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With the complex COVID-19 regulations, many sailors with boats to fit out and get into commission had difficulty in assessing just what they could and couldn’t do. But Ian Byrne, Commodore of Howth Yacht Club, made it his business to analyse the national and local regulations and limitations. And then, as various stages were passed, he led his members afloat for a first sail, fully compliant with social-distancing, on Sunday May 24th. This has resulted in a gradual resumption of day sailing, with family and household crews becoming accustomed to the “new normal”.

This is 2 metres-plus…….HYC Commodore Ian Byrne on the genoa winch, and Lea O’Donoghue on the helmThis is 2 metres-plus…….HYC Commodore Ian Byrne on the genoa winch, and Lea O’Donoghue on the helm, successfully demonstrating the two-metres-plus social distance requirement in order to get sailing again aboard Ian’s Sunfast 32 Sunburn

Published in Sailor of the Month

Howth Yacht Club, in County Dublin is one of Ireland’s premier yacht clubs, wishes to recruit a Club Manager. Although previously advertised last March, the recruitment process was halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. The position is now being re-advertised. Previous applicants who still wish to be considered for this position do not need to reapply.

Howth Yacht Club (HYC) is 125 years old, has over 1,700 members and an annual turnover of €2.2m. It operates from its award-winning building overlooking Howth Harbour that houses office, bar, dining, and changing facilities. Apart from the Clubhouse, HYC has a 250-berth marina, two cranes and a boat storage area. In addition. its moorings in the harbour are serviced by launch.

The Club employs up to 31 staff during the summer and is the largest employer in Howth village. HYC normally provides an annual programme of club racing on a year-round basis as well as hosting a full calendar of International, National and Regional competitive events. It operates a fleet of two large committee boats, 9 RIBs, 5 J80 Sportboats, a J24 and a variety of sailing dinghies that are available for members and training. The Club is also growing its commercial activities afloat using its QUEST sail and power boat training operation while ashore it hosts a wide range of functions each year, including conferences, weddings, parties and the like.

Details of the Club Manager position are as follows:

The Club Manager, reporting to the Commodore, will be responsible for implementing decisions as directed by the Commodore and General Committee, the overall operation of the Club, ensuring compliance with all legislation, overseeing services provided and ensuring customer service is to the standard that positively reflects on the Club.

The successful candidate will be dynamic and customer focussed, have an appropriate third level qualification or suitable experience in Finance, Engineering or a Marine related activity, a proven track record in management, good interpersonal and social skills coupled with a practical and pragmatic approach to problem solving. A genuine interest in marine activities and the environment is needed.

If you believe that you have these attributes and would enjoy using your skills and expertise in one of the busiest sailing clubs in Ireland, please submit your application by 29 June 2020, in writing or email, with your CV to:

The Commodore, Howth Yacht Club, Middle Pier, Howth, Co Dublin, Ireland. D13E6V3
[email protected]

A Job Specification and Description can be found here

Published in Howth YC
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The J80 class will join Wave Regatta this September for its national championships in the latest details just announced by Howth Yacht Club.

Given the seismic shake-up to the sailing calendar this year, Wave Regatta will certainly be a focal Irish sailing regatta for 2020, not least by incorporating the Irish Cruiser Racing Association National Championships and as such the event will focus on delivering an excellent championship for all the competing sailors over the 3 days from September 11th.

Howth Yacht Club is preparing with a ‘front-up’ focus on safety in respect of COVID-19. They will be ensuring that we fully comply with the protocols and guidelines as outlined by the HSE and also in conjunction with Sport Ireland and Irish Sailing.

Plans are already in place for controlled access to the club, along with an innovative self-assessment protocol for all competitors. Much of the live entertainment will be replaced by a creative offering, including food and drink service to ‘crew pods’ onshore and also a service direct to boats on the marina.

