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It’s a long way for crew and boats to travel from Belfast Lough and Strangford Lough to Kinsale but eight from the northern-based Squib class will be making that 300 mile trip in June for the eight-race Bandon Co-Op Squib Nationals which will incorporate the Irish Squib National Championship.

At least, as Robert Marshall of Killyleagh says, it’s easier than travelling to Cowes.

The Kinsale event featured in WM Nixon's Afloat column on Saturday here where he described the event as being an "ideal launching pad for Ireland’s reviving international sailing scene In 2022".

From the 14 strong Royal North fleet on Belfast Lough there will be Fagin, Second Chance, Prodigal, Toy for the Boys and Jumini and of the eight Killyeagh boats on Strangford Lough will be Slipstream, Firecracker and Volante.

Robert Marshall and Neil Logan in SlipstreamRobert Marshall and Neil Logan in Slipstream

The RNIYC based Squibs competing are Gordon Patterson and Ross Nolan in Fagin, Steven Stewart in Second Chance, Greg Bell and Jane Kearney, who have been runners-up in the Irish championship; Toy for the Boys with new pairing Peter Wallace and Kinsale local Fiona Ward as well as Ross Kearney and his cousin Charles (Woo) Kearney who will defend their Championship title in Jumini.

From Killyleagh, there will be Robert Marshall (Chairman of the Irish Squib Class) and Neil Logan in Slipstream, Simon Watson and Jordy Withers in Volante and Steven Bridges and Mathew Bolton in Firecracker.

Squib 146 Greg Bell's ProdigalSquib 146 Greg Bell's Prodigal

Robert Marshall is looking forward to the 2022 competition; “It's a big year for Squibs in Ireland with the combined Irish and UK nationals being held in Kinsale. Entries from both Killyleagh and Royal North at Cultra are eagerly awaiting the start gun to sound for the battle to commence.

Killyleagh is hosting a spring series 16/4 to 7/5 followed by the Squib Northern championship on 14/15 May at Killyleagh Yacht Club. There is quite s buzz around the class already and it’s only January. Good times are nearly upon us - great sailing and good craic with the best class in Ireland”.

Published in Squib
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When the Irish Squib Class signed off their 2021 season with boats from all parts of the country taking part in the successful though socially-distanced Freshwater Regatta for four national keelboat classes at Dromineer on Lough Derg in October, the parting message of hope was: “See you in Kinsale next June”.

Even then, when no-one knew what the future might bring and omicron was still only something in the ancient Greek alphabet, the sport at Dromineer had been such a booster in itself that optimism was the mood of the moment. And despite soaring adverse graphs since, there’s no escaping the feeling that Kinsale – with its new offshore challenge, the Inishtearaght Race Round the Blaskets in May, and the Bandon Co-op Squib Nationals in June (June 19th to 24th) - is emerging as a pace-setter in getting the 2022 season up to speed.

Squib action for the October Freshwater Regatta on Lough Derg. Photo: W M NixonSquib action for the October Freshwater Regatta on Lough Derg. Photo: W M Nixon

As well it might be. It just has so much going for it, in terms of the superb natural harbour and the picturesque port town, with its south-facing location in the deep south of Ireland where summer arriving earlier than anywhere else. Thus the Kinsallions (or should that be Kinsaleans?) would be letting themselves down - and everyone else too - if they didn’t realise the full potential of a port which is so complete it could comfortably be the ultimate computer-generated creation for the dream of a perfect Irish sailing centre, were it not already so very much abundantly in existence.

Yet as any observer of the national and international sailing scene will be well aware, Kinsale Yacht Club builds on the blessings of its location. It is renowned for its hospitable enthusiasm in sharing the attractions of its many sailing advantages with visitors from near and far, whether they be racing or cruising.

 Summer perfection. Squib racing at Kinsale. Photo KYC Summer perfection. Squib racing at Kinsale. Photo KYC

Under Commodore Matthias Hellstern and his team, they’ve taken on board the pandemic-compliant lessons learned during 2021 when they successfully hosted a socially-distanced Sovereigns Cup series as well as other events. And though everyone hopes that the COVID-19 situation will have improved out of all recognition by the early summer, the Kinsale YC volunteers now know well that you should plan in a way that can cope with setbacks while taking full advantage of any improvements.

Kinsale is a place where the colourful 19ft Squib keelboats seem at their happiest, so much so that almost all of Bob Bateman’s photos of them racing there seem to be in bright sunshine, with the little boats and their crews exuding joy in the sea and sailing. But then, the Squib has a built-in happiness factor, for it can be more or less just whatever you want it to be.

