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Tortoise is First in Water Wag Race

13th May 2016
Water Wag Eva II (33) leads Good Hope (18) in Wednesday's third and final race of the first mini-series at Dun Laoghaire Water Wag Eva II (33) leads Good Hope (18) in Wednesday's third and final race of the first mini-series at Dun Laoghaire

On Wednesday 11th May the Water Wags competed for the third and final race of the first mini-series. The air temperature was reasonably warm and the wind was light, about 6 knots. There was a 200mm high lop in the harbour, which the Water Wags did not take kindly to. The wind was blowing from the North West- a direction famous for producing surprises. And on Wednesday, it did just that. There were 16 boats on the water including the brand new No. 47, Peggy, built by John Jones in Wales for David Corcoran. This is the 5th Water Wag built by Jones who finishes his boats to a beautiful standard. Remarkably, Peggy looked naked compared with the other Water Wags afloat, due to the light colouring of the planking. In time it will become darker, due to contact with sunlight.
The start line was close to the redundant ferry berth. The fleet got away on the first attempt. It was the Hoopers in Ethna who made the best start, and crossed the entire fleet on port. The pundits reckoned that with an ebbing tide, the flow out of the marine would push you backwards, whereas a tack toward the mouth of the harbour would have the boats travelling with a favourable tide. It was correct in theory, but in practice something else happened. Those who tacked off early were headed by about 20 degrees, while those who left it as late as possible to tack, came up trumps! It was William Prentice in Tortoise who rounded the mark off the west pier head first. Others soon after him included Kate O’Leary in Chloe, and Guy and Jackie Kilroy in Swift, and Jonathan and Carol O’Rourke in Skee. On the offwind leg, it was spinnakers up, and head for the starboard hand gate-mark to leeward. On the next beat the wind progressively swung to the west and all of the fleet laid the windward mark without tacking. There were place changes. Some boats stopped when they hit the waves, and progressively fell off to leeward. It paid to stay in clean wind. After three laps of the harbour reaching up and down the race was shortened. At the finish it was Tortoise first, Swift second and Moosmie pulled up from the back of the fleet.

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 blurb.com

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