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Displaying items by tag: Ballyholme

Last week Ballyholme’s Dan McGaughey won the youth title and second overall in the Laser Radial UK Nationals at Largs, Scotland. This followed Howth Yacht Club’s Eve McMahon who won the Under 17 Laser Radial Youth Worlds title the week previous in Kingston, Canada. And of course, Eve’s brother Jamie won the Under-21 Laser Radial European title back in May in Porto. It all points to some home talent building for the Laser Radial European Youth Championships which Ballyholme will host next summer in July 2020.

Before that - Ballyholme Yacht Club will host the 2019 Irish Laser National Championships from Thursday 22nd to Sunday 25th August 2019 with support from Ards and North Down Borough Council, CH Marine, Quay Marinas, the Salty Dog hotel and the Guillemot Deli & Kitchen Cafe.

As Afloat reported previously, this is the first major Laser event at Ballyholme since 2014 when Ballyholme’s James Espey was attempting to keep eventual Rio rep Finn Lynch at bay, and Annalise Murphy was on her way to Olympic Silver at Rio 2016.

Published in Laser
Tagged under

Sunday afternoon saw the second race of the Lisglass Builders Icebreakers Series with a wide range of dinghies across all classes.

The Topper class is still depleted with squad training going on elsewhere but it was good to see Freya Sharp out for her first race in one of the BYC Eric Twiname boats, and 3 Fevas on the water with the brother-sister crew of Jamie and Ellie Mackey battling around the race course. Memories were evoked from 35 years ago of the Flannigan brothers - similarly competitive in their Cadet dinghy. Ollie Haig scored his second win of the series in the Topper while Catherine Pooler and Anna Wilson from SLYC similarly won the Low PY class.

In the larger PY class, Gareth Flannigan and Dave Fletcher stormed away from his brother Robin with Diane Burgess in the RS400s, and the rest of the following RS200s, Laser 2000s and Sandra Halliwell going it alone this week in her new RS Aero 5. Hopefully Susanna will be not be forgotten.

The Multihull fleet saw a new F18 entrant in the guise of Andrew Gallagher and his novice crew "Gordon" Ritson. Great to see Aaron being dragged into the family sport. The F18 fleet all started on port against Stephen Magee alone in his Dart 18 with the well poslished crew of Adrian Allen and Barry Swanston getting up to speed first and building up a big lead by the finish.

Russell McGovern has been a welcome addition to the Laser Icebreaker fleet this year, having not sailed in the dinghy since his Australian days and now many years after his Olympic campaign before joining his brother Matt in the 49er. In recent times, he has been very successful imparting his knowledge to the ISA Radial squad including Ballyholme's Liam Glynn who won a Europa Cup event last summer.

A southerly breeze encouraged many of the Laser fleet to go for the pin-end of the line with those able to tack and get away quickly up the shore to the South east mark making the gains. Russell showed his speed rounding the first mark in the lead from Mark Mackey closely followed by Richard Ramsey and Garth Maxwell. Chris Boyd sailed down on the outside of the first downwind to chase Russell with Robin Moran close on his heels. The usual carnage and hailing could be heard behind.

A great race ensued with places changing rapidly and then rewon. With Russell now covering, Chris Boyd closed within striking distance at the end. Richard Ramsey nipped in front of Robin Moran for third place, with Robin also losing out to Phil Anderson who took the shorter route to the finish line. It will be the last time Mark Mackey tells Phil which way to go, finishing 6th behind the two of them.

In the Laser Radial fleet, Tom Purdon showed some great speed although learnt a few lessons in which Lasers to cross and which not to mess with. Liam Glynn won with Brian Bibby coming second ahead of Tom. In the Laser 4.7 fleet, new RYANI squad member Sam Rutherford scored his first win.

Next week sees Race 3 but there may be issues with Irelands triumphant win over France meaning a Sunday start against Argentina at 1300. Stay tuned to Ballyholme's Facebook page for any changes.

