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Bangor Town Regatta Prepares to Welcome 600 Sailors to Belfast Lough

17th June 2022
Kevin and Debbie Aitken's First 36.7, Animal is racing at Bangor Town Regatta
Kevin and Debbie Aitken's First 36.7, Animal is racing at Bangor Town Regatta Credit: Neill Ross

Excitement is growing on Belfast Lough with the prospect of next week’s Bangor Town Regatta bringing over 600 sailors to that seaside town, now designated ‘City’, for the resurrected event which has been on hold during the pandemic.

Chairman Gavin Watson says he is 'delighted' with the entry which currently stands at 60 with the prospect of more last-minute joiners. “Aside from the usual stresses and strains of running a major regatta, we are all ready to go for kick-off on the 23rd. The infrastructure is now being set up this week to welcome some 650 competitors to Bangor and Royal Ulster Yacht Club”.

The Bangor Town Regatta will take place from 23rd till 26th and will be welcoming competitors from Scotland, England, Dublin Bay and the Isle of Man as well as from other parts of Northern Ireland.

On the water keeping the fleets in order on the three race courses on the superb sailing waters of Belfast Lough, will be Principal Race Officer Con Murphy from Dun Laoghaire with local Colin Loughead and Michael Tyrell from Co. Dublin making up the team. The fleet will race out of Bangor Marina.

Nine classes will take part, the smallest being the Linton Hope-designed Fairy class from Royal North on Belfast Lough, well over 100 years old, and the much newer RS Elites, some of whom took part in the recent RS Elite Nationals in Cowes, such as Kelso/Gunning/Polly in Storm who finished ninth in the 40 strong fleet. The farthest travelled Elite will be John McRobert’s Swallow from Ballyronan BC on the western shore of Lough Neagh.

Fairy class keelboats Maimoune (No 2) and Banshee (No 9) racing in Belfast LoughFairy class keelboats Maimoune (No 2) and Banshee (No 9) racing in Belfast Lough

In contrast there are the big ‘uns - those which conform to RC 35 rules and of these of course, the club will be looking to its own John Minnis in Final Call II who acquired the title “ Northern Invader” from ex-Bangorian and renowned yachting journalist, Winkie Nixon for his winning performance in Howth’s recent Wave Regatta.

Robin Young's J109 JingsRobin Young's J109 Jings

Final Call II is expected to put up a memorable show. But competition from the other “invaders” such as Pat Kelly’s Storm from Rush and Howth and Debbie Aitken’s Animal from the Clyde will be knife edge.

At stake in this division will be points counting towards the RC35 Celtic Cup Overall Championship.

Leaky Roof II from Cove SC in ScotlandLeaky Roof II from Cove SC in Scotland

And the substantial turnout in the Sigma 33 class will be competing for the Irish and Class Championship. Here there are several Scottish visitors. Among them are the familiar Rajah (Roy Summers) from the Clyde, Donald McLaren’s Sigmatic from Helensburgh and the Harper and Roberston’s Leaky Roof II from Cove SC in Scotland, all frequent visitors to Bangor. From Dun Laoghaire Harbour Ian Bowring brings Springer and Stephen Mullaney is racing Insider, one time-based at Cushendall.

Vice Commodore Ed Wheeler’s Witchcraft of Howth, the 1976 Contessa 35Vice Commodore Ed Wheeler’s Witchcraft of Howth, the 1976 Contessa 35

In between is a varied and diverse collection, among which will be Vice Commodore Ed Wheeler’s Witchcraft of Howth, the 1976 Contessa 35. Among her achievements are two Round Ireland Races and a long-haul cruise to West Africa.

Chairman Gavin Watson is pleased with the entry list: “We wish to use this return to sailing as a foundation to build Bangor Town Regatta for the future. It is important to support all sailing events as we have seen this year how a lack of support, volunteers and entries can leave events exposed. We are so thankful for the support and that of our volunteers”.

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down

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Bangor Town Regatta 2021

It’s expected that the fleet will number upwards of 60 with several hundred crew and supporting visitors for the 2021 Regatta.

Among the classes expected are IRC, Sigma 33, RS Elite, and day boats such as Waverleys and Fairies.

The Regatta Chairman is Gavin Watson and Royal Ulster Yacht Club is the organising club for what is Northern Ireland's biggest inshore yacht racing event.

Feeder races from Dun Laoghaire and Scotland are planned.

The Bangor Town Regatta fleet will race out of the Bangor Marina, on what is Belfast Lough’s enviable area of virtually tide and hazard free waters.

Two round-the-buoys courses within a manageable distance from the marina will provide testing but enjoyable racing and in addition, coastal races every day will give those who prefer
somewhat more leisurely competition, the opportunity to use the whole of the Lough.

Racing will be in the capable hands of International Race Officer and National Judge, local man Robin Gray.

The Race Office will be located at the Marina close to where the après sailing will be well catered for.

At A Glance - Bangor Town Regatta 2022

Belfast Lough's Bangor Town Regatta runs from Thursday 23rd to Sunday 26th June 2022

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