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The HYC Dinghy Frostbites kicked off its 2022/2023 season in perfect conditions on Sunday, with 40 boats entered, blue skies, and a warm southerly breeze putting on a special show of benevolence for the first of the planned 18 weekends of dinghy racing writes Conor Murphy.

The regulars welcomed newcomers from all over Dublin and further afield.

Also joining the fleet were some long-time HYC members - lately more used to keels and crew delegation - who have swapped their usual chariots to experience hiking pads, toe-straps, and the challenges of verticality - welcome to Colin and Ronan. The 22/23 series is a first for the long-running event in that a PY class is competing alongside the traditional Laser/ILCA competitors.

Racing kicked off after a slight delay, due to the shifting southerly breeze coming over the Head. A highly qualified team of Neil Murphy, Richard Kissane, and Liam Dineen started all the Classes together. The strong ebb tide, and an excess of enthusiasm by some to bag a front-row spot, saw the fleet immediately earn the first General Recall of the winter. A successful restart under the U flag sent the fleet on their triangular course.

Due to some challenges in finding the gybe mark (or at least the correct one from the selection available) in the rougher water of the Sound, a windward-leeward course was set for the second race, which got away cleanly on the first attempt.

Competition is tight across all ILCA fleets, with 4 of the top 5 Irish-ranked sailors competing in the ILCA 7 fleet. The 7s saw very close racing with multiple lead changes throughout both races, as each sailor sought the best breeze and least tide on a challenging race track.

Series regulars Ronan Wallace of Wexford (1, 2) and Daragh Kelleher of Skerries (3, 1) lead the fleet, followed by event newcomer Rory Lynch (2, 3). A special shout-out goes to Conor Costello for finishing the first race before accepting defeat and acknowledging that the bung is definitely a critical piece of equipment and best fixed in the transom
before going afloat - he thankfully made it back to the Club before going into full submarine mode.

The ILCA 6 fleet saw extra competition this year, with two Dun Laoghaire Masters joining the fray. RStGYC’s Marco Sorgassi showed the fleet a clean pair of heels with two wins, showing good pace to keep up with a lot of the ILCA 7s. HYC’s Una Connell follows, leaving Hugh Delap and Fiachra Farrelly tied in 3rd.

A strong turnout in the ILCA 4s sees Howth’s Cillian Twomey leading the pack, with Ciara McMahon, Des Turvey, and Aisling Kelly trailing, only a point separating them.

The new PY fleet had a mix of participants and is being led by ex-ILCA 4 sailor Abby Kinsella in her RS Aero 6, winning convincingly over Aoibhinn Farrelly’s RS Feva and Hugo Micka’s Fireball. Competition is sure to ramp up over the coming weeks, with more RS Aeros already entered, as well as an RS800.

The series continues next week, and all dinghies from all clubs are welcome to take part in some of the best winter racing in the country.

Published in Howth YC
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The growing Irish RS Aero fleet closed out its summer season with a blustery Eastern Championships in Howth Yacht Club on the Hallowe’en Weekend. Thrills, spills and tactical racing were the order of the day, while shifting winds and strong tides gave the competitors something extra to think about while trying to keep the boat upright.

Top UK Aero sailor Peter Barton from Lymington (where the surname ‘Barton’ is sailing royalty) led a pre-event coaching day on Friday. It’s a testament to the International Aero community how generous the leading sailors are in sharing their tips for success. And the takeaway from this was there is no substitute for time in the boat – it was a shared experience and not at all a hard sell for the RS Aero.

Racing was postponed on Saturday due to torrential rain and blustery winds. Sunday provided champagne conditions to complete four races. Racing was held in the Sound close to Ireland’s Eye, where it was important to be aware of the tidal flow.

Local sailor Paul McMahon may have been out of his usual role at the front of the Puppeteer 22 fleet, but he showed some good late season Aero RS form, taking three wins from four races. Despite that, racing was actually very close. The overall result was still up for grabs on the last beat of the last race, with Peter Barton getting caught out of the tide and on the wrong end of a wind shift, allowing Paul to take the final race and title.

Daragh Sheridan of HYC coming in under an “interesting” sky to take third overallDaragh Sheridan of HYC coming in under an “interesting” sky to take third overall

Irish Champion Daragh Sheridan finished in third, one point behind Peter, with a seriously consistent score-line never outside the top three, while visiting Dublin Bay and Strangford Lough sailors Noel Butler and Hammy Baker rounded out the top five.

First Master from Greystones in his ILCA 6 rig was Roy Van Maanen, with new Aero owner Abby Kinsella taking first Youth and Female. Thanks from the Irish Aero RS Class to all involved in running the event, INSS for providing spares, support and prizes, Rooster Sailing providing plenty of goodies and Howth Yacht Club for providing top class hospitality.

HYC Vice Commodore Neil Murphy with Paul McMahon, Aero RS Eastern Champion 2022HYC Vice Commodore Neil Murphy with Paul McMahon, Aero RS Eastern Champion 2022

Published in Howth YC
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Howth Yacht Club celebrated the Halloween bank holiday weekend with the annual Dinghy Regatta on Sunday, 30th October. Despite the later-than-usual timing, entry numbers were high, with 54 boats from as far as Lough Ree Yacht Club, Wexford Harbour Boat and Tennis Club and Cushendall Sailing and Boating Club, along with the more local clubs of Sutton DC, Clontarf Y & BC, Skerries SC, Malahide YC, Rush SC, and Dun Laoghaire’s National YC and Royal St. George Yacht Club.

