Tomorrow's first races of Howth Yacht Club's inaugural Wave Regatta marks the return of the host club's J109 Storm to her home waters after the successful defence by the Kelly family of their Scottish Series title in Tarbert last Monday.
It's a return fit for the champions because a strong line–up of boats from across the Irish Sea area are saluting HYC efforts to stage what has become 2019's biggest sailing event on the East Coast at its first attempt. The inaugural fleet gathers together the best of inshore and offshore performers including the top J109s, ISORA leaders, the D2D champion as well as a host of ICRA champions too.
Kelly's north Dublin crew were the toast of the Gourock this week after an 'outstanding performance' on the Clyde earned them the overall trophy as well as the Rose Bowl for best boat in the Luddon IRC fleet and The McIver Salver in a very competitive Makars Mash RC35 Class.
"A strong line–up of boats from across the Irish Sea are saluting HYC efforts to stage what has become 2019's biggest sailing event on the East Coast at its first attempt"
A week later, they now encounter an entirely different set of competitors and an entirely different set of conditions too as Wave Regatta looks set to be based around the arrival of sea breezes.
A fleet of 154 boats comprising entries from Howth and around the Irish Sea will be in action over three days of the June Bank Holiday weekend for the inaugural Wave Regatta.
Racing under IRC rating and ECHO handicaps, six classes while boats have the option of competing on all three days starting on Friday 1st June or selecting only the traditional Lambay Race on Saturday 2nd June.
The Kelly's meet a 15-strong line up including Andrew Algeo's Juggerknot the Royal Irish yacht that won the J109 East Coast Championships a fortnight ago. Also in that line up is the core group of Algeo's RIYC club mates from Dun Laoghaire such as Tim Goodbody's White Mischief, Andrew Craig's Chimaera and triple ICRA champion Joker II, skippered by John Maybury. But it's not all Js, yet more RIYC campaigners heading for Howth waters include the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Champion Rockabill VI, a JPK10.80 skippered by Paul O'Higgins and Colin Byrne's XP 33 Bon Exemple. Byrne, in particular, has familiarised himself with the Ireland's Eye race track by finishing third overall last weekend at the 1720 Europeans.
Approximately one-third of the fleet have opted for the one-day event meaning that the remaining two days will also be a 100-boat regatta. Racing for local one-designs and classic Howth 17’s is also included in the line-up.
Nigel Biggs Checkmate XVIII in Class 2 has a 20–strong opposition to contend with including potential challengers such as Anthony O’Leary from the Royal Cork YC on his modified 1720 Antix Beag and half-tonners The Big Picture owned by Mike and Ritchie Evans plus Cullen on Checkmate XV.
Class 3 is another 20–strong event that includes youth and Under 25 teams from Howth and Galway in the J24 class.
Included in the event is the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association (ISORA) fleet with around 20 boats expected, most racing in Saturday’s Lambay Race that counts towards the ISORA season league, a series currently led by 2017 champion, Mojito from Pwllheli Sailing Club.
Sea Breezes Expected
Fine weather with sea breezes is expected plus an unrivalled hospitality experience ashore has attracted huge interest including 50 visiting boats.
Over 800 crew-members are expected in addition to family and friends for the evening entertainment programme provided by event sponsor Michael JF Wright Hospitality.
Entries have officially closed but Wave Regatta Director of Racing David Cullen has said every effort will be made to accommodate last-minute boats.
Additional berths have been made available in the marina for visitors as the Howth YC cruising-group has relocated to nearby Malahide. Deep water berths with direct shore access have been arranged by the Howth Harbour Authority.
Wave Regatta aims to provide the best racing and hospitality experience and is on course to be the biggest event of the 2018 season on Ireland’s East Coast. Several initiatives including the Sailors for the Sea programme are being encouraged plus accommodation solutions and a daily ferry sailing at 0815 from Dun Laoghaire’s East Pier to Howth in time for racing.