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

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

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

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

CRUISERS 1

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

CRUISERS 2

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

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

CRUISERS 3

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

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

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

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

CRUISERS 4 (White Sail)

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

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

CRUISERS 5 (White Sail)

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

PUPPETEER 22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SQUIBS

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

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

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

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

HOWTH SEVENTEENS

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

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

TEAM COMPETITION

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

Detailed results are below 

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Back in July 1982, HYC’s new Marina opened for business. This meant that - come September - the club’s diverse cruiser and keelboat fleet, which in those days still included a goodly number of wooden craft, could safely and conveniently follow the example of the low-maintenance Squibs. They were now able to have themselves a fully-fledged Autumn League which provided great sport right up to the threshold of Hallowe’en, when in times past the entire fleet would have long since been laid up ashore.

The fibreglass Squibs had been at the Autumn thing since 1979. But when the full fleet for the new all-comers series turned out for the first time in the third weekend of September 1982, it was something else altogether. It was mind-blowing. The lack of today’s other distractions and domestic expectations meant this was the only show in town, and it had the benefit of novelty, so much so that significant numbers came from other centres, and even across Dublin Bay.

Today, we’re accustomed to year-round sailing should we wish it. There’s also a huge marina in Dun Laoghaire. And forty years ago, there was much less access to the temptation of second boats based in the still-summery Mediterranean. Thus by comparison with 1982, it was a more modest fleet of 87 boats which entered for the weekend’s first race of the 2022 Beshoff Motors Autumn League to celebrate the Ruby Jubilee of the series, and have some rather good racing while they were at it.

While the sun shone, there’s no doubting it was Autumn with a cool northerly breeze which was soft enough in places. But with the ebb obligingly setting in at mid-race, the fleets were brought home to their finish lines in the Sound and off the harbour in a timely fashion, even if that same ebb’s accelerating power gave distinct advantage to the lower-rated boats in some of the handicap classes.

 The day started well……you don’t have to fly to New York and then fly back again to get pics like this, but this is how Howth looked for the latest image in the Stephen White collection . Photo: Stephen White The day started well……you don’t have to fly to New York and then fly back again to get pics like this, but this is how Howth looked for the latest image in the Stephen White collection . Photo: Stephen White

J/97s MAKE HAY IN CLASS 1

This was particularly so in Class 1, where Robert Rendell’s stately Grand Soleil 44 Samatom took very clearcut line honours, but when the sums were done it was the little J/97s which diced for the honours, with Stephen Quinn’s Lambay Rules taking it narrowly on IRC, while sister ship Jeneral Lee (Conor & Cathy Kavanagh) was just there on HPH.

Class 2 was an X-Yachts Festival bar one, which happened to be the winner, with Fergal Noonan & Robert Chambers’ vintage Corby Impetuous taking it on both rating systems, with the usual suspect Dux having to make do with a second and a third. Class 2 had Sigma 33 superstar Insider (Stephen Mullaney) doing the business on IRC, but Kahera from Malahide (Russell Camier) won on HPH, while a Blast from the Past came second in IRC with Coner Fogerty’s “home boat”, the Ron Holland-designed 1976 Half Ton World Champion Silver Shamrock, getting her umpteenth podium place in third.

Stephen Harris’s First 40.7 Tiger with her seemingly enormous mainsail defied the anti-size tendency by winning White Sails 4 on both systems, and in White Sails 5 the bigger HPH Division saw the history-laden Club Shamrock Demelza (previous sailors include Mark Mansfield and Neville Maguire) win HPH for Steffi & Windsor, but they won IRC for good measure, with Joe Carton’s Dehler 34 Voyager second both ways.

INTER-CASTLE CONTEST FOR CLASSICS 

The 124-year-old Howth 17s had a real ding-dong finish with David Nixon in Erica (built 1988 at Howth Castle) getting it by 20 seconds from Michael Duffy’s Hera (built 1898 at Carrickfergus Castle), third place going to the Tiger Prawn Syndicate in Deilginis.

After their lively and well-attended Class Championship a week ago won by the McMahons in Shiggi Shiggi, the Puppeteer 22s reckoned rightly that they’d have an even better turnout for the Rube Jube, and with 19 boats they’re the biggest class. But while Shiggi may be garlanded with the Nat Honours, it was the Alans – Pearson & Blay - who won this time with Trick or Treat, while the returned-to-racing-and-very-welcome David Clarke was second with Harlequin, and Paul & Laura McMahon with Shiggi took third.

