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Displaying items by tag: George O'Brien Kennedy

Eccentric boat designer O'Brien Kennedy's picaresque life story attracted fascinated attention when we ran a Sailing on Saturday feature on it ten days ago. But for Professor Felix Muller of Berlin, it was like stumbling on an unexpected oasis in the midst of the desert when he happened on it last weekend.

The Professor had been renewing his until-then frustrating search for more detailed material about a Kennedy-design Kerry Mark II which he bought last summer in the Baltic, a necessary task as the 42-year-old boat came with nothing remotely resembling an owner's manual. However, the little Leitrim-built classic (of which 26 were built in the beamier mainly GRP Mark II version) had passed her survey with flying colours, such that Felix and his crew want to up-grade the boat to pristine condition, and ideally they'd like to have a complete set of plans to do this, or at the very least a fairly detailed original sales brochure.

He has concluded that he owns probably the only Kerry in the entire Baltic, though you'd think there'd probably be one or two others elsewhere in Germany. However, there doesn't seem to be anything like an active Kerry Class Owners Association anywhere, though there are dozens of organisations and products which have the evocative name.

Yet many of these have precious little direct association with the great Kingdom of Kerry that might provide any economic benefit to the citizens thereof, so perhaps this goes some way to explain their sometimes disgruntled attitude towards the people of Ireland in particular, and the rest of the world in general.

And come to think of it, the Kerry 6-tonner fits precisely into this category, so maybe we'd better take this line of thought no further. But meanwhile, in semi-locked-down Berlin, there's a Professor being sustained by thoughts of getting to work on his beloved Kerry down at the old Hanseatic port-town of Stralsund just as soon as possible, and if in the meantime we can forward him further detailed information about the Kerry, it will be a good deed in this wicked world.

If any Kerry 6-tonner owner reading this can help, do please let us know - it will all be done electronically, so you won't lose any precious original documents. Thank you.

Advertisement for the Kerry Mark II in the April 1972 Afloat Magazine. The boat referred to at bottom right as being available for trial sails on Belfast Lough was completed from a bare hull by Frank Smyth at Bangor Shipyard, and was last reported as being based at Oban on the West Coast of ScotlandAdvertisement for the Kerry Mark II in the April 1972 Afloat Magazine. The boat referred to at bottom right as being available for trial sails on Belfast Lough was completed from a bare hull by Frank Smyth at Bangor Shipyard, and was last reported as being based at Oban on the West Coast of Scotland

Published in Historic Boats

You know how it is. You're wondering if the slightly odd flavour of the evening cuppa is a hint of the imminence of the C-Monster's indicator of taste-loss. All this, too, just as it's increasingly clear that your already-proposed personal date with the jab before the end of March now seems less and less likely to be on schedule. And then the phone rings, and this guy shoots straight from the hip:

"The IDRA 14s are working on plans to celebrate their 75th Anniversary in 2021".

"Quite so. And we'd an item on it on Afloat.ie last November. But you celebrated your 70th in 2016 at Clontarf in great style, and Afloat.ie made a big deal out of it at the time here.

"Yeah. The class all liked that. They liked it a lot. That's why they want to do something similar again this year. We need something special to mark the end of Lockdown"

"But you can't expect to celebrate major anniversaries every five years just because you feel like it. And anyway, it's rash to assume that Lockdown will be over any time soon."

"Why not celebrate? Our sailor Julie Ascoop in her IDRA 14 Slipstream won Dublin Bay SC's Halfway Trophy for the most successful yacht in 2020's difficult conditions. The class is on a roll. We expect to have other things that will come right for celebration in 2021. So please just go ahead and write about it – you'll think of something."

For sure, we can think of something. Several somethings. But none of them would be publishable on a maritime internet page with a family readership. However, thanks to McGuirk Lending Libraries, it so happens that we'd just finished re-reading IDRA 14 designer O'Brien Kennedy's 1997-published autobiography Not All At Sea! (people really did use screamers in book titles in those days), and found that we could relate to it in a much more meaningful way than when it was first published, as Kennedy's life-path had him in or on the edges of much of 20th Century history.

