When a yacht is one hundred years old, it might be normal to celebrate the event, perhaps by breaking open a bottle of champagne with a few close friends, or having a small celebratory article printed in ‘Afloat.ie’, or even head off on a remarkable cruise, to celebrate such a long survival.
However, the Shannon one-design class, designed by Francis Charles Morgan-Giles (1883-1964) built their preview boat in 1921 (which no longer survives), and trials were offered to sailors on the Shannon River, in order to promote the idea of a one-design for the Shannon. Everybody who sailed the new boat were impressed, and during the winter and spring of 1922, nine boats were built to the new design, seven of which were built by Walter Levinge of Creaghduff, Athlone, Co. Westmeath. Numbering started at No. 32, so these new boats were Nos. 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38 and 40.
In 2017, the surviving boats, Nos. 32, 33, 37 and 40, celebrated their 95th birthday, so, it was decided to have a pre-regatta, in preparation for a bumper centenary regatta in 2022. It was the owners of No. 37, ‘Kiwi’, Peter and Owen Delany and their siblings, who put together the idea of the pre-centenary regatta to be held at Lough Ree Yacht Club (Est. 1770) over the weekend of 29-30 July. A notice was circulated to the owners of the other 95 year olds, and to all the newer Shannon one-design owners (most recent boat in No. 179), and 15 boats turned up to race and to party.
On Saturday, the wind was 12-25 knots which resulted in one compulsory reef. Race one went to the opportunistic Alan and DJ Algeo in No. 138. Then, after lunch, race two was won by Andrew Mannion in No. 97, who also managed to win race three. This was followed by a Pimms party, and dinner for eighty celebrants in the Lough Ree clubhouse.
On Sunday, the rain belted down, but the wind was lighter, so the reef was no longer mandatory. Racing north of the Yellow Islands, saw Miss Georgina Corbett in No. 108 win race four, and race five was won by veteran sailor Frank Browne in No. 86. The final race after lunch was held in the flukey waters close to the clubhouse, and was won by Harmon Murtagh Snr and Jnr. as popular winners.
However, there were no discards in the six race series, which resulted in Miss. Corbett being declared the overall winner by one point from Dr. Mark McCormack on No. 50 which was built in 1925. For full results see below, and all SOD sailors are welcome back in 2022.