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#squib – Hosted by the ever welcoming Howth Yacht Club on 22-23rd. June, this event was held in some of the heaviest wind conditions experienced for Irish Squib Championship Events, with wind from the west varying in strength from 18 knots to 36 knots.

A small but high class field of eleven boats took to the water for the second of the four Irish regional events for the Squib Class this season. The entry was disappointing for the organizers, with 6 boats from the host club, 2 visitors from the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club, and only 3 visitors from the Dublin Bay Fleet in Dun Laoghaire.

With a forecast of 16-25 knot South-Westerlies, with sunshine and only occasional showers the fleet was understandably keen to get on the water and get the five race series started despite the distraction of the first Lions test on the TV in the Howth Yacht Club bar. Given the expected 35 knot breezes forecast for Sunday, PRO Rupert Jeffares wisely planned to get as many as 4 races sailed on the first day of the series, and with this in mind ran a series of 2 lap windward/ leeward courses in the steadily building winds.

Following his exceptional speed, and high pointing in the strong winds at the Baily Bowl in Dun Laoghaire some weeks before, there was expectation for Gordon Patterson and Ross Nolan in Quickstep III to run away with the event, but it was not to be.

Pre race plans on most boats seemed to focus on hitting the right hand side of the first beat, to take advantage of the strong ebb tide but this proved costly as a left hand shift saw Howth's Fergus O'Kelly and Jonathan Wormald in No.223 Selik, and Des Clayton & Paul Henry of the RNIYC sailing 794, Inismara and Vincent Delany & Paul Maguire of the RSGYC get to the windward mark off Portmarnock Beach first. Selik made use of the clear air at the front to extend his lead and took the bullet by an impressive margin from Delany in second and Jonathan Craig & Hazel Ruane sailing Kerfuffle in third.

The second race followed a similar pattern with the boats that went left from the start coming out on top. This time Delany, in 24 Femme Fatale, led from Craig in Kerfuffle in second. The closeness of the racing was clear to see, as both O'Kelly and 820 Quickstep III sailed by Gordon Patterson with Ross Nolan of the RNIYC, made large gains on the final downwind leg by staying uptide, to leave the top 4 neck and neck at the last leeward mark. The order was Kerfuffle, Quickstep III, Femme Fatale and Selik. At the finish only 150 meters away four consecutive hoots led to some confusion about the final positions, but the gun went to Femme Fatale from Kerfuffle, with Selik in third and Quickstep III fourth. The Finishing time between first and fourth finishers was no more than 10 seconds after almost one hour racing over two laps of the race course.

The third race was started in increasingly strong winds, with gusts of 36 knots recorded on the committee boat, and the conditions had begun to take their toll. By the first mark just seven boats remained. Delany/Maguire led from the right with O'Kelly/Wormald, Patterson/Nolan, Jill Fleming/ Conor O'Leary in Perfection 44 and Michael O'Connell/ Eddie McCarron in Tais 642 (Irish language word for damp) in hot pursuit. By the finish both O'Kelly and Delany were battling for the honours. They approached the finish line, Selik on starboard tack and Femme Fatale on port on a collision course. The latter tacked too early and as a result could not lay the finish mark, and had to gybe around leaving the podium position to her rival, with Patterson in third place and Fleming fourth. This manoeuvre was the critical one which won the Championship.

The PRO, Rupert Jeffares then made the sensible call to send the fleet to shore as winds continued to increase and gear failure put paid to a number of competitors. This left O'Kelly/Wormald (1, 3, 1) holding the overnight lead on countback from Delany (2, 1, 2) with Craig in third, Patterson fourth and Fleming fifth.

On Sunday the wind increased and conditions at Howth were unsailable, so the results of the first days racing stood.

Several things can be noted from this event, 1) Less boats are traveling to events, possibly due to traveling costs and to family commitments, 2) The Race Committee at Howth have all the skills and good judgement necessary to run the Squib UK National in 2015, 3) The Squibs are tough boats, well capable of handling whatever conditions are thrown at them, on condition that you man the pumps from time to time..

Results:
1st. Selik, No. 223 sailed by Fergus O'Kelly & Jonathan Wormald, of Howth Yacht Club
2nd. Femme Fatale, No.24 Vincent Delany & Paul Maguire of Royal St. George Yacht Club
3rd. Kerfuffle No. 37, Jonathan Craig & Hazel Ruane of Howth Yacht Club.

Silver fleet: Inismara No. 794, Des Clayton & Paul Henry of the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club.

