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Howth’s Wave Surges Centre Stage With Sunshine

4th June 2022
The overall leader of IRC One at Howth Yacht Club's Wave Regatta is the J109 Joker II (IRL 1206) skippered by John Maybury of the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire pictured here shortly after the start of race three
Here comes the sun…..the perfect racing breeze is there, and then the sun turns up as J/109 Joker, the day’s overall winner in Class 1, makes a neat job of the start on Howth Wave’s opening day Credit: Afloat

“A perfect nor’easter” may sound like a good contender for Oxymoron of the Week, but that’s what they had today (Friday) for the three opening races of the Howth Wave Regatta. And evidently Old Sol hadn’t been reading the script, as he wasn’t meant to appear until tomorrow. But as the racing progressed, the bright June sun became increasingly prominent, and by the time the fleet returned to Howth Harbour for some intriguing intermingling in the berthing situations among top offshore racers and the local fishing fleet, it was wall-to-wall sunshine and Factor 50 all round.

In previews, we’d talked of a “small but strong” Cork contingent, and they lived up to that billing, stamping their mark at the sharp end of the fleets where they were present. The first day’s racing was almost entirely focused on the heavy metal, as the smaller classes and most ODs are saving their fire for Saturday’s “one race and then the Lambay” combination. But as it happens, they may regret missing today’s sport – it was pure gold.


The Jones family’s new version Jelly Baby from Cork is a J/122, and they’re clearly already right on top of J/122 sailing skills, putting down three clear but close wins, the margins in the three races from Robert Rendell’s GS 44 Samatom (HYC), Patrick Burke’s First 40 Prima Forte (RIYC) and Samatom again being respectively nine seconds, 18 seconds and a much clearer 1 minute 50 in the day’s final contest.

The J/122 Jelly Baby from Royal Cork is skippered by Brian Jones The J/122 Jelly Baby from Royal Cork is skippered by Brian Jones Photo: Afloat

Robert Rendell’s GS 44 Samatom (HYC)Robert Rendell’s GS 44 Samatom (HYC) Photo: Afloat

Patrick Burke’s First 40 Prima Forte (RIYC)Patrick Burke’s First 40 Prima Forte (RIYC) Photo: Afloat

Much interest focused on the two Cape 31s racing, but they’re on a learning curve, and with the highest (by far) ratings in the class, their proper setting is surely in One-Design Racing.

David Maguire's Cape 31 ValkyrieDavid Maguire's Cape 31 Valkyrie Photo: Afloat

The Wright family Cape 31, AdrenalineThe Wright family Cape 31, Adrenaline Photo: Afloat


In a 15-strong fleet, John Maybury’s J/109 Joker (RIYC) was on a familiar track with a scoreline of 5, 1 and 3 to top the table, but local star Simon Knowles with J/109 Indian found form with a 3rd, 2nd and 6th, putting him on level pegging at the end of the day with northern invader John Minnis’s A35 Final Call II (RUYC)

Simon Knowles' Howth Yacht Club J109 Indian lies second overall after three races sailed Photo: AfloatSimon Knowles' Howth Yacht Club J109 Indian lies second overall after three races sailed Photo: Afloat

Final Call II (John Minnis) from Royal Ulster RUYC lies third (but tied on points with second) in Class One IRC Photo: AfloatFinal Call II (John Minnis) from Royal Ulster RUYC lies third (but tied on points with second) in Class One IRC Photo: Afloat


Here be hot Half Tonners in a fleet of 14 boats, but although the eternally-interesting Swuzzlebubble - newly-acquired by Royal Cork’s Dave Dwyer - was a source of fascination, it was solid performer Stephen Quinn’s J/97 Lambay Rules (HYC) which set the pace in a class of 14 boats with two bullets and a second. But “The Bubble” was there with a scoreline of 3,2,1 which suggests Saturday is going to be very interesting, third slot overall going to ICRA Commodore Dave Cullen (HYC) in his immaculate Checkmate XV on 2,2,6.

Royal Cork Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble skippered by Dave Dwyer Royal Cork Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble skippered by Dave Dwyer Photo: Afloat


Class 3 with 14 boats completed two races, and it was seasoned X class Dux (Caroline & Nico Gore-Grimes HYC) which slotted in a second and first to take the overall lead from Vincent Gaffney’s Laser 28 Alliance II (HYC) on a first and fifth, while it was back to the classic X stable for third and No Excuse (Wormald, Walsh, O’Neill, HYC).

X 332 Dux (Caroline & Nico Gore-Grimes HYC)X 332 Dux (Caroline & Nico Gore-Grimes HYC) Photo: Afloat

Vincent Gaffney’s Laser 28 Alliance II (HYC)Vincent Gaffney’s Laser 28 Alliance II (HYC) Photo: Afloat

No Excuse (Wormald, Walsh, O’Neill, HYC) Photo: AfloatNo Excuse (Wormald, Walsh, O’Neill, HYC) Photo: Afloat


Class 4 had a familiar name in front with Colm Bermingham’s Elan taking the double bullet in their two races, Dun Laoghaire’s Paul Tully with White Lotus being next in line with a 3rd and 2nd, while Malahide’s David Green matched hi overall with a 2 & 3 for White Pearl.

Colm Bermingham’s Elan 333 Bite the BulletColm Bermingham’s Elan 333 Bite the Bullet Photo: Afloat

Dun Laoghaire Elan White Lotus skippered by Paul Tully Photo: AfloatDun Laoghaire Elan White Lotus skippered by Paul Tully Photo: Afloat


Class 5 Non-Spinnaker was very local with the MG34 Toughnut sailed by local hero Dermot Skehan (telly super-chef Donal is known only as Dermot’s young fella on the peninsula) notching two wins in the two races sailed, with the history-laden Club Shamrock Demelza (Steffi Ennis) second and Joe Carton’s Dehler 34 Voyager third.


Mark Usher’s Jumpin’ Jive from Greystones grabbed the three wins from Brian McDowell’s Scandal from Malahide on three seconds, the locals in K25Howth getting a look in to place third overall


Racing was quite close in the small fleet of J/80s, but Paddy O’Neill’s Mojo (HYC) showed she’d lost none of the form shown on the few international outings permitted last summer, and had a couple of firsts and a third.


Stephen Mullaney’s Insider (HYC) is current Irish Champion, having taken the title in 2021 in Dun Laoghaire, and he’s still on form, three wins to keep him ahead of Boojum (Bourke & Legge RStGYC) and Razzamatazz (David Townend, RIYC). 

Tomorrow (Saturday) will see the fleet expanding and extra classes involved thanks to the enduring appeal for the Lambay Race. But the sailing and weather conditions will have to be very good indeed to match this glowing opening day of Howth Wave Regatta 2022.

Full results here 

Published in Wave Regatta
WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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Wave Regatta provides Howth Yacht Club and the community on the Howth peninsula in County Dublin with a biennial keelboat racing event that aims to be the most attractive sailing event in Ireland.

Maximising many of the local natural resources and involving allied Howth businesses and services, it attracted competitors, visitors and others on its first staging in 2018 with a weekend-long spectacle establishing Howth as a destination of choice for sailors, visitors and allied marine tourism.

Read Afloat's preview and review of the first staging of Wave Regatta.

At A Glance - Wave Regatta 2022

Howth Yacht Club's 2022 WAVE Regatta will be sailed from 3rd-5th June

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