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Displaying items by tag: All Ireland Sailing Championships

Peter Kennedy made waves on Lough Ree when the current SB20 national champion took the Helmsman’s Cup at the weekend.

However, a special mention must go to Water Wag pair Guy Kilroy and Adam Winkelmann for their ‘catch of the day’ as they discovered an unusual and large fishing lure caught on their keel.

The extra weight and drag, however small, surely didn’t help their campaign at the All Ireland Sailing Championships — but perhaps it also means a good omen for next year’s event?

Large fishing lure caught on Gilroy and Winkelmann's keel

Published in Water Wag

Peter Kennedy of Strangford Lough Yacht Club has won the 2018 Irish Sailing All Ireland Sailing Championships hosted by Lough Ree Yacht Club, Co. Westmeath today writes Treasa Cox of Irish Sailing.

This prestigious competition, also known as the “Helmsman’s Cup” was first awarded in 1947 and sees sixteen of Ireland’s best sailors battle it out to become the “champion of champions”. Each competitor is nominated by their class, but they all compete in the same type of boat, this year chosen as the SB20. 

Peter, who was nominated by the SB20 Class, is a former Olympian sailor who represented Ireland in both Seoul 1998 and Barcelona 1992. This was Peter’s fourth time competing in the All Irelands, and the first time in the finals. 

His name now joins the Helmsman’s Cup Trophy alongside other Olympic veterans such as Mark Mansfield and Mark Lyttle.

Final results were Peter Kennedy (Strangford Lough YC) with crew Stephen Kane, and boat owner representative Chris Chapman; in second place were Alex Barry (Royal Cork YC/Monkstown Bay Sailing Club) who represented the RS400s with crew Mel Collins and boat owner representative John McGonigle, and in third place was Ross Kearney representing the GP14s (Royal North of Ireland YC) with crew Jim Hunt and boat owner representative Peter Lee.

Published in ISA

Saturday's All Ireland Sailing Championships run by Irish Sailing at Lough Ree Yacht Club has attracted some of the top sailing names in the country for the annual battle of the champion of champions event that will be sailed on Lough Ree in SB20s for the first time.

The final list of entrants has been issued by Irish Sailing this morning with Olympian Finn Lynch, multi–dinghy champion Jim Hunt, former Irish Sailor of the Year Noel Butler and Dragon Edinburgh Cup winner Adam Winkelmann, to name but a few, all joining the ranks of crews for the end of season climax.

Read the final list below:

As Afloat.ie reported earlier, past champion Fionn Lyden will defend his title against some of the country's top sailing talent with bronze medalist in the Laser U21 World Championships, Liam Glynn one of six Northern Ireland helmsmen to be nominated.

Six keelboat sailors, nine dinghy sailors and one multihull sailor make up this year's invitation list.

Helm

Class

Club

Crew Name

Donagh Good

1720

Royal Cork Yacht Club

Grattan Roberts

Dave Gorman

Flying Fifteen

National Yacht Club

Chris Doorly

Darragh McCormack

Mermaid/ICRA 4

Foynes Yacht Club

Johnny Dillon

Alex Barry

RS 400

Royal Cork Yacht Club/ Monkstown Bay Sailing Club

Mel Collins

Ross Kearney

GP 14

Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club

Jim Hunt

Jocelyn Hill

RS 200

County Antrim Yacht Club

Katie Kane

Peter Wallace

Squib

Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club

Martin Weatherstone

Guy Kilroy

Waterwags

Royal Irish Yacht Club

Adam Winkelmann

Graham Mc Mullin

Shannon One Design

Lough Ree Yacht Club

John Malone

Simon Revill

IDRA 14

Sutton Dinghy Club

Noel Butler

Peter Kennedy

SB20

Strangford Lough Yacht Club

Stephen Kane

Stefan Hyde

J24

Royal Cork Yacht Club/Royal Irish Yacht Club

Cillian Dickson

Fionn Lyden

2017 Champion

Baltimore Sailing Club

David Harte

Liam Glynn

Laser Standard

Ballyholme Yacht Club/ UCD sailing club

Tom Purdon

Neil Hegarty

Dragon

Royal St George Yacht Club/Baltimore Sailing Club

Tom Hegarty

Aisling Keller

Laser Radial

LDYC/Royal Irish Yacht Club/Trinity Sailing Club

Finn Lynch

 

 

Published in All Irelands

There's just over one week to the Irish Sailing All Ireland Sailing Championships, taking place in Lough Ree Yacht Club in Co. Westmeath, 6-7th of October.

The competitors represent sixteen of the thirty-nine Irish Sailing 'eligible' affiliated classes, but all will compete against each other in one type of boat – this year the event is being sailed in SB20 keelboats.

There are two women in this year’s competition: Aisling Keller (Lough Derg Yacht Club / Royal Irish Yacht Club / Trinity Sailing Club) who will team up with Olympian Finn Lynch (National YC), and Jocelyn Hill (Co. Antrim YC) representing the RS200s. Jocelyn will be one of five sailors from Northern Ireland. Past winners Fionn Lyden (Baltimore SC) and Alex Barry (Royal Cork Yacht Club / Monkstown Bay Sailing Club) will compete alongside Liam Glynn (Ballyholme Yacht Club / UCD Sailing Club) fresh from his bronze medal win in the U21 Laser World Championships in Poland this summer.

Each competitor has been nominated as a result of past wins and class rankings. This year they will sail SB20 keelboats, which are designed for a crew of three or four. Each nominee selects one crew member, and they are joined by a third crew member who represents the boat owner.

Racing will consist of two “flights” or heats. The top three from each flight go straight into the final. The remaining competitors who placed 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th compete in a 2-race “repêchage”, and the top two then enter the Final also. The Final race, therefore, has eight teams competing.

The All Ireland Sailing Championships or “Helmsman’s Cup” has run since 1947 and aims to find sailing's “champion of champions”.

Read the current entry list here

Published in All Irelands

The nominees for next month's All Ireland Sailing Championships have been announced with top sailors from the world of dinghy, keelboat and multihull classes invited for the annual champion of champions event.

The Championships will be held in Lough Ree Yacht Club in County Westmeath in SB20 sports boats on October 5th and 6th.