No sooner do the Squibs in Howth get themselves back towards critical mass (the class used to be several dozens) than you find key performers have rival Autumnal distractions, such as going off to secret locations to indulge their personal vice of racing Foiling Moths. So even with the ever-keen Robert Marshall down from Killyleagh for the fun, there were only seven on the line-up, but even so Marshall’s notable performer Slipstream had to be content with second by a whisker under both systems, as Jeff Kay’s Chatterbox won on scratch while the club-owned Tiger Roll won on HPH.

The 40th Anniversary of the HYC Autumn League – the Ruby Jubilee – fits neatly with Jeremy Beshoff’s specialist car company.

TEAM SPIRIT

To add to the enhanced sense of community which the Autumn League has engendered in its forty years, there’s an across-the-classes Team Trophy, three boats drawn from three classes. After the first race of the Beshoff Autumn League, it’s the TITs very clear ahead with wins for all three – Tiger, Insider, and Trick or Treat.

As all this was being calculated, the BBQ was going full blast, and the various music machines were gearing up to do the same. It was something special. There were veterans from the first series of 1982 racing. Yet many of the Ruby Jubilee Celebrants hadn’t even been born when it all started way back when. In this extraordinary 2022 season with successes at home and abroad, Howth Yacht Club just keeps rolling along

Detailed Results below

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top Five Senior

1. Jules Start (RSGYC)

2. Caoillin Geraghty McDonnell (RSGYC)

3. Conor Cronin (MYC)

4. Jude Hynes Knight (TBSC)

5. Gemma Brady (LDYC)

Top Five Junior (U12)

1. Lilly Donagh (LDYC)

2. Maeve Donagh (LDYC)

3. Emily Donagh (LDYC)

4. Kate Spain (HYC)

5. Finn Foley (RSGYC)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Results below

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

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

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

MISTAKEN 19TH CENTURY GROUP-THINK

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

RAILWAY CONNECTION

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

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

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

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

THE HIP-RAYS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STRENGTH OF FAMILY SUPPORT

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

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

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

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

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

RACING AND CRUISING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HYC welcomes Eve and RoccoHYC welcomes Eve and Rocco

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luke Turvey

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

Results here

With the almost melancholy passing of Mid-Summer’s Day, the sailing season is taking on a different look, a distinctly-changed mood and flavour. For in normal times – if anyone can remember when you could talk of such things – there is a tendency to pack events into late May and throughout June for at least two reasons.

One of these is the feeling that it’s a good idea to tick as many event boxes as possible early in the season, for fear that even odder and more awful weather than usual might turn up on the day, meaning that in the case of a weekend happening, there’s still the possibility for a complete re-scheduling before the summer is over.

Challenging weather during Wave Regatta at Howth with First 50 Checkmate XX (Nigel Biggs & Dave Culllen) and Sunfast 3600 Searcher (Pete Smyth) in a dicing match. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyChallenging weather during Wave Regatta at Howth with First 50 Checkmate XX (Nigel Biggs & Dave Culllen) and Sunfast 3600 Searcher (Pete Smyth) in a dicing match. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

The other reason is the changing mood of the sailing community with the swing of the seasons. People are full of vim and vigour in May and June and early July. But then with August approaching, there’s a natural slowing down of the mood in what Patrick Kavanagh so effectively captured as “the tremendous silence of mid-July”.

It hasn’t got to us yet in this, the busy first weekend of July. Dromineer is a-buzz with the Lough Derg end of the Shannon One Designs’ Two-part Centenary Regatta, Dublin Bay is alive with the Frank Keane BMW RStGYC Regatta, somewhere between Dublin Bay and Cork Harbour sundry boats are re-racing an offshore race originally sailed in 1860 (repeat, 1860) in order to be on station for Volvo Cork Week in six days’ time. And throughout the land on lake, sea and river, club events are being staged in the hope that next week’s expected good weather will arrive a little earlier than anticipated.

Summertime on Lough Derg – the 1874-vintage iron-built Phoenix (John & Sandra Lefroy) off Dromineer with a selection of Water Wags (1900) and Shannon One Designs (1922).Summertime on Lough Derg – the 1874-vintage iron-built Phoenix (John & Sandra Lefroy) off Dromineer with a selection of Water Wags (1900) and Shannon One Designs (1922).

