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Displaying items by tag: Lough Ree Yacht Club

The second oldest yacht club in the world, Lough Ree Athlone, has cancelled a major event planned for the celebrations of its 250th year writes Tom MacSweeney.

The Club's Commodore, Garrett Leech, said that Clinkerfest, planned for three days over the Whit Bank Holiday Weekend, May 30-June 1, intended to be "a celebration of racing clinker-built boats," which it had been hoped would attract over 100 boats to Lough Ree for competitive racing, would not go ahead.

Shannon One Designs, Water Wags, Mermaids, IDRA14s and International 12s had indicated their attendance.

"We have no choice but to cancel this year," said Commodore Leech. "We intend to run next year. The interest was large in the event, very healthy.

We had well over 50 entered with 6 weeks to go, we will break the 100 boats. We had SODs, Wags, Mermaids, IDRA's and a large fleet of International 12's and also three Coleens entered. We had the Myths & Rankins thinking too.

"I think that we will get an even bigger fleet next year as it had garnered some momentum but naturally I am disappointed," he told Afloat.

The dates for the 2021 Clinkerfest are June 5-7.

Published in Historic Boats
Tagged under

There is enormous interest in the revival of the International 12 Foot Dinghy Class both in Ireland and abroad, in advance of the 250th centenary regatta at Athlone Yacht Club/ Lough Ree Yacht Club at the end of May 2020.

In Cork Harbour, John Murphy and Tom Kirby are renovating Caubeen which was once owned by Captain Jimmy Payne of Royal Munster Yacht Club. It was Caubeen which won the Dinghy World Championships for Ireland in 1924 against Mr Watney of England, Mr Bokre of The Netherlands, and Mr Van Haltern of Belgium. After the programme of races was complete, Bokre and Payne were still on equal points. In the sail-off, Payne and Caubeen won by 29 seconds. Caubeen was probably built in 1923 by James Pluck of Cobh, as one of fifteen dinghies built for £47 2s. 6d. each. In addition to the renovation, a new sail has been ordered for Caubeen from Germany, which should ensure that she is able to compete with the best. Also in Cork, we understand that a Co. Cork boatbuilder has received an order to build a new 12-foot dinghy from scratch in time for the event.

"a Co. Cork boatbuilder has received an order to build a new 12-foot dinghy from scratch in time for the event"

In Dublin, plans are well progressed for the relaunch of Elf which was built in 1931 for a Howth Sailing Club owner and spent much of her racing life in Dublin Bay
In Tralee, 1944 built Sgadan, has been stripped down to her bare timbers and will be varnished ready to defend the Irish Championship which she won in 2018. She also won most of the championships between 1960 and 1970 in the hands of Keith Collie. The Dun Laoghaire and Sutton based boats, Pixie, Albany, Calypso and Dorado which competed in the 2019 Championship are all planning to compete in Lough Ree.

nterantional 12sAt the regatta there Dublin Bay 12 foot dinghy with mainsail and jib and the International rig with a single sail will race against each other.

In Germany, Reinhard Schroeder has encouraged up to four boats to take the long journey including two ferries and to compete at Athlone. This is the first time ever that German 12 Foot Dinghies have come to Ireland to compete against Irish boats in a major regatta.

Also in Uganda, Bert Hemminga is preparing a 12-foot dinghy, probably No 112 Anneke from 1924 in which he won the Bosham(UK) Classic Boat Regatta in 2019. She will be ready for the Athlone Clinkerfest.

In the Netherlands, there are up to 8 boats including Pieter Bleeker of V.W.D.T.P. being prepared for their very first 250th centenary regatta.

Wisely the Canadian, Nicolette Aronldus of Soilspring Sailing Club, already has her 1944 built dinghy Albatros in Europe and is getting ready for racing.

Another visitor from abroad has already been delivered to Ireland, she is the beautiful Scythian from Australia.

Caubeen 4The bow section of the 1924-built Caubeen showing original brass fittings

Despite Brexit, all the known English boats currently in commission including Doug Branson from Bosham Sailing Club, Colin Blewett from Poole Yacht Club, Margaret Delany and Gerry Murray will be travelling to Athlone to compete.

At the regatta there Dublin Bay 12 foot dinghy with mainsail and jib and the International rig with a single sail will race against each other. Lough Ree Yacht Club Clinkerfest promises to be a great party!

