Displaying items by tag: Wave Regatta
September's Wave Regatta at Howth Yacht Club has been cancelled due to COVID19. It brings the axe down too on the ICRA cruiser-racer national Championships that were rescheduled to be sailed as part of the three-day Dublin regatta.
In a statement released tonight, the Howth organisers said: "In the face of uncontrollable circumstances and taking account of our responsibilities in respect of public health, Wave Regatta 2020 in conjunction with Howth Yacht Club and ICRA has made the difficult decision to cancel this year's event".
Chairman Brian Turvey explained: ‘Howth Yacht Club has a greater responsibility to ensure member and visitor safety and taking advice to comply with government and HSE guidelines and paying consideration to recent pandemic trends, this makes the running of the event too difficult at this time.
The event must continue to be true to the Wave Regatta concept and the brand must promise a unique and memorable experience onshore, which would be impossible to achieve this year under current conditions.
I would like to thank our sponsors who are remaining onboard and the organisation team who have worked hard for the past 18 months, meeting almost every obstacle with creativity and solutions. This dedicated support and team will be now focussed on delivering Wave Regatta on 3rd-5th June 2022 and we look forward to welcoming you and your crew to an event that will be worth waiting for!”
ICRA Commodore Richard Colwell added “the decision to cancel Wave and therefore the ICRA National Championships shows that the sailing community is no different to most other sports in that dealing with the pandemic for obvious reasons takes preference overrunning a sailing event. We would like to thank Howth Yacht Club for all their efforts to try and make this happen.”
Entry fees will be refunded over the coming days and any queries should be addressed to the team in the HYC administration office (01 8322141).
It would appear that the decision to reschedule Wave Regatta to the second weekend in September is strengthening the event and the inclusion of the ICRA National Championships within the regatta in Howth will certainly focus the plans of many racing sailors at the end of the summer.
The Government's phased easing of restrictions announced last night also appear to favour the postponement even though large gatherings will still not be allowed in September. Event Chairman Brian Turvey told Afloat after the government announcement: "Although I haven’t spoken with Irish Sailing yet, it appears to me that all going well, August 10th might be the date where we can all go back sailing and racing on multi-crewed boats. That would give us a month to refine our already evolving COVID-19 preparations. We’re already looking at doing temperature control checks, online crew symptom checking and branded face masks for all competitors"
The Notice of Race has been published (download below) and it explains that entry to the ICRA Nationals includes qualification (at no extra cost) for Wave Regatta prizes also. This three-day sailing event has always been presented as an innovative experience and notwithstanding the considerations about the current pandemic, the organising team in Howth have been working hard and creatively to plan for every eventuality.
Racing Director Dave Cullen explains ‘Our focus has been to be able to run an excellent racing regatta and championships for the many competing sailors, boats and keelboat classes. It was important that we chose the right dates in September to make the most of favourable neap tides, avoid clashing with other major events and importantly to allow us the time to plan the regatta in consultation with the various authorities. It would appear that the sport of sailing is one that will be high on the list of sports to recommence over the coming weeks and we’re ready to support sailors with the highest quality racing that Howth is synonymous with’. In addition to the ICRA Nationals, the September dates for Wave Regatta also affords many classes the opportunity of hosting their own National Championships at a time of the year that is often touted as being ideal and normally after a full summer of racing. A number of other National Championships will be incorporated including the Sigma 33s and J80s as well as the Half Ton Cup.
Chairman Brian Turvey said ‘Understanding the predicament that many classes will find themselves dealing with such a short season in 2020, we are keen to see if there might be other ’natural synergies’ for class championships albeit within the parameters of the Notice of Race. As such, we’re keen to hear from classes that find themselves in that position and where we might be able to accommodate’.
Visitors to Wave Regatta in 2018 will remember the scale and quality of the onshore hospitality that lifted the event beyond a level normally associated with a sailing regatta in Ireland and the 2020 organising team, with help from sponsors such as Michael Wright Group and Fingal County Council, have promised an original and creative solution to the likelihood of some social restrictions and assert that competitors will be delighted with what will be presented.
The event is open to all keelboats and entry can be made for the single day Lambay Races or the full 3-day regatta which runs from Friday 11th through to Sunday 13th September.
Full event details including Notice of Race (downloadable below) and online entry can be found at waveregatta.com
Heralded as a ‘regatta wrapped inside a three-day party’, Wave Regatta takes place in Howth on the 29th-31st May (the June Bank Holiday Weekend) and the organising team at Howth Yacht Club would appear to have accumulated all the ingredients to replicate the very successful event that was first held in 2018.