Unfortunately, the days of strong winds preceding the event did not abate sufficiently to allow the full spectrum of dinghies assembled to ultimately sail, with the Race Officer David Lovegrove making the hard decision to keep the Topper, ILCA 4, Feva and Optimist Regatta fleets on the hard. But those confined to shore were consoled with the popular fare available in HYC’s lively Light House hospitality facility.

This left the IDRA 14s, ILCAs 7 & 6, and the Optimist Main Fleet to set out and test their mettle on the high seas. After a short postponement, the first race was off with steady winds that decreased but kept the fleet on its toes with some sporting gusts. Throughout the second race, the wind quickly gained strength, causing the Race Officer to abandon the last race, by which time winds of 36 knots were being recorded on the Committee Boat.

In the IDRA fleet, first place and the Wilkinson Cup was taken by Ryan Cairns and Orla Doogue (CYBC), with second going to Alan Carr and Sarah Robertson (SDC), with Christian Lorenz and Pat O’Kelly (CBYC) in third.

The Optimists saw Harry Dunne of HYC – still buoyed up by finishing ahead of Rocco Wright in the Junior National Championships at Schull - securing first place and the Drisheen Cup, Hannah Scott (HYC) taking second, with Nicole Quinn (HYC) in third.

If the Optimist podium was all Howth, the ILCA 6s were very different - first place went to long-distance Glens of Antrim visitor Barry McCartin (Cushendall SBC), second to Daniel O’Hare (Rush SC) and third to Dave Kirwin (Malahide YC). Finally, in the ILCA 7 fleet, first place and the Heron Trophy was won by Darragh Kelleher (Skerries SC), with Conor Murphy (HYC) taking second place, and Stephen Quinn (HYC) in third.

Published in Howth YC
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With six solid race results already on the leaderboard, the weekend’s seventh and final race of the Beshoff Motors Autumn League at Howth Yacht Club came through as a bonus with an often sunny though brisk and freshening southerly. But it was a wind which was steady neither in direction nor precise in pressure, though at least it could be relied on to be ever-present in one form or another.

Yet with many of the nine classes so close in points at the top that this last contest became the decider, it was - as one seasoned campaigner was to comment - like a fabric workshop in the HYC racing area beyond and around Ireland’s Eye. For the wind direction was busily weaving throughout the race period, yet at every level of each fleet, crews and helms were doing their damnedest to keep at least one and usually several other boats very tightly stitched up.

In all, it was classic Howth sailing, as the ebb was running for much of the racing, but by the finish the new flood was setting in. This meant that for the bigger boats finishing to the east of Ireland’s Eye, the sea had smoothed somewhat and there was no tidal mini-race off The Stack. But for the smaller craft finishing in the Sound, the final beat took that little bit longer, requiring total concentration right to the finish.

Checkmate checks out with success – the biggest boat in the fleet, the First 50 Checkmate XX (Dave Cullen & Nigel Biggs) finished the series with Class 1 line honours win and second on CT in the last raceCheckmate checks out with success – the biggest boat in the fleet, the First 50 Checkmate XX (Dave Cullen & Nigel Biggs) finished the series with Class 1 line honours win and second on CT in the last race

CLASS 1

This was the day of days for the biggest boat in the fleet, Dave Cullen and Nigel Biggs’ new First 50 Checkmate XX, as she romped round the course to take line honours by nearly five minutes ahead on the water of Robert Rendell’s Grand Soleil 44 Samatom. However, Mike & Richie Evans’ J/99 Snapshot concluded a great season - which had opened with them being a close second overall and top Irish boat in the Round Ireland 2022 back in June - with yet another CT win in the Howth series, though Checkmate XX managed to hang onto second on CT, albeit by just one second ahead of Pat Kelly’s J/109 Storm from Rush SC.

Overall, Snapshot had it convincingly by 9 pts to the 16 of Stephen Quinn’s J/97 Lambay Rules, Storm getting third with 24pts.

CLASS 2

The various X Yachts in this division just loved the day that was in it, with the Gore-Grimes family’s veteran war horse Dux taking line honours and the CT win in conditions when the usually challenging Corby Impetuous (Fergal Noonan and Robert Chambers) didn’t seem at all happy – she finished back in fifth.

However, solid results earlier in the series meant that Paddy Kyne’s Maximus – logging a second – just hung onto the overall lead on 12 points, with the tie break of Dux and Impetuous on 13 seeing the latter taking the number-crunching edge for second.

A perfect day for X Yacht racing, and by the end of it the veteran Dux (Gore-Grimes family) had taken line honours and the CT win in Class 2A perfect day for X Yacht racing, and by the end of it the veteran Dux (Gore-Grimes family) had taken line honours and the CT win in Class 2

CLASS 3

It doesn’t really get better than discarding a second in a series when all your other races are bullets, and Stephen Mullaney’s Insider – current Irish Sigma 33 Champion for good measure – now has the minimum six points to look back on after the 2022 Autumn League, with Conor Fogerty’s museum piece Silver Shamrock (Half Ton World Champion 1976) in second overall on 16, third going to Malahide visitor Kahera (Russell Camier). 