Past champion Fionn Lyden will defend his title against some of the country's top sailing talent with bronze medalist in the Laser U21 World Championships, Liam Glynn one of six Northern Ireland helmsmen to be nominated.

Six keelboat sailors, nine dinghy sailors and one multihull sailor make up this year's invitation list.

Two of this month's Afloat.ie Sailors of the Month awardees make the list with Darragh McCormack of Foynes representing the Mermaids and silver medalist in the GP14 Worlds and national champion Ross Kearney also sailing.

Joining McCormack from the clinker classes are Guy Kilroy from the Water Wags and Simon Reville of the IDRA 14s and Graham McMullin of the Shannon One Designs.

SB20 National Champion Peter Kennedy gets a wildcard entry but there is no nomination for this month's European SB20 bronze medalist Michael O'Connor of the Royal St. George Yacht Club.

Despite the progress of Women's sailing in Ireland, only one is among the invitees, Jocelyn Hill representing the RS200 class from County Antrim Yacht Club.

There is no ICRA representation (usually three or four places) despite the fact ICRA Commodore Simon McGibney says 'ICRA made five nominations for the All Ireland Championships 2018'.

The competition has been running since 1947 and pits all types of sailors against each other in one type of boat.

As previously reported, the Junior All Ireland Championships will be held earlier on 29-30 September at the Royal St George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire using Firefly dinghies.

1

 

2017 Champion

Fionn Lyden

Team Racing

2

Dinghy

GP14

Ross Kearney

Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club

3

Dinghy

Water Wags

Guy Kilroy

Royal Irish Yacht Club

4

Dinghy

Shannon One Design

Graham McMullin

Lough Ree Yacht Club

5

Keelboat

Flying Fifteen

David Gorman

National Yacht Club

6

Dinghy

Multihull

Wyatt Orsmond

Swords Sailing Club

7

Dinghy

RS400

Alex Barry

Royal Cork Yacht Club/Monkstown Bay Sailing Club

8

Dinghy

Mermaid

Darragh McCormack

Foynes Yacht Club

9

Dinghy

Laser Standard

Liam Glynn

Ballyholme Yacht Club

10

Keelboat

Dragon

tbc

 

11

Keelboat

Squib

Peter Wallace

Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club

12

Dinghy

RS200

Jocelyn Hill

County Antrim Yacht Club

13

Keelboat

Ruffian 23

Trevor Kirkpatrick

Carrickfergus Sailing Club

14

Keelboat

1720

Donagh Good

Royal Cork Yacht Club

Wildcards

       

15

Keelboat

SB20

Peter Kennedy

Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club

16

Dinghy

IDRA14

Simon Revill

Howth Yacht Club/Sutton Dinghy Club

Published in All Irelands

It has had at least two different event descriptions since it was first sailed all of seventy years ago. Back then, Irish sailing was finding its feet in the late 1940s, becoming re-energised in the exciting developmental world of modern dinghy racing. It was the time of Fireflies, and of the visionary move of establishing the recently-formed Irish Dinghy Racing Association’s new IDRA 14 Class. On the water, all-classes Dinghy Weeks were being held, and the idea of rounding it all out with an annual Championship of the Champions – the Helmsmans Championship – seemed a natural from the word go. W M Nixon celebrates the continuing existence of something which - for many years - was unique to Irish sailing.

The Helmsmans Championship quickly became a key part of what Irish sailing is all about. And even though it become more and more of an artificial construct over the years as different class types proliferated, with the selection of one Championship boat to accommodate widely-different boat-type experiences inevitably becoming ever more problematical, there’s a stubborn streak in us which keeps it going as a celebration of true amateur sailing.

For the line–up of helmsmen racing GP14s this weekend – it’s only male helms, alas, though women sailors have won in times past – sees the deliberate absence of the professional and semi-professional stream. This is down home sailing out in strength, even if some of the participants – such as Olympic Finn U23 Bronze Medallist Fionn Lyden of Baltimore (he’s the nomination of the Irish Team Racing Association) – will harbour hopes of moving on to Olympic Pathways.

alex barry2Alex Barry, defending champion with the Salver newly won at Royal Cork YC in October 2016, with ISA President David Lovegrove (left) and RCYC Admiral John Roche. Alex Barry represented the RS 400, but the championship was sailed in National 18s. Photo Robert Bateman

All-Ireland Championship Competitors (Class - Helm - Club - Crew Name):

Shannon One Design - Stephen O'Driscoll - Lough Derg Yacht Club - John O'Driscoll
J24 - JP McCaldin - Lough Erne Yacht Club / Sligo Yacht Club - Liz Copland
Laser Radial - Sean Craig - Royal St George Yacht Club - David Johnston
2016 Champion RS400 - Alex Barry - Monkstown Bay SC/Royal Cork YC - Richard Leonard
Puppeteer 22 - Colin Kavanagh - Howth Yacht Club - Conor Barry
Dublin Bay Mermaid - Sam Shiels - Skerries Sailing Club - Eoin Boylan
Squib - Greg Bell - Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club - Martin Weatherstone
IDRA14 - Alan Henry - Sutton Dinghy Club - Simon Reville
SB20 - Stefan Hyde - Royal Cork Yacht Club - tbc
RS200 - Neil Spain - Howth Yacht Club - John Downey
RS400 - Gareth Flannigan - Ballyholme Yacht Club - David Fletcher
GP14 - Shane McCarthy - Greystones Sailing Club - Andy Davis
ITRA - Fionn Lyden - UCCSC, BSC, Schull - Liam Manning
ICRA 3 - Paul Gibbons - Royal Cork Yacht Club - Grattan Roberts
Ruffian 23 - Chris Helme - Royal St George Yacht Club - Alan Claffey
Laser Standard - Liam Glynn - Ballyholme Yacht Club - Ryan Glynn

You only have to give reasonable attention to that list to grasp the diversity of people, talents and boat experience that they’re trying to bring together for meaningful racing on the beautiful waters of Lough Owel (it’s pronounced “ool”) in Westmeath.

