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Displaying items by tag: Brendan Cassidy

15th April 2024

Today Is Brendan's Day

When the stories attached to the former Cassidy four-storey pub on Howth waterfront appeared on last week, telling of how it might become a boutique hotel owned by a syndicate including MMI Word Champion Conor McGregor, eagle-eyed peninsula dwellers wondered why we mentioned some distinguished Cassidy descendants without including the late great Brendan Cassidy (1934-2006).

Well, it was because today is Brendan's Day. In his long ownership of the Howth 17 Anita, unless it was blowing a hurricane Brendan launched bang on time every April 15th, and made sure that when evening came, Anita would be sitting in fully-rigged but often solitary splendour in the midst of the outer harbour, looking quietly wonderful.

For the rest of us, it was an even surer sign than the departure of the Brent geese that summer was on its way. And Brendan provided many other services for the sailing community. He was HYC Honorary Secretary for years. He frequently served as Race Officer for major events. And for a while, he came away every year cruising with me on the Hustler 30 Turtle, which fulfilled the vital function of taking both of us out of the Howth cauldron for a while, allowing an element of peace to descend back home.


For we took the cauldron with us. So although we'd memorable cruises to the Outer Hebrides and Round Ireland, perhaps the best of all was in 1984, south to Cornwall and Falmouth and then out to the Isles of Scilly, and eventually clockwise round the Celtic Sea to take in Schull Centenary Regatta.

Best of all was the initial leg going south, hopping round the islands of Southwest Wales in perfect conditions and landing on four of them, and then eventually crossing the Bristol Channel from Caldy to Lundy with as good a sail as any of us had ever had. But the joy was too good to last, yet full of hope, we made our way in the warm, bright evening up to the Marisco Tavern on top of Lundy.

It was full of silent solitary ornithologists drinking sad half-pints. Naturally the three of us (Johnny Malcolm was there to try and keep the peace) lorried into proper and rather rapid pints. What started as a
quiet discussion about developing various means of fund-raising for the new Howth YC clubhouse steadily became more heated. It soon developed into a full-blown and noisy row. I can assure you there is no faster way of clearing a characterful bar entirely of its population of solitary silent ornithologists.

All was eventually peace again the next day as we made a magic 72-mile passage along the north coasts of Devon and Cornwall to St Ives. And back home in due course, Brendan resumed his position as the Conscience of
Howth Yacht Club and particularly of the Howth 17 class. So when Anita became the only Howth 17 to be deemed a write-off in Storm Emmma's shoreside destruction in March 2018, there was no way the Class would accept that. Ian Malcolm saw to it that she was re-built in Douarnenez in 2019, and she sails on in Dave O'Connell's ownership.

Perhaps it was as well that Brendan had been long gone from amongst us, even if it was honouring his memory that most inspired the re-birth. For the restoration was done by the great Paul Robert with his team. And Paul's workshop in Douarnenez glories in the name of L'Atelier d'Enfer - the Workshop of Hell. That might have bothered Brendan. But needs must when the Devil drives.

The sacred duty. Anita is re-born in 2019 in Douarnenez's Workshop of Hell. Photo: Ian MalcolmThe sacred duty. Anita is re-born in 2019 in Douarnenez's Workshop of Hell. Photo: Ian Malcolm

Published in Howth YC