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The Howth Peninsula was buzzing with sailing sport at the weekend, with the top level of competition on its southwest side at the national Champions’ Cup raced in GP 14s at Sutton Dinghy Club, while there was competition at every level you’ve ever heard of (and probably a few levels you can barely imagine) in the Beshoff Motors Autumn League, a truly all-sorts nine classes Saturday series until October 22nd which – on this its fourth day – managed to pack in two more races in idyllically sunny conditions to have six races in the can, and two weekends still to play for.

Admittedly the pressure to build up the figures on the leaderboard did see a certain amount of localized over-lapping between some different race areas in the first contest. But by Race 2, everything went as smooth as a bird, and a lot of very happy budgies came ashore firmly of the opinion that they already have the stuffing knocked out of the coming winter……..

It was that kind of day – blue skies, blue sea, and a moderate though easing and slowly backing westerly which managed to hang in, despite the spring ebb tide’s best efforts to take away its eminently usable pressure.

CLASS 1

Stephen Quinn’s J/97 Lambay Rules may have been showing the way in the early stages of the series, but Mike & Richie Evans’ J/99 Snapshot – already a star of the Irish national scene inshore and offshore in 2021 and 2022 - banged in a solid first and second on this outing to take the overall lead by two points from Lambay Rules, with Pat Kelly’s J/109 Storm from Rush lying third overall, but well back on 20. Saturday’s second race saw a new name in first – Nobby Reilly’s Classic Half-Tonner Ghost Raider.

Back in the saddle – the Evans’ brother’s multiply successful J/99 Snapshot heading for her second win on Saturday Back in the saddle – the Evans’ brother’s multiply successful J/99 Snapshot heading for her second win on Saturday 

CLASS 2

The big breeze of a week earlier may have favoured the various X Boats, but Fergal Noonan & Robert Chambers’ vintage Corby Impetuous found things to he liking to take a couple of wins, putting her one point ahead overall of Paddy Kyne’s Maximus with another X, Clan Gore-Grimes’ Dux, now third OA.

CLASS 3

Stephen Mullaney’s Irish Champion Sigma 33 Insider seems to find almost all conditions to her liking, she has now registered the colander condition of five bullets in Class 3, though admittedly, she managed to dodge one in Saturday’s second race with a second when Vincent Gaffney’s Laser 28 Alliance II snatched the lead, with third going to Conor Fogerty’s 1976-vintage Silver Shamrock, which now lies second overall on points.

In Class 1, Pat Kelly’s J/109 Storm (Rush SC) leading from Nobby Reilly’s Classic Half Tonner Ghoster Raider (winner of Race 2) and the J/97 Jeneral Lee (Colin & Kathy Kavanagh)In Class 1, Pat Kelly’s J/109 Storm (Rush SC) leading from Nobby Reilly’s Classic Half Tonner Ghoster Raider (winner of Race 2) and the J/97 Jeneral Lee (Colin & Kathy Kavanagh)

CLASS 4

Colm Bermingham’s Elan 333 Bite the Bullet and Stephen Harris’s First 40.7 Tiger shared the firsts and seconds on Saturday in this white sail division, but over the series to date Tiger is still ahead of BTB, with Malahide’s White Pearl (David Greene) in third.

CLASS 5

Notwithstanding the close proximity of a notable birthday with a zero and a five in it for one of the owners, Windsor and Steffi’s veteran Club Shamrock Demelza continued ahead with two wins in the other White-Sail Class, with the Real McCoy and the Genuine Cregan second every which way in their attractive vintage First 38 Out & About. 

Another look at that classic change-in-the-weather sky, with Howth 17s Erica (David Nixon, 18), Hera (Mjchael & Jane Duffy, 9) and Deilginis (Toomey/Massey/Kenny, 11).Another look at that classic change-in-the-weather sky, with Howth 17s Erica (David Nixon, 18), Hera (Mjchael & Jane Duffy, 9) and Deilginis (Toomey/Massey/Kenny, 11). 

HOWTH 17s

The Magic Circle in the 1907s-built Deilginis emerged from Saturday’s mega-tussles still in the overall lead, but now only by half a point from Davy Nixon in the 1988-vintage Erica of the Whippy Mast. In fact Erica - having seen off overall leaders Deilginis and Orla (Marc FitzGibbbon & Darragh Gallagher) by taking second in the first race when Ian Malcolm with Aura was first - found her lead in Race 2 being most closely challenged by the helmsman’s brother-in-law Davy Jones steering the 2022 National Champion Rosemary (David Jones, David Potter & George Curley). Erica emerged just ahead to move up to half a point behind Deilginis overall.

Family affair. Davy Nixon with Erica (18) makes away with the Howth 17 win in the second race ahead of brother-in-law Davy Jones in Rosemary (12). Photo: Judith MalcolmFamily affair. Davy Nixon with Erica (18) makes away with the Howth 17 win in the second race ahead of brother-in-law Davy Jones in Rosemary (12). Photo: Judith Malcolm

The Puppeteer 22s are having a great series - photo shows Flycatcher (187, Michael McKeon), Mr Punch (187, NiBhraonain Wilson), Blue Velvet (5526, Gerard Kennedy) and Yellow Peril (Murphy/Costello) beyond. It’s a class rule to race with the marina berth-accessing outboards in place like this, for as they say themselves, when you’re at the helm you don’t see the intrusive outboard at all unless you’re looking astern to see how big a lead you’ve got, and that’s okay.The Puppeteer 22s are having a great series - photo shows Flycatcher (187, Michael McKeon), Mr Punch (187, NiBhraonain Wilson), Blue Velvet (5526, Gerard Kennedy) and Yellow Peril (Murphy/Costello) beyond. It’s a class rule to race with the marina berth-accessing outboards in place like this, for as they say themselves, when you’re at the helm you don’t see the intrusive outboard at all unless you’re looking astern to see how big a lead you’ve got, and that’s okay.

Puppeteer 22 Papageno (K & B Barker) as seen from sister-ship Yellow Peril. One of the spin-offs from a popular Autumn League is that, as seen here, boats are kept in prime order right to the end of the season.Puppeteer 22 Papageno (K & B Barker) as seen from sister-ship Yellow Peril. One of the spin-offs from a popular Autumn League is that, as seen here, boats are kept in prime order right to the end of the season

PUPPETEER 22

Overall leader Trick or Treat (Alan Pearson & Alan Blay) remained consistent with two seconds, but the racing was excellent with fresh names in the top three, with Paul and Laura McMahon’s Shiggi Shiggi, the beautifully-restored prototype Puppeteer 22 of 1978 vintage, taking a third and first, while Garrett May’s HoneyBadger took a first and third. Overall, David Clarke’s Harlequin is second on 15 points on a tie break with Shiggi Shiggi and Yellow Peril (Murphy/Costello) in some of the best racing across all classes.