Race Director Dave Cullen was delighted to confirm that Jamie McWilliam’s Ker 43 ‘Signal 8’ competing in the event as part of it’s slightly delayed 2020 regatta programme. ‘It’s great to see Jamie and team back in Howth for Wave Regatta’ and Dave added ‘we’re looking forward to giving all the competing sailors an event to remember. We’re also delighted to confirm that the J80 class will join other one-design and ICRA classes that will enjoy their national championships within Wave Regatta’.

Jamie McWilliam's Ker Signal 8 will race at Wave Regatta in SeptemberJamie McWilliam's Ker Signal 8 will race at WAVE Regatta
Wave Regatta’s Brian Turvey understands the anxiety that sailors are feeling ‘We’re delighted to be rolling on with the event and plan to deliver a superb regatta for everybody who comes to Howth. Whilst we’re scaling back on the original hospitality offering and we’ll be concentrating on delivering the very highest quality racing event and providing a safe shoreside experience. The committed support from our sponsors has enabled us to proceed with the evolution and roll-out of Wave Regatta, ensuring that the rescheduled dates could be firmly secured.’

Event details and online entry are available here with a special discount in place for entries before the fast-approaching July 3rd. All entries are refundable as per the normal prescriptions.

Published in Wave Regatta

We'll put aside for the moment the fact that Bono's father, the late Bob Hewson, lived out his days in Howth, a place he adored. We'll let it go for now that U2 drummer Larry Mullins lives in an elegantly-restrained modern mansion along Howth's Burrow Beach, and is seen in a boat from time to time. We'll overlook, too, the fact of the peninsular port's renowned connections to James Joyce and WB Yeats and J P Donleavy. Because, as of the weekend, Howth's favourite minstrel is the Tartan Troubadour Rod Stewart.

The Plaid Pixie's battered anthem "We Are Sailing" may have passed its sell-by date a dozen times and more. But as Noel Coward observed: "It's strange how potent cheap music is". Yet maybe "We Are Sailing" isn't cheap. Maybe it is just extremely good value. And that is something else altogether, for it's one of those songs which anyone can sing, and in three words it captures the mood of the moment.

Certainly, it captured the mood of Howth this past weekend, when sailing tentatively resumed after Howth YC Commodore Ian Byrne had put in some time working out the ramifications of the Irish Sailing policy document on the various permitted stages and phases in the post-Covid19 resumption of our much-missed sport.

2 howth sailing moth2You can't be more socially-distanced than with a Moth, and Alistair Kissane takes his for a lone spin at Howth on Sunday with some winter covers still in place

The Irish Sailing document was presented in such a professionally-finished way that it reminded too many people of an Income Tax Returns Form. It brought some out in a rash, while others perspired and put it away for consideration later. But Ian Byrne stuck at it, he posted his encouraging and clearcut conclusions on the HYC website at around 10pm on Thursday night, then his interpretation was up on soon after, and by Friday night although gales were in the offing for Saturday, it was all systems go to get some boats sailing by Sunday in Howth, with due observation of bubble groups and family familiars and social distancing and whatever you're having yourself including being within five kilometres of home.

So even though Saturday came in with a Mistral-like westerly gale out of a clear blue sky, things were moving afloat with boats being kitted out in their marina berths and sails put on, while ashore Demelza was being launched as a hugely appropriate flagship for the entire enterprise.

3 demelza launches3The classic and historic Club Shamrock 30 Demelza, absolutely immaculate at 44 years old, and launching with total compliance on social distancing. Photo: Steph Ennis

For Demelza isn't any just any vintage 30-footer. The 1976 Ron Holland-designed and Cork Harbour-built Club Shamrock is the boat on which Mark Mansfield cut his offshore racing teeth when his father Stafford was the first owner. Then she went to Neville Maguire of Howth, who had her for very many happy and extremely successful years, with his son Gordon frequently honing his skills on board both inshore and offshore, a special family peak of achievement being reached in August 1984 when Neville with a largely family crew on Demelza won the ISORA Championship with the Abersoch-Howth race, and on the same day down in Kerry, Gordon won the Irish Windsurfing Nationals.

