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Displaying items by tag: Clinkerfest

When the weather patterns conspire to provide wet or rugged sailing on Ireland’s sea coasts, the shrewd mariner heads for the inland sea that is Lough Ree, which has been geographically measured with some elegant 19th Century science as being plumb in the very middle of the Emerald isle. For in such a location, no matter what the conditions are like on the coast, on Lough Ree you’ll have the entire province of either Leinster or Connacht or both to provide you with a lee. And additionally, by some happy freak during the past weekend of strong winds and much rain elsewhere, somehow Lough Ree experienced so little in the way of precipitaton that most sailors in the Clinkerfest barely noticed it at all, with the final evening provide a serene yet colourful sunset to round out a unique event in considerable style.

 Mermaid Magic – we may think of the Mermaids as originating in Dublin Bay, but some of the first boats were built by Walter Levinge beside Lough Ree. Photo: John Malone Mermaid Magic – we may think of the Mermaids as originating in Dublin Bay, but some of the first boats were built by Walter Levinge beside Lough Ree. Photo: John Malone

Former LRYC Commodore Garret Leech was still in the senior role when he set the notion of Clinkerfest in motion to celebrate LRYC’s 250th Anniversary back in 2020. And though the pandemic has caused a two year delay and a certain creakiness in some would-be participants, the idea was not allowed to die - not least because it had engendered one of the best event logos anyone has ever created in Ireland, a logo appropriate to the fact that clinker boat-building is now recognised as a World Heritage Activity.

The Clinkerfest Logo stylishly honours what is now a international culturally-recognised method of boat construction The Clinkerfest Logo stylishly honours what is now a international culturally-recognised method of boat construction 

Nevertheless while some participants might have preferred a bit more time for leisurely consideration of all the clinker-built boat types involved, and the different techniques used in their design and construction, others from the more race-oriented classes were bursting with competitive energy after virtually two seasons of constraint. And with a race team headed by Garret Leech with Owen Delany and the support of Alan Algeo and Eileen Brown (almost all former LRYC Commodores) the administrative talent was there to keep sailors busy afloat.

SODA Chairman Philip Mayne finished 14th overall in No 83 after nine hard-fought races. Photo: John MaloneSODA Chairman Philip Mayne finished 14th overall in No 83 after nine hard-fought races. Photo: John Malone

SHANNON ODs BIGGEST FLEET

While LRYC may be celebrating their Quadrimillennial in a two year retrospect, the Shannon One Designs are fully immersed in the throes of the increasing pace of their current Centenary Year. And though the class is traditionally at its greatest numerical strength in the time-honoured regattas of August, fleet numbers are already up with every weekend as that final coat of varnish finally gets applied, and boats turn out to race – and race hard.

 A different world of sailing for Garrett O’Neill and his crew. If any spray dares to come aboard, you can simply swallow it….Photo: John Malone A different world of sailing for Garrett O’Neill and his crew. If any spray dares to come aboard, you can simply swallow it….Photo: John Malone

Thus they’d an entry of 29 for Clinkerfest, and while not all were fully race ready, at the sharp end of the fleet for a demanding total of nine races, the top six helms were Mark McCormick, David Dickson, Andrew Mannion, Cillian Dickson, Frank Guy and Cathal Breen.

INTERNATIONAL 12s

The International 12s – which originated in 1912 – continue to be hugely popular in The Netherlands, Belgium and Italy, but they’re gradually reviving in Ireland in both their una-riggged and sloop-rigged form. And while travel difficulties meant that not all of a significant contingent from the Continent could make it in the end, a couple of gallant Dutch boats managed to get to Ree, while the fleet was also enlarged by the inclusion of a brace of Rankin 12s from Cork Harbour. Here too they’d nine challenging races, and Bert Bos won while Gernt Kiughist was second, with Mark Delany best of the home division in third.

 By making the journey to Lough Ree, the crew of this Dutch International Twelve found much better weather than they’d have had at home. Photo: John Malone By making the journey to Lough Ree, the crew of this Dutch International Twelve found much better weather than they’d have had at home. Photo: John Malone

MERMAIDS

We may think of the 17ft Mermaids as very much a class of Dublin Bay origins through their designer J B Kearney, but in fact the first boats were built in 1932 by the great Walter Levinge of Lough Ree. So there was a sense of home-coming in their participation, Jim Carthy winning in Vee from Paul Smith & Pat Mangan in Jill, with Darach Dinneen taking third in Red Seal.