The club Squib Tiger Roll (80) demonstrating the class’s sit-in comfort potential - remarkable for a 19ft racing keelboat – with overall leader Slipstream from Killyleagh (102) beyond. The class’s national focus this coming weekend is on the Freshwater Keelboat Regatta at Dromineer on Lough DergThe club Squib Tiger Roll (80) demonstrating the class’s sit-in comfort potential - remarkable for a 19ft racing keelboat – with overall leader Slipstream from Killyleagh (102) beyond. The class’s national focus this coming weekend is on the Freshwater Keelboat Regatta at Dromineer on Lough Derg

SQUIBS

With the Irish Squib Class’s “National Energiser” Robert Marshall from Killyleagh on Strangford Lough beavering away to build up the entries from home and abroad for this coming weekend’s Keelboat Freshwater Regatta at Dromineer on Lough Derg, we can expect a slim Squib presence at Howth on Saturday, October 15th. But meanwhile, last Saturday in the Beshoff Motors Autumn League, he retained his overall points lead with a third (discarded) and a second, the wins being taken by Jeff Kay’s Chatterbox and the HYC boat Tiger Roll, with Thomas O’Reilly’s Cool Beans also in the frame.

TOP TITS IN TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP

The well-meant Team Championship with three boats from three different classes is a good idea in theory, and will certainly be repeated. But when you get some really shrewd mutual boat recruiting going on pre-series, it makes a bit of a nonsense out of it all. Heaven only knows when and in what Masonic Hall the T. I. T team was put together, but when you have Tiger, Insider and Trick-or-Treat racing in support of each other, after six races the rest are nowhere.

This is Autumn 2022 – the al fresco après sailing Brains’ Trust at Howth Yacht ClubThis is Autumn 2022 – the al fresco après sailing Brains’ Trust at Howth Yacht Club 

All Photos Courtesy Howth YC unless otherwise credited.

Detailed Results below

Published in Howth YC
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As reported in Afloat.ie, the showing by Pat O'Neill and his Howth crew in the J/80 Worlds at Newport, Rhode Island during the past five days seemed to be improving in tandem with the improvement with the weather, and having been there or thereabouts in the early races, he and his team
were very much totally there in third overall as the series concluded last night at the east Coast USA's renowned sailing Mecca.

Published in J80
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Pat O'Neill of Howth is a seasoned international campaigner with his championship crew in the J/80 fleet. But until now, most of his successes overseas have been achieved on the European circuit. This week, however, Team O'Neill have made the Transatlantic hop to the J/Boat heartlands at Newport, Rhode island, where they've found that the reputation of New England as a place for gentle sailing in the Fall - unless there happens to be a hurricane about - doesn't always hold up, as there have been some rugged and not very warm conditions to contend with.

Despite that, the Howth team have been in there battling for a place on the podium, and though the two leaders - Glenn Dardon of US and Per Roman of Sweden - are veering towards being out on their own ahead overall after three races, the Irish boat has put in a steady scoreline of 9, 6 and 4 - it's certainly trending in the right direction - to be,fifth overall, with more racing scheduled for today (Friday), and the series concluding tomorrow (8th October)

 J/80 Worlds results J/80 Worlds results

Published in J80
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The purple arrows were out in force on Day 3 of the Beshoff Motors Autumn League at Howth, though the heaviest of them passed to the north of the race area. The purple arrows are the ones that indicate squalls, and at one time during the race period, there was one over nearby Dublin Airport indicating a westerly bullet wind with low speeds of 14 mph and high speeds of 32 mph. Up at the airport, this must have made for some quite lively landings on the new runway, but for skippers at sea level with specialist vintage craft testing over-supple new masts, it was sometimes rather too much of a good thing, even if their friendly neighbourhood sailmakers could see it all as a good thing, period.

Yet generally, conditions were moderate to fresh, and the strongest squall was seen as being between 20 and 30 knots. Thus there was ample opportunity for good tactical racing and a reading of the sky to weather, though those who briefly looked leeward to seaward noticed that some of the more obtuse squalls were only getting going as they crossed Howth’s sheltered racing waters - out in the Irish Sea, the purple was becoming black.

 Sports fishing or sailing? With a very supple new mast to test, the Howth 17 Erica (David Nixon) has to let sheets fly when a bullet squall strikes. Sports fishing or sailing? With a very supple new mast to test, the Howth 17 Erica (David Nixon) has to let sheets fly when a bullet squall strikes.

Nevertheless for much of the time there was sunshine near enough, and Howth’s very focused Race Officer squad were determined to get at least one more race in the can at this halfway stage to achieve four races and have a refreshing discard to throw into the mix.

CLASS 1

Evidently God was in his Heaven above that swirling sky, as Stephen Quinn was back on form to take first with the J/97 Lambay Rules, Richard Colwell and Johnny Murphy in the J/109 Outrajeous getting second. However, the possibility of a J Boat cascade was seen off by the biggest boat in the fleet, the First 50 Checkmate XX (Nigel Biggs and Dave Cullen) loving the brisk going to take third. However, with the mercy of the discard, the Evans brothers were able to drop their fifth on the day with their J/99 Snapshot, and on points overall they now emerge as second, Lambay Rules once again leading, with Pat Kelly’s J/109 from Rush currently third on the leaderboard.

 Believe it or not, this was the same afternoon – the First 50 Checkmate XX was in the frame with third in Class 1 Believe it or not, this was the same afternoon – the First 50 Checkmate XX was in the frame with third in Class 1

CLASS 2

The fourth race greeted the starters from Class 2 with a blustery westerly breeze which at times was hitting 20Kts +, albeit with plenty of sunshine (reports Fergal Noonan)

Following an AP for gusting conditions, the Race Officer picked a Round the Cans course that was to test all crews. With #3’s the order of the day for the start, a change to #1’s for the last fetch/beat to Viceroy Mark made for exciting and wet conditions for the lucky foredeck crews.

 The cream of the crop……Pat Kelly’s team from the horticultural heartlands of Rush are always there or thereabouts in the J/109 Storm in Class 1 The cream of the crop……Pat Kelly’s team from the horticultural heartlands of Rush are always there or thereabouts in the J/109 Storm in Class 1

From the start gun, both Maximus and Dux chose the favoured Committee Boat end while Xebec, No Excuse and Viking ran down the line towards the Pin end. At the first mark, Dux had established a marginal lead over Maximus, which she was to hold all the way to the finish, beating her rival X302 by 40 seconds.