CLASS 4 (White Sail)

Despite the beefy weather, Stephen Harris’s First 40.7 Tiger had to be content with second in this last race, Colm Berminghan’s Elan 333 Bite the Bullet sailing a blinder to win by three minutes on CT. But a scorecard of three wins and three seconds kept Tiger at the top of the leaderboard, with Bite the Bullet second and White Pearl from Malahide (David Greene) third.

D’unbeatables….Stephen Mullaney’s Sigma 33 Insider finished the series on minimum points, the only boat to do soD’unbeatables….Stephen Mullaney’s Sigma 33 Insider finished the series on minimum points, the only boat to do so

CLASS 5 (White Sail)

This class of little ’uns musters very few IRC boats, and here the winner overall was Steffi & Windsor’s veteran Club Shamrock Demelza. But in the much larger HPH Division, Demelza had to be content with third overall, the honours going to Mary Ellen (O’Byrne, Finucane & Carty), with Richard Flood & Lorcan Greene’s Joker’s Wild in second.

HOWTH SEVENTEENS

When we remember that just four years ago the 1898-founded Howth Seventeens were wondering if they had a future at all, after Storm Emma in March 2018 had flattened both their winter storage shed on the East Pier and several of the boat within, then the contemplation of their racing in the Autumn League 2022 is a real wonder, as it has never been better.

In one of the gentler phases on Saturday, the Howth 17s Isobel, Orla and Gladys round the Portmarnock Mark. Photo: David O’SheaIn one of the gentler phases on Saturday, the Howth 17s Isobel, Orla and Gladys round the Portmarnock Mark. Photo: David O’Shea

It went to the wire in this final race in more ways than one, for although it was comfortably topsail weather when they went out, it was getting towards the upper limits at the finish. Under her new mast as used a week earlier, Davy Nixon with Erica would have had his second dismasting of the season, as the fancy spar was more like a trout fishing rod. But for the final race he changed back to the class’s battered but durable spare stick, and was able to drive his 1988-built boat with so much confidence that he beat nearest challenger Deilginis (built 1907, Toomey, Kenny & Massey) by two minutes to win overall by half a point, third going to the 1919-built Orla (Marc FitzGibbon & Darragh Gallagher. On HPH, Rima Macken’s Eileen won from Zaida (Carroll, Houlihan & Hurley). 

PUPPETEERS

Howth Yacht Club is in the happy position where its two most completely local classes – the Howth Seventeens from 1898 and the Puppeteer 22s from 1978 – are both in great heart, with the Puppeteer 22s this past weekend having a classic contest. The two leading boats – Paul & Laura McMahon’s Shiggi-Shiggi and Neil Murphy & Con Costello’s Yellow Peril – zapped across the line with just ten seconds between them. Right on their heels were overall points leader Trick or Treat (Alan Pearson & Alan Blay) who were in turn just staying ahead of Weyhey (Ian Dickson), No Strings (Terry Harvey) and Harlequin (Dave Clarke).

 The Puppeteer 22s had the closest racing in the fleet, and Yellow Peril (Neil Murphy and Con Costello) missed the win in the fina race by just ten seconds The Puppeteer 22s had the closest racing in the fleet, and Yellow Peril (Neil Murphy and Con Costello) missed the win in the fina race by just ten seconds

But while others had had their moments of glory through the series, Trick or Treat was a real Steady Eddy from start to finish, discarding a third to take it by 10 points to the 16 of Shiggi-Shiggi, just one point ahead of Yellow Peril. On HPH, No Strings was tops with Weyhey second and Ghosty Ned (Donal Harkin) third.

SQUIBS

Robert Marshall, the Pied Piper of Killyleagh, may have led the Squibs to Lough Derg a week ago when they learned that fresh water can be every bit as rough as salt. But at least they managed some racing down there when Howth was blown out. And nothing daunted, the Squibs were back on the Howth line this past weekend doubling up on their racing, with the Marshall boat Slipstream holding her overall lead with a third in the final race, the win in that going to Tiger Roll (F O’Leary) with Thomas O’Reilly’s Cool Beans second.

TEAM PRIZE

To absolutely nobody’s surprise, the three boat Team Competition’s lead was retained overall by the T.I.Ts – Tiger, Insider, and Trick or Treat - who ran away with it on a final score of 246 pts to the 510 of Bite De Bells (Isobel, Demelza and Bite the Bullet), with Team Perilous (White Pearl, Yellow Peril & Kahera) third.

HOWTH KEEPS BUSY

There isn’t a pause for breath over Hallowe’en in the Howth late season programme, as the Dinghy Regatta is on October 30th, and then the annual Howth Frostbites (of which more tomorrow - it goes back to 1974) gets underway on November 6th.

Hallowe'en hit: Jeremy Beshoff of Beshoff Motors (left) with Alan Pearson, co-skipper of all-conquering Puppeteer 22 Trick or TreatHallowe'en hit: Jeremy Beshoff of Beshoff Motors (left) with Alan Pearson, co-skipper of all-conquering Puppeteer 22 Trick or Treat

Published in Howth YC
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The Howth Peninsula was buzzing with sailing sport at the weekend, with the top level of competition on its southwest side at the national Champions’ Cup raced in GP 14s at Sutton Dinghy Club, while there was competition at every level you’ve ever heard of (and probably a few levels you can barely imagine) in the Beshoff Motors Autumn League, a truly all-sorts nine classes Saturday series until October 22nd which – on this its fourth day – managed to pack in two more races in idyllically sunny conditions to have six races in the can, and two weekends still to play for.

