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Displaying items by tag: Sigma 33

While Scottish crews were in command at the 20-boat Sigma 33 Irish National Championships hosted as part of the 2019 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, four years later, it is a Howth Yacht Club crew that lifted the title at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on Sunday afternoon.

After four epic days of sailing on Dublin Bay, Stephen Mullaney's Insider crew, with six wins from seven races, was six points clear of Alan Harper's Leaky Roof II from Cove Sailing Club in Scotland. Third was the Northern Ireland yacht Squwak skippered by Paul Prentice from Ballyholme Yacht Club.

Stephen Mullaney's Insider crewStephen Mullaney's Sigma 33 Insider crew from Howth Yacht Club

The ten-boat Sigma 33 class sailed a number of courses over the four-day 2023 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Photo: AfloatThe ten-boat Sigma 33 class sailed a number of courses over the four-day 2023 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Photo: Afloat

There was praise for the organisers of Ireland's largest sailing event, who managed racing for a fleet of 400 boats on three of the four days of the regatta despite being in the full grip of the northern jetstream. Winds from a southerly quadrant blew hard again on Sunday to bring a blustery ninth edition of the biennial event to a successful close at lunchtime. 

The next Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta will be sailed from July 10th–13th, 2025.

Published in Volvo Regatta
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In this post lockdown era, there are so many events on offer that sailors keen to compete in the big competitions are spoilt for choice, and this has never been so true as with the Sigma 33 class this season.

This year’s Irish and Class Championship will be included in Royal Ulster’s Bangor Town Regatta in late June; but for some, it may not be possible to do more than one regatta. There’s the Scottish Series in early June and the coinciding Howth’s Wave Regatta; on 25th June the regatta of the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, home to several of the class Cork Week in July (for which there are already a total of 89 entries), and for some who are lucky enough to race in more than one class, the Squib Nationals at Kinsale on the same date as Bangor Town Regatta.
But Paul Prentice, Class Captain for Northern Sigmas is hopeful of reaching what he calls the ‘Magic15’. He says “There was a good base of a class of at least 10 for the cancelled BTR 2021.

The 'Insider' crew, winners of the 2021 Irish Sigma 33 ChampionshipsThe 'Insider' crew, winners of the 2021 Irish Sigma 33 Championships Photo: Mark Mackey

There are some who have let the entry rollover, and with the passage of time, some have been sold, so reducing the possible entry. Despite this, we are hoping for a good turnout this year in what are some of the best racing waters in the British Isles. I am keen to see who will enter”.

At the moment there are 14 on Paul’s wish list, several of whom have actually entered, others who are planning to come.

Leaky Roof 2 (Alan Harper, Eric Robertson and Kirsty Robertson) from Cove SC, ArgyllLeaky Roof 2 (Alan Harper, Eric Robertson and Kirsty Robertson) from Cove SC, Argyll

Last year’s Irish champions, Stephen Mullaney and Ian Martin’s Insider from Howth will I understand be racing, as will of course runners up Paul and Emma Prentice’s in the local Squawk. Several who finished at the top in the 2019 Irish Championships at the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta have expressed interest. Winner Leaky Roof 2 (Alan Harper, Eric Robertson and Kirsty Robertson) from Cove SC, Argyll, runner up James Miller in Mayrise based at Helensburgh, third-placed Busy Beaver (Mark Bradshaw and Jack Gallagher from Fairlie) and fourth-placed Sea Pie of Cultra (Jerry Colman Manx S & CC) are all looking hopeful. Another welcome visitor will be Avril Banks in Quattro from Pwllheli Sailing Club in North Wales. Also, Donald McLaren’s Sigmatic from Helensburgh is planning to make yet another trip across the North Channel and locals Michael and Chris Johnston from Ballyholme are keen to enter Impulse.

Hopefully, there’ll be an additional local showing from Belfast Lough from Meka 2 owned by Jim Shields of Carrickfergus and Kevin Byers and Michael Russel’s Signet from Ballyholme.

