Displaying items by tag: Lough Ree Yacht Club
In 2020 Lough Ree Yacht Club will celebrate its 250th anniversary or it’s Sestercentennial celebration, apparently a recently devised Latin expression for same. Lough Ree Yacht Club is located at Ballyglass, Coosan, Athlone. Organised boating events on Lough Ree have been documented as far back as 1731, these events were initially organised from the local Garrison in Athlone and were thought to have been cruising but in a military or more accurately, Naval manner. It was not until 1770 that the first formal regatta occurred, initially under the auspice of Athlone Yacht Club and in 1895, the Club was renamed Lough Ree Yacht Club.
Organised racing soon became a regular occurrence on Lough Ree, it was initially an ascendancy activity and racing took place in Half Raters. Whilst these were beautiful craft, they were expensive and were not one design. The need for a competitive and less expensive dinghy resulted in the Shannon-One-Design designed by Morgan Giles and introduced to the Club in 1922, the Club has never looked back.
As part of the celebratory year, the club has a busy schedule planned, in particular, the Annual Regatta which is a weeklong event is to be embellished and will include a Civic Reception and Gala Dinner in the Town of Athlone. Sometimes, particularly for rural Clubs, the populated areas need a reminder that sailing is taking place close by, even though the Club has been in existence for such a long time!
The Club, which has a reputation for its warm welcome and hospitality, has also planned two flagship events which it hopes will attract external sailors to help the Club celebrate the event; after the success of the junior double-handed event, Double Ree in 2018, the Club proposes running this again in 2020. The previous event attracted almost 60 boats and 115 junior sailors to the sunny shores of Lough Ree for a fun-filled weekend which also included competitive racing! The Electric Picnic of sailing events in Ireland. The final date in July 2020 for this event is still to be confirmed, so more to follow.
Given that the mainstay of the Club is the Shannon-One-Design, the second external event is to feature the SOD. Clinkerfest will take place over 3 days during the Whit bank holiday weekend 2020 (30th May – 1st June). The event is what it purports to be, a celebration of racing clinker built boats. It is hoped to attract over 100 boats to Lough Ree for competitive racing and plenty of fun. To-date there is a commitment from SODs, Water Wags, Mermaids, IDRA14’s and International 12’s, there is also growing interest from several other fleets who have yet to commit.
LRYC Commodore, Garrett Leech said, “Some of the largest one-design dingy racing fleets in the Country are wooden built clinker boats, there is sometimes a view that these are classic boats and not really competitive racing fleets, this could not be further from the truth!”
The main premise behind the event is to showcase the vibrancy of these various fleets, to suppress the classic boat label and to demonstrate to the sailing community that these are current and competitively active fleets. Where possible, any Regional events that the fleets might have will be worked into the Regatta. Again, more to follow.
The Irish Sailing Cruising Conference heads inland this year so that sailors from around the country can join each other for a day of speakers, presentations, storytellers and a social lunch. Lough Ree Yacht Club is known for their warm welcome and excellent facilities and will be hosting the conference on Saturday 16th February, 11 am to 5 pm.
As previously reported by Afloat.ie last month, there is a fascinating line up of inspiring speakers, all professionals in their field and keen to share a story and pass on some advice. Tickets are available directly on Eventbrite here
Taking care of our oceans and waterways is an international concern and has a direct impact on our sport and lifestyle. Round the world ocean sailor and 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Manager in the 2018 Volvo Ocean Race, Damian Foxall, will give an insight into sustainability and the changes Volvo Ocean Race made. And to compliment Damian, Niall Hatch of Bird Watch Ireland will be discussing the lives of our incredible range of coastal birds and giving tips on identification at sea.
"Niall Hatch of Bird Watch Ireland will give tips on identification at sea"
Ocean going sailors will be intrigued by the story of Paul Scannell and Mary Healy’s cruise round Ireland (very carefully!) in a 41-year-old inland waterways vessel. We all know how lumpy it can get out on the west and north west coast and these guys really know how to read weather charts and go when the going is good. “It is all about the prep and good crew.” says Paul.
Man over board is always a big concern and when one of Kylie McMillan’s fellow crew members fell overboard at night while racing round Ireland, the importance of having a plan and good training probably saved a life. Following requests from last year, Technical Crew Manager Keith Devaney and Chief Crewman Benny Meehan will be presenting on how to manage a helicopter lift.