Full results here

Published in Belfast Lough
Tagged under

#ballyholme – Thankfully the wind had dropped a bit from Saturday and racing was definitely on. The sun even made an appearance which did warm things up a bit and the breeze held out to give us a great sail for race 6 in the second part of the Ice-breaker Series. Some intrepid travellers had gone to Rome to support Ireland!.. and a few others took off for the bank holiday weekend.

The sensible people stayed at home and had a feast of rugby on the Saturday and then enjoyed a lovely Sunday afternoon on the water...followed by a few beers. 

Robin Gray attempted to give us another windward leeward course but at the start the wind was not really playing ball. It was shifting and looked like it may drop, so wisely he reverted to normal course. 

The Laser fleet got underway in a relatively calm start...... apart from Brian Spence who got a little excited and started his race before the gun........ He returned to start correctly but was caught by the flag! 

Everyone else got away and the first beat was to the North East Mark. Most of the fleet dived to the far shore making their way up the right hand side of the beat. The wind was shifting a bit so their were gains and losses to be made. At the windward mark the leading boats had a familiar ring to them. Gareth Flannigan, Chris Boyd and David Fletcher. Also in the front of the fleet was Charlie Westhurst. Charlie was right up with the leaders and showed no sign of slipping back. Keith Storey and Paddy Brow were also going well and with Conor Brown and Andrew Kennedy this made up the sharp end of the fleet. Alex Wards dulcet tones could be heard near the front of the fleet. He was storming his way round the course and was attempting to sabotage Charlie's good race.

Hammy Baker was lurking just behind the front 3 and on the last lap he decided to play his joker. He took the opposite side of the beat and hit the left hand corner. Low and behold there was a favourable wind shift and he arrived at the windward mark on the last lap way ahead of anyone else. You could see amusement on the faces of the 3 guys who were leading up until that point.....not.

So Hammy held the lead to take his first bullet of this series and also put himself into 1st place overall. He has had a great run of results since Christmas and is putting a bit of pressure on Flipper. He is one point behind Hammy at this stage with Chris Boyd 3 points further back on 17 and David Fletcher on 20. So with 2 races left it will be a very close call between the top 4.

Mike Kimber, Keith Storey and Peter Kennedy are also having a good second series. Peter would be putting a lot more pressure on the top guys if he had managed a few more races.

In the Laser Radial fleet Jessica Rutherford recorded her second bullet of the series and moved to 1st place overall, on equal points with Tim Brow. This will make a very interesting end to this fleets series as Ryan Glyn is just 3 points behind in 3rd place and Sarah Eames in 4th

Another Rutherford leads the 4.7 fleet. Rebekah had another first on Sunday which moves her 4 points clear of Sean Ritson.

In the large dinghy fleet the "Olympic duo" of Ryan Seaton and Mat McGovern are just holding off the formidable challenge of Wiclif McCready by 1 point with Liam Donnelly 5 points further back.

Adrian Allen is again leading the way in the multi hulls with a 7 point lead over Dave Anderson.

The topper fleet is being lead by Ben Martin who is 8 points clear of Emma McKnight and 11 clear of Mark McDonough.

Only two races to go as we take a break for a week on Easter Sunday. Final race is 7th April when we plan to have a BBQ prior to the Prizegiving at 6.00pm.

Also - well done to Robbie Gilmore from SLYC and Ballyholme YC with his second place in the Europa Cup Laser Radials at Lake Garda. The RYANI Laser Radial Squad have been training hard at Ballyholme over the weekend and recent months - the first event at Baltimore will be very interesting.

Published in Belfast Lough
Tagged under

#gp14 – The GP14 Irish National Championships took place last Saturday and Sunday at Ballyholme Yacht Club. The event was kindly sponsored by Craftinsure Insurance and North Down Borough Council Tourism. Almost 40 boats from Ireland and England attended the event which was seen as a warm up event for the World Championships in Cornwall in three weeks time. Full results are downloadable as word doc below.