First Lady Helm: Perfection, No. 44 Jill Fleming supported by Conor O'Leary of Royal St. George Yacht Club

 

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#squib – At the end of June every year the Squib Class assemble in large numbers to compete for their annual National Championships and this year there are four Irish entries are : Tais' Michael O'Connell and Eddie McCarron - Royal Irish YC, Femme Fatale' Vincent Delany and Noel Colclough - RStGYC and Toy for the Boys' Peter Wallace and Sian McCleave - RNIYC.

For 2013 the Championship moves away from the South coast to Abersoch from 30th. June until 6th. July, To date, there are already 62 entries which compares very favourably with previous years, indicating that the Squib Class is maintaining high levels of support from throughout the country.

Remarkably there are twenty seven entries from the host club, South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club.

It is interesting the observe the spread of the other entries- Seven from Royal Corinthian Yacht Club on the East coast, five from the Royal Victoria Yacht Club on the Isle of Wight, three from the other Welsh Club, Holyhead Sailing Club, three from various clubs in Northern and Southern Ireland, Two from Weymouth Sailing Club, Two from Humber Yawl Club.and Two from Felixtowe Ferry Sailing Club.

Alan Johnson and Dave Garlick who won the Championships last year in 'Cariad Bach' at the Royal Dart Yacht Club after many attempts, were quoted at the prizegiving dinner as saying "We have raced together since 1977, so, if we couldn't win the Championships this year, we might be leaving it too late." They have entered the 2013 Championship in 'Cariad Bach' and since the event takes place on their home waters they should be expected to finish in the top 10.

For many years the Championship has been won by boats flying 'Batt Sails'. In 2012 although the winner used Batt Sails, the runner up used 'Hyde Sails'. It is now believed within the fleets that there is very little difference in performance between these two sail makers.

In the main early season events on the East Coast Nigel and Jack Grogan in No. 105 'Helmut Shoing II' have shown consistency. However the big fleets and open tidal waters of a National championship can provide a more difficult challenge.
Others who have performed well include Malcolm Hutchings and Andy Ramsay in 'Lady Penelope' from the Royal Corinthinan Y.C., Gerard Dyson and Tony Saltonstall from the Royal Yorkshire Yacht Club in 'Alchemy' and Micky Wright and Chris Dunn in 'Spoof' also from R.C.Y.C.

Regatta organizers are preparing for a precise scrutineering day, and have sent out advanced notices to potential competitors, reminding them to comply with the revisions made to the Class Regulations at last years AGM.

A strong social programme has been arranged by the host club for the competitors with dinners, sing songs, barbecues etc. so fun will be had by all.

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Ross and Stuart Vaughan, newcomers to the Irish Squib fleet, are the 2013 Rodgers & Browne Squib Northern Champions.

Hosted over the first weekend of June at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club, the event attracted 17 entries, with visitors from Killyleagh Yacht Club, Royal St George Yacht Club and Howth Yacht Club.

Light, tricky conditions prevailed throughout the weekend, with several major wind shifts adding to the difficulties. Race 1 was won by locals Denis Todd/Al Boston in Contender who had a good lead over fellow club mates and brothers, Ross and Stuart Vaughan, in Joint Venture and the father and daughter team of Fred and Holly Campbell in Halloween.

In Race 2 the wind increased significantly and Greg Bell/Leah Anderson on Prodigal led throughout the race to secure the gun at the finish. Joint Venture managed another second, beating last year's winners Davy Eccles/Phil Hutchinson on Inshallah, who were third.

With the wind continuing to clock around to the right, the third race was initially abandoned as a further 100 degree shift to the right materialised. The restarted race saw Halloween take line honours, followed by Inshallah and visitors from Howth, Jonathan Craig/Hazel Ruane on Kerfuffle securing third place.

Having completed the three races scheduled for that day, the fleet returned to the shore for a night of revelry.

Bleary eyed, the hardened Squibbers appeared one by one on the Sunday morning to be faced with minimal breeze, as predicted. After some persuasion the fleet made its way out to the inevitable postponement. However, experienced PRO Nigel Kearney's patience was rewarded when the sea breeze started to fill in after midday and, after an abandoned start as the wind settled, he got two of the races away in steady breeze.

Joint Venture added to its impressive score card with its first win of the event. Previous Northern Champions, Gordon Patterson/Ross Nolan on Quickstep III, secured a second place with David Mellor/Leandre McCollum on Conquest taking third.

