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Displaying items by tag: Royal Ulster Yacht Club

Some would say that there were better racing conditions at the end of the 2022 season for the Royal Ulster Yacht Club Autumn Series than during the summer.

A total of 13 boats in two classes competed over nine races in the RUYC series on Belfast Lough. Top in IRC 1 and NHC unrestricted was John Minnis’ Final Call II with a clean sheet of results and in Whitesail, it was the relaunched Sigma 33 Starshine Challenger under the new owners' Garth and Paul Finlay and Ian Blair in first overall.

After a full set of first places in nine strong IRC 1 class John Minnis said, “While we were delighted to win every race in the A35, the competition was really close”. And although the points difference was marked, the racing was particularly intense between the first three, with the O’Tiarnaigh/Mullholland/Harrington trio in the IMX 38 Excession and the Carrickfergus Corby 29 entry Elixir owned by Brian and Ryan Wilson.

The Royal Ulster Yacht Club Autumn series on Belfast LoughThe Royal Ulster Yacht Club Autumn Series on Belfast Lough

The Final Call II team enjoyed the fact that there was very little light weather. “It was fantastic racing” said owner John Minnis. “The best racing of the season, both on the windward/leeward course and the last day’s round the buoys”.

Asked what his plans are for next season, he said that Final Call II will be at Kip Regatta on 13th and 14th May, the first ‘Major’ event of the season on the Clyde. Then in his sights is the Scottish Series which is returning to Tarbert over the May bank holiday in the classic Friday to Monday format, starting on Friday the 26th of May.  After all that activity, there’s the massive Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta on 6th – 9th July

Only three points separated the top two in the less well-supported four-strong Whitesail division. The Sigma 33 Starshine Challenger, which had been out of the water for some years, was back with a bang and never scoring less than third; finished three points ahead of Andrew Kennedy’s Dufour 34 Jacada, who missed two races but used one as a discard. In third place was the Oceanis 37, Merry Jack (Bell, Bell and Lawther) who had missed three races and had to count two of them.

Gavin Watson, RUYC Hon Sailing Secretary, was pleased to see the fleet out at this time of the year as racing has been affected due to Covid restrictions. “The series culminated in some exciting round the buoys racing in 20 knots of wind off the shore at RUYC. Congratulations to the winners and a big thank you to all the volunteers who helped provide the racing this year and RUYC is looking forward to continued good sailing in 2023”.

Published in Belfast Lough

Royal Ulster’s Classic offshore overnight Ailsa Craig race will start from the club line at Bangor in Belfast Lough on Friday evening (17th) with the first warning signal at 19.00 hrs. On a good day, the Craig can be seen from the Club.

With a forecast of light winds, the course will probably be round the rock at the mouth of the Clyde and back to the club, about 80 miles.

At the moment there are four competitors, all of whom may be using it as a warm-up for the Bangor Town Regatta a week later, but given the unstable weather at present, some prospective entrants may be waiting until the last minute to make a decision.

On the other hand, they may be saving their energies for those four days of racing.

Brian and Ryan Wilson's Corby 29 ElixirBrian and Ryan Wilson's Corby 29, Elixir

Johnny Ritchie’s Dufour Classic 41, Mingulay from the host club, will join on the starting line, visitors Michael Eames in his Sunfast 3200 All or Nothing from Strangford Lough Yacht Club, Stuart Cranston’s Ker 32 Hijacker from Down Cruising Club, and Bryan and Ryan Wilson’s Corby 29 Elixir from across the Lough at Carrickfergus.

Tyrena (Dr W E "Darty" Glover), winner of the first RUYC Ailsa Craig Race in 1962. She was a 39ft Charles A Nicholson design, built Berthon Boat Company of Lymington in 1959Tyrena (Dr W E "Darty" Glover), winner of the first RUYC Ailsa Craig Race in 1962. She was a 39ft Charles A Nicholson design, built Berthon Boat Company of Lymington in 1959

Winner of the inaugural race in 1962 was the late Darty Glover in the 11-ton sloop, Tyrena and the late Dickie Brown of Portaferry was the winner the following year in the famous hard chine Black Soo, a van de Stadt design. Another memory is that of John Taylor who now lives in New Zealand, who recalls racing in the first race in what he describes as a “fair old southwesterly hammering in the channel”.

And the winner of the Fiftieth Anniversary event was Kenneth Halliwell’s She 31, She of the North. Many of those who had raced in 1962 turned out again for that event fifty years later. Among these was Darty Glover, then in his Eighties, who had travelled from Australia and John Taylor from New Zealand.