Admittedly the pressure to build up the figures on the leaderboard did see a certain amount of localized over-lapping between some different race areas in the first contest. But by Race 2, everything went as smooth as a bird, and a lot of very happy budgies came ashore firmly of the opinion that they already have the stuffing knocked out of the coming winter……..

It was that kind of day – blue skies, blue sea, and a moderate though easing and slowly backing westerly which managed to hang in, despite the spring ebb tide’s best efforts to take away its eminently usable pressure.

CLASS 1

Stephen Quinn’s J/97 Lambay Rules may have been showing the way in the early stages of the series, but Mike & Richie Evans’ J/99 Snapshot – already a star of the Irish national scene inshore and offshore in 2021 and 2022 - banged in a solid first and second on this outing to take the overall lead by two points from Lambay Rules, with Pat Kelly’s J/109 Storm from Rush lying third overall, but well back on 20. Saturday’s second race saw a new name in first – Nobby Reilly’s Classic Half-Tonner Ghost Raider.

Back in the saddle – the Evans’ brother’s multiply successful J/99 Snapshot heading for her second win on Saturday Back in the saddle – the Evans’ brother’s multiply successful J/99 Snapshot heading for her second win on Saturday 

CLASS 2

The big breeze of a week earlier may have favoured the various X Boats, but Fergal Noonan & Robert Chambers’ vintage Corby Impetuous found things to he liking to take a couple of wins, putting her one point ahead overall of Paddy Kyne’s Maximus with another X, Clan Gore-Grimes’ Dux, now third OA.

CLASS 3

Stephen Mullaney’s Irish Champion Sigma 33 Insider seems to find almost all conditions to her liking, she has now registered the colander condition of five bullets in Class 3, though admittedly, she managed to dodge one in Saturday’s second race with a second when Vincent Gaffney’s Laser 28 Alliance II snatched the lead, with third going to Conor Fogerty’s 1976-vintage Silver Shamrock, which now lies second overall on points.

In Class 1, Pat Kelly’s J/109 Storm (Rush SC) leading from Nobby Reilly’s Classic Half Tonner Ghoster Raider (winner of Race 2) and the J/97 Jeneral Lee (Colin & Kathy Kavanagh)In Class 1, Pat Kelly’s J/109 Storm (Rush SC) leading from Nobby Reilly’s Classic Half Tonner Ghoster Raider (winner of Race 2) and the J/97 Jeneral Lee (Colin & Kathy Kavanagh)

CLASS 4

Colm Bermingham’s Elan 333 Bite the Bullet and Stephen Harris’s First 40.7 Tiger shared the firsts and seconds on Saturday in this white sail division, but over the series to date Tiger is still ahead of BTB, with Malahide’s White Pearl (David Greene) in third.

CLASS 5

Notwithstanding the close proximity of a notable birthday with a zero and a five in it for one of the owners, Windsor and Steffi’s veteran Club Shamrock Demelza continued ahead with two wins in the other White-Sail Class, with the Real McCoy and the Genuine Cregan second every which way in their attractive vintage First 38 Out & About. 

Another look at that classic change-in-the-weather sky, with Howth 17s Erica (David Nixon, 18), Hera (Mjchael & Jane Duffy, 9) and Deilginis (Toomey/Massey/Kenny, 11).Another look at that classic change-in-the-weather sky, with Howth 17s Erica (David Nixon, 18), Hera (Mjchael & Jane Duffy, 9) and Deilginis (Toomey/Massey/Kenny, 11). 

HOWTH 17s

The Magic Circle in the 1907s-built Deilginis emerged from Saturday’s mega-tussles still in the overall lead, but now only by half a point from Davy Nixon in the 1988-vintage Erica of the Whippy Mast. In fact Erica - having seen off overall leaders Deilginis and Orla (Marc FitzGibbbon & Darragh Gallagher) by taking second in the first race when Ian Malcolm with Aura was first - found her lead in Race 2 being most closely challenged by the helmsman’s brother-in-law Davy Jones steering the 2022 National Champion Rosemary (David Jones, David Potter & George Curley). Erica emerged just ahead to move up to half a point behind Deilginis overall.

Family affair. Davy Nixon with Erica (18) makes away with the Howth 17 win in the second race ahead of brother-in-law Davy Jones in Rosemary (12). Photo: Judith MalcolmFamily affair. Davy Nixon with Erica (18) makes away with the Howth 17 win in the second race ahead of brother-in-law Davy Jones in Rosemary (12). Photo: Judith Malcolm

The Puppeteer 22s are having a great series - photo shows Flycatcher (187, Michael McKeon), Mr Punch (187, NiBhraonain Wilson), Blue Velvet (5526, Gerard Kennedy) and Yellow Peril (Murphy/Costello) beyond. It’s a class rule to race with the marina berth-accessing outboards in place like this, for as they say themselves, when you’re at the helm you don’t see the intrusive outboard at all unless you’re looking astern to see how big a lead you’ve got, and that’s okay.The Puppeteer 22s are having a great series - photo shows Flycatcher (187, Michael McKeon), Mr Punch (187, NiBhraonain Wilson), Blue Velvet (5526, Gerard Kennedy) and Yellow Peril (Murphy/Costello) beyond. It’s a class rule to race with the marina berth-accessing outboards in place like this, for as they say themselves, when you’re at the helm you don’t see the intrusive outboard at all unless you’re looking astern to see how big a lead you’ve got, and that’s okay.

