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Displaying items by tag: Howth Yacht Club

With the shortest day of the year only a fortnight away, winter leagues at a number of centres in Ireland can already look back on a satisfying collection of good races which somehow hit on magic days between storms such as Arwen two weeks ago, and the steadily approaching and rapidly deepening Barra.

At Howth yesterday (Sunday) for the long-running Bright Motors Brass Monkeys Autumn League and the even-longer-running KeyCapital Laser Frostbites, PRO Derek Bothwell and his team had found themselves actually wondering at dawn if an obliging high pressure ridge, which was bringing in a classic pet day, might overdo its benevolence to provide a calm.

But as Race Team Management member HYC Vice Commodore Neil Murphy tersely reports of the racing: “Sunshine, wind approx 15 knots from 290, and a very big spring tide running on the ebb. Twenty-one boats racing across the three keelboat classes”.

A neat start by Steffi & Windsor in the veteran Club Shamrock Demelza……..A neat start by Steffi & Windsor in the veteran Club Shamrock Demelza……..

Warbling wordsmiths might add that the air was like well-chilled champagne, though the keelboat numbers (mainly Howth, but from four different East Coast clubs in all) don’t reflect the initial more numerous series entry, as some boats which weren’t in with a final podium chance had seen key elements of their afterguard press-ganged into shoreside Christmas-tree acquisition and gift-buying duties in a pre-emptive move in face of Tuesday’s approaching restrictions.

But for those who did sail this fifth race to keep the series on programme, the conditions were perfect, and in Class 1 HPH Peter & Declan McCabe’s Arcturus (HYC) confirmed a solid overall lead with another win to put her on 7 pts OA to the 15 of Joe Carton’s Dehler 34 Voyager (HYC) and the 18 of Helm’s Deep (Paul Harrison, Skerries SC).

Class 2 HPH has Pat O’Neill’s J/80 Mojo maintaining the winning form she was showing in Denmark back in the summer, for although third in this fifth race (which was won by Simon Knowles’ J/109 Indian), Mojo has never been below 5th to put together a useful series pattern in a 13-boat entry, and thus she lies on 17pts to the 21 of Mark McLoughlins J’us, with Holly Quinn racing the family’s J/97 Lambay Rules equal on 21 points, but back a place on the tie break.

Simon Knowles’ J/109 Indian, winner on Sunday, sweeping through Howth Sound on the sluicing ebb.Simon Knowles’ J/109 Indian, winner on Sunday, sweeping through Howth Sound on the sluicing ebb.

Special interest is added to Class 2 as all five HYC-owned J/80s are racing under charter to likes to the likes of Darren Wright and Dave Cullen, who have learned on some of the breezier days that’s there’s more to keeping a fully-clothed J/80 under her mast than there is on one of their own Classic Half Tonners.

As for Class 3 HPH, the veteran Club Shamrock Demelza (Steffi & Windsor HYC) has been winning for more than forty years in both Cork and Howth, but although - despite a neat start - she finished second on Sunday, when the winner was Kevin O’Byrne’s Mary Ellen, Demelza continues in a shared overall lead with the Douglas/Keane Shenanigans (Malahide YC) with both on 12 pts, while the 50-years-racing classic Swan 37 Bandersnatch (brought new to Howth in 1971 by Ross & Peter Courtney) is on third at 21 points for longtime owner Kyran O’Grady of Wicklow SC.

The keelboats Brass Monkey series changes to Saturday for their final race of Series 1 this weekend (Saturday, December 11th) followed by the socially-distanced prize-giving (the traditional lunch would have been a Cheltenham-standard super-spreader), but the Lasers will keep going for another week.

Laser ding-dong – overall leader Ronan Wallace (Wexford, 166313) keeping tabs on Dan O’Connell (Derrynane perhaps?)Laser ding-dong – overall leader Ronan Wallace (Wexford, 166313) keeping tabs on Dan O’Connell (Derrynane perhaps?)

LASERS BUSY

While the keelboats may have felt quite pleased by drawing in an entry from four different clubs, they are only in the ha’penny place compared to the Lasers, whose long-running annual winter series (it goes back to 1974) has this time round drawn in entries from eleven Leinster clubs, and the first eight in the Standard Division reflect this. The current clear leader after nine races is Ronan Wallace of Wexford on 7pts, second is Daragh Kelleher of Skerries on 15, Conor Murphy maintains the honour of the host club with third overall for Howth (23 pts), Tom Fox of Rush SC is fourth on 28, Dave Kirwan (Malahide) is fifth on 34, Dan O’Connell (ISA) is 6th on 45, and Richard Tate (RStGYC) is seventh on 52 before another HYC sailor pops up with Conor Costello eighth on 53.

However, the Laser Radials are HYC all the way, with Charlie Keating leading from Fiachra Farrelly and Cillian Twomey, giving a glimpse of the future which is also reflected in the provision of racing for the RS Aero, where John Phelan leads from Paul McMahon and Daragh Sheridan.

A long way from Derrynane – Dan O’Connell on the run at HowthA long way from Derrynane – Dan O’Connell on the run at Howth

Quite how things will be next weekend in the aftermath of Barra heaven only knows, but Howth’s Happy Race Team can already claim “We have a series, we have a result”.

(Photos by Neil Murphy & Aideen Sargent)

Details here 

 The RS Aeros are also racing, and Paul McMahon (photo) currently lies second overall The RS Aeros are also racing, and Paul McMahon (photo) currently lies second overall

Published in Howth YC
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Howth Yacht Club sailor Aoife Hopkins improved her overall standing at the women's Laser Radial (ILCA6) World Championships in Mussanah today after two further light air races and a long day afloat.

Hopkins finished 16th and 15th for 20th place overall. Her placing has improved steadily from 31st overall since Thursday in the 63-boat fleet.

Light winds continue to dominate the regatta that is being officiated by Principal Race Officer Con Murphy of Dun Laoghaire. The fleet waited at sea for two hours before just enough breeze filled in to get racing.

