Displaying items by tag: Ballyholme Yacht Club
Just as well Ballyholme Yacht Club is at present extending the south dinghy park and widening one of the launching slips because next July an entry of over 300 is expected for the Laser Youth Radial European Championships which will run from 5th till 11th July writes Betty Armstrong.
But as the event is being left unlimited up to a point, there maybe even more. The limit is set at 400 as per EurILCA regs.
The club lies on a wide sandy bay on the south side of Belfast Lough and this RYA recognised Training Centre has an enviable reputation for running world, international, national and regional events, with a superb 40 sq km racing area in virtually hazard and tide free waters on the Lough close at hand.
Among the world championships hosted by the club were the Topper Worlds in 2016 and the F18 World Championships in 2014. Lasers have been sailed at BYC from the early 1970s and the club hosted one of the first European Championships in 1979 as well as the Laser Radial Europeans in 2004.
The club’s racing pedigree has provided sailors and officials to Olympic Regattas and many other international events. Some members are noted for their expertise in the role of Race officer and one, Bill O’Hara was the PRO for 2017 Volvo Round the World Race.
Interest in competing is already picking up and entries open on 20th November. Rear Commodore Mark Mackey reports that last year sailors at Tarbert in Scotland have expressed a solid interest.
Bangor has a wide variety of accommodation including the new Premier Inn in the centre of the town, but with such a huge influx of people expected, it is advisable to make plans early. Info on the event can be found here
Week two of the Ballyholme Yacht Club Icebreaker series on Belfast Lough in Northern Ireland was quite a bit calmer than the first week. One the water at least. The previous night's activities did have an impact on the turn out on the race course and of the performance of some of the competitors !!. BYC’s centenary ball was on the Saturday night and some of the revellers must still have been dancing ……. instead of racing.
Mark Mackey and Charlie Westhurst both managed to appear for the early morning “big boat” racing but then went back to bed and missed the afternoon racing. At least Charlie showed up for Sunday tea time pints!!! The other missing competitors were the Simm’s family - John and Conor are in Portugal doing a mammoth cycle to raise money for the fantastic Pancreatic Cancer Charity. If anyone has not already done so please make a donation on their just giving page.
Champion Laser sailor John Simms was texting to find out what the wind conditions were like and he was delighted to hear that it was very light winds…… not a bad week for him to miss!
The Toppers were away first and Daniel Sherriff managed to beat Charlie O'Malley after 2.5 laps of the course. Charlie still leads overall with 3 points between them.
Only one small dinghy this week so no one for Jenny Mullan and Jonny Potts to race against!
Lucas Nixon beat Ellen Barbour in the Laser 4.7s and no multihulls again this week……… has anyone seen them?
The large dinghies had six boats taking part and again David Fletcher and Ryan Wilson managed to keep Sandra Halliwell and Rob Milligan at bay to claim another first place. The start of this fleet was very interesting and Roger Armson and Ken Green both tried to start the upwind beat with their spinnakers up. I think, in reality, they were both very late for the start!!!……. but it did look like an early bid for Mug of the day.
The Laser Radials had close racing yet again. There were a few in this fleet have to remember to sign out…… and they were handed DSQ’s. A shame with the fleet racing so close. Mind you others were handed DNC’s for just not turning up……
Those who did sail within the rules had a great race and David Smyth claimed his first victory in the Radial rig. Jess Winton was 3rd with Russell Finlay squeezed back into 4th place and was lucky not to be overtaken by Sara Odisio from our twin club Andorra, Italy who was breathing down his neck. This win pushes David to the top of the fleet after 2 races with Jess in 2nd and Sara in 3rd. Hopefully, the wayward souls will return next week.
In the Laser Standards, there was a very familiar pattern……. Veteran Chris Boyd relished the tricky light conditions and pulled way ahead of the chasing pack. At one stage he was nearly a leg ahead of the rest of us!!!. James Moore was the only one who was anywhere close to him and sailed a great race to claim the second spot. Richard Ramsey was back in the saddle and made an impact on his return with a superb 3rd holding off the new light wind specialist, Charlie Taylor. John Simms was reportedly gutted when he heard Charlie had such a good result in these conditions……
Ballyholme Yacht Clubs Volunteer of the year, Keith Story had a fine race finishing 5th. Not bad considering the rest of his table from the previous night did not even make the start line!. Maybe Keith was dodging some of the Jokers that Alex Ward was providing at the table!!!……. clearly Robin Moran, Alex Ward and Charlie Westhurst were not!
