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Leisure 17s 50th Anniversary Celebrations Continue on Strangford Lough

12th July 2023
The Leisure 17 flotilla at Whiterock Bay on Strangford Lough
The Leisure 17 flotilla at Whiterock Bay on Strangford Lough

Celebrations of 50 years of Leisure 17s at East Down Yacht Club near Killyleagh on Strangford Lough continued on the first Saturday in July with the second of the series of day sails. 

This outing proved to be rather more lively than the first in May, with the weather forecast in the week preceding the venture warning of strong westerlies which indeed did materialize with the forecast gusting 24 knots showed itself from the West North West.

In the relative shelter of the club on the western shore of Strangford Lough, white horses were appearing in Holm Bay, but not to be deterred the seven Leisure 17 skippers present elected to proceed with reduced sails. Unfortunately, the initial passage plan which would have included a visit to Newtownards Sailing Club 12 miles north east at the invitation of that club for refreshments, had to be abandoned as the strong westerlies would have left the fleet very exposed at the north end of the Lough. So, the plan was changed to keep the boats on the western side of the lough, travelling nine miles North to Whiterock Bay.

Some of the Leisure 17s homeward bound after their second 50th Anniversary rally on Strangford LoughSome of the Leisure 17s homeward bound after their second  50th Anniversary rally on Strangford Lough

The wind grew as the fleet gathered by the club committee boat and they sailed off under reduced sail. After an hour and a half of exhilarating close hauled sailing through the pladdies and islands of the western shores of the lough, the fleet rounded the north end of Trasnagh Island and on a starboard reach, made for the relative shelter of Whiterock Bay, south of Braddock Island.

"This outing proved to be rather more lively than the first in May"

After refreshments the 4ourse was set for home. The southward journey through the sheltered moorings of Ringhaddy Sound made for a more comfortable passage, but still in winds gusting 24 knots. The 14.5 miles covered showed a maximum speed of just over 7 knots and whilst allowing for 1 knot of current, the little 17s were proved they had some pace, but they were tough enough to handle the gusts.

All the tested and tired sailors were pleased to have undertaken the second in the series of day sails celebrating 50 years of Leisure 17s at EDYC, and look forward to the remaining day cruises. The next is on Saturday 6th August to through the Narrows to Benderg Bay near the Killard Nature Reserve at the mouth of the Lough.

For further details on upcoming Leisure 17 and small boat cruises, contact Stephen Perry, EDYC L17 Assoc. Secretary, mobile 00 7779895613

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down

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