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Home Made Boat Wins Top Award

6th April 2012
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Home Made Boat Wins Top Award

#Irish Cruising Club Annual Awards – A home-made steel cutter well on the way to completing a three year global circumnavigation has been awarded the Irish Cruising Club's top trophy, the Faulkner Cup, for the second year in a row. Fergus and Kay Quinlan built their 38ft van de Stadt-designed Caribbean 12 Pylades themselves, launching her in 1997, and after some impressive cruises, departed their home port of Kinvara on a world voyage two years ago.

Fergus is an architect. As he remarked before leaving, things were looking rather quiet on work the work front in the architectural area as the financial crisis and economic recession bit deep in Ireland. So it seemed a good idea to go sailing. He brings an architect's sharp eye and social curiosity to his accounts of the cruise, and the first stage to Tahiti from Kinvara garnered them the Faulkner Cup for 2010.

Now the second stage from French Polynesia across wide ocean and among many islands to Darwin in northern Australia has secured the award for 2011. That part of the cruise was completed last Autumn, and their boat Pylades has long since sailed on to fetch up in South Africa, celebrating Christmas in Cape Town, so it's not all tough seafaring.

They departed Cape Town late January and are now well in to the Atlantic, headed for Brazil via St Helena. Quite soon they will have completed the circumnavigation north of Brazil, and by summer's end Pylades should be home in Kinvara, and well in contention for the Faulkner Cup three years in a row.

Such an achievement is not without precedent – back in the 1920s, before the Irish Cruising Club existed, Conor O'Brien of Foynes won the Royal Cruising Club's Challenge Cup three years in a row for his pioneering voyage round the world south of the great capes in the 40ft ketch Saoirse, which he'd designed himself - she was built in Baltimore in 1921-22.

Like Fergus Quinlan, Conor O'Brien was an architect - you can see his work in St Mary's Cathedral in Limerick. Perhaps it's not beyond coincidence that the Irish Cruising Club's Strangford Cup for an alternative best cruise has also gone to an architect, Stephen Hyde of Cork, who has already completed his circumnavigation with his Oyster 56 A Lady. But has been enjoying the sailing so much that he has prolonged the venture with a detailed cruise up the east coast of America to Maine where, with 36,395 miles already logged, their cruising in 2011 was completed.

The awards were adjudicated by former ICC Commodore Peter Ronaldson of Belfast Lough, and the other trophies found new homes as follows:

Round Ireland Cup: The awarded cruise is expected to add to the knowledge of Ireland's coast for the Irish Cruising Club's published Sailing Directions, and the 27-day circuit by Donal Walsh of Dungarvan with his Moody 31 Lady Kate did this very successfully, with stopovers in some seldom-visited places.

Rockabill Trophy for Seamanship: To Norman Kean of Courtmacsherry, who is Honorary Editor of the ICC Directions. In his cruise he visited more than 125 anchorages on Ireland's west coast, clarifying the reality or otherwise of information. Among other things, he and his shipmates discovered a dangerously low power line at Ballyshannon in Donegal by sizzling into it, and they also showed that the Joyce Sound Pass through the tangle of rocks which tumble out towards Slyne Head in Connemara is mislocated on the charts by quite a few metres – if you relied totally on GPS, you'd be on the bricks.

Wybrants Cup, for best cruise in Scottish waters: To Dick Lovegrove of Dun Laoghaire for his lively jaunt with the Sigma 33 Rupert through some very Scottish weather.

Fingal Cup, for log the adjudicator most enjoyed: Maire Breathnach of Dungarvan and Lymington for her account of the gaff ketch Young Larry's cruise through the islands of Alaska and western Canada.

Glengarriff Trophy, best cruise in Irish waters, and Wild Goose Cup for log of literary merit: Mick Delap for his often poetic account of the 24ft gaff cutter North Star's cruise from Valentia Island to the Clyde in Scotland, visiting as many Irish islands as possible en route.

Perry Greer Bowl, best cruise by first time contributor to ICC Annual: David Jones of Howth for informative account of detailed venture in several stages from Howth towards the Mediterranean in the Oceanis 43 Tidal Dancer, going via Isles of Scilly, southwest England, Channel Islands, all of Brittany, Ile de Re , northwest Spain, and northern Portugal with winter layup ashore at Povoa de Varzim, a useful new marina/boatyard 20 miles north of Porto.

Marie Trophy, for best cruise in boat less than 30ft LOA: Sean McCormick of Howth (for third year in a row), extensive cruise in south Brittany with First 30 Marie Clair II.

The John B Kearney Cup, an open award for outstanding contribution to Irish sailing, went to Jerry Smith of Baltimore, skipper of the dive-boat Wave Chieftain which completed the remarkable rescue of all the crew of the capsized Rambler 100 at the Fastnet Rock by finding the five crew members in the sea who had become detached from the rest of the group, and were drifting lost as night came on.

Gull Salver, open award for best-placed Irish boat in Fastnet Race: to Bruce Douglas of Carrickergus, skipper of the J/133 Spirit of Jacana.

Commodore David Tucker of Kinsale reviewed a remarkable year at the crowded AGM of the Irish Cruising Club, a year in which the members' boats were seen in locations seldom if at all visited before. One of these was very near home. In August 2011, one of the club's more entertaining gatherings was a rally by the East Coast Members in the Grand Canal Basin in the heart of Dublin, where they berthed beside the avant garde Liebeskind-designed Grand Canal Theatre. The sense of achievement of the re-vamped location was matched by several of the ICC boats in port, which included Pat and Olivia Murphy's world-girdling Aldebaran, and Brian and Anne Craig's Concerto, which has voyaged to Iceland.

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