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Displaying items by tag: Ailsa Craig Race

At what proved to be the end of a three-week spell of light weather, Royal Ulster Yacht Club’s Rollins Insurance supported traditional offshore Ailsa Craig race started at 8 pm on Friday, 16th June.

The fleet of seven wound its way 40 miles north to the Craig off the coast of the Mull of Galloway and back to the finish line at the Club.

The diverse fleet ranged from Alan Hannon’s new French-designed JPK 1030 Coquine to the more modest Elandra, Vicky and Martin Dews’ Sigma 33.

And it was Elandra that managed to stay in touch with the bigger boats all night and finished as the sun set on Belfast Lough with the IMX38 Excession (O’Tiarnaigh, Mullholland and Harrington).

Elandra (right) and Excession finish Ailsa Craig race. Courtesy RUYC via FacebookElandra (right) and Excession finish Ailsa Craig race. Photo courtesy RUYC via Facebook

On handicap, it was Elandra top and the distinctive Coquine second. The defending winner Gareth Martel’s Beneteau 40.7 Pippa VI was third. Three retired.

As boats in Class 1 finished within the 22.00 Time Limit, there was an extension of one hour for other boats in the class. It seemed that the wind delivered a cruel twist as the boats appeared to have been headed away from the finish as they crossed the Lough.

Results below

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The light winds forecast for the Ailsa Craig Race from Royal Ulster on Belfast Lough on Friday night turned out to be at times 17 knots, which for Stuart Cranston’s Ker 32 Hijacker appeared just at the wrong time when the Bobstay on the bowsprit exploded. But for the eventual winner Gareth Martel in the First 40.7 Pippa VI things went rather more smoothly and he took line honours and the overall first prize.

The original four entries had risen to nine by the time of the start of the overnighter.

The 60th Ailsa Craig start Photo: Bob TorrensThe 60th Ailsa Craig start Photo: Bob Torrens

Second overall was Michael Eames in the Sunfast 3200, All or Nothing from Strangford Lough Yacht Club with the Carrickfergus-based Corby 29 Elixir (Brian and Ryan Wilson) finished in third slot. Fourth was Russell McGovern of Sailschool NI in the Tripp 40, Infinity.

And despite Hijacker’s demise, it was a fifth for them. The question is now whether the damage and be fixed in time for the start of the Bangor Town Regatta on Wednesday next.

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Royal Ulster’s Classic offshore overnight Ailsa Craig race will start from the club line at Bangor in Belfast Lough on Friday evening (17th) with the first warning signal at 19.00 hrs. On a good day, the Craig can be seen from the Club.

With a forecast of light winds, the course will probably be round the rock at the mouth of the Clyde and back to the club, about 80 miles.

At the moment there are four competitors, all of whom may be using it as a warm-up for the Bangor Town Regatta a week later, but given the unstable weather at present, some prospective entrants may be waiting until the last minute to make a decision.

On the other hand, they may be saving their energies for those four days of racing.

Brian and Ryan Wilson's Corby 29 ElixirBrian and Ryan Wilson's Corby 29, Elixir

Johnny Ritchie’s Dufour Classic 41, Mingulay from the host club, will join on the starting line, visitors Michael Eames in his Sunfast 3200 All or Nothing from Strangford Lough Yacht Club, Stuart Cranston’s Ker 32 Hijacker from Down Cruising Club, and Bryan and Ryan Wilson’s Corby 29 Elixir from across the Lough at Carrickfergus.

Tyrena (Dr W E "Darty" Glover), winner of the first RUYC Ailsa Craig Race in 1962. She was a 39ft Charles A Nicholson design, built Berthon Boat Company of Lymington in 1959Tyrena (Dr W E "Darty" Glover), winner of the first RUYC Ailsa Craig Race in 1962. She was a 39ft Charles A Nicholson design, built Berthon Boat Company of Lymington in 1959

Winner of the inaugural race in 1962 was the late Darty Glover in the 11-ton sloop, Tyrena and the late Dickie Brown of Portaferry was the winner the following year in the famous hard chine Black Soo, a van de Stadt design. Another memory is that of John Taylor who now lives in New Zealand, who recalls racing in the first race in what he describes as a “fair old southwesterly hammering in the channel”.

And the winner of the Fiftieth Anniversary event was Kenneth Halliwell’s She 31, She of the North. Many of those who had raced in 1962 turned out again for that event fifty years later. Among these was Darty Glover, then in his Eighties, who had travelled from Australia and John Taylor from New Zealand.

Published in Belfast Lough

#RACING UPDATE - This summer the Royal Ulster Yacht Club will stage the 50th anniversary edition of the Ailsa Craig Race, one of the classics of the Northern Ireland offshore yacht racing calendar.

Many of the competitors from the inaugural race in 1962 - several of whom are now in their 80s - are expected to compete in the overnight challenge, which takes the fleet from Bangor to the rock at the mouth of the Clyde in Scotland.

The 2012 Ailsa Craig Race, sponsored by Hamilton Shipping, takes place on 15 June.

Published in Racing

Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!