For some years now, Demelza has been owned by Steph Ennis and Windsor Laudan, and they keep this 44-year-old veteran in an immaculate condition which belies her age and reflects great credit on the Corkmen who built her, while on the sailing front Demelza continues to win top prizes in major national events at several Irish sailing centres.

4 wright optimist4Family group – Sydney-Hobart Race star skipper Darren Wright in the support RIB with his Optimist champion kids Rocco and Sienna back in their home waters of Howth Sound on Sunday. Photo: Paddy Judge

So when Marina Superintendent Fred Connolly (who is also the Howth lifeboat cox'n) and his team swung Demelza aloft for launching at HYC in such a restriction-compliant style that it seemed no human agency was involved, it was an eloquent signal that it was time and more for sailing to begin, time and more for people to come out of their cocoons.

Although Sunday started raw enough, it became a perfect day of early summer, and the boats were out, all sizes from the Wright family with Optimists to cruiser-racers, tentatively enough at first perhaps, but they definitely were out with cloth aloft, and "We Are Sailing" became the anthem of the day.

It is a time of rising hope. Here in on 18th May in another context, we were stubborn enough to suggest that the current wave of COVID -19 would be gone by the end of May "like snow off a ditch", whatever the Autumn might bring. Let's stick by that.

5 indian sailing5Are we in the Greek Isles with their virus-eliminating climate? No, it's Howth on Sunday, May 24th, and we're within 5 kilometres of home with the Knowles family of Simon, Christina and their son Matthew on the helm of the J/109 Indian, celebrating the re-birth of sailing as the Lockdown eases off

It seems to be the case that in addition to possible genetic factors, there's a major climatic input in the combatting of the virus. Thus we note that one of the lowest rates of occurrence has been in Greece, which has a largely European population, but then so too has plague-stricken Lombardy in Italy. However, in Greece, the virus was trying to take hold just as the sometimes miserable Greek winter was being transformed into the radiant Greek spring, with the total warmth and brightness of the early Greek summer soon after.

For sure they'd had a lockdown like everyone else. But that glorious Greek weather must have played a key role, and now that we have what passes for summer in Ireland, Covid-19 is in the departure lounge, heading away for at least three months, and maybe for good.

So let the people sail, and let us accept that there have been quite enough cancellations. The truncated season which the various event, club and association officers have devised will do fine well in light of what we know now. And while we're at it, it's high time the rule for a social gap of two metres gets reduced to one.

Published in Howth YC
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Howth Yacht Club will be testing sailing options this weekend within parameters outlined by Commodore Ian Byrne in a missive direct to members and on the club website, issued late Thursday night.

After more than two months of total Covid-19 lockdown, local Irish sailing may be in some relatively uncharted waters in getting afloat again. But with many members living within 5 kilometres of the Howth clubhouse/marina complex, and with a significant element of family and household crews, some sailing should be possible within the Government protocols. That said, with some decidedly rugged weather in circulation, other factors may delay this pioneering step planned for Saturday, May 23rd, but better weather is expected on Sunday and Monday.

Commodore Byrne told members that the marks are laid, safety RIBs, launches and Committee boats are serviced and ready to go. The restaurant will re-open on June 29th and the hospitality team have a great plan in place to use the huge space available to serve great food and drink safely and in the familiar comfortable club surroundings.

He informed the membership that the Sailing Committee are busy planning new ways to create fun outings for single, two-handed and family sailing. This will be piloted with the smaller numbers over the next week or two. After June 8th, when the travel limit increases to 20km radius, more distant members will have access to the club and their boats and can join in.

