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Displaying items by tag: IDRA 14

More than thirty boats hit the water for Week 2 of the post-Christmas Howth YC Dinghy Frostbite series on Sunday morning writes Conor Murphy, when they were met with perfect breezes of 10 knots with some gusts and lulls either side of it, combined with bright sunny skies and a fun-seeking tide switching direction halfway through the day's racing. Race Officer Ronan McDonnell of HYC got the racing underway on time, sending all fleets around windward-leeward courses for both races.

That said, the first attempt at an ILCA start fell foul to a general recall, thanks to both over-eager ILCAs in their growing fleet, and the initial flood tide pushing everyone over the start line. A U flag for subsequent ILCA starts ensured all were much better behaved.

With 2024 being their Golden Jubilee Year at Howth, it is expected the ILCA/Laser fleet will continue to increaseWith 2024 being their Golden Jubilee Year at Howth, it is expected the ILCA/Laser fleet will continue to increase

A museum of Dinghy Racing – GP 14 leader Alan Blay (Howth/Sutton) battling it out with Ryan Cairns (Clontarf) in the 1946 & 1938-originating IDRA 14A museum of Dinghy Racing – GP 14 leader Alan Blay (Howth/Sutton) battling it out with Ryan Cairns (Clontarf) in the 1946 & 1938-originating IDRA 14

The ILCA 7s had 10 sailors on the water, and competition was fierce all across the fleet, with every spot hard fought for. Rory Lynch of Baltimore SC took an early lead in Race 1 and maintained it around the 3 laps, however the remaining 2nd-6th place spots swapped hands multiple times throughout the 40 minute race.

The ILCA in its various forms continues to be the most numerous boat-type – Stan O’Rourke (left, of Malahide) showed why he leads the 4.7s by being up with clubmate Alex Deasy in his ILCA 6The ILCA in its various forms continues to be the most numerous boat-type – Stan O’Rourke (left, of Malahide) showed why he leads the 4.7s by being up with clubmate Alex Deasy in his ILCA 6

Conor Murphy (Howth) ultimately claimed 2nd, while Daragh Kelleher (Skerries) just pipped Dan O'Connell (Monkstown Bay) to take 3rd on the finish line. In Race 2, Dan O'Connell (sporting an interesting video rig on his transom) led from the first windward mark and extended his lead from there, followed by Rory Lynch and Conor Murphy. Rory Lynch leads the fleet in the series, but with 14 more races scheduled and the fleet growing, the leaderboards will no doubt see many changes before the end.

Carla Fegan (Howth) racing in the ILCA6 class.Carla Fegan (Howth) racing in the ILCA6 class

PY FLEET A MARITIME MUSEUM OF DINGHY RACING

The eclectic PY fleet saw yet another new addition this week in the form of the blue-sailed Enterprise, sailed by Kay Cornally of HYC. GP14s continue to dominate the podium places of the PY fleet, claiming 2 of 3 spots in each race. In Race 1, however, Daragh Sheridan's RS Aero of the home fleet claimed victory, closely followed by Sam Street's GP14 down from the Wicklow mountains at Blessington, and in third came Matthew Cotter of Sutton DC, helming The Wrong Trousers after taking a stepping backwards in the boat, as he’s usually crews for Conor Twohig.

Once upon a time, many of us raced Enterprise dinghies. Kay Cornally of Howth keeps the torch aloft, albeit in a glassfibre versionOnce upon a time, many of us raced Enterprise dinghies. Kay Cornally of Howth keeps the torch aloft, albeit in a glassfibre version

Continuing GP14 ding-dong between Sam Street of Blessington (left) and Matthew Cotter of SuttonContinuing GP14 ding-dong between Sam Street of Blessington (left) and Matthew Cotter of Sutton

In Race 2, the GP14s made their way to the front of the fleet, with HYC & Sutton's Alan Blay taking first, followed by the consistent Sam Street, and then Daragh Sheridan. The fleet continues to have a variety of other boats including B14, Melges 15 and IDRA 14 - time will tell which boat and sailors will master the variety of conditions that the series will throw at them over the nine week series, but currently Alan Blay & Hugh McNally's GP14 of Sutton & Howth leads the fleet with 3 points after counting 3 races.

Charlie Robertson’s RS Feva against the classic background of Ireland Eye in its winter coatCharlie Robertson’s RS Feva against the classic background of Ireland Eye in its winter coat

The ILCA 6s had a strong turnout, with eight boats on the water. Viktor Samoilovs (Malahide & Howth 1, 3), Tom Fox (Rush SC, 3,1) and Peter Hassett (Dublin Bay SC:2, 2) were the podium finishers in the two races, but each spot was closely ought for, with Ciara McMahon and Darragh Peelo fighting every inch of the way.

Tom Fox leads the fleet by one point over Viktor Samoilovs. In the ILCA 4s, Stan O'Rourke (Malahide & Howth) continued his run of form with back to back wins, followed by Connor O'Sullivan and Charlie Power in that order in each race. Stan leads the series with 3 points from 3 races counted.

How’s the local economy? Try counting the active tower cranes. Jeremy Beshoff and Declan McManus in the B14 speeding towards the re-development of Howth’s old Techrete site to become the new up-market Claremont Apartments.How’s the local economy? Try counting the active tower cranes. Jeremy Beshoff and Declan McManus in the B14 speeding towards the re-development of Howth’s old Techrete site to become the new up-market Claremont Apartments

Full results are available below, there are 7 weekends left in the series, followed by the annual Round the Island Race and prize-giving lunch in March 9th.

BRASS MONKEYS

The Cruiser-Racers, having poked their noses out into the ocean on New Year’s Day, are taking most of January off in order to allow their very varied personnel the time to go ski-ing or head down to South Africa to check out their vineyards and diamond mines, nevertheless we’re assured they’ll be resuming their Brass Monkeys series on January 28th to continue until March 2nd, and the entry list is still open.

Published in Howth YC

Simon Revill is something of a Force of Nature in the racing of the historic IDRA 14 class. But then, that’s what you’d probably expect from someone who is a potent mixture of Irish and Yorkshire ancestry. While he has been closely linked with Sutton Dinghy Club in times past, these days he nominates Howth YC as his home club. But in typically Revill style, his current IDRA 14 racing base is Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club, sailing centre for his 2023 crew Orla Doogue.