Bob Bateman impression of Squibs at Kinsale – you’d get a suntan from just looking at this image…..photo: Robert BatemanBob Bateman impression of Squibs at Kinsale – you’d get a suntan from just looking at this image…..Photo: Robert Bateman

For if you demand a boat around this size which provides really hairy high-speed sport and boy racers to go with it, then the SB20 is your only man. And if you need a comparable boat in which racing is the be-all and end-all of its existence, then it’s the Flying Fifteen for you. But if you want a keelboat in this size range which isn’t priced off the planet yet can provide real sit-in comfort and user-friendly options for family day cruising in addition to an excellent racing programme, then the Squib ticks all the boxes.

Thus it’s understandable that the idea of pandemic emergence for the Squibs and sailing generally could best be served by a joint Irish-British Squib championship in Kinsale was enthusiastically saluted from the moment it went up the flagpole, and it will simply be known as the Squib Nationals. Those who would be pedantic in querying the validity of this title should rest easy, for it has been done before with notable success, way back in 1996 in Howth.

The Howth Squib fleet is of modest size these days, but where else would you find a lighthouse with colourful floral window-boxes? Photo: Annraoi BlaneyThe Howth Squib fleet is of modest size these days, but where else would you find a lighthouse with colourful floral window-boxes? Photo: Annraoi Blaney

In those days Howth was the happening place for Squibs, whereas nowadays they do well to muster double figures, though the class is currently on the up again. But 26 years ago, the Peninsula was awash with the little boats. Despite the fraught political situation - for this was still two years before the Good Friday Agreement - they hunted regularly with the English and Welsh fleets, and when it was agreed that they’d run the combined championship at Howth in June, a reverse invasion took place to such good effect that on one particular day, Tuesday 25th June 1996 with key organizer Dave Murnane pushing everyone afloat, they managed a hundred boats on the starting line.

Ghosts from the past – a hundred Squibs making an excellent fleet start at Howth in 1996. Photo: Mandy Murnane, courtesy Dave MurnaneGhosts from the past – a hundred Squibs making an excellent fleet start at Howth in 1996. Photo: Mandy Murnane, courtesy Dave Murnane

At the front end of the fleet the pace was ferocious, but it was only right and proper that the overall winners should be Stuart Brewer and Paul Manning of the Royal Corinthian YC in Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex. For it’s part of Squib mythology that the concept of the boat originated from the local doctor having a couple of pints with designer/builder Oliver Lee in the pub in Burnham in late 1966. It turned into a brain-storming session, as the doctor had the complete distinctive blue sails and rig for an Enterprise dinghy but with no boat to go with it all, so he wondered if Lee could design him a little keelboat suitable for a sailor of advancing years which would make use of this redundant rig.

Just in case there was any subsequent doubt, the caption made it very clear.Just in case there was any subsequent doubt, the caption made it very clear. 

Quite how a rig of blue sails for a 13ft 3in racing dinghy designed by Jack Holt with river racing a priority became a suit of tanned sails for a 19ft keelboat designed by Oliver Lee and noted for its seagoing power is anyone’s guess. But for 2022 there’s a certain symmetry to all this, for although there were few if any Enterprise dinghies around Howth in 1996 or any other time, in their day Kinsale was a stronghold of the Enterprise class, for they were attractive-looking boats and their river-oriented rig with a huge mainsail made them extremely entertaining to race in a big seaway – sailing conditions which are not exactly unknown in the waters outside Kinsale’s glorious natural harbour.

However, back in 1996, it was two GP14 sailors from Sutton – Ruan O Tiarnaigh (who now sails an X38 from Belfast Lough) and Stephen Boyle, who were best of the Irish in the Squib mega-championship at fourth overall. But as the series was taking place at the same time as the Round Ireland Race (won that year by Michael Boyd in the J/35 Big Ears), photographers were scarce in Howth, but happily the late Mandy Murnane was there with her little happy-snap camera to get admittedly spectral proof that there were indeed a hundred boats on the starting line. And fair play to them, as a fleet they’re making a very good start.

So how will numbers stack up for 2022s Squib Nationals at Kinsale? As of today (Friday, January 14th) there are already 44 in the box.

Squib Nationals at Kinsale

It’s a list which certainly deserves examination, as it gives an excellent idea of the spread of the class and the kind of people involved, with the first sign-up being by Dick Batt, the sailmaker of Bosham on Chichester Harbour, who so enjoys racing his Squib in Ireland that he and Pamela have had their boat based here for the past couple of years.

It all started with two men in a pub…….the Squib very successfully fills a specific niche in the market.It all started with two men in a pub…….the Squib very successfully fills a specific niche in the market.

As mentioned, the most recent major gathering was the Freshwater Regatta at Dromineer in mid-October, where the overall winners were Cultra’s RNIYC crew of Gordon Patterson & Ross Nolan, while the runners-up were Kinsale’s Ian Travers and Keith O’Riordan.