Further to emphasise the “down home” spirit of it all, the hosts, the recently re-furbished Mullingar Sailing Club (they celebrated their Golden Jubilee in 2014, including publishing a fine club history co-ordinated by Veronica Lucey) may be very centrally placed in Ireland. But they’re possibly further from any other yacht or sailing club than any other comparable club in the country, so they have to be true to themselves and their love of local sailing. 

msc history3MSC’s Golden Jubilee History captures the flavor of a very rural and genuinely locally-based sailing club. Courtesy MS

lough owel4Lough Owel’s special location provides an ideal setting for Irish Sailing’s Championship of Champions

It certainly seems that way, for prosperous Mullingar is a world unto itself, the quintessential Irish country town. Yet it does have waterways connections, for the Royal Canal (re-opened in 2010) encircles the town like a moat on its way from Dublin to join the Shannon near Longford.

And the shining jewel in the green countryside, the ideally-sized-for-good-sailing Lough Owel, is not only a marvelous recreational amenity, but its pristine water is Mullingar’s reservoir, and it also doubles as the reservoir for the Royal Canal. 

Anyone who is into Irish canal lore will of course be familiar with LTC Rolt’s seminal book Green and Silver, about the circular voyage in the late 1946 on Ireland’s inland waterways, an inland cruise which started from Athlone in the hired converted lifeboat Le Coq and went eastward to Dublin on the Grand Canal, and then returned west via the Royal Canal to the Upper Shannon.

tom rolt5Tom Rolt’s hired converted ships lifeboat Le Coq on the Royal Canal near Mullingar in 1946

tom rolt6Punting up the famed Lough Owel feeder in 1946

Tom Rolt and his crew were particularly charmed by the Royal Canal, and intrigued by the inviting channel which came into it at Mullingar to bring the water from Lough Owel. So they punted their way up the Lough Owel feeder. But these days, with its role as a public water supply, Lough Owel is not officially part of our already very extensive inland waterways system. 
However, there’s another link to those distant Green & Silver days which is decidedly special. If you go back to the very beginning of the list of previous winners of the famous silver salver here: you’ll see that the first winner in 1947 was the great Douglas Heard, who had become first President of the Irish Dinghy Racing Association in 1946. Douglas Heard was also a devoted advocate for the inland waterways, and when the closure of the Royal Canal was planned for the end of 1954, he voyaged the weed-filled length of it that summer in his motor-cruiser Hark (like Le Coq, a converted lifeboat) partly in protest at the closure, and partly in sad celebration that it had existed at all.

So it’s very moving to think that here we are in 2017, and the Championship of Champions is being staged on a lake which has a very real link to something of significance in the remarkable life of Douglas Heard, the first Champion Helm. And the fact that the Royal Canal is now fully alive again is perhaps the most astonishing thing of all, for the coming of the railways in the mid-19th Century soon out paid to its limited commercial success.

So sailing in Mullingar can find a real link, however tenuous, to the first winner of the Helsmans Championship. But before we finally get around to assessing this year’s prospects, there’s one final part of Mullingar Sailing Club’s story which must be shared. Since 1972, their next-door neighbour - until he died three weeks ago - was the world-renowned author J P Donleavy, creator of The Ginger Man. 

Donleavy’s 200-acre estate, with the rambling house of Levington Park at its heart, fronted along Lough Owel to the immediate southwest of Mullingar SC. And though he’d been something of a recluse in his latter years, it was not unknown for him in his early days next door to drop by the club when some sailing event was taking place, gradually fulfilling his role as something of the local country squire.

j p donleavy7The neighbour. Author J P Donleavy was Mullingar SC’s next-door neighbour from 1972 until his death in September 2017

Certainly MSC’s Fleet Captain Michael Collender is sure that Donleavy was occasionally about the club out of curiosity though not as a sailor, and thinks there a photo somewhere to prove it. But if they find it, they should be warned that as a result, Mullingar SC will inevitably become part of the J P Donleavy Research Trail for post-graduate doctoral students of literature. That could be a bit of a nuisance when your purpose in life is to provide economical sailing in pleasant but unpretentious premises which give convenient and immediate access to excellent sailing water.

gp14s lough owel8The GP 14s have always interacted particularly well with Mullingar SC. This is their 2014 Leinster Championship on Lough Owel. Photo courtesy MSC

mirror westerns lough owel9All classes welcome – Mirror Westerns on Lough Owel

Thus Mullingar SC and the GP 14 Association are kindred spirits, and the enthusiasm of the Irish GP 14 Association in providing eight boats of equal standard from all over the country for this Championship of Champions on Lough Owel has, as usual, been under-pinned by hard-headed practicality. For this, after all, is the class which negotiated the economic transit of an entire flotilla of Irish GP14s (was it 22 boats in all?) to Barbados for the worlds in April 2016, and the overall winner was Shane McCarthy of Greystones.

So with the Irish GP14 Class’s exceptional spirit, they have had enthusiastic owners delivering top boats to Lough Owel, the furthest being from as far away as the distant end of Lough Erne in Fermanagh. That’s J P McCaldin, who’s actually racing the championship as the J/24 representative. But he’s getting the double value GP 14 sailors expect, as the class’s national end-of-season event, the Hot Toddy, is going to be staged at Mullingar in a week’s time, and JP’s boat will be there on site, ready and waiting.

shane mccarthy10GP 14 World Champions Shane McCarthy and Andy Davis will be racing this weekend on Lough Owel

Another typically GP 14 touch is that the Irish Association is hoping to make the boats even more equal by providing them all with absolutely identical new genoas. At first glance, it all sounds a bit extravagant. But outgoing President Stephen Boyle of Sutton Dinghy Club (he sails as crew for his 17 year old son Peter, and has recently been succeeded, after a three year stint as President, by David Cooke of Skerries) assures me that the Irish GP 14 Association just don’t do extravagant. The eight brand new genoas from Jim Hunt and Andy Davis (Shane McCarthy’s crew) of HD sails will be getting a bulk discount, and will be immediately sold off once this event is over – “We might even make a tiny profit”.

Many of the Mullingar SC officer are themselves GP 14 sailors, the current officer board being Commodore: James Hackett, Vice Commodore: Sean Duffy, Rear Commodore Gearoid O’Bradaigh, Hon. Sec: Kieran Milner, Hon. Treas: Brian Walker, Junior Sailing: James Hackett, Fleet Captain Michael Collender, and PR Officer Veronica Lucey.

