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Ireland’s oldest keelboat class, the Howth 17s which were founded in 1898, saw six of their boats depart Rosslare at 1600hrs today writes W M Nixon. All six have safely covered the first road stage of their long haul from Howth to the week-long Festival of the Sea on the Morbihan in southern Brittany.

Irish Ferries is so taken with the venture that they have provided free return passages for four of the flotilla and their towing vehicles. The group sharing of the cost of the remaining two extra boats has made it all a very manageable financial proposition indeed.

However, there’s still a long way to go to Vannes once they’ve disembarked tomorrow morning in Cherbourg. And as two of the boats – Roddy Cooper’s Leila and Ian Macolm’s Aura – are true vintage, being of the first five built by John Hilditch in 1898, they are not so much boats now, they’re rather more in the category of sacred relics.

Published in Howth YC
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The Cruising Association of Ireland is already well into a busy season in 2017, but it moves up a gear this weekend with the AGM at Howth presided over by Commodore Clifford Brown tomorrow (Saturday) at 1800hrs, and based around a rally of East Coast members and their boats followed by a dinner, with CAI folk from other parts of Ireland travelling overland to the venue writes W M Nixon.

Last year the CAI AGM & Rally in the Spring was used to mark the opening of the new Greystones Sailing Club with GSC Commodore Dave Nixon as CAI’s Guest of Honour. This year in the more mature marina at Howth, the home club are celebrating the 30th Anniversary of their clubhouse – a winner of architectural awards when it was opened in 1987 – while the marina itself has been in action for nearly 35 years.

The CAI programme in 2017 is impressive, as they started with the Kish Muster in Dublin Bay on 8th April with the overnight at the hospitable National YC. This weekend of May 13th-14th, the focus swings to Howth, then on June 3rd to 5th a significant contingent will be at the Dublin Port festival, while they’re back to meet their old friends in Greystones on 10th to 11th June.

This year’s Cruise-in-Company is focused on Belfast Lough from July 3rd to 10th, then after a mid-season hiatus when many members expect to be doing individual cruises, they gather again on 12th August for an East Coast Rally at either Arklow or Carlingford, depending on the weather. Their East Coast season is rounded out by the traditional and popular Liffey 3 Bridges Cruise on 16th/17th September, when the opening bridges in the heart of Dublin are co-ordinated to allow the CAI fleet through for an convivial assembly which culminates in feasting aboard the Dublin Restaurant Ship Cill Airne.

cruising associationThe popular Cruising Association of Ireland 3 Bridges Cruise in September sees the Liffey bridges co-ordinated for a shared opening time to allow the fleet through. Photo : W M Nixon
While Saturday night’s AGM and dinner at Howth has a certain business-to-be-done emphasis to it, around a dozen boat think it’s only right and proper to sail there, none more so than the renowned Charlie Kavanagh of Wicklow. His Sadler 34 Stravaiger was wintered in a berth in Kilmore Quay, and he was keen to sail to the Howth AGM. But with a period of cold nor’easters threatening, he grabbed a brief weather window on Sunday night by press-ganging shipmate and Wicklow SC Hon. Sec. Peter Shearer into an overnight passage, and they were rewarded with fair easterly winds for a dream sail to Wicklow, admittedly in decidedly crisp temperatures.

So now Stravaiger is conveniently poised to sail north to Howth either this evening or tomorrow morning, and with his new season properly under way, Charlie Kavanagh’s plans for Stravaiger in 2017 include a leisurely Round Ireland cruise.

Published in Cruising

Howth Yacht Club is stressing its two day coaching on the eve of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) National Championships, is not just for club members. In association with UK McWilliam Sailmakers and ICRA, the north Dublin club is running two days of coaching for yachts and their crews on May 20 and 21.

Skippers and crews eager to improve their skills – and tune–up – for the season ahead are invited to partake in what will be 'two brilliant days of sailing'.

The racing season is just around the corner with the ICRA Nationals taking place in early June at Royal Cork Yacht Club.

Des McWilliam and Graham Curran of UK Sailmakers will be doing on the water coaching at HYC on both days followed by video debriefs. 