The plot thickens somewhat when we remember his boat is called Dubious. Admittedly dodgy names are nothing new in IDRA 14 folklore - leading class founder Douglas Heard, way back in 1946, called his boat Error, and she was still racing this past weekend at Lough Ree, sailed by Sutton’s Jim Lambkin & Wendy Rudd. That said, there’s nothing Dubious about the contemporary Dubious performance – she has won the IDRA 14 Nationals eight times in all, and with victory at Lough Ree last weekend, it became five in a row.

Gentler sunlit going on a downwind leg with Chance (163, Philip Hackett & Daniel Kinlay, Clontarf) closely leading from Sapphire (138, Lorcan O’Sullivan & Sinead Mangan, Dun Laoghaire MYC). Photo: Rachel DoogueGentler sunlit going on a downwind leg with Chance (163, Philip Hackett & Daniel Kinlay, Clontarf) closely leading from Sapphire (138, Lorcan O’Sullivan & Sinead Mangan, Dun Laoghaire MYC). Photo: Rachel Doogue

With top Lough Ree sailor and administrator Alan Algeo as Race Officer, assisted by the IDRA Class Conscience and Keeper of the Records Ian Sargent, everything was in place for a cracking contest, as LRYC’s hospitality at Ballyglass in the southeast corner of the great lake is deservedly legendary, particularly when it’s with a classic class of character whose direct involvement with the club goes way back to the hugely convivial Dinghy Week of 1947.

All that was needed for the Championship of Dreams in 2023 was a bit of co-operation from the weather, and as last weekend’s meteorology threw just about everything at some time or another at Lough Ree, there were times when conditions were indeed perfect, and at other times you just got on with it.

Lough Ree showing a slightly less benevolent weather face as the IDRA 14s get cleanly away, with Dart (161, Pierre Long & Paul Long, Clontarf Y&BC) making the kind of start we all dream about. Photo: Rachel DoogueLough Ree showing a slightly less benevolent weather face as the IDRA 14s get cleanly away, with Dart (161, Pierre Long & Paul Long, Clontarf Y&BC) making the kind of start we all dream about. Photo: Rachel Doogue

The defending champion started as he meant to go on, with a win for Dubious from Alan Carr of Sutton in Starfish in a race which enabled the fleet to be divided into Gold and Silver divisions. Charles Sargent and Ed Fleming made the cut into the Silver, but stayed at the top of that division thereafter, while in the Golds, Dubious was to record a second to Alan Carr in Race 2. This was to become the Revill/Doogue discard, as they’d straight firsts thereafter, second overall going to Alan Carr and Callum Delahunty, while Catherine Martin and Brian Murphy of Dun Laoghaire Motor YC took third on 2,3,3,2,(7) racing Dianc.

 Job done. Dubious making her way back to the extensive LRYC facilities complex after winning her eighth IDRA 14 National Championship, and fifth in a row. Photo: Rachel Doogue Job done. Dubious making her way back to the extensive LRYC facilities complex after winning her eighth IDRA 14 National Championship, and fifth in a row. Photo: Rachel Doogue

Charles Sargent and Ed Fleming racing Smurfette had a clear win by 7 points in the Silvers, with Hannah Potter & Orlaith Connolly of Clontarf taking second ahead of clubmates Donal Heney and Aibigail O’Brien racing the newest IDRA 14, Wicked Sadie (#166). She was built by community effort in Clontarf Y&BC before the Pandemic back in the dear dead days beyond recall, but the word is she definitely won’t be the last, there’s lots of life in this special class.

Orla Doogue (Clontarf Y & BC) and Simon Revill (Howth YC) in Lough Ree YC with some of their trophies after Dubious had won her eighth (and fifth in a row) IDRA 14 National Championship. Photo: Rachel DoogueOrla Doogue (Clontarf Y & BC) and Simon Revill (Howth YC) in Lough Ree YC with some of their trophies after Dubious had won her eighth (and fifth in a row) IDRA 14 National Championship. Photo: Rachel Doogue

IDRA 14’ National Championships 2023IDRA 14’ National Championships 2023

Published in IDRA 14
Tagged under
12th September 2022

IDRA 14 Sailor Philip Jacob

It is with sad regrets that we heard of the passing of Philip Jacob – one of the early members of the IDRA 14 class – who died on 7th Sept - aged 91.

Philip was a native of Tramore in Co Waterford and a member of Waterford Harbour Sailing Club (Dunmore East Co. Waterford).

When the class were introduced to WHSC in 1949, he ”got hooked” and built 14/104 “Dryad” in a “lean-to” garage at his house in Rathfarnham, Dublin, in 1952. (He was living and working in Dublin). He recalled that the space she was built was so limited that she had to be raised on one side at a time as the riveting was done.

He sailed her in Dunmore East and Dun Laoghaire – where he joined the RStGYC. He had various crews - most notably Bill Pigot, with whom he won the Irish championships at “Dinghy Week” in Baltimore in 1964.

He also part owned a BRA 12 ft International Dinghy “Sgadan” with Keith Collie and sailed in her on Wednesdays in DBSC – the 14’s sailed on Tuesdays.

Having sailed “Dryad” for many years, he sold her in 1975.

His interest in the Class remained unabated, and he closely followed the development of GRP boats in the late 1970s and was a regular attendee at various IDRA 14 Jubilee celebrations.

He came out to see 14/166 “Wicked Sadie” under construction in Clontarf and was present as she sailed on the 70th Anniversary in 2016.

We offer our sincere sympathies to his wife Bridget and children Owen, Maeve, Charles and Deirdre.

IS

Funeral: Quaker Meeting House, Temple Hill, Blackrock, Mon 12th Sept at 11.00 am

Published in IDRA 14
Tagged under

The IDRA 14 Class Association invites all former owners and crews to join in the celebrations to mark its postponed 75th jubilee at Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club on the weekend of Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 September.

All are welcome to come along, meet old friends and participate in — or just watch and enjoy — the events on the weekend.

Current boatowners are especially urged to bring their boats along if possible to join in the festivities on the water. The entry fee is just €20 per boat, and every boat will receive a class memento.

The celebrations actually get under way on Friday 2 September with welcome drinks at the clubhouse for UK visitors from the IDRA 14’s sister class the Waldringfield Dragonflies.