But MSC has been known to host exotics such as the Shannon One Designs and the Water Wags. Yet it’s Geeps, Mirrors and Lasers which set the regular pace, with the GP 14s in particular having a long and dynamic relationship with the club.

gp14s on lough owel11The gem of the midands. GP 14s enjoying idyllic early Autumn weather on Lough Owel

So they’re making a proper weekend of it, with a dinner tonight in the Annebrook Hotel in the heart of town, and racing going right to he finish tomorrow afternoon. Defending champion is of course RS 400 speedster Alex Barry of Monkstown Bay on Cork, but with the boat selected being the GP 14 and the extraordinary range of talent lined up to sail them, it’s wide open, even if the smart money will inevitably be on Shane McCarthy, who has his world champion crew Andy Davis with him.

We’ll know it all by Monday morning. But meanwhile, let it be said that it has been utterly heartening researching this piece, and talking to so many happily enthused club sailors. This is the real sailing in Ireland, l‘Irlande profonde. This is the Ireland that still thinks the event is the Helmsman’s Championship, and that it’s run by the Irish Sailing Association.
The rest of us will go along with the ISA’s re-branding as Irish Sailing. Personally, I think it’s a good idea. But this All-Ireland Championship thing we’re not so sure of. After all, when the Helmsman’s Championship was inaugurated seventy years ago, it was unique to Ireland, its brand name was new and unique.

So why change it to something which is imitative of another completely different area of sport in search of very ephemeral public recognition? We should only allow it if Irish Sailing somehow gets permission to flood the sacred turf of Croke Park, and stages the Helmsmans Championship there in the manner of Nero’s naval battle in the Colosseum. Then it would be acceptable to call it the All-Ireland Sailing Championship, for Croke Park is the only place where true All-Ireland sporting events can take place.

Published in W M Nixon

Cork Harbour's own Alex Barry finished on top in the All Ireland Sailing Championships at Royal Cork Yacht Club today but not before an exciting duel for the coveted trophy with Rio Olympic silver medalist Annalise Murphy who finished second overall in the eight boat fleet writes Gail McAllister.

After a frustrating wait in dead calm conditions on day 2 of the ISA All Ireland Sailing Championships sailors were treated to a perfect 20–knots of breeze in the final races. It was thrilling to watch Ireland’s top sailors from each class compete in the latest National 18 dinghies.  

Annalise Murphy and crew gave an outstanding performance with 3 bullets in the final 3 races and the final winner was not clear until judges and race officer had done the maths on discards. RS400 sailor from Monkstown Bay Yacht Club came out top with 11 points, with Annalise Murphy only one point behind on 12 and Darragh O’Sullivan, who had dominated the board throughout the afternoon, came in at 3rd with an equal 3 points, because Annalise had 3 bullets to Darragh’s 2. Race Officer Peter Crowley completed a good series with 20 minute races and a fast turnaround between races keeping everyone on their toes.

This weekend’s top sailors came from a broad spectrum of classes RS400, Laser Radial, Laser Full Rig, National 18, ICRA 1, 2 & 3, 1720, IDRA14, RS200, J24, Mermaid, Shannon One Design and Flying Fifteen.

Top eight results are downloadable below.

Published in All Irelands

It has been a golden if sometimes very thin thread running through Irish sailing continuously since 1947. Despite the vagaries of the Irish weather and the increasing complexity of our sailing programme, absolutely every season for sixty-nine years now we’ve managed – occasionally with some difficulty – to create a viable come-all-ye-class-champions national event which rotated the venues and the boat types used. It’s an event which brings together multiple talents from many classes to produce a Champion of Champions after a hectic weekend of racing, and 2016’s edition starts this morning at the Royal Cork Yacht Club at Crosshaven. W M Nixon attempts to grasp the will-of-the wisp which is the ideal that was the Irish Helmsman’s Championship and is now the ISA All Ireland Championship, and finds it’s in a bit of bother.

It’s ironic that while the publicity machine beats the drum ever-faster for the annual Endeavour Trophy, the Helmsmans Championship’s British equivalent which is being staged in England in a week’s time, here in Ireland publicity had seemed almost muted in the run-up to this weekend’s All Ireland until the news broke this week that two GP 14 sailors – including the World Champion – had declined an invitation to enter on the grounds that the event has become too out of line with other dinghy events for participation in terms of entry fee and other costs.

It’s ironic that the British Championship should be on a roll, while ours is getting the kind of publicity any iconic event could well do without, because the Irish event was introduced quite a few years in advance of the British one. And when the Endeavour Trophy was up and running properly, didn’t we send over one of our best Enterprise crews to take part, and didn’t they win it overall when Robin Hennessy and Robert Michael of Malahide won the Endeavour Trophy in 1968?

Royal Corinthian Yacht Club The other RCYC. The Royal Corinthian Yacht Club at Burnham-on-Crough in Essex is hosting the Endeavour Trophy in a week’s time with the lineup including two Olympic medallists, and an event fee of 130GBP includes food and accommodation for the weekend, and the entry fee. The Endeavour Trophy was won by Ireland’s Robin Hennessy and Robert Michael in 1968. Photo courtesy RCYC

These days, the organisers of the Endeavour Trophy lay down the red carpet all the way to the RCYC in Burnham-on-Crouch in order to entice the stars of many classes to come and give of their best in the Endeavour Trophy, and said stars are treated well in the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club with an event fee of £130GBP which includes all food and accommodation in addition to entry.

But in Ireland, the RCYC – aka the Royal Cork Yacht Club - has been left out on a limb in staging the ISA All Ireland Championship 2016, so they’ve had to charge the entrants an entry fee of €220 plus an extra €1000 waiver for insurance requirement.

Now admittedly €90 of that entry fee is to cover for three at the All Ireland Dinner in the RCYC tonight, which seems to me a perfectly justifiable way to ensure that everyone is truly involved in the event in its totality. But nevertheless a modest sponsorship package would take disagreeable financial challenges out of the equation at a time of the season when many amateur sailors are just about cleaned out in the resources department. And though as we’ll see in looking down the list of participants, there are some distinctly top-end sailors involved, the essence of the All Irelands is that it should be a celebration of Irish amateur sailing sport at every level of boat expense to include the less affluent.