Proper summertime sailing for Mermaids at Clinkerfest. Photo: John MaloneProper summertime sailing for Mermaids at Clinkerfest. Photo: John Malone

WATER WAGS

The Dublin Bay Water Wags of 1887 and 1900 vintage had many sailors racing in Clinkerfest, but as there’s extensive cross-pollination with the Shannon One Designs, there were more of them racing in the SODs than in the Wags, which managed to get just four boats down to Lough Ree from Dun Laoghaire. That said, they had the distinction of being the most senior class, with David Kelly in Eva winning after the nine races from Mike Magowan in Mary Kate, with third place going to Dermot Bremner in Alfa.

A celebration of Ireland’s leading clinker-built classes in the display of models by Reggie Goodbody of Lough Derg YC. Photo: John MaloneA celebration of Ireland’s leading clinker-built classes in the display of models by Reggie Goodbody of Lough Derg YC. Photo: John Malone

IDRA 14s

Though the 1946-vintage IDRA 14s have held many famous championships with LRYC, few would think of them as a Lough Ree class. Thus there was special satisfaction when Billy Henshaw – who lives on he shores of the lake – emerged as overall winner, with Pierre Long getting second and Pat O’Kelly third.

There was special cheer for the IDRA 14s with Billy Henshaw providing a local winner. Photo: John MaloneThere was special cheer for the IDRA 14s with Billy Henshaw providing a local winner. Photo: John Malone

The complete results are here

FUTURE CLINKERFESTS

Clinkerfest deserves to be a major feature of the national programme in the future, and Lough Ree’s indisputably central location in Ireland surely gives it the first claim to be its permanent home. The problem is that as our sailing gets back up to pre-pandemic speeds, several events will re-emerge claiming equal rights to the coveted Bank Holiday weekend at the beginning of June.

 Getting stuck in….The Shannon One Designs launch themselves into a programme of nine races in two days. Number 50 (Mark McCormick) was to emerge as overall winner. Photo: John Malone Getting stuck in….The Shannon One Designs launch themselves into a programme of nine races in two days. Number 50 (Mark McCormick) was to emerge as overall winner. Photo: John Malone

But that’s a discussion for another day. Right now, there’s a feeling of wonder that in a weekend when several coastal events were either cancelled or gave their participants quite a drubbing, a secret inland sea in the middle of Ireland was able to provide a fascinating and varied fleet of true classics with the chance to contest no less than nine very competitive races in eminently sailable and often strongly sunny conditions, while at the same allowing their dedicated owners and crews to revel in a shared enthusiasm for a boat construction method whose inherent functional beauty is now a globally-recognized art and craft.

Evocative conclusion to a great regatta – final Clinkerfest sunset at Lough Ree YC marina. Photo: Clodagh FlanneryEvocative conclusion to a great regatta – final Clinkerfest sunset at Lough Ree YC marina. Photo: Clodagh Flannery

Published in Historic Boats

How can you make sense of a sport which features at least 143 World Championships? It’s a question which was first asked many years ago when the then International Sailing Federation (now World Sailing) accorded official “International” status to two more globally-distributed racing boat classes, thereby entitling them to stage their own World Championships.

Admittedly nowadays a growing class really does need genuine international strength to be so recognised. But some venerable classes still cling to that distinction despite being very much a leftover minority interest surviving over many decades in just a few countries. Thus while top level international sailing moves on with new versions of multi-class world championships in addition to the Olympics, these supposed relics of a bygone era cling on to their status - and the inalienable right to stage their own World Championship - with the all the determination of super-charged limpets.

The J/109 Mojito (Vicky Cox & Peter Dunlop, Pwllheli SC) will be contending the J/109 Easterns as part of Howth’s Wave RegattaThe J/109 Mojito (Vicky Cox & Peter Dunlop, Pwllheli SC) will be contending the J/109 Easterns as part of Howth’s Wave Regatta

Add to that the fact that sailing is a highly individualistic vehicle sport in which many participants sail regularly but don’t actually race at all, and you begin to appreciate how difficult it is to explain the basics of sailing’s structure, even to the most favourably-inclined enquirer.

