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Friday morning in Schull must have turned into a nightmare for Calves Week Race Officer Neill Prenderville, when he awoke to find the West Cork venue covered in fog and a forecast for further wind and rain. Competitors had previously been advised of the possibility, that not all classes would be sent on a course around the Fastnet, and eventually only class 0/1 were dispatched in search of the famous rock, with the remaining fleets sailing within the confines of Roaring Water Bay in a freshening westerly breeze.

In class 1 IRC it was business as usual for Paul O'Higgins leading “Rockabill V1 around the rock, to score his fourth bullet of the series, while in Echo 1 Gabby Hogan’s local boat “Growler” finished a brilliant week with his third win in a row to take the overall Echo award, together with the best local boat trophy.

Calves WK 17 4867Muskateer (Billy Burke) from Cove Sailing Club competing at Calves Week Photo: Bob Bateman

In class 2 IRC “the “Bad Company crew from the Royal Cork completed a fantastic week to score their third win of the week, which guaranteed their capture of the overall trophy, while in Echo their club compatriot Fergus Coughlan in “Jedi” was able to discard a poor final days result to secure the coveted overall silver ware.

In class 3 IRC Dan O Donovan from Dungarvan Harbour Sailing Club, sailing his Sonar which was probably the smallest boat of the total Calves week fleet won the overall by virtue of a better last race result, while in Echo the “Muskateer” crew from Cobh SC made up for that disappointment by claiming the Echo class overall, despite a poor Last race result.

Calves WK 17 4899Seconds Count (Dan O'Donovan), a Sonar keelboat competitor, from Dungarvan Photo: Bob Bateman

In class 4 it was it was a great day at the office for the Murphy family crew in “Shelly D” Who revelled in the fresh conditions to win both divisions ahead of Richard Hanley’s “Saoirse “in IRC and Simon Nelsons “Witchcraft” in Echo.

In White sail 1 Dennis Murphy’s finished off a fantastic week by taking the overall trophies in both IRC and Echo with his family crew in “Nieulargo”, while in White Sail 2 Andrew Mackey’s “Lornadrew” comfortably won the overall despite coming home second to Debroah Crowley’s “La Perie Noir” in the final race.  At the award presentation, the Pearson trophy was awarded to Oonagh Buckley for her work in promoting Calves Week for many years.

Published in Calves Week

Today's Fastnet race turns into a victory lap for the new Calves Week champ. A forecast of fresher winds has required some contingency planning for what is now Calves Week’s big finale, but after a dominant display that matched her D2D victory in June, Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI has started today’s rescheduled Fastnet Race as Schull’s newly crowned IRC1 champion
Meanwhile, Winkie Nixon explains how the winner of the other Fastnet Race literally came out of nowhere (don’t miss his Sailing on Saturday blog to find out if Irish sail students claim any RORC silverware tonight), Greystones GP14 pair MacCarthy & Thompson have it all to do on the final day of the British Nationals, and we have class-by-class results from last night’s DBSC action.

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Published in News Update

Following the postponement of Calves Week's scheduled Fastnet race, Thursday's racing took place, with the start line off the mouth of Schull harbour in West Cork in a building westerly breeze which eventually reached 12/14 knots. All the fleets raced through the Castle Island and Long Island sounds, with the larger fleets making multiple circuits.

In class 1 IRC Paul O Higgins continued his domination of the fleet, with a victory which ensures that “Rockabill”1V has won the class overall, before any discard, while Conor Doyle’s “Freya “took second on the day. In Echo it was a second consecutive win for Gabby Hogan’s “Growler” ahead of Andrew Craig’s “Chimaera”.

In class 2 “Bad Company” sailed a great race to win both divisions ahead of Fergus Coughlan’s “Jedi “in IRC and Kevin Doyle’s “Jamaro” from Cobh S.C in Echo.

In Class 3 the “Muskateer”crew from Cobh S.C had another excellent outing, to win in both IRC and Echo from David Buckley’s “Boojum” and Diarmuid Dineen’s “Growler”.

In class 4 Echo it was a first win of the series for Kevin Murray and his local crew on “Dovita of Colla” while the Murphy family on “Shelly D” had a first in IRC and second in Echo.