Racing was delayed on Saturday morning due to a lack of wind. The wind eventually filled in to 15 – 18 knots from the south to give three full length races. All three races were won by the English pair, Mike Senior and Chris White. With the forecast of heavy winds on Sunday the Race Officer, Robin Gray, was determined to get three races completed on Saturday to constitute a series.

As it was the winds did increase for racing on Sunday but did not stop racing going ahead. Two races were completed with winds reaching 28 knots at times. Mike Senior and Chris White coped best in the testing conditions and continued their dominance to score two further wins. The competition for second place was very tight with Shane MacCarthy and Andrew Thompson coming in just ahead of Simon Potts and Pete Grey. Shane and Andrew were first Irish boat. Ross Kearney, formerly from North Down but now working and living in England came in fourth with his crew Ed Bradburn.

The Silver Fleet was won by Gerard O'Sullivan and Hugh McNally who finished well inside the gold fleet boats in 11th place overall. First in the Bronze Fleet went to Michael Cox and Nigel Sloan from Newtownards. Michael and Nigel finished 22nd overall.

Mike Senior's dominance puts him in strong contention for the World Championships in August. Almost 20 boats from Ireland will be making the journey across to compete in the week-long event. A fleet of 130 boats are due to take part.

The final results of the event were as follows:-

1st Mike Senior & Chris White

2nd Shane MacCarthy & Andy Thompson

3rd Simon Potts & Pete Grey

4th Ross Kearney & Ed Bradburn

5th Dave Young & Shona Fleming

6th David Fletcher & Laura McFarland

7th Graham Elmes & Melanie Morris

8th Keith Louden & Dessie Hughes

9th Bryan Willis & Ruan O'Tiarnaigh

10th Alistair Duffin & Paul Whitcombe

Silver Fleet

1st Gerard O'Sullivan & Hugh McNally

2nd Daniel Gill & Cillian McGreer

3rd Daniel Gallagher & Gareth Gallagher

Bronze Fleet

1st Michael Cox & Nigel Sloan

2nd James Ogg & Ronan O'Beirne

3rd Peter Smyth & Jackie Malone

Published in GP14

#OLYMPICBallyholme and Royal Ulster Yacht Club sailor, James Espey has been campaigning to go to the Olympics in Weymouth this summer. As part of his campaign he is hosting a Fundraising Day on Saturday 18 February at BYC. This will include a day of coaching and racing, then and an evening party. The coaching will be taken by James himself and a guest coach. Top Laser sailors will be racing – come along and pace yourself against the best Laser sailors in the Northern Ireland.

In the evening there is a great party planned – Dinner and Cocktails, an Olympic auction and entertainment with music. Come along to support 'Bapsy' and send him on his Olympic journey.

James will be competing in Germany at the Laser Worlds and this is the event he is anticipating to qualify for the Games.

Saturday, 18 February

Laser Coaching 1130-1300hrs

Lunch 1300-1400 (Soup & Rolls)

Laser Racing 1400 – 3 races

Dinner & Cocktails 1900hrs

Auction @ 2030

Tickets for the full day are £30, £15 for the evening dinner and entertainment

Published in Olympics 2012

Questions over the next step for juniors after the RS Feva point to the bigger RS200 writes Feva sailor Ciara Byrne

The RSFeva has become the world's best selling two-person dinghy in recent years with fleets also growing in clubs all over Ireland. It is fast becoming the most popular and widespread choice for teenagers and youth sailors who enjoy competitive, active and exciting sailing.

However many questions were being asked recently at the RSFeva Nationals, held in Crosshaven, Co. Cork, regarding the next step for young, talented sailors who wish to continue racing in large fleets without the difficult transition of transferring from the Feva into a larger, unfamiliar dinghy. This uncertainty has led to many sailors dropping out of sailing altogether, while the remainder have split the fleet into Lasers, the 420/470 or moved on to cruisers.

However these dinghies require a lot of time and effort of getting used to, leaving some sailors frustrated and also, less motivated. To avoid this altogether, there is one simple solution: the RS200.