Overall, Agata Barwinska of Poland leapfrogged Julia Büsselberg to climb from third to first, leaving Büsselberg in second place for the second day in a row. Emma Plasschaert of Belgium moved up to third.

However, the day belonged to Cristina Pujol Bajo of Spain who rose through the rankings to end the day in fourth after winning one race and finishing fourth in another. Olympic Champion Anne-Marie Rindom of Denmark sits in fifth with Viktorija Andrulyte of Lithuania a point behind having dropped from fourth to sixth today. Eleven points separate first and sixth, so it could all change again tomorrow.

Viktorija Andrulyte of Lithuania, said, “Today, as has become usual, we are waiting for the wind to pick up. The wind has been unstable all day, so we were able to start. Two races today. I didn’t start well but climbed up, even to first, but lost pace in the down while trying not to get a yellow flag. But I also made some mistakes. I also picked up a penalty for an incident, but I still tried my best to the very end and finished top 20. I am improving and not losing as much in the downwind, so I am really happy about that.”

Hannah Anderssohn of Germany, said, “The races were quite tough for me, I had a very difficult start. But slowly I am improving and going a bit better. In general, it is very difficult to get off the start line.”

Rosie Chapman, US Sailing coach, said, “It’s a big fleet, really awesome to see so many people make it to Oman. We have had a challenging start to the regatta and there hasn’t been a world championship for a couple of years but it is exciting to see the level of the fleet and how far it has come since the last regatta. Having had a delay on the Olympic Games, the girls coming straight from the Games are pretty busy for the next quad and there are some younger girls coming through and challenging everybody, so it’s really good to see that. The key names are here and the young girls are coming up and making a difference.”

The high scores continue to be a feature in the fleet so nothing can be taken for granted with two days of racing remaining.

Organisers will continue to plan for three races on each of the remaining days to sail as many of the races as possible.

Results are downloadable below

The opening race of the women's Laser Radial (ILCA6) World Championships in Mussanah, Oman has been postponed due to lack of wind at the venue.

A fresh attempt to start the series will be made on Thursday to begin the qualification rounds for Gold and Silver fleets.

Ireland is represented by Aoife Hopkins and Sienna Wright of Howth Yacht Club. As Afloat reported earlier, Wright's older brother Rocco is competing in the men's division.

Hopkins will be aiming for a strong result to follow on Finn Lynch’s (National YC) silver medal at the Laser Men’s (ILCA7) World Championship and Sean Craig's World Masters fourth, both secured in Barcelona last month.

Up to 12 races can be scheduled with the provision to sail extra races daily when weather impacts the programme.

The final result is expected by lunchtime (Irish time) on Monday 6th December.

Published in Laser

When the Autumn League started as a regular part of the programme at Howth Yacht Club thirty-nine years ago after the Marina opened in July 1982 (making for two significant anniversaries coming up next year), it was thought fairly normal to lose at least one weekend of racing as the late-season weather tightened its grip. And in some restless years, it had to be accepted that only two-thirds of the programme could be completed.

But for 2021, maybe it's climate change or maybe it was good luck or more likely it was a combination of both. But whatever, the full programme of eight races over six weekends has been sailed, and while one or two races were completed just before calm set in, on other outings the sailing breeze has been perfect for racing, yet at no time could anyone complain there was too much of it.

That said, the coastal setup at Howth has been an advantage, the final race serving up a perfect example. The basic wind was a moderate if very grey southerly as there was rain on the way, though it decently didn't arrive until later. But for most of the race, the ebb was setting briskly southward, which sharpened the apparent wind strength at various key points to bring further welcome energy to the scene.

J/109 Storm (Pat Kelly) and the Classic Half Tonners Mata (Wright/DeNeve) and Checkmate XVIII (Nigel Biggs) close in on the mark in the final race of the 20201 Beshoff Motors Autumn League at Howth. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyJ/109 Storm (Pat Kelly) and the Classic Half Tonners Mata (Wright/DeNeve) and Checkmate XVIII (Nigel Biggs) close in on the mark in the final race of the 20201 Beshoff Motors Autumn League at Howth. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

With just one race scheduled on two different course areas, several of the final positions were already in place, notably in the Squibs where Emmet Dalton had it stitched up in Kerfuffle (also the Squib East Coast Champion), and thus he was able to take himself off for the weekend to the Freshwater Keelboat Regatta at Dromineer on Lough Derg.

Another multiple winner well placed was Nigel Biggs – now registered as sailing out of Howth - who seems to have got his name on Flying Fifteen trophies elsewhere while almost simultaneously featuring in the frame in IRC 1 in Howth with his classic Half Tonner Checkmate XVIII. He went into the final race with an awesome scoreline including three bullets, but had to be content with second, the winner on the day being the Kavanagh crew in the J/97 Jeneral Lee.

IRC1 finds the best of the breeze while the rain obligingly stays away to the west, with Nigel Biggs' Checkmate XVIII starting to show ahead of Mata (Wright/DeNeve). Photo: Annraoi BlaneyIRC1 finds the best of the breeze while the rain obligingly stays away to the west, with Nigel Biggs' Checkmate XVIII starting to show ahead of Mata (Wright/DeNeve). Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Winning team: Checkmate XVIII's crew in high concentration mode. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyWinning team: Checkmate XVIII's crew in high concentration mode. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Good for the day that's in it – the J/97 Jeneral Lee won IRC 1 in the final race. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyGood for the day that's in it – the J/97 Jeneral Lee won IRC 1 in the final race. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Nevertheless in the big picture, Biggs won big, 14pts overall to the 24.0 of the Evans brothers (formerly of the Half Tonner Big Picture just to confuse everyone completely) in second in their J/99 Snapshot, with Jeneral Lee third and Dave Cullen's Checkmate XV fourth.

With the new James Bond movie breaking box office records, it was appropriate that IRC 1 ECHO was won by Stephen O'Flaherty's Bond superstar, the Spirit 54 Soufriere, with Jeneral Lee showing notable consistency across the handicaps with the second OA, while Simon Knowles J/109 Indian was third.

