#shannononedesign – A new inaugural trophy has been awarded this month to the winner of a race that celebrates the ninety years of Shannon One Design sailing. Over the winter of 1921-1922 nine new SODS were built to the design drawings of Morgan Giles. Seven of these boats were built by Walter Levinge at Craigduff. The first batch of boats were No. 32 built by Keneavy, Nos. 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 40 and 43 built by Levinge, and No. 39 built by Merne. Although some of these early boats still exist, it was No. 37 Kiwi which turned up at the 90th. birthday celebrations and held pride of place surrounded by her younger siblings.
It was in the late 1920's that the Motor Yacht Club of Ireland organised motor boat racing at Lough Ree Yacht Club, and they erected the old Starter's Hut at that club to facilitate the motor boat racing. Alf Delany was one of the participants at the motor boat racing. In fact, he won a small but elegant silver cup in his hydroplane Hold Everythin' which has been in the possession of the Delany family since then.
It seemed appropriate therefore, to hold a special event for the SODS to celebrate the 90th birthday for those earliest boats. It was agreed between the Delany family and Lough Ree Yacht Club that the event would be held at Lough Ree Yacht Club in late July. A date was agreed which did not clash with the various events being held in the club.
On Friday evening before most of the competitors arrived things stated to go wrong. It was fated that Kiwi would be sitting on her trailer at right angles to the main slipway at Lough Ree when a Laser 16 was preparing for launching. The Laser was sitting on her trailer attached to the back of a car when the tow-bar hitch broke at the top of the hill. The boat and trailer started to run down the hill uncontrolled. There was a scream of "Watch out". But nobody could avert the impending accident. The Laser built up substantial momentum before she collided with the side of Kiwi. The accident happened before anybody could run to her assistance. Fortunately the impact was absorbed by the road tyres and by the hull siding 200mm across the trailer. Fortunately only minor damage occurred.
The first race took place in warm weather and a southerly breeze of about 8 knots. 26 boats took part. The start line was laid by Owen Delany close to the Little Yellow Island, with a beat to a windward mark slightly downstream of the club. Being a location with shifty winds, there was plenty of opportunity for place changing. After two laps of the course and a great battle with Frank Browne's 86, it was David Dickson's 73 which took the gun. All headed ashore for some lunch and liquid refreshment before the second race which took place in a slightly stronger wind. This time the leeward mark was laid half way between Little Yellow and Beam Island. This gave competitors the choice to pass to the east or west of Little Yellow Island. After a good fight it was David Dickson's 73 which broke the line (which was located at the windward mark) in first place. The committee boat Moonshine quickly moved back to station of the Yellow Islands and held a third race. The wind had not increased in strength. The crews were beginning to understand the wind shifts at this stage and knew where to go, but at the end of the day 73 still won.
After afternoon tea of scones and ginger cake prepared by Brenda and Margaret Delany the final race of the day was held over the shorter course used for the first race.
In the evening Gerry Murray organised a drinks reception in the front hall of the clubhouse. The ingredients included a secret mixture of Gin, Lemonade and lemons. This Pimms replacement doesn't have a name yet, but Gerry's would be a catchy marketing name.
This was followed by Dinner for 160 in the club dining room. Peter Delany spoke of how his father, Alf (who was aged 11) had travelled down to Coosan Lough from Longford in La Vague with Vincent S. Delany where they inspected the 6 new boats which were ready for collection. They picked one boat, brought it down to the lake, and towed it back to Tarmonbarry. The Delany's were, at that time members of the North Shannon Yacht Club. This was followed by Harmon Murtagh who spoke about the early days of the SODs and the relationship between the Delanys and Murtaghs and how it was the loyalty of these families, along with the Brownes, Wallers, Lefroys, Maynes and others which is critical to our enjoyment of our sailing and the sustenance of the yacht clubs.
On Sunday morning the wind was still from the south, but had increased in strength to about 20 knots. One reef was called. Soon it was realised that one reef would not be enough as the wind was gusting at about 22knots, and the competitors put in a second reef. It was a somewhat depleted fleet of about 15 boats which headed towards the Little Yellow Island where the start line was located. This was a real opportunity for the younger crews and it was the O' Carrolls who valiantly tried to hold off the ever conquering 73. They stayed in the lead for two laps but were eventually overtaken. Despite the small sail area the boats planed on the reaching legs without much effort. The gybe mark was laid about 16m. offshore them the outer jetty of the club, which gave the spectators a great view of the scared faces as gusts hit and boats gybed. It was Dan O'Connor who was in a strong third place when he capsized, and presented a challenge for the following boats. Would they gybe between the capsized boat and the mark, and run the risk of running down the people in the water? or would they squeeze between the cruisers tied up to the jetty and risk hitting them with a fast moving boom?
After lunch another race was held in an equally strong wind. There was some interesting congestion at some of the leeward marks.
At the prizegiving Owen Delany presented a new trophy to be held in perpetuity by the Lough Ree Yacht Club- to be called the 1922 Cup. He explained that it was the intention that the Cup would be raced for every 5 or 10 years. It was awarded to David Dickson and his family who sailed the 73 with such skill in all conditions. It was a pity that the trophy wasn't won by her numerical anagram, the 90 year old No. 37, which had been sailed by various members of the Delany family, and finished in a lowly 11th place.