But even by the standards of sailing’s great mysteries and complexities, this Bank Holiday Weekend is in a league of its own, though a comparison with the Superbowl is only to give an impression of the potential scale, as the ’Bowl is very much venue-focused whereas a typical hyper-busy Irish sailing weekend is literally all over the place.

Lough Ree YC – current MG Motor “Club of the Year” hosts Clinkerfest 2022Lough Ree YC – current MG Motor “Club of the Year” hosts Clinkerfest 2022

In addition to its fine clubhouse, Lough Ree YC – which is on a six acre site – provides extensive berthing, haulage and marina facilities.In addition to its fine clubhouse, Lough Ree YC – which is on a six acre site – provides extensive berthing, haulage and marina facilities

Add to that the fact that some boats and crews are oddly reluctant in this post-pandemic phase to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and start all over again, and sometimes numbers are less than you’d expect. Yet equally, there are organisations – such as the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association – which seem to have leapt into top-gear action from the off.

The Shannon One Designs – celebrating their Centenary Year – will be the stars of Clinkerfest. They attract sailors from every background – sailing this boat is Olympic Silver Medallist Annalise Murphy, with her mother Cathy Mac Aleavey, an Olympian in 1988, in the crew.The Shannon One Designs – celebrating their Centenary Year – will be the stars of Clinkerfest. They attract sailors from every background – sailing this boat is Olympic Silver Medallist Annalise Murphy, with her mother Cathy Mac Aleavey, an Olympian in 1988, in the crew.

Anway, if it’s variety which is the touchstone, we do well with the Wave Regatta under way at Howth, the Clinkerfest getting going at Lough Ree Yacht Club, and the Dublin Bay Old Gaffers two-day regatta at Poolbeg.

Add to that the usual Dublin Bay SC Saturday racing at Dun Laoghaire – a regatta in itself – the continuing movement in Galway Docks with the fleet in the Round Britain & Ireland Race 2022 being moved on after their separate 48-hour stopovers, plus regular club racing at many centres, and we get increasing life on the water.

Two of the new Cape 31s tuning up off Howth, with David Maguire’s Valkyrie in the foreground, and Dan O’Grady’s boat beyond. Unfortunately a bout of Covid means that O’Grady will not be competing in Wave. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyTwo of the new Cape 31s tuning up off Howth, with David Maguire’s Valkyrie in the foreground, and Dan O’Grady’s boat beyond. Unfortunately a bout of Covid means that O’Grady will not be competing in Wave. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Nevertheless, we’re not out of the woods yet. As the fleet gathered for yesterday’s first race of Wave, conspicuous by her absence was Dan O’Grady’s new Cape 31, which had been keenly anticipating a three way debut with David Maguire’s Valkyrie and the Wright brothers’ boat. But Dan the Man has contracted Covid, and is out of circulation and the weekend’s racing with it. Unfortunately, we cannot print the first expletive reaction to this frustrating news on a website with a family readership, but it burnt the paintwork.

Published in W M Nixon

While the sailing programme during the past two years has managed to be played out afloat in a truncated form whenever changing regulations permitted, anything which involved a significant shoreside element of socialising was either cancelled completely, or else moth-balled in the hope that an eventual and complete relaxation of pandemic lockdown would permit its re-activation in due course by the clicking of some sort of organisational switch-gear.

It sounds simple enough. But it isn’t. The organisers of some new events which were originally lined up for the summer of 2020 are finding that, in effect, we’re now three seasons down the line. Not everyone is still here, and those of us who still are have become different people – slightly bewildered people at that, people who are finding it quite a job to re-create their mind-set of early 2020.

One such is Garrett Leech who - back at the beginning of 2020 - was in his final months as Commodore of Lough Ree Yacht Club as it entered its Quarter Millenial Year, and top item on his agenda was the organisation - at the early June Bank Holiday Weekend - of an event to be called Clinkerfest. This was to be a celebration of our many one design clinker-built boats – most of them classics - which had all the makings of a wonderful self-generating party, energized by the best of sailing sport afloat and shared enthusiasm ashore at one of the most hospitable clubs in the country.

Wall-to-wall SODs – they’re expected to be the most numerous class in the Lough Ree Clinkerfest at the June Holiday Weekend.Wall-to-wall SODs – they’re expected to be the most numerous class in the Lough Ree Clinkerfest at the June Holiday Weekend.