Saturday’s racing from 2.30pm will be followed at 6.30pm by a ‘pig on the spit’ barbecue which is unfortunately already fully booked. However, burgers will be available on the evening, and there will be music in the club from 8pm.

Sunday stars with a rally of all boats in the club grounds at 2pm, with racing for former sailors (no entry fee required). There will also be an allocation of boats to former owners and crews (3pm) for a sail-past (3.40pm) and racing (4pm), followed at 6pm by the weekend’s prize-giving ceremony with refreshments and the cutting of the jubilee cake at the clubhouse.

Throughout the weekend archive film and photos of the 14s and CY&BC as well as class memorabilia will be shown in the clubhouse.

For further information contact your local class captain or IDRA 14 Commodore Ian Sargent at 087 679 1069 or [email protected].

The class will also host a jubilee dinner at the Royal St George in Dun Laoghaire from 7.30pm on Saturday 8 October. Dress code is jacket and tie. For bookings and more details contact Suzanne McGarry 087 242 5331 or Therese Clarke 086 150 3013.

Published in IDRA 14
Tagged under

When the weather patterns conspire to provide wet or rugged sailing on Ireland’s sea coasts, the shrewd mariner heads for the inland sea that is Lough Ree, which has been geographically measured with some elegant 19th Century science as being plumb in the very middle of the Emerald isle. For in such a location, no matter what the conditions are like on the coast, on Lough Ree you’ll have the entire province of either Leinster or Connacht or both to provide you with a lee. And additionally, by some happy freak during the past weekend of strong winds and much rain elsewhere, somehow Lough Ree experienced so little in the way of precipitaton that most sailors in the Clinkerfest barely noticed it at all, with the final evening provide a serene yet colourful sunset to round out a unique event in considerable style.

 Mermaid Magic – we may think of the Mermaids as originating in Dublin Bay, but some of the first boats were built by Walter Levinge beside Lough Ree. Photo: John Malone Mermaid Magic – we may think of the Mermaids as originating in Dublin Bay, but some of the first boats were built by Walter Levinge beside Lough Ree. Photo: John Malone

Former LRYC Commodore Garret Leech was still in the senior role when he set the notion of Clinkerfest in motion to celebrate LRYC’s 250th Anniversary back in 2020. And though the pandemic has caused a two year delay and a certain creakiness in some would-be participants, the idea was not allowed to die - not least because it had engendered one of the best event logos anyone has ever created in Ireland, a logo appropriate to the fact that clinker boat-building is now recognised as a World Heritage Activity.

The Clinkerfest Logo stylishly honours what is now a international culturally-recognised method of boat construction The Clinkerfest Logo stylishly honours what is now a international culturally-recognised method of boat construction 

Nevertheless while some participants might have preferred a bit more time for leisurely consideration of all the clinker-built boat types involved, and the different techniques used in their design and construction, others from the more race-oriented classes were bursting with competitive energy after virtually two seasons of constraint. And with a race team headed by Garret Leech with Owen Delany and the support of Alan Algeo and Eileen Brown (almost all former LRYC Commodores) the administrative talent was there to keep sailors busy afloat.

SODA Chairman Philip Mayne finished 14th overall in No 83 after nine hard-fought races. Photo: John MaloneSODA Chairman Philip Mayne finished 14th overall in No 83 after nine hard-fought races. Photo: John Malone

SHANNON ODs BIGGEST FLEET

While LRYC may be celebrating their Quadrimillennial in a two year retrospect, the Shannon One Designs are fully immersed in the throes of the increasing pace of their current Centenary Year. And though the class is traditionally at its greatest numerical strength in the time-honoured regattas of August, fleet numbers are already up with every weekend as that final coat of varnish finally gets applied, and boats turn out to race – and race hard.

 A different world of sailing for Garrett O’Neill and his crew. If any spray dares to come aboard, you can simply swallow it….Photo: John Malone A different world of sailing for Garrett O’Neill and his crew. If any spray dares to come aboard, you can simply swallow it….Photo: John Malone

Thus they’d an entry of 29 for Clinkerfest, and while not all were fully race ready, at the sharp end of the fleet for a demanding total of nine races, the top six helms were Mark McCormick, David Dickson, Andrew Mannion, Cillian Dickson, Frank Guy and Cathal Breen.

INTERNATIONAL 12s

The International 12s – which originated in 1912 – continue to be hugely popular in The Netherlands, Belgium and Italy, but they’re gradually reviving in Ireland in both their una-riggged and sloop-rigged form. And while travel difficulties meant that not all of a significant contingent from the Continent could make it in the end, a couple of gallant Dutch boats managed to get to Ree, while the fleet was also enlarged by the inclusion of a brace of Rankin 12s from Cork Harbour. Here too they’d nine challenging races, and Bert Bos won while Gernt Kiughist was second, with Mark Delany best of the home division in third.

 By making the journey to Lough Ree, the crew of this Dutch International Twelve found much better weather than they’d have had at home. Photo: John Malone By making the journey to Lough Ree, the crew of this Dutch International Twelve found much better weather than they’d have had at home. Photo: John Malone

MERMAIDS

We may think of the 17ft Mermaids as very much a class of Dublin Bay origins through their designer J B Kearney, but in fact the first boats were built in 1932 by the great Walter Levinge of Lough Ree. So there was a sense of home-coming in their participation, Jim Carthy winning in Vee from Paul Smith & Pat Mangan in Jill, with Darach Dinneen taking third in Red Seal.

Proper summertime sailing for Mermaids at Clinkerfest. Photo: John MaloneProper summertime sailing for Mermaids at Clinkerfest. Photo: John Malone

WATER WAGS

The Dublin Bay Water Wags of 1887 and 1900 vintage had many sailors racing in Clinkerfest, but as there’s extensive cross-pollination with the Shannon One Designs, there were more of them racing in the SODs than in the Wags, which managed to get just four boats down to Lough Ree from Dun Laoghaire. That said, they had the distinction of being the most senior class, with David Kelly in Eva winning after the nine races from Mike Magowan in Mary Kate, with third place going to Dermot Bremner in Alfa.