A Port and Starboard incident halfway up the first beat between Xebec and No Excuse allowed Impetuous to slip into the third slot at the weather mark, only to lose out to a determined No Excuse team around the race track.

Silhouette sailing was just part of the variety the afternoon providedSilhouette sailing was just part of the variety the afternoon provided

With four races now completed, Maximus (Paddy Kyne) continues to hold a slender one point advantage in IRC over Dux (Caroline & Nico Gore-Grimes) with Impetuous now in third. In HPH, Maximus are building a commanding lead. 

CLASS 3

Race 4 saw strong conditions again, with the fleet bunching towards the committee boat for the start and Lee Douglas’s Shenanigans leading the fleet away (reports Stephen Mullaney). At the windward mark, it was the Sigma 33 Insider from Shenanigans from Pepsi, the heavier breeze suiting the bigger heavier boats with many boats having reefs in their mainsails. The whole fleet took caution for the downwind with no spinnakers being flown.

On the next upwind, Insider led but with many position changes throughout the fleet, and at this stage, the wind had begun to drop with most of the fleet hoisting smaller heavy weather spinnakers.

By the third round, most thought the breeze had abated, and for the final downwind leg, Insider hoisted their large spinnaker and was the only boat to hoist. This proved the be the wrong answers as the gusts built, culminating in Insider demonstrating a Chinese gybe - and dunking the helm in the water - but they were able to recover by the leeward mark.

Definitely, the only boat in the fleet to have sailed up the Grand Canal in Venice, under sail the whole way to the Rialto Bridge. Yet this is what Harold Cudmore did with Silver Shamrock after winning the Half Ton Worlds at Trieste in 1976. These days, she’s the family boat for Conor Fogerty, but he now appears to be superfluous to requirements – in Conor’s absence, Suzanne Ennis Fogerty helmed Silver Shamrock to another second overall in Race 4 of the Beshoff Motors Autumn LeaguecDefinitely, the only boat in the fleet to have sailed up the Grand Canal in Venice, under sail the whole way to the Rialto Bridge. Yet this is what Harold Cudmore did with Silver Shamrock after winning the Half Ton Worlds at Trieste in 1976. These days, she’s the family boat for Conor Fogerty, but he now appears to be superfluous to requirements – in Conor’s absence, Suzanne Ennis Fogerty helmed Silver Shamrock to another second overall in Race 4 of the Beshoff Motors Autumn League

At the finish, Insider was first on the water and on IRC with Suzanne Ennis Fogerty helming on the vintage Silver Shamrock to prove that Conor’s absence for the race wasn’t an issue, as they posted another second. The J/24 Kilcullen team showing the benefits of One Design, as they jumped straight from their under-repair boat into Scandal with their sails, and posted a third on IRC. On HPH Doug Anderson’s Pepsi made it a pair of wins for Sigma 33s in Class 3 by taking their first win followed by Kahera in 2nd and Insider in 3rd.

Overall, Insider leads on IRC and Kahera on HPH, but the Sigma 33 Pepsi, having discarded their DNF from week one, sits just one point behind, with Billy Whizz third.

CLASS 4 (WHITE SAIL)

It was a day for the bigger boats, and Stephen Harris with the First 40.7 cruised round to take IRC, while Kieran Jameson with the Sigma 38 did likewise on HPH. David Greene of Malahide with White Pearl was best across both systems with a third and a second, and overall is poised to be challenging as the fleets gear themselves for the second half of the series.

 One Design is good….the J/24 Kilculllen crew transferred the sails from their damaged boat to Scandal, and logged a third on IRC One Design is good….the J/24 Kilculllen crew transferred the sails from their damaged boat to Scandal, and logged a third on IRC

CLASS 5 (WHITE SAIL)

Big is best was again the mantra as the vintage First 38 Out and About (McCoy-Cregan) took HPH, but under IRC Windsor Laudan and Steph Ennis won again with the Club Shamrock Demelza.

SQUIBS

The Squibs - smallest boats in the fleet - took full cognizance of the gloomy pre-weekend forecasts, and only two boats turned out for what was hoped to be an afternoon of one-on-one match racing, but looked more like a game of last crew standing, writes Thomas O’Reilly.

Conditions were too wild for even Slipstream’s Fiona to make herself heard, so a game of boat-to-boat charades helped establish that neither boat had an appetite to fly kites. Then at the start, Slipstream cruised down the empty line on port, pointing up at the gun to comfortably pass over the top of Cool Beans.

However, Cool Beans recovered quickly to round the windward mark first, and both proceeded kite-less to the first leeward mark with Slipstream recovering some ground. Both kept it tight rounding but Slipstream quickly found the groove leaving Cool Beans for dust. For the final part of this beat the two boats separated, SS going right, and Cool Beans regained the lead.

With conditions improving, Cool Beans prepped the spinnaker pole looking back to see if they could coax Slipstream into flying theirs. With Slipstream now hoisting, Cool Beans continued with putting theirs up. Big mistakes by Cool Beans. Slipstream proceeded to reel her in, and was hot on ithe Beans’ heels by the second leeward mark.

Slipstream put the foot down and had taken the lead by the last windward mark, deciding to fly kite on the final downwind leg. With lump in throat, so did Cool Beans. Slipstream went broad, Cool Beans went directly downwind and quickly decided to take its kite down. After a kite tangle during a gybe, Slipstream decided to drop it to avoid ending up with two kites.

Slipstream led by two boat lengths and headed for the island by the last leeward mark. Cool Beans opted to sail on but found herself in a lighter breeze. Slipstream cruised around the Martello Tower to the finishing line with Cool Beans dispatched. Another win for the visitors from Killyleagh….

HOWTH 17s

With a wind range of 20 to 30kts and shifting left and right from the west, the Howth 17 fleet of 10 starters were well tested by what was an excellent course with three beats and runs, including a gybe at the Island mark (writes Marc Fitzgibbon). Deilginis went left and then right on the break to take a lead at the weather mark that she held all the way to the finish, when she was 30 seconds ahead of the Turvey brothers on Isobel.