That’s how it was at the beginning of 2020. Yet in the wary mood of the current moment, he would be happy enough to see it re-launched at LRYC HQ at Ballyglass from June 3rd to 6th 2022 in a less exuberant style than would have been the case in Lough YC’s 250th year of 2020.

PENT-UP CLINKER ENTHUSIASM ALL OVER IRELAND

But dare we suggest that he is being too modest? There’s a pent-up clinker-boat-sailing enthusiasm all over Ireland which is just looking for an appropriately-controlled yet powerful pressure-valve releases, and it seems to outside observers that Clinkerfest 2022 is going to be right up there with the best of them in terms of numbers and conviviality.

Certainly, if last weekend’s First Centenary Dinner of the Shannon One Designs in the National Yacht Club is anything to go by, if people were a bit nervous that they’d forgotten how to party, it soon became clear that slightly-rusty socializing skills could be very quickly lubricated into smooth-running turbo-charged conviviality.

Class Chairman Philip Mayne and the formidably effective SODA Honorary Secretary Naomi Algeo (now known as Dr WHO for reasons which are too convoluted to explain here) successfully presided over an heroic splicing of the main brace.

Wing on wing, but in different boats – the Shannon One Designs have created their own unique sailing conditions and combinations.Wing on wing, but in different boats – the Shannon One Designs have created their own unique sailing conditions and combinations.

And thus there arose the idea of four Centenary Dinners, with one already logged at the National, two others to coincide with the Lough Ree and Lough Derg Regatta Weeks in August, and a concluding grand blow-out at Castle Forbes in County Longford in late August/early September to coincide with the exact dates of the Centenary of the first recorded Shannon One Design race, which was hosted by the North Shannon Yacht Club in which the man from Castle Forbes, the Earl of Granard, was involved.

There’s a definite symmetry to this, as the Earl of Granard – a sailing man of international repute who donated the hugely-significant One Ton Cup to world sailing in 1899 – also stepped up to the plate to be Commodore of the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire for ten years from 1931 as it emerged re-born from the moribund Edward Yacht Club.

But of course, human nature being what it is, he’s not remembered as Granard the Good, but rather is branded as Granard the Grey Squirrel. For at a wedding at Castle Forbes in 1911, some guests from the incredibly rich American branch of the family (think Malcolm Forbes and Forbes Magazine) turned up with half a dozen cute little grey squirrels as wedding gifts. The wedding gifts immediately skipped merrily across the Castle Forbes lawn into the woods, and our lovely native red squirrels have been plagued by these invasive Yankee rodents ever since.

And why not…..? Castle Forbes beside the location of the Shannon One Designs’ first recorded race in 1922 would provide the ideal setting for the 2022’s Fourth Centenary SOD DinnerAnd why not…..? Castle Forbes beside the location of the Shannon One Designs’ first recorded race in 1922 would provide the ideal setting for the 2022’s Fourth Centenary SOD Dinner

Thus there are all these crazy yet wonderful possibilities for celebration, but while they’re exclusively for the Shannon One Design Class, the Clinkerfest at Lough Ree will be an opportunity for other classes to share in the SOD stardust. Not that classes of the calibre of the Dublin Bay Water Wags yield in any way to the SODs in the matter of stardust. But in 2022 with Lough Ree Yacht Club and the Shannon One Design Association sharing the MG Motor “Sailing Club of the Year” award in its 44th year, it has to be admitted that the Clinkerfest itself is aglow with stardust.

UNESCO RECOGNITION OF CLINKER BOAT-BUILDING

For in addition to the well-deserved extra recognition accorded this year to both LRYC and SODA, clinker construction has itself acquired official global recognition as part of UNESCO Heritage. Our friends at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde in Denmark, who brought the 100ft re-created longship Sea Stallion to Dublin in 2003 as the original had been built here around 1040, have led the movement towards the proper recognition of traditional clinker construction. And while it has all been done under the umbrella of Nordic Clinker Construction, the fact is that some of the best classic clinker construction in the world is now done in Ireland, and we’ll see it at Lough Ree early in June.

They’ve been here before….Dublin Bay Water Wags racing on Lough ReeThey’ve been here before….Dublin Bay Water Wags racing on Lough Ree

At the moment, Garret Leech has commitment for Clinkerfest 2022 from SODs, Water Wags, Mermaids, International 12s and Cork Harbour Rankins, with the inclusion of the latter indicating that the more modern edge-glued clinker will be accepted, which opens up all sorts of additional possibilities, including perhaps the St Ayles Skiffs.

