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National YC & RSt.GYC to the Fore at Water Wag J.H. Stephens Tankard Event

31st July 2014
National YC & RSt.GYC to the Fore at Water Wag J.H. Stephens Tankard Event

#waterwag – Following a day with winds of force 5 it was a surprise to arrive in Dun Laoghaire to find almost no wind at all. Our valiant Committee boat team of Tom, David T, and Tuffet laid a windward-leeward course of three laps. When the twenty-one Water Wags were ready to start the wind shifted from the west to the south west. They quickly relayed the course. Signals were hoisted and about 3 minutes before the start the wind shifted further towards the south, creating a bias on the start line. Gavotte, Pansy, Tortoise, Mollie and Swift were all set for a port start, but they hadn't predicted that Good Hope would get the perfect start on starboard tack. Several of the port tackers had to dip Good Hope.

Over the fist beat the wind was unstable with an average of 3-4 knots but with regular gusts of 6-8 knots. At the windward mark Pansy tacked inside Mollie, but as she had not regained sufficient speed after the tack to hold her place. Mollie sailed over her. On the run Pansy was able to blanket Mollie as they vied for position on the run. It was time to prepare fore the leeward gate. Pansy opted for the southerly mark while Mollie took the northerly mark. Over the next beat, it was Pansy who appeared to hold a good wind heading towards the Ferry berth, but as she was further inshore the wind failed her and she fell back some 6 boatlengths behind Mollie who had taken a tack towards the harbour mouth. Pansy fell into the clutches of Gavotte and Tortoise. Mollie had done enough to pull clear ahead of the bunch. On the offwind leg Tortoise showed great speed and overtook Gavotte. This time all the leading Water Wags headed for the northerly gate buoy to repeat the success of Mollie the previous time around.

On the beat Tortoise tacked away onto starboard before Pansy or Gavotte. Would she find the wind bend which would lift her up to the windward mark across the harbour? It wasn't to be. Pansy rounded the windward mark with only one tack while Tortoise had to put in three. At the next leeward mark Mollie headed for the eastern mark. Was this a good idea? She had everything to lose.

Then Pansy who realised that there had been a wind shift further to the south, and followed Mollie. On the final beat Moosmie started to put pressure on Tortoise and Gavotte as the approached the finish.
The final order was:
1st Cathy MacAleavey and Con Murphy in Mollie.
2nd. Vincent Delany and Noelle Breen in Pansy
3rd Frank Guy and Owen McNally in Gavotte.
Meanwhile in Division 1B, Good Hope was enjoying the benefits of her good start and rounded the windward mark six places ahead of her rival Eva. But through the race Eva was gaining places and they finished in 8th and 10th places respectively.
1st Division 1B. Hal Sisk in Good Hope.
2nd. Orla Fitzgerald and Dermot O'Flynn in Eva.
In Division 2 the challenge was between Penelope and Phyllis. Initially Penelope got the upper hand but as the race developed Phyllis overtook and took the win.
1st. Division 2. Paul and Anne Smith in Phyllis.
2nd. Fergus Cullen and his daughter in Penelope.
The race for the J.H. Stephens Tankard was a good result for the National Yacht Club and Royal St. George who took the three podium places.

Published in Racing
Vincent Delany

About The Author

Vincent Delany

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Sailing historian Vincent Delany is a member of the Association of Yachting Historians, and an active sailor in Water Wag, SOD and Squib classes. He has written a thesis on 'Yachting and yachtsmen on the River Shannon 1830-1930.' He has lectured on the history of The Water Wag Club, Royal St.George Yacht Club, and the Killinure Yacht Club, He has written two sailing books 'The Water Wags 1887-2012' and 'The International 12 foot class in Ireland' both of which are available from

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