The Seventeens get down to business, with Orla (Marc Fitzgibbon & Daragh Gallagher) bang on the gun at the Committee Boat.The Seventeens get down to business, with Orla (Marc Fitzgibbon & Daragh Gallagher) bang on the gun at the Committee Boat

Behind them, the places chopped and changed with the shifting breeze. Oona crashed out with a broken boom and Hera fell back with a moving spider band, so that David Nixon on Erica came right back to take third, his brother-in-law David Jones with Rosemary finishing on the water to win on handicap, but Rima Macken’s Eileen - who stayed well up in the fleet - maintained her overall lead in the HPH division by securing second.

PUPPETEERS

After lead-in days of ‘will we or won’t we’ weather forecasts, the westerly wind on the way to the start was benign enough to hide any warning of the impending ‘Sailmaker’s Special’ conditions – initial wind speed of 20 knots down to 8 knots a third of the way into the race to encourage a change to bigger headsails, but quickly back up to 20 knots plus with no time to change down again writes Neil Murphy.

Little choice after that but to hard work to keep the boat moving and somewhat upright whilst listening to the flapping of quickly depreciating sails and thinking about the sailmakers’ current Autumn discount offers. With the leaders taking an hour and forty-five minutes to sail the course in the very testing conditions, bodies, sails and boats were well tested, but there was no doubt about the race being entitled to go on the list of Autumn League crackers.

Changing situation early in the Puppeteer’s race, with the wind backing ahead of a developing squall, and the port tack red boat (Shiggi Shiggi) suddenly looking at being able to cross the starboard tack Yellow PerilChanging situation early in the Puppeteer’s race, with the wind backing ahead of a developing squall, and the port tack red boat (Shiggi Shiggi) suddenly looking at being able to cross the starboard tack Yellow Peril

With all opting for their smaller headsail in the sturdy conditions at the start and only one OCS boat, by the first windward it was Yellow Peril (Murphy / Costello) in the lead and the first boat to decide whether fly the kite on the broad reach to Island mark in the by-now “very sturdy” breeze and building sea. After a pause for consideration, up it went and after a further pause while the chasing Shiggi Shiggi (P&L McMahon) and Harlequin (D Clarke) waited to see if the leader stayed vertical, theirs followed suit.

With a gybe needed at Island mark and a closer reach out to Osprey to follow, Yellow Peril went back to whitesails before gybing but their pursuers took the braver choice, got through their gybes and were looking good on the reach until the wind freshened and veered to make whitesails the more attractive option. The easing breeze on the next windward leg slowed progress and tempted many to change up to big headsails during the subsequent spinnaker reach.

However, the breeze quickly climbed back up to the low twenties after the leeward mark, making it a struggle to go forwards rather than sideways. The leaders kept station until the second long beat, when Yellow Peril and Shiggi Shiggi went left, Harlequin went right, and Trick Or Treat (Pearson / Blay), winner of the first three races, went even further right. By the windward mark, Trick or Treat were up to first with Harlequin rounding second, the left-siders back in the minor placings and HoneyBadger (G May) becoming a contender.

A broad reach brought the fleet back to Dunbo, the last turning mark, and Trick Or Treat was looking good for a fourth win. However, choosing the layline to clear the north-west corner of Ireland’s Eye in the ebbing tide was the final hurdle of the day. Harlequin judged their course to perfection, inspecting some lobster pot floats in the process, and passed Trick Or Treat, slowing them enough to allow Yellow Peril also squeeze past to grab second, a dramatic end to a dramatic race. On the HPH results, Weyhey (I. Dickson), Sanderling (B. Jennings) and Ghosty Ned (D. Harkin) took the podium places.

TEAM PLACINGS

The Inter-Squad Series-Within-a-Series for three boat teams, each from a different class, now appears to be virtually settled even at this halfway stage, with the TITs (Tiger, Insider and Trick-or-Treat) recording another three wins.

Photos by Robert Orr, Pat McCaughey, Paddy Judge & Harry Gallagher

Published in Howth YC
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The 40th Annual Autumn League at Howth Yacht Club – sponsored these days by specialist car company Beshoff Motors – enjoyed a bright and brisk northerly breeze with a touch of nor’east for its second weekend. “Brisk” with a mixed fleet in Howth is when the Howth 17s do without their topsails, and thus it was a lively afternoon of sport for the notably varied turnout of nine classes on an extra-busy day.

They were extra-busy because the Stakhanovite race officers are always determined to get the race numbers up as soon as possible, so the fleet were zapped round the courses twice to have three good race results already in the leaderboard, even with four Saturdays of racing still in prospect.

But much and all as it left more than a few competitors acutely aware they’d been sailing energetically - with the afternoon well advanced when the tail-enders finally headed for home - any look at the volatile weather situation on the west side of the Atlantic suggests that our exceptionally benign period of late season weather is coming to an end, and it is prudent Series Management to build results while the sun shines.

Grabbing the best of the weather while it lasts - the veteran First 40.7 Tiger (Stephen Harris) stayed ahead overall in IRC 4 (White Sail) with two seconds, but the best of the day in the class was David Greene’s White Pearl from Malahide. Photo: Courtesy HYC Grabbing the best of the weather while it lasts - the veteran First 40.7 Tiger (Stephen Harris) stayed ahead overall in IRC 4 (White Sail) with two seconds, but the best of the day in the class was David Greene’s White Pearl from Malahide. Photo: Courtesy HYC 

CRUISERS 1

Two bullets from the Evans brothers’ J/99 Snapshot in IRC (and HPH) sees them take the overall lead from Stephen Quinn’s J/97 Lambay Rules, which managed a respectable 3,2 on the day to leave them a point behind after three races. Conditions were lumpy due to the northerly breeze of 15 to 20 knots, and the start of the two windward leeward races was delayed as some of the marks went wandering. A compact course made for plenty of close boat-on-boat racing, and boat handling skills needed to be at their best. Pat Kelly’s Storm was the best of the J109’s with a 2, 3 on the day. 

CRUISERS 2

Paddy Kyne’s Maximus now has the selection of X Yachts which dominate this class numerically back in the lead - where they think they belong as of Divine Right - as he won both times every which way – IRC and HPH. But the Corby interloper Impetuous (Fergal Noonan & Robert Chambers) continued in her dutiful role as X Yachts Irritant with a 4th and 2nd in IRC, and a 3rd and 2nd under HPH, while Dux is now third.

Maximus approaching the line, too busy keeping her lead to appreciate the coastal scenery. Photo: HYCMaximus approaching the line, too busy keeping her lead to appreciate the coastal scenery. Photo: HYC

CRUISERS 3

Increased breeze for Races 2 and 3 was always going to make things more interesting for Class 3 due to range in boat sizes. The big change for this week was the absence of Howth's K25 Team Kilcullen due to a structural issue with the boat that was luckily spotted prior to sailing, but they hope to be back in the other Howth K25 Boat Scandal next week.