But Ian Travers will be doing well if he actually races in June’s big championship, as he’s the Regatta Director, for the Travers family are a clan accustomed to putting their heads on the block for the good of sailing – his father Brendan was the prime force in persuading Shannon Development to install the vast improvements which made possible the marina and usefully-sheltered training waters at Kilrush in County Clare.

Ian Travers and Keith O’Riordan with the Squibs nicely under control racing in the Outer Harbour at Kinsale

However, in best Kinsale style, Ian Travers has assembled a team of formidable talents in support, as they include Michael O’Sullivan, John & Mary Stanley, Denis & Ger Kiernan, Frank McGowan, Fiona “The Pirate” Ward, and Class Captain Richard Calnan, while the broader Squib community is represented by NSOA Organiser Peter Richards and their Chairman Dick Batt, with the always informative and entertaining online Squib Forum being on the strength through Chairman Robert Marshall of Killyleagh.

Yet even with such a team, for complete success an event like this needs to be embedded into the community from which it is being sailed, so when I commented on the main sponsors being Bandon Co-op which you’d scarcely think of in a maritime context, Ian Travers responded that they’re very much part of the fabric of Kinsale’s life and commerce. For indeed if you head directly inland away up the narrow and winding streets away from Kinsale’s glamorously maritime waterfront, you’ll very quickly find yourself in the midst of rich and fertile farmland which would have Jeremy Clarkson eating his heart out.

Co-sponsors include Cork County Council, Holt Marine, Hyde Sails and Batt Sails, and very importantly the transport partner is Irish Ferries to get the cross-water entries across as efficiently and economically as possible.

If the pandemic does clear enough and we learn to live with whatever new circumstances evolve, the guess is we might be looking at 80 boats, as already the defending British champion Mike Budd has his name in the hat, and so too has Irish champion Ross Kearney. But with racing of that calibre guaranteed, who knows what talents from other classes might be tempted to take temporary flight in a Squib, for the sense of community of the class was such that the late and much-lamented Jack Roy – despite his many sailing commitments at national and international level – was never happier than when taking his essential dosage of Squib racing.

His Happy Place….the much-missed Jack Roy particularly cherished his time spent with his friends in the Squib ClassHis Happy Place….the much-missed Jack Roy particularly cherished his time spent with his friends in the Squib Class

For some, Squibs are for life – Dick Hewett, whose CV included being Royal Sailing Master on the International Dragon Class Bluebottle, was happily and successfully racing his Squib every Cowes Week until well into his eighties. For others, the Squib exactly fills the bill for use as the versatile tribal boat at a certain stage of family development.

Thus for the relatively brief period we were involved with the Squibs at Howth, we day-cruised en famille even more than we raced, even though the racing was a busy programme with the Lambay Race – for which the Squibs are ideal - at its peak.

That’s all rather a long time ago now. In this happily blurry family sailing snap, one of the very young sailors on our Squib Huppatee has since recorded some formidable offshore racing success, but now as a family man himself has gone into Howth 17 ownership.

Added value. The Squibs provide great racing, yet they can be used for family day cruising as well. Photo: W M NixonAdded value. The Squibs provide great racing, yet they can be used for family day cruising as well. Photo: W M Nixon

As for the one wolfing a sandwich at the helm, he now lives in a very ancient thatched house on the quay at Bosham on Chichester Harbour, just along the shore from Dick Batt’s sail-loft. The coast is very low-lying thereabouts, and thus our big son – with two very able junior sailors of his own – lives in the only house I know which is fitted with a large and very powerful bilge-pump.

But his life is easy compared to the pub just three doors along, which is even lower-lying. With rising sea levels, their back door had to be replaced with a complete door unit salvaged from a submarine which was being scrapped. It came with all the gear including the very accessible activating wheel which makes it all totally watertight. When a big tide comes surging up Bosham Creek, think Das Boot…

Published in W M Nixon
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Preparations at Kinsale Yacht Club for the Bandon Co-op Squib National Championships 2022 are off to a fabulous start with 42 teams entered to date from the UK and Ireland. Entries thus far availed of an attractive early bird entry option which closed at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Entries have been received from Squib strongholds across the UK and Ireland and include many past and present champions, together with long-standing supporters of the class, all the ingredients to serve up a top-class National Championships.

To help encourage early registration, Kinsale Yacht Club included all early bird entries into a draw, the winner of which was refunded their entire entry fee. The draw was won by Malcolm Hutchings and Andy Carley’ on “Lady Penelope” from the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club.