Vera Quinlan is preparing to sail the Atlantic circuit with her two children under 12 and will be sharing a vlog on the work involved. Battery management is a big issue in this age of numerous tablets, phones and electronic equipment on board, so Toni of Union Chandlery will give everyone some advice on battery management on-board. And Norman Kean will bring everyone up to date with the most recent developments in leisure craft diesel and the impact it has on coastal sailing.
The continued support of sponsors Union Chandlery make this event possible and chandlery specialist Toni O'Leary will be on hand to give personal advice all day. Lunch, teas and coffees are included in the conference ticket, plus every attendee will enter a draw to win a Standard Horizon HX300E Handheld VHF from Union Chandlery. Kilrush Marina are also supporting the event this year and one lucky attendee will win a week’s marina berthage and sling wash, PLUS 4 attendees can win a night in their fantastic floating pods. And as always Irish Cruising Club Publications will also be offering a few free copies of their cruising guides
Tickets for Members are at a cost of €25 and non-members €30 (plus booking fee).
You can contact Gail MacAllister directly if you have any questions about the event on [email protected]
Speakers and presenters confirmed for the day include Paul Scannell and Mary Healy, who cruised round Ireland in a 41-year-old inland waterways vessel.
The Irish Coast Guard will explain the ins and outs of a helicopter lift, while Kylie McMillan will share her experience of a man overboard scenario at night and the importance of having a plan and training for such critical situations.
Niall Hatch of BirdWatch Ireland will give a presentation on the lives of coastal birds and how to identify them, and the gathering will see Vera Quinlan’s vlog on preparing to sail the Atlantic circuit with children under 12.
Battery management onboard is the topic for Toni O’Leary of Union Chandlery, which is sponsoring the event and provides a Standard Horizon HX300E handheld VHF for a prize draw on the day.
Kilrush Marina is also supporting the 2019 conference and one lucky attendee will win a week’s marina berthage and sling wash, while four could win a night in the marina’s floating pods.
The J/24 Association of Ireland has announced the calendar for its regional and national championships in 2019.
Lough Ree Yacht Club will host the class for its Westerns in the first big event of the year on the weekend of 13-14 April — the week before Easter.
The following month the fleet moves to Tralee Bay Sailimg Club for the Southerns on 25-26 May.
Hello and welcome to my weekly Podcast …. Tom MacSweeney here ….
That the Royal Cork at Crosshaven is the oldest yacht club in the world is well-known, even if there are some elements who have challenged, though unsuccessfully, that claim… Perhaps not so well-known is that Ireland has, not one, but the two oldest yacht clubs in the world.
Lough Ree Yacht Club lays claim to being the second oldest.
It has other interesting historical sailing associations. It is one of two clubs on the Shannon where brothers are Commodores at the same time. And their mother was the second woman in the world to become a Club Commodore. That is a lot of sailing commitment in one family.
Lough Ree, in a comparison to the initial formative years to which the RCYC traces its history, has its early days also in formation sailing. This was carried out by Naval personnel in Cork Harbour for the RCYC’s history – By military men on Lough Ree for the formative days to which the Athlone club traces its history.
Lough Ree YC held the All-Ireland Helmsman’s Championships a fortnight ago and has a particular interest in promoting sailing in which more than one person is involved in a boat. While they do have solo sailing, their penchant is to encourage increased participation in the sport.
All of this is outlined by Lough Ree Yacht Club Commodore, Garrett Leech, in this week’s Podcast.
It was a cold, wet day, just after Storm Callum had passed through when I drove the winding roads from Athlone to Lough Ree Yacht Club, to hear more about what the second oldest yacht club in the world is doing to promote the sport and was welcomed to their impressive building by Commodore Garrett Leech:
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST BELOW
The four biggest two-handed youth classes will be competing in their respective regional championships at next month’s inaugural event in Athlone, developed as an alternative to the usual focus on single-handed boats.
The Mirror Western Championship, RS Feva Inland Championship, 420 Connacht Championship and 29er Triple Crown will all be decided at Ireland’s largest youth double-handed regatta — and one that Lough Ree YC promises to be ‘an extravaganza of spinnaker-flying racing’.
The Double Ree concept has developed as an alternative to the usual post-Optimist paths of the Topper and Laser 4.7, says Lough Ree Yacht Club Commodore Garrett Leech.
Double-handed dinghies make an apt choice for many younger sailors, who may not be comfortable helming a larger vessel or may not enjoy sailing alone, among other reasons.
Double-handers like the Mirror also encourage the development of more rounded skill sets, Leech says.