A celebration of Ireland’s leading clinker-built classes in the display of models by Reggie Goodbody of Lough Derg YC. Photo: John MaloneA celebration of Ireland’s leading clinker-built classes in the display of models by Reggie Goodbody of Lough Derg YC. Photo: John Malone

IDRA 14s

Though the 1946-vintage IDRA 14s have held many famous championships with LRYC, few would think of them as a Lough Ree class. Thus there was special satisfaction when Billy Henshaw – who lives on he shores of the lake – emerged as overall winner, with Pierre Long getting second and Pat O’Kelly third.

There was special cheer for the IDRA 14s with Billy Henshaw providing a local winner. Photo: John MaloneThere was special cheer for the IDRA 14s with Billy Henshaw providing a local winner. Photo: John Malone

The complete results are here

FUTURE CLINKERFESTS

Clinkerfest deserves to be a major feature of the national programme in the future, and Lough Ree’s indisputably central location in Ireland surely gives it the first claim to be its permanent home. The problem is that as our sailing gets back up to pre-pandemic speeds, several events will re-emerge claiming equal rights to the coveted Bank Holiday weekend at the beginning of June.

 Getting stuck in….The Shannon One Designs launch themselves into a programme of nine races in two days. Number 50 (Mark McCormick) was to emerge as overall winner. Photo: John Malone Getting stuck in….The Shannon One Designs launch themselves into a programme of nine races in two days. Number 50 (Mark McCormick) was to emerge as overall winner. Photo: John Malone

But that’s a discussion for another day. Right now, there’s a feeling of wonder that in a weekend when several coastal events were either cancelled or gave their participants quite a drubbing, a secret inland sea in the middle of Ireland was able to provide a fascinating and varied fleet of true classics with the chance to contest no less than nine very competitive races in eminently sailable and often strongly sunny conditions, while at the same allowing their dedicated owners and crews to revel in a shared enthusiasm for a boat construction method whose inherent functional beauty is now a globally-recognized art and craft.

Evocative conclusion to a great regatta – final Clinkerfest sunset at Lough Ree YC marina. Photo: Clodagh FlanneryEvocative conclusion to a great regatta – final Clinkerfest sunset at Lough Ree YC marina. Photo: Clodagh Flannery

Published in Historic Boats

Afloat.ie much appreciates being invited to publish this Appreciation by the IDRA 14 Class Association of the much-mourned Julie Ascoop, whose untimely passing has taken an inspirational maritime enthusiast from among us. We are particularly grateful to Charles and Ian Sargent for their dedication in compiling this group effort.

It is with great sadness that the IDRA 14 Class learned of the recent death of Julie Ascoop, a former National Champion and a central character in the sailing and social activities of our Class Association for the past two decades.

It's easy to remember Julie, to talk about her and say what a fantastic person she was. Her qualities were tangible, connected to the lives of people around her. There are so many of us who can relate stories and moments where she impressed us, or even changed us personally. Julie was the kind of person you felt comfortable talking to, because you knew she would respond critically but enthusiastically, giving her opinion and insight, while not forgetting the possibility of the fun side.

When she asked for help, she had thought about the problem and worked out options. This made helping her more about having a chat and a joke than a chore. We were very fortunate that when she first arrived in Ireland from the Netherlands, fate led her to Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club when conveniently 14/143 was for sale – once on the hook, we weren't going to let her jump ship to another Class…

EARLY DAYS IN THE NETHERLANDS

But let's start at the beginning. Julie was born in Utrecht in The Netherlands in 1968 to Belgian parents Carl and Rita, and lived near there with two younger sisters, Anouk and Cathy. Julie's character and qualities emerged early in life - she often lamented how the name of Ascoop was so disadvantageous in school, as she was always called on first, but perhaps that made her stronger. She got her first sailing dinghy, an Optimist, at the age of eight.

Getting to grips with the IDRA 14 and the sailing scene in Ireland – Julie and Heather Keenan shaping up for a start with 14/143 at Clontarf Open in 2007Getting to grips with the IDRA 14 and the sailing scene in Ireland – Julie and Heather Keenan shaping up for a start with 14/143 at Clontarf Open in 2007

After a bit of damage from a collision, her father insisted that she go herself to the boatman to discuss the price of the repairs. She progressed on to sail a Mirror, and later a 420 – and went sailing to Sweden, and to Germany, and to the south of France. And she went sailing again and again. She wasn't to know it then, but she was building an excellent career path towards sailing IDRA 14s.

Her practicality and "can-do" approach to life brought her to Delft University – renowned for its maritime connections - in The Netherlands, where she met other young women studying to become engineers in what was very much man's world. As a student, Julie taught many of them how to do some simple DIY - she became a master at it, while always showing generosity and encouragement to others.

GRADUATON FROM DELFT

She graduated from Delft with a Masters Degree in Civil Engineering in 1994, and naturally for a keen sailor, she specialised in Maritime Structures. This led her to Ireland in 2000, employed as the construction project manager for main contractor Ascon on the Berth 50 container terminal in Dublin Port, and onto the Irish dinghy sailing scene – but more about that later.

Heather and Julie at the IDRA 14 Nats in Sligo in 2008Discovering the Atlantic seaboard – Heather and Julie at the IDRA 14 Nats in Sligo in 2008

Ascon later became BAM, a large civil engineering contractor working in numerous European countries and worldwide, and Julie worked for BAM on various projects around the coast of Ireland and the Netherlands. She later took up the post of Associate Director with Arup, where she was maritime business leader in Arup Ireland and maritime skills leader for Arup Europe, working with both consultants and contractors in Ireland, the Netherlands and
Germany.

As a Chartered Civil Engineer, a member of the Institute of Engineers of Ireland, the Royal Institute of Engineers in the Netherlands and on the council of the Marine Renewables Industry Association (MRIA), Julie developed a significant number of coastal erosion studies and design of coastal protection works for Ireland and internationally.

Central to the Irish marine engineering business, she was project manager on the AMETS wave energy test site development on behalf of SEAI and later project director for the design of the new Greenore heavy duty quay wall. Among her projects was a study to assess the potential effects of climate change on the historical protected structure, Howth Harbour's East Pier, designed by John Rennie and constructed in 1813.

MOVING INTO IRISH LIGHTS COMMISSION

In October 2020 Julie made a career move: still central to the Irish maritime scene, she joined Irish Lights as their Director of Coastal Operations. In this role, she led the Coastal Operations team who deliver the land-based, floating and electronic Aids to Navigation provided on the Irish coast, and oversaw the Safety Management across the organization, while managing support and planning requirements including aircraft services, and also operating the Headquarters facility at Dun Laoghaire.