He said there has been lots of activity on the marina after weeks in lockdown with cranes working hard and wheelbarrows busy bringing back sails and cushions to prepare the boats for a shorter, but no less fun, season. He is delighted to be in a position to announce that, while the club follow the Government & Irish Sailing’s directives, members can go sailing……

Full Directives are as follows:

  • Every member must swipe in and out individually so that they are recorded for contact tracing purposes. Be firm but polite if asked to allow someone to tailgate or have a gate held. Our legal responsibilities on contact tracing are important socially and quite onerous.
  • For the moment you can take fellow members and members of your ‘household’ sailing. If members of your ‘household’ who are not HYC members are sailing with you then you must send an email to [email protected] the previous day confirming the ‘household’ members name, mobile phone number and email address. Household groups do not have to distance and are not number constrained. A maximum of 4 people are permitted in a mixed or member groups, assuming 2m social distancing can be maintained.
  • Our contact tracing process is naturally centred around members. To facilitate regular sailors and visitors who are not members the General Committee has introduced an easy fast track (target 48 hr turnaround) and convenient monthly DD membership for Asgard (€26), Country €22) and Associate (€18.75). Email [email protected]

ian byrne2Howth YC Commodore Ian Byrne racing his Jeanneau Sunfast 32 Sunburn

Published in Howth YC
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Howth Yacht Club has had 59 members sign up to take part in their Masts & Rigging-sponsored Virtual Regatta eRacing Spring Series. Thus with each eRace accommodating up to 20 “helms”, this past week saw three leagues being run side-by-side writes Christina Knowles. And with worthwhile marine equipment prizes provided by the sponsors through Gavin Laverty, interest is still rising among newcomers, who can join by signing up to a WhatsApp group to get Sailing Instructions and Race Codes to start, then log into Zoom to chat live at event time.

The entire eRacing programme was set up by techno-whizz Teddy Byrne, who is officially Brian Byrne, son-in-law of former ICRA supremo Nobby Reilly. He had initially started a League every Tuesday and Thursday evening since Lockdown began, and with the experience gained and the new muscle provided by the Masts & Riggings sponsorship, this week sees a sophisticated and attractive product being available for sailors frustrated from getting their racing afloat.

With Teddy Byrne still the “Principal Race Officer”, the two additional Leagues are run by Emmet Dalton and Ryan Sinnott.

There are two races run each Tuesday and Thursday at 8pm, and the banter-filled sessions have provided so much sport and entertainment that sometimes they add in an extra fun race whereby the winner gets a pint promised, and bragging rights guaranteed.

Results are online but in brief for Leagues 1, 2 & 3 the top placings went to:

  • League 1:1st Shane Diviney, 2nd Czema Pico and our organiser Teddy Byrne who had a great win last Tuesday
  • League 2: 1st Stephen Mullaney followed closely by 2nd George Curley and 3rd Sergio Olaya
  • League 3: 1st Emmet Dalton, 2nd Catherine Pitcher & 3rd Willem Harting

HYC have also donated a prize for each league of a bottle of rum, while Nobby Reilly has promised any outsider (HYC Guest) a bottle of finest Champagne if they have a win. It certainly helps everyone get through what is hoped are the final stages of Lockdown, and Howth YC are keenly anticipating the time when the prizes can be officially handed over in the Clubhouse, where competitors can finally enjoy the celebration with a few long-awaited pints.

Published in Howth YC
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It would appear that the decision to reschedule Wave Regatta to the second weekend in September is strengthening the event and the inclusion of the ICRA National Championships within the regatta in Howth will certainly focus the plans of many racing sailors at the end of the summer.

The Government's phased easing of restrictions announced last night also appear to favour the postponement even though large gatherings will still not be allowed in September. Event Chairman Brian Turvey told Afloat after the government announcement: "Although I haven’t spoken with Irish Sailing yet, it appears to me that all going well, August 10th might be the date where we can all go back sailing and racing on multi-crewed boats. That would give us a month to refine our already evolving COVID-19 preparations. We’re already looking at doing temperature control checks, online crew symptom checking and branded face masks for all competitors"

Cruiser racing 0293The ICRA National Championships will sail at Howth in September Photo: Afloat

The Notice of Race has been published (download below) and it explains that entry to the ICRA Nationals includes qualification (at no extra cost) for Wave Regatta prizes also. This three-day sailing event has always been presented as an innovative experience and notwithstanding the considerations about the current pandemic, the organising team in Howth have been working hard and creatively to plan for every eventuality.

