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Howth's three-day Wave Regatta 2024, the biennial seafest with Porsche as lead sponsors, rolls into action this morning (Friday, May 24th) with a total of 104 entries, ranging from the veterans of the 1898-founded Howth 17 class to many of the most keenly campaigned cruiser racers in Ireland. Boats from all Irish coastlines and across from Wales and England are ready to race on various courses, including the time-honoured circuit of Lambay tomorrow (Saturday).

Dermot Skehan's veteran Humphreys-designed MG34 Toughnut from the host club is the defending Wave Regatta championDermot Skehan's veteran Humphreys-designed MG34 Toughnut from the host club is the defending Wave Regatta champion

Particular interest will focus on the J/109s, where several current and former Irish champions are in the mix, while the classic Half Tonners, such as Swuzzlebubble and the recently-acquired Two Farr, will be seeing
a high-quality input of special sailing talent. That said, it's an event for everyone, and the defending overall champion from 2022 is Dermot Skehan's veteran Humphreys-designed MG34 Toughnut from the host club.

Swuzzlebubble competing at the 2022 Wave Regatta at Howth Yacht Club Photo: AfloatSwuzzlebubble competing at the 2022 Wave Regatta at Howth Yacht Club Photo: Afloat

Ashore, the Howth Peninsula is en fete with a traditional music festival headed by Sharon Shannon, but Wave participants need to go no further than the Howth YC compound for a high-powered mix of entertainment and the much enjoyed "de-briefings" about the racing, which looks set to enjoy a variety of conditions, with Saturday, in particular, looking good.

Published in Wave Regatta

In electricity-generating circles, wave power may be seen as a potential though often challenging way of generating energy. But in Howth, energy and Wave power seem to have got together to have everything in mutually beneficial co-ordination for the biennial Wave Regatta, starting this Friday (May 24th) and concluding Sunday.

The latest high-powered entries to push the total towards the hundred mark are both from the Royal Irish YC’s own private power-house in the form of the Goodbody family’s silver-bedecked J/109 White Mischief, and the Burke syndicate’s First 40 Prima Forte, a breeze-loving boat.

She’s silver-bedecked. The Goodbody family’s J/109 White Mischief (Royal Irish YC) will be lining up for serious competition at Howth this Friday. Photo: Afloat.ieShe’s silver-bedecked. The Goodbody family’s J/109 White Mischief (Royal Irish YC) will be lining up for serious competition at Howth this Friday. Photo: Afloat.ie

But as to whether or not Prima Forte will get her favoured conditions remains to be seen. For although the forecasts suggest the racing will begin with ridge-induced northerlies and conclude with a brisk southerly, the fact is that most forecasts for Howth have been off-target or just plain wrong for at least six weeks now, however accurate (or not) they may have been for other places. Folk on the peninsula have expecting the right type of rain to help new lawns along, but a good rainfall of any kind has yet to occur, whatever might be happening in nearby Ireland or across channel in Wales.

WEATHER PREDICTIONS FOR HOWTH HAVE TO BE UNPREDICTABLE

So whether a really good weather pattern will develop remains to be seen, for as far as the Howth Peninsula is concerned, any recent predictions pointed to it ultimately being unpredictable.

Meanwhile, another theme which has recently been rising on the agenda is local pride. And we mean really local, not regional. Thus our recent piece about the remarkable performances that have been put in by North Fingal cruiser-racers such as Storm and King One from Rogerstown, Rush and Skerries, with an intriguing direct but almost-hidden link to West Cork, havr drawn a blast from on high, and we really mean on high.

For it seems that the skipper we think of as the Admiral of the Royal Hills of the Naul Yacht Squadron thinks his local place should get a fair shout, as he can see all from his resident Naul eyrie, and it helps in crew-recruiting to encourage ultra-local pride. And after all, when he and his team came down from the Fingal Alps aka the Naul Hills last year, they won the ICRA Nationals at Howth, and they’ll be back again on Friday with the J/109 Outrajeous.

