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Displaying items by tag: Ballyholme Yacht Club

Ballyholme Yacht Club would have relished hosting the Topper Nationals in August, but sadly this event has suffered the same as the Worlds in Cork and been cancelled.

The joint Organising Authority for the 2021 Topper National Championships has been carefully monitoring the Covid 19 situation and information from the UK Government, Northern Ireland Assembly and the Irish Government. Some time ago, it was determined that a final go/no-go decision should be made at the beginning of June to allow competitors and their families time to make suitable travel and accommodation arrangements and the Organising Authority to commit resources and funds to the event.

This decision was taken due to several factors, but ultimately the safety of competitors, their families, volunteers and the wider local community was key. We hope that making this decision now it will allow families time to make alternative plans.

Aidan Pounder, Commodore of BYC, expressed disappointment that the Club isn't able to welcome the Topper fleet: "ITCA (GBR) and Ballyholme Yacht Club (BYC) are very disappointed that the ITCA GBR Nationals are not proceeding in August this year. With the uncertainty around Covid-19, ongoing restriction reviews and ultimately the safety of all participants, families, friends, and all those associated with the delivery of a safe and fun event being of paramount importance, we have jointly made this decision. A lot of work and organisation went into the hosting of what would undoubtedly have been a great and successful event. I want to take this opportunity to thank all concerned from ITCA (GBR) and Members of BYC and would welcome the opportunity to host this event again in the near future. We wish all the young sailors a safe and happy summer and look forward to welcoming you to BYC in the future"

Published in Topper

Even the weather played ball for the Return to Water at Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough this Easter weekend.

And there was no shortage of members keen to get afloat. Commodore Aidan Pounder kicked the day off with an early morning open water swim, and some young Laser sailors wrapped it up.

Taking the first cautious steps, the team at BYC managed to get their members safely back to the water as some outdoor sports were given the green light by the Northern Ireland Executive to recommence from 1st April. Sailing and other watersports have been included but only under strict guidelines. So currently, the clubhouse and therefore changing rooms must remain closed, but boat parks and slipways are now available with restricted numbers and via a booking system only.

One of the main differences from the reopening last year is the two households, ten people restriction, and COVID guidelines have been updated to reflect any changes. So to ensure this is safely managed, sailing slots are available in groups of 10.

Ballyholme Laser sailors out for a sail on Belfast LoughBallyholme Laser sailors out for a sail on Belfast Lough

And if going afloat in a dinghy isn't enough, there are Open Water Swimming sessions, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Kayaking and Diving. The club hopes the training will start again on 12th April, subject to continuing easing of restriction.

Commodore Aidan Pounder whose is delighted to welcome members back to the club; "On our 'Return to Water,' we have posted some guideline details which will be available to access through our website. We very much appreciate your understanding in these initial stages, which we hope will help negate any further disruption to our much-loved activities at the Club. My sincere thanks to you all for your unwavering support in our Club and I look forward to seeing you again very soon".

Published in Belfast Lough
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Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough will host the British Topper Nationals, scheduled for early August next year, a few days after the World Championships in Cork Harbour.

With the Irish Nationals in Northern Ireland at Strangford Lough Yacht Club in the calendar for 2nd-4th July, there will be a fantastic festival of Topper racing in Ireland next year.

Commodore Aidan Pounder is pleased that the club has been chosen for the event. "Ballyholme Yacht Club is delighted to be hosting the GBR ITCA Topper Nationals on 2nd -6th August 2021. This is the first time the Nationals have been held in Northern Ireland and we very much look forward to welcoming the competitors to our excellent sailing waters for a safe successful event".

The club, on the southern shore of the Lough, is ideally situated on a virtually tideless and hazard free large expanse of water. It has a racing pedigree which has provided sailors and officials to the last five Olympic Regattas and many international events as well as the last Volvo Round the World Race. It has renowned expertise in running large national and international events including the Topper Worlds in 2016.

Principle Race Officer for the event is Bangor man Robin Gray who is an International Race Officer and Judge.

The Topper Worlds is reported to attract more than 250 boats regularly and it is expected that the Nationals entry will be more than that.

Published in Topper

Thirty young sailors managed a final outing at Ballyholme yesterday (December 22nd) before Covid 19 restrictions would put paid to their activities at the Club for six weeks. And the event was blessed with a bright sunny day, albeit with a light and dying wind.

The first race got off in a westerly with the eight Lasers away three minutes before the Toppers. As the leading Lasers approached the end of lap one, the wind became very unstable, forcing an early finish. But the Toppers all managed to complete their lap with some of the shifts seeing lots of place changes in the pack. One of those changes was by Topper helm Daniel Palmer, who overtook some of the Lasers who had started a lap ahead, to win in the Topper fleet with Hugo Boyd second. Laser Radial winner was Hannah Dadley-Young with Charlie O'Malley putting in a good performance beating the other Radials to get second over the water.