The heavier breeze suited the Sigma 33 Insider (Stephen Mullaney) which was first on IRC, but they were again kept honest with Conor Fogerty’s Silver Shamrock (Ron Holland 1976) in hot pursuit, followed by Malahide entry Kahera in 3rd . In HPH, after the disappointment of missing a mark last week, Billy Whizz of Malahide were first ahead of Insider's sistership Pepsi, and Kahera posting 3rd to match their IRC result.

For Race 2 it was a shorter course, but with a better start from the whole fleet to give closer racing. Insider was first to the windward mark followed again by Silver Shamrock, Billy Whizz and Kahera. Some boats chose a more conservative approach downwind to avoid the gybe under spinnaker but there were gains to be had for those who hoisted straight away in the heavier breeze. In the end it was a repeat of the previous race on IRC with Insider, Silver Shamrock and Kahera. In HPH, Billy Whizz beat their Malahide club mate Kahera by 14 seconds with Pepsi again on the podium less than a further 30 seconds back.

Overall this leaves Insider 1st on IRC and Kahera 1st on HPH, but when Billy Whizz discards their DNF for race 1, they will be right up there on HPH.

CRUISERS 4 (White Sail)

The stately First 40.7 Tiger (Stephen Harris) inevitably took line honours both times out, but Malahide’s White Pearl (David Greene) had a great day out, with two firsts under IRC, and a second and first on HPH. Colm Bermingham’s Elan 333 Bite the Bullet was in on the action in IRC to move into third overall behind Tiger, but Kieran Jameson’s long-raced Sigma 38 Changeling got herself into the frame on HPH.

It was a day designed for gallant windward work by veteran Shamrocks, and Demelza made the best of it. Photo: HYCIt was a day designed for gallant windward work by veteran Shamrocks, and Demelza made the best of it. Photo: HYC

CRUISERS 5 (White Sail)

Really good slug-it-out beats made it a great day for veteran Ron Holland-designed Half Ton Shamrocks, and while the one and only Silver Shamrock herself was giving everybody a hard time in Cruisers 3, the white sail Cruisers 5 saw the Club Shamrock Demelza (Steffi & Windsor) going out of sight on IRC overall and hanging in there on HPH, with Joe Carton’s Dehler 34 enjoying the conditions to log two seconds in IRC, and 2nd and third on HPH, with the veteran First 38 Out & About (McCoy/Cregan) also in the picture

PUPPETEER 22

With Trick or Treat (Alan Pearson / Alan Blay) having done a horizon job on the series largest fleet in the light weather of Race 1, the change in conditions for Day 2 offered their competition more hope of success. The beautiful autumnal day provided everything needed for a cracking day’s racing – strong northerly, choppy sea, wall to wall blue sky and warm temperature. The 18 Kn+ breeze made it a Number 2 headsail day and the boats revelled in the conditions, although some running repairs were needed amongst the 16-strong fleet as the wear and tear of a long season caught up on fittings that decided their duty was done.

Race Officer Robert Orr signalled a Windward Leeward course for the first race, and got the fleet away after a short postponement while the hard-working mark layers struggled to position their charges in the challenging conditions for RIBs. The fleet split on the first beat, with both sides being tested, before coming together at the windward mark to find that neither side had been particularly favoured.

The downwind leg produced lots of good surfing in the sun and some overheated sailors debated the merits of shedding layers before tackling the second beat of the two-lap course. Trick or Treat, with guest helm Gerard O’Sullivan calling the shots this week, had got to the front again and established a lead big enough to allow them to spectate on the dog fight (no pun intended) for the minor placings between Harlequin (D Clarke), HoneyBadger (G May) and Yellow Peril (Costello / Murphy). Place changing in the chasing group continued upwind and downwind for the rest of the race with WeyHey (Ian Dickson) also getting into the mix. At the finish, Trick or Treat took the gun from Harlequin and, after 45 minutes of racing, just five seconds spanned third placed Yellow Peril, HoneyBadger and WeyHey.

Race 2 provided more of the same in terms of course layout, conditions, close racing and winner. Trick or Treat led from the first mark to take a 25 second win with Yellow Peril second, followed by Shiggi Shiggi (P&L McMahon) and Harlequin.

On HPH, the spoils over the two races were divided between Papagena (K&B Barker) and Blue Velvet (G. Kennedy) with a win apiece. Ghosty Ned (D Harkin) and Sanderling (B Jennings) took the minor places in the first race and, in the second one, Papagena took the runner-up spot with Mr Punch (NiBhraonain / Wilson) finishing third.

So onwards to Day 3 and, with Trick or Treat now having won all three races of the Series to date, the question for the rest of the fleet is can anyone beat the red boat before the 2022 season ends on October 22nd.

After some Close Encounters of the First Kind, the Squibs got themselves round the courses without further entanglements. As the afternoon moved on, clouds build over the land but the sea-sky stays clearAfter some Close Encounters of the First Kind, the Squibs got themselves round the courses without further entanglements. As the afternoon moved on, clouds build over the land but the sea-sky stays clear

SQUIBS

In Race One, all boats got off to a clean start with Cool Bean a bit too keen to take full advantage of a clear committee boat end almost landing itself on its fenders in the swell. From there, Fergus O’Kelly, ever the gentleman, took it upon himself to direct the fleet around the course from the front in Tiger Roll. On the downwind leg, the following boats failed to see which leeward mark to round, probably due to the excitement of surfing their boats through the swell. As Slipstream, Cool Beans, Absolutely Fabulous and Tears for Fears together approached the other fleets’ leeward mark, Slipstream came to the realisation first that the yellow mark over his shoulder was the correct one and promptly headed up to it, prompting Cool Beans to wake up and change course too. In the confusion Tears For Fears , which had yet to drop its spinnaker, could do little to avoid Slipstream and ended up taking a penalty, resulting in them dropping to fifth.

In Race Two, and with the fleet finding form, a clip from Slipstream meant Tiger Roll found it impossible to recover after taking its penalty. Cool Beans once again took the Committee Vessel end, this time opting to not try to land the boat on it.

Slipstream, Aurora and Cool Beans were prominent early on. With regular place changes and traffic from other classes, Slipstream (from Killyleagh) pulled ahead. but the rest were close. Cool Beans taking second by 5 seconds from Tears for Fears.