Kilian’s of The Naul might be a potential HQ for the Royal Hills of The Naul Yacht SquadronKilian’s of The Naul might be a potential HQ for the Royal Hills of The Naul Yacht Squadron

RURAL ENTHUSIASM CAN BE CHANNELED

This idea of very rural communities having some sailing focus seems odd until we consider the Chipping Norton Yacht Club. It’s in the heart of the Cotswolds in the midst of England and more than a hundred miles from the nearest sea. Yet as each weekend approaches, sea sailing enthusiasts stream southwards from CN, mostly with the RORC programme in mind, and return exhausted but happily salt-stained and wind-battered late on Sunday night.

Yet by Tuesday they’ve started to think slightly enviously of their coast-dwelling fellow sailors gathering in their clubs to talk endlessly about sailing. So the Chipping Norton Yacht Club came into being to inflict a sailing-clothing-wearing boat-talking group on the local pub every Tuesday evening

Maybe it’s time to start thinking of getting a sailing photo or two hung on the walls of Killian’s in The Naul. For now, the good news is that Wave 2024 from Friday onwards is starting to look very interesting indeed. Watch this space.

Published in Wave Regatta

Those who are unaware of some of the more offbeat aspects of Irish maritime history can be forgiven for wondering how it is that Rogerstown, Rush and Skerries – all in the heart of heavily horticultural North Fingal - between them produce so many formidable sailors.

“How on earth” they demand, “can growing so many admittedly excellent potatoes, cabbages and strawberries make you a genius in a sailing boat?”



The intriguing sailing-talent-producing Rogerstown Estuary is almost boat-free in winter, but the well-filled Rush SC winter boat park speaks volumes about the local sailing interest.

LEGALLY ABSENT

The question is asked after a quick glance at the crème de la crème entry list for Howth’s three day Wave Regatta with Porsche as lead sponsors, where racing starts on this coming Friday (May 24th). Overall, it reveals an intriguing absence of lawyers, and a remarkable presence of established and rising talent from Rush SC and Skerries SC.

We were given a word to the wise on the legal scarcities.

“It would be a very unwise career move for a prominent figure in the law courts to be so conspicuously absent from the Law Library when the courts are sitting in a traditionally very busy period, and no Bank Holiday is being availed of.”

POTATO POTENTATES

Quite so. You can always easily get publicity when you least need it. But as to the sailing power of the Potato Potentates from the hidden acres of Fingal, that’s much more easily explained. Up there, fast sailing is in the blood. The emphasis on vegetables is only a recent innovation. But the sailing prowess long-outlasted the Vikings.

In the late 18th and early 19th Centuries, the tiny port of Rush and the nearby tide-riven estuary of Rogerstown produced Ireland’s two greatest sea captains in privateering and smuggling. The late 1700s saw the career peaks for privateering legend Luke Ryan, while the early 1800s witnessed the achievements of James Mathews, a highly-organised smuggler at a time when smuggling was a perfectly reasonable response to the actions of rabidly exploitative governments.

Lost but now found – the special Farr-designed Half Tonner Two Farr has been at worldwide locations during her long journey from Australia to RushLost but now found – the special Farr-designed Half Tonner Two Farr has been at worldwide locations during her long journey from Australia to Rush

If there is a key component in both maritime legends, it is surely the ability to sail fast offshore, while also being well able, when necessary, for both navigation and intricate inshore pilotage. In other words, exactly the skills set for success with a competitive cruiser-racer.

STORM OF RUSH

For some time now, Pat Kelly and his Fingal team from Rush with Storm have been among the top performers in the J/109 class. Well, Storm will be there at Wave, taking on local talent such as Simon Knowles’ Indian, and visiting talent such as Barry Cunningham’s current champion J/109 Chimaera from the Royal Irish YC.

A frequently-seen view of the J/109 Storm. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O’BrienA frequently-seen view of the J/109 Storm. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O’Brien

The mixing of Howth and Rush might be assumed to be neighbourliness, but that would be a mistake. The fact that Rush and Howth can keep an eye on each other along a northwest-southeast sightline across the Malahide Estuary Approaches only serves to emphasise how different they are, and that’s the way they want to keep it.

VIKINGS RE-TAKE HOWTH CASTLE

Thus the word is that the North Fingal contingent are establishing an encampment at Howth Castle, and admission will either be by invitation, or a password known to few, and spoken in ancient Norse, as in everyday use around Lusk.

The Vikings of Fingal will be setting up their encampment at Howth Castle (left)The Vikings of Fingal will be setting up their encampment at Howth Castle (left)

But the Rush tentacles spread further, and in 2022 the linkup between North Fingal and West Cork was revealed in high profile when sometime Baltimore SC Commodore and “temporary permanent” BSC Honorary Sailing Secretary Rob O’Leary was on the Rush SC team that won the Half Ton Classic Worlds in the Solent on Paul Elvstrom’s former boat King One.

FINGAL WEST CORK LINKUP

That linkup has gone a stage further in order to compete directly with the world’s most-loved Half Tonner, the 1976 Farr-designed Swuzzlebubble. The thinking had been that surely more boats were built to this wonderful way-out design, particularly as Swuzzlebubble has in recent years been based at Crosshaven in the successful ownership of James Dwyer, and currently the ICRA “Boat of the Year”.

Belfast Lough’s top A35 Final Call II (John Minnis) seen in action in a previous visit to Howth. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyBelfast Lough’s top A35 Final Call II (John Minnis) seen in action in a previous visit to Howth. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

And it seems the sleuth-hounds of the Rush & O’Leary teams have come up with just such a boat, originally built in Australia but more recently racing under German designation. She’s called Two Farr, she’s unmistakable bright red, and with Rob O’Leary now in owning partnership with Fingal’s crème de la crème, so many all-Ireland club affiliations are listed that we are reminded of the extraordinarily all-Ireland personality of the J/24 Hard Case.

LAST MINUTE LOCALS

Entries for Wave don’t close until tonight (Tuesday 21st May) at midnight, but organiser Brian Turvey reckons the heavy metal from elsewhere have been long in, it’s only the last minute locals who will finally access that useful circular device, a round tuit, approaching the witching hour.

Meanwhile, with a general lineup including such formidable talent as John Minnis’s A35 Final Call II from Belfast Lough, the entry list makes for intriguing reading: 

