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Displaying items by tag: Boyne Yacht Club

The Boyne Yacht Club at Mornington towards the entrance to Drogheda Port on the history-laden River Boyne came into being in 1954, when sailing was beginning its expansion thanks in part to the increasing availability of “Build-Her-Yourself” designs such as the 1956-unveiled Enterprise dinghy. Nowadays, the Enterprise is history. Yet in its heyday, it had an active class at Boyne YC which - with a small but busy fleet of assorted other dinghies and keelboats - was to thrive as a sailing centre for three decades and more. But a combination of circumstances meant that the club also became history when it was wound up in 1988.

However, despite the sometimes sad circumstances which led to the club’s demise 35 years ago, there are many now well-matured adults - either in the Drogheda region or further afield but with continuing family connections to the town and its hinterland – who retain the fondest and most vivid childhood and youth-time memories of the Boyne club when it was the epitome of the local can-do nautical spirit. And this profusely-illustrated book by local historian Ricky Gerrard and former Boyne YC junior sailor Linda Patton does justice to their many recollections.

A mighty work. Drogheda historian Ricky Gerrard and co-author Linda Patton with their story of a club which was a force in the neighbourhood fifty years agoA mighty work. Drogheda historian Ricky Gerrard and co-author Linda Patton with their story of a club which was a force in the neighbourhood fifty years ago

The club’s busy programme included a well-attended annual regatta which - in addition to the growing numbers of road-trailed dinghies – attracted substantial cruiser-racers through a neatly-timed race from Howth. And at Mornington they found a small but hospitable and fully-equipped clubhouse whose reputation for weekend sociability seems to have been borne out by the word around town that “the yacht club at Mornington was the place to go after the rugby club closed”.

CARRYING THE BOYNE MESSAGE TO THE HIGH SEAS

The Boyne sailors in their turn were to cruise and race offshore to other locations, with the pace in bigger keelboats being set by the likes of Des Gogarty with his yawl Venture, and the politician Paddy Donegan, whose 1972 season was rounded out by his lovely Arthur Robb-designed Casquet winning her class in the concluding race of the inaugural ISORA season, thereby winning the class championship for the year.

Success for the Boyne – Paddy Donegan’s Casquet (foreground) in Dun Laoghaire with the Brown brothers’ Ruffian (centre) and Bill Cuff-Smith’s Leemara (left) after all three had won their classes overall in the inaugural ISORA Championship of 1972. Photo: W M NixonSuccess for the Boyne – Paddy Donegan’s Casquet (foreground) in Dun Laoghaire with the Brown brothers’ Ruffian (centre) and Bill Cuff-Smith’s Leemara (left) after all three had won their classes overall in the inaugural ISORA Championship of 1972. Photo: W M Nixon

Other noted Boyne YC sailors such as Paddy & Elizabeth Larkin – who met at a party at the clubhouse, as she was from Ballsbridge in Dublin – embraced the full possibilities of modern life with enthusiasm and energy. Having raced a high-performance Proctor-designed Osprey dinghy at Mornington, they organised their lives to enable them to take a six year sabbatical to cruise the Mediterranean in summer in a boat called Mornington, while in winter they became such dedicated skiers at St Anton that they were given Life Passes for the ski lifts.

But meanwhile back home, infrastructural changes were altering the environment in which Boyne Yacht Club functioned. With increasing car ownership and slowly improved roads - later including the M1 motorway - Drogheda sailors could be aboard their cruisers in the marinas either in Howth or Carlingford as quickly and much more easily than at muddy Mornington.

GREATER CONVENIENCE OF ALTERNATIVE LOCATIONS

Some – such as Linda Patton’s parents - were finding that having a cruiser on the Shannon had more to offer. Meanwhile, the continually expanding club at easily-reached Skerries guaranteed dinghy racing of national standard. And with Drogheda port becoming ever more busy with larger ships, the potentially conflicting usages of the relatively narrow channel off the clubhouse made the staging of any major event even more challenging.

“We remember it well….” – an impressive turnout of former Boyne YC sailors at the book launch in the Monasterboice Inn.“We remember it well….” – an impressive turnout of former Boyne YC sailors at the book launch in the Monasterboice Inn

Other factors revealed in the book contributed to the closing of this important little chapter in Drogheda’s maritime history. And with everyone moving on, so to speak, tangible records of the Club’s thirty-four years of existence were becoming very sparse.

EVERY SOURCE OF INFORMATION USED

But – probably in the nick of time – Linda Patton, whose father was one of the BYC Commodores, has put it all together through tapping every possible source of information and recollection – however vague - in Drogheda and elsewhere in what is truly a labour of love. And Ricky Gerrard has put in Trojan work in bringing it to presentable form.

Now we definitely know that, once upon a time, there was a busy little sailing club at Mornington. And who knows, but maybe in the travel-limited zero-emission future which we all face, it will arise again, with members arriving down over short distances on electric-powered bikes to go sailing with environment-friendly wind power.

The Boyne Yacht Club 1954-1988 by Richard Gerrard & Linda Patton.

466 pps, fully illustrated. ISBN 978-0-9571141-59

Published by Richard Gerrard, €30 plus €10 p&p

Email [email protected], tel 087-9763689.

Published in Book Review
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Linda Patton is collaborating with Richard Gerrard, a Drogheda historian and author, in researching the history of the Boyne Yacht Club. The yacht club was founded in 1955 by a group of enthusiasts.

These original members carried out a lot of work themselves over the next few years excavating an area for mooring boats and building a clubhouse.

In the early years, member’s boats included National 18s and motorboats. Later the member’s dinghies were mostly Enterprises and there were also sailing cruisers.

Linda and Richard are gathering as much information as they can and they are looking through old newspapers and talking to previous members. They hope to publish the results of their research.

Linda’s parents, Aileen and Moir Patton, were members of the Boyne Yacht Club from circa 1959 until the 1970s, and Linda has many memories of the club and sailing on the Boyne. Her parent’s first dinghy was an International 12, shown with them aboard in the photograph dated 1959. In 1960 they progressed to an IDRA 14, and finally an Enterprise, before moving from dinghies to sailing cruisers.

Linda and Richard are asking for anyone who has memories of the Boyne Yacht Club, or old photographs that they could use, to contact them. Perhaps they did not belong to the Boyne Yacht Club but attended events there.

Or maybe there are photographs of Boyne Yacht Club Members sailing or attending regattas elsewhere?

Linda Patton can be contacted at 087 2569601 email [email protected]

Richard Gerrard can be contacted at 087 9763689 email [email protected]

Published in News Update
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