Absolutely no cloud in the sky over the sea and Ireland’s Eye as Colm Bermingham’s Elan 333 Bite the Bullet closes on the finish. Photo: HYCAbsolutely no cloud in the sky over the sea and Ireland’s Eye as Colm Bermingham’s Elan 333 Bite the Bullet closes on the finish. Photo: HYC

HOWTH SEVENTEENS

For Howth’s oldest class, it was the sort of day when those with untested masts can be a bit cautious, but the hard cases with long experience and bullet-proof rigs were in their element for hard driving, with two of them – the Deilginis syndicate and the Turvey brothers with Isobel – emerging from the first race with a tie for first place.

Number 21 Orla, built in France in 2019 thanks to Ian Malcolm’s patience in form-filling in order to avail of Government grants there for having your boat built in a boat-building school, really came into her own in the second race to give proud owners Marc FitzGibbon and Daragh Gallagher the win. This put them up into second overall, but on scratch Deilginis is on top with 7.5 points overall to the 10 of Orla and the 13 of Michael & Jane Duffy’s Hera.

TEAM COMPETITION

The three-boat Team Competition with boats drawn from very different classes is supposed to gives everyone a look-in. But even the most cursory glance at the most recent pair of results shows that the TITs – Tiger (Cr 4), Insider (Cr 3) and Trick or Treat (Squibs) – are already beyond the horizon after just three races.

Detailed results are below 

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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

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Howth Yacht Club delivered 145 Optimist dinghies for IODAI's Ulster Championships, over the Maritime Festival weekend and with the support of Fingal County Council.

The IODAI Optimist regional had its biggest Irish fleet last weekend with 85 main fleet and 60 regatta fleet for the event. With a big mix of conditions, Principal Race Officer Richard Kissane delivered six races, by getting four races in the bag on Saturday in light conditions and 2 windy races Sunday in the shelter of the Claremont Strand.

Optimists racing at Howth Photo: Craig O'NeillOptimists racing at Howth Photo: Craig O'Neill

Dun Laoghaire sailor Jules Start was 1st in the Senior Fleet, with local sailor Harry Dunne missing out due to a black flag in R6.

In the Junior Fleet, Lilly Donagh from Lough Derg took first place; as one of three siblings to take the top three positions on the board, with sisters Emily and Maeve coming in 2nd and 3rd.

Kate Spain was the best local sailor, with a top-five finish in the Junior Fleet.

The Optimist class also run a gold, silver, and bronze league to maintain competition throughout the fleets.

Top Five Senior

1. Jules Start (RSGYC)

2. Caoillin Geraghty McDonnell (RSGYC)

3. Conor Cronin (MYC)

4. Jude Hynes Knight (TBSC)

5. Gemma Brady (LDYC)

Top Five Junior (U12)

1. Lilly Donagh (LDYC)

2. Maeve Donagh (LDYC)

3. Emily Donagh (LDYC)

4. Kate Spain (HYC)

5. Finn Foley (RSGYC)

There was lots to do for families at the Fingal Maritime Festival in Howth Harbour this weekend, which carried on inside the club, too.

The IODAI regatta coaching initiative occupied the younger sailors (ages 7-9yrs) with games, sailing coaching, and kayaking, while the Regatta Racing Fleet (ages 9-10yrs) for the less experienced got in 8 races under IODAI coach Kate Darcy and PRO Dave Sargent. Aurele Dion (NYC) Dylan O’Sullivan (RCYC) and Oliver Ryan (MYC), Jacob Browne (NYC) and Arthur Fegan (MYC) shared the prizes.

Next stop on the IODAI is the National Training week on 2-5 November at Lough Derg; aimed at the whole fleet, the week also includes a focus on developing coaches for the future.

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A distinct change in sailing conditions today (Friday) - from a sunny nor'easter to a grey sou'easter - seems to have suited the Irish contingent in the J/24 Euros very well indeed, with the afternoon ebb making for distinct delineations in the fleet. The syndicate-campaigned Headcase, whose squad represent every Irish Province except Munster - who of course have their own J/24s - was in particularly sparkling form.

They logged two straight wins after ding-dong battles with other Irish boats in a day of racing which was heart-warming for those club movers and shakers throughout Ireland who have been trying to encourage their younger members into economical J/24 involvement. But quite why the formerly dominant international visitors failed to show as well as they've been doing through the rest of the week is hard to say, as the effects of the ebb in Howth's racing area are fairly straightforward.

Overall, Jmania from Athens continues to lead even with today's 23rd (discarded) and 8th, but it's now Headcase in second overall, albeit by 48pts to Jmania's 42. Determined Race Officer David Lovegrove has the scores for nine very good races already up on the leaderboard thanks to pushing through three races on Thursday, so if it's at all possible to get in Race 10 on Saturday morning before the top comes off the weather, he'll do it.

But those who cherish the notion that ten races completed will see a second discard kick in are apparently nursing a futile hope, and the permutations for Headcase to overtake Jmania (it sounds like a narrative out of a madhouse) are probably just too convoluted to be fulfilled.

Results below

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In some ways, Howth Yacht Club has it easy. It isn’t hampered by being the senior sailing centre in Ireland. That particular burden has been carried since 1720 by Cork. Nor is it sailing’s premier centre. Since the active first days of the new Royal Harbour at Kingstown on Dublin Bay around 1830 with its convenient location just down the road from Dublin Castle, the Number One role –and the biggest fleet - has been weighing on Dublin Bay and what is now Dun Laoghaire.

Far from being in any sort of competition with those two exalted and established hotspots, Howth has happily relaxed in its clearly- defined and remote peninsular location, considering itself – should it so wish – as scarcely being part of Ireland at all. Indeed, the authorities preferred for some decades to forget its existence entirely. For in an intriguing example of early 19th Century groupthink, they had reckoned - in the times of the frequently-impassable Dublin Port sandbar - that the fact that the official Dublin-England packet-boat had for years used Howth Sound as its waiting anchorage would mean that when the time came to build a proper ferry port in 1807, Howth was to be the ill-thought-through location.

It all turned out okay in the end……Howth Harbour todayIt all turned out okay in the end……Howth Harbour today

MISTAKEN 19TH CENTURY GROUP-THINK

Within ten years, what ultimately became the official and effective ferry port was under construction by 1817 on a massive scale on the other side of Dublin Bay at Old Dunleary, and it was soon being used by private enterprise cross-channel ferries. Yet the stubborn powers-that-be persisted in trying to keep the inadequate and shallow new harbour at Howth functioning as the official mail-boat port until 1834, when they upped sticks completely and moved to Kingstown.