"It is clear Kinsale is an attractive proposition for Squib owners"

Speaking after the draw, Regatta Director Ian Travers congratulated Malcolm and Andy, and indicated “Kinsale Yacht Club is so excited to be hosting a dual championship of this calibre and it is wonderful to see such a high level of early commitment from the class. In conversation with many of the entries, the pent-up demand and enthusiasm for the event since its unfortunate cancellation in 2020 is brimming. It is particularly encouraging to see several competitive under-25 teams and helms entered, a cohort of sailors completely new to the class. The prospect of UK and Irish fleets racing together and experiencing all that Kinsale has to offer the visiting sailor is proving attractive. Preparations are well advanced, and we look forward to welcoming all our local, national and overseas friends to Kinsale in June.”

The National Squib Owners Association (NSOA), Chairman, Dick Batt, expressed his delight at the early uptake. “It is clear Kinsale is an attractive proposition for Squib owners to come together to race and socialise as one fleet. This early momentum should be a clear signal to those who have not yet entered, not to miss the party.”

The Bandon Co-op UK and Irish Squib National Championships are scheduled to take place in Kinsale from 19th to 24th June 2022. With nine races over six days, the event offers the perfect balance of close one design racing on the water with the unique shoreside experience only Kinsale can offer.

The Notice of Race, online entry and current entry list are available at Bandon Co-op Squib National Championships 2022 - Kinsale Yacht Club (kyc.ie). Further information is available by emailing [email protected]

Published in Kinsale
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The annual October Freshwater Keelboat Regatta at Dromineer, (hosted by Lough Derg Yacht Club and staged last weekend) has been no stranger to hyper-strong winds in times past. But in 2021's unusually gentle Autumn, it provided two to three days of very usable sailing breezes, mostly from the southwest. And if the sun tended not to put in an appearance until late afternoon despite the high-pressure area moving over the country, a least it provided welcome brightness when it did show up for the healthy outdoor prize-giving ceremonies.

LDYC Commodore Joe Gilmartin and his team, led by Honorary Sailing Secretary Fergal Keating, welcomed a strong fleet across four keelboat classes, with John Leech serving as Race Officer for the Dragon and SB20 area, while Liam Moloney looked after the Squibs and Flying Fifteens. All classes had sufficient numbers for good racing among boats which had come from many parts of Ireland. But it was the Squibs, currently on a roll and further buoyed by the prospect of the big championship – effectively the Squib Worlds – in Kinsale next June, which were in a league of their own, with a pandemic-defying turnout of 29 boats representing most Irish centres, and including a couple of cross-channel challengers.

Regatta time at Lough Derg Yacht ClubRegatta time at Lough Derg Yacht Club

Morning promise of a good day's racing as the breeze comes whispering in – Dragons, Squibs and SB20s in Dromineer HarbourMorning promise of a good day's racing as the breeze comes whispering in – Dragons, Squibs and SB20s in Dromineer Harbour

The Squibs had the biggest fleet, and here Slipstream (102, Robert Marshall & Neil Logan, Killyleagh YC) leads from Fuggles (Sean & Paul Murphy, Kinsale YC).The Squibs had the biggest fleet, and here Slipstream (102, Robert Marshall & Neil Logan, Killyleagh YC) leads from Fuggles (Sean & Paul Murphy, Kinsale YC).

Part of the Squibs' attraction is that they're not afraid to move away from standard white hulls, and LDYC Honorary Sailing Secretary Fergal Keating's Bodacious (crewed by David Maher) has had a particularly attractive paint job.Part of the Squibs' attraction is that they're not afraid to move away from standard white hulls, and LDYC Honorary Sailing Secretary Fergal Keating's Bodacious (crewed by David Maher) has had a particularly attractive paint job.

Part of the Squib's growing success lies in their entertaining and informative Irish Squib Forum, and its recently-posted enthusiastic response to the Lough Derg event by Fiona Sugrue-Ward of the Kinsale fleet joyfully captures the flavour of the class and the place and the pace very well indeed:

Lough Derg Yacht Club was the venue for the final Regional Squib Event of 2021. A bumper turnout of 29 Squibs raced in the Freshwater event, and it is great to see such numbers on the start line. The Fleet love going to Lough Derg, and as always the Club ran a super event, both on and off the water.

With six races held over the two days, conditions on the lake were almost perfect with southwesterlies averaging 10-12 knots making racing fair across the racecourse. There were 5 different individual race winners leading to a final race where any one of eight Squib combinations could have won outright.

Racing had been really close and placings up and down the fleet were impossible totally on the spot. When the numbers were finally crunched in the Race Office, it was Quickstep from Cultra with a consistent top and finishes and one race win which danced to overall victory with the Royal North of Ireland's Gordon Patterson and Ross Nolan.