This win at Lough Erne in 2012 inspired a boat upgradeThis win at Lough Erne in 2012 inspired a boat upgrade

She also oversaw the provision of commercial services to cover the strategic management of Irish Lights Assets, such as its property portfolio including the Great Lighthouses of Ireland tourism initiative which is currently being featured n an RTE TV series, and the implementation of the Irish Lights sustainability strategy.

Typically of Julie, outside of work she quickly built a great network of new friends in Ireland. She was particularly passionate about the environment and nature - this was reflected in the choices she made in her career path and her hobbies, which involved protecting the Irish coastline on the weekdays, and enjoying it on the weekends. She joined a walking club, hiking, climbing, and of course sailing her IDRA 14 (No. 143 which she re-named "Chaos") in Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club, where she amazed fellow sailors by showing how one so light of frame was able to effortlessly sail and compete in all weathers and conditions with the large IDRA main fleet.

Into the sharp end of the fleet – christening ceremony for the high-performance No 125 at Clontarf in 2013Into the sharp end of the fleet – christening ceremony for the high-performance No 125 at Clontarf in 2013

IDRA 14 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS

With Heather Keenan aboard as crew, the pair moved up the leader board at IDRA 14 events at home and away. Never the heaviest or strongest helm in the fleet, she never shied away from heavy weather conditions. In fact, her skilful boat handling and sheer determination often saw her finish very well in conditions that theoretically didn't suit her. The 2012 IDRA 14 National Championships was hosted by Lough Erne Yacht Club in Enniskillen, and was memorable as for the first time we had an all-female crew, Julie and Heather, emerge as close winners. They were also the lightest team afloat in that event which experienced heavy winds, yet they still sailed away with the gold medals.

As National Champions, Julie and Heather qualified to represent the IDRA 14 Class at the 2012 All Ireland Helmsman’s Championships raced in J/80s at Dromineer on Lough Derg. Julie chose Rioghnach Corbett and Wendy Rudd to join them as crew that weekend, delighted to be able to put forward an all-female team, which was of course her quiet way of being all things pro-women, with her crew much amused by the outdated title of the championship.

J/80 CHALLENGE

They also set out to have a weekend of laughter and fun: while the other competitors were ultra-serious, these women didn't realistically hold out much hope of competing at the top level and were happy to just participate in the weekend.

Although highly competent and competitive, Julie was also about fun – Wendy recalls that she has never laughed or enjoyed a sailing event before or since in the same way, even from the trepidation of the weigh-in (for her - not Julie or the other shipmates!). They used fellow IDRA 14 sailor Pat O'Neill's previous knowledge to help and support them to rig and give tips on sailing these unfamiliar J80 boats - the IDRA clan, as is their tradition, supporting each other even when in competition against each other.

It was Julie's first time helming a J80, and their first time sailing all together. Heather remembers they were the last ones to leave the slip for the first race, and were nearly late for the start: after pushing off from the slip and two quick tacks up to the line, they were already starting. Yet Julie was undaunted by sailing a much larger boat than she was used to, and remained calm, supportive, encouraging and competitive.

With the only yellow hull in the fleet, the starts with 125 had to be spot onWith the only yellow hull in the fleet, the starts with 125 had to be spot on

While not up there with the fleet toppers, they sailed competitively in mid-fleet and made their presence felt. But it is the banter, fun, laughter and craic which is a fond memory. Even facilitating some liaisons for the unattached crew and laughing for hours when the four of them shared a room (like born-again teenagers) in the Dromineer Lodge.

JOINING DMYC

All good things come to an end, and with her work becoming Dun Laoghaire-based, Julie left Clontarf, but not the Class. She moved her boat to Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club which was more convenient to her home. The Northside’s loss was a Southside gain - Julie was active in promoting the IDRA class there, and contributed greatly to the DMYC committee, quietly taking on many other responsibilities to further the Club and dinghy sailing in general.

She sold 14/143 and bought 14/125, now very visible as the only yellow boat in the IDRA fleet – there was no way she could get away with an OCS. She was also actively involved and a driver in the rejuvenation of 14/133, which was very aptly re-named "Dutch Courage" at her suggestion.

Julie always had time to help others, she could take on any boat repair task with the best of them, and she was not only a "can do" person - her fellow sailors describe her as also being a "you can do it" person, always encouraging others to push their boundaries. And typically, she designed a very successful system for single-handedly loading her boat onto a combi-trailer.

Game for every challenge – Julie revelling in the atmosphere at Galway Bay SC during the breezy 2017 NationalsGame for every challenge – Julie revelling in the atmosphere at Galway Bay SC during the breezy 2017 Nationals

An impressive presence on the water, she encouraged all her crews to aim higher than they believed possible, with spinnakers raised almost regardless of weather. She also sometimes swopped roles and went afloat as a crew, bringing an extra insight to some helms…… Ever the environmentalist, she occasionally used to bring a small net on the IDRA, and use it to pick up rubbish from the sea on the way back from races. To keep Class members in contact socially over the winter, she organised and led great pre-season walks.

IMAGINATIVE ENGINEERING IN HOUSE UP-GRADE

On and off the water, Julie has been the "go-to" person for maintenance and repair. The wonderful home that she and her partner Áine created in the heart of Dun Laoghaire is testament to her engineering and DIY abilities. An architect advised them against purchasing the house in Corrig Park, but he reckoned without Julie's imagination. With not much space outside for an extension, she decided to build downwards and excavated the basement. She underpinned the walls, put in new floors and created a lower ground level that almost doubled the size of the house. Only an engineer of Julie's calibre would have been able to do this, and her engineer's mind informed all her endeavours.

UPDATING THE IDRA14 RULES

Applying her professional talents to her recreational sailing, in 2017 Julie volunteered to join fellow sailors Alan Henry and Donal Heney on the IDRA 14 Class Rules committee to reformat their Class Rules to comply with World Sailing's Equipment Rules of Sailing. Having a set of Class Rules in line with the World Sailing Class Rules template 2009 (updated 2012) is very important for any competitive class.