Currently absent from the commitment list are the IDRA 14s, but that’s probably because they hibernate longer than most - they’ll get around to it in time. As well, we would hope to see Michael Weed of Gweedore in Donegal with his exquisite re-creation of the 1896-vintage Bray Droleen, and while we’re on Donegal clinker-built boats, why not some Greencastle yawls, evolved from the ancient Drontheim boats from Tromso in Norway?

The Mermaids are accustomed to travel – they’re seen here racing with the Royal Cork YC at Crosshaven. Photo: Robert BatemanThe Mermaids are accustomed to travel – they’re seen here racing with the Royal Cork YC at Crosshaven. Photo: Robert Bateman

And always, of course, there are the classic 1936-design National 18s from Crosshaven, a joy to behold. Because for those of us of a certain generation, childhood acquaintance with clinker-built boats is the same as the emotional attachment which many sailors now give to the Mirror class, with its cross-generational bonding through the sharing of the building project in the re-purposed family sitting room.

MUTUAL LEARNING FROM FAMILY BOAT-BUILDING?

But while mutual learning was part of the Mirror experience, clinker boats from an earlier time were in an era when you were expected to learn about boats and sailing through some sort of osmosis within a sailing family. Thus when I found myself the owner of a 14ft Ballyholme Bay Insect well before I was even into my teens thanks to winning some family swimming contest, I was presented with a finished hull, but devoid of paint or varnish as it was reckoned that learning to complete it all myself, with the help of friends and potential crew, would be character building.

The timeless attraction of a well-built well-maintained classic clinker hull – Gerry Sargent racing his IDRA 14 at the Class’s 70th Anniversary Regatta at Clontarf. Photo: W M NixonThe timeless attraction of a well-built well-maintained classic clinker hull – Gerry Sargent racing his IDRA 14 at the Class’s 70th Anniversary Regatta at Clontarf. Photo: W M Nixon

With mature reflection, I rather think my father was going through a period of retrenchment after the distinctly flahoola mood in which he’d ordered the boat, and had done a deal with Jimmy French - who built the Insects just up the road from our house - to deliver the bare hull at a discount. But nothing daunted, I took the advice of the local maritime experts and started the process by larding the bare wood with linseed oil as a primer, with myself and all the linseed-oil-covered little friends being warned to stay away from the boat for a couple of days to allow the oil to dry properly into the timber, the warning being that she’d be very sticky for few days.

Well, our new Insect – already called Grasshopper though it turned out that rock-hopper would have been more on target – was still very sticky a week later. She was still sticky a fortnight later. She was still sticky three weeks later. A month later, when I came back one afternoon from school, she was no longer in the shed, and miraculously after ten days she re-appeared - unsticky, finished and ready to go, a miracle for which I have piously but unsuccessfully hoped for a repeat with all subsequent craft.

Leisurely start for the Ballyholme Insects in the 1950sLeisurely start for the Ballyholme Insects in the 1950s

With the Insects, sailing was expected to be self-taught, and somehow it worked – well, sort of….Photo: W M NixonWith the Insects, sailing was expected to be self-taught, and somehow it worked – well, sort of….Photo: W M Nixon

As for going afloat, we were simply left to get on with learning to sail ourselves. But with other kids in Ballyholme Bay in a similar situation with other dinghy types, it was a mutual learning curve, accelerated by playing tig among the moored keelboats. This had its moments, for I can remember a now-very-distinguished Belfast Lough sailing figure standing up facing backwards in his International Cadet, and roaring over his stern at a 12 -footer skipper to tell him that he – the skipper of the 12-footer - been tigged and was now on.

So absorbed was he in conveying this message that he was blissfully unaware that his Cadet was headed at a rate of knots straight for a moored Waverley sloop with such deadly accuracy that the Waverley was T-boned, and left with a perfect and very distinct imprint of a Cadet’s bow transom in her otherwise immaculate topsides.

But fortunately a classic Ballyholme Bay northeasterly gale came up that night (the place as an anchorage is derided as being “sheltered to the northeast by Ailsa Craig”), and the Waverley in question ended up in smithereens on Ballyholme Beach, so there was no day of reckoning to explain that perfect bow transom imprint.