Sunshine finally breaking through – Fantome (730 Fergus O'Kelly & Ronan MacDonnell, Howth YC) chasing Granat (David Stewart & Brian Hare, Royal Irish & Royal Dee YCs)Sunshine finally breaking through – Fantome (730 Fergus O'Kelly & Ronan MacDonnell, Howth YC) chasing Granat (David Stewart & Brian Hare, Royal Irish & Royal Dee YCs)

Bookending the weekend with wins in Race 1 and 6, Kinsale's Outlaw 785 secured 2nd overall for Ian Travers and Keith O'Riordan. Local Squib Femme Fatale 24, with Lough Derg's Joe O Byrne and Vincent Delany helming, went for 3rd overall.

Other notable mentions must go to race winners Toy for the Boys, Fantome and Firecracker. The fleet were delighted to have overseas visitors in Squib 11 with Pam and Dick Batt, and a Welsh Dragon was welcomed flying over Lil Quickie with Tudor Roberts and Ieuan Williams.

A fleet of 29 is a fabulous end to the 2021 Squib season, the close racing amongst the fleet makes for great events. The Class are already planning and looking forward to next year with Regional events and of course the combined UK & Irish National Squib Championships in Kinsale.

Squib Results Here

Volante is another boat from Killyleagh on Strangford Lough – sailed by Simon Watson & "Jordy", she place eighth overall. Volante is another boat from Killyleagh on Strangford Lough – sailed by Simon Watson & "Jordy", she place eighth overall. 

The overall format for the Freshwater Keelboat Regatta is the Dragons do three days starting on the Friday while the SB20s, Flying Fifteens and Squibs do two. But whatever your programme, the social highlight is the dinner on the Saturday night, an epic event even by the legendary hospitality standards of Lough Derg Yacht Club, which has been honing its hosting skills since 1835.

LOUGH DERG BOAT WINS SB20s

While there was convivial inter-class mingling, after the past 18 months of pandemic limitations, inevitably there were close-knit celebrations within classes that had seen little enough of each other since March 2020. The festive levels were notably high in the SB20s, where John Malone of Lough Ree Yacht Club was Presiding over his last on-water event, having served as top honcho with success despite lockdown limits, with the SB20s making a special effort to take their class message wherever and whenever it was permissible and welcome.

LDYC Commodore Joe Gilmartin (right) with Andrew Deakin's winning SB20 crew which included Aoife (11) and Claire (9).LDYC Commodore Joe Gilmartin (right) with Andrew Deakin's winning SB20 crew which included Aoife (11) and Clara (9).

This has been partially in anticipation of the Worlds being in Dun Laoghaire with the Royal Irish Yacht Club in 2022. But equally, there was a determination to make the best of the here and now with commendable attention to detail, which is one race saw the President taking time out to check the mooring lines on one of the race marks, unselfishly sacrificing what would have been a good result in Race 3 in order to do so.

SB20 President John Malone taking his Presidential duties very seriously with the time-honoured inspection of race mark moorings…..SB20 President John Malone taking his Presidential duties very seriously with the time-honoured inspection of race mark moorings…..

……which is a ritual process, and done very thoroughly……which is a ritual process, and done very thoroughly

Even with that, he and his crew of Emmet Sheridan and Alex Leech got to the 7th and final race well in contention for the win against the host club's Andrew Deakin crewed by Brian & Colm McElligott after notching victory in Race 6. But as the President candidly admits, they were having such lovely sailing that they failed to do the strategic calculations on how to conduct a cunning final race, and the Deakin boat Sonic Boom – whose crew betimes included Oppie sailors Aoife (11) and Clara (9) - took the bullet and the series one point ahead of El Presidente.

SB20 Result here

Things are looking rather better for the outgoing SB20 President, nicely placed in 3040, but in the end he was second by one point. Things are looking rather better for the outgoing SB20 President, nicely placed in 3040, but in the end he was second by one point. 

CARRICKFERGUS & CONNEMARA DOMINATE FLYING FIFTEENS

The Flying Fifteens in Ireland have a fascinating development with a seriously-raced class taking hold in the heart of Connemara in the strongholds of the ancient Galway Bay traditional boats. It all started quite far back with older boats brought down by families for holiday sailing, but as our report on the Cong-Galway Race down Lough Corrib this year revealed, the far sailing waters of Connacht now include some hot newer craft of all types. The Fifteens are reflecting this, with Niall & Ronan O'Brien of FF Chonamara turning up at Dromineer with Buckfast and competing to such good effect that they took second in a fleet of ten.

Flying Fifteens on the run, Squibs on the beatFlying Fifteens on the run, Squibs on the beat

Their scoreline included a couple of firsts, but it was Belfast Lough sailors Trevor D'Arcy and Alan McClernon of Carrickfergus who were on top of their game with three first and a second and fourth to win by one point, while Alan Green and David Mulvin of the NYC in Dun Laoghaire were third after notching best results of a first and two seconds.