For there’s no doubt that, taken overall, June’s weather was a decidedly mixed bag. Yet although there were major happenings that saw rough days on which the smaller classes weren’t allowed to race, the fact is that skilled race officers frequently managed to get comprehensive results in a more-than-satisfactory way.

Thus within Irish sailing there were many successful crews and skippers who merited inclusion in the long list for the Afloat.ie “Sailor of the Month” title, and when we add in achievements abroad, it’s impossible to reduce it below this short list of four top achievements.

Rob Dickson & Sean Waddilove are Sailors of the Month (Olympic) for June

The 2022 Hempel World Cup Allianz Regatta at the beginning of June in Almere on the Ijsselmeer in The Netherlands saw Ireland’s Rob Dickson and Sean Waddilove racing their 49er to victory in the final medal race. But by that stage, the top Dutch crew were so well positioned that overall they took the Gold, but the Irish team secured Silver to continue their progress through a demanding selection programme aimed at the 2024 Olympics.

Rush to the top….Pat Kelly (centre) and his all-conquering crew from the J/109 Storm at RUYC in Bangor.Rush to the top….Pat Kelly (centre) and his all-conquering crew from the J/109 Storm at RUYC in Bangor.

The Kelly family of Rush are Sailors of the Month (Regatta) for June

Sailing is often promoted as a family sport for all ages. But if anyone doubts that this can be happily achieved with racing success thrown in, then they only have to consider the Kelly clan of Rush SC with their J/109 Storm. Aboard Storm, the patriarch Pat Kelly heads a multi-talented crew which includes three generations of his family, and they clearly demonstrated they’d lost none of the successful touch shown in previous years by winning overall in the four day Bangor Town Regatta on Belfast Lough.

Mike & Richie Evans J/99 Snapshot was top Irish boat in the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race 2022, missing first overall by just five minutes. Photo: Afloat.ieMike & Richie Evans J/99 Snapshot was top Irish boat in the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race 2022, missing first overall by just five minutes. Photo: Afloat.ie

Mike & Richie Evans are Sailors of the Month (Offshore) for June

June saw the staging of a truly vintage SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race from Wicklow. But for those who think that success in events like this 704-mile marathon is only for seasoned sailors with many comparable races logged, the fact that the top Irish boat was the J/99 Snapshot (Mike & Richie Evans, Howth YC) was an eye-opener, as this was their first offshore major. And they almost won it, pacing just five minutes behind the overall winner after out-performing many comparable boats in the final very difficult miles. 

Dermot Skehan is Sailor of the Month (Regatta) for June

The Howth Wave Regatta created some sort of record for the mixture of weather it packed into its three day format, and how anyone found the energy for the legendary Saturday night party suggests superhuman stamina. With a rugged Lambay Race in its midst, Wave was for heroes, and it was the heroic Dermot Skehan - racing as ever with a crew of longtime friends and shipmates on his MG34 Toughnut - who emerged as overall winner and a worthy Sailor of the Month for June.

HYC Commodore Paddy Judge and Wave Regatta overall winner Dermot Skehan at centre of the crew of the victorious ToughnutHYC Commodore Paddy Judge and Wave Regatta overall winner Dermot Skehan at centre of the crew of the victorious Toughnut

Published in W M Nixon

Whatever excitements the Irish J/24 class may have been providing in home waters this past weekend, the current all-Ireland Champions (in every sense) with the not-inappropriately-named Headcase have succeeded brilliantly in keeping their heads above water and their noses in front in the top-of-the-line Kiel Week in Germany.

They've taken in Kiel as part of their countdown to the J/24 Europeans in Howth in August, with the UK Nationals very much in sight. But for now, this multi-talented crew (drawn from every Irish Province except Munster) had a scorecard to dream of in Kiel, with six bullets in nine races.

Published in J24
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Wave 2022 at Howth, with main sponsors the Wright Hospitality Group, has been a three-day regatta of all the seasons, including today’s (Sunday) localised attempt at a mild monsoon. But the most important ingredient of wind was always present - albeit almost to excess for Saturday’s Lambay Race - and Senior Race Officer David Lovegrove and his teams furnished Organising Committee Chairman Brian Turvey with a very complete set of results.

In an event of such diversity, settling on an overall champion is decided by various semi-secret formulas. But after considering a bewildering array of data, the Committee came down in favour of seasoned local skipper Dermot Skehan with the veteran MG34 Toughnut, who not only won Class 5 overall with minimum points but collected the Lambay Lady for best performance in the central event while he was on his way to the longterm success.