It means the Class Rules can now be read in conjunction with World Sailing's Equipment Rules of Sailing for 2017-2020, known as the ERS. The Equipment Rules of Sailing (ERS) govern the equipment used in the sport. They are revised and published every four years by World Sailing. The ERS provides sailors, measurers, boatbuilders and sailmakers alike with standard definitions and methods of measurements that, when used in Class Rules, avoid misinterpretation and potential conflict.

Prize collection Julie with IDRA 14 Commodore Charles SargentPrize collection Julie with IDRA 14 Commodore Charles Sargent

When the IDRA Class Rules Committee got started on their Skype meetings, it soon emerged that each of the three IDRA 14 sailors had their own area of specialisation. Alan, an engineer and numerous times class national champion, had consistently innovated and pushed the boundaries within the class. Donal's expertise was boat building, as he played a central role in the building of IDRA 14/166 in 2016 (the first wooden IDRA to be built in over thirty years). Julie, as a chartered engineer and also former class national champion, specialised in standards and specifications. "Each brought a different experience to the job which made for a very good team", Julie commented.

Starting back in 2018, the team of three on the IDRA 14 Class Rules committee met virtually, on a fortnightly basis, via Skype and used Google Docs to complete the intricate work of transposing the 1983 IDRA 14 Class Rules from various class documents and original 1945 drawings to the latest World Sailing template. Meeting remotely meant that they could get on with the job without having to spend time organising a venue and travelling.

TEAM-WORK IN RULES UP-DATE

Each team member took on homework to be completed before the next online meeting. This entailed tasks such as measuring a part of the boat, taking photos or checking approaches taken in the rules of other classes, such as the Fireballs or 470s. Using Google Docs during their meetings meant that when a committee member was inputting text in the new document, the others could work on the same document at the same time thus addressing the issue of revision control.

The class members were very much on board with the move to reformat the rules and held two Information and Question & Answer sessions at the start of the process. These two meetings were held in Clontarf and Dun Laoghaire, as IDRA 14 racing takes place in Sutton Dinghy Club, Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club and in Dublin Bay Sailing Club, with most of the Dun Laoghaire boats raced from the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club.

At the information sessions, it was made clear that the aim was not to change the class rules but to make sure that they were compliant with the latest version of the World Sailing ERS and to sort out any anomalies.

The IDRA Class Rules Committee managed to complete the vast majority of the work through virtual meetings and was extremely lucky that the information meetings, the meeting with the class measurers and the EGM all took place before March 2020.

By the time the country was in the grip of Covid restrictions, all that remained to be done was just to implement the decisions made at the Class Rules EGM. As well as passing the IDRA Association Class Rules 2020 at the January EGM, the class members accepted 18 of the 22 proposals which the Class Rules Committee had come up with, arising from the anomalies they had identified during their class rules work.

Julie saw the broader benefits for the class in having the IDRA Class Rules compliant with the World Sailing Class Rules. "The main thing is that it's now in the right format and uses the correct definitions", she explained. "A sailmaker, for example, will know the relevant ERS numbers for each particular measurement of the sail and will have all the information to hand in a format that's familiar". It will also make it much easier, she added, to update the class rules at any point, something which might be required if there are any future developments in technology or racing equipment.

A COMBINATION OF SPECIAL QUALITIES

All the qualities that we admire and aspire to – honesty, integrity, courage, good humour, ingenuity -Julie had them in spades. She was much loved, well respected and such an unassuming, intelligent, interesting and fun-loving person, with much to give and share with the world and those around her, which she did so freely.

Memorial thoughts posted as news spread of the passing of Julie AscoopMemorial thoughts posted as news spread of the passing of Julie Ascoop

Her calmness was her super power. Over the past months she bore her illness with courage and optimism, continuing to work on sustainability plans for Irish Lights and furnishing the little family house by the lakes in The Netherlands right until the end. The poignant moment of silence observed after Dublin Bay Sailing Club dinghy racing on Tuesday 3rd May bears testament to the high esteem in which everyone held her.

She will be greatly missed by her partner Áine, her parents, Carl and Rita, her sisters Anouk and Cathy, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, extended family, work colleagues, a wide circle of friends and all the sailing communities to which she contributed - her wonderful sailing spirit will live on in all who knew her.

Charles Sargent

Published in IDRA 14
Tagged under

The death has occurred of Rosemary Doorly long time member of the RStGYC and a successful sailor in both the IDRA 14 and Glen Classes with her husband, John.

With many successes on Dublin Bay, the highlight of their career was winning the IDRA National Championships in 1974 in Dunmore East.

They also travelled abroad when an IDRA 14 group represented Ireland in a team racing event in the '70s at New York's Larchmont Yacht Club.

Rosemary was also instrumental in setting up and running the Junior section at Bray Sailing Club when her children were introduced to sailing, including Michael and Chris, who are well known in the waterfront clubs in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Her family and friends in sailing will miss her.

John and Rosemary Doorly sailing the IDRA 14 Number 2, Dainty at Dun LaoghaireJohn and Rosemary Doorly sailing the IDRA 14 Number 2 Dainty at Dun Laoghaire

Published in IDRA 14
Tagged under

The National YC's Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race of Wednesday, June 9th – just two days after such things became permissible on June 7th - may have been hailed here as "a spectacular pillar event to launch the 2021 Irish sailing season out of the pandemic penumbra". But the truth is that the season currently getting under way is more like a gentle tide flooding into a winding and shallow creek, rather than a sudden eruption of activity across a wide front.

As with the new tide, if you watch closely and persistently for things happening, you'll see little change. But if your focus switches elsewhere for a while, then look back again and you'll find real signs of things starting to happen, of development taking place and sailing centres coming more vibrantly to life with events which are in themselves a testing of the waters.

This sense of testing of the waters reflects a commendable maturity in the sailing community. Our sport manifests itself in so many ways afloat and ashore that it is simply impossible to devise rules about distancing and so forth which comply precisely with each and every requirement. Thus as each event takes shape, a substantial input of common sense is required to ensure that it optimizes the sport while minimising any infection hazard.