The schedule offers keelboat classes the options of racing in the 3-day regatta that commences on Friday 29th May or a single-day entry for Saturday’s Lambay Races.
The 3-day event invites IRC and ECHO Classes to participate in the highest quality racing that Howth affords, with a race management team led by International Race Officers, David Lovegrove and Peter Crowley. There will also be a mix of local one-design classes taking part, including the Sigma 33s, J/80s, Squibs, Puppeteers, Ruffians, E-Boats and Howth 17s.
Wave Regatta’s Race Director, Dave Cullen explains ‘utilising a mix of round-the-cans, windward-leeward and coastal race courses, the mix of racing will be of the very highest standard and we want to enthuse entries across a wide array of boat types and sizes. We will also be using the latest ICRA ECHO algorithm that revises handicaps between races and consequently allows relative performance to be adjusted throughout, ensuring every entrant has a chance at winning. For teams that might struggle to commit to the 3-day event, we’ve again included the option to compete in the Lambay Race on the Saturday only with an open invitation to enjoy the hospitality ashore in Howth Yacht Club for the whole weekend.’
Describing the overall event, Chairman Brian Turvey explained: ‘Built on a platform that sets out to provide the highest quality racing, this year’s Wave Regatta unashamedly strives to use many of the resources that Howth has to offer so that it will be an unforgettable weekend for all competitors and visitors to the town on the June Bank Holiday. With the backing of Fingal County Council and generous support and expertise from Michael J Wright Hospitality, we have created an event that is much more than a sailing regatta and one that is designed to thrill a wider audience ashore, including visitors to Howth that weekend.’
The entertainment line-up for that weekend includes Howth locals Vogue Williams and the Guilty Party who will be joined by an array of live music acts each evening including guest DJ, yachting commentator and 6-time world champion (Etchells and 5.5m) and Olympic silver-medalist Mark Covell.
Notice of Race and Online Entry are now live on waveregatta.com and the discounted ‘Early Bird’ entry expires on 27th March.
Irish Olympic helmsman Mark Mansfield picks his big (and smaller) events coming up for the Irish cruiser classes in 2020
The 2019 season is only just coming towards its end and already owners and crew are looking ahead at what is in store next year. There are still some good events to finish this season, and among them, the Autumn Leagues in Howth and Royal Cork, The final ISORA race, with the spoils still not decided, the J109 Nationals, the final summer series DBSC races and of course the very popular DBSC Turkey Shoot series.
2019 was very much a front-loaded year with Scottish Series, ICRA Nationals, Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race, Sovereigns Cup and Dun Laoghaire Regatta all happening within a seven-week period, and 2020 is not looking a whole lot different.
Below you will see the dates of the bigger events for 2020.
Without a doubt the two standout big boat events next year will be the Round Ireland Race in June and in July, Royal Cork Yacht Club host their special Cork Week, on the Munster club's 300th year anniversary. More on this later.
2020 'Big Boat' events
- Scottish Series, Tarbert - May 22nd to May 25th (Friday to Monday)
- Wave Regatta, Howth Yacht Club - May 29th to May 31st (Friday to Sunday)
- Round Ireland Race, Wicklow SC - Starts June 20th (Saturday)
- RORC Morgan Cup - Cowes to Cork - Starts July 8th (Wednesday)
- Cork Week, Royal Cork Yacht Club (300 Year Celebration) - July 13th to July 18th (Monday to Saturday)
- Calves Week - Schul August 4th to August 7th - (Tuesday to Friday)
Other events that are building numbers are Bangor Week, commencing 25th of June and WIORA week (date not published yet). The very popular ISORA offshore series runs throughout the year and these dates are also eagerly awaited.
Here are some details of each of the larger events:
Always a very happy hunting ground for Irish boats wishing to sharpen themselves up for the new season. Numbers generally have been dropping for the Scottish Series except for the very popular RC35 class where Irish Boats took all podium places this year. Class 2 in 2020 might also show some increases with the biennial Classic Half-Ton Cup in Cowes bringing the competitive Half Tonners out to play early. This year there were two half tonners—expect more in 2020. Great racing and great pub craic around the beer tent and local pubs.
Only a new event in 2018 and is based around the Howth Yacht Club traditional June Bank Holiday Lambay Race. Wave Regatta is held every two years and if 2018 is anything to go by, it will be very well attended in 2020. It comes just a few days after the end of Scottish Series. A variety of courses over the three days, including the very popular round Lambay race. Well organised with great onshore facilities.
Round Ireland Race
The big one. 704 miles from Wicklow to Wicklow, clockwise around Ireland and its islands, turning corners all the way around. It goes from strength to strength. There is a rumour of a very large, very well known Maxi looking at taking on the challenge and the record in 2020. If you only plan to do one full-length offshore race, this is the one to do. I have done five Fastnet Races and I would always pick a Round Ireland over a Fastnet.