OBK's autobiography, published in 1997 when he was 85. Now a collector's item, it promised to tell "a naval architect's story, his life and loves, his ships and boats…." It does that and more, giving us an unusual and fascinating angle on a special time in Irish historyOBK's autobiography, published in 1997 when he was 85. Now a collector's item, it promised to tell "a naval architect's story, his life and loves, his ships and boats…." It does that and more, giving us an unusual and fascinating angle on a special time in Irish history

He was born in 1912, on 12/12/12 to be precise. His father and uncle were senior solicitors with a solid, long-established and well-staffed law firm in Dublin, which meant they weren't personally expected to spend excessive hours in the office. In fact, both would much rather have been engineers or mechanics, and they'd personal workshops at their houses in north Wicklow and south Dublin, from which they took leisurely holidays to deplete the fish population of Lough Melvin up towards Donegal.

It was a comfortable lifestyle in which weekend picnics in sometimes surprisingly impressive cars to the Wicklow Hills were a regular feature of summer life, even at a time when the popular history books would have us believe that Ireland was in a state of turmoil with a War of Independence and a Civil War going full blast.

Be that as it may, the Kennedy children roamed free in the hills, and young George O'Brien Kennedy – everyone called him Brian – was also drawn to water, and particularly to boats, so much so that while still in boyhood, he built a little slip of sailing boat – Rusheen – which opened up new possibilities during the annual Lough Melvin visit, the quality of the boat revealing that the son had inherited his father's considerable workshop skills, and added some extra of his own.

He designed and built his first boat, the performance dinghy Rusheen, while still a schoolboy. She is seen here sailing on Lough Melvin, where the family spent part of several summersHe designed and built his first boat, the performance dinghy Rusheen, while still a schoolboy. She is seen here sailing on Lough Melvin, where the family spent part of several summers

Schooling at one of those English boarding schools meant to produce servants of the British Empire failed to dent his enthusiasm for becoming a boat and yacht designer, so in attempting to find some respectable route into this precarious profession, his family had him signed on in November 1932 as a "Gentleman Apprentice" with the Thornycroft shipyard in Southampton.

It was a very shrewd move, as Thornycroft's were of the right size to build an interesting variety of small ships which were definitely ships nevertheless, and with the location on the Solent, Brian soon found himself a houseboat to live aboard on the River Hamble, and was active in the Hamble River Sailing Club while being near several leading yacht-building firms.

Brian Kennedy's professional career began as a "Gentleman Apprentice" at the Thornycroft yard in Southampton in November 1932.Brian Kennedy's professional career began as a "Gentleman Apprentice" at the Thornycroft yard in Southampton in November 1932.

His father had been a moderately interested sailing enthusiast to the extent of being Captain of the Dublin Bay Water Wags for a year, but for the son this was the paramount sporting interest, and he was soon creating designs and – in his spare time – building boats for the leading development class, the International 14s.

Despite the effort that the demanding work in the shipyard and the spare-time building of boats required, he still had ample energy for motor-bikes and sports cars which were no strangers to crashes of varying levels of drama, while his love-life was the chaotic one of an attractive young man to whom things just seemed to happen, with one emotionally-confusing situation after another, and often several at the same time - he's completely frank about it all in the book.

The outcome was that when he finally returned full-time to Ireland in the early 1960s to pioneer the boat hire industry on the Shannon, he already had a first family living in East Sussex, and he brought with him his second wife and supportive business partner Christine and their growing family - he was to be married to Christine for 48 years until her death in 1994.

Meanwhile, much had happened on the professional front since finishing his time at Thornycroft, for by 1938 he already had a reputation as a dinghy designer with two International 14s and a less extreme 14-footer called Fuss, and he'd set up on his own as a boat-builder beside Poole Harbour, calling his company Small Craft.

But the outbreak of World War II in 1939 saw him recruited into several key design jobs in the Southampton area, working on projects as diverse as naval destroyers, the wings for Spitfire warplanes, and the design and building of the ubiquitous 112ft Fairmile ML which was the backbone of many RNVR patrols.

