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Ballyholme Yacht Club's Junior Icebreaker Begins This Weekend

9th October 2020
Topper dinghy sailing at Ballyholme Yacht Club Topper dinghy sailing at Ballyholme Yacht Club

Way back in the mid -70s the well-known and recently retired Bangor sailor who was Chair of Irish Sailing's Racing Rules & Appeals Board, Ron Hutchieson, introduced Laser dinghies to Ballyholme Yacht Club and persuaded the now SailCoach head, Trevor Millar to forsake Newtownards Sailing Club and bring his Laser to join the fun.

The fleet grew quickly as the new-fangled owners, such as Willie Forsythe, Charlie Taylor, and the late Denis Finlay, wanted to get out racing in a maintenance-free boat. Ron got permission from the Sailing Committee to start a winter series, hence the Icebreaker. Its success is measured by the fact that the popular competition still runs, with sometimes up to 60 boats out on Sundays during what used to be the 'off' season. Ron tells me he bought the trophy – a silver Ice Pick, in Harrods in a sale!

In 2018, the Club saw the potential of keeping the Cadet members in practice, and so was born the idea of a Junior Icebreaker to cater for the many enthusiastic 10 – 16-year-olds who wanted to race during this time as well. The fleet of about 30 every week is made up of mainly Toppers but it is the Club hope that some Optimists will join them, as well as some Cadet members who have moved up to Lasers.

The 2020 -2021 sessions start tomorrow (Saturday 10th Oct) with the first gun at 14.30 hrs, the format being a series of short windward-leeward races each week. The event is designed for Cadets who have RYA Stage 3 and their own boats. There are though, two Club Toppers and two Club Fevas available to lease for a minimum three-month period.

The Junior Icebreaker will be run under the BYC Covid guidelines.

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down.

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