The RS200 is a spacious, one-design, double-handed, hiking, high-performance dinghy which has developed a huge following at club, circuit and championship level in the UK with a growing fleet in Ireland. A pivoting centreboard and rudder allow easy launch and recovery with a thwart giving the crew a comfortable position for light winds. With the asymmetric spinnaker, similar rigging and a similar design, it can be considered as a larger and faster Feva which makes for an easy changeover and the most logical and simple step up.

The ideal weight for an RS200 is 115-145kg (18-23 stone) which allows people of all ages to sail and race effectively in this dinghy. Ideal for teenagers emerging from the Feva, parents, youths, couples, friends and relatives can also come together which enhances the family and social scene.

Even though the 420 has a larger total sail area, the RS200's asymmetric spinnaker of over eight square metres, with a smoother single line hoist and drop system, similar to the Feva's. makes for a faster boat and requires greater tactical and more exciting downwind sailing. This encourages competitive racing and enhanced racing skills.


An RS200 at full speed off Greystones. Photo: Fiachra Etchingham

A maintenance free hull, made of lightweight polyester GRP ensures a long competitive life and second hand boats can be in very good condition so that older hulls are without the disadvantage experienced in fleets such as the 420. Furthermore, every hull comes from the same manufacturer giving no subtle advantage to any one boat; therefore racing just comes down to the sailors' tactics, boat handling and general knowledge of sailing and racing.

While the RS200 is not an Olympic class, there are large UK and Irish fleets which are active and competitive. Johnathan Lewis, a UK Feva coach and RS200 sailor, strongly encourages Feva graduates to move into the RS200 as it is an easy transition and makes for fun and exciting sailing. RS200 fleets are strong in Irish clubs such as those in Northern Ireland including Ballyholme, Newcastle and Cushendall as well as Greystones Sailing Club in Co. Wicklow.

Greystones Sailing Club boasts probably the largest asymmetric dinghy fleet in Ireland with fifty five asymmetric dinghies, twenty one of those being RSFevas and the majority of the remainder being RS200s. Recognising the RS200 as the natural progression from the Feva, ages range from fifteen to fifty five across the RS200 and RS400 fleets in the Club, with most of these boats competing in national events in Ireland, and some in the UK and further afield.


Rounding a mark in the RS200. Photo: Fiachra Etchingham

As fleets build in Dún Laoghaire and Howth yacht clubs, the RS200 is gradually becoming a popular progression from the Feva, and with the RS400 as a follow on boat for larger crews, young sailors can remain involved and spirited in asymmetric racing. The RS200 satisfies a thirst for speed and pace which generates more exciting, competitive and enjoyable sailing for those emerging from Feva fleet.

A Dublin Sailor (who has asked not to be named) has sent us comments on this story:

As one involved in junior and youth sailing at club level, one of the big decisions that faces youths is where to go after junior classes such as Optimists, Toppers, Fevas. Like any other sport, there is a high attrition rate after the age of 14 / 15, especially among girls which is an even greater shame as they can compete on a par with the guys.

We need a class that will keep youths engaged. The 420 & 29er are great boats but require higher levels of boathandling, are much more competitive and tend to attract the top sailors. They also suffer from an inability to match up crews who will stick together - teenagers chop and change all the time and its difficult to race a boat like a 420 / Fireball / 29er wihout a constant crew partnership.

We need a boat/class that:
  1. Enables swapping around of crews without a major impact on the boathandling / teamwork. A sailor's plans for the weekend / event / season are not scuppered because of crewing issues.
  2. Does not need a highly competent crew (e.g. ability to trapeze and fly / gybe a kite etc.) so that sailors can sail with their mates who may not necessarily be top-notch sailors but who can acquit themselves well in a slightly less complex boat.
  3. Has a good mixed social scene which is the most important element of any class, youth or otherwise.
  4. Does not cost the earth in terms of purchase price, is easy on wear & tear on kit (hence replacement & upgrade costs) or does not go soft and become uncompetitive needing a new hull after three to five years etc
  5. Has international competition that is closeby (UK, FR, Bel, Ned etc) for those aspiring to a bit more
  6. Has a motiviated class structure to help grow the class.