'This is NOT exclusively for customers of UK Sailmakers, you are invited to train no matter who supplies your sail wardrobe', HYC's Ross McDonald told Afloat.ie

Entries are strictly limited to 10 per day for a 5:1 coaching ratio.

Here are some great instructional videos to watch in the meantime from UK Sailmakers: Instructional videos

The entry fee options are HYC Member (€95.00) and Non Member (€125.00). You can enter your boat online here

Published in Howth YC
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With a month to go to the ICRA National Championships at Royal Cork Yacht Club, the Cruiser Racer body has published a 56–boat entry list to date that reveals a large entry from the host Cork Harbour Club. Royal Cork yachts represent 30% of entries received to date. Dublin Boats represent another 30% but there is likely to be some disappointment that no entries have so far been received from either the Royal St. George YC or National Yacht Clubs. To date, Howth Yacht Club is sending eight boats while the Royal Irish Yacht Club is sending similar.

18 yacht clubs are represented at the 2017 championships.

Neighbouring Kinsale Yacht Club has five entries listed. A single Scottish entry from the Clyde has been received as has a single Welsh entry from Swansea Yacht Club.

Seven boats in the fleet are J24 one designs that will also race for southern class honours, a new departure for the ICRA championships.

ICRA believes only 60% of the entries have been recevied at this stage so with five days before the early bird entry expires, ICRA Commodore Simon McGibney is urging skippers to avail of the discounted rate.

Read the provisional ICRA entry list below: 

BOAT NAME TYPE IRC HANDICAP SAIL NUMBER CLUB
Powder Monkey Sigma 33 0.912 IRL 4206 Tralee
Rioja J80 0.953 GBR 380 Royal Cork
Ellida X332 0.981 IRL 6021 Royal Cork
Raptor Mills 30CR 1.013 IRL 811 Royal Irish
Bandit Mod Bolero 26' 0.881 IRL 2622 Royal Cork
Bonanza Impala 28 0.888 IRL 9515 Royal Cork
Sea Hawk Sigma 33 0.914 IRL 4506 Royal Cork
Jump Juice Ker 37 1.109 IRL 2007 Royal Cork
Rebellion Lambay 60 1.056 IRL 6001 Wicklow SC
Gala Racing J24 0.884 IRL 4384 Foynes SC
Joker 2 J109 1.015 IRL 1206 Royal Irish
Fusion Corby 25 0.934 IRL 2552 Howth YC
Altair First 36.7 1.016 IRL 3670 Cobh / Royal Cork
Bad Company Sunfast 32 0.934 IRL 16859 Royal Cork
Dark Angel Dubois 37 1.096 GBR 8833R Swansea YC
Objection Sun Odyssey 35 0.942 IRL 4004 Kinsale YC
Artful Dodger Elan333 0.952 IRL 1333 Kinsale YC
Alpaca X34 0.995 IRL 35221 Royal Cork
K25 Team Scandal J24 0.886 4212 Howth YC
Checkmate XVII Mod 1/2 Tonner 0.944 IRL 2016 Howth YC
Loch Greine Hanse 31 0.923 IRL 1033 Royal Cork
Surfdancer Elan 333 0.970 IRL 1759 Royal Cork
Stonehaven Racing Corby 25 0.934 GBR 6655 Royal Western YC
Privateer Dufour 365 0.940 IRL 3653 Kinsale YC
Raffles Sadler32 0.865 GBR 6095T Schull HSC
Cartoon 1/4 ton 0.895 IRL 9186 Royal Irish YC
Inis Mor Kert 39 1.118 FRA 35439 CCC Scotland
Bon Exemple XP33 1.009 GBR 8933R Royal Irish YC
Saxon Senator X37 1.035 IRL 1447 Royal Cork YC
Jumpin' Jiv J24 0.886 IRL 3060 Greystones SC
Dux X302 0.927 IRL 988 Howth YC
Jostler J92 0.970 IRL 1078 Kinsale YC
Storm J109 1.016 IRL 1141 Rush/Howth
Relativity Albin Express 0.877 IRL 262 Cobh SC
Harmony 1/2 Tonner 0.946 IRL 1484 Howth YC
Aramis Contessa 33 0.920 IRL 1022 Royal Cork
Jana J24 0.885 397 Sligo YC
Bene Bebe First 210 0.840 GBR 7712T Royal Cork
Stouche J24 0.886 IRL 4215 Foynes SC
Equinox X-332 0.979 IRL 1332 Howth YC
Indulgence Dehler 365 0.996 IRL 2805 Royal Cork
Jade J24 0.887 IRL 4094 NMCISC Maritime College
Slack Alice GK34 0.949 IRL 4170 Waterford HSC
Johnny Bravo J24 0.885 4115 Howth YC
Cri-Cri 1/4 ton 0.912 18709 Royal Irish YC
Rockabill VI JPK 10.80 1.051 IRL 10800 Royal Irish YC
Manzanita 1/4 ton 0.889 IRL 2076 Schull HSC
White Mischief J109 1.010 GBR 1242R Royal Irish YC
Aisling Dufour 365 0.985 IRL 3651 Royal Cork YC
Sweet Dreams Jenneau 36 0.985 IRL 3612 Royal Cork YC
Whistlin Dixie Impala 28 0.876 IRL 9516 Royal Cork YC
Lady T Sun Odyssey 32i 0.932 IRL 2510 Royal Cork YC
Jigamaree J109 1.011 IRL 7991 Royal Irish YC
Meridian Salona 45 1.112 IRL 4076 Kinsale YC
Fools Gold A35 1.022 IRL 3061 Waterford HSC
Maximus X-302 0.930 IRL 7495 Howth YC
Published in ICRA

