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Water Wags First Handicap Race of the Year At Dun Laoghaire

20th May 2016
Each of the 40 Water Wags is allocated a starting handicap Each of the 40 Water Wags is allocated a starting handicap

24 Water Wags turned up on Wednesday 17th May for the first handicap race of the year. It is the first of three races for the Buckingham Cup for Division 1. Division 2 complete for the Wigham Trophy. When we say “handicap” it is not like Cruisers, where a timed handicap is applied after the race. The Water Wags do things differently. Each of the 40 Water Wags is allocated a starting handicap. If your handicap in 2 minutes - you start 2 minutes after the first starter
It was a breezy evening with 10-12 knots from the west north west.
First Wag to start was Adrian Masterson and Jeff Davys in Sprite, followed one minute later by Sara and Freddie. The next group of starters were Good Hope, Polly, Eva, Chloe and Scallywag. It was 6 minutes after the leaders when the Moosmie, Swift, Mollie and Tortoise started. The benefit of these races is that almost everybody can start and stay in clear air for the entire first beat.
This was the first race for No. 47, David Corcoran’s Welsh built Water Wag Peggy. Without a pecking order position, it was difficult to establish an appropriate handicap for her. She started 4 minutes after Sprite. It was also the first excursion for the experienced Mermaid sailor, Roger Bannon in Ethna.
With a force 3 breeze, the tide in the harbour was not significant. There were plenty of choices on places to go on the beats. It was a speed race. Over 4 laps of the harbour the wind progressively swung towards the south-west. Sprite (div.2) held the lead until the very end of the race, when Orla Fitzgerald and Dermot O’Flynn in Eva (div.1B) overtook her, and took the gun. Thereafter the order was Mademoiselle, Good Hope, Polly and Moosmie (div.1) first of the scratch boats, Mollie, Vela, Swift who lost much ground in a tangle, Tortoise, Freddie, Gavotte, Peggy, Little Tern, Nandor, Scallywag, Skee, Alfa, Pansy, Penelope, Ethna who suffered from a leak, Swallow, Chloe and finally Eros who was late for the start.
As long as the harbour is not obstructed by cruise liners, 24 Wags will continue to race in Dun Laoghaire harbour each wednesday until the middle of September

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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