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Convivial Cheer for IDRA 14 Class’s 70th Birthday Dinner at Royal St George YC

20th October 2016
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RStGYC Commodore Justin McKenna entered totally into the spirit of the evening with his Gala Dinner outfit at the IDRA14 70th Anniversary Dinner in the RStGYC last Saturday night. Class Commodore Ian Sargent is presenting him with his special pennant to mark an outstanding year for this historic class which had its first race at the RStGYC in 1946. RStGYC Commodore Justin McKenna entered totally into the spirit of the evening with his Gala Dinner outfit at the IDRA14 70th Anniversary Dinner in the RStGYC last Saturday night. Class Commodore Ian Sargent is presenting him with his special pennant to mark an outstanding year for this historic class which had its first race at the RStGYC in 1946.

When you’re among friends at a major anniversary celebratory dinner for a dinghy class of national historic significance, it’s something of a gamble to allow a roving microphone to be taken into the midst of the gathering at the height of the party and allow everyone and anyone the opportunity to tell their favourite stories from seventy years of sailing and sociability involving the boats being so enthusiastically honoured writes W M Nixon.

In fact, it’s a double gamble, as you’re relying on the expectation that an extra level of tolerance will be extended to those who become over-emotional with the saltiest of language in their recollections, and at various stages you’ll be hoping that the unwritten rule will prevail that what’s said and done at such occasions stays at such occasions, provided the matter in question falls short of murder - and even that might be debatable…..

Last Saturday night’s 70th Anniversary Dinner for the IDRA 14 Class in the Royal St George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire was the boisterous rounding-out of a year-long celebration which has managed to take on national and international connotations. But as the idea for the class was first hatched in the Royal St George YC by the likes of Douglas Heard and Billy & Jimmy Mooney in the winter of 1945-46, with the IDRA 14s’ first race being staged by the selfsame club in the summer of 1946, there was only one possible venue for the 70th Anniversary Dinner on Saturday October 15th 2016.

Ian Sargent David Lovegrove sailing Ian Sargent presents ISA President David Lovegrove (himself a former IDRA 14 sailor) with his 70th Anniversary pennant.

RStGYC Commodore Justin McKenna entered into the spirit of the occasion with total enthusiasm by kitting himself out in a Gala Dinner outfit that should be the envy of Commodores worldwide, complete with a magnificent bow tie which surely requires a licence for use in public. And the IDRA 14 sailors past and present from all over Ireland turned up in their droves with extra memorabilia and memories to add to the already impressive collection put in place by Class Commodore Ian Sargent and his team. Then to add the necessary gravitas to the occasion, Irish Sailing Association President David Lovegrove and his wife Kate arrived as Guests of Honour on a double basis – the President was himself a keen IDRA 14 sailor back in the 1960s.

Mary Conn picnic lunch  IDRA 14 Sheldrake Now there’s style for you. An elegantly-kitted Mary Conn enjoys a picnic lunch aboard the IDRA 14 Sheldrake from Sutton in Dun Laoghaire Harbour before a regatta in 1952.It was an event which gave a true sense of the passage of time, for some of the more ancient stories told were well beyond the wildest reaches of Political Correctness, while the old photos revealed that on occasion the IDRA 14s were moved about the country by transport arrangements which definitely wouldn’t come through an NCT today. And it has to be admitted that in the early days, lifejackets were discarded at the earliest possible opportunity - if they’d ever been put on in the first place……

But in all and in every way, it was a hugely memorable night for a very special class which deserves every minute of the celebration.

Ian Sargent IDRA 14 dinghyOnce an IDRA 14 sailor, always an IDRA 14 sailor…… A very young (and admittedly lifejacket-less) Ian Sargent aboard one of the many IDRA 14s built by his father Charlie. Charlie Sargent was one of those instrumental in bringing the class into being, and his “amateur-built” boats were often superior to those of professional builders

Published in Historic Boats

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