#greystonesharbourmarina – With 68 entrants and a host of visiting boats, the inaugural Greystones Harbour cruiser regatta made a wonderful spectacle for Greystones Sailing Club and the newly opened Greystones Harbour marina when it was staged yesterday in sunny weather off the Wicklow coast.
The new marina which has 100 berths swelled to capacity at the weekend with up to 150 boats berthed.
The successful staging and significant numbers involved for the one day event has already piqued interest from neighbouring clubs who say they are now considering feeder races for a similar 2014 regatta. It's a spirit of co-operation between east coast clubs that might yet see the return of the south–east coast regatta.
Current ECHO handicapping arrangements have proved to be a deterrent for inter–club racing on the east coast and although Greystones Cruiser organiser Dara Cafferkey admits staging the event under standard ECHO handicap was 'a challenge' yesterday, he hopes local hospitality and a lot of shoreside fun in Greystones more than made up for any technical shortcomings.
Yesterday's fixture and the novelty of a complimentary berth in Ireland's newest marina attracted 11 boats from Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. Bray Sailing Club sent seven racers and Wicklow eight. Four yachts travelled across the bay from Howth Yacht Club with the balance of the visiting fleet came from the large racing fleet on nearby Dublin Bay, including six Ruffians and seven Sigma 33s.
Greystones local Graham Noonan sailing Flash (a modified Formula 28') was the Class one winner with Dublin Bay's First 44.7 Lively Lady (Rodney Martin) second. Third was the Royal Irish YC club–mate Indecision, a J1209 skippered by Declan Hayes.
In Class 2 results as follows: 1 Hydrogen Jason Morne , 2 Astrix Fraser Meredith and 3 Great knots Paul Sunderland.
In White sails: 1 Tiger Stephen Harris, 2 Warrior David Shanahan and 3 Spellbound Graeme Burrow. The Poolbeg feeder was won by Seagual Roger Smith. 2. Dragon fly Alo McGoldrick
Afloat.ie readers may recall Class one winner Flash arrived in Dun Laoghaire from Liverpool for the 2011 Volvo regatta when it was involved in a collision with a Sigma 33' causing major structural damage. Graham Noonan in his role as a boatbuilder with Noonan boats rebuilt her and modified the boat to bring it back to winning form. Flash scored a second in the 2013 Volvo regatta and is currently club racing in Wicklow Sailing Club, also home to Hydrogen yesterday's winner of class 2.
The Wicklow mountains make an attractive backdrop for the first ever Greystones cruiser regatta held yesterday. Photo: Alan Jones
Although the offshore conditions were very shifty, the festival atmosphere ashore more than made up for any vagaries in the wind with generous hospitality before and after the two race event. On Saturday evening Greystones Sailing Club staged a pre-event BBQ while BJ Marinas Ltd, the operators of the town marina, provided a prize giving spread of food and drink after racing.
The new town marina opened at Easter and some of the first boats to arrive was a cruise in company from Howth. Since then news of the new marina has spread culminating in yesterday's big fleet.
As Afloat.ie reported in March, Greystones Sailing Club was quick to identify the new opportunity presented by the marina and now it looks set to be an annual fixture.