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Displaying items by tag: Leisure 17

In early September, five boats from the Leisure 17 class at East Down Yacht Club in Northern Ireland, along with a Leisure 20, a Drascombe Long Boat, and a Golden Hind 26, embarked on a 15-mile journey from Strangford Lough to Ardglass Marina.

The plan was to sail through the Narrows, into the Irish Sea, and then head south to Ardglass for an overnight stop.

 A Leisure 20, a Drascombe Long Boat and a Golden Hind 26 embarked on a 15-mile journey from Strangford Lough to Ardglass Marina A Leisure 20, a Drascombe Long Boat and a Golden Hind 26 embarked on a 15-mile journey from Strangford Lough to Ardglass Marina

Despite the forecast being 3-5mph, the wind was favourable. However, the boats had to face it head-on during the southward leg to Ardglass. By 18:30, all the boats had arrived at Ardglass Marina.

After a fish supper, most retired early in preparation for an early departure the next morning at 07:30 to catch the last of the flooding tide for an uneventful transit back through The Narrows and into Strangford Lough.

A Leisure 17 in Ardglass MarinaA Leisure 17 in Ardglass Marina

Unfortunately, the weather gods were not favourable as heavy fog and little wind set in, which only cleared up after all boats had returned to the yacht club mid-morning. Despite the vagaries of the weather, the journey was mystical and made better by the company of dolphins that provided safe passage throughout the voyage.

Club member, Stephen Perry, declared it a great adventure, which marked the end of the season and continued the celebration of the 50th year of Leisure 17s at EDYC.

Celebrations of 50 years of Leisure 17s at East Down Yacht Club near Killyleagh on Strangford Lough continued on the first Saturday in July with the second of the series of day sails. 

This outing proved to be rather more lively than the first in May, with the weather forecast in the week preceding the venture warning of strong westerlies which indeed did materialize with the forecast gusting 24 knots showed itself from the West North West.

In the relative shelter of the club on the western shore of Strangford Lough, white horses were appearing in Holm Bay, but not to be deterred the seven Leisure 17 skippers present elected to proceed with reduced sails. Unfortunately, the initial passage plan which would have included a visit to Newtownards Sailing Club 12 miles north east at the invitation of that club for refreshments, had to be abandoned as the strong westerlies would have left the fleet very exposed at the north end of the Lough. So, the plan was changed to keep the boats on the western side of the lough, travelling nine miles North to Whiterock Bay.

Some of the Leisure 17s homeward bound after their second 50th Anniversary rally on Strangford LoughSome of the Leisure 17s homeward bound after their second  50th Anniversary rally on Strangford Lough

The wind grew as the fleet gathered by the club committee boat and they sailed off under reduced sail. After an hour and a half of exhilarating close hauled sailing through the pladdies and islands of the western shores of the lough, the fleet rounded the north end of Trasnagh Island and on a starboard reach, made for the relative shelter of Whiterock Bay, south of Braddock Island.

"This outing proved to be rather more lively than the first in May"

After refreshments the 4ourse was set for home. The southward journey through the sheltered moorings of Ringhaddy Sound made for a more comfortable passage, but still in winds gusting 24 knots. The 14.5 miles covered showed a maximum speed of just over 7 knots and whilst allowing for 1 knot of current, the little 17s were proved they had some pace, but they were tough enough to handle the gusts.

All the tested and tired sailors were pleased to have undertaken the second in the series of day sails celebrating 50 years of Leisure 17s at EDYC, and look forward to the remaining day cruises. The next is on Saturday 6th August to through the Narrows to Benderg Bay near the Killard Nature Reserve at the mouth of the Lough.

For further details on upcoming Leisure 17 and small boat cruises, contact Stephen Perry, EDYC L17 Assoc. Secretary, mobile 00 7779895613

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Leisure 17s form a sizeable fleet at East Down Yacht Club, which is tucked away on a nine-acre site on the western shore of Strangford Lough, with an anchorage in Holm Bay between Island Taggart and the coast. It is reached by a laneway off the Killinchy to Killyleagh Road.

This year is the 50th anniversary of Leisure 17s at East Down, with the first being introduced in 1973 via the then Ireland distributor for Leisure 17s, North Down Marine, Dundonald, County Down.

Last year was the 40th anniversary of the Leisure Owners Association, for which there were multiple local events across the UK and Ireland. EDYC hosted a 40th anniversary day sail in August last year, followed by a BBQ at the club.

East Down has enjoyed much L17 activity over the last half century, with at times a 30-strong fleet in a very active club and Strangford Lough Regatta Conference racing scene. Since 2019 EDYC has seen a resurgence in numbers of Leisure boats, growing from 15 in 2019 and now numbering 25 plus two Leisure 20s.

Leisure 17 crews raft up for lunch at East Down Yacht Club on Strangford LoughLeisure 17 crews raft up for lunch at East Down Yacht Club on Strangford Lough

The fleet began the anniversary year with the first of the cruising activities on Sunday, 7th May. It was a glorious start to the season on Strangford Lough, with blue skies and a steady breeze in the late teens. Five of the 25-strong fleet embarked upon the 15-mile round trip from their anchorage in Holm Bay to Whiterock farther north.

In the company of two like-minded Drascombes on a flooding tide with a southerly wind, they headed north through the main body of Strangford at a comfortable 7 knots SOG. Eddie McWatters’ Bumblebee sailed faster as he deployed her spinnaker.

All seven boats made for the windward north shore of Conly Island near Strangford Lough Yacht Club dropped anchor and rafted up to enjoy refreshments and banter. Then it was home through Ringhaddy Sound, in the face of a stiffening breeze.

Further cruising dates are 1st July, 6th August, 9th and 23rd September, alongside Wednesday night and Saturday afternoon Club racing. These cruises will be mostly inside Strangford Lough with one through the Strangford Narrows out of the Lough to Ardglass Marina on the southern County Down coast.

The 50th year of activities will be celebrated with a gathering at the club.

Class Secretary, Stephen Perry said, “To encourage participation from farther afield would be wonderful. It is understood, although not verified, that at East Down, we are the largest fleet of Leisure 17s in the UK and Ireland. There are many more L17s in England, with a concentration on the East Coast, but no one club on record has the numbers of EDYC”.