For those boats who have competed in the last two events, there is the added bonus of the chance to win a Volvo car for the best Boat over the 2016, 2018 and 2020 races. I’m sure we will be advised of the current pecking order very soon on this.
RORC's Morgan Cup
Rarely do Flagship RORC races end in Ireland, but on the 300th year anniversary of the founding of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, the RORC have graciously organised for one of their big races to finish in Cork, as a way of getting UK boats over for the Cork Week 300 regatta.
Approx 90 boats competed in the 2019 Morgan Cup edition this year, won overall by a J109. I suspect you may see some offshore orientated Irish boats decide to include this race in their calendar next year, which also serves as a way to get the boat to Cork in time for the Cork Week 300 Series.
Cork Week 300
From the Height of Cork Week in 2000 when boats competing topped 700, it has fallen somewhat. However, 2020, the 300th Anniversary of the club's founding, is all set to be special and interest from all corners of the world is evident with housing around Crosshaven and Carrigaline already starting to be booked up.
A number of classes are planning to use the week as their European Championships. The 1720 class, who had circa 75 boats at their 2000 event, are planning a big show in 2020 with already 10 boats confirmed from the UK with more likely to follow. A proper event Announcement is expected in September announcing some major classes and profile boats that will be competing.
The 2020 ICRA Nationals is being held as part of Cork week (three days only). Cork Week also incorporates a building fleet for the Beaufort Cup, which is a separate event within the week for associated national services (Army, Naval, Police, Firefighting, Coast Guard etc). This event incorporates an offshore race around the Fastnet and back.
Cork Week 2020 will be one not to miss. White Sail and coastal fleets will be included and the highlight is the all in Harbour race.
Numbers have held up very well for Calves Week. In 2019, there were 65 cruisers competing, with very competitive racing over the four days. A mix of windward-leeward courses, around the Islands and the Fastnet race keeps everyone interested. One race a day, with all the crews congregating after racing out in the streets between Newmans and Hackett's pubs. The Apres racing is as important as the racing with many sailors choosing to incorporate family holidays into the week. If you are doing Cork Week, and have not done Calves Week before, maybe you should consider leaving the boat in Cork and sliding down westwards a week or two later.
“Wave afloat, rave ashore? And all good? What more could you ask?” The new-style Wave Regatta at Howth over the June Bank Holiday weekend set itself so many ambitious targets that it takes a day or two to get it all into perspective writes W M Nixon. But if anything, the feedback gets better with the passage of time.
After all, with an organisation team headed by Brian Turvey, they set out to build a fun regatta for our times around an expanded version of the venerable annual Lambay Race - which dates back at least to 1904 - while at the same time providing a three day series of hot racing for some razor-keen IRC classes which had been judiciously divided ratings-wise to provide – as far as possible – divisions of optimum size.
At the same time, they’d to provide good racing for the local One Design Puppeteer 22s and Howth 17s which continue to provide the backbone of Howth local racing when the IRC squad are away chasing other glamour events.
Well, with entries rising up to 164 boats on Saturday’s peak day of racing, there could be no complaints about turnout, And as to the scene ashore, the Howth-headquartered Michael Wright Hospitality Group took over all entertainment arrangements in a professional style which left nobody in any doubt they were dealing with experts, and the result was a hugely popular 12-band programme which made the best of the gorgeous weather once Friday’s minor glitch of fog and calm had been put out of the way.
The combined outcome afloat and ashore exceeded even the most optimistic anticipation. But it has to be admitted that while our preview here last Saturday got most of the names which were to feature at the front of each class as racing drew to a sunny close on Sunday, we somehow failed to highlight the potential of Dave Cullen’s classic Half Tonner Checkmate XXXV while talking of the success six days earlier in Scotland of another of Howth’s vintage Half Tonners, Johnny Swan’s Harmony.
But while Johnny sails with his mates, Dave is always game to get a rock star onto the strength, and at Howth it was soon noted that Checkmate’s lineup included the one and only Nin O’Leary. Any further comment is superfluous. While Harmony managed to hang in to be second in Class 2, it was Checkmate XV all the way, Class Winner and Regatta Champion by the end of the series.
In Class 1, the sharpening effect of their virtual One-Design-racing within-a-division is putting the J/109s in a class of their own. But while Pat Kelly’s Storm may have been away in the north winning the Scottish Series, Andrew Algeo and partners in Juggerknot are in a speedy place, and they won all but two races at Howth. One of these was the 1.5 points-scoring Lambay Race which went to Storm, racing through her home waters off Rush, which made sure she placed second overall at the end of the regatta, while the other went to one of the Howth boats, Colm Buckley and Simon Knowles’ Indian.