Greystones Sailing Club and Lough Derg Yacht Club member Pamela Lee racing on TP52 'Conviction' as Bow at Antigua Race Week wrapped up class RSA3 in impressive style.

When we last reported, Conviction led with four wins from five races and she continued on that consistent tack taking seven wins from eight races overall.

It wasn't the only Irish success in Antiqua either. A Howth Yacht Club crew led by Ian McCormack on USA entry Porthmeor, Neil Styler's Oyster 49 were second in RSA nine.

The Grand Awards Ceremony for Antigua Sailing Week was held in Nelson's Dockyard and the UNESCO World Heritage Site was a fitting venue for the 50th edition of this historic occasion. Thousands of sailors attended the ceremony and whilst all of the respective class winners had been posted, there were special awards that were still to be announced, including the biggest prize in Caribbean sailing, the Lord Nelson Trophy.

Portmeor Oyster 49The Portmeor Oyster 49 crew including Howth sailors. Photo: Ian McCormack/Facebook

Asot A Michael, MP, Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment & Energy of Antigua and Barbuda, gave a heart-warming welcome speech to the crowd, which highlighted how important Antigua Sailing Week is to the twin island nation. Guest of Honour, His Excellency Sir Rodney Williams, Governor General of Antigua & Barbuda presented the main prizes.

The stage was glittering with dozens of trophies, many of which have been sought after for decades of Caribbean racing. Winners took to the stage to receive their appreciation from the crowd, and finally there was just one trophy left. You could feel the tension as MC Tommy Paterson announced the winner of The Lord Nelson Trophy as Sergio Sagramoso's Puerto Rican Melges 32, Lazy Dog.

Sergio Sagramoso and his team took to the stage to tumultuous applause and then crowded around the historic Lord Nelson Trophy after the prize giving, scanning the list of names etched upon it over the years. The last Puerto Rican boat to win the trophy was Tom Hill's Titan XII in 2005.

"It is really amazing," smiled Sergio who had been racing in the highly competitive CSA 4. "I am so proud.
The Lazy Dog team will always remember this moment; this is why we do it. This was the toughest regatta I have ever been to with eight races and a very high level of competition.

Ross Applebey's Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster had been in impressive form all week, however the British charter boat was once again just short of winning the Lord Nelson Trophy. Ross and his crew didn't leave empty handed though, as the team left the stage with a huge haul of silverware for their efforts including: The Governor General's Cup for first overall in CSA 5, Best British Race Charter Yacht, Royal Southern Yacht Club Shield Trophy for the Inter-Yacht Club Challenge and the Peter Deeth Trophy for 2nd overall in CSA 1-6.

