by a single gunter-rigged mainsail of 140 square feet (15.6 sq.m). The boat has a relatively narrow beam of 4 feet 10.5 inches (1.5m), and draws 4 feet (1.23m) with her centreboard down.

With a large sail and comparatively narrow beam, a Shannon One Design is a lively performer, especially in a fresh breeze, and requires a three-person crew for normal sailing. 

There has long been a strong boat-building tradition on Loughs Derg and Ree, and almost all Shannon One Designs have come from the yards of skilled local craftsmen.

The boats are unique to the river Shannon and are actively raced in both Lough Ree Yacht Club and in Lough Derg Yacht Club.

Shannon sailing attracts a wide range of sailors from far and wide, not simply limited to Shannon riverside dwellers. At the two main events each year, the week-long regattas at Ballyglass on Lough Ree and Dromineer on Lough Derg, up to 55 SODs have been counted. These will be sailed by a mixture of local sailors and others based in Dublin or elsewhere (as far away as the USA), most of whom return year on year to compete.

Above all, the Shannon One Design class is a lot of fun, in which conviviality, wit, character and friendship are on a par with the high quality of the racing. Individual boats seem to develop their own idiosyncrasies to complement the eccentricities of those privileged to sail them. There is a strong and growing presence of young people alongside the older sailors, and new boats are joining the fleet every season.

 

Shannon One Design Association, c/o Damian Maloney, Honorary Secretary, 35 Littlewood, Stepaside, Dublin 18. Email: [email protected]

 

In March 2009, Graham Smith profiled the class for Afloat magazine as follows: "As one of the traditional clinker-built boats, you could be excused for thinking that the venerable SOD would be a static class on the numbers front, but you would be very wrong indeed. The number of clubs racing SODs remains at three but with 115 boats on the books, it ranks as a top five class.

That figure represents a 4% increase on the previous year, as new boats are built each year, although the increase is not reflected in numbers racing in the various regional championships during the summer when turn-outs were disappointingly low (the average in four events was around a dozen).

A feature of the year was the wide variety of venues, not restricted to the usual Lough Ree or Derg Yacht Clubs but with events in Kilgarvan, Cong, Mountshannon and Lanesborough, representing four different counties. It also saw four different winners, with Damian Maloney, Mark McCormick, John and Stephen O’Driscoll and Eoin Carroll winning the Easterns, Westerns, Southerns and Northerns respectively.
The Nationals saw a marked improvement in numbers with 26 boats competing at Lough Ree YC, where local hot-shot David Dickson added to his list of successes.
National Champion: David Dickson, Lough Ree YC 

There is a space for Irish boating clubs and racing classes to use as their own bulletin board and forum for announcements and discussion. If you want to see a dedicated forum slot for your club or class, click here

Published in Classes & Assoc

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