The fear is that we are starting out another class that will dilute the current youth class efforts. However I believe that the 420 and 29er will hold their own and continue to attract top sailors with ISAF ambitions.

On the other hand, if we continue to support these we will continue to lose the middle ground (and majority) of young sailors from our sport. Youths are fickle enough and if its too much hassle to deal with all the challenges of getting afloat they just won't bother - sad but true.

The ISA needs to take a lead in this and while its Olympic ambitions are great to see, it will fail the sport as a whole if it does not tackle this gaping need in its portfolio of support.

I believe that the RS200 and R2400 provide the best solution to these challenges. They appear well-built and the manufacturer certainly appears well organised and gets involved.

Looking from outside and without any vested interests (other than the health of junior and youth sailing) the RS's get my vote as a class that can make a radical difference.

Published in RS Sailing
Considering there were only two entries in the Inbox of Ballyholme Yacht Club a week before the regatta, the turnout of 19 boats over the weekend of the Fireball Ulster Championships at Ballyholme Yacht Club was quite a turnaround writes Cormac Bradley.  In truth the regatta was never really in jeopardy as the Class has a reputation of entering late and with this being the second regatta in a month, there was a glitch in getting the appropriate documentation out.

Representatives from Skerries (2), Clontarf (1), Howth (2), East Down Yacht Club (1), Sligo Yacht Club (1) were joined a composite crew from Cushendal Sailing and Boating Club/Royal St. George Yacht Club and eleven boats from Dun Laoghaire.

In times past the Fireball Class were regular visitors to Ballyholme, particularly when they hosted a week-long dinghy regatta, but in the time of this scribe’s association with the Irish Fireball Class this has been our first visit. Ballyholme has had a solitary Fireballer in recent times, but unfortunately Denis Findlay lost his struggle with cancer and so he was unable to enjoy the return of the class to this venue on Belfast Lough.

Race Officer Robin Gray, RYA N. Ireland’s Race Officer Co-ordinator did the honours over the weekend and enhanced his reputation as an excellent RO with three superb races on Saturday when we enjoyed a sea breeze of 15/16 knots. In addition to good courses we enjoyed sea conditions that gave us excellent surfing conditions and saw a few stories of rogue breaking waves in Saturday’s post-mortems.  Turnaround times for races were good to the extent that after a solitary black flag start in Race 1, after a General Recall, three hour long races were sailed in beautifully sunny conditions that saw the fleet ashore and showered by 16:30.


 I gather that Sunday was not quite as co-operative from a wind perspective as the wind started light and moved around much more. Due to a family bereavement, I missed the day’s proceedings but was updated on how the day panned out.

Day 1 was claimed by Simon McGrotty & Ruari Grimes who won races 1 and 3 with good upwind speed on the beat and excellent boat handling off wind, particularly in the tight first reaches of the triangles. The blot on their day 1 record was a fourth place which may have been influenced by a wandering gybe mark which had to be substituted by a rib flying an X Flag. There certainly was the unusual sight of Fireballs beating and tacking towards the gybe mark and McGrotty/Grimes may have lost places here. Kenny Rumball & Seamus Moore, Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella and Damien Bracken & Brian O’Hara were able to take advantage by filling the first three places before McGrotty/Grimes finished in fourth.

After three excellent races, the standings were as follows;

1.     Simon McGrotty & Ruari Grimes            6pts      (1,4,1)

2.     Kenny Rumball & Seamus Moore            8pts      (4,1,3)

3.     Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella            10pts      (6,2,2)

4.     Noel Butler & Stephen Oram            13pts      (2,7,4)

5.     Louis Smyth & Cormac Bradley            16pts      (3,8,5)


The silver fleet was 5-strong for this regatta and included a visitor from the UK. Hannah Showell teamed up with Margaret Casey to provide the third all-female crew of the event and together with Cariosa Power & Marie Barry, Mary Chambers & Brenda McGuire, they contested the regatta with Kate Grimes (helm), Martina Michels (crew) and Karen Caughey (crew), the latter three being joined by Nick Malone, Cearbhall Daly and John Orr respectively. Diane Kissane was the sole female outside the Silver fleet, sailing 14939.