The Spirit 54 Soufriere (Stephen O'Flaherty) makes in past the gannet-laden Stack, on her way to winning Class 1 ECHO. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyThe Spirit 54 Soufriere (Stephen O'Flaherty) makes in past the gannet-laden Stack, on her way to winning Class 1 ECHO. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

"X" marks every spot….Dux chasing Xebec in IRC2. Photo: Annraoi Blaney"X" marks every spot….Dux chasing Xebec in IRC2. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

All your Dux in a row…..the crew of the IRC2 champion, with Robin Hegarty on the helm. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyAll your Dux in a row…..the crew of the IRC2 champion, with Robin Hegarty on the helm. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

IRC2 with all the X Boats likewise saw a frequent winner apparently taking the foot off the pedal, as the Gore-Grimes family's pace-setter Dux was back in fourth, the winners being the Wormald/Walsh/O'Neill team in No Excuse which brought them to within 1.5 point OA of champion Dux for the series, with Paddy Kyne's Maximus third overall.

IRC3 saw the Mullaneys in the Sigma 33 round out an excellent season (they're already the class's 2021 Irish Champions) by wining the final race on both IRC and ECHO to put them at only 8 points overall to the 21 of second-placed Alliance II, Vincent Gaffney's Laser 28, which in turn was 2 points OA ahead of the U-25 squad in the J/24 Kilcullen.

They're allowed relax – the Mullaneys' Irish Sigma 33 champion Insider is now also Autumn League Class 3 Champion every which way. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyThey're allowed relax – the Mullaneys' Irish Sigma 33 champion Insider is now also Autumn League Class 3 Champion every which way. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

In the two Non-Spinnaker classes, Stephen Harris's First 40.7 Tiger once again demonstrated the benefits of a huge mainsail when you're not putting up any coloured cloth by winning IRC 4 overall from Colm Bermingham's Bite the Bullet, but on ECHO Dermot Skehan in the MG34 Toughnut was five points ahead of Tiger overall. As for IRC 5, Steffi and Windsor won overall again in the historic Club Shamrock Demelza, but in ECHO 5 it was Blues Xtra (M. Carroll) which had it from Joe Carton's Dehler 34 Voyager, with Demelza third.

In the Puppeteer 22s, Paul McMahon's No 1 Shiggi-Shiggi leads on the day………..Photo: Annraoi BlaneyIn the Puppeteer 22s, Paul McMahon's No 1 Shiggi-Shiggi leads on the day………..Photo: Annraoi Blaney

……but Scorie Walls and her team were overall champions……but Scorie Walls and her team were overall champions. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

In the 17-strong Puppeteer 22 fleet – the largest class numerically – Scorie Walls in Gold Dust gave a text-book demonstration of how to put a series together, for although Paul McMahon's restored Shiggi-Shiggi (Puppeteer No 1 of 1978 vintage) seemed to be getting some spectacular bullets, Gold Dust was always there or thereabouts, and on Scratch won OA on 15 points to the 17.0 of the two Alans (Pearson & Blay) in Trick or Treat, while Shiggi-Shiggi was third on 19. As for HPH results, in a class this size an entirely new set of names should come into the picture, and so it was, with Ibis (S Sheridan) winning from P & R Byrne's Odyssey with Terry Harvey's No Strings third.

With the already-there champion Kerfuffle gone west, the Squibs saw Crackertoo (S Kay) grab a win from Tears for Fears (N Monks), but it was TFF which took the sccond to Kerfuffle overall, with Crackertoo third. In HPH, Tears FF was out of sight overall, winning on 7pts to the 20 of Kerfuffle, with Crackertoo third.

Ian Malcolm on the 1898-vintage Aura was one of four Howth Seventeens which went into the final race with a chance of winning the title……Photo: Annraoi BlaneyIan Malcolm on the 1898-vintage Aura was one of four Howth Seventeens which went into the final race with a chance of winning the title……Photo: Annraoi Blaney

…..but the 1988-vintage Isobel (Brian & Conor Turvey) had a runaway win in the final race to clinch the title…..but the 1988-vintage Isobel (Brian & Conor Turvey) had a runaway win in the final race to clinch the title. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

The venerable Howth Seventeens went into the final race with four boats out of their fleet of 14 in serious contention for the win, yet there was so much "series strategical tactical" racing going on that only one of them finished the last race in the top three, and that was Conor & Brian Turvey in Isobel which took first to clinch it big-time, as overall they'd 18 points to the 23 of Deilginis (Massey/Toomey/Kenny), the 24 of Oona (Peter Courtney), and the 25 of Aura (Ian Malcolm).

Only Oona figured in the top three under HPH, which was won overall by Zaida (Tom Houlihan) with Roddy Cooper's Leila second and Oona third. Normally the Howth Seventeens would be lifted out almost immediately after the final race of the Autumn League, but what with Climate Change and trying to cram as much as possible into a compressed season, the word is that three boats are on a tie for one of their most ancient trophies, the Studdart Cup which dates back to the 1890s, and thus on Saturday (October 23rd) there's a winner-takes all race for the Studdart between No 1 Rita (John Curley and Marcus Lynch), No 7 Aura (Ian Malcolm) and No 21 Orla (Marc FitzGibbon & Donal Gallagher).

There's something very special about Autumn racing, and this Howth 17 and Puppeteer 22 catch the spirit of it perfectlyThere's something very special about Autumn racing, and this Howth 17 and Puppeteer 22 catch the spirit of it perfectly. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Beyond that, HYC's annual Brass Monkeys Series for the hardier keelboats beckons, as does the Laser Frostbites, an annual feature since 1974. The club has reached this stage of the pandemic in good heart with various indicators giving encouraging signs, including some interesting new boats on the way.

And for next year, we've the 40th Anniversary of both the Marina and the Autumn League. In the marital stakes, the 40th is the Ruby Jubilee. Doesn't sound very nautical. The Rube Jube perhaps? Maybe not. But doubtless something will be made of it nevertheless.