The 112ft Fairmile ML – Brian Kennedy worked for designer Norman Hart during part of World War II, surveying the construction of dozens of these craft. Post-war, many of them were – with varying degrees of success – converted into motor yachtsThe 112ft Fairmile ML – Brian Kennedy worked for designer Norman Hart during part of World War II, surveying the construction of dozens of these craft. Post-war, many of them were – with varying degrees of success – converted into motor yachts

However, as the war drew to its ever more violent conclusion, he realised that he was very much a man of peace and social idealism, and he reveals that in adulthood, he was a lifelong member of the Communist Party of Ireland, while in his later years living in the Carrick-on-Shannon area, he was a founder and active member of the local branch of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

But in the years immediately after the end of World War II in 1945, his focus was on re-vitalising his yacht design career. During his time in racing his own-designed International 14s in the late 1930s, he came to know Douglas Heard, who regularly visited from Ireland to race in the same class. Thus he was invited back to Dublin in 1946 by Douglas - as President of the newly-formed Irish Dinghy Racing Association - to discuss with the new Association the design of what was to become the IDRA 14, broadly based on the pre-war Fuss concept, but with local twists.

The basic design also resulted in the Waldringfield Dragonflies and the most numerically successful of all, the Yachting World Dayboat, of which more than 700 were built, the best-known in Ireland being the Crosshaven-based PaPa 2 owned by Nigel Young of North Sails, who lovingly restored one of the seven boats built to the design by his father, Don.

The newest IDRA 14 and her hull sister - a Waldringfield Dragonfly – at the IDRA 14 70th Anniversary Regatta at Clontarf in September 2016. Photo: W M NixonThe newest IDRA 14 and her hull sister - a Waldringfield Dragonfly – at the IDRA 14 70th Anniversary Regatta at Clontarf in September 2016. Photo: W M Nixon

Nigel Young of North Sails and his son James (11) racing the O'Brien Kennedy-designed YW Dayboat PaPa2 at Crosshaven. Photo: Robert BatemanNigel Young of North Sails and his son James (11) racing the O'Brien Kennedy-designed YW Dayboat PaPa2 at Crosshaven. Photo: Robert Bateman

As peacetime gradually gathered pace in the late 1940s, it seemed that Brian Kennedy's talents had finally found the outlet they deserved, as he'd gone into partnership with Ian Carr to set up the Lymington Slipway Company to build boats right in the heart of the developing Hampshire sailing centre. Though the site of the yard was less than perfect, they soon had a winner with Brian's design for the 26ft Lymington Slipway 5-tonner, a pretty and able little performance cruiser of which they built eighteen, with one of them winning the Round the Island Race in 1948.

One of Brian Kennedy's most successful designs was the 26ft Lymington Slipway 5 Tonner of 1947 – eighteen were built, and one of them won the Round the Island Race in 1948 One of Brian Kennedy's most successful designs was the 26ft Lymington Slipway 5 Tonner of 1947 – eighteen were built, and one of them won the Round the Island Race in 1948

In fact, 1948 was peak year, as Ian Carr himself had ordered the 32ft Binker into which Brian poured all his ideas for a competitive RORC racer, and she succeeded so well that she won the 1948 RORC Channel Race overall. Meanwhile, in 1947 through his continuing links with Thornycroft's, Tom Thornycroft had given him the rough drawings and some ideas for a 26ft two to three-person keelboat aimed at the demand for a new British-designed two-man boat for the 1948 Olympics.

The 26ft National Swallow Class was the two-man boat at the 1948 Olympics. Although the design was credited to Tom Thornycroft, the MD of the Thornycroft Shipyard in Southampton, it emerges that the actual design work was done by Brian Kennedy. At the 1948 Olympics, the Swallow allocated to Ireland was raced by Alf Delany and Hugh Allen, the latter already connected to Brian Kennedy as he was owner of IDRA 14 No 4 DuskThe 26ft National Swallow Class was the two-man boat at the 1948 Olympics. Although the design was credited to Tom Thornycroft, the MD of the Thornycroft Shipyard in Southampton, it emerges that the actual design work was done by Brian Kennedy. At the 1948 Olympics, the Swallow allocated to Ireland was raced by Alf Delany and Hugh Allen, the latter already connected to Brian Kennedy as he was owner of IDRA 14 No 4 Dusk

Dusk has been one of the key boats in the IDRA 14 story – she went to Crosshaven in 1954 to become a major player in the Cork Harbour fleet, and is seen here being sailed for what was then the Royal Munster YC by Donal McClement (on trapeze) and the late Dougie Deane in 1961. Later, she returned to Dublin Bay, and in 1993 underwent a complete restoration by Tom and David O'Brien of Dun Laoghaire. Photo: Tom BarkerDusk has been one of the key boats in the IDRA 14 story – she went to Crosshaven in 1954 to become a major player in the Cork Harbour fleet, and is seen here being sailed for what was then the Royal Munster YC by Donal McClement (on trapeze) and the late Dougie Deane in 1961. Later, she returned to Dublin Bay, and in 1993 underwent a complete restoration by Tom and David O'Brien of Dun Laoghaire. Photo: Tom Barker