So there are the makings of a really competitive fleet, with top-class one-design racing.

Published in Sigma

Class 1 IRC at Kinsale Yacht Club’s White Sails October/November series has been seeing changes at the top with Valfreya (M. Leonard & D. Riome’s Sigma 33) taking back first place after winning on Sunday and now on four points overall.

Tom Roche’s Salona 45, Meridian, is second on 6 and Sammy Cohen’s First 32, Gunsmoke II, third on 9.

In ECHO handicap, Valfreya also leads, with Gunsmoke second and Meridian third.

Class Two ECHO is led by Martin Hargrove’s, Deboah, on 4 points, with Patrick Beckett’s, Miss Charlie, second on 6 and Denis Buckley’s, Ailleacht, third on 8. Miss Charlie was the only boat racing IRC 2 on Sunday.

Published in Kinsale

What started off as a challenge in Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on Belfast Lough by Gordon Patterson's Sigma 362, Fanciulla, a heavy 36-footer, to Gavin Vaughan's new Jeanneau 349, a 34-foot light displacement boat, in a race to Glenarm which lies on the east County Antrim coast about 25 miles north of Belfast Lough, became an event in itself. As it turned out, the winner was David Eccles' Sigma 33 Mungo Jerrie.

As the idea took hold, it was opened up to other cruisers in the club. On a misty low visibility Saturday morning last weekend (18th September), the atmosphere was only broken by the occasional foghorn, seven yachts usually berthed in marinas, and had gathered on the club moorings at Cultra the night before, readied for a start.

Some of the fleet on their way to Glenarm after the Belfast Lough startSome of the fleet on their way to Glenarm after the Belfast Lough start

The fleet ranged in length from 25 to 46 feet, and luckily, minutes before the start, a gentle breeze cleared the mist, and spectators ashore were able to watch the first offshore keelboat start at the Club since 1981.

May 1928 had seen the inauguration of the North Channel Race between RNIYC and the Clyde Cruising Club. This event had graced the fixture list for the next 53 years (apart from the war years) until eventually becoming part of the highly competitive NIOPS (Northern Ireland Offshore Points Series). After that, many of the Royal North cruising fraternity took part in Cruise in Company events on an ad hoc basis to such places as Glenarm, Rathlin Island, Campbelltown or Portpatrick. This year's event was planned to encompass the racing and cruising aspirations of the club's growing class of large keelboats.

The Glenarm Sailing Challenge's Denis Todd (left)) presents the trophy to David EcclesThe Glenarm Sailing Challenge's Denis Todd (left)) presents the trophy to David Eccles

David Eccles Sigma 33 Mungo Jerrie was first across the start line, followed by Alikadoo (Nigel Kearney) and Pegasus (Jonathan Park). The minimal breeze meant that progress was painfully slow to the mouth of the Lough before a more reliable southerly breeze filled in, filling the spinnakers. Several boats lost the competitive spirit and instead enjoyed the spectacular views of the Gobbins coastal path and Island Magee under engine before hoisting their sails again in the gradually strengthening winds. By late afternoon all had arrived in Glenarm.

Among the first to arrive were Charles Kearney's Maticoco, followed by Pegasus and Alikadoo. A Capella of Belfast (Julian & Patricia Morgan) was next to across, closely followed by Mungo Jerrie, the first to have sailed the entire course.
Fanciuilla (Gordon Patterson), the only other boat to have sailed the entire course, was next to finish, and then Gavin Vaughen's Toucan 6 completed the list of those who had started in the morning mists of Belfast Lough.

The Glenarm Chalenge fleet in Glenarm MarinaSome of the Glenarm Challenge fleet at Glenarm Marina

Afterwards, the party adjourned to The Bridge Inn in Glenarm to finish the evening. A steady westerly breeze allowed all boats to return to Belfast Lough the following day, determined to do it all again next year.