RAILWAY CONNECTION

But far from encouraging Howth Harbour to be utilized for other purposes, they pretended that this very tangible example of mistaken governmental group-think simple didn’t exist. It had the makings of a very useful fishing port, particularly once the railway was connected to the little village in 1847. But nevertheless as far as the authorities were concerned, the local fishing fleet were expected to make their base in the nearby drying creek of Baldoyle, while any recreational sailing regatta events sponsored by the railway company as day-tripper attractions at Howth relied heavily on visiting boats from Kingstown to make up a fleet. So in order to vary their “visitor product”, the railway company financed the building of the spectacular cliff path right round Howth Head.

The unique Howth Yacht Club building has the Fishdock is to the west, and the Marina to the east. Photo: W M NixonThe unique Howth Yacht Club building has the Fishdock is to the west, and the Marina to the east. Photo: W M Nixon

More than two decades had elapsed after the exit of the official ferries in 1834 before a new generation of Government officials would allow Howth to develop as an official Fishing Station. And as for recreational sailing, it wasn’t until 1875 that a noted Dublin character, the Chancery Judge Walter Boyd who is referenced in Ulysses, decided that the need for a real away-from-it-all a summer alternative to his town house in Merrion Square could be found by taking a lease on the harbour-side Howth House (originally built as the on-job accommodation for Harbour Engineer John Rennie). And thus, the multi-talented Boyd family and expanding sailing interest came to Howth, with Howth Sailing Club eventually founded in 1895.

The Puppeteer 22s in Howth Marina, with Howth House in background (left centre). Originally built as the residence for Harbour Engineer John Rennie, it was first rented by Judge Boyd in 1875. Photo: W M NixonThe Puppeteer 22s in Howth Marina, with Howth House in background (left centre). Originally built as the residence for Harbour Engineer John Rennie, it was first rented by Judge Boyd in 1875. Photo: W M Nixon

THE HIP-RAYS

Needless to say these quaint goings-on beyond the other side of the Hill of Howth were regarded with some amusement in the stately clubs of Kingstown. There, the large yachts saw the Howth fishing fleet as a useful recruiting ground for summertime professional crew. And the Howth fishermen in their turn were much entertained by the notions of the amateur sailors of Howth, whose new little Boyd-designed gaff-cutter One Designs of 1898, the Howth 17s, were miniatures of the big cutters, but with their crews elevating amateur sailing etiquette to its highest level.

Thus after any race, the winning Howth 17 would be given three rousing cheers by each of the competing boats. As the fleet grew, this became a lengthy and intrusive business, so much so that the big boat professional crews in Dun Laoghaire referred to the amateurs from their home port as “the hip-rays”.

The “Hip-Rays”. The Howth 17s were conceived as miniatures of the great racing cutters of the 1890s. Photo: W M NixonThe “Hip-Rays”. The Howth 17s were conceived as miniatures of the great racing cutters of the 1890s. Photo: W M Nixon

So Howth slowly developed as the small-scale family-oriented sailing and fishing harbour, rising without trace as you might say. And when Erskine Childers sought a port where the Asgard’s guns could be unloaded in July 1914 with a minimum of fuss and attention, he chose Howth.

Yet just nine years later, when Conor O’Brien sought to depart on his pioneering world-girdling voyage with the 42ft Saoirse on June 20th 1923 with a maximum of fuss and attention, it was no contest – Dun Laoghaire was the only possible option.

Erskine & Molly Childers’ Asgard departing Howth, July 26th 1914, after the successful gun-running. Howth had been selected primarily because it usually received very little attention.Erskine & Molly Childers’ Asgard departing Howth, July 26th 1914, after the successful gun-running. Howth had been selected primarily because it usually received very little attention.

Meanwhile, Howth quietly got on with it, and though in the 1890s there’d been an active offshoot of the first version of the Dun Laoghaire Water Wags in the harbour, they by-passed the option of the new larger 14ft Wags in 1900, and eventually built up a class of International 12s which encouraged junior sailing as a discipline in its own right.

Dedicated junior training was introduced at Howth in the 1930s with the International 12, a versatile boat which could also be used for adult racing. Photo: Courtesy HYCDedicated junior training was introduced at Howth in the 1930s with the International 12, a versatile boat which could also be used for adult racing. Photo: Courtesy HYC

The stars at this International 12 racing were young Jimmy and Bobby Mooney. The legendary Billy Mooney, their father, may now be best remembered as a leading Dun Laoghaire sailor in the post World War II years. But he and his family lived in Howth from 1919 until 1943, and played a leading role in developing the harbour’s strong tradition of family sailing with a larger cruiser-racer or inshore keelboat in which all the family might be involved, with some junior boats to be actively raced by the young folk.

STRENGTH OF FAMILY SUPPORT

The families which were to the fore in this – names such as Courtney, Guinness, Mooney, Maguire, Mellon and Malcolm – were to be joined by many others as the years went by. But underlying it all was the inescapable reality that quiet yet strong family support, with sailing seen as the most natural sport in the world in which to be involved, is the foundation which enables the occasional super-talent to start to reach full potential, and thereby get involved in national performance training schemes.

Early days – Eve McMahon starting to find her feet in what was then Laser racingEarly days – Eve McMahon starting to find her feet in what was then Laser racing

But of course there’s more, much more, to a successful sailing club than a peak of achievement such as we’ve seen this past week with Eve McMahon’s ILCA6 gold in Texas, coming as it did on the heels of the golds that she and Rocco Wright both won in The Netherlands a fortnight earlier, which in turn succeeded her European gold in Greece at the beginning of July.

That said, it does mean that, within sailing at least, the two young helms – she’s just recently 18, while he’s 15 – have now achieved the first marker of celebrity status. When we refer in our headline to “Eve and Rocco”, everybody knows who we mean.

But for Howth Yacht Club Commodore Paddy Judge presiding over next Friday afternoon’s festive all-comers welcome-home for the medallists, the thoughts will equally by with the many other activities which his unique 2,000 strong membership encompasses.

RACING AND CRUISING

Inevitably conspicuous racing success looms large, and this week we’d Howth’s own Laura Dillon – the only female winner of the All-Ireland Helm Championship in 1996 – adding to her laurels by winning the highly-competitive Lady’s Day at Cowes Week racing the classic Winsome. But then too, at the other end of the sailing continuum, the largest single membership sub-set in Howth is the Cruising Group, currently very ably led by Susan Kavanagh whose serious sea-going experience rivals that of many of her males members, even if they do include global circumnavigators.