For our safety we were restricted to staying within Ballyholme Bay on a line between Luke’s Point and a rocky islet off Ballymacormick Point called Jenny’s Isle, but of course we immediately twigged that this allowed us to set off to sail round the world while still complying, for at high water we knew of hidden channels which allowed us to escape eastward while still inside that line. But being well-behaved children we knew this was not in the spirit of the rules, so it was quite the day when permission was granted to sail the high seas and make our first cruise to the nearby fishing port of Groomsport.

Our 14ft Insect was called Grasshopper, but much of the time she was rock-hopper, inevitably drawn to exploring every tiny channel in the neighbourhoodOur 14ft Insect was called Grasshopper, but much of the time she was rock-hopper, inevitably drawn to exploring every tiny channel in the neighbourhood

Very soon this led on to a crazy week-long venture down the River Bann and across a very empty and sometimes stormy Lough Neagh, then on down the Lower Bann to tidal water at Coleraine with just a little tent for shelter in one of those weeks when it rained every day. This just about exhausted the possibilities of an Insect, but almost immediately I was catapulted into 26ft Swallow (which we now know was designed by O’Brien Kennedy), and that opened up the much wider horizons of voyaging to the Strangford Lough Regattas, with offshore racing in chartered bigger boats coming soon after.

First “foreign port”. The extremely youthful crew aboard Grasshopper in the little fishing harbour of Gromsport after voyaging from Ballyholme Bay. We were supposed to wear lifejackets, but that was only “while sailing”, so they were always discarded at the first opportunity. Photo: W M NixonFirst “foreign port”. The extremely youthful crew aboard Grasshopper in the little fishing harbour of Gromsport after voyaging from Ballyholme Bay. We were supposed to wear lifejackets, but that was only “while sailing”, so they were always discarded at the first opportunity. Photo: W M Nixon

The Insect was now very much in the past, with the class defunct at Ballyholme as GP14s and Enterprises took over, while for dinghy racing I was seduced into sailing Bob Greenhalgh’s new Ian Proctor-designed 17.5ft Osprey, which never caught on as a class in Belfast Lough, but was one of the sweetest boats I ever sailed.

However, the Insect had made her mark. So when we warble on about clinker boat-building, believe me I’ve been there – I know what it’s like to clean out a clinker bilge prior to re-painting, I know what its like to replace that dodgy strake which suddenly splits just a week before Opening Day.

Yet when an Englishman called Alan Hidden came to work in Northern Ireland and discovered an Insect and restored her and used her to found the Northern Ireland Branch of the Old Gaffers Asociation, we greeted the news with mixed feelings. Our hotshot racing Insects are now Old Gaffers…..?

Nevertheless if one or two of the individual Insects which I know have been restored in Northern Ireland turn up at the Lough Ree Clinkerfest on June 3rd, I hope they’ll be welcomed with kindness and understanding. For when you’re the sole survivors of a once-thriving class which was swept away by GP 14s and Enterprises, you’ll be quite bruised as it is.

The hyper-keen Scorpions - they packed a sting which soon marked the final death knell of the more ordinary Insect ClassThe hyper-keen Scorpions - they packed a sting which soon marked the final death knell of the more ordinary Insect Class

But in the case of Belfast Lough and the Ballyholme Insects, there was an additional assault from a hot and aggressively keen new class known as the Scorpions. As God’s Own Race Officer Gerald Barry of Cork observed at a Dinghy Week in Baltimore, never was a class more aptly named…….

Clinkerfest 2022 Clinkerfest 2022 - download the Notice of Race below

Published in W M Nixon
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As part of the many events planned to mark the Club’s 250th anniversary, Lough Ree Yacht Club had scheduled a historical talk at the Club on the 15th February 2020, the presentations proved to be very popular with a full house on the day. People travelled from various parts of the country to attend.

The Club was lucky enough to have kicked off their celebrations before the Coronavirus began to impact on events. Subsequently, the Club has had to postpone their flagship celebratory event, Clinkerfest, which is to be run next year instead.

A History of Lough Ree, which took place on the 15th February was a half-day symposium featuring learned historians who spoke on specific but varying topics relating to the history of sailing on Lough Ree. These talks were delivered in a most informative and witty manner which portrayed the calibre of the speakers involved.