Brian put manners and his own trademark on those rough sketches, and despite fierce competition from the likes of an Uffa Fox boat – the Flying 20 - the Kennedy/Thorneycroft design was selected in the trials early in 1948, and went on to become the National Swallow Class, with Stewart Morris winning the Gold at the Olympics at Torbay. However, you have to read Not All at Sea! very closely to gather that, ultimately, this attractive boat was yet another O'Brien Kennedy design.

This is possibly because, before it was out, the seemingly golden year of 1948 was turning sour. The yard was financially stressed, so when Ian Carr received a good offer from a Portuguese sailor for Binker, he promptly sold her, and far from being one of the hot prospects for the 1949 Fastnet Race as Brian had keenly anticipated, this very promising and innovative boat was completely gone from the spotlight.

The innovative 32ft Binker won the RORC Channel Race of 1948 overall, but was sold into Portuguese ownership almost immediately afterwards and cased being a front-line competitorThe innovative 32ft Binker won the RORC Channel Race of 1948 overall, but was sold into Portuguese ownership almost immediately afterwards and cased being a front-line competitor

It didn't take long for the Lymington Slipway wheels to come off entirely after that, with Brian acutely aware that in the still-straitened circumstances of the post-war austerity, his chance of continuing the career breakthrough which had seemed so promising was no longer available to someone whose family circumstances demanded a steady income.

So he took up the offer of a job as manager/designer at a mid-sized shipyard in India which specialised in harbour tugs, and for the next eleven years he and Christine were India-based, with Brian able to get a more lucrative job in another yard, and from time to time he was able to design and build yachts and racing as a sideline.

Christine and Brian Kennedy sailing a 14ft Merlin, which he'd built to his own design, on Lake Khadakvasla in IndiaChristine and Brian Kennedy sailing a 14ft Merlin, which he'd built to his own design, on Lake Khadakvasla in India

But despite his successes in the Solent area followed by progress up the career ladder in the marine industry in India, his longterm hope had always been to return to Ireland, and as Christine had a particular talent with horses, they felt the newly-promising Ireland of Sean Lemass in the early 1960s offered real possibilities for a boat hire business on the Shannon, possibly backed up by an equestrian enterprise developed by Christine.

The first base for their new company K-Line was at Shannon Harbour, where the Grand Canal reaches the Shannon in County Offaly. There, amidst multiple existing facilities, they created quite a comprehensive setup with a boat-building shed and the offices for a boat-hire operation, where they could also offer boat building, maintenance and repair services.

Pioneering the Shannon Hire Boat industry. While the initial base for K-Line and its associated boatyard was at Shannon Harbour in OPW premises, the wish was always to have a base they owned outright, and this advertisement was issued to signal the move to their own facilities at Drumsna on the North Shannon.Pioneering the Shannon Hire Boat industry. While the initial base for K-Line and its associated boatyard was at Shannon Harbour in OPW premises, the wish was always to have a base they owned outright, and this advertisement was issued to signal the move to their own facilities at Drumsna on the North Shannon

It was a busy time, but they always had a feeling of constraint as ultimately the entire location was in the control of the Office of Public Works, and they longed for their own site. Meanwhile, in between intervals of other work, Brian continued developing sailing boat design ideas, and in the mid-'60s he focused on an updated version of the Lymington Slipway 5 Tonner which became the 27ft Kerry Class, and won a design competition in Irish Yachting & Motorboating, the ancestor of Afloat.ie, the ancestor of Afloat.ie.

The final version of the plans for the 27ft Kerry, which made her debut by winning a design competition in Irish Yachting & Motorboating. In all, 26 were to be built, and they have included impressive ocean voyages in their extensive record of achievementThe final version of the plans for the 27ft Kerry, which made her debut by winning a design competition in Irish Yachting & Motorboating. In all, 26 were to be built, and they have included impressive ocean voyages in their extensive record of achievement

Brian Kennedy's decidedly original mind was always ready to embrace and develop offbeat ideas, some of them so offbeat that they became a different tune entirely. For instance, as airliners grew in size, he had a bee in his bonnet that they were a menace on the ground with the pilot right at the front, completely unaware of the exact location of his mighty machine's wing-tips.