At the top of the size scale in Class O, it was Jamie McWilliam’s Ker 43 Signal 8 from Hong Kong almost all the way, but Conor Phelan’s gallantly-campaigned veteran Jump Juice, a 12-year-old Ker 36, was rewarded with one win as she took in the Howth Wave event on her way back to Cork from after featuring in the frame at the Scottish Series.
As to the historical feature which is placed like a jewel at the heart of this new Wave happening, the Lambay Race has become such a diverse event that the ultimate trophy, the silver statuette of the Lambay Lady, goes to the winning boat which has the biggest time lapse between it and second place. It says much for the fiercely close competition for the IRC and ECHO classes that this time round, it was won by Peter Courtney with the One-Design Howth 17 Oonagh.
The Courtney family have been racing Howth 17s round Lambay since 1907. But in his time, Peter Courtney has been a Fireball Champion and an offshore winner as well. Howth sailing today is a broad church, and it has embraced the new Wave Regatta with aplomb. The next one has already been confirmed by HYC Commodore Joe McPeake, it’s set for the June Bank Holiday Weekend in 2020.
Howth crews topped the major prizes with David Cullen on Checkmate XV in Class 2 who won the overall Regatta trophy while traditional Howth 17-footer Oona skippered by Peter Courtney won the classic Lambay Race on Saturday.
Blue skies and sea breezes attracted a total entry of 161 boats from around the Irish Sea and further for a great racing mix and 'unique hospitality' ashore.
Pre event Pundit predictions were confounded in nearly all classes as the four-race series that included Saturday's Lambay Race (see photo review here) produced some new and not so new inaugural Wave Regatta champions.
"It was a clean sweep for the hosts in all IRC classes except zero and one where Royal Clubs seized the day"
It was a clean sweep for the hosts in all IRC classes except zero and one where Royal Clubs seized the day.
Persistent fog and light winds on Friday eventually cleared in time to deliver a perfect race around the scenic Fingal coastline on Saturday that ended in Howth Sound in ‘champagne sailing’ conditions with the same again for Sunday’s finale.
The overall event win for David Cullen - who was also the Wave Regatta Director of Racing - was based on Checkmate XV's wins in all four races, including the bonus scoring Lambay Race (non–discardable) in the biggest fleet of the event that featured 21 entries in Class 2.
The Lambay Race itself was the highlight of the Wave Regatta weekend when the full fleet of 161 boats graced the pristine waters of the Fingal coastline. Appropriately for the class race around Lambay Island, the Howth 17 footers were given the route closest to the island before the long beat back to Howth Sound and the finish where Peter Courtney and Oona won with a convincing lead.
Royal Hong Kong's Jamie McWilliam, got his Ker 40 Summer campaign in Irish waters off to a great start with a class zero win over Conor Phelan's Jump Juice (Ker 37) and George Sisk's WOW (Farr 42).
Algeo's Royal Irish J109 Wins Class One
Newly crowned J109 East coast champion Andrew Algeo of the Royal Irish Yacht Club has caused a major upset in IRC One after unseating the host club's Storm for overall honours.
Coming off the back of two solid wins in Scotland, the Storm crew looked in total control winning yesterday's Lambay Race opener to be overnight leaders. But, the RIYC crew, who sailed so well a fortnight ago for East coast honours and who finished second in the Lambay Race yesterday, again showed the depth of their ambition when they took two well-earned wins in today's final three races. It was more than enough to clinch the title by a margin of 3.5 points. With a four-point advantage, Storm took second to another Royal Irish boat, Joker II skippered by John Maybury.
Perfect Scoreline for Cullen's Checkmate XV
In class two, nine of the top ten were all HYC entries. The top three were Howth's tricked–up Half–Tonners. Afloat's own nod for the Wave win, Nigel Biggs' Checkmate XVIII, outside the frame in sixth overall. The win instead went to Bigg's former steed, Checkmate XV, now owned and sailed to a high standard by Dave Cullen had the perfect scoreline of four race wins. Repeating the Lambay order, second overall went to Harmony Johnny Swann and third was Mike Evans' The Big Picture.
In Class three, another HYC flag is at the top of the leaderboard. While admittedly hailing from Carrickfergus, 'F'nGR8' skippered by Rory Fekkes, another Scottish winner, took a well-earned win from two Howth X302s, Dux (A Gore-Grimes) and Xebec (Bourke McGirr Ball) in second and third respectively in the 21–boat fleet.