Sir Peter Harrison's Super Maxi Sojana racing in CSA 1 was close to winning the Lord Nelson Trophy for the second time and the crew where in good spirits as they took to the stage to receive multiple awards. They broke into song, singing 'Happy Birthday' to both the regatta and Sir Peter who celebrated his 80th birthday during the week. Sojana's trophy haul included: the Curtain Bluff Trophy for the overall win in CSA 1, The Corum Cup for winning overall in CSA 1-6, and the Fletcher Trophy for Best British Yacht.

Fritz Bus's St. Maarten Melges 24, Team Island Water World had an epic battle in CSA 6 with Antigua National Sailing Academy's Cork 1720, Spirit, skippered by Jules Mitchell. Team Island Water World won the class and Best Caribbean Boat in Start Boat A. Spirit was the Best Antiguan Boat in Start Boat A. After a keenly contested duel it was great to see the two teams sharing a photograph at the Awards Ceremony.

The K3 Foundation, racing Kialoa III and Clint Brooks' Bajan TP52 Conviction had a fantastic regatta; both yachts scoring seven bullets to win their respective classes, CSA 2 and CSA 3.

Winning the Big Banana Trophy for Best Caribbean Yacht and the Grant Thornton Trophy for Best Boat Overall in CSA 7-9 was Cary Byerley and Sir Robbie Ferron's Micron 99 Lord Jim from St. Maarten. The team had to overcome a 1.5 point deficit in the last race to their long term rivals, Sir Bobby Velasquez and his St. Maarten team racing L'Esperance. They went on to achieve victory by just two seconds!

"Two seconds and half a point; shockingly dramatic," commented Sir Robbie Ferron. "I could never believe it would be that close. In all my years, I have never won a regatta like that and I doubt if anyone else has. For the last three years, I have been racing against Bobbie in many regattas and we have always just missed out. I have great respect for him so we have a great ambience. Reflecting on how Antigua Sailing Week had evolved, this regatta has done the right things for the competitors and it is getting the appropriate response. Sailors are enjoying the experience and that is why it has such a great turnout and I believe that the momentum will continue beyond the 50th regatta, continued Ferron."

Antiguan, Sir Hugh Bailey won the Lord Nelson Trophy last year and was second in CSA 3 this year with a new acquisition, his Farr 45 Rebel-B. Sir Hugh has been involved in all 50 editions of Antigua Sailing Week.

"Back when it all started, if you told me that 50 years on we would have thousands of people racing in Antigua from all over the world, I would have said that was far from our thinking. I am happy to see the growth and I feel privileged because I am the only captain from the early days still alive and on the race course. This year I really enjoyed my new boat Rebel-B; we have a lot to learn, and I am sure we will get the boat even faster."

Winning the Dream Yacht Charter Trophy and one week Bareboat charter from Antigua was Mike Cannon & Neil Harvey's KHS&S Contractors from Florida, USA. "The team has won multiple times all over the Caribbean, but this was its first trip as a team to Antigua Sailing Week.

"I cannot believe how good this experience has been," commented Mike Cannon. "The crew and the people in Antigua have been just fabulous - unreal. I am not sure why it has taken us so long to come here. I have been to a lot of regattas in my life and this is one of the best places I have ever been and you can be sure we will be coming back!"

Steve Carson's Dehler 33, High Tide won CSA 8 after seven years of trying.

The 51st edition of Antigua Sailing Week will take place from April 28th to May 4th, 2018.

Published in News Update

For the second Saturday running, the picturesque island of Ireland’s Eye has enabled Howth Yacht Club to have a Saturday sailing programme despite strong onshore winds which saw cancellations elsewhere writes W M Nixon.

Last weekend, a rising sou’easter threatened to create mayhem in the Selection Trials for the university crew to represent Ireland in the Student Yachting Worlds at Marseilles in the Autumn. But although the programme was slightly curtailed, a clear winner had emerged in the shape of UCD captained by Will Byrne.

Yesterday, the morning’s strong to gale force nor’easterly led to the cancellation of racing in Dublin Bay. But with a pier start at Howth and the shelter of the Sound inside Ireland’s Eye to enable everyone to settle down before facing a full-blooded windward slug to the north of the island in a now easing wind, the venerable Howth Seventeens were able to complete their first Saturday race of the season.