There was sponsorship of the event until five years ago, but once that had gone with the recession, costs for participation gradually rose. And this summer with Irish sailing attention at every level increasingly focused on the Olympics and the wonder of Annalise’s Silver Medal, it may well be that insufficient attention was being given to the fact that the up-coming All Ireland is an event which offers a very attractive and compact sponsorship package, particularly with the 70th Anniversary coming up next year.

Annalise Murphy Rory FitzpatrickAnnalise Murphy and coach Rory Murphy immediately after winning the Olympic Silver Medal in August. Today she is testing herself in a very different environment – the bear-pit of the two-day ISA All Ireland Championship raced in the new National 18 Ultras at Crosshaven. Photo World Sailing

Let’s hope securing this particular sponsorship package is work in progress. Meanwhile, after a long and exhausting season of many events, your columnist found himself energised by the thought that the All Irelands 2016 are going to staged at Crosshaven in the new Ultra National 18s. This is the next stage in a success story which has its heart and soul in Cork Harbour, and the development of this remarkable class with affordable boats is a credit to all involved, not least the Royal Cork which came up with seed money just when it was needed to bring this new Phil Morrison creation to fruition.

We think we’ve become used to the look of the new National 18s, but the other day I came across this photo of Ewen Barry’s boat in light airs, and you see things you hadn’t noticed before. It’s a timely photo to use, as Ewen has been the tops in 2016, leading the charge to the outright win by a clear margin when nine of the new Cork boats went to the big championship at Findhorn in Scotland, so naturally he’s the National 18 representative in this morning’s all-Ireland lineup, sailing for Monkstown Bay SC.

Ultra National 18 They don’t have to pretend to be different. The new Phil Morrison-designed National 18s are very different . This is Ewen Barry’s champion D’Good, D’Bad and D’Blaster , and he is representing the class in this weekend’s All Ireland. Photo: Robert BatemanThus he must be a favourite. But National 18 favourites can be beaten when the All Ireland is sailed in the class at Crosshaven, as happened back in 1970 when the 17-year-old Robert Dix, crewed in a very positive manner by Richard Burrows, raced a National 18 to such good effect that he became the youngest-ever Helmsmans Champion, besting the likes of Somers Payne and Harold Cudmore to do so.

He’s still the youngest-ever winner, while the first woman winner was Laura Dillon way back in 1996. But in All Ireland Helmsmans Championship terms, 1996 is only the day before yesterday, for in a series going right back to 1947 when Douglas Heard won, the outstanding feature is the longevity of the winners. Senior of all those very happily still with us is Ted Crosbie who won in 1950, while doubly awarded and still playing around in boats is Neville Maguire, winner in 1952 and 1954. Between those two wins was the still active Johnny Hooper, then in 1955 and 1960 the winner was Clayton Love, who just three weeks ago played a starring role in the IDRA 14 Class’s 70th Anniversary.

Laura Dillon Howth Yacht ClubLaura Dillon was the first woman winner, in 1996

Ted CrosbieTed Crosbie is the senior Champion Helm – he won in 1950. He is seen here with the Boat of the Year award at the Royal Cork in 2015. Photo Bob Bateman

Clayton Love (right) with Jim Lambkin left) and Sean FloodClayton Love (right) with Jim Lambkin left) and Sean Flood at the recent IDRA 70th Anniversary regatta. Clayton won the Helmsmans Chmpionship in 1955 and 1960. Photo: W M Nixon

So the message is clear and simple. If you want to live long and live well, win the All Ireland Helmsman’s Championship. Here’s the lineup for this morning’s start:

Defending Champion: Anthony O’Leary RCYC; National 18: Ewen Barry Monkstown Bay Sailing Club/ RCYC; RS400: Alex Barry MBSC/RCYC; SB20: Stefan Hyde RCYC; Mermaid: Sam Shiels Skerries SC; Laser Standard: Darragh O’Sullivan Kinsale YC; IDRA14: Alan Henry Sutton Dinghy Club; Flying 15: David Gorman National YC; RS200: Neil Spain Howth YC; Shannon One-Design: Mark McCormick Lough Ree YC; ICRA Division 1: Colin Byrne Royal Irish YC; ICRA Division 2: Jonny Swan Howth YC; ICRA Divison 3: Paul Gibbons RCYC; 1720: Peter O’Leary RCYC; Laser Radial: Annalise Murphy NYC; J24: Cillian Dickson HYC.

If the weather predictions prove correct there’ll be an easing northwest to north breeze today after some early morning rain, then a rising southerly tomorrow with generally good weather, with the event ending before the next lot of wet and windy weather comes in tomorrow night. It could be an ideal mixture of conditions for a remarkable mixture of abilities, as the lineup ranges all the way from helms for the Mermaid and Shannon One Design Classes - Sam Shiels of Skerries and Mark McCormick of Lough Ree respectively – through several former winners including of course the defending champion Anthony O’Leary who is trying to make it three in a row, and on up to the exalted heights of Olympic Medaldom with Annalise Murphy.

Frankly, it’s very courageous of Annalise to let her name go forward, as the begrudgers will be looking for any slip–ups. But we know she’s a genuine sportswoman as her relaxation sailing is buzzing about in a foiling Moth which offers endless opportunities for making a holy show of yourself. So taking herself out of her Olympic Laser Radial comfort zone into a bearpit like the All Ireland race in three-person National 18s undoubtedly has class.

Peter O'LearyPeter O’Leary representing the 1720 Class, is expected to be among the front runners this weekend
But whether her name will be heading for the famous salver on Sunday evening is another matter altogether. You’d be inclined to expect the name O’Leary to feature in the reckoning, but which particular O’Leary is anyone’s guess. Former winner Stefan Hyde is also a force to be reckoned with when he’s on form. In fact there are maybe seven in that list who are in with a real chance. And if it is someone outside our list who becomes the All Ireland Champion 2016, we’ll be happy to let you know and admit we got it wrong.