Full result details here 

Everyone a star – Howth YC's senior Committee Boat Star Point and the race crew who help to make it all possible including (left to right) Aideen Sargent, Jim Lambkin, Rupert Jeffares, David Lovegrove, John Doran, Wilhelmine Phelan and Kate LovegroveEveryone a star – Howth YC's senior Committee Boat Star Point and the race crew who help to make it all possible including (left to right) Aideen Sargent, Jim Lambkin, Rupert Jeffares, David Lovegrove, John Doran, Wilhelmine Phelan and Kate Lovegrove. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Published in Howth YC
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The East Coast Cruisers Zero competition just got tougher with the news that a third J122 may be joining the Dublin fleet later this year. 

In 2021, Chris Power Smith's top ISORA offshore performer J122 Aurelia from the Royal St. George Yacht Club got company in May from a new Greystones Harbour sistership Kaya (Frank Whelan), which went on to win ICRA and Calves Week honours this season as well as last month's September's DMYC Kish Race too.

The Golden One - Chris Power-Smith's Royal St. George J122, AureliaThe Golden One - Chris Power-Smith's Royal St. George J122, Aurelia

The J/122, a 40-foot cruiser/racer, was designed by Alan Johnstone of the legendary J/Boats family and built in France by J/Europe. Its sporty credentials include light-to-moderate displacement (14,900 pounds), minimal overhangs, and a slippery, flat-bottomed hull form.

Now, Afloat understands that a third Irish J122 is destined for Howth (but with Dublin Bay 2022 race plans), will join from France.

The new addition, an 'Elegance' version, may arrive here in time for at least some of the forthcoming DBSC Turkey Shoot Series starting in November.

Published in Howth YC

In 1905, mutineer Ivan Beshoff made good his escape from the Imperial Russian Battleship Potemkin after he and his shipmates had taken over command in the Black Sea, and he set out walking west. Knowing of the long reach of the Tzarist secret police, he went as far as he could go in Europe, and ended up in Ireland, where the Beshoff family is now well established.

It's rather more than can be said for the Tzars back in Russia. But meanwhile, two years after Ivan Beshoff's long walk to freedom, Clem Courtney of Howth bought one of the locally-based Howth 17 One-Designs - back in 1907, they'd been in existence for only nine years. The Courtney family has been involved with the Howth 17s - and offshore racers too – ever since, and in Saturday's two races of the fifth weekend of Beshoff Motor Autumn League, Peter Courtney racing Oona kept himself in the top four overall of the 14-strong Seventeen fleet.

Time for a Ferrari Fix – Jeremy Beshoff and Peter CourtneyTime for a Ferrari Fix – Jeremy Beshoff and Peter Courtney

So when he got ashore it was only right and proper that he should be invited to sit into the hottest car that Jeremy Beshoff and his classic specialists in Beshoff Motors had brought along for the day, and it was of course a Ferrari. Indeed, it was notable just how many sailors found themselves feeling completely at home in that Ferrari driving seat. But they'd certainly earned the privilege, for although the day's westerly breeze was fading as the big high pressure system built from the southwest, the Race Officer teams were determined to get in two races where possible in this penultimate weekend. They've now got seven good results for most classes in the bag, and the final day this coming Saturday will be almost a bonus.

Isobel (Brian & Conor Turvey) taking a third in the Howth 17s to consolidate her second overall in the points table. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyIsobel (Brian & Conor Turvey) taking a third in the Howth 17s

But while the Courtney link with the Seventeens may be the longest of all the Howth sailing families, it was another well-established local maritime clan which made it their day in the old class, as Ian Malcolm with Aura recorded a first and second. This makes it close at the top overall for the leading four, as Deilginis (Massey/Toomey/Kenny) is now on 16 pts, Isobel (Brian & Conor Turvey) is at 17, Aura is at 19 and Oona is at 20.

In fact, after 123 years, the Seventeens are still providing some of the closest racing as indicated by the points, for in IRC1 Nigel Biggs' Classic Half Tonner Checkmate XVIII has been making hay, and after a 5th and 1st on Saturday, she's on only 12 pts to the 20 of the J/99 Snapshot (Mike & Richie Evans) which is just ahead of the J/109 Outrajeous (Richard Colwell & Johnny Murphy) on 21.

IRC1 start – Checkmate XVIII (Nigel Biggs, nearest) now leads overall, while the J/99 Snapshot (M & R Evans, far end) is second. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyIRC1 start – Checkmate XVIII (Nigel Biggs, nearest) now leads overall, while the J/99 Snapshot (M & R Evans, far end) is second. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

It was the sort of day when they got the racing finished just before the breeze failed – Simon Knowles' J/109 Indian making the best of it. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyIt was the sort of day when they got the racing finished just before the breeze failed – Simon Knowles' J/109 Indian making the best of it. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

IRC 2 continues to see the Gore-Grimes family make the pace convincingly with Dux, while in IRC 3 the Mullaneys with the Irish Champion Sigma 33 Insider notched a useful 1st and 2nd to give them a massive overall lead over Vincent Gaffney's Laser 28 Alliance 2.

The biggest class of all – the Puppeteer 22s with 17 boats now on the water as more contenders emerge from the sheds on the family farms – still has Scorie Walls with Gold Dust leading overall on 15 pts, but she was off form as Gold Dust recorded an 8th and 4th on Saturday while the McMahons with Shiggi-Shiggi took two bullets to make it a very tight final contest for the top five places.

The Puppeteer 22s are now the biggest class – enjoying the sun are (left to right) Wey Hey (Ian Dickson), Yellow Peril (Murphy/Costello), Honeybadger (May/Burke) and Trick-or-Treat (Pearson/Blay. Trick or Treat now lies second overall. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyThe Puppeteer 22s are now the biggest class – enjoying the sun are (left to right) Wey Hey (Ian Dickson), Yellow Peril (Murphy/Costello), Honeybadger (May/Burke) and Trick-or-Treat (Pearson/Blay. Trick or Treat now lies second overall. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

As we get further into October, predicting this coming final Saturday's wind and weather is an increasing challenge, but with those seven races now in the can, it is already an excellent series. Next year, it will be the 40th Anniversary Howth Autumn League. Meanwhile, for those who had mixed fortunes on Saturday, getting up close and personal with a Ferrari proved to be just the tonic.