Plans for Wave 2020
Three days of entertainment ashore organised by sponsor Michael JF Wright Hospitality included 12 bands and DJ’s and a giant display screen while six different food options were available in addition to Howth’s array of pubs and restaurants.
“We’re measuring success on the feedback that we’re getting from sailors and sponsors alike who are already planning on returning for the next Wave event in 2020,” said Joe McPeake, HYC Commodore. “This is a tribute to all the effort by a great team of volunteers and our business and local authority partners in Howth and Fingal.”
Building on the success of the inaugural Wave Regatta, a target of introducing 1,000 newcomers to the sport in time for Wave 2020 has been set. Quest Howth, the club’s new training centre will deliver this pathway into the sport by providing the equipment, skills and opportunities for young people, adults and families throughout Dublin.
Costs will be kept to an affordable level with minimal outlay up-front required from newcomers. Boat ownership is not required at any time and all participants will be offered club membership.
All results are here
Pat Kelly's all-conquering J109 Storm of the host club continues her winning ways this weekend by topping the leaderboard in Howth's Wave Regatta after a strong turnout for the annual Lambay Race yesterday. It's a result, at least in Class One IRC, that confirms an earlier prediction made by Afloat.ie here.
The non-discardable Lambay Race as part of the overall regatta series did not disappoint with ideal 10–15 knots breeze for north Dublin's traditional course around Lambay Island.
Billed as the biggest event of the sailing season, the scale of the fleet was a tonic for all involved as the 154–boats reached to Lambay in good surfing conditions.
Howth Yacht Club rolled out Ireland's newest sailing event and amassed a great fleet to make it Ireland's biggest sailing event in 2019 at the first attempt.
The new style 'Wave' formula breathed new life into one of Dublin's oldest sailing fixtures; the annual Lambay Race dating back to 1899.
The bank holiday event manages to combine inshore and coastal racing that includes rounding the Dublin Island.
Lambay, according to Afloat.ie's WM Nixon in his Wave Regatta preview, says it's a 'perfect island which does so much to make the Fingal coast into Leinster’s sailing paradise'.
Combining a six race inshore programme with the Lambay route has been a popular decision that has produced a quality fleet across three ratings divisions, to the extent that the regatta is being touted as an 'East Coast IRC Championships'.
The coastal race had a 1.5 times multiplier and is non–discardable for overall honours that could yet prove critical as today's final three rounds get underway.
Crisp boat handling stole the show off Ireland's Eye yesterday with those who had already produced the goods in Scotland or in other early-season events clearly showing an edge.
With a small entry in Class Zero of three boats, it was left to Conor Phelan's Ker 37, Jump Juice to take the win despite planing conditions that gave Jamie McWilliams' high rating Ker 40, Signal 8 the chance to do a horizon job on the water. Unlucky to only finish third at last week's Scottish Series, Phelan got the better of the other two in this class. Signal 8 was second with George Sisk's Wow third.
In Class One IRC, the Storm crew, who were crowned Scottish Champions last Monday, outwitted a strong fleet of 19 by catching the first shift off the leeward end of the line. Second was Royal Irish J109, Juggerknot, the recently crowned J109 East coast champion skippered by Andrew Algeo, with clubmate Colin Byrne in the XP33, Bon Exemple third.
Class Two IRC was a Half Tonner benefit for the top three places for three well prepared Howth boats edging out the threat of Nigel Biggs' Checkmate XVIII, that took a creditable second at last year's Half Ton Cup. Dave Cullen's Checkmate XV took the win, Jonny Swan's Harmony was second and Mike Evans' The Big Picture was third, leaving Biggs fourth in the 22-boat class, the biggest of the event.
Another Scottish winner, 'F'nGR8' skippered by Rory Fekkes of Carrickfergus but sailing under the burgee of the National Yacht Club took a well-earned win from two Howth X boats, Dux (A Gore-Grimes) and Xebec (Bourke McGirr Ball) in second and third respectively in the 21–boat fleet.
In a ten–boat ISORA class, Chris Power-Smith's J122 Aurelia from the Royal St. George was the winner from yet another J109, Wakey Wakey skippered by Roger Smith from Poolbeg Y&BC.
All results are here
Wave Regatta racing continues today with three more races.
Fog and light winds on the Dublin coast has led to the abandonment of racing on today's first day of Howth Yacht Club's new style Wave Regatta.
Three races were scheduled from 11am but attempts to get the 154-boat fleet under way were unsuccessful.
The three-day Regatta continues tomorrow with the club's traditional Lambay Races from 11am.
It may only be the start of June, but Howth Yacht Club already has an extra-special year going in 2018, and all the signs are that it will continue to get better. W M Nixon takes the pulse of a club in good heart as it stages Wave Regatta, the East Coast’s biggest regatta this season.