What is encouraging for the Irish fleet at this point in time is the influx of young talented sailors into the class. Yes, it may be coincidental with the hosting of the Worlds, but it seems that they are enjoying themselves and there is a camaraderie that is developing among them and with the more “established” members of the fleet. This weekend we were joined by Luke Malcolm & Shane Diviney who bought a Fireball on the back of the Leinsters sailed in their home club of Howth last year. Howth is also scheduled to host the 2012 Nationals and we hope to have fledgling fleet there by the time we visit next summer.


Barry McCartin has joined the fleet from the Topper Class where he has enjoyed significant success. Diane Kissane has proven her pedigree in Optimists and has been showed a great turn of speed and ability to handle the Fireball in a very short time. There are other young recruits to the class who contested the Worlds in Ben Malone and Ben Scallan and the hope must be that we can continue to attract this age of competitor to ensure that we remain at the forefront of domestic sailing in Ireland and beyond.


My detail on Sunday’s proceedings is based on word of mouth reports from my helm, but I gather that the day’s wind wasn’t quite as steady as Saturday’s. It doesn’t seem to have upset the McGrotty/Grimes charge to the title as they bagged another two firsts to give themselves two-thirds of the regatta’s race wins. The one that “got away” on Sunday went to Frank Miller and Grattan Donnelly.


Counting all races, for the sake of analysis, Conor Clancy & Francis Rowan won by a healthy margin, counting a 2,2,4 for the day. On Saturday they had a complicated capsize in race 1 and retired from Races 2 & 3 due to a broken spreader. Thus while they didn’t feature overall on Saturday evening their success on Sunday saw them finish 7th overall.


McGrotty/Grimes had the next best daily score of 12 points (1,10,1), the 10th becoming their discard, with Rumball/Moore next best with 5,6,2. Butler/Oram’s travails continued with a 4,5,5, for the day which is completely inconsistent with their recent form. Damien Bracken and Brian O’Hara also had a better day with a 8,4,3.


In the Silver Fleet Hannah & Margaret had a three point lead over Cearbhall & Martina at the close of racing on the Saturday evening, with Cariosa & Marie in third place a further three points adrift. Cariosa & Marie won the second day with two finishes just outside the top ten and an 18th to Hannah/Margaret’s 11,12,DNF to leapfrog Cearbhall/Martina into 2nd place in the Silver fleet.


As ever with our northern visits, the hospitality of Ballyholme Yacht Club was excellent with a dinner arranged for the Saturday night at which some unfinished business (a prize-giving) from the Open Championships was concluded. The atmosphere in the Club was welcoming and in particular their provision of race results on both Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon was very fast with multiple score sheets being made available.


Robin Gray will definitely be on our wish list for future events, particularly as he ran the regatta exactly as we asked him to. Our thanks also go to Mark Markey, Rear Commodore Sailing who coordinated our visit from a BYC perspective.


The Class now enjoys a month’s break until the Nationals which are being hosted by Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club on Dublin Bay over the last Friday/Saturday/Sunday of August, 26 – 28th. Class coordinator for this event, Neil Colin, has secured sponsorship from Pinnell & Bax and the regatta documentation can be found on both the Irish Fireball website and the club website.


The decision to go with a Dublin venue was taken in view of the two-week Worlds regatta in Sligo so that we didn’t have to embrace another distance regatta for the Nationals. Additionally, in recent years the Nationals have been hosted outside the capital (Baltimore, Westport (x2), Cork, Fenit, Wicklow) and the feeling was that it was time for them to return.