National 18 DinghyOdyssey, the prototype for the new Phil Morrison-designed National 18 Ultra. The use of these fascinating boats for the All Ireland Championship this weekend is the latest stage in a remarkable class development story in which the Royal Cork Yacht Club has played a key role. Photo courtesy National 18 Class

Published in W M Nixon

W M Nixon takes a look back at last weekend’s All Ireland Championship with some thoughts on the unique atmosphere around Dun Laoghaire Harbour on a busy sailing weekend, while giving us an insight into the hugely successful sailing partnership between champion Anthony O’Leary and his Number One Dan O’Grady, leading on to the hope that our top amateur sailors can be given the respect they deserve by sailing’s professional administrators, then finally reminding everyone that proposed plans for Dun Laoghaire Harbour come under public scrutiny from October 14th onwards.

If ever a photo said more than a thousand words, then Afloat.ie’s definitive vision of Anthony O’Leary taking a commanding lead in the finals of the All Ireland Sailing Championship in Dublin Bay on Sunday is it. Any further comment on the ins and outs of the sailing is superfluous. The current Afloat.ie “Sailor of the Year” and his crew of Dan O’Grady and Cian Guilfoyle went on to win the series going away, and all the photos combine to provide the compulsive slideshow of a magnificent achievement and a peak moment in the Irish sailing season.

Had there been any doubt about the central role of our All-Ireland Helmsman’s Championship in the Irish sailing psyche, then this writer had already been very quickly disabused of it by a properly irate response to last weekend’s Sailing on Saturday blog about some of the story around the Helmsman’s Championship. In it, our records had become confused, and we peddled the myth that Gordon Maguire had won the big one in 1982 at Dromineer on Lough Derg, when it was raced in Shannon One Designs.

We’d been led astray by an old black & white photo print trawled out of the antique filing system - a splendid pic showing a Shannon OD at full chat – for which the tag said that this was Gordon Maguire winning the Helmsmans Championship in 1982.

“Rubbish” was one retort we received, from Mossy Shanahan no less, one of several comments from those for whom 1982 is but yesterday. “In 1982 at Dromineer in the SODs, the great Dave Cummins of Sutton won it, and his crew and tactician was Mossy Shanahan, while the owner’s representative on board was the great Jimmy Furey, master builder of Shannon One Designs and other classic and traditional boats”.

The extraordinary combination of Dave and Mossy and Jimmy seem to have been the dream team, and a silent one too – Dave and Mossy had sailed successfully together for so long they scarcely exchanged a word, communicating instead by some sort of telepathy when racing. And as for Jimmy, if he says three words, it’s a speech. Whatever, they won every race in the final at Dromineer in winds in excess of 20 knots.

dave cummins
Dave Cummins was winner of the 1982 Helmsman’s Championship, defending the title he won in 1981. Photo: W M Nixon

On a damp Autumn day of dense air, that’s a lot of pressure to contend with in an open clinker-built boat so narrow and supple that it’s said that in a real breeze of wind, a Shannon One Design will turn round and look at you. Be that as it may, so out-of-kilter were our recollections that we then almost made another inaccuracy to assert that Gordon Maguire must have been second. In fact, he was third overall, second slot going to ace Lough Derg and Shannon One Design helm Peter Huskinson, one of whose more distinctive claims to fame is direct descent from the first person ever to be killed in a railway accident.

Dave Cummins was on top of his form in the early 1980s, as he also won the Helmsmans in 1981, but like Gordon Maguire he has since furthered his sailing career in Australia, while Peter Huskinson now lives in France where he has become a writer. Mossy Shanahan is of course still very much one of the strengths of the sailing talent of the Howth peninsula. And in a remote corner of County Roscommon on the west shore of Lough Ree, the talented Jimmy Furey continues to build classic small craft, and just last weekend the Dublin Bay Water Wags visited him in considerable fleet numbers, as one of his latest creations is a new Water Wag for Cathy MacAleavey, and it was rightly felt that the best way to introduce the new boat was a Water Wag Regatta at Lecarrow.

cathy macaleavey jimmy furey
Jimmy Furey and Cathy MacAleavey in the workshop in County Roscommon where together they built a Shannon One Design, and more recently have completed a Water Wag

clinker built4
Jimmy Furey’s superb craftsmanship is evident in this transom knee on the new Water Wag, which was celebrated with a class regatta last weekend on Lough Ree at Lecarrow. Photo: Cathy MacAleavey

It’s cross-linkages like this, taking us in unexpected directions every which way through our sailing community, which make the All-Ireland something very special. It may be a bit artificial in its concept, but until somebody thinks of something better, this Championship of Champions is the best we have to give us a very concentrated dose of top level Irish amateur sailing in all its crazy variety. And it has to be said that holding it in Dun Laoghaire in the first weekend of October gives it an extra zing, for the old granite pond is fairly hopping with boats and all sorts of waterfront activity at this time of year, as though the sea-minded citizens have suddenly noticed that the nights have become longer than the days, and every moment of sailing is now much more precious than it was in the long bright hours of June.

Any dedicated visitor to this website for the past six days will have had a good flavour of the Dun Laoghaire weekend’s hyper-activity, but to those many reported events we must add two extra happenings at the Royal Irish Yacht Club. On Saturday afternoon, University College Dublin Sailing Club were planning to hold a unique media event there to introduce their team for next week’s Student Yachting Worlds in France. This media event was unique in that, so far as we can ascertain, there was intended to be a distinct absence of media, as they hadn’t been asked.

But these days, you have to think of all sorts of cunning ploys to ensure publicity, and not asking the media is as good a way as any to get their jaded attention. And maybe next week, with the up-coming 35th annual series in full swing at La Baule near Saint-Nazaire from October 13th to 20th, we’ll get the bones of the story, as UCD have form in this event - they won in 2012 by an unprecedented margin with Aidan McLaverty as skipper and Barry McCartin as tactician, while Cork Institute of Technology won in 2008 when Nicholas “Nin” O’Leary was their skipper/helmsman.