Published in Belfast Lough

The Copeland Islands lie on the North Down coast just a short distance off Donaghadee but separated from the town by a fast strong tidal sound which provides interesting but necessarily accurate navigation. So to have the Royal Ulster Yacht Club coastal race round these islands which also have significant overfalls to the east, made an attractive race hosted by Royal Ulster Yacht Club from its start line in Bangor.

Copelands Race - Mew Island Lighthouse Mew Island Lighthouse Photo: Mark Mackey

Top of the IRC fleet was Shaun Douglas from Cockle Island Boat Club just east of Bangor on Belfast Lough in the Beneteau 40.7 Gamechanger ahead of Stuart Cranston’s Ker32 visiting from Strangford Lough Yacht Club. This is the start of a busy season for Gamechanger as they head to the Isle of Man for the Round the Island race starting at Port St Mary on 3rd June; then comes Bangor Town Regatta on 24th June followed by the race to Strangford Lough on 2nd July, then Cork Week in mid-July followed by West Highland Week at the end of that month. Certainly, the Irish Sea will be well travelled. In third slot was the Sigma 33 Squawk owned by Paul and Emma Prentice.

Shaun Douglas's Beneteau 40.7 Gamechanger from Cockle Island Boat Club on Belfast LoughShaun Douglas's Beneteau 40.7 Gamechanger from Cockle Island Boat Club on Belfast Lough

Winner in the four strong Whitesail division was the Bell, Lawther and Bell trio from the host club and Ballyholme in the Oceanis 37 Merry Jack with the Byres/Russell duo in the Sigma 33 Signet from the same clubs.

Stuart Cranston's Hijacker from Strangford Lough YCStuart Cranston's Hijacker from Strangford Lough YC

As it turned out for the thirteen strong fleet made up of IRC and Whitesail, the tides were slack so weren’t a problem on the course which started in a lively 15 to 20 knot south westerly on a run from the RUYC line, taking them east leaving the Islands to starboard. The leg along the east side of the Copelands past the Mew Island Lighthouse where the Ram Harry race was in quiet form, involved only two tacks and then it was back west up the Sound where the tide was slack on a closehaul to Bangor Bay and the finish.

In common with many other organisations Royal Ulster Yacht Club on Belfast Lough in Northern Ireland put a call out for donations for the Ukrainian Aid Appeal and it turned out the response was overwhelming.

In the end there were 200 boxes of medicine, baby items, new clothes, toiletries, food, and other essentials sent directly to the shipping container bound for Poland.

Club members will remember Przmek Giblewski, Chef of many years, who is now living in Poland. Przmek has friends and family heavily involved in supporting refugees as well as directly in the conflict. He has been in touch to thank the Club members and to provide first-hand an update on the items most needed on the ground, particularly in regard to displaced women and children, and those on the front line.

Hon Secretary Catherine Gallagher said; “A huge thank you to everyone who donated and a very special thank you for our team of volunteers who spent two days organising, packing and running up and downstairs with boxes”.

The keelboat weekend held at Royal Ulster Yacht Club on Belfast Lough on 21st and 22nd August is a new venture and benefitted from generous sponsorship by Shortcross Gin.

The nine-strong fleet included five visitors, and of these two were fleet winners. From nearby Ballyholme and Cockle Island clubs, Shaun Douglas's Beneteau 40.7 Game Changer topped the IRC 1 fleet, and in IRC 2, it was the Carrickfergus based Corby 29, Brian and Ryan Wilson's Elixir. The local Dufour Classic 41, Mingulay (Johnny Ritchie) won the Whitesail division. NHC 1 saw a different winner with Jay Colville's First 40, Forty Licks from Royal Ulster and East Down on Strangford Lough first. In NHC 2 Elixir enjoyed another victory with a clean sweep, keeping at bay Paul Fekkes from East Antrim BC in Larne and Carrickfergus SC in the Ultimate 20 Black and Slippy.

The windward-leeward racing suffered the same changeable weather conditions as the Topper Irish Championships at Carrickfergus across the Lough, with 22-knot gusts and rain on the Saturday and the opposite on the Sunday.

Johnny Ritchie, RUYC Rear Commodore, thanked Shortcross Gin for its generous sponsorship; "An enjoyable and well-organised event. Despite the inclement weather on Saturday, we had a wonderful variety of wind conditions. Race Officer Colin Loughead did well to get Race 5 set on Sunday in very light conditions".