Sail No











Simon McGrotty & Ruari Grimes










Kenneth Rumball & Seamus Moore










Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella










Noel Butler & Stephen Oram










Damien Bracken & Brian O’Hara




















Hannah Showell & Margaret Casey










Cariosa Power & Marie Barry










Cearbhall Daly & Martina Michels









Published in Fireball
Ireland has ranked fifth in a new Europe-wide report on bathing water quality - but some beaches in Northern Ireland are falling short of strict EU standards.
MEP Jim Higgins welcomed the results of the annual Bathing Water Report for 2010, saying: "Ireland's scenic attributes are a primary reason for attracting tourists and it is essential that our coastal and inland bathing sites are also enticing."
Ireland has moved up five places from its overall rank of 10th in 2009, with 90.1% of all bathing water sites meeting the EU's Blue Flag guidelines for water quality at beaches and swimming spots.
However, the Daily Telegraph reports that a number of beaches in Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK were judged to be 'poor'.
Beaches at Newcastle and Ballyholme in the North are among 16 across the UK that did not pass the EU's strict checks for Blue Flags.
The 2010 report ranks Cyprus as the cleanest bathing spot in Europe, with 100% of sites passing EU insspection. It was closely followed by Croatia with 97.3%, Malta at 95.4% and Greece at 94.2%.

Ireland has ranked fifth in a new Europe-wide report on bathing water quality - but some beaches in Northern Ireland are falling short of strict EU standards.

MEP Jim Higgins welcomed the results of the annual Bathing Water Report for 2010, saying: "Ireland's scenic attributes are a primary reason for attracting tourists and it is essential that our coastal and inland bathing sites are also enticing."

Ireland has moved up five places from its overall rank of 10th in 2009, with 90.1% of all bathing water sites meeting the EU's Blue Flag guidelines for water quality at beaches and swimming spots.

However, the Daily Telegraph reports that a number of beaches in Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK were judged to be 'poor'.

Beaches at Newcastle and Ballyholme in the North are among 16 across the UK that did not pass the EU's strict checks for Blue Flags.

The 2010 report ranks Cyprus as the cleanest bathing spot in Europe, with 100% of sites passing EU insspection. It was closely followed by Croatia with 97.3%, Malta at 95.4% and Greece at 94.2%.

Published in Coastal Notes

Royal Cork Yacht Club sailors have lifted two national titles at the 2011 Mitsubishi National Youth Sailing Championships this afternoon in a series cut short today by gale force winds on Dublin Bay. SCROLL DOWN FOR THIS AFTERNOON'S PRIZEGIVING PHOTOS.

Local knowledge offered no advantage as Dun Laoghaire co-hosts the Royal St. George YC, the National Yacht Club and the Royal Irish YC won none of the five national titles inspite of strong turnouts fielded by each of the waterfront clubs.

With winds gusting up to 25-30 knots and easterly winds causing a big swell, sailing for the final day of the ISA Mitsubishi National Championships was cancelled leaving the 300 sailors ashore. However all classes had completed sufficient races to complete the series.

The event was an important test event for Dun Laoghaire organisers of the Youth Worlds which will be held in the same venue from 12 -21 July 2012.

In a show of strength from the regions the three other titles went to other east coast clubs at Howth, Ballyholme and Courtown.

Immediately after the prizegiving, (photos below) Olympic Team Manager James O'Callaghan named the Irish team for the 2011 ISAF Youth World Championships in Croatia in July based on the weekend results. Listen to the podcast with the team manager, talking about the stand out performances of the weekend,  the current strength of youth sailing in Ireland and the prospect of a top finish in Croatia.

Royal Cork YC achieved two national titles with Laser 4.7 event favourite Seafra Guilfoyle winning the title having previously dominated the Optimist fleet in previous years.

Brother and sister team Patrick & Chloe Crosbie also from Royal Cork won the 420 National title and Patrick was awarded the Training Grant for the most promising sailor at the event.

This event was the national trials for the Optimist class which was won by Tralee Bay sailor Sophie Browne who will travel to New Zealand in December to compete in the Optimist World Championships.