Unfortunately, no Mug of the Day was presented, although apart from the two Spinnaker upwind starts there were not many misfortunes to report. One person did think the Race Officer might have put himself in contention by starting the boats out of sequence…… probably another gala night related error!
Adverse weather with strong gusts in the lead up to this week’s racing threatened to spoil the day again for this week’s Charles Hurst Jaguar Land Rover sponsored Junior Icebreaker at Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough. Saturday morning however brought warm weather and light winds and a fleet of 18 junior sailors in their Topper dinghies were able to take to the water for their first training session followed by racing.
The course was set close to the clubhouse, which lead to tricky conditions in the light and shifty winds that were blowing from the shore. Race 1 saw Daniel Palmer lead from start to finish with Katie Brow in second and last year’s overall winner Faye McCartan rounding off the podium.
The second race saw a big shift on the left side of the course favour all those who had ventured in that direction seeing Daniel Palmer once again take line honours from Charlie O’Malley with Hannah Archer in third and Katie Brow staying in contention overall in fourth.
The third and final race was started in lighter winds but this time both sides of the course were even. Daniel Palmer made it a hat trick of first places but had to work this time to overtake Katie Brow who led at the first mark. Charlie O’Malley was third in this breakaway group and these three now lead the series overall.
Tight racing in the chasing pack was led by Romy Maguire ahead of Rex Claney in fifth place and Isobel Nixon in sixth.
Three of the entries were using the smaller 4.2 sail. This group is led by Hannah Bell with Charlotte Cairns second and Desi Gillespie in third. Even with the smaller sails this group were in the mix beating some of the sailors with full rigs.
The Junior Icebreaker takes place on Saturdays in October and November. Young sailors take to the water for training from a group of dedicated coaches. Training is followed by racing which is taken by these sailors as seriously as the adults in the main series on Sunday.
The Club is just one of five clubs across the UK to become successful in their bid for the event.
Supported by three coaches from the RYA Magenta Project, the group sailed from Bangor Marina in six yachts from the Belfast Lough Quarter Ton Class and Sigma Class.
"The Magenta Project is a collective of passionate sailors who are committed to creating equal access and opportunities for women in sailing"
The owners from Ballyholme Yacht Club (BYC) had kindly lent their boats to participants for the event. The sailors' race rigged the craft under the supervision of the coaches – Abby Ehler, Storm Nuttal and Nikki Henderson – and took to the water for four hours of coaching in testing conditions with winds gusting up to 28.7kts.
The Magenta Project is a collective of passionate sailors who are committed to creating equal access and opportunities for women in sailing. It was started up in 2015 by members of the all-female ‘Team SCA’ who successfully competed in the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race campaign.
Since then, the sailors have been working to create opportunities for women in performance sailing through on water training, learning and development opportunities.
They also support career/skills development schemes and events and STEM activities in the marine industry, building networks and relationships that connect individuals and organisations. This enables sailing knowledge, experience and opportunities to be shared, raising awareness of women in sailing and celebrating their successes and achievement.
The Magenta Project has now teamed up with the RYA to help promote more women racing keelboats at club level through tailored coaching sessions at clubs up and down the country, run by RYA qualified Magenta Project coaches, to get more female club members on the water racing, more often.
Aidan Pounder from Ballyholme Yacht Club commented: “This was the first time that the Magenta Project had come to Northern Ireland, and the ladies who participated found the experience truly remarkable, albeit a little exhausting. BYC hopes that this is not the last, but the start of many more Magenta Days to come in the future, helping to inspire more women into keelboat sailing.”
After six of 11 scheduled races were completed on Day 2 yesterday (Saturday 24 August), sailors awoke to sunny skies but little wind and forecasts for today range from 5 to 12 knots, gusting 16.
After nine fairly tough races (see results HERE), some will be grateful for a bit of respite although many have polished up their breezy sailing skills in the last three days and wanting one last blast if possible.
Yesterday morning saw the strongest winds of the event for Race 1 although not as unsteady as Day 1 or as gusting and less breakages to masts, etc as a result.
The second race was similar if a little more controllable with great blast reaches between the beats and runs. Legs in the standard fleet at least were starting to get painful after 24 beats in the championship so far.
