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Displaying items by tag: Bangor Town Regatta

Con Murphy from the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire Harbour is an internationally known sailor and International Race Officer. So Bangor Town Regatta will be in safe hands as he will be the Principal Race Officer for the event to be hosted by the Royal Ulster Yacht Club at the end of June in Belfast Lough. He will have a local team helping cover the race areas.

During his long association with the world of sailing competitions which included Race Officer on the 49er course at the 2016 Rio Olympics, among other roles Con has been Race Director/PRO for Dun Laoghaire Regatta since its inception in 2011 also RO for the biennial Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race for many years. But it’s not all Committee boat work. He has raced many different classes and now regularly competes in the Water Wags in Dun Laoghaire and Shannon One Designs from Lough Ree and Lough Derg Yacht Clubs.

Con’s wife Cathy will be helping as a Timekeeper in Bangor. She has been sailing since a teenager and raced a 470 at the Seoul Olympics.  She crewed with Con on Steve Fossett’s record-breaking trimaran Lakota in the 1993 Round Ireland Race and is now very active in the Water Wag and Shannon ODs classes.  

Con says he is “looking forward to Bangor Week - we've done many Laser and Multihull and SB3 events on Belfast Lough over the years and have happy memories of camping on the RUYC Tennis Courts to the east of the clubhouse”.

Published in Bangor Town Regatta

In this post lockdown era, there are so many events on offer that sailors keen to compete in the big competitions are spoilt for choice, and this has never been so true as with the Sigma 33 class this season.

This year’s Irish and Class Championship will be included in Royal Ulster’s Bangor Town Regatta in late June; but for some, it may not be possible to do more than one regatta. There’s the Scottish Series in early June and the coinciding Howth’s Wave Regatta; on 25th June the regatta of the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, home to several of the class Cork Week in July (for which there are already a total of 89 entries), and for some who are lucky enough to race in more than one class, the Squib Nationals at Kinsale on the same date as Bangor Town Regatta.
But Paul Prentice, Class Captain for Northern Sigmas is hopeful of reaching what he calls the ‘Magic15’. He says “There was a good base of a class of at least 10 for the cancelled BTR 2021.

The 'Insider' crew, winners of the 2021 Irish Sigma 33 ChampionshipsThe 'Insider' crew, winners of the 2021 Irish Sigma 33 Championships Photo: Mark Mackey

There are some who have let the entry rollover, and with the passage of time, some have been sold, so reducing the possible entry. Despite this, we are hoping for a good turnout this year in what are some of the best racing waters in the British Isles. I am keen to see who will enter”.

At the moment there are 14 on Paul’s wish list, several of whom have actually entered, others who are planning to come.

Leaky Roof 2 (Alan Harper, Eric Robertson and Kirsty Robertson) from Cove SC, ArgyllLeaky Roof 2 (Alan Harper, Eric Robertson and Kirsty Robertson) from Cove SC, Argyll

Last year’s Irish champions, Stephen Mullaney and Ian Martin’s Insider from Howth will I understand be racing, as will of course runners up Paul and Emma Prentice’s in the local Squawk. Several who finished at the top in the 2019 Irish Championships at the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta have expressed interest. Winner Leaky Roof 2 (Alan Harper, Eric Robertson and Kirsty Robertson) from Cove SC, Argyll, runner up James Miller in Mayrise based at Helensburgh, third-placed Busy Beaver (Mark Bradshaw and Jack Gallagher from Fairlie) and fourth-placed Sea Pie of Cultra (Jerry Colman Manx S & CC) are all looking hopeful. Another welcome visitor will be Avril Banks in Quattro from Pwllheli Sailing Club in North Wales. Also, Donald McLaren’s Sigmatic from Helensburgh is planning to make yet another trip across the North Channel and locals Michael and Chris Johnston from Ballyholme are keen to enter Impulse.

Hopefully, there’ll be an additional local showing from Belfast Lough from Meka 2 owned by Jim Shields of Carrickfergus and Kevin Byers and Michael Russel’s Signet from Ballyholme.

So there are the makings of a really competitive fleet, with top-class one-design racing.