Howth YC is on a real roll, truly the crest of the Wave. There has been a new zing about the place since the year turned. Improved administrative structures have started to provide beneficial effects, while the rise of new sailing talent inspires established sailors to greater effort. Things are moving again, with the establishment of Quest Sailing School – it’s within the club, yet publicly accessible - providing user-friendly ways of getting involved with sailing to bring a welcome new addition to the club’s range of services.
Thus the mood is good as this extended weekend of the Wave Regatta unfolds with all sorts of bells and whistles added to the club’s historic Lambay Race to make it a centrepiece of one very up-to-date sailing championship, an event so comprehensive that it includes an ISORA Race.
This new-style combination event has emerged fully-formed as a unique mix of very serious and notably well-attended IRC racing - overseen by top race officers of the calibre of Jack Roy and David Lovegrove - run in tandem with today’s homage to Lambay, that perfect island which does so much to make the Fingal coast into Leinster’s sailing paradise.
"Lambay, that perfect island which does so much to make the Fingal coast into Leinster’s sailing paradise"
But it isn’t just the natural advantages of its sailing waters which have propelled Howth YC back into the premier league. The whole-hearted club spirit had been renewed through 2017, to be further invigorated this year. The annual Afloat.ie Irish Sailing Awards ceremony on February 9th in Dublin opened with Howth in a very good place, listing seven known winners before the show had even begun. And by its conclusion, there was every sign of increased momentum, with Howth’s own astonishing Conor Fogerty the new Volvo Afloat.ie Sailor of the Year on the strength of his successful performance – against ferocious conditions – in his Sunfast 3600 Bam! in the storm-tossed east-west Single-handed Transatlantic Race from Plymouth to Newport, Rhode island.
You might have thought that was enough to be going along with, but by purest serendipity the following night back home, Howth YC Commodore Joe McPeake hosted his club’s own annual Achievers’ Night, and the list of those who had done great things was awesome, topped as it now was by the Fogerty triumph and augmented by a proper recognition of the many volunteers who beaver away behind the scenes to keep Howth’s unique show on the road.
But those early February celebrations were for achievements in 2017. It was time and more to think of what had to be done in 2018. No sooner had the winners recovered from the Achievers Night than a goodly group of many of the Howth talents went west, west to Antigua in the Caribbean to get the 45ft Pata Negra (chartered by Michael Wright HYC) and Conor Fogerty’s own Sunfast 3600 Bam! into tune for the RORC Caribbean 600.
It says much about the spread of Howth talents globally that one of the first people the boys and girls from home met up with in Antigua was international Irish-Australian sailing superstar and Howth ex-Pat Gordon Maguire, there with his specialists to campaign the Maxi 72 Proteus as one of the favourites for the big race.
But in one of the most rugged Caribbean 600s yet sailed, it was the ex-Howth star’s mount which fell by the wayside in the tough going, while the two Howth crews battled on over the 600 sometimes very rough miles to see Conor Fogerty win Class 4 overall, while Michael Wright and Kieran Jameson and their team in Pata Negra took second overall in Class 2 despite shredding some important sails during a proper Demolition Derby in which it was a real achievement to finish at all, let alone get a top class placing.
However, no sooner had the successes of the Caribbean expedition become official than Howth experienced what could have been a disaster back home. The 1898-founded gaff-rigged Howth Seventeens – the world’s oldest One-Design keelboat class – is another key strand of Howth sailing life, and with the thriving Puppeteer 22 class, they provide the inshore keelboat racing backbone to the season-long club sailing, which in turn is supported by multiple dinghy and junior activity.
By their age, special nature and classic quality, the Howth Seventeens are a central part of Howth sailing. In many ways, they’re the soul of the club. So when - immediately after the Caribbean success in late February – Storm Emma struck the Irish Sea and inflicted serious damage on buildings at the end of Howth’s exposed East Pier on March 1st, it was feared the Seventeens had been dealt a shattering bow, as the now-wrecked Long Shed at the end of the pier was the winter storage home for seven of the twenty Seventeens, and first reports suggested that all of them had suffered serious damage, with several probably total write-offs.
But in a remarkable community effort, as soon as conditions had settled down post-storm, a group of club volunteers worked through the day and into the night to extract all the boats from the wreckage of the shed, whatever their level of damage, and get them safely round the harbour to the club’s own compound.
Miraculously, while five boats had been seriously damaged, only two were severe cases, and one of them – Rosemary built 1907 - is currently being re-built in the heart of Fingal by ace boat-builder Larry Archer, as he is now able to concentrate on the job after completing the repairs on the less-damaged boats.
