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Irish Presence at International 12 Foot Dinghy Friendship Regatta at Rutland Water

30th July 2019
Light airs in Rutland Light airs in Rutland

In one of the most international regattas for the International 12 Foot Dinghy of recent years, entries came from Uganda, Holland, Canada, England and Ireland. This historic dinghy class permits either a crew of one of two. There is no doubt that in heavy weather the second person can be of great advantage is keeping the wooden dinghy moving through choppy water. The event was held at Rutland Sailing Club due to its location equidistant from Holland and Ireland, and due to the calmer water to be found on a reservoir.

On Friday two races were held. Initially, the wind was less than two knots with dragonflies were moving faster than the dinghies. Large fish were jumping in an attempt to catch the dragonflies which provided entertainment for the eleven competitors. After a postponement, a 6-knot breeze arose from the west. In this race, Dutch Champion Pieter Bleeker (NED) won from Colin Blewell (GBR), with the strong Canadian team of Nicolette Aronidus third. It might have been expected that the Dutch expertise would dominate, but in this race, they did not. This was followed by race two in similar conditions in which the superior Dutch boat handling was a lesson to the Irish and English.

On Saturday the breeze had increased to 10 knots which presented problems to the lighter teams. Bleeker dominated with Bos and de Vrybuiter on the podium. It was now becoming clear that keeping close to the north shore of the reservoir provided beneficial wind bends. The wind was progressively building in strength with strong gusts which were testing the crews on the downwind legs of the windward-leeward course. Vincent Delany who was unable to control his boat in the stronger winds was joined by Andrew Miller who skilfully crewed for the rest of the event.

Dinghies were beached or moored on Saturday evening. With heavy rain overnight, the moored boats of Mark Delany and George Miller took a lot of water and, unfortunately, they were unable to clear the water before the first gun in 14 knots of wind. In these conditions, Margaret Delany and Gerry Murray (in 1928 built ‘Cora’ from the defunct Seapoint Boat Club) had their best race. In the final race, Vincent Delany and Andrew Miller in the historic 112 (which was narrowly beaten by 29 seconds by Captain Payne in the World Dinghy Championships of 1925) were growing in confidence and took a valuable third place.

This friendly event was a good test for all the competitors who are expected to attend Clinkerfest, the celebration of 250 years of sailing at Lough Ree Yacht Club in May/June 2020.

Download results below

Published in Historic Boats
Vincent Delany

About The Author

Vincent Delany

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Sailing historian Vincent Delany is a member of the Association of Yachting Historians, and an active sailor in Water Wag, SOD and Squib classes. He has written a thesis on 'Yachting and yachtsmen on the River Shannon 1830-1930.' He has lectured on the history of The Water Wag Club, Royal St.George Yacht Club, and the Killinure Yacht Club, He has written two sailing books 'The Water Wags 1887-2012' and 'The International 12 foot class in Ireland' both of which are available from

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