Gordon Patterson had said before the event, "the perpetual Cup will be named in honour of whoever wins between us on scratch handicap. Gavin would be the favourite as he would normally give the Sigma a little under two mins an hour, but if conditions are favourable, we are confident". As it turned out, the Sigma took the honours.

Published in Belfast Lough

Howth Yacht Club's 'Insider' co-skippered by Stephen Mullaney and Ian Martin topped the nine boat fleet to win the 2021 Sigma 33 Irish Championships at the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

The HYC crew beat former class champion Squawk skippered by Paul Prentice of Ballyholme Yacht Club by three points with visitors occupying the top three places overall after five races sailed and one discard.

Third overall was Waterford Harbour's Flyover (Marchant Roche McDonald).

Up to seven clubs were represented in the nine boat fleet bringing visitors from Ballyholme Yacht Club in Belfast Lough to Dunmore East Harbour on the south coast to Dublin Bay.

Results are here.

Prof O'Connell of North Sails Ireland shot the vid below of Insider sailing upwind.

Sigma 33 Irish champions - 'Insider' co-skippered by Stephen Mullaney and Ian Martin Photo: Mark MackeySigma 33 Irish champions - 'Insider' co-skippered by Stephen Mullaney and Ian Martin Photo: Mark Mackey

Second overall - Squawk skippered by Paul Prentice of Ballyholme Yacht ClubSecond overall - Squawk skippered by Paul Prentice of Ballyholme Yacht Club Photo: Mark Mackey

Waterford Harbour's Flyover (Marchant Roche McDonald)Third overall - Waterford Harbour's Flyover (Marchant Roche McDonald) Photo: Mark Mackey

Published in Sigma

Visitors occupy the top three places overall after three races sailed at the 2021 Sigma 33 Irish Championships at the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Howth Yacht Club's 'Insider' co-skippered by Stephen Mullaney and Ian Martin leads the nine boat fleet by three points from Waterford Harbour's Flyover (Marchant Roche McDonald) on seven points. 

Third is former class champion Squawk skippered by Paul Prentice of Ballyholme Yacht Club.

Up to seven clubs are represented in the nine boat fleet bringing visitors from Ballyholme Yacht Club in Belfast Lough to Dunmore East Harbour on the south coast to Dublin Bay.

Results are here.

Racing continues today.

Published in Sigma

These days the description cruiser-racer has come to have so many interpretations that it can be meaningless, and even the best of them can disappear into the "boats with a lid" category. But when David Thomas created the design for the Sigma 33, the requirements for a genuine cruiser-racer were taken very seriously, and few boats tick as many proper cruiser-racer boxes as the Sigma 33.

It's particularly the case with this attractively-priced version, Pepsi (on sale through Leinster Boats), which in many successful seasons in Scotland was almost invariably well up in the racing frame. But while she gets racing in Dun Laoghaire, her current owners have put the emphasis on cruising reliability, not least through up-grading in 2017 to a Yanmar 3Ym30 diesel which delivers power through one of those impressive Featherstream props, also from 2017 when the auxiliary power system was further improved with a new diesel tank.

With additions like this – plus a new suit of Q Sails in 2019 - you'd expect the boat to be in good order, and you wouldn't be disappointed – "turnkey condition" may be a phrase beloved of estate agents, but it can be applied to boats too, and this is definitely one case where it's right on target.

The most attractive aspect of the Sigma 33 is that she so successfully fulfils the potential of her size. The accommodation – good in port and effective at sea - doesn't feel crowded even with somebody for each of the seven berths, yet she is only one step up the size scale from Half Tonners, and thus is an easily handled proposition with a small crew.

If you've spent the lockdown WFH, and are beginning to find your surroundings slightly grubby and all-too-familiar, taking over Pepsi would be one very effective and instant answer. She's fresh as a daisy - and the new season and distant horizons call.

