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Displaying items by tag: Water Wag

The Water Wags, a local sailing class on Dublin Bay, had a successful season in 2023 despite the extreme weather conditions that they faced. The club's activities kicked off with a coaching and training weekend at the National Yacht Club in April, which ensured that all boats were in top condition for the first race at the end of the month.

The club held 22 Wednesday races throughout the season, with 37 Water Wags competing on average every week. The races took place in the harbour, with the PRO authorized to run one race of around 60 minutes, which represented three or four laps of the harbour or two races of two laps each, depending on the weather conditions.

The Pieta House 'Darkness into Light' event on May 6th was a unique event in which Dipper, one of the boats, led the way sailing east into Scotsman's Bay to welcome the sunrise, followed by a hearty breakfast.

The 2018 built Water Wag No.48, Dipper, sailed by David Williams of the Royal S.t George Yacht Club Photo: Michael ChesterThe 2018 built Water Wag No.48, Dipper, sailed by David Williams of the Royal S.t George Yacht Club Photo: Michael Chester

The club also held two pursuit handicap races during the season, which allowed the boats normally at the tail of the fleet to start in clear wind and stay ahead of the bunch as long as possible. Phyllis was a high achiever during these races.

Six Water Wags, Polly, Little Tern, Swallow, Mariposa, and Dipper, travelled to Brittany to compete with 1500 other classic vessels at La Semaine Du Golfe De Morbihan, a social and cultural event where the Water Wags were warmly welcomed.

David and Jill Sommerville sailing Water Wag No. 40 SwallowDavid and Jill Sommerville sailing Water Wag No. 40 Swallow Photo: Michael Chester

The Water Wags also held a fundraiser for the RNLI and participated in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2023, where last-minute arrangements were made to relocate the racing for the 18 Water Wags into the harbour due to stormy weather conditions. Despite the amalgamating of teams to ensure that only the more experienced sailors went afloat, Puffin and Mary Kate dominated the results.

Water Wag racing at the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2023 was stormy for the 18-boat fleet Photo: Michael ChesterWater Wag racing at the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2023 was stormy for the 18-boat fleet Photo: Michael Chester

Mademoiselle won the Captain's Prize race and dinner in August, which is one of the most popular events of the year, while Puffin, Swift, Tortoise, and Ann were the dominant boats in the final event of the season on Lough Key in County Roscommon. Despite the weather forecast never dropping below force seven, the competitors completed seven races. The event was such a success that the club has already booked the same venue for next year.

David Kelly at the helm of Water Wag No. 33 Eva Photo: Michael ChesterDavid Kelly at the helm of Water Wag No. 33 Eva Photo: Michael Chester

Overall, the Water Wags had a fantastic season, and the club members are looking forward to more sailing adventures in the years to come.

The strength of the Water Wags, says the class, lies in several areas:

  • Boats do not become outclassed after a few years.
  • Skill levels are such that husband/wife teams can match mother/daughter teams and every other combination of people connected by blood, marriage or friendship.
  • The distance from shore to the race area is short, with minimal ‘hanging around’ between races.
  • We have our own PRO who organises ‘Windward-Leeward’ races suited to Water Wags.
  • After racing each week, all the sailing teams gather together for socialisation.
  • We hold at least three sailing suppers during the sailing season and two in the winter.
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Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) Race Officer Tadgh Donnelly set a three-round windward/leeward course for the last DBSC Water Wags race of the 2023 season at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on Wednesday evening, September 20th.

The 26-boat fleet was racing for the Candlestick trophy, and many of the Wag dinghies sported Christmas lights, which could be seen as the light faded and the boats returned to their respective clubhouses.

 The Water Wag dinghies sported Christmas lights for the last race of the season for the Candlestick Trophy at Dun Laoghaire Harbour Photo: Ann Kirwan The Water Wag dinghies sported Christmas lights for the last race of the season for the Candlestick Trophy at Dun Laoghaire Harbour Photo: Ann Kirwan

The Water Wags are packing up now and heading to Lough Key for their traditional end-of-season weekend on the Shannon.

Results were:

1. No. 52 Puffin, Seán & Heather Craig
2. No. 38 Swift, Guy and Jackie Kilroy
3. No. 15, Moosmie, John O’Driscoll and Shirley Gilmore

Published in DBSC
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They’ve been part of our sailing furniture for so long that you could be forgiven for thinking Ireland’s historic local classes might just quietly fade away through being barely noticed. But you’d be very much mistaken. 2023 has been a season in which these special boats, and the quality sport they provide, have come to be seen in an ever more appreciative way.

For sure, in times past, each class would have its blindly faithful little group of adherents, who would refuse to consider any other sort of boat. But in recent years, the significant shift has been in the attitudes of support from sailors with experience in other craft – often many other craft - right up to the top international level.

TEDIOUS LOGISTICS OF INTERNATIONAL SPORT DIMINISH ITS ATTRACTION

Jaded perhaps by the increasing stress of international travel, and by the fact that the reasonably popular international sailing venues of yesteryear are now over-crowded places which have become far too busy for their own good, they have been taking a fresh look at the sport to be had in their home place, where their own journeys afloat began in boats which their fathers and uncles might have sailed.

 Shannon One Designs in a stiff breeze on Lough Derg. One of Ireland’s many local classes which have recently passed a significant waypoint, they celebrated their centenary in 2022 Shannon One Designs in a stiff breeze on Lough Derg. One of Ireland’s many local classes which have recently passed a significant waypoint, they celebrated their centenary in 2022

And they find that what they previously took for granted is something to be cherished, appreciated and enjoyed as a source of a very special sort of sport, a true community endeavour where a meaningful role and sense of participation is found for crews of all levels of competitive talent.

CONGENIAL NEIGHBOURHOOD CLUBS

The fact that in most cases in Ireland, this ready sport afloat is to be found just down the road in the congenial neighbourhood club means that returning international hotshots have to learn to ease off a bit on their game. It’s a sort of unwritten rule which has meant that the most diligent application of the written rules tends to be undertaken by class veterans who may even – dare one say it – have something of a vendetta going back many years against another boat. That’s how it can go in local racing.

 Senior citizens. The Mylne-designed Strangford Lough River Class celebrated their Centenary in 2020. They are believed to be the world’s first One-Design class to have set Bermudan rig when new Senior citizens. The Mylne-designed Strangford Lough River Class celebrated their Centenary in 2020. They are believed to be the world’s first One-Design class to have set Bermudan rig when new

MULTIPLE ANNIVERSARIES

This refreshed interest in local classes has been further energised by a slew of special anniversaries. The handsome yet hefty River Class sloops on Strangford Lough celebrated their Centenary in 2020, in 2022 the Shannon One Designs were on their energetically-celebrated One Hundred while the 25ft Glen Class in Strangford Lough and Dun Laoghaire marked their 75th, and in 2023 the Howth Seventeens have been marking their 125th year in an inspired programme led by Class Captain David O’Shea, while the 18ft Belfast Lough Waverleys have celebrated their 120th at their new base with Strangford Lough YC at Whiterock, which bids fair to become Classic Classes Central with the Rivers and Glens already well established in the bay.

 “Slipping effortlessly along” – whether it’s Belfast Lough or Strangford, the 18ft Waverley keelboats have a fine performance which belies their workaday looks “Slipping effortlessly along” – whether it’s Belfast Lough or Strangford, the 18ft Waverley keelboats have a fine performance which belies their workaday looks

WAVERLEY “HOMECOMING”

And as it happens, in a sense it’s a homecoming for the Waverleys, for although the class originated in 1903 with the County Antrim Yacht Club at Whitehead on Belfast Lough, in the two or three years before World War I in 1914 five boats to the design raced on Strangford, with all of them named for seabirds. When the Strangford class failed to revive after the War, they were all bought up for Belfast Lough racing and allowed to join the Waverley Class provided that, like their sister-ships, they took new names from Walter Scott’s Waverley novels.

 New life for an old boat – Waverley Class as restored by Ricky le Boas of Ardglass, who has also “worked magic” on boats of the Glen Class from both Strangford Lough and Dublin Bay New life for an old boat – Waverley Class as restored by Ricky le Boas of Ardglass, who has also “worked magic” on boats of the Glen Class from both Strangford Lough and Dublin Bay

 The reviving Dublin Bay 21 Class colour scheme – work is now under way with Steve Morris of Kilrush on the fifth boat to be restored, with just two more to be done to complete the class The reviving Dublin Bay 21 Class colour scheme – work is now under way with Steve Morris of Kilrush on the fifth boat to be restored, with just two more to be done to complete the class

At the same time, classes such as the Dublin Bay 21s – with Oola, the fifth boat of the original seven now in full re-birth process with Steve Morris of Kilrush in the Hal Sisk/Fionan de Barra class revival – have seen their 120th spread over both 2022 and 2023, while of course Dun Laoghaire is mother to them all with the enduringly-popular and increasing 1887-founded Water Wag ODs.

 The 1887-originating Dublin Bay Water Wags have been able to carry their late afternoon Wednesday racing into the Autumn, as seen here on September 6th 2023 The 1887-originating Dublin Bay Water Wags have been able to carry their late afternoon Wednesday racing into the Autumn, as seen here on September 6th 2023

NEW TURN IN FAIRY CLASS STORY

There has been another celebration around the 120-year-mark for the 23ft Linton Hope-designed, John Hilditch of Carrickfergus-built Fairy Class sloops at their Cultra base on Belfast Lough with Royal North of Ireland YC.

But they have also seen an intriguing turn of fortune. The Brien family of RNIYC may be best known as International Dragon Class racers to the highest level with boats called Kin. But more recently, they’ve come to appreciate the fascinating quality of sport and camaraderie which is provided at home by the Fairy Class.

Yet although sail numbers in the class at Cultra ran to 15, the sometimes rugged weather of Belfast Lough and its exposed anchorages had reduced the number of viable boats to eleven. So when the trio of Mark Brien, Ed Cody and Mark Hunter felt they wanted to join a thriving class whose busy existence is continually chronicled by class honorary secretary, records keeper, historian and diarist David “Brick” Livingston, they looked to Lough Erne where a second branch of the class was established five years after the Belfast Lough division.

The two classes once raced together as one designs on Lough Erne some time around 1911, when the Belfast Lough division made a special inland voyage west via the Lagan Navigation, the Lagan Canal, Lough Neagh, the River Blackwater and the Ulster Canal to Lough Erne, despite which they still found the energy to take on the Fermanagh crews. But there has been a slight parting of the ways since, with the Belfast Lough boats up-dating to Bermudan rig while the Lough Erne boats stayed with the original long-boom gunter rig which required a longer bowsprit to maintain helm balance.

The Fairy Class on Lough Erne retained the original gunter rigThe Fairy Class on Lough Erne retained the original gunter rig

BELFAST LOUGH CLASS THRIVES, LOUGH ERNE WANES

However, while the Belfast Lough class has thrived mightily in recent years to become trendy, the Lough Erne division was becoming moribund in the face of demand for crews from the likes of the J/24 class. Nevertheless it must have required some delicate diplomacy for Mark Brien and his colleagues to persuade them down in Fermanagh that the best future for the rather tired Fairy OD Snipe was in a completely restored form, and re-rigged as a Bermudan sloop with a shortened bowsprit to become Belfast Lough Fairy Class Number 16, the first time the Cultra division has reached that registered fleet size.

New rig, new life – the former Lough Erne Fairy Class Snipe – now No 16 - makes her public debut at Holywood Regatta on Belfast Lough on September 2ndNew rig, new life – the former Lough Erne Fairy Class Snipe – now No 16 - makes her public debut at Holywood Regatta on Belfast Lough on September 2nd

The restoration proved to be a massive job which is fascinating for classic boat enthusiasts and any appreciators of quality workmanship, so we’ll be carrying a more detailed and fully-illustrated account in a future Afloat.ie. But meanwhile it meant that Snipe in her latest manifestation did not take to salt water for the first time in her 115 years until late in the 2023 season, and in fact her public debut was at Holywood Yacht Club Regatta on Saturday, 2nd September.

The setting could not have been more appropriate, as its drying nature means Holywood is a genuinely spectator-friendly regatta, as they can only race for an hour or two either side of high water - thus bringing the boats right inshore – while the club itself is the oldest on Belfast Lough, going right back to 1862. So it is allowed that Snipe got herself on the podium this time round, provided her crew realised that it wouldn’t be best for the class to make an unbroken habit of it.

Meanwhile in Strangford Lough the Waverlies had staged their 120th officially in a day of such awful weather in August that they used the gentler conditions of September 2nd for another race which was won by Nigel (Finn & John McCabe) in the happy presence of former owner Jimmy McKee of Ballyholme, whose good works on behalf of Ballyholme YC, the GP14 Class and the Waverleys have deservedly received national recognition.

The immaculately maintained Waverley Class Nigel (Finn & John McCabe) took the honours in the class’s 120th Anniversary celebrations at WhiterockThe immaculately maintained Waverley Class Nigel (Finn & John McCabe) took the honours in the class’s 120th Anniversary celebrations at Whiterock

Unlike the Fairy Class, the Waverlies have all reverted to the original John Wylie-designed gunter rig, but their Bermudan rig did allow for the convenience of easy roller reefing, which Kevin & Colm Mac Laverty and Mick Clarke carried when they sailed Durward round Ireland in 1961. Now, however, in the ownership of Steve and Anne Allen, she is guntered.