David Maguire’s Cape 31 Valkyrie was racing with input from Crosshaven talent. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyDavid Maguire’s Cape 31 Valkyrie was racing with input from Crosshaven talent. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Yet the racing provided something for everyone. On Belfast Lough, a rugged nor’easter is regarded as “a good sailing breeze”. And certainly it was an all-conquering performance in precisely those conditions during yesterday’s (Saturday) Lambay Race which propelled John Minnis’s A35 Final Call II (RUYC & RNIYC) to the front of the fleet in Class 1 in Wave, with another couple of handy Minnis wins today – raced in the sometimes very damp but eminently servicable easterly – confirming that one of the top prizes heads very definitely north.

Pete Smyth’s Sunfast 3600 won Class 0 in the Lambay Race, and finished second overall. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyPete Smyth’s Sunfast 3600 won Class 0 in the Lambay Race, and finished second overall. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Nearer home, Clontarf is so named because it means Bull’s Roar, and that’s the noise the non-nautical natives in the distant past reckoned they were hearing from their beach on Dublin Bay in an onshore gale. Since then, Clontarf folk have got to grips with seafaring, and Pete Smyth of those parts – but now sailing out of the National YC with his Sunfast 3600 Searcher – likewise got profitably to grips with the Lambay breeze to place him nicely to place second Class 0 overall astern of Crosshaven’s Jelly Baby after today’s results were collated.

The Jones family with Jelly Baby put together an extremely convincing series. Last year, when Crosshaven’s Nieulargo won the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race, the Royal Cork revived a 19th Century tradition by giving her a nine gun salute as she returned to Crosshaven. Jelly Baby surely deserves something similar.

 Class 0 Champion, the J/122 Jelly Baby (Jones family RCYC), deserves the ancient traditional 9-Gun salute when she returns to Crosshaven. Photo: Afloat.ie Class 0 Champion, the J/122 Jelly Baby (Jones family RCYC), deserves the ancient traditional 9-Gun salute when she returns to Crosshaven Photo: Afloat

For some crews, a soothing rainfall today was just the ticket to put a bit of colour back in their cheeks after the Wave’s fierce entertainment of an Ibiza Night to round out Saturday’s hectic sport afloat with matching high decibel and high intensity socialising ashore – genteel Set Dancing this was not.

CLASS 0

It was raced to the end, for though Searcher (Peter Smyth) had emerged as a force to be reckoned with, the early consistency of Crosshaven’s Jones family with the J/122 Jelly Baby provided the foundation for them to take the title with a win in today (Sunday’s) second and final race, making it 4.5 points over Searcher. Patrick Burke’s First 40 Prima Forte (RIYC) was a solid performer, discarding a 6th even if she never got a win, and she came home 6 points behind Searcher.

The J/109s turned out in strength in Class 1, and made it their Eastern Championship with Andrew Craig’s Chimaera (RIYC) winning. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyThe J/109s turned out in strength in Class 1, and made it their Eastern Championship with Andrew Craig’s Chimaera (RIYC), below, winning. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Andrew Craig's Chimaera

CLASS I

Going into this regatta, the main billing for Class I was as the Eastern Championship for the J/109s, and they certainly were there in droves. But they proved to be the largest group of bridesmaids ever assembled. Once John Minnis’s Final Call II had found form after a 4th in the opening race, the advance of the Archambault 35 was unstoppable and her two wins today (Sunday) gave her a massive victory of 10.5 points to the hard-won 20.00 of Mike & Richie Evans gallant little J/99 Snapshot (HYC), with Andrew Craig’s Chimaera (RIYC) first of the J/109s in third to take the Easterns as a bonus.

John Minnis’s Final Call IIJohn Minnis’s Final Call II, an Archambault 35 proved unstoppable on the final day Photo: Afloat

CLASS 2

Finding herself in among a group of hot Half Tonners failed to dent the dogged persistence of Stephen Quinn’s J/97 Lambay Rules (HYC), but in this class there was extra pain with any no-show in the Lambay Race carrying its own unavoidable penalty of 9 points. Thus although Dave Dwyer’s recently-acquired classic Bruce Farr Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble (RCYC) was undoubtedly the form boat by the series end, she’d demurred at the Lambay Race fence to knock her points total astray, making it doubly ironic that a boat called Lambay Rules (which are about something else altogether) should take the win by a massive margin. Just 9.5 points to the 20 of Dave Kelly’s Half Tonner King One (Rush SC) and the 22.5 of Nobby Reilly’s Ghost Raider (HYC), a former Checkmate. 

