Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Classic Boat Variety at Glandore Regatta

25th July 2017
One hundred and seventeen years of sailing, and still going strong. The Dublin Bay Water Wags set the style at Glandore with their design of 1900, although the class itself dates back even further, to 1887 One hundred and seventeen years of sailing, and still going strong. The Dublin Bay Water Wags set the style at Glandore with their design of 1900, although the class itself dates back even further, to 1887 Photo: Gary MacMahon

If variety is the spice of life, then the 25th Anniversary Glandore Classics Regatta is currently staging the most vibrant and flavoursome boat show on the Irish coast writes W M Nixon.

Admittedly the mid-week routine, which will lead on to events like races to Castlehaven (or Castletownshend if you prefer), doesn’t have quite the same hectic pace as the opening weekend. But for connoisseurs of classic or traditional or even just plain odd boats, it’s a feast for eye, memory and analysis which has seen some vividly contrasting boats all united in at least one purpose.

cuilaun glandore2Flagship for style. The 1970 McGruer ketch Cuilaun at Glandore exemplifies the contemporary standard for classic yacht maintenance and presentation. Photo: Gary MacMahon

That purpose was to honour the memory and achievement of the late Theo Rye (1968-2016). He was taken from us all too soon last Autumn. But in his short life, his passion for yacht and boat design - its history and its future – was an inspiration for all who came in contact with him, and particularly those with whom he worked on a variety of projects which could range from the smallest of boats right up to the ultimate Fife restoration, the giant 23 Metre Cambria

glandore cityone3The CityOnes from Limerick cutting a dash with a difference at Glandore. It takes an effort to realize they were designed by Theo Rye, yet he could comfortably take such unusual challenges in his stride. Photo: Gary MacMahon

chod glandore4The Cork Harbour One Design Elsie (Patrick Dorgan) at Glandore. She was desined by William Fife in 1895-96. Photo: Gary MacMahon

In Glandore, there are currently several boats which have benefitted from Theo’s expertise, or could do were it so wished. For instance, a regular at Glandore is the modernized Clyde 30 Brynoth, a Fife creation of 1905. If anyone had ever planned to bring Brynoth back to her original form, it would have been so reassuring to entrust the project to Theo’s encyclopaedic knowledge of the Fife design and build canon.

Yet the breadth of his influence and expertise is also seen in Hal Sisk’s eye-catching yet under-stated 63ft powercruiser Molly Ban, which is in Glandore to act as mothership to the owner’s Dublin Bay Water Wag. Molly Ban could be claimed to find inspiration from may sources, but she is such a unique combination of seagoing powerboat and classic dinghy mothership that we could reasonably argue she is sui generis, she’s just her own sweet self, and that’s all there is to it.

molly ban5The 63ft Molly Ban is an elegant multi-purpose vessel whose large self-draining cockpit can be used as a “deck garage” for smaller classic craft. Photo: Gary MacMahon

In addition to the owner’s advanced technical experience, Molly Ban saw the combined talent of Nigel Irens and Theo Rye put to work to create a very elegant and distinctive vessel so easily driven that, with a single 300hp Cummins diesel, she has a maximum loaded speed of 16 knots and makes an easily-reached 14 knots on 30 litres of fuel an hour. Yet if you throttle back to 10 knots – a tidy enough speed for most cruising – she burns only ten litres an hour.

molly ban6The stern view of Molly Ban gives a hint of the ingenuity of her design. The little clinker tender is based on a dinghy built for Hals Sisk’s grandfather in 1926. Photo: Gary MacMahon

There’s a completeness to the Molly Ban concept which is a credit to the memory of Theo Rye. But equally, in looking at the presentation of all the top classics at Glandore, you realize that you’re looking at yachts which have been raised to a standard which Theo and others like him ensured was set, and then adhered to, and if anything improved over time.

His mind could also produce totally off-the-wall solutions to design challenges. But though we all know that it was Theo Rye who came up with the completely innovative design for the CityOne dinghies to be built by the Ilen Boatbuilding School in Limerick, nevertheless at Glandore it was still pause for thought to see them sharing the sea with the utterly classic Dublin Bay Water Wags, a design of 1900 which Theo Rye equally cherished.

water wag glandore7The timeless elegance of classic clinker construction. Guy Kilroy heels his modern-build Water Wag Swift to make the best of zephyrs at Glandore. Photo: Gary MacMahon

wags cityone rankin8Mixing the fleets – Water Wags from Dublin Bay, CityOnes from Limerick, and a Rankin from Cork Harbour share the waters of Glandore. Photo: Gary MacMahon

With four CityOne dinghies available in Glandore for an inter-area Theo Rye Memorial Series, Race Officer Donal Lynch was able to provide competition for a representative selection with crews from Limerick, the County Clare folk of Seol Sionna who had arrived in Glandore with their own distinctive Shannon Estuary hooker Sally O’Keeffe after a fine overnight passage from Kilrush, a West Cork crew with some involved in the restoration of the ketch Ilen at Oldcourt, and a Cork city team.

glandore cityone9The Cork crew in the Inter-Area series for CityOnes were Nicola Cowhig (helm), Aoife & Muireann O’Donnell, and Gemma. Photo: Gary MacMahon

glandore cityone10They may not look like they’re going anywere fast, but Limerick’s Donal Coffey (helm, right) and Sean McNulty won the Theo Rye Memorial Series for the CityOne dinghies. Photo: Gary MacMahon

In the end, it was the Limerick duo of Donal Coffey (helm) crewed by Sean McNulty who won the weekend series overall, but really it was the way that the CityOne dinghies so ably fulfilled the role envisaged for them by Gary MacMahon of the Ilen School and Theo Rye which was the abiding memory.

As the photos reveal, Donal Lunch has had quite a challenge in setting races for all classes which will be manageable despite a shortage of wind, with further frustration early in the week as the underlying northerly airstream tended to negate the efforts of the warming summer days to create a sea breeze, but by week’s end we hope to get reports of improved sailing.

Meanwhile, a view of the classic style currently gracing the Glandore anchorage is more than enough to be going along with.

glandore fleet11“Eclectic” would be the best word for the fleet at Glandore. Photo: Gary MacMahon

Published in Historic Boats
Afloat.ie Team

About The Author

Afloat.ie Team

Email The Author

Afloat.ie is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

Featured Webcams

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events3

tokyo sidebuttoncork300 sidebuttoncorkweek2020 sidebuttonroundire sidebuttonWave Regatta button full size

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating