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Against many weather predictions, summer-like conditions at Howth Yacht Club blessed the third weekend of the Autumn League on Saturday afternoon with warm weather, increasingly bright sunshine, and an improving sailing breeze from south to southeast as the programme developed through the day writes W M Nixon.

The two Race Organisation teams – inshore and offshore – took full advantage of this gift from the weather Gods to put in two races back-to-back, thereby amply compensating for the previous weekend’s cancellation. The hundred-plus fleet reflected Howth and Fingal sailing in all is variety, for though there was a large and varied display in both the right-on and white-sail IRC/ECHO Classes, one of Howth’s sailing’s great strengths is the unique One Design Classes which are based only at the peninsula port. Both the classic gaff-rigged jackyard topsail-toting Howth 17s and the Puppeteer 22s were turned out in strength for excellent racing.

As well, another class which has achieved a special local character in Howth is IRC 2, which is the domain of Howth’s continually up-graded classic Half Tonners. Here, Dave Cullen’s Checkmate XV has found form after a second place on opening day. She recorded two straight wins on Saturday to keep her ahead of Johnny Swann’s Harmony with her 1,3,2, while Mike and Richard Evans Big Picture currently lies third with a 3rd, 2nd and 5th in a class of 16 boats.

The Puppeteer 22s are currently experiencing an infusion of even more new blood, and a hot fleet of 18 boats has seen the Murphy/Costello team on Yellow Peril in sparkling form to record a scoreline of 2,1 1 over the series to put them ahead of seasoned campaigners Alan Pearson and Alan Blay in Trick or Treat, with the veteran Clarke/Egan crew on Harlequin lying third.

howth 17 saturday2Howth 17s in strength, jackyard topsails and all. One hundred and ninetten years of sailing history are encapsulated in this photo, the 1988-built Isobel (left) currently narrowly leads the points table. Photo Conor Lindsay

Sixteen boats are racing in the 1898-established Howth 17 Class, but it is one of the “newer” ones, Conor & Brian Turvey’s Isobel (1988) which came out of Saturday ahead on points, but only just. The 1907-built Deilginis (Massey/Twomey syndicate) won Saturday’s cracker of a second race to add to an existing scoreline of a 2nd and 5th, and while Isobel may have gone into that concluding race with a first on opening day and a 2nd in Saturday’s first race, she could do no better than fourth as Saturday evening closed in.

One of the original five, the 1898-built Rita (Marcus Lynch & John Curley) is currently third with a 4th, 1st and 7th, while the very newest, Ian Malcolm/s French-built Orla of July 2017 vintage, is fourth overall. There’s now all to play for in a series which ends on October 21st after six races.

Detailed Results here 

Published in Howth YC

The Massey family’s 1907-built Deilginis of Howth Yacht Club has retained the Howth Seventeen Annual Championship after a five–race series concluded on Saturday with a countback following a points tie with the 1910-built Oona (Peter Courtney) writes W M Nixon.

The combined age of the boats taking part in this well-supported event was 1,487 years. And though this oldest active keelboat class in the world has a strong presence of younger sailors in its makeup of crews, the fact that many boats now find they do best four up meant that the total combined ages involved with people and boats soared through the 2,000 years mark.

But in mostly ideal conditions, Race Officer Neil Murphy was able to get in a complete programme which would have been envied by many younger classes, thanks to putting through a preliminary race on Friday evening, sailed in sunshine and a brisk southwest to west breeze.

howth seventeen 2 yachtThe Friday evening race in a brisk sou’west to west breeze sent the Howth Seventeens away from a traditional pier start through the Sound inside Ireland’s Eye. Photo: W M Nixon

Although Conor Turvey helming the 1988-built Isobel had the best of the start, by the finish Luke Massey had brought Deilginis through to the lead, and at the line it was Deiliginis, Oona and Roddy Cooper’s 1898-built Leila taking the honours.

However, the real excitement was back in the midst of the fleet, where Transatlantic Solo Race winner Conor Fogerty was guest helming aboard the Lynch family’s Echo. In a close encounter on a rolling run with Eileen, the latter’s mainsail came in across the Lynch boat, and their star visiting helm found himself wrapped up in Eileen’s mainsheet, and hauled into the sea.

Any talk of being Lynched was reckoned in the worst possible taste as they got the right people aboard the right boats. And nothing daunted, the Atlantic veteran raced on despite being soaked to the skin, though the 14th place recorded by Echo became her discard.

howth seventeen yacht 6Saturday at first brought plenty of breeze, but topsails were carried throughout. Photo: Neil Murphy

Things were back to normal in the morning, and Saturday’s packed programme was staged in a west to nor’west breeze which was marginal for topsails at first, but with the forecast for wind strengths to ease as the day went on, the fleet went forth with full sail set.

It was intriguing to note the different levels of skills being shown in the arcane arts of setting a jackyard tops’l. The fact that Peter Courtney’s family have been involved with the class since 1907 suggests that it’s an inherited talent, as the topsail on Oona was in place to perfection, setting as one with the mainsail, whereas some other boats had inefficiently large gaps between the jackyard and the gaff.

howth seventeen yacht 6The new French-built Orla (Ian Malcolm, left) and Peter Courtney’s Oona, which had the best-set topsail in the fleet. Photo: Neil Murphy

Despite the style of her topsail setting, Oona was back in third in Saturday’s first race, but Deilginis was on a roll with another win. However, the Courtney boat then moved rapidly up the ranking with two firsts in Saturday’s second and third races, while Deilginis logged a sixth and a second. This meant they were head to head in the final race with Deiliginis in cover on Oona, while the brand-new French-built Orla (Ian Malcolm) read a windshift to perfection to take the win, with second going to the Turveys and Isobel, and Deilginis and Oona coming in third and fourth.

With them tied on 7.0pts after discards, the quick judgment was that Oona must have it, as she discarded a fourth while Deilginis dropped a sixth, and they both had a scoreline of two firsts, a second and a third. But somewhere in the deepest depths of World Sailing Rules it apparently says that in the event of a tie, the placings in the final race are the decider, with discards ignored, so Deilginis retained the title she won in 2016, with Oona second, Isobel third and the new Orla fourth on a 4th, 5th, 6th and 1st, with an 11th discarded.

In a class of this size, the availability of handicaps adds greatly to the commitment of the fleet, and the placings in this division were 1st Gladys (Pat Heydon), 2nd Bobolink (Doyle/Finnegan/Walsh), 3rd Silver Moon (Susan Morgan) and 4th Erica (Ian Byrne and Eddie Ferris).

howth seventeen yacht 6The breeze eased on Saturday as the day went on, but the full programme was completed. Under the rules of the class, it is obligatory to carry the entire spinnaker on the weather side. Photo: Neil Murphy

As to a Howth championship being won by “the Dalkey boat”, it goes back into the mists of time, when Dublin Bay Sailing Club were casting about around 1906, looking for a seaworthy little keelboat class. Having searched high and low, it was pointed out to them that a well-proven little class was hidden round on the other side of Howth Head. Apparently they were called the Howth Seventeens, and the word was they did the business as regards seaworthiness and good racing.

So in classic Kingstown style, Dublin Bay Sailing Club adopted the design, immediately renamed them the Dublin Bay Seventeen, and ordered seven to be built by James Kelly in Portrush on the north coast, for delivery to Kingstown on flatbed railway trucks in time for the 1907 season.

Leading this movement was Dr W M A Wright who was to become DBSC Commodore in 1919. But in 1907, to underline the Dublin Bay character of his new Seventeen footer, he called her Deilginis, after that place which has been known as Dalkey ever since the Vikings passed through.

howth seventeen yacht 6The Massey family’s 1907-built Deilginis, Howth 17 Champion 2017, was retrieved from the canal bank in Dolphin’s Barn in Dublin in a tarred and derelict state in 1971. Photo: Neil Murphy

Deilginis was a star of the Dun Laoghaire yachting scene for years, but by 1970 when Nick Massey was in the heart of the movement to re-locate all the boats to Howth, the word was that Deilginis was in a state of dereliction, with evidence of tar being deployed, on the banks of the Grand Canal at Dolphin’s Barn in Dublin.

We just don’t have the space, time or knowledge to explain how Dolphin’s Barn got its name. Sufficient to say that Nick and his siblings and shipmates managed to retrieve what was left of Deilginis around 1970, and her path has been onwards and upwards ever since, with this past weekend yet another waypoint on that magic route.

Published in Howth YC

With the world’s newest One-Design Keelboat class, the Volvo 65, currently celebrating its hugely successful debut in the Fastnet Race 2017, it’s more than appropriate that the world’s oldest keelboat OD, the 1898-vintage Howth Seventeen, should be staging its Annual Championship, starting tomorrow (Friday evening, August 11th) at Howth Yacht Club northeast of Dublin, where the class first raced on May 4th 1898 writes W M Nixon.

All five of the original boats which sailed in that maiden race 119 years ago are still with the class, and in fact two of them, Aura (Ian Malcolm) and Leila (Roddy Cooper) were respectively second and third overall in the 2016 Championship.

It was quite an achievement, as the class has expanded over the years, and the defending champion this weekend is the Massey syndicate’s Deiliginis, one of the “new” boats, as she was built in 1907. There have been other additions since, and just recently, as reported in, class numbers rose to 21 with the arrival of the new Orla, constructed in France for Ian and Judith Malcolm by the boat-building school Skol ar Mor.

howth seventeen2The new French-built Howth 17 Orla will be making her championship debut on Friday evening. Photo: W M Nixon

Although 21 boats are in existence, there’s always one or two resting or undergoing restoration. So the turnout this weekend will be 17 boats, with every last one of them determined to beat the new boat Orla, which will be sailed by Ian Malcolm. His other boat, the 119 year old Aura, will be raced by Puppeteer ace Scorie Walls, who has shown herself capable of winning in just about every type of boat, thus the needle between Aura and Orla will be a wonder to behold.

The championship is in a very civilized format, with the topsail-less Club race from a pier start on Friday evening, and then four races back-to-back on Saturday from the Committee Boat, with topsails in use if conditions suit. Ideally, the five races completed by Saturday evening will constitute the championship, but Sunday is kept in reserve, and has been needed a couple of times in the past.

Published in Howth YC

When that definitive image of young Aoife Hopkins leppin’ her Laser with rocket power out of a breaking wave at the European Women’s Laser Radials Under 21 Championship 2017 (July 17th to 24th) at Douarnenez in Brittany went viral, we all knew something very special was going on.

But though the young Howth sailor clearly revelled in the heavy going, she proved well able for conditions of all sorts, and had the mental strength to withstand an entire crucial day lost to calm. With three races packed into the final day, she took three firsts to clinch the trophy by a country mile.

An outstanding Sailor of the Month for July among our potential Olympians.

aoife hopkins2Aoife Hopkins

Published in Sailor of the Month

One of the teams taking part in their very first regatta at today's Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta are Howth Yacht Club's “Try Racing” team competing in the north Dublin Club's recently purchased J80 keelboats. This time last year none of the crew had sailed before and as part of HYC initiative to get more people joining the club and out sailing on a regular basis they joined the “Taste of Racing” programme.

While the boat is helmed by club member Noel Davidson the crew are experiencing their very first regatta as they compete in the mixed sports boat class which includes 1720’s, J80’s, J70’s and other mixed sports boats.

J80 HowthThe Howth J80 Try Sailing crew made a finish line error but found out it was all part of the fun

They joined a group of four J80’s who while making a dash for the finish line in the first race of the day, missed the correct finish line all together and learnt the valuable lesson of reading the sailing instructions properly.

They redeemed themselves in race two with a creditable seventh place out of 15 in the mixedsports boat class.

The regatta continues until Sunday.

Published in Volvo Regatta

Howth Yacht Club hosted the Optimist Team racing Vice President's Cup last weekend. On the water there were lots of smiles, buckets of team spirit and great selfless tactical moves.

The races were so effectively run (well done Richard Kissane & team), there was a review to the schedule to avoid finishing too early adding a Gold and Silver round robin so by the end of the event there were 57 races in total.

On the racing side, two teams were surely showing effective team racing tactics and it was no surprise to see them battling it in the final. After a great day of racing, RCYC-1 captained by Rory O'Sullivan came out on top against the RstGYC-1 captained by Trevor Bolger.

Clubs represented were the RstGYC (3 teams), RCYC (2 teams), HYC (2 teams), MYC (2 teams), NYC and TBSC

Published in Optimist

As Ireland's sole representatives, Howth Yacht Club's Laura Dillon with Jonathan Bourke, Rita Gonçalves, Antonio Gois lie just outside the top third of the Dragon World Championships after three races sailed in Cascais, Portgual.

As noted in its daily e–news yesterday, Dillon’s sailing record is nothing if not varied. Since 1996, when she clinched ISAF Youth Worlds bronze with Ciara Peelo and then became the first female ISA Champion Helm, the Howth sailor has campaigned in the RORC Series and Middle Sea Race at the wheel of the S&S41 Winsome, flown the flag as a Match Racing skipper, and this time last year was celebrating victory with Team Ireland at the UK Women’s Open Keelboat Champs

Dillon is counting 18, 25, 45 to be 25th overall, nine points off the top 20.

Full results for the 70–boat fleet are here

Published in Dragon

Dublin sailors Laura Dillon from Howth Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire sailor Jonathan Bourke lie 18th after the first race of the  2017 Dragon World Championship in Cascais, Portugal yesterday. The sole Irish entry 'Cloud' is also crewed by Rita Gonçalves and Antonio Gois.

Andy Beadsworth sailing Provezza, the Turkish flagged entry with his team of Ali Tezdiker and Simon Fry won the first race of the in superb sailing conditions and warm sunshine.

70 Dragons from 19 nations tackled the challenging waters off Cascais, only 20 km down the coast from the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. For the first day of racing one longer race was scheduled using a 2 lap windward/leeward course of 2.2nm in length with a final upwind leg to the finish.

The race was started in gutsy 16 - 20 knots of breeze from 330 degrees, accompanied by rolling waves and warm hazy sunshine.

Race Day 2 on Tuesday 13 June has 2 races scheduled with a first warning signal at 1300hrs local time.

Full results are here

Published in Dragon

Howth Yacht Club’s annual Lambay Race in recent decades was always traditionally held in the second weekend of June writes W M Nixon. But pressure from other major events meant that Howth simply had to go for the June Bank Holiday slot in 2017 if it was going to have a viable entry at all for an event which had taken on extra muscle with local sponsorship.

However, this meant that the Lambay Race was treading on the toes of the long-established Bank Holiday regatta at Poolbeg Y&BC in Dublin Bay, which in turn was the sailing part of the Dublin Port Riverfest. So unless some genius came up with a way of suddenly finding days and weekends in the month that simply didn’t exist before, the noise clashing of results would reverberate along the coast.

In the end, there were no Old Gaffer classics from Poolbeg to race round Lambay in company with the even-older Howth 17s. However, rising above all this fixtures confusion was the creative administrative genius of Peter Ryan, Chairman of the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association.

Peter’s members from both sides of the Irish Sea were keen to have a long coastal race on Saturday June 3rd, but many of them – including ISORA’s growing Howth contingent – also wished to do the Lambay Race, while there were those from Dun Laoghaire who wished to salute the Festival in Dublin Port. With the wisdom of Solomon, Chairman Ryan came up with a solution which pleased everyone, and as a bonus provided his members with an excellent race.

It all seems so simple in hindsight. But at the time there were those who could see nothing but problems in having the ISORA fleet do the Lambay Race to finish it at the Stack mark on the northeast corner of Ireland’s Eye, following which they simply continued racing right on round the Baily and into Dublin Bay and a second finish line at the end of the South Bull Wall provided by Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club.

The full report on this part of the Lambay is HERE, meanwhile, having been touched by the stardust of the ISORA fleet in their midst, the rest of the large Lambay fleet (report on their race HERE simply went into Howth Harbour and continued with a busy weekend which had started with a round Ireland’s Eye event on the Friday, continued with some serious partying on the Saturday evening by which time local boats racing on with ISORA to Poolbeg had re-joined them, and then on Sunday it was rounded out with a family day which left Monday for welcome recovery.

Certainly the Howth club had much to celebrate, as their Lambay fleet included the half dozen of the 1898-vintage Howth Seventeens which had thrown themselves into total involvement in the previous week’s Sail Festival at the Morbihan in Southern Brittany, something which involved the old boats enduring around a thousand kilometres of road trailing in Ireland and France in order to make ferry connections.

howth seventeens home2Howth Seventeens home again to Howth YC after more than a thousand kilometres of road trailing to the Morbihan and back. Yet after only a couple of days for recovery, they were out again competing in their annual Lambay Race. Photo: W M Nixon

Thus the simple fact that all six had returned safely was something to celebrate, and the fact that they further bestirred themselves to do the Lambay Race was evidence, were it needed, of their shared enthusiasm.

As for the results, Conor Turvey sailing Isobel won the Seventeens, while the provisional results for the winner of the Lambay Lady for the boat winning her class by the largest margin show it going to Robert & Rose Michael’s Sun Fizz 40 Mystique of Malahide, but we gather that may be adjusted after a protest in a different class entirely is resolved.

It was a complex weekend with al sorts of potential for snafus, but fortunately in a period of exceptionally unsettled weather, the weather held up on the big day, and most things went reasonably according to plan.

In fact, so chuffed is HYC Commodore Joe McPeake that he is contemplating setting the future date of the Lambay Race permanently in the June Bank Holiday weekend. That, however, is very definitely another day’s work.

howth seventeen isobel3The Howth 17 Isobel, helmed by Conor Turvey, sails into her home port. She’d a good win in the Lambay Race 2017. Photo: W M Nixon

Published in Howth YC

Conor Fogerty's BAM Team report that the Howth Yacht Club Ostar sailor looks to have had a frustratingly slow night last night despite holding first in the Gipsy Moth division, third in line honours and second in the Ostar line.

Hopefully it was as a result of the eye of the low pressure being wider than expected and not anything else. His local competitors were also slow so probably the former. However, these rules didn't seem to apply to the two-hander Open 40 'Rote 66' who has taken a hefty jump.

BAM is up to speed again on a fast reach and has done a long term job on her sister 'Mister Lucky'. She is way down in the bottom of the low, will have large headwinds and will be feeling the pain of the southern route. Further up the track, 'Vento' the Open 50 has born off to round the Iceberg Limit.

She had been looking like she was going to go through some of the ice but clearly has decided safety first. She has put huge distance on her own race by going so far North. To put the ice in perspective, down on the bottom left you can see Titanic's last position and resting place. Remember, she sank in April, a mere two months earlier than the Ostar schedule.

Tracker here.

Published in Solo Sailing
Page 5 of 37

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