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East Down Yacht Club in Northern Ireland will host the Impala European Championship on 25th/26th May next year. The event will incorporate the UK and Irish National Championships of the 28-foot one-design keelboat class.

The club has a nine-acre site on the western shore of Strangford Lough, alongside a  sheltered stretch of water inside Island Taggart, one of about seventy islands in what is the largest inlet of water in the British Isles. As well as a wide open area ideal for racing, there are the tricky tides and many small islets, locally known as pladdies, which will make for an interesting event.  

Grant McCullough's Imp was the winner of the Impala Open event at East Down YC in 2023Grant McCullough's Imp was the winner of the Impala Open event at East Down YC in 2023

It is understood that the weekend also includes a Sonata Open event, and with hopefully the nine Impalas and ten Sonatas already racing regularly in the Lough entering the event,  the addition of visitors will make a busy competition over six races in the two days.

East Down Yacht Club will host the Impala European Championship on 25th/26th May

According to the event website, a number of bursaries are available to assist travelling boats, with lift in available on the Lough and mooring for visiting boats.                            

For more information email John Patterson at [email protected] 

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Hot on the heels of the very successful Leisure 17 50th Anniversary event at East Down Yacht Club on Strangford Lough, a fleet of 12 Impalas and Sonatas gathered for a two-day Open Event last weekend (27th/28th May.

The club lies on the western shore of Strangford Lough.

Imp, owned by Grant McCullough, Philp McIlvenna and David Maxwell, won the Impala eight strong event with two firsts and a fifth.

Ian Smyth’s Sonata, MouseMary Martin’s Sonata, Mouse

In the Sonatas, the top boat was Mary Martin’s Mouse posting three firsts and a second from the five races.

The first four races were windward/leeward, and the final race was around the fixed Strangford Lough racing marks.

Commodore Keith Carr was pleased with how the event went. “A very successful event; a wind shift on the first day added fun to it. Breezy enough on the second day".

About Commander Bill King, Solo Circumnavigator

William Donald Aelian King was the last surviving submarine commander in the Second World War - in charge of the British Navy's T-class Telemachus that sank a Japanese sub in the Strait of Malacca, between Malaysia and Sumatra, in 1944.

Decorated many times for his service by the end of the war, King became a trailblazing solo sailor.

At the age of 58, he was the oldest participant in The Sunday Times Golden Globe Race sailing Galway Blazer II, a junk-rigged schooner he designed himself.

After a number of abortive attempts, including an incident with "a large sea creature", he finally completed his solo circumnavigation of the globe in 1973.

Beyond his aquatic escapades, King settled with his wife Anita (who died in 1984, aged 70) at Oranmore Castle outside Galway after the war, where he later developed a pioneering organic farm and garden to help tackle his wife's asthma.

The round-the-world sailor and Galway native Bill King died on Friday, 21 September, 2012, aged 102.