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Displaying items by tag: East Down Yacht Club

East Down Yacht Club will start the New Year with its annual Icicle Series on Sunday, 7th January. It will run for six Sundays, ending on 11th February.

The Club is situated on a nine-acre site on the western shore of Strangford Lough, about a mile from the town of Killyleagh.

The event is open to all dinghies, and the Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions are now on the official notice board at

Last year, ten assorted dinghies took part, and it was won by Patrick Hamilton in a Laser, with Robbie Richardson and John Patterson runners up in a GP 14.

The Event contact is Gina [email protected]

East Down Yacht Club will start the New Year with its annual Icicle Series

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In early September, five boats from the Leisure 17 class at East Down Yacht Club in Northern Ireland, along with a Leisure 20, a Drascombe Long Boat, and a Golden Hind 26, embarked on a 15-mile journey from Strangford Lough to Ardglass Marina.

The plan was to sail through the Narrows, into the Irish Sea, and then head south to Ardglass for an overnight stop.

 A Leisure 20, a Drascombe Long Boat and a Golden Hind 26 embarked on a 15-mile journey from Strangford Lough to Ardglass Marina A Leisure 20, a Drascombe Long Boat and a Golden Hind 26 embarked on a 15-mile journey from Strangford Lough to Ardglass Marina

Despite the forecast being 3-5mph, the wind was favourable. However, the boats had to face it head-on during the southward leg to Ardglass. By 18:30, all the boats had arrived at Ardglass Marina.

After a fish supper, most retired early in preparation for an early departure the next morning at 07:30 to catch the last of the flooding tide for an uneventful transit back through The Narrows and into Strangford Lough.

A Leisure 17 in Ardglass MarinaA Leisure 17 in Ardglass Marina

Unfortunately, the weather gods were not favourable as heavy fog and little wind set in, which only cleared up after all boats had returned to the yacht club mid-morning. Despite the vagaries of the weather, the journey was mystical and made better by the company of dolphins that provided safe passage throughout the voyage.

Club member, Stephen Perry, declared it a great adventure, which marked the end of the season and continued the celebration of the 50th year of Leisure 17s at EDYC.

Women have always featured prominently at East Down Yacht Club in Northern Ireland, with several holding club officer positions over the years.

Now in an initiative by Margie Crawford, the New Members Liaison officer, and following a very successful Women’s Cruise in Company in June, lady members once again took to the water, but this time on a much smaller craft.

The club is blessed with a sheltered stretch of the western shore of Strangford Lough inside Island Taggart.

Two paddleboarding sessions were run last weekend, with 14 members taking part.

During the afternoon, the sessions were run by Senior Instructor Kelly Richardson of WaveRides, Belfast, with light winds and a few torrential rainstorms passing through.

Team work or disaster - EDYC Women enjoy a paddle boarding sessionTeam work or disaster - EDYC Women enjoy a paddle boarding session

Nothing deterred the ladies, however, and the sessions finished with a challenge on the Mammoth 18ft paddleboard; as Margie says, “It was all about teamwork or else disaster!”.

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If you could bottle the energy, enthusiasm and excitement of the 24 ladies who took advantage of East Down Yacht Club’s day set aside for women to learn how to handle a big boat, then a fortune is to be made.

Ferrying out to the moorings for theFerrying out to the moorings for the East Down Yacht Club Ladies Cruise in Company

On last Sunday (25th), with its unpredictable weather, ladies from the club, some visitors, and some women who had never sailed before took to the waters of Strangford Lough on a Cruise in Company. The club is fortunate to lie on a sheltered passage between Island Taggart and the west coast of the Lough.

The Impala Mypaal ladies crewThe Impala Mypaal ladies crew

Through driving rain, glorious sunshine and finally huge thunderclouds, the Cruise in Company, on eight boats of varying sizes, had an exciting day’s sailing in winds of up to 20 knots before easing down to three knots and a gentle reach home. Fortunately, all boats were back on their moorings before a huge thunderstorm with lightning surged overhead.