Published in Historic Boats

In 2020 Lough Ree Yacht Club will celebrate its 250th anniversary or it’s Sestercentennial celebration, apparently a recently devised Latin expression for same. Lough Ree Yacht Club is located at Ballyglass, Coosan, Athlone. Organised boating events on Lough Ree have been documented as far back as 1731, these events were initially organised from the local Garrison in Athlone and were thought to have been cruising but in a military or more accurately, Naval manner. It was not until 1770 that the first formal regatta occurred, initially under the auspice of Athlone Yacht Club and in 1895, the Club was renamed Lough Ree Yacht Club.

Organised racing soon became a regular occurrence on Lough Ree, it was initially an ascendancy activity and racing took place in Half Raters. Whilst these were beautiful craft, they were expensive and were not one design. The need for a competitive and less expensive dinghy resulted in the Shannon-One-Design designed by Morgan Giles and introduced to the Club in 1922, the Club has never looked back.

As part of the celebratory year, the club has a busy schedule planned, in particular, the Annual Regatta which is a weeklong event is to be embellished and will include a Civic Reception and Gala Dinner in the Town of Athlone. Sometimes, particularly for rural Clubs, the populated areas need a reminder that sailing is taking place close by, even though the Club has been in existence for such a long time!

The Club, which has a reputation for its warm welcome and hospitality, has also planned two flagship events which it hopes will attract external sailors to help the Club celebrate the event; after the success of the junior double-handed event, Double Ree in 2018, the Club proposes running this again in 2020. The previous event attracted almost 60 boats and 115 junior sailors to the sunny shores of Lough Ree for a fun-filled weekend which also included competitive racing! The Electric Picnic of sailing events in Ireland. The final date in July 2020 for this event is still to be confirmed, so more to follow.

SOD LRYCShannon One Design dinghies racing on Lough Ree Photo: Niall Smyth

Given that the mainstay of the Club is the Shannon-One-Design, the second external event is to feature the SOD. Clinkerfest will take place over 3 days during the Whit bank holiday weekend 2020 (30th May – 1st June). The event is what it purports to be, a celebration of racing clinker built boats. It is hoped to attract over 100 boats to Lough Ree for competitive racing and plenty of fun. To-date there is a commitment from SODs, Water Wags, Mermaids, IDRA14’s and International 12’s, there is also growing interest from several other fleets who have yet to commit.

LRYC Commodore, Garrett Leech said, “Some of the largest one-design dingy racing fleets in the Country are wooden built clinker boats, there is sometimes a view that these are classic boats and not really competitive racing fleets, this could not be further from the truth!”

The main premise behind the event is to showcase the vibrancy of these various fleets, to suppress the classic boat label and to demonstrate to the sailing community that these are current and competitively active fleets. Where possible, any Regional events that the fleets might have will be worked into the Regatta. Again, more to follow.

Published in Inland Waterways
Tagged under

The Irish Sailing Cruising Conference heads inland this year so that sailors from around the country can join each other for a day of speakers, presentations, storytellers and a social lunch. Lough Ree Yacht Club is known for their warm welcome and excellent facilities and will be hosting the conference on Saturday 16th February, 11 am to 5 pm.

As previously reported by last month, there is a fascinating line up of inspiring speakers, all professionals in their field and keen to share a story and pass on some advice. Tickets are available directly on Eventbrite here

Taking care of our oceans and waterways is an international concern and has a direct impact on our sport and lifestyle. Round the world ocean sailor and 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Manager in the 2018 Volvo Ocean Race, Damian Foxall, will give an insight into sustainability and the changes Volvo Ocean Race made. And to compliment Damian, Niall Hatch of Bird Watch Ireland will be discussing the lives of our incredible range of coastal birds and giving tips on identification at sea. 

"Niall Hatch of Bird Watch Ireland will give tips on identification at sea"

Ocean going sailors will be intrigued by the story of Paul Scannell and Mary Healy’s cruise round Ireland (very carefully!) in a 41-year-old inland waterways vessel. We all know how lumpy it can get out on the west and north west coast and these guys really know how to read weather charts and go when the going is good. “It is all about the prep and good crew.” says Paul.

Man over board is always a big concern and when one of Kylie McMillan’s fellow crew members fell overboard at night while racing round Ireland, the importance of having a plan and good training probably saved a life. Following requests from last year, Technical Crew Manager Keith Devaney and Chief Crewman Benny Meehan will be presenting on how to manage a helicopter lift. 