But by Sunday, as the All Ireland was building to its climax out in Dublin Bay, at the Royal Irish they were looking the other way, hosting a classic and vintage car rally. If there’s one thing that might distract boatnuts, it’s gorgeous lovingly-maintained old cars. But duty called us along the way towards the harbour’s southeast corner, and there at the National Yacht Club we found that, in typical Dun Laoghaire style, the All-Ireland was just an add-on to the real business of the weekend, the annual Jelly Bean Factory Junior Regatta in a harbour busy with many events including Fireball intros and training from the sailing schools.

National yacht club mast
Party time down at the “Old Granite Pond” – never mind the weather, the flags are out at the National Yacht Club. Photo: W M Nixon

However, before leaping into a sea of jelly beans, the unfolding All-Ireland drama out in the Bay had to be recorded through its course, and though their second place in the first race showed that the O’Leary/O’Grady/Guilfoyle team were human after all, their progress thereafter towards the top was clinical.

Dan O’Grady (47) of Howth first got to crew with Anthony O’Leary back in the 1990s when Ireland was very much alive, and on track towards prosperity without having reached the lunatic phase of the Celtic Tiger when everyone lost the run of themselves with an economic disaster which has effectively deprived us of the best part of a sailing generation.

But back in the 1990s, there was hope in the air and enthusiasm was the theme. The two of them first sailed together in the 1720 Sportsboat Euros at Kinsale in 1998. How many boats do you think would have been in that, bearing in mind the class had been founded as recently as 1994, and still had an element of the experimental about it?

Well, Dan recalls the fleet as having been 72 strong. Seventy-two 1720s, and each with a crew of five descending on Kinsale…… Heaven help us, but the past is indeed a different country. There’s a quality of sport and sheer zest in life implicit in that large number which it’s still almost impossible to imagine today as we crawl slime-covered out of the recession

1720 big fleet
When the going was good…… Back in pre-recession days before other fancier classes had come along, the 1720s were able to muster numbers like this, with 72 boats for their Euros at Kinsale in 1998, when Dan O’Grady first crewed for Anthony O’Leary. But now the class is showing signs of new life, thanks in no small part to the enthusiasm of the O’Leary family.

But those were the days, and let it be recalled that the new O’Leary/O’Grady team didn’t win overall on their first outing. They were second, but the winner was Olympian Mark Mansfield on top of his form, and when Mansfield’s on top of his form, he’s in a league of his own.

Yet gradually over the years, Dan O’Grady found himself becoming an O’Leary associate when he wasn’t racing his own boat (he’d been an Olympian himself), and he says it’s a pleasure to be involved, as the crew panel is enormous, based as it sometimes can be on the entire circle of friends and sailing colleagues within the ambit of O’Leary senior and his three sons Peter, Nicholas and Robert.

There’s a quite proper mutual respect between father and sons in their sailing, but lots of give and take in a healthy family context too, with the bean an ti Sally (nee Aisher) keeping things under control when her menfolk get too exuberant.

It all reached a new peak in 2014 when Anthony in effect put the three-boat Irish Commodore’s Cup team together as a solo run, and Dan O’Grady found himself in the hot seat with Peter O’Leary on the boat which was the cornerstone of the team, Marc Glimcher’s new Ker 40 Catapult. The team captain’s confidence in Catapult and her people was fully rewarded, as she was top scoring boat in the entire series and thus the major contributor to Ireland’s historic victory. But as Dan said, it also brought him a moment of mixed feelings, for one day Marc Glimcher had to be away on business, and Dan suddenly found himself the oldest man in the crew.

Ker catapult
The Accumulator….. Dan O’Grady was recruited by Anthony O’Leary to be aboard the new Ker 40 Catapult, top scoring boat in the successful 2014 Irish Commodore’s Cup Team.

That said, he still has quite a few years in hand on Anthony O’Leary, but they both keep themselves very fit, as they showed so forcefully during the All Ireland on Sunday when that increasingly harsh sou’easter built up the pressure in every sense. As for the third hand, they knew they needed somebody of a hundred kilos to hit the weight target, and thanks to the unrivalled O’Leary network, young Cian Guilfoyle of the National YC – a cousin of the already successful Seafra Guilfoyle of Royal Cork – found himself spending the sailing weekend in some very distinguished and ultimately extremely successful company.

It was as well that he was on the strength, as otherwise the mighty Dun Laoghaire sailing machine would have gone unrepresented in the top four places overall, for they went to Alex Barry (Cork, second), Cillian Dickson (Howth, third), and Roy Darrer (Dunmore East, fourth) with Chris Helme of the Ruffian class and Royal St George YC flying the first flag for Dun Laoghaire in fifth.

Provided you stay within the weight targets, you are permitted to race a J/80 in the All-Ireland with four on board. Cillian Dickson took this approach, and with a first and second in last two races as the breeze piped up, it seemed a good way to go, but then Anthony O’Leary was second and first in those same races, though as Dan O’Grady reports, “we certainly could have used an extra pair of hands towards the end”.

As to what it’s like to race with Anthony O’Leary, ordinary mortals can only get a hint of it by discussing it with Dan O’Grady, as he himself is of star status, and thus when he’s sailing with The O’Leary, they’re operating at a different level to the ordinary run of sailors. But as with the Cummins/Shanahan linkup we were discussing earlier, the amount of talk on board is minimal, a good team knows what to do with as little talk as possible - excess chatter is a waste of energy.

But having given it their all, they arrived back into Dun Laoghaire precisely as scheduled, but red-eyed, salt-burned and exhausted, with those who had travelled long distance mad keen to head for home as soon as possible. For these were all amateurs and unlike professional sailors, Monday is not a rest day, so the underlying principle for the organisers should be to get the brief awards ceremony done and dusted just as soon as possible.

As it happens, such a priority was difficult to assert in the mood in the National YC, where most of the active members were winding down after providing support vessels and other help in staging The Jelly Bean Factory Junior Regatta, a crazy multi-class festival of kids’ sailing cheerfully sponsored by the Cullen family, who are the very epitome of the old saying that when running your own business, if you’re not having a lot of fun, or making a lot of money, then why are you doing it?

peter cullen
Peter Cullen of the Jelly Bean Factory, co-founder of the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race in 1993, has made an enormous contribution to Irish sailing, and is firmly convinced that it should be fun. Photo: W M Nixon

They seem to manage both, and as ever it was great fun meeting up again with the JBF’s Peter Cullen, co-founder with Martin Crotty of the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race back in 1993, who is as sharp as a tack. For when I complained that I’d have to return again to the seaward end of the boat park to get his brand pennants with the lettering running in the right directions, quick as a flash Peter says, no you don’t, just take their reflection in the bar window. So here’s the Jelly Bean factory flags the right way round, but the Mitsubishi Motors covers on the Flying Fifteens in their boat-park are reversed, so we’ll have to make amends for that when singing for our supper at the Flying Fifteens’ Annual Dinner in the National next month.