Former All-Ireland Champion Laura Dillon receives her prize as the Cowes Week Women’s ChampionFormer All-Ireland Champion Laura Dillon receives her prize as the Cowes Week Women’s Champion

The classic Sparkman & Stephens 41 Winsome, raced by Laura Dillon to Cowes Week successThe classic Sparkman & Stephens 41 Winsome, raced by Laura Dillon to Cowes Week success

In fact, with Laura Dillon’s mother Breda being Howth YC’s first female Commodore quite a few years, and now with Eve McMahon emerging from the month of July bedecked with international gold, your ordinary Howth yottie could be forgiven for wondering what the annual fuss about Women on Water is all about. For having been involved in racing at and from Howth for more than five decades, I could fill a couple of long paragraphs with a listing of the names of female helms who have been knocking the tar out of the supposedly ablest racing helmsmen on a regular basis.

Maybe the situation is different at other ports. Certainly, in the past sixty or so years, Howth with its unique clubhouse/marina complex and organically developed waterfront has increasingly diverged in character from the more formal Dun Laoghaire in style and spirit, so much so that simply sailing south from Howth across Dublin Bay to the premier port of Dun Laoghaire feels like going foreign.

“Our humble little port”. By comparison with Howth and its almost rustic look, Dun Laoghaire seems so large and formal that it feel like going foreign. Photo: W M Nixon“Our humble little port”. By comparison with Howth and its almost rustic look, Dun Laoghaire seems so large and formal that it feel like going foreign. Photo: W M Nixon

Yet even so, those who live in Howth tend to be self-deprecating about “our humble little port”, so it’s a bit of a surprise when UK-based owner-skippers like Robert Rendell with his Grand Soleil 44 Samatom and Nigel Biggs with his part-owned First 50 Checkmate make the effort to base their boats with us, as they regard the “Howth cultural package” as an important part of the sailing experience.

That said, you can see there’s a special appeal in a place which places as much importance on the continuing good health of the 124-year-old Howth 17s as they do on international Gold success – the Seventeens have their keenly-anticipated annual championship this weekend, with the winner expected from the ranks of Deilginis, Isobel, Erica, Rita and Oona.

Equally, in six days time when the great and the good from civic life and sports administration descend on Howth to help the thriving Junior Section lead the welcome home for the multi-medallists, the Howth Squibs will be busy welcoming competitors for the 2022 Squib Easterns.

HYC welcomes Eve and RoccoHYC welcomes Eve and Rocco

So Howth’s regular sailing life goes on. But its spirit will be raised to a new vitality which really began to get up to speed in September 2018 when Rob Dickson of Howth and Sean Waddilove of Skerries took the Gold at the U23 49er Worlds in Marseilles. At the same time Eve McMahon, Rocco Wright and others were on rising trajectories in international junior sailing, while at a more senior level Aoife Hopkins was recording success even as Conor Fogerty won the OSTAR, with Pat Kelly and his Rush SC crew on the J/109 Storm cutting a swathe through the J/109 and ICRA fleets at the same time.

This year’s Round Ireland Race saw Howth’s Mike & Richie Evans with their newish J/99 Snapshot make their first stab at a major offshore, after several regatta wins, Taking on the big one from a standing start provided old Round Ireland hands with food for thought, as Snapshot was second overall by only five minutes, beaten by a battle-hardened French J/111.

Meanwhile, Howth had inaugurated the U25 scheme in J/24s under the encouragement of Nobby Reilly, and from that has emerged the hyper-successful Headcase campaign, all-Ireland based but with a Howth flavour and aimed at the J/24 Euros at HYC at the end of August on a course of success which has included the class win at Kiel Week, the overall win the UK Nationals, and the ICRA Class Win at Volvo Cork Week.

Also at Volvo Cork Week, the 30-year-old 1720s Sportsboat Class continued their revival with the biggest fleet of all, and the joint Howth YC/Royal Cork YC entry of Atara (Ross McDonald, Aoife English and Rob English) not only won the class in convincing style, but emerged as “Boat of the Regatta” to win the ancient and much-coveted Kinsale Kettle.

The Volvo Cork Week 2022 Overall Champion Atara leading the 1720 racing at Howth. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyThe Volvo Cork Week 2022 Overall Champion Atara leading the 1720 racing at Howth. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

So it went on, with specialist successes to add to the glittering Gold of the Howth Laser squad. That is now very public, and will become more so. But back at the beginning of March as the final pandemic restrictions were eased, Commodore Judge hosted a Howth YC Volunteers Dinner for all those he reckoned had kept the club going through the closed-down times. The gathering notably included former Commodore Ian Byrne, whose two-year stint in the senior role had been almost entirely obscured by the pandemic.

Yet far from bewailing the circumstances, Commodore Byrne made it his business to clarify every last detail of the restrictions, and the ramifications of every little easing of the rules. Thus as permitted movement was extended to five kilometres, he was able to get sailing going in Howth’s varied local waters, activity was maintained, and HYC was poised and ready when full-time sport was resumed.

In the final analysis, that and positive family encouragement is what will be celebrated next Friday.

Round Ireland Race 2022 newbie and runner-up (by 5 minutes) was the J/99 Snapshot from Howth (Mike & Richie Evans). Photo: Afloat.ieRound Ireland Race 2022 newbie and runner-up (by 5 minutes) was the J/99 Snapshot from Howth (Mike & Richie Evans). Photo: Afloat.ie

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Laser dinghy sailor Eve McMahon of Howth Yacht Club now leads at the Youth ILCA 6/Laser European Championships going into the last day of racing in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Ten races have been sailed with significant changes in the top of the rankings on the penultimate day.

The current Irish ILCA6 youth world champion is now on the cusp of a Youth ILCA6 Europeans title with a six-point advantage going into Wednesday's fifth day and final two races to decide the new 2022 EurILCA 6 Youth European champions.

McMahon scored a 3, 3 to become the new women’s overall leader with 33 points, followed by Emma Mattivi ITA (21-1) and Petra Marendic CRO (1-9) with 45 and 49 points respectively.

The overnight leader Roos Wind NED (14-36) is ranked now fourth overall with 50.

Claudia Adan Lledo ESP (4-5) is fifth with 63.

Conditions were once again sunny and hot, with the winds varying from 8-10 knots.

Luke Turvey

McMahon's clubmate Luke Turvey dropped from tenth to 14th place in the Boys event but could still regain places in today's final rounds.

Results here

Page 8 of 58

Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.

 

At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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