The final race started in decent wind as well for the standards and 4.7s who both got away first time as soon as the Radials had cleared the inner loop.
The breeze finally relented on the first run a little and then on the second run shifted 50 degrees to the east without warning but by then both fleets were settled and relatively happy for the fetch and reach/run to the finish.
As they were heading for home the Radial fleet finally got away for their final race with the Race Management team having had to shift the course to accommodate the new wind direction.
In the Laser Standards, Ronan Wallace of Wexford Boat Club continued his great form with two bullets in Races 7 and 8 although he wasn’t always at the front of the fleet until the latter stages of both races.
In Race 9, Darragh O’Sullivan managed to get in front and spoil the perfect score. Fionn Conway was always close as well with Master Nick Walsh and Conor Simms both trying to get in on the action but getting passed by the finish line.
The 4.7 fleet saw England’s Luke Anstey make a move with two firsts and a second to move equal on points with Royal Cork’s Michael Crosbie with the National’s Conor Gorman just one point behind. Michael and Conor both have three firsts so it’s very much up to what happens today to see who will win.
First girl remains Ellen Barbour from County Antrim Yacht Club with consistent results in the breeze let down a little by the final race.
Ballyholme’s Dan McGaughey had a much better third day in the Radial fleet, winning the day with 2,1,7 but his poor Friday keeps him in fourth place. Michael O’Suilleabhan won the final race to squeeze in front by one point from Kai Wolgram from Llyn Brenig with Tom Higgins in third place. Clare Gorman is first lady.
Two more races are scheduled today but with an AP up, the fleet may be lucky to squeeze in one race before the wrap-up and prize-giving.
The Irish Multihull Association introduced an innovative approach to their National Championships this year by inviting the 49er and 29er fleets to join them in a high-speed weekend of competitive sailing on Belfast Lough where we hosted the World F18 Championships in 2014 writes organiser Richard Swanston
Catamarans of various types arrived on Friday evening to give us a very competitive fleet of Dart 18’s Dart 18’s Hurricane 5.9 SX and a very competitive F18 fleet including four of the Irish team that attended the recent European Championships in Spain.
The fleets were met with an uncharacteristic SSW shifty wind on Saturday 5 to 15 knots. A very packed committee boat end provided for some bumps/words of aggression not often heard. The racing was extremely tight with usual front-runners Adrian Allen and Barry Swanston well down the fleet. Last years winners Wyatt Orsmond and Patrick Billington winning race one but not before newcomers in a Nacra,
Mat and James McNichol rocketed around the course making some great decisions in the tricky winds. Wyatt’s experience finally ran Mat and James down. Peter and Dee Mc. Dowell pushed into a third place in their Viper.
Matt and James overturned the first race with a storming race win with Adrian and Barry in 2nd. Place.
Wyatt and Patrick winning this race with Adrian and Barry in 2nd. Swannie and Mat Mc. Murty showing a bit of form with a 3rd. place.
Adrian and Barry in their Cirrus R1 were starting to really take control with another race win, Wyatt down in 7th. Place and Mat in the Nacra in 2nd. Beginning to assert a regular top three placing.
Saturday night was hugely enjoyed by all. A bbq followed by a table quiz and an open mic music night provided for the necessary sore heads on Sunday morning.
Sunday dawned with a very brisk 15 to 25-knot breeze. Time for the speed machines to stretch their legs with very high speed downwind sprints and very close upwind racing
Swannie and Matt in their Windrush Edge show real potential and despite many place changes took control on the 3 rd. lap only to blow a race win by finishing incorrectly. Mark roundings with 4 f18s at top speed made for great viewing.
"The IMA Festival of Speed event is to become an annual event. Next year looks like it may come to Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay"
Race 2 and 3
Adrian and Wyatt swapped race wins and second places albeit with Mat and Swannie, David Biddy Biddulf and new crew Emma roaring around the course to add yet another competitive boat to the mix with some great racing and no quarter being given.
Was won again by Wyatt and Paddy with Adrian and Barry in 2nd. Biddy in 3rd. Swannie had to retire with a broken shackle on his mainsheet.
Controversy, however, was the deciding factor in the end, race one was started one minute early a protest was heard and it was decided to throw out the race, however, a last minute counter protest reinstated the race allowing Wyatt to claim the first race win and win the event overall by one point !!!