They made a real job of it, with the open sea beat done twice before they returned down to the Sound to the finish. The Massey Syndicate’s Deilginis (built 1907), helmed by Luke Massey, found her groove to do something of a horizon job on the rest of the fleet. Ian Malcolm’s Aura (built 1898) was second, while one of the “new” boats, the 1988-built Isobel (Conor & Brian Turvey) was third.

irelands eye3betterThe Howth 17 Deilginis narrowly leading Aura at the Glandore Classic Boat Regatta 2003. In yesterday’s first Saturday race of 2017, the order was the same, but the gap was greater. Photo: W M Nixon

As for how Ireland’s Eye got its name, it really couldn’t be simpler. The first written records refer to it as Inish Nessan, as Nessan was the local saint and you can still see the remains of her miniature abbey on the island. Then it became Inish Eria, as another woman had taken over, one Eria. When the Vikings arrived, Eria’s Island became Eria’s Oy. That in time became Eria’s Eye. The in a slip of the pen by a 16th Century map maker, it became Erin’s Eye. The subsequent tendency to obliterate anything that even hinted at Gaelic origins saw it become Ireland’s Eye. And so it remains, something which so improves sailing out of Howth that, as mentioned last week, if it didn’t exist we’d have to invent it.

irelands eye3betterDrone’e eye view from above Ireland’s Eye southward towards Howth Harbour, showing that even in fresh onshore breezes the island still provides enough shelter to get a race under way from a pier start. Photo Tomas Ryan

Published in Howth YC
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University College Dublin, led by Will Byrne, won through in an increasingly challenging national selection trials at Howth YC yesterday to take the honour of representing Ireland in the 37th Annual Student Yachting Worlds, which this year will be staged in the Mediterranean in the Autumn at Marseilles, and raced in J/80s.

Howth’s ready-to-go flotilla of club-owned J/80s thereby provided double value, and they provided much whoop-inducing sailing as the south’easterly built steadily during the day. This deteriorating weather was to mean that the usual club Saturday afternoon racing at both Howth and Dun Laoghaire was cancelled. But by that stage, thanks to a tight programme set in train by Race Officer Scorie Walls with the briefing in HYC at 0830 and the first gun at 1000hrs, the Intervarsity programme was already well on its way.

Although today (Sunday) had been pencilled in as a fallback day, the mood of the fleet was very strongly in favour of having it all done and dusted by the time the forecast even stronger winds were expected to arrive late on Saturday afternoon, and Scorie and her team were able to oblige.

By using Howth’s clear water race area between the protecting island of Ireland’s Eye and Portmarnock, the racing could continue as the wind shunted upwards towards the 27 knots-plus level, prompting the Race Team to quip that if Ireland’s Eye didn’t exist, then they’d have had to invent it.

Nevertheless even this shelter could only do so much in the very dense and increasingly fast moving air, and with some damage being sustained, the final had to be based on two races sailed between Cork IT Sailing, Trinity CD Sailing, NUI Galway, and UCD.

UCD were on a roll as they’d notched three wins and a second in the four qualifying races, and they maintained this pace into the two final contests, with Trinity as runners-up and NUI Galway placing third overall. Now Marseilles calls, and UCD have an entire summer for further training in J/80s racing. But meanwhile, extraneous matters like exams have to be dealt with....

Published in Youth Sailing

The Annual Student Yachting Worlds, sailed in performance keelboats each Autumn in France, has seen Irish overall success in times past, a noted international varsity star being Nicholas “Nin” O’Leary during his college days in Cork writes WM Nixon

But as it is raced in keelboats – in November 2016 at La Rochelle they sailed the Grand Surprise 31 – the selection trials in Ireland are staged as a separate event from the Irish Intervarsity Nationals, which are raced in dinghies (usually Fireflies), with 2017’s already staged in mid-March in Clifden in Connemara, and Trinity College Dublin, captain by Richard Roberts from Cork, winning overall.

However, with keelboat skills required for the Student Yachting Worlds, their 2017 selection will emerge from a series to be sailed this weekend in the Howth YC’s Club Flotilla of J/80s.

The format of the SYW is based on each nation being represented by its top-performing college, rather than by a national squad selected from the best-of-the-best in each crew, so the Selection Trials are one hotly contested inter-varsity event.