SHANNON ODs REVERT TO PRIVATE LIFE AFTER PUBLIC EXUBERANCE OF CENTENARY

Sliding gunter rig has always been the rig of choice for the Shannon One Designs and the Dublin Bay Water Wags. And while the former have reverted to the anonymous totally private parallel existence on the Shannon Lakes which they exuberantly abandoned last year for their Centenary, the word is that Andrew Mannion and David Dickson have been the helmsmen who have been showing in front during 2023’s recuperative season.

As for the Water Wags, as the weekly reports have been indicating in Afloat.ie all season, the class has been so healthy that many have been taking a win. It will be interesting to see how this ultimate local class, with its remarkable mixture of down-home sailors and international stars to Olympic level, will shape up during their regatta visit to Lough Key on the Upper Shannon area in a week’s time.

Undoubtedly August 2023…..Mermaids racing in their Nationals at Skerries with a sky that looks beyond threateningUndoubtedly August 2023…..Mermaids racing in their Nationals at Skerries with a sky that looks beyond threatening

Staying more local in their ambitions were the Dublin Bay Mermaids, now found racing only at Foynes on the Shannon Estuary, and Rush and Skerries in Fingal, with the latter providing weather which was truly Wagnerian for 2023’s annual championship at the beginning of August. Yet a winner emerged in the form of This Is It (No 177), sailed by Mark Boylan, Aileen Boylan, and Colman Grimes, whose personal contribution to sailing both in Skerries and nationally is the stuff of legend.

International Umpire Ailbhe Millerick’s superbly-restored Glenluce racing in the kind of conditions that Dublin Bay can provide when the going is goodInternational Umpire Ailbhe Millerick’s superbly-restored Glenluce racing in the kind of conditions that Dublin Bay can provide when the going is good

Meanwhile, the Glen Class section in Dun Laoghaire may seem like just another local class, but its ranks include international offshore racing owner-skipper Adrian Lee, and International Umpire Ailbhe Milllerick, whose personal restoration of Glenluce was and is a wonder to behold.

They may well have unwritten rules about what the usual far-ranging post-race chat can encompass. After all, an International Umpire will have a juicy story or two. And though other local classes in Ireland can claim national and world champions, and Olympic medallists too, only the Dun Laoghaire Glens can claim the first-ever winner of the RORC Caribbean 600 Race in the person of Adrian Lee.

Published in W M Nixon

Nineteen boats participated in the Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) Water Wag dinghy race held on the windy evening of Wednesday, September 13th.

Racing was held under DBSC Race Officer Tadgh Donnelly, who set up a three-round windward/leeward course in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

All boats had reefed mainsails to cope with the 12-16 knot and gusty southerly conditions that prevailed throughout the race. 

Mariposa, owned by Cathy MacAleavey and Con Murphy of the National Yacht Club, took an early lead in the first round of the race. However, Seán and Heather Craig's boat, Puffin, from the Royal St. George YC, managed to overtake them on the second beat and win the race.

Seán and Heather Craig's boat, Puffin, number 52, won the DBSC Water Wag Race Photo: Ann KirwanSeán and Heather Craig's boat, Puffin, number 52, won the DBSC Water Wag Race Photo: Ann Kirwan

Mariposa, number 45, sailed by Cathy MacAleavey and Con Murphy of the National Yacht Club took second in the DBSC Water Wag Race Photo: Ann KirwanMariposa, number 45, sailed by Cathy MacAleavey and Con Murphy of the National Yacht Club took second in the DBSC Water Wag Race Photo: Ann Kirwan

Moosmie, number 15, sailed by John O’Driscoll and Shirley Gilmore of the Royal Irish Yacht Club took third in the DBSC Water Wag Race Photo: Ann KirwanMoosmie, number 15, sailed by John O’Driscoll and Shirley Gilmore of the Royal Irish Yacht Club took third in the DBSC Water Wag Race Photo: Ann Kirwan

The windy conditions made for an exciting and closely contested race throughout the evening.

Results were:
1. No 52. Puffin, Seán & Heather Craig
2. No. 45 Mariposa, Cathy MacAleavey & Con Murphy
3. No. 15 Moosmie, John O’Driscoll & Shirley Gilmore

Published in DBSC
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Dublin Bay Sailing Club Race Officer Tadgh Donnelly set a 3-round windward/leeward course for the Water Wags race on, Wednesday, September 6th.