In the White sail class Sean O Riordan's “Y Dream” sailed to victory in IRC ahead of Denis Murphy’s “Nieulargo”,while in Echo it was local Schull boat “Quinsea” with Barry Quinlan on the helm who took the trophy ahead of Tom O Mahoney’s “Loch Greine, while in White sail 2 the honours went to Don Buckley’s “Zeezwan” from Paul Taylors “Sea Psalm”.

With much fresher weather forecasted for today's Fastnet race, a contingency plan has been put in place which may see only the larger boats attempting to round the rock, while the remaining fleets enjoy the relative comfort of an inshore course.

Published in Calves Week

Calves Week OD Neill Prenderville certainly got his fleet into the feelgood mood,when he requested over the VHF that all competitors smile for the RTE camera crew covering the event prior to the start of the second race of the series in Schull, West Cork yesterday.

With the northerly wind prevailing for the second day, the various courses took all the fleet through Long Island sound and around Goat Island before round various marks in Roaring water Bay.

In class 1 IRC Paul O'Higgins 'Rockabill VI' continues to dominate the fleet with another clear victory while in Echo is was Gabby Hogan’s “Growler ”who took the trophy in a fleet where event sponsor Frank Whelan was forced to retire following an incident with Leslie Parnell’s “Black Velvet”.

In class 2 Fergus Coughlans “Jedi” had a clean sweep in both IRC and Echo ahead of “Bad Company” from the Royal Cork and Henry Hogs “Lisador” from the Garrykennedy Sailing Club.

In class 3 IRC, Dungarvan boat “Seconds Count” had a tight victory over “Muskateer” from Cobh, who also had to settle for second in Echo from Richard Lords “Blue Peregrine”.

Class 4 IRC was won by Richard Hanley’s “Saoirse” from KInsale, while Simon Nelsons “Witchcraft “was victorious in Echo.

White sail 1 was dominated by Aidan Heffernan’s “Indulgence”, with victory in both divisions, while Andrew Mackey’s “Lornadrew” won White Sail 2.

At a crowded presentation on Schull Main Street, Commodore Pat Maher announced that the traditional Fastnet race was postponed until Friday due to the light weather conditions forecasted for Thursday.

Published in Calves Week

Calves Week 2017 Regatta kicked off today in West Cork and Bob Bateman captured the action for in the photo gallery below.

The opening day started out clear and bright with a light northerly wind, forcing OD Niall Prendeville to lay his start line off the Calve Islands with a windward mark off the entrance to Schull harbour. The fickle wind caused problems for most classes with a period of rain adding to the misery at times .However as the front passed through the fleet of close to sixty boats finished in Schull harbour in glorious sunshine with a freshening breeze.

Calves WK 17 4913

Class 0/1 had the longest course of the day; taking in three rounding’s of the Calves; however a protest over a mark on the course resulted in their presentation being put on hold, pending a protest hearing.

In class two IRC, the Royal Cork's “ Bad Company” revelled in the variable conditions to take first place ahead of Flor O Riordans “ 3 Cheers”, while the Echo trophy went to Fergus Coughlan’s” Jedi “ahead of Derry Nash in Catalpa.

Class three proved very fruitful for” Musketeer” from Cove Sailing Club, who won both divisions ahead of Dan Donovan’s “ Second Count “ in IRC and local Schull boat “ Sally In Stiches” sailed by the Dwyer family in echo.

Local Schull boats again dominated class 4, with the Murphy family in “Shelly D” taking prime position in both IRC and echo ahead of Kinsale's Richard Hanley sailing” Saoirse” in IRC and Simon Nelson's” Witchcraft” in echo.

The top three in White sail 1 were similar in both IRC and Echo with Denis Murphy’s “Nieulargo” taking top place ahead of Sean O Riordan in” Y Dream” and Aiden Heffernans” Indulgence”, while White sail 2 saw the prizes go to local Schull boats, with Andrew Mackey's “Lornadrew” winning ahead of Peter Moorhead's “Giggles” and Tralee Sailing Club's Paul Taylor in “ Sea Psalm”.

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Published in Calves Week

Baltimore will become a centre for sailing over the next few weeks. This August weekend the annual sailing trek to the waters around Carbery’s Hundred Isles will get underway with the annual overnight race from Crosshaven to Schull. For the next few weeks the Cork sailing fraternity will be joined by boats from the East Coast, taking in events like Calves Week, Baltimore Regatta, racing around the Fastnet and the legendary Cape Clear Regatta.

The date when the club was founded varies, according to which account you take it from. A list of Commodores in the club starts in 1952 but a letter dated 3rd August 1976, written by Frank Murphy, who was the first Secretary of the club, stated that the club was founded in the summer of 1953. However, the Minutes of a Meeting held at Salters premises in Baltimore on Saturday 28th July 1956 state that "It was unanimously felt that a Sailing Club should be formed”

On my podcast this week I talk to a former Commodore of the Club, Gerald O’Flynn, who puts that date as the one when the club was formed.

Its story, set up originally as a Summer sailing club for Cork families with second homes in the fishing village, began when some of those seasonal residents lost boats in storms while they were kept at nearby Tragumna beach.

Gerald O’Flynn tells the story of boats built and bought for £75 each in ‘old’ money; about a ‘bastard-type’ of National 18, Enterprises and Fireball dinghies used by the club, the running of National Dinghy Week and the time when the club annoyed locals by covering grass areas on the pier with concrete. It’s a fascinating story about a club with a strong family emphasis which he told me in its modern premises which these days operates for a wider period than just Summer.

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• Tom MacSweeney presents THIS ISLAND NATION radio programme on local stations around Ireland.

Published in Tom MacSweeney

Calves Week …. A fun event with an underlying level of quite serious racing.” WM Nixon's recent description of Calves Week describes very precisely what the organisers, Schull Harbour Sailing Club aim for every year. Club commodore Pat Maher said that each year they get more boats returning with family crew to combine a summer vacation with spectacular sailing through Carbary’s 100 isles.

This year’s event will feature racing for six classes, with the ever-growing white sail class split into two fleets, with all south coast boats also competing in the Scora League.

Calves Week SailingAbove and below: Calves Week Sailing action Photos Bob Bateman

The traditional overnight, offshore race starts from Crosshaven on Friday August 4th While the following Monday’s Baltimore regatta will provide an opportunity for skippers and crew to familiarise themselves with Roaring Water Bay, where principle race officer, Neil Prenderville hopes to set up a variety of courses taking in the many Islands and natural marks over the following four days.

With over 30 confirmed entries having availed of the discounted early registration fee, the pressure is on to beat the 1st July cut-off date, while the overall entry is once again expected to top the 60 boat mark.

Calves Week SailingCalves Week SailingCalves Week SailingCalves Week SailingCalves Week SailingCalves Week SailingCalves Week Sailing

Published in Calves Week

With just over six weeks to the Sherry Fitzgerald sponsored Dublin Bay Sailing Club season the stand–out class of the year looks like Cruisers One where a 20–boat fleet has 13 J/109s among its number. It's an impressive result that bodes well for a very competitive season but in the neighbouring big boat class should something be done to assist falling numbers in Cruisers Zero?

A story this week on shows George Sisk's Wow from the Royal Irish Yacht Club is on the market. With only four other entries presently in DBSC Cruisers Zero is it now time to dispense with a Cruisers Zero class on Dublin Bay and rearrange the bands to take some lower–rated Cruisers One boats back into Cruisers Two?

Such a scenario is unlikely with the news that Sisk's WOW will be campaigned fully this season and a new Sisk forty footer is in the wings. In fact, there is also the possibility that Cruisers Zero could reach six boats this season with another new boat – yet to be announced – coming into the Bay. 

There is also talk of DBSC moving the Cruisers One band lower to move some Cruisers One boats into Cruisers Zero but is that the answer?

Cruisers Zero was never that particularly strong in Dublin Bay and generally came about to ensure they got decent length races as the Cruisers One boats were considerably slower. However with the ever increasing speed of Cruisers One boats the gap in elapsed time between Cruisers Zero and Cruisers One has been reducing considerably.