Vera Quinlan is preparing to sail the Atlantic circuit with her two children under 12 and will be sharing a vlog on the work involved. Battery management is a big issue in this age of numerous tablets, phones and electronic equipment on board, so Toni of Union Chandlery will give everyone some advice on battery management on-board. And Norman Kean will bring everyone up to date with the most recent developments in leisure craft diesel and the impact it has on coastal sailing.

The continued support of sponsors Union Chandlery make this event possible and chandlery specialist Toni O'Leary will be on hand to give personal advice all day. Lunch, teas and coffees are included in the conference ticket, plus every attendee will enter a draw to win a Standard Horizon HX300E Handheld VHF from Union Chandlery. Kilrush Marina are also supporting the event this year and one lucky attendee will win a week’s marina berthage and sling wash, PLUS 4 attendees can win a night in their fantastic floating pods. And as always Irish Cruising Club Publications will also be offering a few free copies of their cruising guides

Tickets for Members are at a cost of €25 and non-members €30 (plus booking fee).

You can contact Gail MacAllister directly if you have any questions about the event on [email protected]

Published in ISA

Irish Sailing’s annual Cruising Conference is headed inland in 2019, with Lough Ree Yacht Club hosting the day-long event on Saturday 16 February.

Speakers and presenters confirmed for the day include Paul Scannell and Mary Healy, who cruised round Ireland in a 41-year-old inland waterways vessel.

The Irish Coast Guard will explain the ins and outs of a helicopter lift, while Kylie McMillan will share her experience of a man overboard scenario at night and the importance of having a plan and training for such critical situations.

Norman Kean will talk the future of diesel for leisure craft, and Damian Foxall will discuss sustainability and the changes made for the most recent Volvo Ocean Race.

Niall Hatch of BirdWatch Ireland will give a presentation on the lives of coastal birds and how to identify them, and the gathering will see Vera Quinlan’s vlog on preparing to sail the Atlantic circuit with children under 12.

Battery management onboard is the topic for Toni O’Leary of Union Chandlery, which is sponsoring the event and provides a Standard Horizon HX300E handheld VHF for a prize draw on the day.

Kilrush Marina is also supporting the 2019 conference and one lucky attendee will win a week’s marina berthage and sling wash, while four could win a night in the marina’s floating pods.

Tickets for the 2019 Irish Sailing Cruising Conference are €27.55– €32.88 available from Eventbrite€27.55– €32.88 available from Eventbrite.

Published in ISA

The J/24 Association of Ireland has announced the calendar for its regional and national championships in 2019.

Lough Ree Yacht Club will host the class for its Westerns in the first big event of the year on the weekend of 13-14 April — the week before Easter.

The following month the fleet moves to Tralee Bay Sailimg Club for the Southerns on 25-26 May.

Howth Yacht Club will host the Eastern Championship on 15-16 June, and the Nationals on 23-25 August will be sailing out of Lough Erne Yacht Club.

Published in J24

Hello and welcome to my weekly Podcast …. Tom MacSweeney here ….

That the Royal Cork at Crosshaven is the oldest yacht club in the world is well-known, even if there are some elements who have challenged, though unsuccessfully, that claim… Perhaps not so well-known is that Ireland has, not one, but the two oldest yacht clubs in the world.

Lough Ree Yacht Club lays claim to being the second oldest.

It has other interesting historical sailing associations. It is one of two clubs on the Shannon where brothers are Commodores at the same time. And their mother was the second woman in the world to become a Club Commodore. That is a lot of sailing commitment in one family.

Lough Ree, in a comparison to the initial formative years to which the RCYC traces its history, has its early days also in formation sailing. This was carried out by Naval personnel in Cork Harbour for the RCYC’s history – By military men on Lough Ree for the formative days to which the Athlone club traces its history.

Lough Ree YC held the All-Ireland Helmsman’s Championships a fortnight ago and has a particular interest in promoting sailing in which more than one person is involved in a boat. While they do have solo sailing, their penchant is to encourage increased participation in the sport.

All of this is outlined by Lough Ree Yacht Club Commodore, Garrett Leech, in this week’s Podcast.

It was a cold, wet day, just after Storm Callum had passed through when I drove the winding roads from Athlone to Lough Ree Yacht Club, to hear more about what the second oldest yacht club in the world is doing to promote the sport and was welcomed to their impressive building by Commodore Garrett Leech:


Published in Tom MacSweeney
Tagged under

#YouthSailing - Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 July are the dates to save for the inaugural Double Ree Regatta at Lough Ree Yacht Club.