Jelly bean flags
Bright suggestion – by using the bar window reflection, we got the Jelly Bean Factory flags the right way round without having to take a long walk. Photo: W M Nixon

The All-Ireland championship event out in Dublin Bay had meanwhile being brought so efficiently to its conclusion by Race Officer Jack Roy and his wife Rosemary the Time-Keeper and their team that, in a neatly-choreographed harbour scene, the little ’uns of the Jelly Bean Regatta had almost completed returning to their home clubs along the waterfront when the compact flotilla of the J/80s came powering back in through the harbour mouth in that rising and undoubtedly rain-bearing sou’easter.

All ireland fleet
On time and on target – thanks to Jack Roy’s efficient race administration, the J/80s in the All Ireland 2015 were back on the pontoons with the results confirmed by 3.30pm. Photo: W M Nixon

They were all handily berthed in the pontoons off the National by 3.30pm, and before 4.0pm the photos and results were posted on Afloat.ie, giving every hope that the scheduled All-Ireland Championship 2015 prize-giving – usually a brief little ceremony, but it’s very important to get it just right – could take place promptly as planned by 4.0pm. With competitors from as far away as Sligo, Crosshaven and Waterford, it was simple good manners to allow them to be on their way as soon as possible, as an All-Ireland Dinner in the club on the Saturday evening – timed early to accommodate that night’s rugby match – had already provided the weekend’s social highlight.

In fact, the off-stage un-folding of the Rugby World Cup drama was a counter-point to the weekend’s sailing, and as Anthony O’Leary stepped ashore shortly before 3.30pm, the successful defender – who played rugby for Munster in his day - expressed the hope that by the time the kick-off in the Ireland-Italy match occurred at 4.45pm, the O’Leary mobile would be sweeping home along the motorway past Port Laoise. That would have him comfortably on time to listen to the match on the remainder of the journey back to Cork, and perhaps even be in line to register in Cronin’s of Crosshaven at the magic hour of 7.0pm Sunday for the sacred and traditional review of the weekend’s activities by the great and the good of Crosshaven sport.

Quite why everyone now lost about thirty-five minutes out of their lives in unnecessary delays in the awards ceremony you’d be hard-pressed to say. All the amateurs were there on time, ready to do their duty, including the President of the ISA himself to perform the honours. But as soon as the Association’s professionals were relied on to keep things moving along, the wheels came off, with an official photographer gone missing, and no short sharp programme of events, such that when it finally dawned on the ISA’s pros that these top level amateur sailors were tired and wanted to go home, the man from the ISA suddenly tried to send them on their way without allowing time for the winner to thank his crew and the hosting club.

The abiding impression was of a lack of proper respect for amateur sailors. These management wonks seem to be over-impressed by the big money going the way of professionals and Olympians. But fortunately the 2015 All-Ireland winner, as a former Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club and a former Flag Officer of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, knew a thing or two about protocol and good manners. So Anthony O’Leary redeemed the situation by quietly taking over simply through dignified personal presence, and saved us all with a graceful little speech to send everyone happily on their way, even if he himself was still not even out of Dun Laoghaire on the road for home when kick-off in the Ireland-Italy rugby match took place.

anthony O leary crew
Unwinding after the event - the very best of Irish Corinthian sailing enthusiasm in the National Yacht Club with (left to right) Cian Guilfoyle, Dan O’Grady, Anthony O’Leary and Rosemary and Jack Roy. Photo: W M Nixon

Meanwhile over the weekend we’d seen what an enormous leisure asset Dun Laoghaire Harbour can be in its present form, but we’d also seen that it needs to be busy - use it or lose it. But for those who think this columnist is a supporter of the idea of an enormous occasionally-used cruise-liner berth to provide added income to keep the harbour going as a commercial proposition, my apologies – what was supposed to be ironic pot-stirring to get some ideas inter-acting was taken instead as real firmly-held views.

The idea was to get people seriously discussing the harbour’s future, and how it might be financed, but instead we got quite a few knee-jerk reactions with very few creative visions among them. However, things are now moving along, and with the Oral Hearing about the Cruise Liner Berth with An Bord Pleanala scheduled for eight days from 14th October onwards, there should be every opportunity to publicise the situation. But just saying “No” will not be enough. The Irish people will have to be persuaded that keeping Dun Laoghaire Harbour in basically unchanged form will provide a public amenity of benefit to all to such an extent that its benefits will over-ride crude commercial requirements. It’s asking a lot.

(Ed notes: A Boat Rally Against Dun Laoghaire Cruise Berth will be held at 1pm today)

 

Published in W M Nixon

All Ireland Sailing Champion Anthony O'Leary will defend his Irish Sailing Association title after finishing top of his qualifying group in the first day of the weekend championships at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire today.

After a day of slack winds on Dublin Bay six finalists from a fleet of 16 is made up of four keelboat and two dinghy helmsmen.

In group A, RS400 dinghy champion Alex Barry; Flying Fifteen champion Dave Gorman and Alan Henry of the IDRA 14s qualify for tomorrow's final while in group B it's O'Leary, ICRA's Cillian Dixon and Chris Helme of the Ruffians who go through.

Six qualifying races were sailed with only two minutes separating first and last place in any of the races despite trying conditions that started this morning shrouded in fog.

Two more helmsmen will qualify from a line–up of eight in repechage rounds yet to be sailed in supplied J/80 keelboats.

The forecast for tomorrow is for more light south–easterlies but scheduled to strengthen significantly for the finals tomorrow evening.

Read WMN Nixon's All Ireland preview 

Results to date:

all Ireland

 

 

Published in All Irelands
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