Puppeteer 22 Papageno (K & B Barker) as seen from sister-ship Yellow Peril. One of the spin-offs from a popular Autumn League is that, as seen here, boats are kept in prime order right to the end of the season.Puppeteer 22 Papageno (K & B Barker) as seen from sister-ship Yellow Peril. One of the spin-offs from a popular Autumn League is that, as seen here, boats are kept in prime order right to the end of the season

PUPPETEER 22

Overall leader Trick or Treat (Alan Pearson & Alan Blay) remained consistent with two seconds, but the racing was excellent with fresh names in the top three, with Paul and Laura McMahon’s Shiggi Shiggi, the beautifully-restored prototype Puppeteer 22 of 1978 vintage, taking a third and first, while Garrett May’s HoneyBadger took a first and third. Overall, David Clarke’s Harlequin is second on 15 points on a tie break with Shiggi Shiggi and Yellow Peril (Murphy/Costello) in some of the best racing across all classes.

The club Squib Tiger Roll (80) demonstrating the class’s sit-in comfort potential - remarkable for a 19ft racing keelboat – with overall leader Slipstream from Killyleagh (102) beyond. The class’s national focus this coming weekend is on the Freshwater Keelboat Regatta at Dromineer on Lough DergThe club Squib Tiger Roll (80) demonstrating the class’s sit-in comfort potential - remarkable for a 19ft racing keelboat – with overall leader Slipstream from Killyleagh (102) beyond. The class’s national focus this coming weekend is on the Freshwater Keelboat Regatta at Dromineer on Lough Derg

SQUIBS

With the Irish Squib Class’s “National Energiser” Robert Marshall from Killyleagh on Strangford Lough beavering away to build up the entries from home and abroad for this coming weekend’s Keelboat Freshwater Regatta at Dromineer on Lough Derg, we can expect a slim Squib presence at Howth on Saturday, October 15th. But meanwhile, last Saturday in the Beshoff Motors Autumn League, he retained his overall points lead with a third (discarded) and a second, the wins being taken by Jeff Kay’s Chatterbox and the HYC boat Tiger Roll, with Thomas O’Reilly’s Cool Beans also in the frame.

TOP TITS IN TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP

The well-meant Team Championship with three boats from three different classes is a good idea in theory, and will certainly be repeated. But when you get some really shrewd mutual boat recruiting going on pre-series, it makes a bit of a nonsense out of it all. Heaven only knows when and in what Masonic Hall the T. I. T team was put together, but when you have Tiger, Insider and Trick-or-Treat racing in support of each other, after six races the rest are nowhere.

This is Autumn 2022 – the al fresco après sailing Brains’ Trust at Howth Yacht ClubThis is Autumn 2022 – the al fresco après sailing Brains’ Trust at Howth Yacht Club 

All Photos Courtesy Howth YC unless otherwise credited.

Detailed Results below

Published in Howth YC
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As reported in Afloat.ie, the showing by Pat O'Neill and his Howth crew in the J/80 Worlds at Newport, Rhode Island during the past five days seemed to be improving in tandem with the improvement with the weather, and having been there or thereabouts in the early races, he and his team
were very much totally there in third overall as the series concluded last night at the east Coast USA's renowned sailing Mecca.

Published in J80
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Pat O'Neill of Howth is a seasoned international campaigner with his championship crew in the J/80 fleet. But until now, most of his successes overseas have been achieved on the European circuit. This week, however, Team O'Neill have made the Transatlantic hop to the J/Boat heartlands at Newport, Rhode island, where they've found that the reputation of New England as a place for gentle sailing in the Fall - unless there happens to be a hurricane about - doesn't always hold up, as there have been some rugged and not very warm conditions to contend with.

Despite that, the Howth team have been in there battling for a place on the podium, and though the two leaders - Glenn Dardon of US and Per Roman of Sweden - are veering towards being out on their own ahead overall after three races, the Irish boat has put in a steady scoreline of 9, 6 and 4 - it's certainly trending in the right direction - to be,fifth overall, with more racing scheduled for today (Friday), and the series concluding tomorrow (8th October)

 J/80 Worlds results J/80 Worlds results

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The purple arrows were out in force on Day 3 of the Beshoff Motors Autumn League at Howth, though the heaviest of them passed to the north of the race area. The purple arrows are the ones that indicate squalls, and at one time during the race period, there was one over nearby Dublin Airport indicating a westerly bullet wind with low speeds of 14 mph and high speeds of 32 mph. Up at the airport, this must have made for some quite lively landings on the new runway, but for skippers at sea level with specialist vintage craft testing over-supple new masts, it was sometimes rather too much of a good thing, even if their friendly neighbourhood sailmakers could see it all as a good thing, period.

Yet generally, conditions were moderate to fresh, and the strongest squall was seen as being between 20 and 30 knots. Thus there was ample opportunity for good tactical racing and a reading of the sky to weather, though those who briefly looked leeward to seaward noticed that some of the more obtuse squalls were only getting going as they crossed Howth’s sheltered racing waters - out in the Irish Sea, the purple was becoming black.