With the wind settling into the North West, the mark layers reset the course, and both fleets got quickly away. The Lasers enjoyed a steady wind and completed two laps with the Toppers managing just one. Hannah took another win with another face, Charlotte Eadie runner-up in the Lasers, and in the Toppers it was Palmer first again ahead of Katie Brow with Emil McAfee third.

A final race was attempted in the last of the breeze. Only the Lasers managed a full lap before the wind completely shut down with Charlie O'Malley first giving him the overall top place. Hannah Dadley-Young finished back in sixth, a great recovery having started late due to gear issues, but this sixth was enough to give her runner-up slot, with Charlotte Eadie taking third.

Annabel and Emily Rideout in their Feva were the only double-handed sailors afloat, (complying with the regulations being the same household) and raced with the Lasers. Once back ashore, which required a tow for some, there was no formal prize-giving, but all the competitors received a Santa selection box as a reward for braving the cold!

Cadet Training and Racing officer David Nelson was pleased with the success of the event. "Thanks to BYC for facilities and prizes and to the volunteers for running these cadet activities".

Published in Belfast Lough

Saturday 12th December saw an early Christmas present for Ballyholme Yacht Club junior sailors as racing returned for the first time since the end of the summer.

A steady 10-12 knots from the West allowed a windward-leeward course to be set using the club's turning mark, providing parents ashore with a grandstand view of the racers as they vied for position at the windward mark. The windward-leeward course setup was chosen over the regular club courses in order to give the sailors as much time as possible racing under championship type conditions, and the steady wind meant that once the course was laid, there were minimal alterations to be made.

Race one saw Daniel Palmer, Eva McDonagh and Hunter Reddy hit the front of the field early and race off into a lead which they held in that order to the finish. The final beat saw Henry Nelson and Joseph Robinson in a tight battle for third with Jojo winning by half a length on the finish line.

Race two really demonstrated how competitive the fleet is becoming with all fifteen Toppers hitting the start line within a few seconds of the start gun. Daniel Palmer was judged to have been OCS but didn't come back and restart for around 20 seconds giving him the challenge to catch back up with the pack. At the end of the first leg, the front of the fleet was dominated by the female sailors Eva, Annika, Romy and Isobel with Henry and Jojo in the mix for the boys. By the finish line, it was Daniel again taking line honours with Jojo once again beating Henry in a photo finish followed closely by Annika, Romy, Isabel and Eva.

The wind built slightly for the third and final race of the day with one or two capsizes before the sequence but all masts were pointing skywards for another close start. Halfway down the first run, it was Daniel Palmer leading from Jojo with Isabel, Annika, Eva, Henry and Finn Neely in the chasing pack. Jojo certainly had an edge of speed with a new sail and was kiting (heeling to windward). That was when it happened. A gust hit at the same time as an awkward wave and Jojo went into windward as the pack edged past. He righted the boat quickly and with great determination recovered over the next two laps to finish in sixth place. Daniel won with Henry in second and Isabel, Annika and Eva completing the top five.

The Topper 4.2 sailors racing on the course shared the race wins with Hannah Archer now leading overall from Jessica Dadley. We also have some sibling rivalry with Emily and Caitlyn Macafee, both competing in full rig toppers. They both have best-placed finishes of eight place with Caitlyn now eight overall and Emily twelfth after missing the last race. Also in a tight battle, Toran Davenport and Adil Mohamed are separated by just one point after three races after finishing all the races within one place of each other.

After two years of Junior Icebreaker, we have now seen some of our sailors "graduate" from toppers into other boats. Hannah Dadley in a Laser 4.7 was racing Dan Sherriff in his laser radial in a reduced laser fleet and shared line honours in the first two races with Dan winning the last race and Hannah scoring a DNF.

Covid restrictions mean we can only have same household double-handed sailing which means sisters Emily and Annabel Rideout in their RS Feva were the only double hander afloat but got great racing with the toppers and lasers and should have an advantage over other feva teams when they are allowed afloat hopefully in the not so distance future.

Published in Belfast Lough
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Way back in the mid -70s the well-known and recently retired Bangor sailor who was Chair of Irish Sailing's Racing Rules & Appeals Board, Ron Hutchieson, introduced Laser dinghies to Ballyholme Yacht Club and persuaded the now SailCoach head, Trevor Millar to forsake Newtownards Sailing Club and bring his Laser to join the fun.

The fleet grew quickly as the new-fangled owners, such as Willie Forsythe, Charlie Taylor, and the late Denis Finlay, wanted to get out racing in a maintenance-free boat. Ron got permission from the Sailing Committee to start a winter series, hence the Icebreaker. Its success is measured by the fact that the popular competition still runs, with sometimes up to 60 boats out on Sundays during what used to be the 'off' season. Ron tells me he bought the trophy – a silver Ice Pick, in Harrods in a sale!

In 2018, the Club saw the potential of keeping the Cadet members in practice, and so was born the idea of a Junior Icebreaker to cater for the many enthusiastic 10 – 16-year-olds who wanted to race during this time as well. The fleet of about 30 every week is made up of mainly Toppers but it is the Club hope that some Optimists will join them, as well as some Cadet members who have moved up to Lasers.