Published in Sigma

The RC35 class look like putting up a great show at Royal Ulster Yacht Club’s Bangor Town Regatta in June. At the moment the regatta website says, “We look forward to seeing all the entries and will be posting the entry list as soon as possible”, but thanks to Robin Young, Chairman of the RC 35 Class who has listed his “current best idea” of boats planning to attend, we do know already that eight Scottish competitors plan to make the trip along with, he reckons, two Co. Down boats and possibly one from Dublin Bay. Competition in IRC 2 will be top class.

J109 No Worries (Jim Dervin) competing at Largs RegattaJ109 No Worries (Jim Dervin) competing at Largs Regatta Photo: Marc Turner

Among the eight Scottish visitors will be the 2021 winner of the RC 35 season-long Championship, Kevin and Debbie Aitken’s First 36.7 Animal, also 3rd at the last Town Regatta in 2018. John Stamp’s Corby 33, Jacob was runner up last time and Robin and Christine Murray’s First 35 Triple Elf, who finished 4th in 2018 is also hoping to be in Bangor. Fifth in 2018 was Charlie Frize’s Corby 33 Banshee and Robin Young’s J109 Jings, third in Class 2 at last year’s Scottish Series plans to be part of the strong Scottish contingent which includes Jono and Ben Shelley’s J109, so new to the class that it hasn’t been named yet, the J109 No Worries owned by Jim Dervin and John Mill’s Elan 37 Vamp. Taking on that formidable contingent will be the local Archambault 35, John Minnis’s Final Call II, and probably the Strangford based Ker 32 Hijacker (Stuart Cranston). Yet to show his hand is the 2018 IRC 2 winner Pat Kelly from Howth in the J109 Storm.

Final Call II (red genoa) and the IMX 38 ExcessionFinal Call II (red assymetric) and the IMX 38 Excession

John Minnis and the Final Call II team are pleased and excited to be racing in the June regatta; “I’m very proud to see RUYC host such a top-end event and all credit to the BTR team for their organisation of an exciting programme of racing over three days. The waters of Belfast Lough provide some of the very best yacht racing and it’s fantastic to see so many Scottish and Irish competitors making their respective passages to be at this event. I understand there will be more entries across the classes from Southern waters which is fantastic, I’m thrilled to see the RC35 Class creating such great competition”.

Robin Young’s J109 JingsRobin Young’s J109 Jings

And Robin Young says; “The RC35 class and owners are looking forward to getting back to Bangor for some great close racing in a fantastic piece of water and the fun shoreside hospitality."

Published in Bangor Town Regatta

A ‘Town’ Regatta at Bangor on Belfast Lough was first held over a century ago and saw reincarnation in 2018. Subsequent planned events fell foul of Covid 19 but Royal Ulster has just announced the welcome return of the regatta in June of this year. It will incorporate the Sigma 33 OOD Irish and Class Championships and count towards the six-part RC35 Championship. There will be ten classes racing for four days from 23rd till 26th June and included will be RS Elites and the Classic Boats, the Waverleys and Fairys.

The event will take place out of Bangor Marina in three race areas in Belfast Lough. The lough is a superb virtually tide free racing location with open waters and few hazards.

Forty Licks left and Final Call IIForty Licks (left) and Final Call II

Boatfolk’s Bangor Marina will be supporting the event within the Marina complex with the bonus of shoreside facilities in and around the area. Harbour Master Kevin Baird is looking forward to welcoming the competitors and visitors; “We look forward to offering a very warm welcome to all yacht owners, crew and supporters who will be taking part in the Bangor Town Regatta. The very best sailors from around Ireland and the UK already know that Bangor Bay has some of the finest sailing waters in Europe; this four-day event is sure to offer exhilarating racing and we can guarantee there will be memorable times socialising ashore."

"The event will take place out of Bangor Marina in three race areas in Belfast Lough"

And Gavin Watson, Event Chairman, is excited about the 2022 event. “We are hoping for a fantastic yachting event this summer. Please submit entries as soon as possible to avail of early discounts. We will be continually updating you regarding this year’s sponsors and entertainment, so keep coming back to the site to find out more. We will also be posting on our Facebook page, so please follow us and get up-to-date info on this premier regatta”.