Flying Fifteen results here

LITTLE FELLA WINS TIE BREAK IN DRAGONS

It doesn't do to rush the final few miles down the winding road to Dromineer from Nenagh with an International Dragon in tow, for it's a boreen which might have been set up with Advanced Towing Driving Tests in mind. But at least the boats which came from Dun Laoghaire had motorway most of the way until Nenagh, whereas the hotshots from Kinsale had to contend with some of those nationally-notorious bottlenecks on the Cork-Limerick road before getting anywhere near their destination

This may have sharpened their determination to succeed once they got the fresh air of Lough Derg in their lungs, and with their elite three-day programme providing eight races, it came right down to the wire between two Kinsale boats, with Brian Goggin's Serafina and Cameron Good's Little Fella both on 17 points.

Dragons finding some sunshine on the run, with eventual overall winner Little Fella (211, Cameron Good KYC, left) making a successful break for it.Dragons finding some sunshine on the run, with eventual overall winner Little Fella (211, Cameron Good KYC, left) making a successful break for it.

However, 2021 is Little Fella's year, and she added another title by winning the tie-break, with third place going to Peter Bowring of Royal St George YC in Dun Laoghaire with Phantom.

International Dragon Results here

The season is by no means completely over on Lough Derg, but there's no doubting that this year's successful Freshwater Keelboat marks a significant changing of the pace, with a distinct change in the weather now upon us to emphasise this. It's really anybody's guess what the country has to go through during the coming winter, but down Dromineer way they're already thinking of the bright weather of next summer. For in addition to its busy home programme and of course the Freshwater Keelboat Regatta in October (date is October 15th-16th, put it in the diary now), Lough Derg Yacht Club is hosting the Fireball Worlds 2022 from August 20th to 26th.

Autumn is well upon us – evening sunlight at DromineerAutumn is well upon us – evening sunlight at Dromineer

Published in Inland Waterways

Lough Derg Yacht Club in County Tipperary will welcome one design visitors back to Dromineer for the Keelboat regatta on the weekend of 15th to 17th of October.

Four fleets are expected to the lake, with the biggest likely to be the Squibs, according to Derg's Joe O'Byrne.

The distinctive mace-colour sailed fleet expects a 30 boat entry to include Northern Ireland, England, Kinsale and Howth boats to compete against a growing local fleet.

The SB20s who recently competed on Lough Ree are moving to Derg for their final event of the year, and a fleet of 18 is expected in the last event of 2021 before staging the world championships in Ireland on Dublin Bay in 2022.

LDYC PRO John Leech - two race areas for the keelboat regattaLDYC PRO John Leech - two race areas for the keelboat regatta

Lough Derg Yacht Club says it expects the Flying Fifteens will also be travelling, and estimates from the Dun Laoghaire fleet say up to a dozen will attend.

Up to a dozen Flying Fifteens are expected on Lough DergUp to a dozen Flying Fifteens are expected on Lough Derg

The Dragons will have competitors from Kinsale and Dublin.

The club has arranged a lift in/lift-out on-site, and, O'Byrne says, this will significantly assist the logistics for competitors.

LDYC PRO John Leech and his team have split the four fleets over two separate race areas.

Published in Inland Waterways

It was billed as the Squib Easterns. But in terms of results spread, it was more like an All-Ireland, with five different clubs listed for the first ten boats in a very representative fleet of 18 starters from many sailing centres taking to the waters close north of Howth. And though the first day was every bit as grey as Dublin Bay next door, the second suddenly pulled itself together, the sun broke through, and hey presto, we'd the luminous Fingal Riviera with a perfect onshore sailing breeze and some cracking racing under the direction of Derek Bothwell who – as a Squib sailor himself both at Howth and on Lough Derg – very crisply indicated that he was taking no messing about from anyone, ruling the racing with an iron hand.

The Squibs at Howth have had a chequered history since they started as a class at the harbour in 1979. Back in the previous millennium, they were particularly rampant during the 1990s, when a combined Irish & British Championship in 1995 saw 105 boats on the HYC starting line. At other times, the class is no more than a ghost of itself, but as longtime Howth Squib campaigner Emmet Dalton has put it, they're like cockroaches – you think they're gone, and suddenly they're everywhere again.