Full details here

Let's hear it for Bray – Flor O'Driscoll of Bray SC in action at Howth with his J/24 Hard on Port. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyLet's hear it for Bray – Flor O'Driscoll of Bray SC in action at Howth with his J/24 Hard on Port. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Published in Howth YC
Tagged under

Anyone doing a crew call last Wednesday to firm up arrangements for Saturday's Day 4 of the Beshoff Motors Autumn League at Howth might well have been greeted with a brief but thoughtful silence from the shipmates, as the wind prediction charts were determinedly proposing gale force-plus conditions. But the Gods of the Weather have a wicked sense of humour, for on the day it turned out that sweet and sunny September 2021 had suddenly renewed its lease for the first Saturday of October. And though there was a bite to the air by the time Jeremy Beshoff - purveyor of classy specialist cars to Peninsular People and Those in Nearby Ireland - was distributing the day's many prizes, Annraoi Blaney's stylish photos convincingly reveal that the racing conditions had become wellnigh perfect, with a westerly brisk enough to bring everything to life, yet not so strong as to prevent most of the Howth 17s from carrying their topsails.

Connemara if you wish……the Howth Seventeens run down on the mark at Ireland's Eye. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyConnemara if you wish……the Howth Seventeens run down on the mark at Ireland's Eye. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Where else in the world would a varied fleet of mostly modern craft rate the real pressure of the day's breeze on whether or not one of the planet's oldest one-design keelboat classes was capable of setting an archaic sail with which many of those out racing have no personal acquaintance whatever? Yet that is the way it is at Howth, and has been for 123 years since the Seventeens were founded. So much so, in fact, that it was all taken for granted as crews sharpened themselves for a race which enabled the first series discard to kick in, and gave the organisers the satisfaction of already having a basic championship result with two weekends still to sail.

The J/99 Snapshot (Mike & Richie Evans) took over the race lead in IRC 1. Photo: Annraoi BaneyThe J/99 Snapshot (Mike & Richie Evans) took over the race lead in IRC 1. Photo: Annraoi Baney

The hotshots in IRC 1 were if anything too keen to notch this crucial fifth race, with the two Classic Half Tonner Checkmates – Nigel Biggs' XVIII and Dave Cullen's XV - being checked out for OCS. But though Mike & Richie Evans J/99 Snapshot moved into first ahead of the Colwell/Murphy J/109 Outrajeous and the Wright/DeNeve Classic HT Mata, the Biggs boat continues to lead overall.

When you've the longest boat in the fleet, helming on Stephen O'Flaherty's Spirit 54 Soufriere requires concentration and some athletics………Photo: Annraoi BlaneyWhen you've the longest boat in the fleet, helming on Stephen O'Flaherty's Spirit 54 Soufriere requires concentration and some athletics………Photo: Annraoi Blaney

………particularly when a boat with a name like this gets up close and personal. Photo: Annraois Blaney………particularly when a boat with a name like this gets up close and personal. Photo: Annraois Blaney

The preponderance of X Boats in IRC 2 saw the Gore-Grimes team in Dux notch another win, but overall they're now level pegging with the Wormald/Walsh/O'Neill squad on No Excuse, while Paddy Kyne's Maximus was third on Saturday, and is now third overall on points.

Veteran of success – the Gore-Grimes family have taken dozens of trophies over many years with Dux. Photo: Annrais BlaneyVeteran of success – the Gore-Grimes family have taken dozens of trophies over many years with Dux. Photo: Annrais Blaney

In IRC3 S & D Mullaney's Insider – already 2021 Irish Sigma 33 National Champion – looks well set to add another trophy to the cabinet, as Saturday enabled them to discard a sixth to leave clean sweep of four firsts, putting them well ahead overall of the J/24 Scandal raced by the Nippers, and Vincent Gaffney's Laser 28 Alliance II.

The Non-Spinnaker fleets in IRC Classes 4 and 5 likewise saw a consolidation of established places with Stephen Harris in the First 40.7 Tiger now able to count four wins in 4, as can Steffi & Windsor in the Club Shamrock Demelza in 5. But in these two much more cruiser-oriented divisions, it's the ECHO handicap system which brings the racing to life, and though Tiger holds her lead in ECHO 4, in the 15-strong ECHO 5 it is M Carroll's Blues Xtra which holds the overall lead from Joe Carton's Dehler 34 Voyager, with Terry McCoy's vintage First 38 Out & About now third overall, having logged first and third in the two most recent races.

Terry McCoy (whose vintage First 38 has notched a first and third in the two most recent races) with Jeremy BeshoffTerry McCoy (whose vintage First 38 has notched a first and third in the two most recent races) with Jeremy Beshoff

In Howth's three One-Design Keelboat Classes, the Puppeteer 22s seem to emerge stronger from the pandemic with each passing week - they now have seventeen boats on the starting line, and the pace at the sharp end is ferocious. But although Algy Pearson and Alan Blay with Trick or Treat notched a win on Saturday from Scorie Walls in Gold Dust, it is Gold Dust which still has quite a strong overall point lead on T-o-T, with the May/Burke team on Honeybadger third.

The Squibs likewise are seeing a week-on-week increase in numbers, but we're told it will be next year before their latest renaissance fully manifests itself. Be that as it may, Emmet Dalton with Kerfuffle is looking at a scoreline of three first and a second after the discard, putting him well ahead overall on Crackertoo (S Kay).

Emmet Dalton's Kerfuffle continues to lead the reviving Squib class. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyEmmet Dalton's Kerfuffle continues to lead the reviving Squib class. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

By contrast the venerable Howth 17s – now racing fourteen boats every Saturday – have Oona (Peter Courtney), Deilginis (Massey/Toomey/Kenny) and Isobel (Brian & Conor Turvey) tied overall for first on 9 points with the discard made, with Saturday's winner Oona - after some great racing for the class-leading on the tie break. Those three are now in something of a world of their own, as next in line – Ian Malcolm's Aura - is back on 17 pts.