RUYC Keelboat Weekend  Lucy Smith (Game Changer) with RUYC Rear Commodore Johnny RitchieRUYC Keelboat Weekend Lucy Smith (Game Changer) with RUYC Rear Commodore Johnny Ritchie

Light winds at RUYC Keelboat Weekend for Forty Licks Jay Colville RUYC and East Down YCLight winds at RUYC Keelboat Weekend for Forty Licks Jay Colville RUYC and East Down YC

Ryan Wilson Elixir winner of both IRC and NHC 2 with Johnny Ritichie, RUYC Rear Commodore

This article was updated on August 26 2021 following revised results published by RUYC

It has been a long time coming. Royal Ulster's Opening Day will be on Saturday 1st May. Although this is an annual event, it will have its own particular difficulties this year due to the Covid restrictions.

Opening Day is traditionally not an event that requires formal entry and is open to nearby Ballyholme YC members and it is difficult to predict the turnout.

The club will be managing the event within the latest RYANI guidance for starting racing and have protocols in place at both Clubs to ensure numbers are contained within the recommended limit of 100 attendees.

That process will be made considerably easier given that neither the Waverleys nor the Sigmas have yet launched.

It is anticipated there will be four classes: IRC unrestricted, Whitesail, Lasers and Dinghy Handicap. The Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions will be on the website

Given the current weather forecast for generally light conditions, it is anticipated racing will be around the buoys, and the start will be around 13.00

In anticipation of an eagerly awaited easing of the Lockdown in Northern Ireland, and looking forward to a return to racing, the Royal Ulster Yacht Club Sailing Committee has arranged for Bill O'Hara, OBE, to lead a Zoom session to help refresh and update members' knowledge of some of the more common sailing rules.

The Zoom session is tomorrow night – Wednesday 14th April from 7.30 pm till 8.30 pm.

The talk is also available to crew members who may not be members of the Club.

Bill represented Ireland in the Finn class in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and the '88 games in Seoul. And as mentioned in his career profile on the international front runs through such major events the Volvo Ocean Race in 2008 for which he was Principal Race Officer, via Chief Umpire for the Extreme 40s in 2009 to Chief Umpire for the J class in 2019.

A large part of Bill's time is spent on the water as an umpire adjudicating yachts, either in match or fleet racing all around the globe. He is also a rules advisor to several countries, especially Ireland, in the run-up to the next Olympic Games.

Since 1970 it has been the tradition that Royal Ulster Yacht Club in Bangor on Belfast Lough, presents the Sir Thomas Lipton Memorial Cup to the America's Cup Challenger's Yacht Club. When the first Challenger series was run in that year, RUYC decided it would be a fitting tribute to Sir Thomas's memory to present a trophy to the winner of the challenger series. He had challenged five times with his yachts, all called Shamrock, through Royal Ulster as he was not admitted to the elite Royal Yacht Squadron until 1931, shortly before his death. It is said that both King Edward VII and King George V shared their interest in yachting with Lipton and enjoyed his company.
The club, therefore, commissioned the Sir Thomas Lipton Memorial Cup.

But how was this presentation going to be possible during the pandemic? Through a stroke of luck, it did go ahead on 24th February. That's where the man in Auckland came in. Member John Taylor and his wife Charlotte live in the city, and John agreed to present the Trophy to the Challenger; the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team entered through Circolo Della Vela Sicilia Yacht Club Sicily. John is well known in sailing circles in Belfast Lough, and pre-Covid regularly spent the summer in Bangor.

Lipton was of Irish parentage and lived in Glasgow. After humble beginnings and years of working in America, in 1870, he established Lipton's Market in that city. This enterprise was successful, and a chain of groceries followed. When his empire had grown to 300 stores, he entered the tea trade and established the Lipton brand.

Royal Ulster presented the Trophy to the Challenger; the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team entered through Circolo Della Vela Sicilia Yacht Club SicilyRoyal Ulster presented the Trophy to the Challenger; the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team entered through Circolo Della Vela Sicilia Yacht Club Sicily Photo: COR/Borlenghi

The first occasion the Trophy was presented was to Gretel II entered through Royal Perth Yacht Club. This was presented by Karl Smyth, Honorary Secretary RUYC at the Ida Lewis Yacht Club, Newport, Rhode Island. Since 1970 RUYC has presented the Trophy on 13 occasions. Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron are the current holders, and they were first presented with this Cup in 1995, then again in 2007, 2013 and 2017, so they have been the custodians for 18 years, making them the longest holder.

In recent months, RUYC Hon Secretary Garth Maxwell built a working relationship with Hayden Porter, CEO of RNZYS, who also sits on the America's Cup organising Committee in New Zealand. John and Charlotte Taylor are well known in both yacht clubs in Bangor, where pre-COVID-19, he regularly spent his summer months.

RNZYS hosted a small dinner on the night of the 24th February, sponsored by Prada, to facilitate the presentation of the Sir Thomas Lipton Cup by RUYC. The Ida Lewis Yacht Club also presented their Pell Cup, a trophy they have presented to the Challenger since 1958.