With his experience with the Spitfire team, Brian knew something of aeronautical design, and spent time sketching out a "ground-safe" airliner in which the aircrew were located right aft in a pod located in the tailplane, giving them a comprehensive overview forward, like the aft-located helmsman on a sailing yacht.

It was literally never going to fly, not least because aircrews cherish their location right in the position of least motion in the nose of the plane. But meanwhile back on earth, or on the waterside rather, he was much taken with the notion that in orthodox wooden boat-building for sailing craft, much complicated effort goes into creating the backbone of the boat before you can even begin to put the frames and planking into place.

So the first two boats of the Kerry Class were built with a unique system whereby the entire backbone was moulded in fibreglass, and then the wooden clinker planking was bolted to it with the frames subsequently inserted. The boats which eventually emerged were excellent little seaworthy craft, and as he'd acquired backers in the form of a large milling company with money to spare, he was fortunately persuaded to create a beamier all-fibreglass version which was to go into series production.

But by the time that was running with reasonable smoothness, the company's operations had been moved north along to the Shannon to the Jamestown-Drumsna area just south of Carrick-on-Shannon, and Brian Kennedy had achieved success in racing one of his little Kerry sloops in the Round Britain and Ireland Two-handed Race of 1970.

Crewed by the American-Scottish Euan Miller, he set out with the boat virtually straight out of the wrappers. But they were better prepared than some, the Kerry, as everyone knows, is a gallant little-sea-goer, and the placing of fifth was an encouragement to develop the production line in a former railway building in Drumsna, where they'd taken on the services of Donal Conlon of Carnadoe, who had honed his boat-building skills to international standard through training on the building and maintenance of the growing hire-boat industry in Carrick-on-Shannon, and readily learned more from Brian's Solent-trained experience 

Prototype_kerryChristine and Brian sailing the proto-type Kerry. The all-fibreglass production version was to have more beam

In all, 27 boats of the Kerry Class were to be built, and while Kennedy International Boats - as it was now called - wasn't exactly a goldmine, Christine had come up trumps in developing a business looking after the upholstery of the growing charter fleets, while Brian increasingly found himself relied on as a marine surveyor for all sorts of hire and charter operations on river and sea by both Bord Failte and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, which for many years was to provide a useful extra income stream.

As well, with his fascination with innovation and experiment, he found any technical challenge with a marine flavour irresistible, and in 1976 Kennedy International Boats found themselves installing buoyancy and carrying out the first sailing tests on Tim Severin's 36ft oxhide-clad ocean-going currach St Brendan. As a result, St Brendan sailed for the very first time on Lough Boderg on the Shannon, which isn't something you'll discover in any of the official accounts of Severin's epic Transatlantic voyage, but so it goes.

All this busy-ness around Jamestown and Drumsna in the 1970s convinced Brian that now was the chance to let his design creativity roam free for his personal dreamship of a racing boat, and he designed and then built – with Donal Conlon - the Half Tonner Brainstorm. In some configurations, she did well in the racing, but in one competition, she was always the undisputed world champion - this was undoubtedly the most appropriately-named boat that ever sailed the seas.

O'Brien Kennedy's highly individualistic Half Tonner BrainstormO'Brien Kennedy's highly individualistic Half Tonner Brainstorm

Almost every idea that went into this "one-masted schooner" was ultimately soundly-based, but the combination of so many innovative ideas at once could at times be over-powering. And being Brian Kennedy, he was constantly changing things – in his half dozen years of campaigning her, she had four different keels. So though he ultimately reckoned that Keel Number 3 was the best, by that time he'd changed so many other things that, as the learned reviewers might put it, "the scientific data lacked the expected rigour".

Yet here he was, approaching his 70th birthday, and he'd never been happier, as he kept Brainstorm in Dun Laoghaire with the Royal St George Yacht Club and got so much fun from test-racing in Dublin Bay that he would frequently drive up from Drumsna for the Thursday evening DBSC racing and return home the same night, and then he'd be back for the Saturday race as well.

O'Brien Kennedy's highly individualistic Half Tonner BrainstormBrainstorm in Dun Laoghaire in 1976. Photo: W M Nixon

But even an eternal schoolboy enthusiast like Brian Kennedy eventually starts to slow down, and by the 1980s, a couple of health scares for both himself and Christine led him to find a new base for Brainstorm for cruising from Derryinver in north Connemara, where his son Simon based a fishing boat.