Last year in France at La Rochelle, there was unprecedented Trantlantic domination, with the Canadian team winning overall from the USA’s California Maritime Academy by one point. Southampton University (England) was best of the Europeans, with Ireland represented by Cork Institute of Technology taking fourth after a series in which at one stage they’d been very well in the frame.

Cork Institute of Technology take this World Series very seriously indeed, so they’ve two teams entered for this weekend’s selectors, CIT 1 captained by Jay Stacy, and CIT 2 headed by Ewan O’Keeffe. The “local varsity”, Dublin City University from just up the road, is also in the mix, skippered by Colm Roche.

The eight contenders are completed by University of Limerick (captain Chris McDaid), Queens University Belfast (Jocelyn Hill), University College Dublin 1 (William Byrne), NUI Galway (Sean Mahon) and Trinity College Dublin 1 (Rory McStay)

Published in Youth Sailing

Six relatively light wind races completed at Howth Yacht Club gave Charles Dwyer and his crew Nin O'Leary and Richie the overall win of the inaugural six–boat National 18s Eastern Championships in Dwyer's new boat.

A tie break behind them saw Tommy Dwyer, Peter O'Donovan and Charlie Moloney take second with Colin Chapman, Morgan O'Sullivan and Ronan Walsh taking third.

The National 18s continue racing in Cork Harbour with Wednesday leagues already in operation and Saturday racing beginning at the start of May.

Published in National 18

Sixteen SB20s battled it out off Ireland’s Eye last weekend in a hotly contested Eastern Championships. With 0-6 knots winds forecast for the weekend, PRO Paddy Judge and his Howth YC team did an excellent job getting six fair, high quality races completed over the two days.

Race 1 on Saturday saw the fleet head off from a in a patchy 6 knot easterly breeze. The holes were treacherous and highly localised and if you were unfortunate enough to find one, you could easily lose several boat lengths on a competitor mere boat lengths away from you. The boats that tacked off early and headed towards the island on the right hand side of the course fared best with Sacre Bleu (Colin Galavan, Chris Arrowsmith and Dave Cahill) rounding just ahead of Ridgefence (Peter Kennedy, James Espey and Steve Kane) and Sin Bin (Michael O’Connor, Owen Laverty and Ed Cooke) in a close third. Finding clear air and picking the right shifts and puffs downwind were of paramount importance and Ridgefence and Sacre Bleu called it to perfection extending their lead over the fleet down the run. Also making a charge to the front were the teams aboard Sharkbait (Darren Martin, Simon Murray, Roger Pannell) and Alert Packaging (Justin Burke, Henrik Olerund and Gareth Nolan). At the finish, Ridgefence had managed to overtake Sacre Bleu with Sharkbait completing the podium places.

With a dying wind forecast, PRO Paddy Judge very wisely chose to keep things moving along swiftly and once all the fleet had finished, the marks were re-laid and the fleet were quickly back into a starting sequence for Race 2. Defending champion Lia (Dave Barry, Phil Lawton and Kevin Johnson) stole the biased pin end and tore away from the line like a scalded cat. However, with the wind forecast to veer all day and the right side of the course being favoured up to that point, there were soon anxious glances over their shoulders looking for an opportunity to get back across to the right and consolidate their lead on the fleet. By the time that they did manage to get across, things had evened out somewhat and there was the usual melee at the windward mark with no quarter asked or given. Again, the ability to find clear air and pick the right shifts and laylines downwind resulted in large gains and Alert Packaging picked their way down the run beautifully to lead at the leeward mark from an overlapped Sin Bin and Ridgefence. The three lead boats battled it out over the next lap and at the finish it was Sin Bin in first from Ridgefence in second and Alert Packaging in third.

After a short break, the race team decided to get Race 3 off and running. Sacre Bleu showed a return to form and stormed into a healthy lead that they would not relinquish. Alert Packaging were relishing the light air conditions and added a solid second place to their already impressive 4, 3 scoreline from races one and two. Meanwhile, Bango (James Gorman, Isaac Mccarthy Fisher and Gleb Romantchik) with a new crew on board for the first event of the season seemed to have got the hang of things sailing together and sailed exquisitely to grab a very creditable third place, showing their nerve to keep the chasing pack at bay up the last short beat to finish.