WOW Farr 42Cruisers Zero Farr 42 Wow is for sale but will be replaced with a similar sized boat Photo:

Cruisers One, spearheaded by the J109 designs, is clearly the strongest class in DBSC and likely in the country. Since the J109 class moved to non–overlapping jibs and consistently updated their sail wardrobes with the latest in sail technologies, they have been getting quicker and quicker.

Joker 2 J109ICRA Boat of the Year, Joker 2, a J109 from the Royal Irish Yacht Club. Photo:

Three of the last four ICRA championships in Cruisers One have been won by J109’s including the last two years (Joker II) and the 2016 ICRA Boat of the Year is also a J109 (Joker II). A J109 also was a class winner in the Round Ireland race 2016 (Storm). The J109 class has pushed others in Cruisers One to up their game and now we see both the Archambault 35s Gringo and Adrenalin becoming much more competitive, along with the XP33 Bon Exemple that has gone through many changes over the last few year (symmetric to Asymmetric and back again, lowering their rating). Add to this Paul O'Higgins mighty Rockabill VI, the JPK 10.80, and Cruisers One is the strongest it has ever been.

Rockabill VI JPK10.80Paul O'Higgins mighty Rockabill VI, the JPK 10.80 design will be unstoppable in heavy airs. Photo:

At the start of last season Tim Goodbody brought in the J109 White Mischief and two further J109’s have entered the fleet in the last six months, Andrew Algeo's Juggerknot and Andrew Craig's Chimeara. All three are seasoned campaigners and will surely drive the fleet further.

White Mischief J109Recent arrival – Tim Goodbody's White Mischief J109 was immediately competitive Photo:

Gringo A35The A35 Gringo has a flatter stern and quick dead downwind. Photo:

So who will be on the DBSC podiums this year in Cruisers One and also Cruisers One at ICRAs? With 13 J109’s competing surely the podium will be stacked with these 15–year–old designs? They are extremely competitive in lighter airs and can hold their own when the breeze gets up. Their only weakness is running in stronger winds where the lighter, and flatter sterned modern designs, like the A 35’s and XP 33’s can pull their poles back and go straight downwind, whereas the asymmetric J109’s have to do higher angles.

Bon Exemple XP33XP33 Bon Exemple – different spinnaker configurations. Photo:

If, however, the winds stay stronger for a whole series, like ICRA's 2015, it will be very hard to beat Rockabill VI. This boat is extremely powerful and will go upwind and downwind much faster than the rest of the fleet in a breeze, even taking into account her higher handicap. However it appears she has a weakness in light airs and one day of these conditions in a series might be a problem for her.

Three in a Row for Joker II at ICRAs?

Among the J109’s the top performer from 2016, John Maybury's Joker 2 is going for three in a row at ICRA's having won in 2015 and 2016. She will not have it all her own way however as Tim Goodbody's White Mischief and Pat Kelly's Storm are always very competitive. The newly arrived Chimeara and Juggerknot might also have something to say. The A35 Gringo has shown a lot of form as has Bon Exemple. At ICRAs you will also likely be seeing the A35 Fools Gold of Rob O'Connell in contention as he has done in the last two events.

Packed Season

2017 is set to be a very interesting year for this ever strengthening class with 3 large events in Ireland for them to battle it out. The ICRA Championships in Cork Harbour in June, ten days later, Sovereigns Cup in Kinsale, and a few weeks after that Dun Laoghaire Regatta Some may also venture to Tarbert in Late May, Calves Week in Early August and Abersoch week in Late August. There are plenty of good events available and some great racing ahead. Allied to all of this a great regular racing scene in Cruisers One in the DBSC series.

Published in DBSC

The final race of GAS Calves Week 2016, the Fastnet Race, took place on Friday 5th August in sunshine and light westerly winds of 9-13 knots. The Principal Race Officer, Neil Prendiville, moved the race around the Rock from its usual Thursday slot to avoid sending the 73 crews entered in the Regatta through a heavy Atlantic swell pushed up by the gale that passed through earlier in the week.