Meanwhile at Jamestown, it was time for the temporary mobile-style accommodation which had been home to become more permanent, and with classic Kennedy charm and a personal meeting with the Roscommon County Planning Officer (the planning negotiations were taken up almost exclusively by a discussion of fly-fishing in the west) he secured permission for an ingenious bungalow built in a community effort. Initially, it was a little too near the main Dublin-Sligo Road for total peace, but then didn't the powers that be build a completely new road far away, and peace descended.

From his childhood near Bray, Brian had clear memories of the locally-based cat-rigged 12ft Droleens of 1896 origins, and he restored the design, with some new Droleens being built, the most recent being this one by Michael Weed of Gweedore in Donegal From his childhood near Bray, Brian had clear memories of the locally-based cat-rigged 12ft Droleens of 1896 origins, and he restored the design, with some new Droleens being built, the most recent being this one by Michael Weed of Gweedore in Donegal

He continued to design to the very end, steel construction becoming a renewed enthusiasm, as he reckoned the ability of steel to take a dent, rather then be holed like fiberglass, made it a much better proposition for Shannon hire boats. However, he also harked back to the memories of his childhood, and particularly the Droleen cat-boat clinker dinghies which he vividly recalled being launched off the beach at Bray, and he created a workable design which has seen a new Droleen built as recently as last year by Michael Weed of Donegal

In his eighties and on his own for the last three years of his life, he set to at getting his almost bottomless well of memories in order for his Memoirs, but he was also designing boats to the very end, the last creation – which he never saw - being Wally McGuirk's 40ft steel cutter Swallow, which Wally built himself in a vacant gap which he managed to find down the West Pier in Howth.

Brian Kennedy's last design, the 40ft Swallow built-in steel by her owner, Wally McGuirk of Howth. In the final version, the keel was deeper and the centreboard was taken out of the equation.Brian Kennedy's last design, the 40ft Swallow built-in steel by her owner, Wally McGuirk of Howth. In the final version, the keel was deeper and the centreboard was taken out of the equation.

Clean simplicity of line was the keynote to Swallow's design, and it was successfully achieved, seen here as she shapes up to pass through the Eastlink Bridge at the CAI Three Bridges rally in Dublin. Sadly, Brian Kennedy didn't live to see the boat completedClean simplicity of line was the keynote to Swallow's design, and it was successfully achieved, seen here as she shapes up to pass through the Eastlink Bridge at the CAI Three Bridges rally in Dublin. Sadly, Brian Kennedy didn't live to see the boat completed

Brian Kennedy died in August 1998, aged 85, a year after his memoirs were published by Morrigan of Mayo in 1997. And just as you'll never see a boat like Brainstorm, so you'll never read a book like Not All At Sea! - that is if you can manage to get hold of a copy, as they're now rare.

In fact, the special rarity is something that is better appreciated with the passage of time. Thus it wasn't until 2010 that a "gala re-launch" was held for the book in that stronghold of IDRA 14 enthusiasm, Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club. A highlight was a film show, based on a historic RTE documentary about Brian Kennedy made many years earlier. It's a priceless record that currently seems to have slipped under the radar again, but we're assured it will be found for the upcoming 75th, and meanwhile, in 2016 a Gala Autumn Dinner at the Royal St George YC had rounded out the IDRA 14's 70th Anniversary in 2016.

Brian Kennedy – the all-singing, all-dancing version for a memorial film show in Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club in 2010. We're assured that this show will be re-discovered for the IDRA 14s' 75th Anniversary Celebrations later this year.Brian Kennedy – the all-singing, all-dancing version for a memorial film show in Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club in 2010. We're assured that this show will be re-discovered for the IDRA 14s' 75th Anniversary Celebrations later this year

Now, certain parties want to do it all over again. If madness is the persistent repetition of certain actions in the hope that they'll succeed despite having repeatedly fails in previous attempts, then you might argue that the ultimate sanity is in the repetition of actions that have been shown to succeed in the past.

But in this instance, we can't possibly comment. Let's see what comes up. And while Brian Kennedy is now remembered as the designer who created a 14ft racing dinghy which is still keenly raced and which did much to spread the concept throughout Ireland of a true One Design class, there's no doubting that he personally was a pure one-off.

Published in IDRA 14

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