The 2020 -2021 sessions start tomorrow (Saturday 10th Oct) with the first gun at 14.30 hrs, the format being a series of short windward-leeward races each week. The event is designed for Cadets who have RYA Stage 3 and their own boats. There are though, two Club Toppers and two Club Fevas available to lease for a minimum three-month period.

The Junior Icebreaker will be run under the BYC Covid guidelines.

Published in Belfast Lough
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The Irish Multihull Committee has postponed its Eastern Championships at Wicklow Sailing Club and the Irish Open Championships at Swords Sailing Club due to Covid 19.

Both events will now take place in 2021.

Ballyholme Yacht Club has agreed to upgrade the 'Weekend of Speed' on October 17th and18th to the Irish Open Championships for the multihull fleet. The weekend will also see 49er and 29er skiffs in action on Belfast Lough.

 Ballyholme Yacht Club‘s ‘Regatta’ last weekend went a long way in these ‘new normal’ times, to fulfil the usual criteria for a standard regatta, but minus the visitors and the usual socialising and tea and buns afterwards. It was a two-day event with adult and cadet racing, a Ladies race, Stand up Paddleboarding and open sea swimming for adults and children.

The curtailment due to the current COVID 19 restrictions had little effect on the enjoyment, with a respectable turnout of over 100 dinghies, plus 45 swimmers and 30 paddleboarders. Obviously something for all the family.

The weather was kind for the whole weekend, with the Cadets off first of in a fleet of 52 made up of 30 Toppers, six Lasers, both Radial and 4.7, three Bahias, one Saiqube and a Laser 2000. After four races the winner of the Toppers was Hannah Dadley-Young and Josh McGregor was first in the Lasers. Winner of fast dinghies was David Fletcher and family.

The main race in the afternoon drew over 40 lasers plus 11 in Fast Handicap and two others. Daniel Palmer was first in the slow handicap in a Topper 5.3, the Catamaran prize went to Pete and Dee McDowell, Fast Handicap was won by Dave Fletcher and Ryan Smith in the Laser 2000, and Joni Rock led the Laser Radials. Winner of the Lasers was Liam Glynn, whose record includes a World Junior Topper title and a U21 Bronze. Back in March, he had been preparing to battle for a place in the now-cancelled Tokyo Olympics.

It was a full house of 12 in the Picos for the two race Ladies event on Sunday morning. The overall winner was Jess Winton, who adds her name to that of her Mother Charlie, who won the same trophy last year.

The open sea swim saw 25 adults and 20 juniors taking to the water and this was followed by a big turnout of 30 Paddleboarders, including kids/teens won by Anicka Hunter; Jamie McCourbrey was first adult male, and the first lady was Carla Milne.

But moving fast wasn’t the be-all and end-all. Best dressed went to Nick West, Endeavor/Endurance to Sarah-Jane Flannigan and first to enter the water involuntarily was Claire Storey.

Rounding of a hugely successful weekend was the open sea swim by 25 adults and 20 juniors.

Published in Belfast Lough
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Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough has taken a big step and will hold a two-day club regatta this weekend, (1st and 2nd August), for members only, but it will be an adapted ‘regatta’, run to the new normal within both government and RYA guidelines.

It won’t, therefore, be a regatta in the usual sense in that while there will be plenty of on the water activity, there will be no regatta tea or bar in the clubhouse – so no mass sandwich-making the night before!

Prizes will be awarded in the form of vouchers for the BYC Bar, or local chandlery prizes and to make up for the lack of the all-important regatta tea, it is suggested you bring deckchairs and sandwiches. The outside bar will be open.

On Saturday morning, there will be a Cadet Regatta and Saturday afternoon will see a similar format to the current Sunday racing, but with a Committee Boat windward start. On

Sunday morning there will be a Ladies Race using the Club Picos with a briefing at 0930 and start at 1030. This must be booked online.

And for those who have any energy left, there will be a Regatta swim at 1330 and at 1500 a Stand-Up Paddleboard race starting from the South Slipway. The course will be dependent on the weather conditions, again with prizes for the speedy (and perhaps even stylish) paddlers.

Details and online booking will be available from today (29th) on the club website. At present entry appears to be for dinghies only.

Published in Belfast Lough
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The Cadets at Ballyholme Yacht Club in Bangor Co Down on Belfast Lough are split into two sections; the beginners called Dolphins and those who have completed Stage 3 – Sharks. In order to reduce the numbers on the slipway and afloat at any one time, the Sharks had their turn last Saturday.

After the much-delayed return to the water due to COVID, a great turnout of 18 Toppers enjoyed a perfect morning practising racing in two groups.

In charge were RYA club coaches Colin Robinson and Andrew Dadley with RYA Instructor Russell Finlay and the safety boat was manned socially distanced by John Bell and Coach David Nelson on board.

Published in Belfast Lough
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