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Ballyholme Yacht Club's Laser 50th Anniversary Brings Back Memories of the Birth of the Class

29th September 2021
Laser stalwart Bill O'Hara at Balyholme's Laser 50th anniversary event
Laser stalwart Bill O'Hara at Balyholme's Laser 50th anniversary event

Some of the 'old hands' mixed it with the Laser sailors who had come on the scene since the birth of the Laser class at Ballyholme in 1974. The 39-strong fleet on Saturday (18th September) had a memorable day's racing the club in Ballyholme Bay in Belfast Lough.

The first of the four races began in calm, shifty conditions resulting in a second race recall due to flukey winds. The southerly came through for the rest of the four-race programme. And race officer Aidan Pounder delivered the complete programme by mid-afternoon.

Charlie Taylor (213539) one of the early BYC Laser sailors Charlie Taylor (213539) one of the early BYC Laser sailors

The ILCA 4 (4.7) fleet had just two contenders, who tied on four points - 14-year-old Toby Hughes of Royal North at Cultra and Ballyholme and Finn Neely (15) also of the host club, with the tie split in Toby's favour.

 

In the ILCA 6 (Radial) fleet, local 17-year-old Lucas Nixon topped the scoresheet in the 11 strong fleet after close racing and the same points (4) as the County Antrim YC sailor, Daniel Corbett, with Nixon taking first place. Jess Winton (BYC), on nine points was third.

Lucas NixonLucas Nixon

The largest fleet at 26 was the ILCA 7 and was won by a stalwart of the BYC Laser fleet, Gareth Flannigan, who counted three bullets and a second which he discarded. Flannigan has also made his mark as an SB3 sailor, previously winning Afloat's Sailor of the Month award. Runner up here was another BYC helm, Richard McCullough, two points behind. In third was the Carrickfergus SC sailor, Stephen McLernon, whose best result was second.

Gareth Flannigan (right) winner of the Laser Standard division with Ron HutchiesonGareth Flannigan (right) winner of the Laser Standard division with Ron Hutchieson

The prizes were presented by Ron Hutchieson, who was the first Laser sailor at Ballyholme and a driving force for Laser sailing across Ireland.

Speaking on behalf of the members of BYC, Rear Commodore Sailing Des Magee said," A great day out on the water was had by all for the Laser 50th Anniversary event. We would like to thank all the participants who travelled from near and far, the rescue team (including the Safe Waters crew) and the Committee boat team, who all ensured a great event on the water to celebrate the Laser 50th Anniversary. And to the large number of people who made this happen from the shore side, namely the BYC office team and the BYC Shore Committee. I hope you all enjoyed the racing and the celebrations after, and we look forward to hosting you all at BYC again at some point in the future".

Jess Winton - 1st Female Radial Jess Winton - 1st Female Radial

Joni Rock, second female in the Radial rigJoni Rock, second female in the Radial rig

Toby Hughes winner of the ILCA4 class with Ron HutchiesonToby Hughes winner of the ILCA4 class

Published in Belfast Lough, Laser
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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