CLASS 3

Class 3 with 14 boats completed two races, and it was seasoned X class Dux (Caroline & Nico Gore-Grimes HYC) took the overall win on 6.5 points from No Excuse (Wormald, Walsh, O’Neill, HYC) on 14.5 in second and another X class, Paddy Kyne's Mazximus third on 20 points.

Dux (Caroline & Nico Gore-Grimes HYC) was the Class Three winner Photo: AfloatDux (Caroline & Nico Gore-Grimes HYC) was the Class Three winner Photo: Afloat

Calling the start in the J/24s. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyCalling the start in the J/24s. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

CLASS 4

This was an overall win for Malahide in the form of David Greene’s White Pearl, which had it by just one point from Colm Bermingham’s Elan 333 Bite the Bullet (HYC), with Kieran Jameson’s Sigma 38 Changeling (HYC) in third.

David Greene’s Elan 333 White PearlDavid Greene’s Elan 333 White Pearl Photo: Afloat

CLASS 5

Dermot Skehan continued on top form with two further wins in the renowned MG34 Toughnut (HYC) to give him net points of 5.5, the lowest in all classes and thus the overall title too. Steffi Ennis was second with the equally historic Demelza, and yet another blast from the past, Terry McCoy’s First 38 Out & About, was third.

 Wave Supreme Champion Dermot Skehan and his crew with HYC Commodore Paddy Judge (centre). Photo: Christina Knowles Wave Supreme Champion Dermot Skehan and his crew with HYC Commodore Paddy Judge (centre). Photo: Christina Knowles

J/24

Mark Usher from Greystones with Jumpin’ Jive had such a run of firsts that he didn’t need to sail the final race, yet he was four points better at the finish than Brian McDowell of Malahide, with Howth’s K25 crew third.

J/80

This was largely inter-varsity sailing, but private owner Paddy O’Neill with the internationally successful Mojo was right there to win overall, UCD1 taking second, TUD (the new Dublin Technical University) taking second, and UCC getting third. 

SIGMA 33

Howth’s Stephen Mullaney with current Irish Champion Insider continued ahead right to the end, but David Marchant of Dunmore East continued his upward gradient as the regatta progressed, and a 3rd and 1st today (Sunday) saw him firmly in second overall with Flyover, third going to the RStGYC’s Boojum (Stephanie Bourke & Gus Legge.

The RStGYC third-placed Sigma 33 Boojum rounding Lambay. Photo: Annraoi Blaney The RStGYC third-placed Sigma 33 Boojum rounding Lambay. Photo: Annraoi Blaney 

COPING WITH VOLATILE WEATHER PATTERNS

Wave 2022 was sailed in the kind of weather when, each evening, the television weather presenters seemed to introduce a new meteorological development which hadn’t been mentioned at all the day before. Yet for the competitors who could stick the pace, there was racing – lots of it – to be had every day, And when everyone is nice and warm and dry and the bruises have started to fade, the memories of the hyper-bright times of sunshine will take over from the grey of the final day.

Howth Yacht Club Committee Boat 'Star Point' was on duty for Wave Regatta 2022Howth Yacht Club Committee Boat 'Star Point' was on duty for Wave Regatta 2022 Photo: Afloat

But either way, it couldn’t have been done without a large voluntary input. Brian Turvey and his team had assembled a corps of 57 volunteers and enthusiastic sponsors to keep this particular show on the road through some tough circumstances. We salute them all.

The final day may have been grey, but the big screen was always bright. Photo: Brian TurveyThe final day may have been grey, but the big screen was always bright. Photo: Brian Turvey

Full results here 

Published in Wave Regatta

With a real edge to the nor’easter of 25 knots plus (very plus at times) and the tide flooding north against it, the second day of Howth’s Wave Regatta proved to a case of Waves Plural and then some in the Lambay Race. But it made for a very special day’s sailing for those boats allowed to go.

For the powers-that-be had reckoned all the smaller One-Designs should be kept safely in port. But the biggies with real lids – or most of them - went out and bruised and battered their crews in this annual highlight around the beloved island on a standalone basis, as the original plan for an extra windward-leeward morning race had been dropped in face of the earlier adverse conditions.