The mild conditions allowed Neil to send the Class 0/1 fleet on a 25 mile long route to a windward mark by Long Island, and then east through the Gascanane Sound around Clear Island and on a windward leg up to the Rock. The lead boats finished in just under 4 hours to round off a successful week of sailing. The other fleets were sent on a more direct route, to the windward mark and out to the Rock, with the Class 2 and 3, and larger Whitesail boats, set an extra challenge to round Goat Island to the north east before heading back to the harbour.

In class 1 Paul O Higgins’ new flying machine ,the JPK 10.80 with Mark Mansfield on the helm, had done enough in the Tuesday and Thursday racing to hold off all challengers to win both Class 1 IRC and Echo overall, ahead of Royal Cork’s True Penance (Darrer/Garvey) in IRC and Chris Moore’s J109 Powder Monkey from the National Yacht Club.

In class 2 the Desmond/Ivers /Deasey, Bad Company secured a first place in the Fastnet Race to hold off the challenge in IRC of Ernie Dillon’s Rioja while in Echo Andrew Algeo from the home sailing club had done enough to win the class overall despite Corby 25 Smile, Rob Allen from Galway Bay securing a first in the Fastnet Race.

In class 3 IRC the J 24 YaGottaWanna’s second in the Fastnet Race was enough to secure an overall win of the series to stay marginally ahead of David Buckley’s Boojum from Tralee Sailing Club. Boojum was also unlucky to miss out on the ECHO win to local boat Quinsea sailed by brothers Barry and Denis Quinlan whose first place in the Fastnet Race was enough to secure the series win and the coveted Best Local Boat award.

In Class 4 the Kirby/Norris crewed Raffles edged out Kinsale’s Saoirse, helmed by Richard Hanley for the series in both IRC and Echo despite Saoirse’s win of the Fastnet Race in both classes.
In the white sail 1 IRC class Brian Heffernan’s Aisling won the class ahead of Act Two from the Royal Irish, and ahead of his relation Aidan Heffernan’s Indulgence in Echo.

In class 2 WS KYC member John O Regan in Main 4 managed to hold off the challenge by fellow club member Stephen Lysaght on Reavra for the series win.

Published in Calves Week

Following Wednesday's Calves Week cancellation of racing due to severe weather, the five hundred plus crew members in the 73–boat fleet awoke yesterday to a blue sky and a fresh northwest breeze of 15 to 20 knots. Principle race officer Neil Prendeville set up his start line north of the Calve Islands, and succeeded in squeezing in two races for all six fleets using a windward mark off Long Island and then exploiting the scenic natural features of the western and middle Calves as marks on the course.  See Bob Bateman's Calves Week Photo Gallery HERE.

In class 1, Paul O Higgins' new JPK 10.80 Rockabill with Mark Mansfield on the helm, continues to dominate the class with three wins in IRC after a tough battle with Connor Doyle's Freya, while holding off the new 36.7, Altair from Cove sailing club in echo.

In class 2, the Desmond/Ivers /Deasy, Bad Company still leads the class with a third and first in IRC ahead of Ernie Dillons Riojo, while in Echo Andrew Algeo from the home sailing club continues to lead overall ahead of Henry Hoggs Lisador from the Garrykennedy sailing club.

torn_spinnaker_on_yachtA spinnaker tears during racing at Calves Week. Photo: Bob Bateman

In class 3 IRC, the J 24 YaGottaWanna continues a very successful season with a first and second in IRC to stay marginally ahead of David Buckleys, Boojum from Tralee Sailing Club who continues to lead in Echo ahead of the Hunter 707 Hot Pants 3 from Howth.

Class 4 IRC continues to be an all Schull affair with the Kirby/Norris crewed Raffles swopping places with Michael Murphys Shelly D while in Echo a very popular local skipper Kevin Murray took one of the trophy’s in Echo.
In the white sail 1 IRC class Brian Heffernans Aisling with a first and second continues to lead the class ahead of Act Two from the Royal Irish, while also leading Echo ahead of his relation Aidan Heffernans Indulgence.

In class 2 WS Stephen Lysaght's decision to opt for white sail instead of class 2 appears to be paying off as he remains in close battle with fellow KYC member John O Regan in Main 4.

The final race of the series continues on Friday with the re scheduled Fastnet Race.

Published in Calves Week
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