All 21 boats got off to a clear start in a balmy 7-10kt SSE breeze in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Guy and Jackie Kilroy sailing Swift led from the start, with the subsequent placings being hotly contested.

Adam Winkelmann’s Mademoiselle and Vincent Delany’s Pansy were placed second and third in a very close finish.

Results were:

  1. No. 38 Swift, Guy & Jackie Kilroy
  2. No. 46, Mademoiselle, Adam Winkelmann & Doug Smith
  3. No. 3 Pansy, Vincent Delany & Emma Webb
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Adam Winkelmann and Doug Smith, sailing Water Wag No. 46 Mademoiselle, clinched a late win in the beat to the finish of Wednesday evening's DBSC Water Wag Captain’s Prize Race. 

Race Officer Tadgh Donnelly set a three-round windward/leeward course, and the 24-boat fleet got off to a clear start after a brief postponement, as the line needed to be reset following a 20-degree wind shift in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Royal St. George's Sean and Heather Craig, sailing No.52 Puffin, led from the start but were hotly pursued by Mademoiselle.

Sean and Heather Craig, sailing No.52 Puffin in close competition with winners Adam Winkelmann & Doug Smith sailing No. 46 Mademoiselle in tonight's DBSC Water Wag Captain’s Prize Race at Dun Laoghaire HarbourSean and Heather Craig, sailing No.52 Puffin in close competition with eventual winners Adam Winkelmann & Doug Smith sailing No. 46 Mademoiselle in tonight's DBSC Water Wag Captain’s Prize Race at Dun Laoghaire Harbour Photo: Brendan Briscoe

On the approach to the final gate, Mademoiselle pulled up level with Puffin and went for the port gate, so Puffin went for the starboard gate.

Mademoiselle crossed ahead of Puffin on the final short beat to get the gun in a very close finish.

Water Wag Class captain David Williams (left), winning helmsman Adam Winkelmann and Berna WilliamsWater Wag Class captain David Williams (left), winning helmsman Adam Winkelmann and Berna Williams Photo: Ann Kirwan

Results were:

1. No. 46 Mademoiselle Adam Winkelmann & Doug Smith
2. No. 52 Puffin Sean & Heather Craig
3. No. 15 Moosmie John O’Driscoll & Sarah Dwyer

Published in DBSC
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Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) Race Officer Chris Moore was forced to cancel Wednesday night's weekly Water Wag racing due to a lack of wind on the Dun Laoghaire Harbour race course. 

Racing continues next Wednesday, with just four races left to sail in the 2023 season.

Published in DBSC
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Dublin Bay Sailing Club Race Officer Tadgh Donnelly set a three-round windward leeward course for the Water Wags race on Wednesday, August 16th.

Twenty-three boats competed in a 5-7kt SE breeze inside Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Seán and Heather Craig’s Puffin from the Royal St. George Yacht Club just pipped clubmates Tim and Gillian Pearson’s Little Tern on the finish line. Little Tern had led the race from the start.

Results were:

1. No. 52 Puffin, Seán and Heather Craig
2. No. 36 Little Tern, Tim and Gillian Pearson
3. No. 47 Peggy, David & Patricia Corcoran

Published in DBSC
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Royal St. George's Tim and Gillian Pearson sailing Little Tern took the gun out of 18 starters in a nice 6 to 8 breeze in Wednesday night's DBSC Water Wag race staged inside Dun Laoghaire Harbour

Overall, Puffin, sailed by Sean and Heather Craig, lead the DBSC Water Wag Summer Series on 30 points from Guy Kilroy on 44 in Swift. John O'Driscoll's Moosmie on 57.

Published in DBSC
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A 2,1 scored in Wednesday night's DBSC Water Wag races in Dun Laoghaire Harbour has put Royal St. George's Sean and Heather Craig in Puffin 14 points clear at the top of the Summer Series. 

Second overall is Guy Kilroy's Swift on 44 points, with John O'Driscoll's Moosmie third on 57.

The results for Wednesday's races are below:

Race 18 2 Aug 2023

1 Number 42 William Prentice
2 Number 52 Puffin Sean Craig 
3 Number 45 Mariposa Cathy Mac Aleavey

Race 19 2 Aug 2023

1 Number 52 Puffin Sean Craig 
2 Number 45 Mariposa Cathy Mac Aleave
3 Number 3 Pansy Vincent Delany

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