The small but exclusive guest list includes Francesco Longanesi Cattani - Prada, Agostino Randazzo-Commodore - Circolo Della Vela Sicilia Yacht Club, Max Sirena – Director and Skipper Luna Rosso Prada Pirelli, Aaron Young – Commodore, RNZYS, Hayden Porter – CEO, RNZYS, Simon Davidson – Commodore, Ida Lewis Yacht Club, and of course, John Taylor - all with their respective partners.

A letter of congratulations from HRH The Duke of Gloucester, Commodore of Royal Ulster, was also sent.

Published in America's Cup

Neighbouring clubs Royal Ulster and Ballyholme at Bangor in County Down on Belfast Lough are both due back on the water soon.

The RUYC sailing committee has decided that in line with further guidance from the RYA that competitive sport can’t start until the 17th July at the earliest, that the club will start sailing on the Saturday 18th July in the first of a series of Round Belfast Lough type courses. In August a new one round the Copeland Islands is planned. The updated sailing programme and sailing instructions for the new series of races will be available here on 10th July.

Thursday night racing has been cancelled for this month (July) but as events are moving very quickly now, the August points racing will be reviewed should there be a further easement. The annual Regatta will now not be possible this Saturday (11th) as competitive sailing cannot happen until later in the month. It is hoped that a smaller-scale event will be held during September.

Short cruises in company around Belfast Lough are on the books with a start this Sunday (12th) with a short trip to Helens Bay where anchoring is possible.

Sailing Secretary Jim Coffey said “The sailing committee would like to thank members for their patience and understanding whilst we try and work our way through these difficult times; ultimately the safety of members is paramount as the pandemic is still with us".

At Ballyholme the bar will open this evening (9th)with drinks served outside with the now usual restrictions. See

And there is good news for cadets. Paul Prentice RTC (Recognised Training Centre) Principal is delighted to be able to run courses. “ Thanks to our dedicated training team, with support from RYANI, we are delighted to release our Programme for 2020”. He adds “ As you will see there are a number of changes to the format, and unfortunately, due to restrictions we are unable to offer beginners courses.

The team is excited to welcome you back on the water”.

Courses are available to book, for Members only until Friday 17th July, after which they will be opened to non-members. Please take some time to read the information online and particularly the cancellation policy and ifIf you have any questions or concerns, please give Lyn a call at the club on 028 9127 1467.

The opening up of Royal Ulster Yacht Club on Belfast Lough has been long-awaited and tomorrow (Friday 3rd July) is the big day.

During the past week bar and waiting staff have undergone training on the new way of working. As members will appreciate life cannot return to normal just yet so restrictions will be in place initially and the situation will be reassessed weekly. But for at least this weekend and the next the Club will only be open on Friday lunchtime and evening, Saturday evening and Sunday lunchtime for dining. There will initially be only a limited menu as the head chef is stranded in Poland but as soon as he returns – in the middle or to the end of July, depending on quarantining rules - the menu will be extended again.

To accommodate the numbers, social distancing is important and for the smooth running of the service, tables can only be booked with at least 24 hours’ notice and at most 10 days before the desired date and members will be given a fixed time to arrive. And to accommodate as many as possible two sittings will be trialled . Also, initially bookings will only be accepted for members and members of their households. Pre- or post-dinner drinks will be served at the table as the bar itself which will be screened. The dining room will be zoned, and each zone will have a dedicated waiter or waitress. This is to limit the possibility of cross contamination and aid tracing if there should be an outbreak at the Club

For those wishing to buy drinks without a meal, this can only be accommodated outside and will be table service only. Booking will not be required for this, but it is expected names and contact details for track and trace purposes will be required.

There will be sanitisation stations throughout the clubhouse and entry and exit will be through the front door with a limited one-way system into and out of the front bar.

In common with many other businesses, the club is trying to discourage the use of cash so bar and dining bills will be paid by card.

Rear Commodore Maurice Butler said he can see the light at the end of the tunnel “ While clearly, it will take several more months to see a return to something near normal hopefully it will not be too long before sailing can get underway in earnest.

In the meantime, the Club is planning short-handed crew races and day cruises in which family groups from the one household can participate. It is unfortunate that with the delay since March of being able to get access to their yachts some owners will not have the necessary work done in sufficient time to make it worthwhile launching their boats this year. I do believe that 2020 will go down as the strangest sailing season on record. We all hope fervently that it will never be repeated!”

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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


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

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 2022

Race start: Off Wicklow Harbour date to be announced, June 18 2022

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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