Full advert here

Published in Boat Sales
Tagged under

Royal Ulster Yacht Club has extended its Early Bird entry discount for June's Bangor Town Regatta. The move comes after consultation with some of the competing classes who haven’t quite finalised their racing calendar for this year.

As a result, the Early Bird discount has been extended and will now run until 14th March.

The current entry of 63 continues to grow with the largest class at present being the Sigma 33s who are racing for the Irish Championship within the event.

Online entry is here

Bangor Town Regatta entry is now open and it’s the Sigma 33s who lead the way with five entries already for the June event writes Betty Armstrong.

With Charles Hurst Jaguar Land Rover as headline sponsors, the event incorporates the Sigma British and Irish championships, so Class 6 is already showing considerable interest.

It is also part of the RC35 Celtic Challenge.

The 2018 regatta was a resounding success so with this year repeating the tried and tested four-day formula out of the Quay Marina Bangor, 2020 should be no different.

"This year repeating the tried and tested four-day formula"

There’s racing for ten classes ranging from the biggies to the smaller RS Elites, and Waverley and Fairy dayboats.

The Sigmas listed include the well-known local successful Squawk (Emma and Paul Prentice) as well as Mark Bradshaw’s Busy Beaver from Fairlie, James Miller’s Mayrise (Helensburgh), Insider owned by Stephan Mullaney of Howth and Partisan (Dan Lewis).

Sigma 33s 3712Sigma 33s will race for National Championships honours at Bangor Town Regatta in June Photo: Afloat

Jay Colville’s Forty Licks from East Down and RUYC comes with history, having clocked the same points as Rockabill VI in Division 0 in last year’s Frank Keane BMW ICRA Nationals in Dun Laoghaire.

Murray McDonald’s Port Edgar based Hunter 707, Autism on the Water, races in Class 3. It represents an internationally recognised charity that provides growth in the awareness of Autism and helps Autistic people access sailing and boating in general.

Phil Davis’s RUYC regular Giggle, completes the list so far.

Published in Belfast Lough

Scribbler, my Sigma 33 yacht, was hauled ashore this week. Now she stands in her cradle in Castlepoint Boatyard in Crosshaven in Cork Harbour for her out-of-the-water winter rest. It is the annual end-of-season ritual. There are owners who don’t any more do an off-season haul-out. They winter on a marina, or on sheltered moorings and only haul for a hull-clean prior to the start of the new season. There are the particularly fortunate owners who can ‘winter’ their boats close to their homes, nicely at hand for the off-season maintenance work!

I come from the ‘old school’ thinking that it is best to ‘give the boat a dry-out.’ GRP, the plastic boats, benefit from it, I was told from the first boat purchase I made. Not everyone agrees these days but, whatever the off-season decision for your boat, the atmosphere that is about is definitely ‘end-of-season,’ with Autumnal and October cruiser Leagues concluding this weekend at clubs around the country.

More boats will be hauled ashore over the next week or so. There are the hardy souls in cruisers who sail on into December, when the weather can often be magnanimous, the dinghy sailors who do so year-round and the Lasers who ‘frostbite’.

As Scribbler was ‘laid-up’ this week I got to thinking about the perennial questions – why do we have boats, why do we go out in them and, of course, are they worth the expense and the effort needed to keep them going?

One of the best – and humorous – answers to those questions which I have heard came from Bro. Anthony Keane, who has been so much involved in the restoration of the famous Ilen. From Leitrim originally, he has been a monk at Glenstal Abbey since 1965 and his study of theology and wood in which he is quite an expert, as shown in the Ilen project, has enabled him to enjoin the topics with the maritime sphere and boating. I’ve admired the content of speeches he has made at the various stages of Ilen’s restoration and its launch and reported them here.

He was particularly outstanding at the launch of the restored Dublin Bay 21, Naneen, in Kilrush last month when I recorded his dissertation on why we have boats and go to sea. I’ve been waiting for the right moment to broadcast it, which has come with this week’s ‘hauling’ reflections.

Bro. Anthony’s thoughts on boats are worth listening to!