Running free in an unexpected outbreak of Indian Summer, Toys for the Boys (Peter Wallace) from Cultra chasing O'Leary (Simon Sheahan) from Howth. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyRunning free in an unexpected outbreak of Indian Summer, Toys for the Boys (Peter Wallace) from Cultra chasing O'Leary (Simon Sheahan) from Howth. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Winning combination. Neal Merry providing the leverage while Emmet Dalton ponders tactics aboard the new Squib Eastern Champion Kerfuffle. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyWinning combination. Neal Merry providing the leverage while Emmet Dalton ponders tactics aboard the new Squib Eastern Champion Kerfuffle. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

After the weekend's racing, Skipper Dalton is permitted the use of such a crude analogy, for he and his crew Neal Merry were functioning so perfectly as a team racing Kerfuffle that they recorded a scoreline of 1,1,2,8,1,8. The other three race wins went to Ian Travers & Keith O'Riordan of Kinsale racing Outlaw, Peter Wallace & Martin Weatherstone of Royal North with Toys for the Boys, and frequent champions Gordon Patterson & Ross Nolan (RNIYC) with Quickstep.

Suddenly, it's summer…..frequent champions Gordon Patterson & Ross Nolan (RNIYC) had to be content with 5th overall this time round. Photo: Annraoi BlaneySuddenly, it's summer…..frequent champions Gordon Patterson & Ross Nolan (RNIYC) had to be content with 5th overall this time round. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

However, it was intriguing for championship analysts to note that, as ever, putting together a good series can be every bit as productive as the occasional spectacular win, for although Ian Travers was second overall with a scoreline of 5,3,3,1,6,2, third overall went to Stephen Bridges and Matthew Bolton with Firecracker from Killyleagh on Strangford Lough whose 4,6,3,3,4 was able to get them on the podium despite a UFD in Race 3.

Age cannot wither her….the vintage Kerfuffle (no 37) in the lead to demonstrate why certain batches of the Squib production history have a special cachet. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyAge cannot wither her….the vintage Kerfuffle (no 37) in the lead to demonstrate why certain batches of the Squib production history have a special cachet. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

The Silver Fleet also saw the prize stay with the host club, as it was topped by the Kay brothers in Crackertoo at 9th overall, while Kinsale's Cliodhna ni Shuillebhain & Michael O'Sullivan took second (and first female helm) at tenth overall, third in Silver going north to Killyleagh with Volante (Simon Watson & Jordie Withers).

Kinsale's Cliodhna ni Shuillebhain, crewed by Michael O'Sullivan in Mucky Duck, was second in the Silver Division. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyKinsale's Cliodhna ni Shuillebhain, crewed by Michael O'Sullivan in Mucky Duck, was second in the Silver Division. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Even without the boost of this double success at the weekend, Howth's Squibs under the captaincy of Ronan MacDonnell are currently on a roll, as at least three boats new to the fleet will be joining the local division next year. Meanwhile the class nationally is not yet finished with 2021, as the Freshwater Regatta on Lough Derg early in October is taking shape as their closing major.

Detailed results here

Three of the Killyleagh fleet – 149: Firecracker (Steven Bridges & Matthew Bolton), 807: Volante (Simon Watson & Jordie Withers) and 102: Slipstream (Neil Logan & Robert Marshall). Photo: Annraoi BlaneyThree of the Killyleagh fleet – 149: Firecracker (Steven Bridges & Matthew Bolton), 807: Volante (Simon Watson & Jordie Withers) and 102: Slipstream (Neil Logan & Robert Marshall). Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Control Centre – Howth YC's senior Committee Boat Star Point returns to the harbour on Sunday after a successful Squib Eastern Championship. Race Officer Derek Bothwell (at centre on bridge) has been busy all over Ireland with his workload increasing as the national sailing programme develops with pandemic restrictions lifting. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyControl Centre – Howth YC's senior Committee Boat Star Point returns to the harbour on Sunday after a successful Squib Eastern Championship. Race Officer Derek Bothwell (at centre on bridge) has been busy all over Ireland with his workload increasing as the national sailing programme develops with pandemic restrictions lifting. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

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While the thirty-one countries of the ILCA 4.7 fleet were completing the final race of their Youth World Championship in Dublin Bay, there was another close competition taking place in the bay under Barry O'Neill as P.R.O. This was under the burgee of Dublin Bay Sailing Club in the combined National Squib Class / Dublin Bay Mermaid fleet, of the Dublin Bay Green Fleet who completed two races on Saturday 14 August.

Race one was sailed over a windward-leeward course in a somewhat unstable wind of force two from the south-east. Tony Mullett's Allsorts, crewed by Paul Mills, started at the committee vessel Freebird. By the windward mark Noel Colclough's Periquin with Rupert Westrup crewing had closed the gap, and the two boats came to the windward mark with only half a boat length separating them. On the run it was Allsorts ahead, trying to keep her air clear. At the leeward mark, Allsorts had a problem with the spinnaker gybe to the finish, allowing Periquin to close the gap. After twenty-eight minutes racing, the margin between the two boats was three seconds which probably represents the distance from the bow to the mast.