Gavin Watson, Event ChairmanGavin Watson, Bangor Town Regatta Chairman

Among those who have said they are entering are, in the RC35 class, Bangor based John Minnis in his Archambault 35 Final Call II; and in the Sigmas, David Eccles’ Mungo Jerrie from Royal North; Rusty McGovern of Sail School NI will race his new Tripp 40 in the Coastal division and Jay Colville has his First 40, Forty Licks, entered in Class 1. Jay says, “ The event is well-positioned in the calendar to do the Scottish Series in early June, then Bangor Town Regatta, and Cork Week in July – but it also feeds into the Bangor Portaferry race on 2nd July – I’ll do this on my way to Cork”. Forty Licks is going to be busy! And Gus McRobert, Impala Class captain of the East Down Yacht Club fleet on Strangford Lough, which is showing healthy growth, tells me that at least three or four owners are showing interest in entering.

Impalas at East Down YC courtesy Gus McRobertImpalas racing at East Down YC Photo: courtesy Gus McRobert

Published in Bangor Town Regatta
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Russell McGovern, known generally as Rusty, started Stratus sailing school in 2016 out of Bangor Marina on Belfast Lough, with a 31-footer and two 25 footers. He has now moved on to a new venture, replacing those three with a 40-footer which he will bring back soon from Killybegs. 

Sail School NI is an RYA accredited training establishment offering training in the form of RYA Cruising Scheme with some dinghy race training on demand as well. Sail School NI already has a crew lined up and in training for Bangor Town Regatta in June. They will probably race in the Coastal Races class.

Russell 'Rusty' McGovern Russell 'Rusty' McGovern

Rusty says Sail School NI strives to make the learning process a fun. “I want to offer sailing to everyone, for people to experience the thrill of gliding through the waves; to offer an escape for a while from the everyday grind. And to use it as a platform to bring people together in an environment where we all work together as a team. And to have a blast!”.

Rusty operates Sail School NI out of Bangor Marina, using the harbour slipway for launching the dinghies. And Harbour Master Kevin Baird is keen to encourage sailing out of Bangor. "We're here to share our passion for boating with everyone and are delighted that Rusty will be operating his school sea from Bangor Marina. We look forward to supporting and helping him make this venture a real success. We know that those undertaking training with him will have great experiences and they’ll tell others and that means more people having fun afloat".

Published in Bangor Town Regatta

Northern Ireland's biggest sailing event, Bangor Town Regatta, scheduled for June has been cancelled due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

The Belfast Lough biennial event has sadly joined the queue of cancelled sailing events this year.

Chairman of the BTR Organising Committee, Gavin Watson has had to announce the fate of this popular regatta. "The BTR organising team and Royal Ulster Yacht Club have been meeting to decide on the future of our event for this year 2021. After much discussion and deliberation with the relevant event stakeholders and authorities, we regret to inform you that Bangor Town Regatta will not take place in June 2021".

Eight months on from when the 2020 fixture was postponed and competitors should have been enjoying the fabulous sailing arena of Belfast Lough, the warm hospitality of Royal Ulster Yacht Club and Bangor town itself, the Chairman is doubtful if any of the organising team knew what was ahead, and the difficulties the sport of yacht racing was going to face in the coming months.

Chairman of the BTR Organising Committee, Gavin WatsonChairman of Bangor Town Regatta, Gavin Watson of Royal Ulster Yacht Club

He adds "As we sit here today in lockdown across the UK and Ireland, the world of sailing is still facing many uncertainties. Aside from the Government restrictions that are currently in place the organising committee felt that it was important that Bangor Town Regatta run without compromise in the way we remember past regattas with a full programme on and off the water.

On a brighter note, Gavin is pleased to announce that with the vaccination programmes well underway in the UK and government restrictions allowing, the event will be run from Thursday 23rd to Sunday 26th June 2022.

He adds " We hope to see all our competitors back with us in 16 months' time. With another extra year to plan, we will be coming back bigger and better than ever!  It only remains for me to say thank you for all the support we have had over the last few months in particular to Royal Ulster Yacht Club and Ards and North Down Borough Council. I look forward to seeing you all in Bangor in 2022".

Published in Bangor Town Regatta
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Bangor Town Regatta on Belfast Lough was a casualty of COVID-19 this year, (in fact the regatta would have been on the water last week), but a 2021 date has now been set for Thursday 24th till Sunday 27th June.

Building on the success of previous years and what is expected to be the biggest inshore sailing event in Northern Ireland next year, BTR21 will be run out of Bangor Marina and hosted by Royal Ulster Yacht Club in partnership with Ards and North Down Borough Council. Entry fees will be frozen at this year’s level.