The four biggest two-handed youth classes will be competing in their respective regional championships at next month’s inaugural event in Athlone, developed as an alternative to the usual focus on single-handed boats.

The Mirror Western Championship, RS Feva Inland Championship, 420 Connacht Championship and 29er Triple Crown will all be decided at Ireland’s largest youth double-handed regatta — and one that Lough Ree YC promises to be ‘an extravaganza of spinnaker-flying racing’.

The Double Ree concept has developed as an alternative to the usual post-Optimist paths of the Topper and Laser 4.7, says Lough Ree Yacht Club Commodore Garrett Leech.

Double-handed dinghies make an apt choice for many younger sailors, who may not be comfortable helming a larger vessel or may not enjoy sailing alone, among other reasons.

Double-handers like the Mirror also encourage the development of more rounded skill sets, Leech says.

“At Lough Ree Yacht Club, nearly all kids, even those who sail Optimist on the circuit, will also learn to sail in a double-handed dinghy, be this a Mirror or Feva, even Shannon One Designs.”

Getting younger sailors interested in two-handed sailing has also arrested a decline in classes that may be overlooked by those more focused on the high-performance pathway.

With various two-handed classes to move into, the question for Lough Ree was which to embrace.

“Some of our kids started to want more speed and excitement so have moved into 420s,” Leech says. “We sat and watched the development of the 29er fleet here in Ireland, and debated about the introduction of yet another class and what impact it might have on double-handed sailing nationally.

“We soon came to the conclusion that we should embrace all of these racing fleets — and hope that there would be no more introduced anytime soon.”

Leech gives credit to his Vice Commodore John McGonigle for developing the Double Ree concept, with input from Gail MacAllister of Irish Sailing.

“We hark back to days of old — when we hear about Dinghy Week in Dun Laoghaire from some of our older members, when there were huge numbers of dinghies competing in Dublin Bay.”

“So we are setting out to create an event that will pull all competitive double-handers to one location. We hope that that the various fleets will come to appreciate the merits of each other’s fleets.”

Holistically, the Double Ree event is also about “pulling families together in a fun environment”. But Leech is clear that attracting competitive youth sailors is a key goal.

Camping and mooring facilities are available at the Athlone venue, with a barbecue to welcome competitors and their families on Friday 20 July, as well as a club dinner on the Saturday evening.

For more details about the event, including details on booking a place, see the Lough Ree YC website and the event page on Facebook.

Published in Youth Sailing

#Mirror - Winter training for the Mirror will once again be based in Lough Ree Yacht Club, the Irish class has announced.

The central location, weather conditions that are usually forgiving enough to permit winter sailing, and the offer of winter storage have made Lough Ree the popular choice.

Graeme Grant will again be heading up the coaching, aided by Conor Twohig and Sarah White, who have been doing sterling work coaching in their respective clubs.

Graeme will be available, assisted by either Sarah or Conor, on the weekends of 24-15 February, 24-25 March and 21-22 April.

In order for us to be able to manage costs, it will be mandatory to do all three weekends (€210 total per boat payable in advance).

In addition, to the recent influx of bronze fleet sailors, the class intends to use the first training weekend of the winter on 13-14 January to prepare both boats and sailors in order to get the maximum benefit from the following sessions. This weekend, which is not mandatory, will cost €50 per boat.

Published in Mirror

#Mirror - Caolan Croasdell and Alexander Farrell brought the 2017 Mirror season to a close with victory in the Southern Championships on Lough Derg earlier this month.

Close behind the defending champions were fellow Lough Ree YC pairing Ben Graf and Hannah Smith, winners at the Mirror Easterns in Clontarf in late August – and who finished behind their club mates at the Mirror Worlds this summer.

The Mirror fleet also enjoyed the company of Squibs, Fireballs and Shannon One Designs over the two days of competition at Lough Derg Yacht Club.

Mirror Sailing Ireland says the year has “finished on a high” for the class as numbers in the training and racing dingy class continue to grow.

While this year’s Mirror season may be over, there’s still sailing to be done as Croasdell and Farrell are representing the class (but racing TR 3.6 double-handed dinghies) at this weekend’s All Ireland Junior Sailing Championships in Schull.

Published in Mirror
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