With the time limit for a final start fast approaching, it was clear that the fifth race would be the last and so the PRO took opportunity to extend it to three rounds, ensuring that the fleet got value for money. Prodigal got a great start, and led from start to finish. Inshallah and Halloween took second and third place respectively.

Fourth place was enough for the Vaughan brothers to return to the club moorings as Northern Champions.

Overall:

1st: Joint Venture: Ross and Stuart Vaughan, RNIYC

2nd: Prodigal: Greg Bell and Leah Anderson, RNIYC

3rd: Halloween: Fred and Holly Campbell, RNIYC

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#squib – The Squib keelboat class will be returning to the southern shores of Belfast Lough and the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club this weekend.

The Rodgers & Browne sponsored Squib Northern Championship will attract Squibs from across Ireland to compete for the coveted trophy.

The Squib Class is one of the largest one design keelboat classes in Ireland. It is sailed by two people and is well known for its distinctive brown sails. Over the last decade fleets have flourished at Killyleagh Yacht Club, Quoile Yacht Club, Royal St George Yacht Club and Kinsale Yacht Club, in addition to the traditional strongholds of Howth Yacht Club and Cultra.

The reigning champion pairing of Davy Eccles/Phil Hutchinson on Inshallah, from the host club, will again have to mount a strong defence if they are to retain the trophy for a second year. Likely contenders include previous champions, Gordon Patterson/Ross Nolan on Quickstep III and Sam Lyness/Eric Heyes on The Worm, who have both been showing promising form of late.

However, it would be foolish to dismiss the presence of previous Irish National pairing Greg Bell/Leah Anderson on Prodigal and Jonathan Craig/Hazel Ruane on Kerfuffle.

Wendy McCullough, Commodore of Royal North commented, "I am delighted to welcome the Squib Northern Championship back to Cultra and our new partnership with Rodgers & Brown. The Squib Class has been the backbone of our Club for several decades and it is fantastic that the fleet will be showcased through this event. In addition to the excellent sailing waters of Belfast Lough, the Club's well known hospitality will ensure that this event will be well worth attending."

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#loughderg  – Beautiful Autumn sunshine greeted the combined fleets of Dragons, SB20's, Squibs and J80's as they started the final day of the Lough Derg Yacht Club Freshwater Keelboat regatta. Not a ripple stirred Lough Derg as the fleet left the dock but the forecast South Easterly 10-20 knots soon made its appearance for race 1.

In the Dragon Class, Martin Byrne from RSGYC crewed by Anthony Shanks and James Espey stormed to a decisive victory counting five 1sts and two 3rds to win by a 12 point margin over RSGYC stablemates Gerry Treacy, Paul McGuire and Don O'Dowd. Byrne didn't have to race the final race in the series and left it up to the pack to decide second overall.

The SB20 class clearly enjoyed the fresh and gusty conditions on the trapezoid course today. It was neck and neck between rivals Ben Duncan and Peter Kennedy going into the final races but it was Duncan who scored a 1,3 today over Kennedy's 6,2 to win the midlands title for the first time in its 6 year history. Kennedy who has won this event for the past three years running had to contend himself with second. Third place had to be fought over today by Aidan O'Connell and James Gorman but the Black Flag that Aidan received for being over early in race 1, upset his chances and James took his podium result by a single point lead over Aidan in the end. O'Connell did manage to finish on a high by winning the final race of the series.

In the 2012 SB20 circuit Duncan has all but shown a clean set of results having only lost 1 event this year.

The squibs also shared the Windward/Leeward course today with the Dragons. No results were available last night due to protests but it was James Matthews from Kinsale who scored 3,1,3,1,3 to win over Jonathan Craig's very solid 1,4,2,4,2 Only two points separated the leaders in the end.

The J80's were given a lesson in consistency this weekend by Andrew Deacon who's lead was never in doubt. Scoring 1,1,1,1,1 and discarding a first to win by an 11 point margin over second place Hetty Sanders (5,4,3,2,2). Next on the podium was team "Cougars" helmed by Sue Smithwick and crewed by Adair Leech, Mary Hughes and Alison Smithwick who scored 4,5,2,3,2.

Dinner in the yacht club last night followed by a charity night in the Whiskey Still where Johnny Logan made a guest appearance, keeping the crews entertained.

PRO Claire Toohey and her team did a great job this weekend running the side by side courses. Lough Derg Yacht Club are past masters at this type of event and the combined classes look forward to keeping this an established part of their calendars.