 Sports fishing or sailing? With a very supple new mast to test, the Howth 17 Erica (David Nixon) has to let sheets fly when a bullet squall strikes. Sports fishing or sailing? With a very supple new mast to test, the Howth 17 Erica (David Nixon) has to let sheets fly when a bullet squall strikes.

Nevertheless for much of the time there was sunshine near enough, and Howth’s very focused Race Officer squad were determined to get at least one more race in the can at this halfway stage to achieve four races and have a refreshing discard to throw into the mix.

CLASS 1

Evidently God was in his Heaven above that swirling sky, as Stephen Quinn was back on form to take first with the J/97 Lambay Rules, Richard Colwell and Johnny Murphy in the J/109 Outrajeous getting second. However, the possibility of a J Boat cascade was seen off by the biggest boat in the fleet, the First 50 Checkmate XX (Nigel Biggs and Dave Cullen) loving the brisk going to take third. However, with the mercy of the discard, the Evans brothers were able to drop their fifth on the day with their J/99 Snapshot, and on points overall they now emerge as second, Lambay Rules once again leading, with Pat Kelly’s J/109 from Rush currently third on the leaderboard.

 Believe it or not, this was the same afternoon – the First 50 Checkmate XX was in the frame with third in Class 1 Believe it or not, this was the same afternoon – the First 50 Checkmate XX was in the frame with third in Class 1

CLASS 2

The fourth race greeted the starters from Class 2 with a blustery westerly breeze which at times was hitting 20Kts +, albeit with plenty of sunshine (reports Fergal Noonan)

Following an AP for gusting conditions, the Race Officer picked a Round the Cans course that was to test all crews. With #3’s the order of the day for the start, a change to #1’s for the last fetch/beat to Viceroy Mark made for exciting and wet conditions for the lucky foredeck crews.

 The cream of the crop……Pat Kelly’s team from the horticultural heartlands of Rush are always there or thereabouts in the J/109 Storm in Class 1 The cream of the crop……Pat Kelly’s team from the horticultural heartlands of Rush are always there or thereabouts in the J/109 Storm in Class 1

From the start gun, both Maximus and Dux chose the favoured Committee Boat end while Xebec, No Excuse and Viking ran down the line towards the Pin end. At the first mark, Dux had established a marginal lead over Maximus, which she was to hold all the way to the finish, beating her rival X302 by 40 seconds.

A Port and Starboard incident halfway up the first beat between Xebec and No Excuse allowed Impetuous to slip into the third slot at the weather mark, only to lose out to a determined No Excuse team around the race track.

Silhouette sailing was just part of the variety the afternoon providedSilhouette sailing was just part of the variety the afternoon provided

With four races now completed, Maximus (Paddy Kyne) continues to hold a slender one point advantage in IRC over Dux (Caroline & Nico Gore-Grimes) with Impetuous now in third. In HPH, Maximus are building a commanding lead. 

CLASS 3

Race 4 saw strong conditions again, with the fleet bunching towards the committee boat for the start and Lee Douglas’s Shenanigans leading the fleet away (reports Stephen Mullaney). At the windward mark, it was the Sigma 33 Insider from Shenanigans from Pepsi, the heavier breeze suiting the bigger heavier boats with many boats having reefs in their mainsails. The whole fleet took caution for the downwind with no spinnakers being flown.

On the next upwind, Insider led but with many position changes throughout the fleet, and at this stage, the wind had begun to drop with most of the fleet hoisting smaller heavy weather spinnakers.

By the third round, most thought the breeze had abated, and for the final downwind leg, Insider hoisted their large spinnaker and was the only boat to hoist. This proved the be the wrong answers as the gusts built, culminating in Insider demonstrating a Chinese gybe - and dunking the helm in the water - but they were able to recover by the leeward mark.

Definitely, the only boat in the fleet to have sailed up the Grand Canal in Venice, under sail the whole way to the Rialto Bridge. Yet this is what Harold Cudmore did with Silver Shamrock after winning the Half Ton Worlds at Trieste in 1976. These days, she’s the family boat for Conor Fogerty, but he now appears to be superfluous to requirements – in Conor’s absence, Suzanne Ennis Fogerty helmed Silver Shamrock to another second overall in Race 4 of the Beshoff Motors Autumn LeaguecDefinitely, the only boat in the fleet to have sailed up the Grand Canal in Venice, under sail the whole way to the Rialto Bridge. Yet this is what Harold Cudmore did with Silver Shamrock after winning the Half Ton Worlds at Trieste in 1976. These days, she’s the family boat for Conor Fogerty, but he now appears to be superfluous to requirements – in Conor’s absence, Suzanne Ennis Fogerty helmed Silver Shamrock to another second overall in Race 4 of the Beshoff Motors Autumn League

At the finish, Insider was first on the water and on IRC with Suzanne Ennis Fogerty helming on the vintage Silver Shamrock to prove that Conor’s absence for the race wasn’t an issue, as they posted another second. The J/24 Kilcullen team showing the benefits of One Design, as they jumped straight from their under-repair boat into Scandal with their sails, and posted a third on IRC. On HPH Doug Anderson’s Pepsi made it a pair of wins for Sigma 33s in Class 3 by taking their first win followed by Kahera in 2nd and Insider in 3rd.