Each boat had the owner on board and the ladies took turns to helm, crew and practice their radio skills in communication. There was a range of sailing experience on each boat, from complete beginners to those used to cruising and racing. The enthusiasm and willingness to ‘have a go’ was very apparent, and there was an overwhelmingly positive response when a repeat performance was suggested. It is hoped that this may then become an annual event.

The Impala Alcyone crew Rachel Bevan, Karen McGough & Noella Hampton with owner Peter ThompsonThe Impala Alcyone crew Rachel Bevan, Karen McGough & Noella Hampton with owner Peter Thompson

Keith Carr, EDYC Commodore, was delighted that the event was such a success.” It was great to see so many ladies arrive at the club on Sunday morning, keen to get out on the water. The weather was inclement, with gusty winds and rain, but it didn’t dampen the experienced or new sailors’ enthusiasm. After a very enjoyable sail with the sunshine breaking through in time to enable lunch on board, everyone, including the cruiser skippers and crew had had a great day out. When asked if the event should be run again, there was a resounding “YES”, a great testament to the effort and organisation by club members”.

Pamela Wood helming the Nicholson 43 Magdalyene.jpgPamela Wood helming the Nicholson 43 Magdalyene

And RYA Northern Ireland commented, “A big shout out to the EDYC committee and volunteer team for supporting women and girls on the water”. And Margie Crawford, who organised the event said, “I had tremendous help from two EDYC ladies – Gina Lyttle, the club Sailing Captain and Han Stolcova. Great ladies’ teamwork!”

These women may be interested in a Webinar hosted by RYA Northern Ireland on 26th July featuring its Women and Girls Survey Results. RYANI strongly recommends this webinar to those who wish to create an impactful change for women and girls within the sport of sailing, your local club, understanding barriers, challenges, and what steps to take next to create a more inclusive environment. To sign up, use the Eventbrite link on the RYA Northern Ireland Facebook page.

Published in Women in Sailing
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No sooner than the 40 Wayfarer dinghies left East Down Yacht Club last weekend after their successful International rally, it’s the turn of bigger boats to step up for a Ladies’ Cruise in Company.

On Sunday 25th June, the club, which is situated in a very sheltered passage inside Island Taggart on the west of Strangford Lough, will organise a fun day on the water to give the lady members experience of sailing big boats for all levels, from beginners up to racers.

Eight cruisers varying in size from 26 to 40 footers will be used, and the ladies will be sailing the boats themselves, taking turns to helm, crew and use the radio, and the owners will be on board to advise. It is a great opportunity for our new lady members to meet others: it is not a training day, just a fun experience, and there will be a RIB with the boats.

Margie Crawford, who is organising this event, says she hopes that this might be an annual event for the benefit of our ladies.

For more detail, see East Down Yacht Club and the flyer below

EDYC Ladies’ Cruise in CompanyEDYC Ladies’ Cruise in Company flyer

Published in Women in Sailing

Hot on the heels of the very successful Leisure 17 50th Anniversary event at East Down Yacht Club on Strangford Lough, a fleet of 12 Impalas and Sonatas gathered for a two-day Open Event last weekend (27th/28th May.

The club lies on the western shore of Strangford Lough.

Imp, owned by Grant McCullough, Philp McIlvenna and David Maxwell, won the Impala eight strong event with two firsts and a fifth.

Ian Smyth’s Sonata, MouseMary Martin’s Sonata, Mouse

In the Sonatas, the top boat was Mary Martin’s Mouse posting three firsts and a second from the five races.

The first four races were windward/leeward, and the final race was around the fixed Strangford Lough racing marks.

Commodore Keith Carr was pleased with how the event went. “A very successful event; a wind shift on the first day added fun to it. Breezy enough on the second day".

Leisure 17s form a sizeable fleet at East Down Yacht Club, which is tucked away on a nine-acre site on the western shore of Strangford Lough, with an anchorage in Holm Bay between Island Taggart and the coast. It is reached by a laneway off the Killinchy to Killyleagh Road.