Race two was sailed over the same course with the length of the beat reduced to compensate for a falling breeze. Allsorts won the start by hitting the line on port tack at the pin end. Again, she rounded the windward mark a boat-length ahead of her rival. This time Periquin was able to blanket Allsorts and thus was able to gain the inside berth which she held for the entire run to the leeward mark. Allsorts did a better rounding and managed to pass to lee of Periquin. Although the two boats split tacks on the second beat, when they came together again, Periquin on port passed across the bow of Allsorts, who was heading towards the favoured end of the line. In the official results, the margin between the boats after thirty-eight minutes racing was again three seconds, with Periquin taking the win.

This racing is great practice for the Irish East Coast Squib Championship at Howth Yacht Club on the first weekend of September.

Published in Squib

While Kinsale Yacht Club cruisers boats were racing around the Kowloon Bridge Buoy and the club also staged the Squib south coast championships, another West Cork Yacht Club was staging a Glandore Harbour race for Dragons and Squibs to Castletownshend.

11 Dragons and 11 Squibs sailed in the annual race in ideal sailing conditions of 10 to 12 knot breezes last Saturday.

In the Dragon fleet, Sonata, in her first major event since being relaunched by her new owners this week, was the winner, ahead of Aphrodite second and War Baby in third. 

Trojan was the first Squib home followed by Tequilla Chaser in second and Kingfisher in third place.

Fergus of Mary Ann’s Bar in Castletownsend provided bottles of wine for the prizewinners.

Diarmuid O’Donovan of Glenmar Shellfish donated lobsters for the winning boats in the race back to Glandore. The first Dragon was Aphrodite, the first Squib was again Trojan,

Published in Dragon

Wins in the second and third races in the Squib Southern Championships at Kinsale Yacht Club this afternoon has handed the overnight lead to Northern Ireland's Peter Wallace and Fiona Ward.

The Wallace and Ward partnership from Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on Belfast Lough have a four-point cushion over local Kinsale pair Matthias Hellstern and Colm Daly on 11 points. 

KYC pair Matthias Hellstern and Colm Daly are lying in second Photo: Bob BatemanKYC pair Matthias Hellstern and Colm Daly are lying in second place Photo: Bob Bateman

Currently in third place, Kinsale clubmates Ian Travers and Keith O'Riordan are on 12 points. 

12 boats are competing with ten from the host club and two Northern visitors.

Full results are here

Racing continues tomorrow

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Despite a strong showing by the Killyleagh Yacht Club visitors from Strangford Lough on the first day of the Squib Northerns at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on the south shore of Belfast Lough, in the end it was the local crew, Greg Bell and Jayne Kearney in Prodigal who stamped their authority on the 17 strong fleet posting an emphatic run of low scores to win from the Killyleagh team of Steven Bridges and Colin Dougan in Firecracker.

First and second places were fairly well scattered among the fleet, but it was the Bell crew's consistency that rewarded them the Championship.

Greg Bell (left) with Commodore RNIYC Nigel Carson and Jayne Kearney Photo: Lindsay NolanGreg Bell (left) with Commodore RNIYC Nigel Carson and Jayne Kearney Photo: Lindsay Nolan

Race 1, started in an eight to ten knot northeasterly and a choppy sea. Hot out the blocks was Firecracker from Killyleagh (Bridges and Dougan) showing a clean pair of heels and disappearing over the horizon to win that race. Behind were Toy for the Boys with Peter Wallace and Martin Weatherstone on board, fighting it out with the Eccles/Wright duo in Inshallah to finish that order. Race 2 went to another Killyleagh boat, Slipstream crewed by Neil Logan and Robert Marshall, with Firecracker second. Toy for the Boys pulled back to win Race 3 with Bell's Prodigal securing runner up.

Jumini (702) on a run credit Photo: Jen DicksonJumini (702) on a run Photo: Jen Dickson

On Sunday a lengthy postponement until the wind filled in meant an anxious wait for the five boats vying for the title. Race 4 got underway in a light shifting breeze, with the Howth boat, Durt sailed by Fergus O'Kelly and Dave Cotter from Howth hot out the blocks, but after a position shifting race, it was the host club's Greg Bell in Prodigal in the first slot, followed by clubmate Ross Kearney in Jumini and the Killyleagh crew in Firecracker third

Prodigal took Race 5 to stamp Bell's authority on the event even further, but this time runner up went to Douglas and Mellor in Inismara, with Jumini 3rd. In the shifty breeze for Race 6, there were new faces to the front with locals Gordon Patterson and Ross Nolan's Fagin leading the fleet and Gizmo (Park and Stinson) second.

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