Racing Director Dave Cullen explains ‘Our focus has been to be able to run an excellent racing regatta and championships for the many competing sailors, boats and keelboat classes. It was important that we chose the right dates in September to make the most of favourable neap tides, avoid clashing with other major events and importantly to allow us the time to plan the regatta in consultation with the various authorities. It would appear that the sport of sailing is one that will be high on the list of sports to recommence over the coming weeks and we’re ready to support sailors with the highest quality racing that Howth is synonymous with’. In addition to the ICRA Nationals, the September dates for Wave Regatta also affords many classes the opportunity of hosting their own National Championships at a time of the year that is often touted as being ideal and normally after a full summer of racing. A number of other National Championships will be incorporated including the Sigma 33s and J80s as well as the Half Ton Cup.

Chairman Brian Turvey said ‘Understanding the predicament that many classes will find themselves dealing with such a short season in 2020, we are keen to see if there might be other ’natural synergies’ for class championships albeit within the parameters of the Notice of Race. As such, we’re keen to hear from classes that find themselves in that position and where we might be able to accommodate’.

J24 racing 2040J24 racing

Visitors to Wave Regatta in 2018 will remember the scale and quality of the onshore hospitality that lifted the event beyond a level normally associated with a sailing regatta in Ireland and the 2020 organising team, with help from sponsors such as Michael Wright Group and Fingal County Council, have promised an original and creative solution to the likelihood of some social restrictions and assert that competitors will be delighted with what will be presented.

The event is open to all keelboats and entry can be made for the single day Lambay Races or the full 3-day regatta which runs from Friday 11th through to Sunday 13th September.

Full event details including Notice of Race (downloadable below) and online entry can be found at

Published in Wave Regatta

A new sailing video of youth Laser Radial star Eve McMahon gives a clear understanding of why the Howth Yacht Club ace was awarded the 2019 Irish Youth Sailor of the Year Award in February.

The video below prepared for HYC members also gives an interview with the rising star who is one of four sailors seeking the Irish Radial nomination for the Tokyo Olympic Regatta, a trial that sees her up against Olympic silver medalist Annalise Murphy.

McMahon had an outstanding 2019 season becoming Irish youth national Radial Champion at Royal Cork in May 2019 before going on to take the Under-17 World title in Kingston, Ontario in August, also impressively finishing 3rd in the overall competition.

She was certainly the in-form competitor at the World Championships in Melbourne in February this year, where she won the Gold Medal again in the U17 event. 

Advancing to senior competition at 15 years-of-age is one thing but Eve has taken this a step further with her involvement in the Olympic trials, a campaign that should prove invaluable for her long-term career prospects on the international sailing circuit, not least for her ambition to advance to Olympic competition level. Eve made the most of her Transition Year by linking up and training with the Irish Olympic squad, battling back from injury and showing a determination and grit that will undoubtedly stand to her in the future.

In a first for Irish Sailing, the 2021 trialists now feature McMahon siblings in two classes with Eve’s older brother Ewan competing in the men’s Laser class and with Olympic qualification in his sights.

Eve took some time out before the COVID-19 'lockdown' to post a video on youtube to tell HYC members of her year and her plans ahead in a specially recorded interview with her other brother Jamie. The interview is below.

Published in Eve McMahon

2020 marks the 125th anniversary of organised sailing in Howth and to mark the occasion, Howth Yacht Club is publishing a book that looks back on the memorable events from HYC’s history.

Work is in progress and the aim is to publish before the end of the year.  The club is seeking “war stories” or other club memories for inclusion. HYC is particularly interested in noteworthy cruises and offshore events. Pictures are also very welcome. More details on the HYC website here

Across Dublin Bay in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, the National Yacht Club, with reciprocal links to HYC, marks its 150th anniversary with a book by Bay sailing historian Donal O'Sullivan, also to be published later this year.

Published in Howth YC
Tagged under

Following the cancellation of Cork Week 300, ICRA has decided to combine the National Championships with this year’s WAVE regatta which will take place at Howth Yacht Club from September 11-13th.

