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12 Water Wags Start Summer Season in a Chilly 4 Degrees

29th April 2016
Michael and Jenny Donohoe in Water Wag No.12, Alfa, Paul and Anne Smith in Swallow No.40, and William and Linda Prentice in Tortoise No.42 approaching the start line. Michael and Jenny Donohoe in Water Wag No.12, Alfa, Paul and Anne Smith in Swallow No.40, and William and Linda Prentice in Tortoise No.42 approaching the start line.

With the air temperature in the afternoon of 4 degrees, it was looking like mid-winter. However, this did not deter twelve Water Wags from braving it on Wednesday evening in Dun Laoghaire Harbour writes Vincent Delany.

The breeze was about 12 knots, from the North east blowing through the harbour mouth. The windward mark of the 4 1/2 lap course was laid to the west of the area designated for the possible liner berth. The match was the first of a series of three matches for the Arthur Newsom Trophy (div 1A), Hilpotsteiner Tankard (div 1B) and Phyllis Trophy (div 2).

On the first beat all looked even-steven until it was realised that the Wags to windward were being lifted and the Wags to leeward were being headed. By the time they reached the windward mark, No. 38, Swift sailed by Guy and Jackie Kilroy had a short lead from No.15, Moosmie sailed by David and Sally MacFarlane and William Prentice in No.42, Tortoise. It was almost a run to the offset mark and a gybe to the leeward gate. The fleet were breaking up into two groups, the leaders and Division 1B. Richard and Henry in Polly struggled with finding some of the marks, so she did an extra lap of the course to ensure that the ‘tightened thread’ went around the correct marks. It is fantastic to realise that this noble action is likely to have an impact the final results in September.

The wind decreased to about 8 knots and there were place changes up and down the fleet. On lap two Moosmie contacted the windward mark and had to do a penalty turn. On lap three Swift engaged the mooring rope to the windward mark, and pulled it in until contact was made. In taking her penalty between the windward and offset marks, she allowed Moosmie past, and thus it remained to the end of the race. This responsible observation of the rules should be noted by some other classes in Dublin Bay.

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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