“At Lough Ree Yacht Club, nearly all kids, even those who sail Optimist on the circuit, will also learn to sail in a double-handed dinghy, be this a Mirror or Feva, even Shannon One Designs.”
Getting younger sailors interested in two-handed sailing has also arrested a decline in classes that may be overlooked by those more focused on the high-performance pathway.
With various two-handed classes to move into, the question for Lough Ree was which to embrace.
“Some of our kids started to want more speed and excitement so have moved into 420s,” Leech says. “We sat and watched the development of the 29er fleet here in Ireland, and debated about the introduction of yet another class and what impact it might have on double-handed sailing nationally.
“We soon came to the conclusion that we should embrace all of these racing fleets — and hope that there would be no more introduced anytime soon.”
Leech gives credit to his Vice Commodore John McGonigle for developing the Double Ree concept, with input from Gail MacAllister of Irish Sailing.
“We hark back to days of old — when we hear about Dinghy Week in Dun Laoghaire from some of our older members, when there were huge numbers of dinghies competing in Dublin Bay.”
“So we are setting out to create an event that will pull all competitive double-handers to one location. We hope that that the various fleets will come to appreciate the merits of each other’s fleets.”
Holistically, the Double Ree event is also about “pulling families together in a fun environment”. But Leech is clear that attracting competitive youth sailors is a key goal.
Camping and mooring facilities are available at the Athlone venue, with a barbecue to welcome competitors and their families on Friday 20 July, as well as a club dinner on the Saturday evening.
The central location, weather conditions that are usually forgiving enough to permit winter sailing, and the offer of winter storage have made Lough Ree the popular choice.
Graeme Grant will again be heading up the coaching, aided by Conor Twohig and Sarah White, who have been doing sterling work coaching in their respective clubs.
Graeme will be available, assisted by either Sarah or Conor, on the weekends of 24-15 February, 24-25 March and 21-22 April.
In order for us to be able to manage costs, it will be mandatory to do all three weekends (€210 total per boat payable in advance).
In addition, to the recent influx of bronze fleet sailors, the class intends to use the first training weekend of the winter on 13-14 January to prepare both boats and sailors in order to get the maximum benefit from the following sessions. This weekend, which is not mandatory, will cost €50 per boat.
Close behind the defending champions were fellow Lough Ree YC pairing Ben Graf and Hannah Smith, winners at the Mirror Easterns in Clontarf in late August – and who finished behind their club mates at the Mirror Worlds this summer.
Mirror Sailing Ireland says the year has “finished on a high” for the class as numbers in the training and racing dingy class continue to grow.
While this year’s Mirror season may be over, there’s still sailing to be done as Croasdell and Farrell are representing the class (but racing TR 3.6 double-handed dinghies) at this weekend’s All Ireland Junior Sailing Championships in Schull.
Olympic Silver Medalist Annalise Murphy was on hand last Saturday to help parents Con Murphy and Cathy MacAleavey launch the new family dinghy, a traditional clinker–built Water Wag dinghy, a class that celebrates its 130th season this year.
The champagne corks were popped on the shores of Lough Ree as the travelling Wag fleet welcomed the new addition. Mariposa, Number 45.
Mary Kennedy from RTE's Nationwide TV programme sailed the first race with Cathy. Kennedy helmed in the light winds (even though she has never sailed before) and Mariposa actually led most of the way to the Wineport Lodge hotel finish but just got pipped at the line. The race and a piece on Cathy's new Wag wil be screened on Nationwide on Friday, 5th May. The new dinghy, that Cathy built herself, has already featured on the cover of influential French maritime heritage magazine, Chasse–Maree.
The Wags were holding a training sesssion at the freshwater venue with coaching by the UK's Mark Rhodes. The foiling Moths were also sailing but unfortunately there was too little wind for them.
The class is the oldest one design in the world and can still boast to be onf of the most successful, with regular turnouts of 20 boats and more for Wednesday night racing in Dun Laoghaire harbour.
Last year, a 110 –year–old model, Pansy, was the winner of the Royal Irish YC regatta.
The event took place in Firefly dinghies and consisted of 15 races, the boys made the final which was a best of three knockout, it came down to the 3rd race, but they won.
The Lough Ree Yacht Club/Athlone Community College boys are now invited to compete in the National Championships in Schull, West Cork later this month.
The team was: Ben Graf, Alex Leech, Lughaidh Croasdell, Luke Groarke Donagh, Oisin Dolan, Conor Paul & Niamh Murray