However, with the Seventeens – as with all classes – there are many boats in the next-in-line category who have great hopes of reversing overall points leads if every proposed race in their series can be sailed over the next two weekends. In the volatile weather of October, that would be little short of miraculous. But as one normally pessimistic skipper observed with satisfaction as he enjoyed the panorama of sunlit sail racing on a lively blue sea on Saturday: "This just wasn't meant to happen at all at all".

Full results here

"We weren't meant to get this…." Heading back to Howth Harbour after a great day of sunlit sport. Photo: Annraoi Blaney"We weren't meant to get this…." Heading back to Howth Harbour after a great day of sunlit sport. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Published in Howth YC
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Howth Yacht Club's members are of course absolutely tops in modesty. Which is just as well, as this past weekend – the last in September yet with summery weather – experienced some of the best racing conditions ever seen in the almost forty years of the annual Howth Autumn League. At the same time, in major championships at each end of the south coast, it was the Junior All-Ireland Championship at Schull that saw Howth's 15-year-old star Rocco Wright declared the winner, while the 1720 Europeans at Dunmore East had Howth YC's Ross McDonald take the gold as the silver went to veteran clubmate Robert Dix. And Dixie, it should be noted, was winning majors even before he took the title of All-Ireland Champion in 1970, which is 51 years ago if you don't feel inclined to do the sums yourself on a Monday evening.

Double and treble jobbing is another Howth characteristic, and we are indebted to HYC's Vice Commodore Neil Murphy, who has somehow found the time - while being a senior and very active flag officer and one of the most successful Puppeteer helms – to put together this analysis of Saturday's racing:

The day began with the brightest sunshine as the Puppeteers shaped up for their first start. Photo Annraoi BlaneyThe day began with the brightest sunshine as the Puppeteers shaped up for their first start. Photo Annraoi Blaney

With four races completed at Howth YC, the 2021 Beshoff Motors Autumn League reached its halfway stage on Sept 25th writes Neil Murphy

The sunshine made it a great day for late September sailing and the steady south-easterly breeze greeted the fleet with a gentle 10 knots and climbed to 16 as the afternoon progressed. The Race Officers made full use of the 'pet' conditions to set Windward Leeward courses and complete two races on both the Inshore and Offshore race areas, catching up on the scheduled second race lost the previous Saturday when the more variable conditions limited the fleets to a single race.

With eight classes spread over the two-course areas, those looking from Portmarnock beach would have seen what looked like walls of sails sliding across a flat sea but, within the Classes, there was lots of intense competition, particularly at the starts with the ebb tide pushing the boats across the lines and the excitement being added to by words of 'encouragement', a few gentle coming togethers, and some early starts and recalls.

Race 4 saw the Series discard introduced and allowed everyone to shed their worst score to date. However, in a few of the classes, there is already a settled order developing and some of the leaders are putting scoreboard distance between themselves and their opposition.

Nigel Biggs' classic Half Tonner Checkmate XVIII continues to lead IRC I. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyNigel Biggs' classic Half Tonner Checkmate XVIII continues to lead IRC I. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

On IRC, in the 12 boat Class 1 fleet, Nigel Biggs Checkmate XVIII bagged its third win of the series and now enjoys a six-point lead over Checkmate XV and Jeneral Lee. Similarly, in Class 3 the Mullaney's Sigma 33, Insider, has three wins to its credit and a three-point margin over Scandal with Kilcullen in third place. Both Scandal and Kilcullen are J24s and are being raced by members of the HYC K25 Squad so keen competition for bragging rights is assured over the rest of the series. As opposed to the relative comfort enjoyed by the Class 1 and 3 leaders, in Class 2, the X302 No Excuse (Wormald, Walsh, O'Neill) enjoys a single point lead over Impetuous but with there are three X302s chasing the pair and only a margin of 1.3 points between first and fourth places.

Paddy Kyne's Maximus on the run. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyPaddy Kyne's Maximus on the run. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

The Club Shamrock Demelza (extreme right, Steffi Ennis & Windsor Laudan), has called the non_spinnaker Class to perfection, and currently leads with a clean sheet. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyThe Club Shamrock Demelza (extreme right, Steffi Ennis & Windsor Laudan), has called the non-spinnaker Class to perfection, and currently leads with a clean sheet. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Suits you sir! Demelza's Windsor Laudan with the latest of his many winner jackets, and Jeremy Beshoff of Beshoff Motors with a rather elegant Bentley coupe. Photo: Annraoi BlaneySuits you sir! Demelza's Windsor Laudan with the latest of his many winner jackets, and Jeremy Beshoff of Beshoff Motors with a rather elegant Bentley coupe. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Tiger (Harris / Hughes) has established itself as the boat to beat in Class 4 with the battle for 2nd being fought between Bite the Bullet and Spellbound. In Class 5 Demelza, the now venerable Shamrock of Windsor Laudan and Steffi Ennis, is the only boat in the event with a clean sweep of first places on IRC.

On ECHO, Class 1 sees the much-photographed Soufriere (Stephen O'Flaherty) of James Bond fame showing that it has speed as well as style and its two race wins from the four sailed to date leaves it tied for first place with Jeneral Lee (C&K Kavanagh). In Class 4 Toughnut (D Skehan) is leading while in the other Cruiser Classes the same boats share the lead on both IRC and HPH.