This year is the 50th anniversary of Leisure 17s at East Down, with the first being introduced in 1973 via the then Ireland distributor for Leisure 17s, North Down Marine, Dundonald, County Down.

Last year was the 40th anniversary of the Leisure Owners Association, for which there were multiple local events across the UK and Ireland. EDYC hosted a 40th anniversary day sail in August last year, followed by a BBQ at the club.

East Down has enjoyed much L17 activity over the last half century, with at times a 30-strong fleet in a very active club and Strangford Lough Regatta Conference racing scene. Since 2019 EDYC has seen a resurgence in numbers of Leisure boats, growing from 15 in 2019 and now numbering 25 plus two Leisure 20s.

Leisure 17 crews raft up for lunch at East Down Yacht Club on Strangford LoughLeisure 17 crews raft up for lunch at East Down Yacht Club on Strangford Lough

The fleet began the anniversary year with the first of the cruising activities on Sunday, 7th May. It was a glorious start to the season on Strangford Lough, with blue skies and a steady breeze in the late teens. Five of the 25-strong fleet embarked upon the 15-mile round trip from their anchorage in Holm Bay to Whiterock farther north.

In the company of two like-minded Drascombes on a flooding tide with a southerly wind, they headed north through the main body of Strangford at a comfortable 7 knots SOG. Eddie McWatters’ Bumblebee sailed faster as he deployed her spinnaker.

All seven boats made for the windward north shore of Conly Island near Strangford Lough Yacht Club dropped anchor and rafted up to enjoy refreshments and banter. Then it was home through Ringhaddy Sound, in the face of a stiffening breeze.

Further cruising dates are 1st July, 6th August, 9th and 23rd September, alongside Wednesday night and Saturday afternoon Club racing. These cruises will be mostly inside Strangford Lough with one through the Strangford Narrows out of the Lough to Ardglass Marina on the southern County Down coast.

The 50th year of activities will be celebrated with a gathering at the club.

Class Secretary, Stephen Perry said, “To encourage participation from farther afield would be wonderful. It is understood, although not verified, that at East Down, we are the largest fleet of Leisure 17s in the UK and Ireland. There are many more L17s in England, with a concentration on the East Coast, but no one club on record has the numbers of EDYC”.

East Down Yacht Club welcomes Impala and Sonata keelboats to a two-day combined racing event on the 27th and 28th of May.

The club is situated near Killyleagh on the west side of Strangford Lough on a nine-acre site, including a modern clubhouse, car parking, boat park, caravan, and camping park pontoons and slipways.

The schedule for the event will have three windward/leeward one-design races on Saturday, with a prize giving followed by a barbecue and an evening’s entertainment. On Sunday, there will be two races and an overall prize giving.

The Sonata is a well-known and much-loved cruiser racer in the Lough, as is the growing Impala fleet, which numbered 11 at EDYC early last year. 

The Race documents will be posted on the club website. 

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Volunteers are the bedrock of sailing and the backbone of the Royal Yachting Association’s member clubs across the UK, dedicating their valuable time to make sure sailing and boating continues to develop and that all of our sailors have a positive experience on and off the water.

At East Down Yacht Club on Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland, Margie Crawford has been volunteering for many years in a variety of roles. She tells all about her sailing and volunteering journey so far.

On her background and experience in sailing...

“I started sailing as a cadet and other dinghies at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club where my parents raced a Dragon. I joined East Down Yacht Club when I came home from working in England around 30 years ago and raced a Laser, then a Wayfarer at national and international events until 2019. I also skippered the Northern Ireland ladies’ team in the BT/RYA Women’s National Match Racing Championship in England, solo-sailed to Isle of Man and now own and race an Impala 28.”

On how she found her way into volunteering…

“I got involved as a volunteer with the youth at East Down Yacht Club (EDYC) as a family member and it continued from there, to serving in committees and eventually as commodore of EDYC. I help with sail training for beginners and improvers on Friday nights in May and June. I help with running the Icicles Winter Series (and race my Laser if my help is not required!).

