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Dun Laoghaire's Water Wag Dinghy Fleet Celebrates Record Turn Out

5th September 2015

The Water Wag fleet had one overriding objective for 2015, to achieve a race turnout of more than 25 Water Wags in a Wednesday evening club race writes Vincent Delany. It must be at least 20 years ago that the 25 boat fleet was first achieved by Class Captain Simon Nolan for his Captain’s Prize race.

The Captain’s Prize race is generally held at the end of August when families have returned from their annual holidays, and this year David McFarlane called for his race on 2nd. September. Would the Wags be able to beat their own record? It had been equalled on many occasions. In the 1890s the record stood at about 12 boats, this was increased to about 14 in the 1900s. 17 boats raced in the 1940s, at which time the ballot race was the most popular race. It seems that everybody wanted to get their hands on the fastest boats, which were Alfa and Coquette, to find out what was so special about them. Such numbers were not achieved again until the Centenary Regatta in 1987, when 24 boats were afloat and racing.

The 2nd. September turned out to be quite a breezy evening, from the north west. Waves were getting into the harbour along the east pier where wind and tide were running in opposite directions. There were two general recalls before the huge fleet started. Quickly Swift, Mollie, Gavotte, and Tortoise pulled out a lead. Behind them there was a busy bunch of boats, and when on the first offshore leg a strong gust blew through the harbour, causing the Water Wags to cause quite a chop. The lighter boats were able to plane while others struggled to manage their spinnakers. The battle between Swift and Mollie was a great battle between two strong husband/wife teams. It appears that there were no collisions during the evening, and at the end of four laps of the harbour, the finishing order was:

At the finish the places were:

1st. Mollie, Cathy MacAleavey & Con Murphy. Winners division 1A.

2nd. Swift, Guy & Jackie Kilroy.

3rd. Tortoise, William Prentice & Corentin Sauniere.

4th. Gavotte, Frank Guy & Owen McNally.

5th. Little Tern, Tim & Marcus Pearson (despite breaking their spinnaker pole.)

6th. Moosmie, David McFarlane & Cora Bourke.

7th. Eva, Orla Fitzgerald & Dermot O’Flynn. Winners div.1B.

8th. Barbara, Ian & Judith Malcolm.

9th. Polly, Ben Mitchell & Henry Rooke Winner division 2.

10th. Sprite, Tim Carpenter & Jeff Davys. Oldest Water Wag afloat at 111 years.

11th. Freddie, David Corcoran.

12th. Coquette, Seymour Cresswell & Mary Aspied.

13th. Good Hope, Hal Sisk & Sue Reardon.

14th. Ethna, Bill Nolan & Niamh Hooper.

15th. Skee, Jonathan O’Rourke & Carol Cronin.

16th. Nandor, Brian McBride & Ian Moore.

17th. Sara, Paul Smith & Isobel Kennedy.

18th. Chloe, Kate O’Leary & James O’Connor.

19th. Swallow, David & Ann Clarke.

20th. Pansy, Vincent Delany & Noelle Breen.

21st. Maureen, Kilian Skay & Stephen McDermott.

22nd. Eros, Gavin Johnson & Gail Varian.

DNF. Marie Louise, Philip Mahony & Sylvian Vonderweidt.

DNF Alfa, Michael & Jenny Donohoe.

DNF Penelope, Fergus Cullen and Alice Walsh.

DNF Scallywag, Dan O’Connor & David Williams.

DNF Vela, Brian Bond & Mary Ryder.

DNF Marcia, Ben McCormick.

Yes, The Water Wags are to be congratulated on having 28 hand made one-design wooden boats on their start line on a evening race where the wind was gusting to 25knots. Watch out next Wednesday, we might do it again!

Published in Racing
Vincent Delany

About The Author

Vincent Delany

Email The Author

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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