Irish optimist sailors are performing well internationally at the moment finishing fourth and fifth at the Braassemermeer Easter regatta. Other events during 2011 where there will be Irish representation include the European Championships in Portugal and the National Championships in Germany and the UK.

Top three results below. Click the links for full results class by class.

Laser Radial - full results here
National Champion: Philip Doran (Courtown Sailing Club)
2nd  Robbie Gilmore (Strangford Lough YC)
3rd Eoin Keller (Lough Derg YC)
1st Girl Sophie Murphy Quoile Yacht Club

Laser 4.7 - full results here
National Champion: Seafra Guilfoyle (Royal Cork YC)
2nd Darragh O'Sullivan (Kinsale YC)
3rd Finn Lynch (NYC/Blessington SC)
1st Girl: Sian Kneafsey (National YC)

420 - full results here
National Champions:  Patrick Crosbie & Chloe Crosbie (Royal Cork YC)
2nd Aodh Kennedy & Daniel Browne (Kinsale YC & Tralee Bay SC)
3rd Emma Geary & Niamh Connolly (Royal Cork YC & Baltimore SC)

Feva - full results here

National Champions: D Johnston & L Flynn Byrne (Howth YC)

2nd C Totterdell & S Craig (National YC/Royal St. George YC)

3rd  C Mollard & J Harris (Howth YC)

Topper - full results here
National Champion:  T Brow (Ballyholme YC)
2nd Laura Gilmore (Strangford Lough YC)
3rd  Andrew Penney (East Antrim BC)

Optimist (Championship fleet)
1st Ben Walsh (Skerries SC)
2nd Ross Quirke (National YC)
3rd Colin O'Sullivan (Malahide YC)

Optimist National Trials
Sophie Browne (Tralee Bay SC) won the trials and took the option of travelling to New Zealand in December 2011 to represent Ireland at the Optimist World Championships.

The following sailors were selected by the trial process to represent Ireland at the European Championship which will be held in Portugal in July 2011: Sean Donnelly, HYC, Peter McCann RCYC, Harry Whitaker RCYC, Eoin Lyden RCYC, Jil McGinley RCYC  Cliodhna Ni Shuilleabhain KYC and Megan Parker SSC

The team selected to travel to the German National Championships include Robert Dickson HYC , Daire Cournane KYC, Sean Waddilove Skerries SC,  Richard Hogan HYC, Adam Hyland RSGYC, Ronan Cournane KYC, Sean Gambier Ross KYC and Fergus Flood HYC, Aoife Hopkins and Alacoque Daly Tralee Bay SC.

In addition 10 sailors were chosen for the Irish under 12 squad who will compete in the Optimist UK National Championships.

All our youth sailing news aggregated here

Prizegiving photos by Gareth Craig below. For daily on the water action: Day one photos here. Day two photos here. Day three photos here.

Published in Youth Sailing
RNLI Bangor Lifeboat launched at 3pm on Sunday 20th February 2011 to search for 6 year old boy reported missing from Lukes Point close to Ballyholme Bay which is on the southern shores of Belfast Lough.

Belfast Coastguard received the initial call for help and requested RNLI Bangor Lifeboat to launch immediately and start searching the shoreline between Lukes Point and Ballyholme Bay.

Within minutes of the rescue pagers being activated volunteer crew at RNLI Bangor Lifeboat had assembled and launched the lifeboat.

Knowing that this type of rescue was time critical, volunteer crew not on board the lifeboat proceeded on foot and by bike to the Ballyholme Bay area.

Thankfully one of the RNLI volunteers on shore spotted the young boy ½ mile from the initial search area and was able to reunite him with his parents.

Peter Semple the volunteer crew member who found the young boy said. 'We are extremely happy and relieved that the young boy has been found'. He added 'We were delighted to reunite him with his parents'.

Related Safety posts

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Safety News

Rescue News from RNLI Lifeboats in Ireland

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Water Safety News from Ireland

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Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.


The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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