Big boat weatherBig boat weather. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

We said “or most of them” advisedly, as some owner-skippers decided that big damage this early in the season was not a good career move. Yet the many who did take on the challenge had some remarkably close racing throughout, and were rewarded by a slight softening with the sunny conditions in mid-afternoon before the wind - undiluted from Scandinavia - settled rawly in again for the evening.

CLASS 0

It was a case of “local boy makes good” in the exalted environs of Class 0, for although Pete Smyth sails his Sunfast 3600 Searcher from the National YC these days, the Smyths are a Clontarf clan and he cut his sailing teeth with family racing from Howth. Searcher revelled in the surfing conditions and carved out an IRC win of nearly three minutes from the Jones family from Crosshaven with the J/122 Jelly Baby, who nevertheless retain the overall lead, while Patrick Burke (RIYC) stayed in the hunt with third for his First 40 Prima Forte under IRC.

Patrick Burke’s Prima Forte (RIYC) took third in Class 0. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyPatrick Burke’s Prima Forte (RIYC) took third in Class 0. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

CLASS 1

Belfast Lough being “Nor’easter Central”, John Minnis’s A35 Final Call II (RUYC & RNIYC) was revelling in the familiarly rugged going, and opened out a 4.5 minute lead on the water in this long race from Mike & Richie Evans’ J/99 Snapshot (HYC), which translated into a four minute win. It was good going for Snapshot, as she finished ahead of all the J/109s, of which the best – in third overall – was Andrew Craig’s Chimaera.

Robert Rendell’s Grand Soleil 44 Samatom clears the east point of Lambay. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyRobert Rendell’s Grand Soleil 44 Samatom clears the east point of Lambay. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

CLASS 2

Among the highly-tuned Half Tonners in Class 2, two of the top ones – Dave Cullen’s Checkmate XV and Dave Dwyer’s Swuzzebubble – decided to sit this one out. But the former Paul Elvstrom-campaigned Half Ton World Champion King One (Dave Kelly, Rush SC) gave it a real lash in the heart of her home waters and won by 17 seconds from the Wright family’s Half Tonner Mata, which in turn was just two seconds – that’s TWO seconds - ahead of overall leader Lambay Rules, Stephen Quinn’s J/97 (HYC)

The Wright brothers new Cape 31 AdrenalineThe Wright brothers new Cape 31 Adrenaline. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

CLASS 3

Class 3 was yet again a case of getting all the Dux in a row – the veteran Gore-Grimes X boat from Howth had it by two minutes and 17 seconds from Paddy Kyne’s Maximus, also from HYC, as too was the third-placed No Excuse (Wormald, Walsh & O’Neill).

CLASS 4

Class 4 IRC was reduced to a select few for this demanding contest, and seasoned skipper Kieran Jameson revelled in the going with his Sigma 38 Changeling to win by two minutes from David Greene’s White Pearl from Malahide, with John Beckett & Andy George (HYC) taking third with Spashdance.

As the weather improved, the veteran Sigma 38 Changeling (Kieran Jameson) found she was in a winning position. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyAs the weather improved, the veteran Sigma 38 Changeling (Kieran Jameson) found she was in a winning position. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

CLASS 5

Numbers were also down with Class 5 IRC, but Dermot Skehan’s MG34 Toughnut lived up to her name with an outstanding win of 15 minutes from Terry McCoy’s veteran First 38 Out and About, third slot going to Arcturus (Peter & Declan McCabe)

SIGMA 33

The only One-Designs provided with a race, the Sigma 33s proved well up to it, and current Irish champion Stephen Mullaney (HYC) was more up to it with Insider than the rest, he recorded another win. However, a new name entered the frame with Dunmore East’s David Marchant (WHSC) taking second with Flyover while Boojum from RStGYC (Stephanie Bourke and Gus Legge) was third.

When the going became good, it was very good indeed. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyWhen the going became good, it was very good indeed Photo: Annraoi Blaney

The traditional way of calculating the winner of the overall trophy - the Lambay Lady - is for it to go to the winning boat with the biggest margin on the second place. On these figures, it’s Dermot Skehan with Toughnut. But past experience has shown that, with the vast array of other handicap systems being applied, a new winner may emerge some time next week.

Meanwhile, although there are some very tired crews in Howth this (Saturday) evening, Wave Regatta 2022 is far from finished. With Monday being a Bank Holiday, racing is possible until 3.0pm tomorrow (Sunday), and they may even manage three more contests before the final results are announced and some very special prizes given out.

Full results here 

Published in Wave Regatta
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