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#loughderg – This weekend sees the gathering of the biggest of the keelboat one design fleets in Lough Derg for the annual freshwater keelboat regatta. For what is fast becoming a popular feature in the trailer sailor one design classes, Lough Derg Yacht Club is hosting a one design weekend for the Dragons, SB20's, Squibs and J80's.

The classes share the same race area but split between windward/leeward and trapezoid courses with a common start line.

The dragons assembled early on Friday with 2 races sailed and with a further 4 races today out of a 8 race series. Martin Byrne from the Royal St. George YC is clear ahead by the end of racing with a massive 11 point lead over RIYC rival Richard Goodbody. Martin counts 5 race wins in the 6 races sailed.

In the SB20 class 4 races sailed leaves the two front runners on tied points overnight with two first places and a second each for Ben Duncan and Peter Kennedy (RNIYC) each discarding a 10+ point race for 4 points nett, this being a somewhat familiar result between these two top boats. Further back James Gorman and Aidan O'Connell battle it out for 3rd but the Lough has proven a formidable challenge for all crews with the shifting and gusting southerly breeze. Who will emerge as overall leader is very much yet to be decided.

In the J80s Andrew Deacon is having it all his own way with 3 first places but discarding a Joint first (1.5). He is leading overall by 3.5 points to nearest rival Hetty Sanders with a 1.5,2,3.

At the time of writing the squibs overall was dependent on the outcome of a protest so were not available.

A beautiful October sunny day on Lough Derg, some more trying and difficult conditions tomorrow in the heartland of Ireland.

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#squib – Racing in the shadow of gale warnings the Irish Squib title hung in the balance on Dublin Bay yesterday but after a a one hour postponement a full race programme was completed. The lead of both race and event changed three time before Aidan O'Connell and Ben O'Donoghue of the Royal St. George YC finally broke away to lift the trophy. Overall results are available to download below as a pdf document.

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#squib – With more protests scheduled last night and a gale warning issued for the Irish Sea today there is some doubt about the final race of the Irish Squib championships in Dun Laoghaire this morning. The host club's Aidan O'Connell and Ben O'Donoghue lead by a single point from Vincent Delany and Fergal Gaynor also of the Royal St. George. One point behind in third place in the 23-boat fleet is Kinsale duo Marcus and Megan Hutchinson. Full results after day two are downloadable below as a pdf document.

 

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#squib – Vincent Delany and Fergal Gaynor sailing Femme Fatale are in charge after the first day's racing of the Irish National Squib championships on Dublin Bay. Scroll down for photos from Gareth Craig below. The Royal St. George YC paring have established a lead of six points after thre the first three races. Kinsale visitors Marcus and Megan Hutchinson are second on 15 points. Third is another local pairing Aidan O'Connell and Ben O'Donoghue Provisional Day one results subject to protest are posted below as a pdf for download.

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#squib – There is an unwritten tradition that the Irish Championship is always won by a Northern boat but perhaps 2012 is the year for a winner from Kinsale, Howth or Dun Laoghaire?  The Irish National Championships is to be held from 25th to 27th August at the Royal St. George Yacht Club, which is conveniently located almost equidistant from the main centres of Squib racing at Wexford, Kinsale, Glandore, Mayo, Belfast Lough and Strangford Lough.

Already in 2012 we have had two regional championships which produced very different results. The South Coast Championship in Kinsale with a fleet of 17 boats was won by husband and wife team- Marcus and Meghan Hutchinson from the home club in 'Sensation'. Second was James and Bruce Matthews in 'Mucky Duck' also from Kinsale. Third place was taken by the consistent 'Toy for the Boys' sailed by Peter Wallace and Kerry Boomer from Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club. None of the Dublin boats featured in the results.

The Northern Championship in Killyleagh Sailing Club on Strangford Lough in June with a fleet of 21 was won by Inis'allagh steered by David Eccles and Philip Hutchinson from Royal North of Ireland, second was Gordon Patterson and Ross Nolan in 'Quickstep' from the same club, with Brian O'Hare and Tonya Mc.Allister in 'Nimble' from Royal St. George in Dun Laoghaire in third place.

At the U.K. National Championships in Dartmouth in July the best Irish boat was husand and wife Johnathan Craig and Hazel Ruane in 'Kerfuffle' followed by Vincent Delany and Fergal Gaynor in 'Femme Fatale'.

This should be one of the most open Irish Squib Championships for years.

A Squib keelboat is a modest two man sailing boat, almost 6m. long but with a small sail area. It was designed some 40 years ago and retains its popularity with more than 870 boats throughout Britain and Ireland.

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