Yacht Racing at Bangor Town Regatta

Event Chairman, Gavin Watson said, “I am really looking forward to welcoming all sailing competitors and supporters to Bangor in June 2021. This will be four days of sailing and socialising to remember. The sailing waters off Bangor offer exciting opportunities to the very best sailors from around the UK and Ireland and coupled with the impressive backdrop of our host venue Royal Ulster Yacht Club, the event is shaping up to be a memorable occasion”.

Two separate race courses set in Belfast Lough will see competitors battle it out over four days of close racing across a variety of fleets. A highly experienced race team, including International Race Officer, Robin Gray.

Further information will be available on the event website and on Afloat's dedicated Bangor Town Regatta page

Published in Bangor Town Regatta
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The wholesale cancellation of early 2020 regatta fixtures, is impacting the 2021 season with some conflicting dates appearing for May and June 2021.

So far, four key fixtures of Irish interest appear to be affected next season.

Firstly, Scotland's biggest sailing event, The Scottish Series at Troon, cancelled amid Covid-19 concerns last week, has published its usual UK Bank Holiday date of May 28-31 for 2021's edition. The Loch Fyne event is a traditional season opener in which Irish boats have dominated in recent years but 2021 may now lack Irish competition because this is also the date of the 2021 ICRA National Championships at the National Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay.

A month later, Bangor Town Regatta on Belfast Lough, also cancelled last week, has been rescheduled for June 24-27, but this is the same long-standing date occupied by Kinsale Yacht Club's biennial Sovereign's Cup on the south coast.

So far, the rest of the 2021 season appears to be non-conflicting with the Dun Laoghaire Dingle 2021 Race on June 9 and Dun Laoghaire Regatta on July 8-11.

Attempts are usually made to avoid regatta date clashes because organisers typically like to attract visiting boats from outside a local catchment area for major events but when dates overlap this becomes impossible.

Published in News Update

Northern Ireland's biggest sailing event, Bangor Town Regatta on Belfast Lough has been cancelled over Covid 19 concerns.

A statement from the organising club, Royal Ulster, says: - “It is with deep regret that the Organising Committee of Bangor Town Regatta has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 regatta. This is a decision that has not been taken lightly and we do so in full consultation with the current Government guidelines on the ongoing Covid-19 situation which is expected to last into at least June 2020”

The Regatta was scheduled for 25th - 28th June with a programme of nine races and had already attracted 63 entries from across the British Isles and the Republic of Ireland.

The neighbouring Scottish Series, Scotland's biggest sailing event that was scheduled for the Clyde on May 22, has also become a casualty of Coronavirus restrictions and was cancelled last Friday.

The plan now is to run the Bangor Regatta from June 24-27 in 2021.

The statement continues:  “We understand that this will be deeply disappointing to competitors, as it is for everyone involved, however, the health and wellbeing of our competitors, volunteers, supporters and the residents of Bangor are our utmost priority.  The preparation involved in an event of this size is considerable both for the event organisers, host yacht club, suppliers and of course for competitors and their families and it is with this in mind that we have made the decision at this point.  Full refunds will be available to those who have paid already and can be obtained by contacting the Royal Ulster Yacht Club Office.

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A charity yachting organisation that was originally planning to sail from Scotland to Northern Ireland to save competition costs at Bangor Town Regatta this June has had its transport costs covered.

Murray McDonald, skipper of the Hunter 707 Autism on the Water, will now travel by ferry across the North Channel from Cairnryan in Scotland to Larne without charge.

With the original plan to sail across but with weather conditions being unknown for that time of year, it was decided to look into safer options of travel. Royal Ulster Yacht Club has worked with the charity to assist AOTW with transport to the event in A courier will transport the boat from Inverkip to Cairnryan.

AOTW Chairman and founder Murray said "this generosity from P&O is overwhelming and I cannot thank them enough. It is a big commitment for us to undertake this event because our boat is so small. We are pleased to have had so much help from P&O and the support of RUYC. We really are so very excited to be taking part in the regatta and we are planning to run a competition during the event with a prize of funding towards a sailing activity for an Autistic child based in the Bangor and Belfast area".

As Afloat previously reported, AOTW will compete in IRC Class 3. Murray McDonald, who is also autistic, will skipper the Hunter 707 with a well-drilled crew. The team’s main priority is to raise awareness of autism, but Murray hopes that a race win can be possibly achieved giving the right weather conditions.

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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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