All in all a very successful weekend with a great interaction with the junior 29er fleet and top 49er sailors.
The IMA Festival of Speed event is to become an annual event. Next year looks like it may come to Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay.
Ballyholme Yacht Club is pleased to launch the Icebreaker Series 2018/19. Now in its fourth decade, this event attracts a range of sailors from all over Belfast Lough. Commencing on Sunday, September 30th and continuing each Sunday until 16th December. Part 1 will consist of 12 races. After a short break over Christmas and New Year, Part 2 commences on Sunday, 3rd February 2019. One race will be run on each day.
"There will be no charge for entering the Icebreaker Series"
Entry is open to dinghies and multihulls, who otherwise would have limited opportunity to race during the winter. Olympian and RYA High-Performance Manager Matt McGovern commented “Ballyholme Icebreaker Series is a real highlight in the winter sailing calendar. It offers great quality racing in large fleets every Sunday. Personally, I can’t wait to dust off the hiking pads and get out there myself in the Laser class this year.”
In a change from former years, there will be no charge for entering the Danske Bank sponsored Icebreaker Series 2018/19. Visiting boats will be accommodated at BYC for a small fee. This is in order to encourage a large entry. For those sailors with limited racing experience, BYC will be offering adult training on Saturday afternoons for members and visitors to help them build confidence for a competitive environment.
For more information including Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions, please see here
The Mackey Opticians sponsored Belfast Lough Autumn Series came to a sad finale yesterday with Storm Brian hanging around long enough to put paid to the morning's racing.
Race Officer Ruan O'Tiarnaigh had hoped to run two races as the series had only completed three out of six Sunday mornings due to the previous Storm Ophelia and a cou-ple of windless days before that. However a constant 30 knots and gusts into the late 30's made the RO's mind up that it was better to end the season with all of the boats in one piece.
There has been some close racing in the 3 races achieved. The IRC handicap has worked well for the wide range of sizes in their class with the 44 foot Hanse Grey Goose, First 40 Giggle, 38 foot Indigo and First 31.7 competing against the much small-er Beneteau 26 Stratus Sailing campaigned by Gavin Watson and his compatriots who normally compete on Jay Colville's Forty Licks. Despite managing to almost deglove the finger of one crew member on the first race, followed by a young crew member having to be taken off the boat during the second race after getting his hand stuck in a block, Stratus Sailing won the class by 3 points from Dickie and Pauline Donnan's Indigo
The Belfast Lough Quarter Ton class had a good turnout for the series and the differing breezes over the 3 races upset the normal standings with the older ladies Chatterbox owned by Davy Quinn winning the class and Mumbo Jumbo - a 1976 Contessa 25 owned by the Moran/Storey/Westhurst partnership coming in second with more con-sistent results than the rest.
The NHC Whitesail fleet may have been won by Gerry Bell and Bryan Lawther's Merry Jack if they had read the Sailing Instructions for the first race. After completing their two laps, they opted to try and sail a 3rd rather than sailing through the downwind finish line - winning Mug of the Day instead of the first race. Instead John Moorehead and his team on Margarita took the overall class win from David McMullan's Steel Pulse.
The Sigma class saw some close racing as typified by the Sigma fleet this summer in Scotland and Dún Laoghaire. Paul and Emma Prentice's Irish Sigma Champions on Squawk managed to get a jump on the others in the breezier first two races to win over-all although both Starshine Challenger and Impulse showed some good pace at times - in particular in the lighter wind 3rd race with Impulse's shiny and crackling new genoa - to promise more great one design contests when the boats relaunch for next season.
Rear Commodore Ruan O'Tiarnaigh thanked the various committee boat owners, race management teams and mark layers from Ballyholme and Royal Ulster Yacht Clubs for their help over the seven weekends. Mark Mackey and Mackey Opticians were also thanked for sponsoring the event, as well as all of the competitors for continuing to support what is normally some of the best racing of the year in Belfast Lough sadly limited by this years hopefully freak weather.
The 2017 GP14 Irish Nationals were held on 19th-21st August at Ballyholme Yacht Club. 29 boats competed which included one visiting team from the UK – John Hayes, an ex 470 campaigner from Southport who was sailing with Joel James. Overall numbers were down a bit on previous years due to a number of mitigating factors. However those unable to attend missed a superb event with a wide range of conditions, superb race management, excellent hospitality and exceptionally close racing.