In the Puppeteer 22's second race of the day, Paul McMahon's Shiggi-Shiggi was looking good on starboard. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyIn the Puppeteer 22's second race of the day, Paul McMahon's Shiggi-Shiggi was looking good on starboard. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

With a first and a fifth on Saturday, Scorie Walls (right, seen here with Jeremy Beshoff) retained the overall lead in the large class of Puppeteer 22s. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyWith a first and a fifth on Saturday, Scorie Walls (right, seen here with Jeremy Beshoff) retained the overall lead in the large class of Puppeteer 22s. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

In the one design fleets the Puppeteer 22s are the most numerous with 17 boats battling it out and Gold Dust (Walls / Browne) lead the pack on scratch by - in Pup terms - a comfortable three point margin. The Howth 17s are the Class where the bookies may find it hardest to predict a winner with only two points spanning the first three boats, Deilginis (Massey/Toomey/Kenny) being chased hard by Isobel (B&C Turvey) and Oona (P Courtney) and with no boat having more than a single race win to date. The Squib fleet sees Kerfuffle (E Dalton) maintaining the form that saw him taking the recent Squib Easterns and it secured a first and a second on the WL courses to add to its victory in the first race of the series while Crackertoo is just 2 points behind. On the handicap results, Odyssey (P&R Byrne) leads the Puppeteers, Tears for Fears (N Monks) tops the Squibs and Bobolink (Doyle/Finnegan/Walsh) holds first in the Howth 17s.

The second race brought livelier starting conditions for the Howth 17s. Photo: AnnraoiBlaney   The second race brought livelier starting conditions for the Howth 17s. Photo: AnnraoiBlaney  

Sailing into eternity. The Howth 17 Leila (built 1898, Roddy Cooper) and the 1900-built Pauline (Shane O'Doherty & partners) provide a timeless image. Photo: Annraoi BlaneySailing into eternity. The Howth 17 Leila (built 1898, Roddy Cooper) and the 1900-built Pauline (Shane O'Doherty & partners) provide a timeless image. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

The two races sailed gave the crews a good work out and left many a thirst to be quenched under the sunshine, in a socially distanced way, when the fleet came ashore. The prizegiving for the first two Saturdays was carried out on the Club deck, in the midst of some of the sponsors very desirable motor vehicles, with Jeremy Beshoff presenting the first of the hard-earned 2021 Beshoff Motors jackets to the race winners.

The Hill of Howth continues to keep the fog at bay as a Puppeteer 22 makes to windward in the freshening breeze. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyThe Hill of Howth continues to keep the fog at bay as a Puppeteer 22 makes to windward in the freshening breeze. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Full results here

Published in Howth YC
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With distinctly brisker weather forecast for this coming weekend, it may well be that Saturday’s second contest of the six weekend Beshoff Motors Autumn League at Howth was the Last of the Summer Wine, with just enough power in the pleasant easterly sea breeze to hold up against a gradient tendency for a westerly. Some new names appeared to the fore, but in Class I Nigel Biggs' Classic Half Tonner Checkmate XVIII held out against the usual showroom selection of various J/Boats, with the Evans brothers’ new J/99 Snapshot finding it was her turn to be second.

In Class 2 the Noonan/Chambers partnership in Impetuous likewise managed another win, but it was the turn of the Sigma 33 Insider (current Irish Class Champion) to get the win for the Mullaney team in Class 3, and another new name came to the fore with the Harris/Hughes family challenge with the First 40.7 Tiger winning out in White Sails.

2021 Squib Eastern Champion Emmet Dalton with Kerfuffle recorded his second win in the Autumn League at Howth on Saturday. Photo: Annraoi Blaney2021 Squib Eastern Champion Emmet Dalton with Kerfuffle recorded his second win in the Autumn League at Howth on Saturday. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

But although Emmet Dalton managed another win in the Squibs with Kerfuffle, in the big-fleet Puppeteer 22s, the previous weekend’s winner Shiggi Shiggi was pushed back to sixth, with Scorie Walls in Gold Dust taking the bullet, while the Howth 17s likewise saw an adjustment but not nearly so extreme - Ian Malcolm’s Aura - double winner of a week ago - was second, the winner being the Turvey brothers’ Isobel, making it quite a weekend for Clan Turvey as young Des was away in Larne winning the Optimist Ulster Championship at East Antrim Boat Club.

Full details here 

Scorie Walls with Gold Dust won on Saturday in the numerically largest class, the Puppeteer 22s. Photo HYCScorie Walls with Gold Dust won on Saturday in the numerically largest class, the Puppeteer 22s. Photo HYC

Published in Howth YC
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For the second time in three editions, Southern Yacht Club will leave the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court with the most prestigious trophy in Corinthian sailing, the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, firmly in its collective grasp.

Ireland's two teams at the week-long event from Cork and Howth finished fourth and 18th respectively. 

The team from New Orleans—led by skipper John Lovell and tactician Marcus Eagan, and supported both here and in New Orleans by hundreds, if not thousands of family, friends and fellow members—were incredibly consistent through 12 races over 5 days, with 9 top-four finishes and not a single race result outside the top 10.

In some races, it looked simple as the team parlayed solid starts, prescient tactical calls and superior boatspeed into an express pass to the head of the 19-boat fleet of international yacht club teams. But in other races, particularly in the second half of the regatta, it was a battle as Southern Yacht Club spent a fair bit of time in the back half of the fleet.

New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup

"It’s never easy," said Eagan, who skippered the team's winning 2017 entry, with Lovell as his tactician. "The leads are always marginal, it’s just crazy. Especially when you’re up the Bay in a light northerly. It was very dicey. It’s all about that one cross or that good start."

After four straight wins on Day 3 and Day 4, San Diego Yacht Club started the final day looking every bit a legitimate threat to overtake Southern for the championship. But the first race of the day couldn't have gone any worse; an 18th knocking San Diego out of contention. Royal Thames Yacht Club took the gun, and assumed second place in the overall standings.

New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup

The regatta's final race was perhaps its most mentally challenging, with the breeze fading in and out and shifting frequently. Royal Thames started on the wrong foot by fouling Southern just seconds before the gun. But RTYC tactician Ian Dobson and skipper John Greenland made quick work of the variable breeze to climb right back into the hunt, rounding the first mark one place ahead of Southern.

Being in front was one small victory, but getting enough separation to overcome SYC's 13-point advantage proved too steep a climb. Greenland continued to slice through the fleet for a third, but Southern was able to follow suit, finishing sixth and becoming the second yacht club, after the Royal Canadian Yacht Club in 2011 and 2013, to win the trophy for a second time.

As is tradition at the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, the final day started with a Parade of Nations around Newport Harbor, complete with multiple cannon salutes. That ceremony completed, all 19 teams and assorted race committee and support craft headed north of Gould Island in Narragansett Bay's East Passage for an on-time start at 11 am.