But the seventh boat – Anita – would have been judged a write-off were she not a classic. Thanks to this status, Anita (built 1900) can be re-built on her ballast keel to comply with international classic standards, and already this process has been put in train, with HYC Rear Commodore Ian Malcolm – Action Man for keeping the Howth Seventeens alive and well – making a recent business visit to the classics boatyard in Douarnenez in Brittany.
There, the Howth Seventeen class can avail of the French Government’s Boat-building Training Scheme whereby all the customers have to do is cover the costs of the materials – which will include that existing lead ballast keel – while the French authorities look after overheads, staff wages, tuition fees and whatever.
So in due course, Anita will sail again. But meanwhile back home, the class has been pulling itself together after emerging from what could have been a body blow, and for their regular Tuesday evening race this week they mustered ten boats – including some which had been among those damaged in March - for some flukey breezes on an otherwise perfect summer’s evening, and Peter Courtney with Oonagh was the winner.
Peter Courtney is classic Howth in that his family have been involved with the Howth Seventeens since 1907, yet he was also a Fireball champion in his day, and a formidable and successful offshore racing skipper. And while the Puppeteer 22s and the Howth Seventeens and other local boats of character will be much in evidence in today’s Lambay Race, it’s the classes catering for today’s “formidable and successful offshore racing skippers” which will be providing the bulk of the fleet.
In recent, years Howth Yacht Club has been keenly aware of the need to provide attractive access routes into the cruiser-racer game, and the Club’s Under 25 squad using J/24s has been so successful that it has been paid the ultimate compliment of being replicated in other clubs on all coasts of Ireland, thereby bringing new life to Ireland’s J/24 class such that J/Boats co-founder Bob Johnstone made a point of visiting HYC in 2014, and was persuaded to autograph one of the rudders to memorialise the occasion.
But the Howth administrators were also aware of a need to link actively with the strong interest in sportsboats, and for some years they’ve also been providing a club-owned flotilla of J/80s which are in turn being supported by a growing privately-owned J/80 fleet at HYC. Apart from being an attractive and versatile boat in its own right, the J/80 is a boat with sportsboat characteristics which can nevertheless access an IRC rating, so what’s not to like?
The J/80 certainly has everything going for it for a club like HYC, and as a result people head for Howth when they have specific championship or selection trials requirements, with the club’s J/80 flotilla being used in April to select the Irish squad for the Student Yachting Worlds in France on October - University College Cork captained by Fionn Lyden took the honours.
Staging events like this helped to get the club back to life after the longest winter in living memory, despite which the club’s winter Laser frostbite series – inaugurated in 1974 – continued its traditional progress to conclusion on St Patrick’s Day, while a Brass Monkey Winter Series for cruisers has also been running annually for more than thirty years. But since May began, the sailing pace has been accelerating, and one boat in particular - a true champion of Fingal – has been lifting everyone’s hearts.
A couple of weeks ago here, we outlined how Pat Kelly and his family in Rush, together with their friends and shipmates, keep their J/109 Storm in beautifully-presented and highly competitive shape. But at that time, they had only started their season by overall victory in the Kip Regatta in Scotland.
Being in Scotland meant they’d to miss the J/109 Easterns at the Royal Irish YC a fortnight ago, but they’ve since upped the performance level with their total runaway victory this week at the Scottish Series. This further raises the stakes for theRoyal Irish YCs racing within Class 1 in the current Wave Regatta, as the Andrew Algeo-skippered Joggernknot had the win in the Easterns, albeit by a close margin from Dear Prudence.
For this weekend, Dear Prudence is listed as part of the Howth J/109 contingent, having been entered by Patrick Cruise O’Brien. So between that and the fact that the hyper-champion Storm is actually Howth-based, as Howth is also the undoubted home port of Indian (Colm Buckley and Simon Knowles) we now have three Howth J/109s taking on the might of the Dun Laoghaire class in what looks like being a Battle of the Sailmakers, with the likes of Rob McConnell’s A35 Fool’s Gold from Dunmore East and Royal Irish YCRockabillRoyal Irish YC also in Class 1 to keep those J/109s on their toes.
That said, we shouldn’t let the current glamour of J/109 racing reduce the attention earned by Howth’s remarkable contingent of classic Half Tonners, whose charge in the Scottish Series was led by Johnny Swan’s Harmony – an all-wood boat, would you believe. Harmony was in the groove in Scotland and missed the class overall win by just one point, so she has a refreshed reputation to defend this time round.
But then, so have many boats in a fleet this size. And as ever, private battles are developing which will be played out today and tomorrow, and then minutely dissected in one of the many après sailing venues on offer.