The decision was taken by unanimous vote by all the cruiser-racer representative Board Members at a strongly attended ICRA (remote) meeting this week, with the full support and backing of the RCYC Cork Week team.

The decision took into account a number of factors, including the desire to ensure that the event took place if at all possible and was not cancelled again, the costs and implications of running a standalone event at this stage and the understanding of ensuring boats and crews had some possible opportunity to get up to speed before the event.

The meeting chaired by Commodore Richard Colwell included Cxema Pico, RIYC; David Cullen, HYC; John Leech, LDYC; Ric Morris, RIYC; Johanna Murphy, GISC & SCORA; Peter Ryan, NYC; Denis Byrne, RCYC; Liam Lynch, TBSC. Brian Raftery of SBSC was absent.

The ICRA Committee also say they wish 'to thank generous offers from other clubs to host the regatta on alternate dates'.

Richard colwellICRA Commodore Richard Colwell

Commodore Richard Colwell commented “The ICRA Committee is saddened that the efforts of Cork Week cannot come to fruition so we have considered several alternative options for our annual ICRA National Championships. It was agreed that it would be prudent in the current environment, to delay the important National Championship regatta until as late as possible to try and ensure it goes ahead this year, so we have taken up the offer from Howth Yacht Club to combine the event with the WAVE regatta in September.”

"it would be prudent in the current environment, to delay the important National Championship regatta until as late as possible"

WAVE Chairman, Brian Turvey added “Our team in Howth is delighted to be able to lend support to ICRA for their 2020 Championships. Wave Regatta provides a relatively simple integration for the ICRA Nationals with much of the fleet already intending to compete and at a time of the year which suits many classes for their annual championships, not least that we are hopeful that the pandemic will have abated by then.”

Due to the uncertainty of which events will proceed, it has also been decided to cancel the original Boat of the Year schedule of races and keep under review.

Once we get clarity on what events will be proceeding, we will reissue a revised Notice of Race, ICRA spokesman Dave Cullen said.

Published in ICRA
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Page 7 of 48

boot Düsseldorf, the International Boat Show

With almost 250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair and every year in January the “meeting place" for the entire industry. Around 2,000 exhibitors present their interesting new products, attractive further developments and maritime equipment. This means that the complete market will be on site in Düsseldorf and will be inviting visitors on nine days of the fair to an exciting journey through the entire world of water sports in 17 exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology, equipment and accessories, services, canoes, kayaks, kitesurfing, rowing, diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, SUP, fishing, maritime art, marinas, water sports facilities as well as beach resorts and charter, there is something for every water sports enthusiast.

boot Düsseldorf FAQs

boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair. Seventeen exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology.

The Fairground Düsseldorf. This massive Dusseldorf Exhibition Centre is strategically located between the River Rhine and the airport. It's about 20 minutes from the airport and 20 minutes from the city centre.

250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair.

The 2018 show was the golden jubilee of the show, so 2021 will be the 51st show.

Every year in January. In 2021 it will be 23-31 January.

Messe Düsseldorf GmbH Messeplatz 40474 Düsseldorf Tel: +49 211 4560-01 Fax: +49 211 4560-668

The Irish marine trade has witnessed increasing numbers of Irish attendees at boot over the last few years as the 17-Hall show becomes more and more dominant in the European market and direct flights from Dublin offer the possibility of day trips to the river Rhine venue.

Boats & Yachts Engines, Engine parts Yacht Equipment Watersports Services Canoes, Kayaks, Rowing Waterski, Wakeboard, Kneeboard & Skimboard Jetski + Equipment & Services Diving, Surfing, Windsurfing, Kite Surfing & SUP Angling Maritime Art & Crafts Marinas & Watersports Infrastructure Beach Resorts Organisations, Authorities & Clubs

Over 1000 boats are on display.

©Afloat 2020

At A Glance – Boot Dusseldorf 

Messe Düsseldorf GmbH
40474 Düsseldorf
Tel: +49 211 4560-01
Fax: +49 211 4560-668

The first boats and yachts will once again be arriving in December via the Rhine.

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