At the end of day 1, the boats returned to shore mentally exhausted for the second half of the Munster match, pints and chats in the bar of the always hospitable Howth Yacht Club. It was very tight at the top of the scoreboard with Sacre Bleu (2,5,1) on 8 points leading from Alert Packaging in second (4,3,2) on 9 points. Ridgefence (1,2,8) and Sin Bin (6,1,4) were a further two points back on 11 points, with Sharkbait (3,4,6) on 13 points in fifth with a 7 point cushion on defending champion Lia (5,6,9) on 20 points in sixth. With more breeze forecast on Sunday and a discard to kick in after race 4, it was all still to play for on day 2.

Day 2 dawned without a zephyr showing on the water. With the forecast being for the wind to veer and build, the race committee signalled a brief postponement on shore and patiently waited for the wind to fill in. The wind (what little of it there was) shifted around from the north west to the east and began to build as promised so the race committee dropped the AP and made their way out to the race course in a 5 knot easterly. The course for Race 4 was set and the fleet were in sequence until a large right hand shift 1 minute before the start meant that the race committee abandoned the start sequence and again signalled a short postponement to allow them time to reset the marks and provide an even course. Once the course was re-laid, the fleet got away and again it was Colin Galavan and his crew on Sacre Bleu that showed a clean pair of heels to the fleet, taking their second gun of the weekend. This time, it was Darren Martin et al on Sharkbait doing the chasing on behalf of the pack with Michael O’Connor et al on Sin Bin taking third. Peter Kennedy and the team on Ridgefence were most unfortunate to be involved in a collision at the first top mark which threw them somewhat and they could only manage ninth in race 4. After the discard was applied, the team on Sacre Bleu were on an impressive 4 points overall (counting a 1,1,2) and had extended their lead to four points over Sin Bin and five points over Alert Packaging and Sharkbait.

As always in SB20 racing, you can’t count your chickens and Race 5 threw in a curve ball to make for a spectacular interesting finale. Race 5 got off at the second time of asking under U-flag and saw Timber (Marty Cuppage, David Bailey and Chris Chapman) boss the pin end of the line before making their way out to the better breeze on the left side of the course followed closely by Sin Bin on their hip. Series leader Sacre Bleu were for the first time a little line shy and were forced to tack onto port shortly after the start and head out to the less favoured right hand side of the course. At the weather mark, Timber led from Sin Bin with Sharkbait in a close third. One by one, the boats gradually peeled off onto port gybe to get out of the adverse current on the right hand side of the run. At the leeward mark, the three lead boats converged with Timber and Sharkbait coming in on starboard gybe and Sin Bin coming in on port gybe. All three of the lead boats rounded together with Timber on the inside, Sin Bin on the outside and Sharkbait the filling in the sandwich. The three lead boats battled hard around the next lap and in the end it was Sin Bin that took the gun from Sharkbait with Timber just pipped for third place by a charging Ridgefence. Another notable result was the newly formed team on Binn Eadair (Cillian Dickson, Diana Kissane, Sam O’Byrne and Gordon Stirling) bagging a fifth place in Race 5. They certainly didn’t take long to get the hang of things!

So, after five races and going into the sixth and final race, Sacre Bleu and Sin Bin were tied on 9 points with Sharkbait in third on 11 points and Ridgefence by no means out of it on 14 points. Any of these four boats had a realistic shot at the title and it was all to play for. By now, the breeze had increased to an oscillating 10 knot breeze from the south east. Again, there was a pin end bias on the line and with a favourable tide (going upwind) and more breeze on the left side of the course, competition for a place on the front row was vicious. Timber once again took the pin with Ridgefence drag racing with them up the beat, with Ridgefence leading Timber around the top mark. Race six also saw a welcome return to form of 2016 Western Champions Venuesworld.com (Ger Dempsey, Chris Nolan, Rory Groves and Graham Barker) and recent Spring Warmer victors Two Men and their Monkey (Daragh Sheridan, Shane Murphy and John Phelan), both boats picking their way skilfully up the beat to be in contention at the weather mark.