Of all this we can be sure. But the great imponderable is the weather. Or more particularly, the wind. Sometimes, the Fingal coast gets breeze when Dublin Bay lacks it. But sometimes, it’s the other way round. We can only hope……..
With upwards of 150 boat competing, the inaugural Wave Regatta is set to become the largest gathering of racing yachts this year in Ireland. So who is likely to come out with the Howth Yacht Club spoils in each of the IRC divisions, Class 0, Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3?
It is no exaggeration to say that wind conditions are set to play a very big part in this.
Some yachts, especially the wider modern types excel in the breeze whereas some of the less modern shapes, with less wider sterns often do very well in the lighter conditions.
So far, all the forecasts are showing for light airs on the Friday and Sunday when the fleets have six races in total, with a little more wind on Saturday when the Lambay Day Race will be sailed. The prospect of a sea breeze similar to today, however, could yet surprise by increasing wind strengths across at least one, if not all, the three days of the regatta.
"Each of the inshore races will have a multiplier of 1 and there are six of them"
The Lambay Race will have a 1.5 times multiplier and is non–discardable. However, each of the inshore races will have a multiplier of 1 and there are six of them. Therefore, you would expect that the high number of races on Friday and Sunday, when lighter winds are expected, will favour the lighter air orientated designs.
Here is Afloat.ie's best guess of who will end up in the frame.
Class 0 Very small entry here, only three boats, George Sisk's Farr 42, Wow, Conor Phelan's Ker 37, Jump Juice and Jamie McWilliams' Ker 40, Signal 8. The Ker 40 is by far the highest rating boat of these 3 and if there was more wind, she would get up and plane easily, and sail to her handicap, but in lighter airs, she may not get these planing conditions. Wow has a new keel, a new rig configuration and new sails this year and appears to be all the better for these changes, but it may be just a bit early for her to show her form. Jump Juice is the likely winner in this class. She was unlucky to only finish third at last week's Scottish Series, and we expect she will get the better of the other two in this class.
"The smart money is on Storm to take the Class One title"
Class 1 This will be a really tight Class. A lot of well–sailed, well–prepared boats here. Were the conditions windier, you would expect to see the 3 wide, modern designs, Fools Gold, Rockabill VI and Bon Exemple feature well up there. Of these three, Rob McConnell's Fools Gold may take the lighter wind conditions better and could end up towards the front. However, in lighter winds, it is very hard to look outside one of the nine J109’s from taking the win. The J109 has won virtually every regatta in Ireland over the last four years (except Sovereign's Cup 2017 when Fools Gold won and 2016 when Rockabill VI won Cork Week), and this includes winning the last 4 Icra Nationals, class winner in the last Round Ireland, ISORA overall winner, overall winner in the 2017 Dun Laoghaire Regatta. Pat Kelly's Storm from Howth comes fresh from a win at the Scottish Series and having also won the J109 nationals last year, will certainly be one of the ones to watch. Tim Goodbody's White Mischief wins most of the Dun Laoghaire races, but will he be able to replicate this on the Northside of the Bay? Andrew Algeo's Juggerknot has recently won the J109 East coasts and has been going very well of late. However, John Maybury's Joker II, with three consecutive ICRA Nationals wins and an overall win last year at the very competitive Dun Laoghaire week will be the one to beat, if she has Olympian Mark Mansfield calling the shots, (as he did in the four wins mentioned above). If he is not aboard, then the smart money is on Storm to take the title.
Class 2 Again, wind conditions will likely make a big difference in this class, where the size range from smallest to biggest is quite large. If it were medium to fresh, you would expect to see Ross McDonald's X332, Equinox take the win, closely followed by the two Beneteau 34.7s Flashback (Breen/Hogg) and Leslie Parnell's Black Velvet. However, the conditions are likely to be light and there are no better light wind boats than the tricked–up Half Tonners, of which four are competing. David Cullen's Checkmate XV, Nigel Biggs Checkmate XVIII, Johnny Swan's Harmony (second in Scotland this week) and Mike and Richard Evan's Big Picture. Nigel Biggs was second at last year's Half Ton Cup so you would have to give him the nod ahead of Cullen. Don’t be surprised, however, to see one of the other two Half Tonners up there also. Another boat that could be good on her day in light airs is Kodachi from Howth (Wright/Connolly).
Class 3 Again, if conditions were windier, you might see one of the X302’s from Howth take the win or even one of the J24's which sail very well to their rating in the breeze. However, in the lighter airs, it is likely that one of the four Corby 25,s will take the honours and we suspect that the local Corby 25, Fusion (Colwell and Cobbe) from Howth will be the pick of these four.
See full entry list here