When the going gets tough….overall winner Nieulargo (Denis Murphy RCYC, left) and Pete Smyth's Sun Fast 3600 Searcher (NYC) getting their teeth into the early stages of the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race. Photo: Michael ChesterWhen the going gets tough….overall winner Nieulargo (Denis Murphy RCYC, left) and Pete Smyth's Sun Fast 3600 Searcher (NYC) getting their teeth into the early stages of the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race. Photo: Michael Chester

Of course we can claim that the hazard is decreasing on a daily basis. But no sooner is this assumed that some new twist arises, and having shared the battle for so long, it would be at odds with the remarkable overall cohesiveness of Irish society to flaunt the rules with blatant disregard, even if some very small sections seem to take a pleasure in doing so.

Thus although the D2D was indeed a spectacular event, it only impinged on landward life at the carefully regulated start and finish. For the rest of the time it was taking place in the very model of a healthy environment, sometimes with more fresh air than even the very keenest were looking for.

For those who don’t feel they have to spend nights at sea in order to get their necessary dose of fresh maritime air, mid-June also brought the Dragon South Coast Championship at Glandore for a cracking fleet of 19 boats, with Cameron Good of Kinsale and Neil Hegarty of Dun Laoghaire’s Royal St George YC on a tie break after six races, the break going in favour of the Kinsale skipper who saw his clubmate James Matthews taking third overall.

Meanwhile, in the upper reaches of Strangford Lough, Newtownards SC hosted the GP 14 Ulster Championship with Ger Owens of Royal St George, crewed by northern sailor Melanie Morris, winning overall, with second going to Ross and Jane Kearney while Shane McCarthy of Greystones was third, with the Silver Fleet topped by James Hockley while the Bronze went to Michael Brines.

Today (Saturday) sees the conclusion of the four day O'Leary Insurances Sovereigns Cup at Kinsale, and while inevitably there has been a shoreside element morning and evening, it has been happening with a manageable fleet – as ICRA Commodore Richard Colwell approvingly put it after considering the close Class 1 results: "It's great to be back in Kinsale, and there's a quiet buzz about the place - as it should be with the restrictions and the smaller numbers."

Jump Juice (Conor Phelan) and Freya (Conor Doyle) make a neat call on the start in Day 2 of the Sovereign's Cup at Kinsale. Photo: Robert BatemanJump Juice (Conor Phelan) and Freya (Conor Doyle) make a neat call on the start in Day 2 of the Sovereign's Cup at Kinsale. Photo: Robert Bateman

This weekend sees the pace continue its incremental increase, with locally emphasized events on all coasts. Across in Connacht, the new popularity of the very ancient Cong to Galway Race down Lough Corrib hopes to see the recent day's better weather of the west continuing. And although defending champion Yannick Lemonnier was reported yesterday as being safe in Lampaul, that extraordinary bay on the west coast of Ouessant, with the mast of his MiniTransat boat down around his ears, it wouldn't surprise us at all if he somehow still turned up for the start, but in his absence his able young son and regular crew Sean might be making alternative arrangements under the radar.

EAST COAST SAILING

Currently, it's largely a question of keeping things local, and there's nothing more utterly local than the Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club's annual At Home on the north shores of Dublin Bay. It's an event that goes back most of the way to the club's founding in 1875, but last year's on-off lockdowns affected Clontarf more than any other club.

This is because their substantial and growing cruiser-racer fleet is entirely dependent on drying moorings in the Tolka Estuary, just across the main shore road from the club. Thus any activity afloat involves much communal to-ing and fro-ing in a decidedly busy neighbourhood. So CY & BC had to take it on the chin, and their cruisers stayed ashore for the entire season last year, even if a spot of dinghy sailing was possible in times of eased restriction.

Sean Langan, Commodore of Clontarf Y & BC, led his cruiser fleet afloat this year at the earliest permitted opportunity. In 2020's lockdown, the Clontarf fleet – all of which lie to drying moorings – had to stay ashore out of commission. Photo: Courtesy CY&BC)   Sean Langan, Commodore of Clontarf Y & BC, led his cruiser fleet afloat this year at the earliest permitted opportunity. In 2020's lockdown, the Clontarf fleet – all of which lie to drying moorings – had to stay ashore out of commission. Photo: Courtesy CY&BC)  

However, this year, as soon as the official signs were favourable, Commodore Sean Langan and his members heaved their fleet afloat in a choreographed operation involving two cranes, and today (Saturday, June 26th) is the Clontarf At Home, with the IDRA 14 dinghies launching into their 75th Anniversary Year, while the Howth 17s race round the Baily from their home port in a precisely-timed race to optimise the day's high water and provide good racing for an ancient class which is pushing towards having twenty boats in full commission.

The 1898-founded Howth 17s – seen here in the Lambay Race on June 12th - are gradually pushing towards their full number of 20 boats for the 2021 season. Photo: Patricia NixonThe 1898-founded Howth 17s – seen here in the Lambay Race on June 12th - are gradually pushing towards their full number of 20 boats for the 2021 season. Photo: Patricia Nixon

LOCAL SAILING CLASSES

In all, it's a celebration of local sailing in local classes, and time was when the Glens from Dun Laoghaire used to come across the bay to Clontarf as well. Who knows, it may happen again, as the 1947-vintage 25ft Mylne-designed Glens are having a revival with some boats undergoing very extensive restorations, a topic to which we'll return in the near future.

Meanwhile, one of the restored boats, Ailbe Millerick's Glenluce, made her re-vitalised debut last Saturday in some style to take a win. Admittedly it was with the formidable imported talent of John Duggan on the helm while the owner sweated away at working the pit, making the mistake of doing it so efficiently that it could well become a regular position……..

The newly-restored 25ft Glen OD Glenluce (Ailbe Millerick) on her way to winning her first race of 2021 last Saturday in Dublin BayThe newly-restored 25ft Glen OD Glenluce (Ailbe Millerick) on her way to winning her first race of 2021 last Saturday in Dublin Bay

Of course, when it comes to 2021's sailing revival, the sheer weight of numbers in the greater Dublin region means that significant fleets can quickly be assembled, and there could well be thirty boats gathering in Dublin's River Liffey today for the final meet of the Cruising Association of Ireland's pop-up East Coast rally, which has ranged between Skerries and Arklow.

The Cruising Association of Ireland rallying in the heart of Dublin. Photo: W M Nixon   The Cruising Association of Ireland rallying in the heart of Dublin. Photo: W M Nixon  

As for competitive sailing, weekly racing numbers in the Dublin Bay Sailing Club programme at Dun Laoghaire regularly chime in at comfortably more than a hundred boats and counting, but in the current climate, that's something to be carefully monitored rather than shouted from the rooftops.