Chief measurer Jimmy McKee was in attendance on Friday night & Saturday morning to scrutineer and weigh boats. The forecast for Saturday was borderline and the fleet were held ashore initially for an hour or so to allow the wind to subside. When the fleet did eventually take to the water, the lull in conditions proved to be only temporary. Shortly after the start of race one, the committee boat began recording gusts of 30 knots. The ensuing white knuckle race saw Shane MacCarthy & Damian Bracken winning from Sligo’s Niall Henry & Ossian Geraghty with Sutton sailors Alan Blay & David Johnston 3rd. With only 15 boats finishing and conditions refusing to abate, the race committee made the sensible decision to send the fleet home after a single race. Once ashore competitors enjoyed a superb bar-b-que where the famous Ballyholme rib-eye steaks lived up to all of the pre–event hype.
The forecast for the second day of racing could not have been more different to the first. This time, conditions looked borderline on the light side, with even the most optimistic forecasts predicting gusts of just 7 knots. Nevertheless, with a race to make up the race committee sent the fleet out and after a hour or so floating around the breeze did eventually appear. Niall & Ossain took first blood in the challenging conditions winning the opening race from English visitors John Hayes & Joel James. The right hand side of the beats seemed to be consistently paying in the ebbing tide but getting out there through the various holes & shifts was’t completely straightforward! Ger Owens & Melanie Morris found a way though, knocking in 2 bullets in race 3 and 4 from Alan Blay & David Johnsson and Keith Louden & Alan Thompson respectively. Silver fleet sailors Doire Shiels & Andrew Sexton also had a good day, recording a 7th and a 3rd to take control of the silver fleet. After a long day on the water, the race committee decided the fleet had had enough after 3 races and the fleet returned home.
The Irish GP14 AGM was held on Sunday evening and saw Stephen Boyle step down after 3 years as class president. David Cooke takes over as the new president and no doubt will strive to continue the excellent progress made over the past few years as the class builds towards a 2020 World Championships in his home club. Following the AGM, many of the sailors gathered in the nearby Jamaica Inn with a surprise birthday cake for class stalwart Hugh Gill who is celebrating another big one!
With 3 races scheduled for the final days sailing, and just 2 points separating the top four boats the championship was wide open. Race 5 saw Shane & Damien record their second race win from John & Joel. Race 6 and another race winner, this time John & Joel taking line honours with Keith Louden & Alan Thompson in second position. So going into the final race the championship was set for one of the closest finishes in recent years with Ger & Mel holding a narrow one point lead but Shane & Damian, John & Joel and Nial & Ossian all still in with a real chance of overall victory.
In the end however, Ger & Mel held held their nerve and won the last race and with it, the overall event. Doire Shiels & Andrew Sexton won the Silver fleet finishing in 10th overall while Sutton’s Shane MacLoughlin & Rory Murdoch won the bronze fleet. Top youths were Gareth & Richard Gallagher in 12th position overall.
Over 100 swimmers took to the sea for the first night of Ballyholme Yacht Club's Open Water Swimming series last night. The series is now in its fourth year with participants from 8 years old to seasoned triathletes looking for some extra training.
Last year swimmers came from across Northern Ireland to Ballyholme Bay with a number of parties in training towards swimming the world famous North Channel swim from Donaghadee to Portpatrick which is part of the Ocean Sevens that participants travel around the world to complete. Several Indian and USA visitors based themselves in Bangor for a month's training whilst the Donegal Diamond waterpolo team had a relay squad that completed the 35km swim.
Following registration at the club and a detailed briefing, the swimmers dipped their toes in and got used to the temperature. Whilst most wear swimming wetsuits, some of the more experiences swimmers swim as "skins" in preparation for other open water events later in the year. However the briefing stresses that the Monday night swimming is not a race.
A course is set in Ballyholme Bay of approximately 750m around yellow buoys. The better swimmers completed 2 to 3 laps whilst others opted just to swim to the first mark or cut across the middle. Safety is provided by kayaks and RYA First Aid trained crews in Ribs. With prevailing south-westerly winds, the swimmers normally enjoy sheltered flat water in the sandy bay.
After an hour, all of the participants came out on the end with smiles on their faces. And looking forward to next week's swim on Bank Holiday Monday. The series runs every Monday evening until 11th September. To register for the swimming or to find out more about the series, please visit here