As Ridgefence extended their lead all the way to the finish for their second win of the regatta, followed by Two Men and their Monkey in second and Venuesworld.com in third, there was nothing more that Ridgefence could do other than see how the other three contenders behind them fared and see how the final points tallied up. Astern, the other three contenders for the title were in a tightly knit bunch. Going up the first half of the final beat, as the boats crossed tacks there was no more than three boat lengths separating Sacre Bleu, Sin Bin and Sharkbait, with Sharkbait leading the bunch and Sacre Bleu battling at the back of the trio. On the second half of the beat, both Sacre Bleu and Sharkbait tacked towards the right hand side of the course while Sin Bin split looking for pressure on the left hand side of the course. The pressure stayed steadier on the left and Sin Bin rounded the last weather mark in 5th one place and a few boat lengths ahead of Sharkbait with Sacrebleu a few places further back. Unfortunately for Sacre Bleu, they couldn’t make up the ground on the run and their race was effectively run. It was down to Sharkbait and Sin Bin to fight it out around the last few hundred metres. By the leeward mark, both boats had caught up with Timber (who were previously in fourth) so there was still hope for Sharkbait of putting Timber between them and Sin Bin in an effort to clinch the series. In the end, Sin Bin just held on to take fourth from Sharkbait in fifth, with Sacre Bleu finishing race 6 in eighth.

Overall, Sin Bin won the Eastern Championships with 13 points from Ridgefence in second on 15 points. Sacre Bleu took third place on countback from Sharkbait, both on 16 points. The winner of the Silver fleet was Timber. Next up is the Northern Championships in the Royal Ulster Yacht Club, Bangor on 27th/28th May.

SB20 Eastern Championship 2017

Howth Yacht Club

Provisional Results as of 15:05 on April 23, 2017

Sailed: 6, Discards: 1, To count: 5, Rating system: TCF, Entries: 16, Scoring system: Appendix A

   Boat HelmClubR1
22/04
R2
22/04
R3
22/04
R4
23/04
R5
23/04
R6
23/04
TotalNett
1     Sin Bin Michael O'Connor RStGYC (6.0) 1.0 4.0 3.0 1.0 4.0 19.0 13.0
2     Ridgefence.com Peter Kennedy Strangford 1.0 2.0 8.0 (9.0) 3.0 1.0 24.0 15.0
3     Sacrebleu Colin Galavan RIYC 2.0 5.0 1.0 1.0 7.0 (8.0) 24.0 16.0
4     Shark Bait Darren Martin Strangford Lough YC 3.0 4.0 (6.0) 2.0 2.0 5.0 22.0 16.0
5     Alert Packaging Justin Burke NYC 4.0 3.0 2.0 7.0 11.0 (12.0) 39.0 27.0
6     Lia Dave Barry RCYC 5.0 6.0 9.0 4.0 (10.0) 7.0 41.0 31.0
7     Two Men & their Monkey Daragh Sheridan HYC (10.0) 9.0 5.0 10.0 6.0 2.0 42.0 32.0
8     venuesworld.com Ger Dempsey RIYC 9.0 8.0 (13.0) 5.0 12.0 3.0 50.0 37.0
9     Timber Marty Cuppage RStGYC 12.0 7.0 10.0 (17.0 DNF) 4.0 6.0 56.0 39.0
10     Binn Eadair Cillian Dickson HYC (13.0) 11.0 12.0 8.0 5.0 9.0 58.0 45.0
11     Monkey Keith Cassidy HYC 7.0 (17.0 OCS) 11.0 13.0 8.0 13.0 69.0 52.0
12     Scorpio Beag Dominic O'Connell   14.0 (17.0 OCS) 14.0 6.0 9.0 10.0 70.0 53.0
13     Bád/Kilcullen Jerry Dowling RIYC 8.0 13.0 7.0 12.0 13.0 (15.0) 68.0 53.0
14     Bango James Gorman NYC 11.0 12.0 3.0 (17.0 DNF) 17.0 DNF 17.0 DNC 77.0 60.0
15     Sunday Brunch David Dwyer RStGYC 15.0 10.0 (17.0 DNF) 11.0 17.0 DSQ 11.0 81.0 64.0
16     Defiant Gerard Jones NYC 16.0 14.0 15.0 (17.0 DNF) 14.0 14.0 90.0 73.0
Published in SB20
Tagged under
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