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Drascombe Fleet to Cruise Wexford and Slaney this Weekend

24th August 2017
Atlantic sailing – two of the Drascombe flotilla which visited the Aran Islands in July under comfortable rig in the big seas of Galway Bay Atlantic sailing – two of the Drascombe flotilla which visited the Aran Islands in July under comfortable rig in the big seas of Galway Bay Photo: Jack O’Keeffe

The Drascombe Association have been celebrating their own 30th Anniversary, and the Golden Jubilee of the introduction of their distinctive range of characterful boats, with special enthusiasm in Ireland this summer writes W M Nixon.

It happens to be a rule of the Association that their annual conference and dinner is held in the home town of the Chairman. And as current chairman John Stanage lives in Belfast, that city’s famous Baroque City Hall was the setting for the Annual Dinner in May, with the launching of an ambitious programme.

But Drascombe sailors being a highly individualistic bunch who often go their own sweet way rather than sail in a crowd, the highest ambition of any “ambitious Drascombe programme” is to accommodate that individuality, while still ensuring that there is a general shared movement towards some agreed destination.

So a lot of what has been taking place is low key, though they did put their heads above the parapet with participation in the Classic & Traditional Kingstown 200 Class in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017 in July.

However, later that month they were to be found rallying in Connemara and out to the Aran Islands, then across to the Clare coast. That sort of multi-faceted activity showed the Drascombes at their versatile best, but this weekend from Friday evening (August 25th) through to Sunday evening (August 27th) they’re getting together in a place which might have been designed with Drascombes in mind.

wexford and slaney2The port of Wexford. The River Slaney winds temptingly through the attractive countryside beyond the bridge, yet that bridge is a barrier for larger craft hoping to explore inland

For sailors with deep-draft high-masted boats, Wexford and the Slaney Estuary is a frustration, for although you can berth in the town below the bridge, for most boats with masts that bridge is an impassable barrier, something which makes the pleasant-looking countryside upriver beyond it seem even more attractive.

But all this is accessible to a Drascombe, while at the same time they can enjoy the hospitality of Wexford town like any larger cruiser in from sea. Yet unlike the larger cruisers, they can also cruise more extensively in the shoal outer harbour, which they’ll be doing on Saturday, and then on Sunday morning’s tide, they hope to get right up the Slaney to Enniscorthy

The organisation on the ground with the friendly Wexford Boat & Tennis Club is with John and Darina Tully, while the Drascombe Association’s officer for rallies, Jack O’Keeffe of Cork, is also involved.

With the bank Holiday in the UK on Monday, it’s expected that there’ll be boats across via the Rosslare ferry, and as numbers are pushing towards the 20 mark, it’s being referred to as The Grand Fleet Celebration. The festivities don’t end there, for a week later on Friday September 1st, the Drascombes gather at Dromineer on Lough Derg, always a popular venue.

drascombes in clare3Drascombes cruising Galway Bay in July – at lunchtime, you just stop off at the handiest bit of shore. Photo: Jack O’Keeffe

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