Nevertheless, if you happen to be on a Dun Laoghaire rooftop, every Wednesday evening reveals an increasing fleet of Water Wags out racing. Their best turnout so far this year was 26 boats on Bloomsday, the 16th June, but with 50 boats now registered with racing numbers, it's surely only a matter of time before they manage an evening with 40 boats, as they topped the 30 mark turnout three years ago.

The Water Wag fleet blossoming for Bloomsday, June 16th, with 26 boats racing. They should top the 40 turnout in one race for the fist time ever in 2021.The Water Wag fleet blossoming for Bloomsday, June 16th, with 26 boats racing. They should top the 40 turnout in one race for the fist time ever in 2021.

FOYNES SHOWS THE WAY FOR WEST COAST SAILING

The quiet putting-through of a first racing event was seen last weekend at Foynes, where the J/24s assembled in socially-distanced groups for their seasonal starter, the Southern Championship. That said, trying to be socially-distant anywhere near the notoriously-hospitable Foynes Yacht Club is almost an impossibility – after all, even the family dog goes out on the big committee boat with visiting race Officer Derek Bothwell - but it seems to have been a largely health-compliant happening.

The J24s start their 2021 Irish season with last weekend's Southerns at Foynes, and overall winner Headcase (4547) narrowly getting the best of it. Photo: Foynes YCThe J24s start their 2021 Irish season with last weekend's Southerns at Foynes, and overall winner Headcase (4547) narrowly getting the best of it. Photo: Foynes YC

Thus when we suggested to Cillian Dickson - helm of the winning boat Headcase with all-Ireland crew of Ryan Glynn, Louis Mulloy and Sam O'Byrne - that they might have been over-celebrating on Saturday night with a scorecard of straight wins all through Saturday as against a couple of seconds on Sunday, he earnestly demurred, assuring us that the opposition was just a little bit less rusty on Sunday, and he expects them to be competition-honed by the Nationals in Sligo on August 6th-8th.

Truly, today's young sailors are a very serious lot. Time was when the Enterprise dinghy was all the rage throughout Ireland, and it was a fact of life in the class that the Saturday night leaders in any two-day regional championship simply wouldn't figure in Sunday's racing, so easily would they have been led completely astray by their attentive classmates in celebrating their initial points lead.

At Foynes, everyone rallies round to support the race team. Photo: FYCAt Foynes, everyone rallies round to support the race team. Photo: FYC

Published in W M Nixon

Every so often a photo flashes across the screen, its origins unknown and its destination a mystery, yet its reality is abundantly clear. This header pic is one such. I've no idea how it came to pop up, or who sent it, or indeed who took it something like seventy years ago.

But everything points to it being an early IDRA Dinghy Week at Dunmore East, which would make it 1950 or 1955, and the guess is it was 1950 when Teddy Crosbie won the Helmsmans Championship, racing in the hot new boats of the IDRA 14 class which in 2021 will be celebrating their 75th Anniversary.

They spent that week in 1950 afloat on temporary moorings, something for which designer O'Brien Kennedy had been asked to make them well able, for when the design was commissioned in 1946, clubs such as Waterford Harbour SC at Dunmore East had little enough in the way of dinghy parks with their own launching slips.

That said, WHSC were well up to speed with IDRA 14s and their own class of National 18s built to the Yachting World-sponsored Uffa Ace design of 1938 – in the photo, there's a handful of them berthed at the quayside to the right.

Flica's barometer, set in a section of her broken mast salvaged after it came down on August 15th 1957 at the Cobh People's Regatta.Flica's barometer, set in a section of her broken mast salvaged after it came down on August 15th 1957 at the Cobh People's Regatta.

But of course the eye-catching focus of the entire picture is Aylmer Hall's 1929-vintage Charles E Nicholson-designed – and C & N built – 12 Metre Flica, the Queen of Cork Harbour, where they still talk in hushed tones of the time she was dismasted during the Cobh People's Regatta. It certainly was an awful lot of mast to come tumbling down, and equally it seemed un-climbable without assistance.

That made it a useful challenge. In Dunmore East in those days, the three McBride brothers from Waterford – Oweny, Davy and Denny – were inescapable features of the summer sailing scene, and Davy got himself aboard Flica, where he was soon delivering contentious opinions in the classic Davy style. So to get themselves some peace, Flica's ship's company challenged him to climb the mast.

He did better than that. Instead of shimmying up the spar itself, he went up the forestay hand-over-hand, and scrambled up the last bit of the mast to the masthead itself. Then he came down the backstay hand-over-hand, and barely paused for breath before he resumed telling the Corkmen why Dunmore East and its sailors were infinitely superior to anything that Cork Harbour could hope to offer.

The downward spiral. A stalled restoration project on Flica, seen at Birdham in Sussex in 2013. Photo: W M NixonThe downward spiral. A stalled restoration project on Flica, seen at Birdham in Sussex in 2013. Photo: W M Nixon

Alas, Davy McBride is no longer with us, and Flica is barely hanging in by a thread. It was around 2013 that we found her in the shed at Birdham Pool on Chichester Harbour, paralysed in a very stalled restoration project. Since then, she has been more or less evicted from Sussex, and was last heard about a year ago looking very sorry indeed in a field in Essex.

Barely alive: The International 12 Metre Flica of 1929 vintage and several times the Solent championship, as seen in Essex in 2020Barely alive: The International 12 Metre Flica of 1929 vintage and several times the Solent championship, as seen in Essex in 2020

The stern is the part of Flica most other 12 Metre sailors saw in the Solent in the 1930s, but mercifully few have seen it like this.The stern is the part of Flica most other 12 Metre sailors saw in the Solent in the 1930s, but mercifully few have seen it like this.F

It would be a miracle if some philanthropist with bottomless pockets could take her on for one of those zillion euro 12 Metre restorations in which classic boatbuilders Robbe & Berking on the Danish-German border specialize. For our header photo reminds us of a simpler time when Irish sailing was more cohesive, all the boats were beautiful, Dinghy Week would see the cruiser fleets going along to provide accommodation for the small boat racers, and everyone knew everyone else.

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
Page 1 of 4

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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