A huge thanks to Harman Murtagh who ultimately compiled the event but also to John Keane who chaired the talks and of course to Vincent Delany and Gearoid O’Brien. The Club is most grateful for the contributions.

These presentations (thanks to J Malone) were recorded for posterity on now on youtube and perhaps during these restricted times, people can view and enjoy at their leisure.

A History of Lough Ree Yacht Club, 15th February 2020

The Club hopes that sailing can start again soon and that the continued celebrations of this impressive birthday can recommence! There are some anxious youth and Senior sailors who are keen to get back on the water.

Published in Historic Boats
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Round Ireland Yacht Race Information

The Round Ireland Yacht Race is Ireland's classic offshore yacht race starts from Wicklow Sailing Club (WSC) and is organised jointly with the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and the Royal Irish Yacht Club (RIYC). This page details the very latest updates from the 2008 race onwards including the race schedule, yacht entries and the all-important race updates from around the 704-mile course. Keep up to date with the Round Ireland Yacht Race here on this one handy reference page.

2020 Round Ireland Race

The 2020 race, the 21st edition, was the first race to be rescheduled then cancelled.

Following Government restrictions over COVID-19, a decision on the whether or not the 2020 race can be held was made on April 9 2020 to reschedule the race to Saturday, August 22nd. On July 27th, the race was regrettably cancelled due to ongoing concerns about COVID-19.

Because of COVID-19, the race had to have a virtual launch party at the Royal Irish Yacht Club for its 21st edition

In spite of the pandemic, however, a record entry was in prospect for 2020 with 50 boats entered with four weeks to go to the race start. The race was also going big on size and variety to make good on a pre-race prediction that the fleet could reach 60. An Irish offshore selection trial also looked set to be a component part of the 2020 race.

The rescheduling of the race to a news date emphasises the race's national significance, according to Afloat here

FAQs

704 nautical miles, 810 miles or 1304 kilometres

3171 kilometres is the estimate of Ireland's coastline by the Ordnance Survey of Ireland.

SSE Renewables are the sponsors of the 2020 Round Ireland Race.

Wicklow Sailing Club in association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club in London and The Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dublin.

Off Wicklow Harbour on Saturday, August 22nd 2020

Monohulls 1300 hrs and Multihulls 13.10 hrs

Leave Ireland and all its islands (excluding Rockall) to starboard.

It depends on the boat. The elapsed record time for the race is under 40 hours but most boats take five or six days to complete the course.

The Race Tracker is https://afloat.ie/sail/events/round-ireland/item/25789-round-ireland-yacht-race-tracker-2016-here.

The idea of a race around Ireland began in 1975 with a double-handed race starting and finishing in Bangor organised by Ballyholme Yacht Club with stopovers in Crosshaven and Killybegs. That race only had four entries. In 1980 Michael Jones put forward the idea of a non-stop race and was held in that year from Wicklow Sailing Club. Sixteen pioneers entered that race with Brian Coad’s Raasay of Melfort returning home after six days at sea to win the inaugural race. Read the first Round Ireland Yacht Race 1980 Sailing Instructions here

 

The Round Ireland race record of 38 h 37 min 7 s is held by MOD-70 trimaran Musandam-Oman Sail and was set in June 2016.

George David’s Rambler 88 (USA) holds the fastest monohull race time of two days two hours 24 minutes and 9 seconds set in the 2016 race.

William Power's 45ft Olivia undertook a round Ireland cruise in September 1860

 

Richard Hayes completed his solo epic round Ireland voyage in September 2018 in a 14-foot Laser dinghy. The voyage had seen him log a total of 1,324 sea miles (2,452 kilometres) in 54 sailing days. in 1961, the Belfast Lough Waverly Durward crewed by Kevin and Colm MacLaverty and Mick Clarke went around Ireland in three-and-a-half weeks becoming the smallest keelboat ever to go round. While neither of these achievements occurred as part of the race they are part of Round Ireland sailing history

© Afloat 2020

At A Glance – Round Ireland Yacht Race 2024

Race start: Off Wicklow Harbour on Saturday, June 22 2024

There will be separate starts for monohulls and multihulls.

Race course:  leave Ireland and all its islands (excluding Rockall) to starboard.

Race distance: is approximately 704 nautical miles or 1304 kilometres.

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