Overall, Insider leads on IRC and Kahera on HPH, but the Sigma 33 Pepsi, having discarded their DNF from week one, sits just one point behind, with Billy Whizz third.

CLASS 4 (WHITE SAIL)

It was a day for the bigger boats, and Stephen Harris with the First 40.7 cruised round to take IRC, while Kieran Jameson with the Sigma 38 did likewise on HPH. David Greene of Malahide with White Pearl was best across both systems with a third and a second, and overall is poised to be challenging as the fleets gear themselves for the second half of the series.

 One Design is good….the J/24 Kilculllen crew transferred the sails from their damaged boat to Scandal, and logged a third on IRC One Design is good….the J/24 Kilculllen crew transferred the sails from their damaged boat to Scandal, and logged a third on IRC

CLASS 5 (WHITE SAIL)

Big is best was again the mantra as the vintage First 38 Out and About (McCoy-Cregan) took HPH, but under IRC Windsor Laudan and Steph Ennis won again with the Club Shamrock Demelza.

SQUIBS

The Squibs - smallest boats in the fleet - took full cognizance of the gloomy pre-weekend forecasts, and only two boats turned out for what was hoped to be an afternoon of one-on-one match racing, but looked more like a game of last crew standing, writes Thomas O’Reilly.

Conditions were too wild for even Slipstream’s Fiona to make herself heard, so a game of boat-to-boat charades helped establish that neither boat had an appetite to fly kites. Then at the start, Slipstream cruised down the empty line on port, pointing up at the gun to comfortably pass over the top of Cool Beans.

However, Cool Beans recovered quickly to round the windward mark first, and both proceeded kite-less to the first leeward mark with Slipstream recovering some ground. Both kept it tight rounding but Slipstream quickly found the groove leaving Cool Beans for dust. For the final part of this beat the two boats separated, SS going right, and Cool Beans regained the lead.

With conditions improving, Cool Beans prepped the spinnaker pole looking back to see if they could coax Slipstream into flying theirs. With Slipstream now hoisting, Cool Beans continued with putting theirs up. Big mistakes by Cool Beans. Slipstream proceeded to reel her in, and was hot on ithe Beans’ heels by the second leeward mark.

Slipstream put the foot down and had taken the lead by the last windward mark, deciding to fly kite on the final downwind leg. With lump in throat, so did Cool Beans. Slipstream went broad, Cool Beans went directly downwind and quickly decided to take its kite down. After a kite tangle during a gybe, Slipstream decided to drop it to avoid ending up with two kites.

Slipstream led by two boat lengths and headed for the island by the last leeward mark. Cool Beans opted to sail on but found herself in a lighter breeze. Slipstream cruised around the Martello Tower to the finishing line with Cool Beans dispatched. Another win for the visitors from Killyleagh….

HOWTH 17s

With a wind range of 20 to 30kts and shifting left and right from the west, the Howth 17 fleet of 10 starters were well tested by what was an excellent course with three beats and runs, including a gybe at the Island mark (writes Marc Fitzgibbon). Deilginis went left and then right on the break to take a lead at the weather mark that she held all the way to the finish, when she was 30 seconds ahead of the Turvey brothers on Isobel.

The Seventeens get down to business, with Orla (Marc Fitzgibbon & Daragh Gallagher) bang on the gun at the Committee Boat.The Seventeens get down to business, with Orla (Marc Fitzgibbon & Daragh Gallagher) bang on the gun at the Committee Boat

Behind them, the places chopped and changed with the shifting breeze. Oona crashed out with a broken boom and Hera fell back with a moving spider band, so that David Nixon on Erica came right back to take third, his brother-in-law David Jones with Rosemary finishing on the water to win on handicap, but Rima Macken’s Eileen - who stayed well up in the fleet - maintained her overall lead in the HPH division by securing second.

PUPPETEERS

After lead-in days of ‘will we or won’t we’ weather forecasts, the westerly wind on the way to the start was benign enough to hide any warning of the impending ‘Sailmaker’s Special’ conditions – initial wind speed of 20 knots down to 8 knots a third of the way into the race to encourage a change to bigger headsails, but quickly back up to 20 knots plus with no time to change down again writes Neil Murphy.

Little choice after that but to hard work to keep the boat moving and somewhat upright whilst listening to the flapping of quickly depreciating sails and thinking about the sailmakers’ current Autumn discount offers. With the leaders taking an hour and forty-five minutes to sail the course in the very testing conditions, bodies, sails and boats were well tested, but there was no doubt about the race being entitled to go on the list of Autumn League crackers.

Changing situation early in the Puppeteer’s race, with the wind backing ahead of a developing squall, and the port tack red boat (Shiggi Shiggi) suddenly looking at being able to cross the starboard tack Yellow PerilChanging situation early in the Puppeteer’s race, with the wind backing ahead of a developing squall, and the port tack red boat (Shiggi Shiggi) suddenly looking at being able to cross the starboard tack Yellow Peril

With all opting for their smaller headsail in the sturdy conditions at the start and only one OCS boat, by the first windward it was Yellow Peril (Murphy / Costello) in the lead and the first boat to decide whether fly the kite on the broad reach to Island mark in the by-now “very sturdy” breeze and building sea. After a pause for consideration, up it went and after a further pause while the chasing Shiggi Shiggi (P&L McMahon) and Harlequin (D Clarke) waited to see if the leader stayed vertical, theirs followed suit.