“I instruct during the Youth Week every summer and we are a ‘self-help’ club so everyone does a bar duty and also for those who are qualified we do an on the water duty. In the past I have been chair of the School Sailing Association out of Killyleagh Outdoor Centre; weekend volunteer on Lord Rank (Sail Training Association NI) and assistant Youth Leader role for Belfast City Council Sail Training when I took a youth group out to Halifax Nova Scotia in 2009 to sail back to Belfast on tall ship Europa taking part in Tall Ships Atlantic Race. I was also offshore volunteer on Dublin-based tall ship Jeanie Johnston. I was also involved in delivering a programme for the recently formed RYANI Youth Forum.”

On her volunteer role and what motivates her…

“As commodore I wanted to get to know every member and realised there was a role for a new members’ contact person. So when my term has finished I offered to take on this role. It is not an ‘officer’ role as such, in that I don’t sit on committees, but I liaise with the hon secretary when membership enquires come in and make a personal approach by telephone if possible. I show them around the club and give them my contact details and they can ring me any time for information or queries.

“There are some key elements to this:

  • Always have a personal approach — by phone if possible.
  • Show them around club and give them a membership form.
  • Give contact details to ring any time for information or queries.

"When they are members I act as buddy for first year…

  • making sure they know and are introduced to the officers of the club.
  • finding out what they want from the club and any training requirements.
  • keeping them in touch with any courses/events/social gatherings

“I am happy to be the general contact for any queries in the future. If I don’t know the answer I give them details of who to contact.”

On what interests her most about volunteering and how it impacts on her and her club…

“I love meeting people and interacting at any level. The impact for me is that I have to manage my own time well and the impact for the club is that the club gets members who feel welcome. We get families/individuals who take part in lots of different on the water activities.”

On what advice she has for others…

“Make sure [you] know what is involved and enjoy chatting to people. It is not something to be done in half measures, as some new members need quite a lot of support but others just slot in as long as they know that someone is available to speak to.”

Published in RYA Northern Ireland

The members of East Down Yacht Club in Strangford Lough welcomed the GP14 fleet back for the 2016 Ulster Championships on the 25th and 26th June with their enthusiastic and warm hospitality. This was the fleet’s first return to EDYC since the Club hosted the successful World Championships in 2014. It was good to be back. Racing was brisk for the 22 strong teams on the first day with the Race Officer pleasing every one by getting the full programme of three races and solid Olympic courses. The black flag was pulled out on a few occasions to keep manners on those pushing the line. The wind picked up in strength as the day progressed with the last race sailed in a spirited 20 knots of breeze. Download results below.

Shane McCarthy and Damian Bracken put in a devastating performance with three convincing wins followed by the McGuinness brothers with three second places. The thirds were shared equally between Curly Morris and LauraMcFarland, Keith Louden and Alan Thompson and the Gallagher brothers.

The second days racing was a little less frantic with the winds having dropped to a more relaxed 9 knots. That said, the lovely clear waters of the Lough have lots of tricky little tidal secrets that took the day for some but not all to unlock. With three more races completed, McCarthy and Bracken held on to their first place lead to become Ulster Champions. Louden and Thompson took second when they won the last race with the McGuinness brothers dropping to third overall. Steven Nelson and Brenda Preston, who also won race 4 in some style, won the silver fleet. Michael Cox and Josh Porter were second in the silver fleet with Gareth and Richard Gallagher taking third. The two Derry lads put in an impressive performance all weekend ending up 7th overall. They were also crowned the Ulster GP14 Champion Youth winners. The Bronze champions were Youghal youth sailors Adrian Lee and Edward Coyne with Thomas and Paul Sexton from Sligo in second and Robson Ogg and James Ogg from Donaghadee taking third bronze.

Finally an impressive new trophy to mark the achievements of ace crew Andy Thompson from Larne was presented for the first time to winning crew, Damian Bracken. Andy has, over the years, notched up title after title in the GP14 and other classes and it is fitting that the GP class in Ireland recognise his unparalleled achievements. Well done Andy!

Published in GP14
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