It was apparent before the first gun that the day of racing would be anything but straightforward. The breeze, forecast for the middle teens, was barely holding onto double digit windspeeds and regularly dancing right or left of the median wind direction. For a crew with solid boat speed and a lead to defend, it was far from ideal.

"I was pretty stressed, I couldn’t even eat in between races," said Lovell, an Olympic silver medalist in the Tornado class. "You don’t want to choke. Our goal going into the day was 10 points, and I think we got nine. I can’t thank the crew enough.

"Our team just put it together. Everyone did their jobs and did them well. Marcus said it best at the beginning of the event, 'If everyone does their job, we’re going to be there.' And everyone did their job, and we didn’t make any real big mistakes, and that was it."

New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup

Also on the Southern team were Andrew Eagan, Dwight LeBlanc IV, Christian Gambel, Jay Kuebel, Miia Newman, Katy Lovell and Rick Merriman. Kuebel, both Eagans, Lovell and Merriman were all part of the winning team in 2017. Merriman is now the only three-time winner of the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, having also won the inaugural edition as part of the New York Yacht Club team.

For host New York Yacht Club, it was an up-and-down regatta that included two race wins, but also a quartet of double-digit finishes. It ended on a strong note for Commodore Christopher J. Culver and his crew (Bow 19, at left) as they won the pin, hit the left corner and took the victory in the final race of the regatta.

"I'm so proud of the team," said Culver of his crew. "They worked so hard, first to qualify as the New York Yacht Club representative and then all week during the regatta. We feel we left a little bit out there on the racecourse, but every team probably feels that way. So it was really special to finish on a high note. I love our team, they really came together well and were so competitive. The camaraderie is really special as well."

Another team ending with a bang was the Royal Swedish Yacht Club, which followed New York Yacht Club across the line in the final race to record its best finish of the regatta.

"We were building up to this for three days," said Royal Swedish Yacht Club skipper Filip Engelbert. "We started off a little bit too hot tempted on board, I think, and then we decided, three days to go, just have a little bit of fun. We were gradually building up and finally we came through in the last race. A happy boat is a good boat."

New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup

Thanks to a second in the first race of the day, Yacht Club Costa Smeralda moved from ninth to seventh in the overall standings, by far its best finish in three Invitational Cup appearances.

"We changed our tactics for the start, and we had a really good start in the first race," said Edoardo Mancinelli Scotti, the team's main trimmer. "We had a really good tactician, we went on the left and turned the first mark first. It was a really good race for us and we gained two places in the final standings. This was my second Invitational Cup here in Newport, I just love this place and the IC37 is fantastic."

But no one was more pleased than Southern. A proud club with a strong sailing tradition, it has established a new standard of excellence at this event, and its domestic championship the Resolute Cup, which it won in 2016.

"It’s just incredible, a wonderful event," said Lovell. "This is, in my opinion, the best big boat regatta in the world."

2021 Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup Final Results

(Place, Club Name, Boat Number, Country, Race results; Regatta Total)
1. Southern Yacht Club, Boat 3, USA, 1, 10, 2, 4, 1, 3, 3, 4, 9, 2, 3, 6; 48
2. Royal Thames Yacht Club, Boat 10, GBR, 2, 2, 1, 8, 8, 9, 9, 2, 10, 3, 1, 3; 58
3. San Diego Yacht Club. Boat 17, USA, 12, 4, 5, 6, 12, 5, 1, 1, 1, 1, 18, 11; 77
4. Royal Cork Yacht Club, Boat 13, IRL, 3, 3, 11, 1, 6, 6, 4, 9, 2, 16, 11, 9; 81
5. New York Yacht Club, Boat 19, USA, 4, 1, 7, 3, 5, 12, 7, 11, 15, 10, 7, 1; 83
6. Royal Canadian Yacht Club, Boat 5, CAN, 13, 9, 16, 9, 2, 4, 5, 5, 3, 14, 4, 4; 88
7. Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Boat 14, ITA, 7*, 12, 3, 16, 7, 8, 6, 14, 4, 12, 2, 13; 104
8. Eastern Yacht Club, Boat 16, USA, 12*, 6, 4, 5, 3, 2, 8, 16, 18, 8, 16, 8; 106
9. The San Francisco Yacht Club, Boat 2, USA, 17, 7, 9, 2, 11, 1, 14, 15, 5, 4, 9, 15; 109
10. American Yacht Club, Boat 8, USA, 9*, 11, 8, 13*, 13, 16, 2, 6, 11, 6, 15, 5; 115
11. Royal Swedish Yacht Club, Boat 6, SWE, 10, 8, 18, 14, 9, 13, 16, 10, 6, 7, 10, 2; 123
12. Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, Boat 15, CAN, 7, 5, 6, 7, 19, 17, 19, 12, 19, 5, 8, 12; 136
13. Noroton Yacht Club, Boat 7, USA, 15, 14, 10, 10, 14, 10, 17, 8, 14, 15, 12, 7; 146
14. Nyländska Jaktklubben, Boat 12, FIN, 6*, 18, 13, 15, 10, 15, 12, 7, 17, 19, 5, 10; 147
15. Yacht Club Argentino, Boat 9, ARG, 14, 13, 17, 11, 15, 7, 10, 3, 13, 17, 13, 17; 150
16. Yacht Club Italiano, Boat 18, ITA, 10*, 17, 12, 17, 16, 14, 11, 13, 12, 18, 6, 14; 160
17. Itchenor Sailing Club, Boat 11, GBR, 19, 15, 15, 18, 4, 18, 13, 17, 8, 11, 17, 16; 171
18. Howth Yacht Club, Boat 4, IRL, 16, 16, 14, 13, 17, 11, 15, 19, 7, 9, 19, 19; 175
19. Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, Boat 20, BER, 18, 19, 19, 19, 18, 19, 18, 18, 16, 13, 14, 18; 209

*Race score includes 1-point penalty for early extension of sprit

Published in Royal Cork YC
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