With a gybe needed at Island mark and a closer reach out to Osprey to follow, Yellow Peril went back to whitesails before gybing but their pursuers took the braver choice, got through their gybes and were looking good on the reach until the wind freshened and veered to make whitesails the more attractive option. The easing breeze on the next windward leg slowed progress and tempted many to change up to big headsails during the subsequent spinnaker reach.

However, the breeze quickly climbed back up to the low twenties after the leeward mark, making it a struggle to go forwards rather than sideways. The leaders kept station until the second long beat, when Yellow Peril and Shiggi Shiggi went left, Harlequin went right, and Trick Or Treat (Pearson / Blay), winner of the first three races, went even further right. By the windward mark, Trick or Treat were up to first with Harlequin rounding second, the left-siders back in the minor placings and HoneyBadger (G May) becoming a contender.

A broad reach brought the fleet back to Dunbo, the last turning mark, and Trick Or Treat was looking good for a fourth win. However, choosing the layline to clear the north-west corner of Ireland’s Eye in the ebbing tide was the final hurdle of the day. Harlequin judged their course to perfection, inspecting some lobster pot floats in the process, and passed Trick Or Treat, slowing them enough to allow Yellow Peril also squeeze past to grab second, a dramatic end to a dramatic race. On the HPH results, Weyhey (I. Dickson), Sanderling (B. Jennings) and Ghosty Ned (D. Harkin) took the podium places.

TEAM PLACINGS

The Inter-Squad Series-Within-a-Series for three boat teams, each from a different class, now appears to be virtually settled even at this halfway stage, with the TITs (Tiger, Insider and Trick-or-Treat) recording another three wins.

Photos by Robert Orr, Pat McCaughey, Paddy Judge & Harry Gallagher

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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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Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland stretches over seven kilometres, from Howth Head on its northern tip to Dalkey Island in the south. It's a place most Dubliners simply take for granted, and one of the capital's least visited places. But there's more going on out there than you'd imagine.

The biggest boating centre is at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Bay's south shore that is home to over 1,500 pleasure craft, four waterfront yacht clubs and Ireland's largest marina.

The bay is rather shallow with many sandbanks and rocky outcrops, and was notorious in the past for shipwrecks, especially when the wind was from the east. Until modern times, many ships and their passengers were lost along the treacherous coastline from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, less than a kilometre from shore.

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south. North Bull Island is situated in the northwest part of the bay, where one of two major inshore sandbanks lie, and features a 5 km long sandy beach, Dollymount Strand, fronting an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve. Many of the rivers of Dublin reach the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay: the River Liffey, with the River Dodder flow received less than 1 km inland, River Tolka, and various smaller rivers and streams.

Dublin Bay FAQs

There are approximately ten beaches and bathing spots around Dublin Bay: Dollymount Strand; Forty Foot Bathing Place; Half Moon bathing spot; Merrion Strand; Bull Wall; Sandycove Beach; Sandymount Strand; Seapoint; Shelley Banks; Sutton, Burrow Beach

There are slipways on the north side of Dublin Bay at Clontarf, Sutton and on the southside at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and in Dalkey at Coliemore and Bulloch Harbours.

Dublin Bay is administered by a number of Government Departments, three local authorities and several statutory agencies. Dublin Port Company is in charge of navigation on the Bay.

Dublin Bay is approximately 70 sq kilometres or 7,000 hectares. The Bay is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and seven km in length east-west to its peak at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the southside of the Bay has an East and West Pier, each one kilometre long; this is one of the largest human-made harbours in the world. There also piers or walls at the entrance to the River Liffey at Dublin city known as the Great North and South Walls. Other harbours on the Bay include Bulloch Harbour and Coliemore Harbours both at Dalkey.

There are two marinas on Dublin Bay. Ireland's largest marina with over 800 berths is on the southern shore at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The other is at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey close to Dublin City.

Car and passenger Ferries operate from Dublin Port to the UK, Isle of Man and France. A passenger ferry operates from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Howth as well as providing tourist voyages around the bay.

Dublin Bay has two Islands. Bull Island at Clontarf and Dalkey Island on the southern shore of the Bay.

The River Liffey flows through Dublin city and into the Bay. Its tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac.

Dollymount, Burrow and Seapoint beaches

Approximately 1,500 boats from small dinghies to motorboats to ocean-going yachts. The vast majority, over 1,000, are moored at Dun Laoghaire Harbour which is Ireland's boating capital.

In 1981, UNESCO recognised the importance of Dublin Bay by designating North Bull Island as a Biosphere because of its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife. To support sustainable development, UNESCO’s concept of a Biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity. To fulfil these broader management aims for the ecosystem, the Biosphere was expanded in 2015. The Biosphere now covers Dublin Bay, reflecting its significant environmental, economic, cultural and tourism importance, and extends to over 300km² to include the bay, the shore and nearby residential areas.

On the Southside at Dun Laoghaire, there is the National Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as Dublin Bay Sailing Club. In the city centre, there is Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. On the Northside of Dublin, there is Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club and Sutton Dinghy Club. While not on Dublin Bay, Howth Yacht Club is the major north Dublin Sailing centre.

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