Listen to the Podcast below

Published in Tom MacSweeney
Tagged under
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RORC Fastnet Race

This race is both a blue riband international yachting fixture and a biennial offshore pilgrimage that attracts crews from all walks of life:- from aspiring sailors to professional crews; all ages and all professions. Some are racing for charity, others for a personal challenge.

For the world's top professional sailors, it is a 'must-do' race. For some, it will be their first-ever race, and for others, something they have competed in for over 50 years! The race attracts the most diverse fleet of yachts, from beautiful classic yachts to some of the fastest racing machines on the planet – and everything in between.

The testing course passes eight famous landmarks along the route: The Needles, Portland Bill, Start Point, the Lizard, Land’s End, the Fastnet Rock, Bishop’s Rock off the Scillies and Plymouth breakwater (now Cherbourg for 2021 and 2023). After the start in Cowes, the fleet heads westward down The Solent, before exiting into the English Channel at Hurst Castle. The finish for 2021 is in Cherbourg via the Fastnet Rock, off the southern tip of Ireland.

  • The leg across the Celtic Sea to (and from) the Fastnet Rock is known to be unpredictable and challenging. The competitors are exposed to fast-moving Atlantic weather systems and the fleet often encounter tough conditions
  • Flawless decision-making, determination and total commitment are the essential requirements. Crews have to manage and anticipate the changing tidal and meteorological conditions imposed by the complex course
  • The symbol of the race is the Fastnet Rock, located off the southern coast of Ireland. Also known as the Teardrop of Ireland, the Rock marks an evocative turning point in the challenging race
  • Once sailors reach the Fastnet Rock, they are well over halfway to the finish in Cherbourg.

Fastnet Race - FAQs

The 49th edition of the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race will start from the Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes, UK on Sunday 8th August 2021.

The next two editions of the race in 2021 and 2023 will finish in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin at the head of the Normandy peninsula, France

Over 300. A record fleet is once again anticipated for the world's largest offshore yacht race.

The international fleet attracts both enthusiastic amateur, the seasoned offshore racer, as well as out-and-out professionals from all corners of the world.

Boats of all shapes, sizes and age take part in this historic race, from 9m-34m (30-110ft) – and everything in between.

The Fastnet Race multihull course record is: 1 day 4 hours 2 minutes and 26 seconds (2019, Ultim Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, Franck Cammas / Charles Caudrelier)

The Fastnet Race monohull course record is: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing).

David and Peter Askew's American VO70 Wizard won the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race, claiming the Fastnet Challenge Cup for 1st in IRC Overall.

Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001.

The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result.

The winner of the first Fastnet Race was the former pilot cutter Jolie Brise, a boat that is still sailing today.

Cork sailor Henry P F Donegan (1870-1940), who gave his total support for the Fastnet Race from its inception in 1925 and competed in the inaugural race in his 43ft cutter Gull from Cork.

Ireland has won the Fastnet Race twice. In 1987 the Dubois 40 Irish Independent won the Fastnet Race overall for the first time and then in 2007 – all of twenty years after Irish Independent’s win – Ireland secured the overall win again this time thanks to Ger O’Rourke’s Cookson 50 Chieftain from the Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland in Kilrush.

©Afloat 2020

Fastnet Race 2023 Date

The 2023 50th Rolex Fastnet Race will start on Saturday, 22nd July 2023


At A Glance – Fastnet Race

  • The world's largest offshore yacht race
  • The biennial race is 695 nautical miles - Cowes, Fastnet Rock, Cherbourg
  • A fleet of over 400 yachts regularly will take part
  • The international fleet is made up of over 26 countries
  • Multihull course record: 1 day, 8 hours, 48 minutes (2011, Banque Populaire V)
  • Monohull course record: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi)
  • Largest IRC Rated boat is the 100ft (30.48m) Scallywag 100 (HKG)
  • Some of the Smallest boats in the fleet are 30 footers
  • Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001
  • The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result.

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