Wave Regatta Entries 2024

1 Biggs/Cullen Howth Yacht Club   IRL66 Checkmate XX First 50 Class 0
2 Brian & Conor Turvey Howth Yacht Club   19 Isobel Howth 17  
3 Simon Knowles Howth Yacht Club   IRL1543 Indian J109 Class 1
4 Thomas O’Reilly Howth Yacht Club   770 Cool Beans Squib  
5 Emmet Dalton Howth Yacht Club   37 Kerfuffle Squib  
6 Ian Bowring Royal St. George Yacht Club   IRL 4464 Springer Sigma 33 One Design
7 Stephen Mullaney Howth Yacht Club   IRL4444 Insider Sigma 33 One Design
8 Caroline and Nico Gore-Grimes Howth Yacht Club   Irl988 Dux X302 Class 3
9 Tom mc mahon Howth Yacht Club   869 Tears in Heaven Squib  
10 DENIS HEWITT % ORS. Royal Irish Yacht Club   IRL811 RAPTOR MILLS 30CR Class 1
11 Vincent Gaffney Howth Yacht Club   IRL8188 Alliance II Laser 28 Class 3
12 Barry O'Connor Royal Irish Yacht Club   31310 Katanca Elan31  
13 Wright/De Neve Howth Yacht Club   2794 Mata Half tonne Class 2
14 Wormald Walsh O'Neill Howth Yacht Club   IRL 1972 No Excuse X302 Class 3
15 Colin & Kathy Kavanagh Howth Yacht Club   IRL 6697 Jeneral Lee J97 Class 2
16 Susan Sheridan Howth Yacht Club   385 Ibis Puppeteer  
17 Norbert Reillly Howth Yacht Club   IRL 985 Ghost Raider J111 Class 0
18 Jones Family Royal Cork Yacht Club   IRL9753 Jellybaby J122 Class 0
19 Lee Douglas / Aidan Keane Malahide Yacht Club   791 Shenanigans Feeling  
20 Michael & Richard Howth Yacht Club   1699 Snapshot j99 Class 1
21 Alan Pearson Alan Blay Howth Yacht Club   IRL15 Trick or Treat Puppeteer  
22 JOHN MINNIS Club not listed ROYAL ULSTER YACHT CLUB & RNIYC IRL1003 FINAL CALL II ARCHAMBAULT A35 Class 1
23 Brian Skehan Howth Yacht Club   IRL 17793 Chinook First 300 Spirit  
24 John Beckett and Andy George Howth Sailing and Boating Club   IRL4073 Splashdance Dufour 40 Non Spinny 33ft+
25 Colm Bermingham Howth Yacht Club   3335C Bite the Bullet Elan 333  
26 Stephen Quinn Howth Yacht Club   Irl9970 Lambay Rules J97 Class 2
27 Kevin Darmody Howth Yacht Club   IRL7115 Gecko Quarter Ton Class 3
28 Davie Nixon Howth Yacht Club   18 Erica H17  
29 Terence Prendiville Club not listed no club (Dun Laoghaire Marina) 139 (Non ISA) Maggie Bee Anderson 22  
30 Brian McDowell Howth Yacht Club   IRL4212 Scandal J24  
31 Simon Sheahan Howth Yacht Club   123 O'Leary Squib  
32 Ian malcolm Howth Yacht Club   7 Aura 17  
33 Massey, Toomey, Kenny Howth Yacht Club   11 Deilginis H17  
34 Tim Chillingworth Howth Yacht Club   IR386 Gannet Puppeteer  
35 Windsor & Steffi Howth Yacht Club   IR 100 Demelza Club Shamrock  
36 Charlie McAllister Club not listed Antrim Boat Club HKG2133 SKB Fauroux quarter tonner Class 3
37 Eamonn Burke & Jay Murray Howth Yacht Club   IRL 971 Leeuwin Sigma 33  
38 Terry Mc Coy Howth Yacht Club   2070 Out & About Beneteau 38 Non Spinny 33ft+
39 kyran o grady Howth Yacht Club wicklow sailing club ir 2848 bandersnatch of howth swan 37  
40 PJ Moran Dun Laoghaire Marina   1685C Rajah Sigma 33 OOD One Design
41 John & Suzie Murphy Howth Yacht Club   IRL 19109 Outrajeous J109 Class 1
42 Gerard Loughran/Ross Hattaway Howth Yacht Club   493 3point9 Squib  
43 bourke mc girr ball Howth Yacht Club   IRL 3002 XEBEC X 302 Class 2
44 Roslyn Byrne Howth Yacht Club   50 Odyssey Puppeteer  
45 Dermot Skehan Howth Yacht Club   1411 Toughnut - Non Spinny 33ft+
46 Stephen Harris / Frank Hughes Howth Yacht Club   IRL 4077 Tiger Beneteau First 40.7 Non Spinny 33ft+
47 Howth Yacht Club K25 Team Howth Yacht Club   IRL 680 Killcullen - Class 3
48 OReilly/McDyer Howth Yacht Club   219 Geppetto Puppeteer  
49 E Ferris &I Byrne Howth Yacht Club   14 Gladys Howth 17  
50 Gallagher and Fitzgibbon Howth Yacht Club   21 Orla Howth 17  
51 K&B Barker Howth Yacht Club   318 Papagena Puppeteer 22  
52 Jane & Michael Duffy Howth Yacht Club HYC 9 HERA Howth 17  
53 Peter & Declan McCabe Howth Yacht Club   IRL 1343 Arcturus Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 37  
54 Ian Dickson Howth Yacht Club HYC 22 Weyhey Puppeteer  
55 Gerard Kennedy Howth Yacht Club   5526 Blue Velvet Puppeteer  
56 Fergal McNamara Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club   297 Equaliser EBoat  
57 Shane Russell and Dave Carolan Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club   152 Wile E Coyote E-boat  
58 Cormac Farrelly Howth Yacht Club   IRL4123 Pepperbox First 32s5  
59 Sean Hawkshaw Club not listed Mullaghmore Sailing Club IRL 7360 Wardance Sigma 38 Class 2
60 Patrick Higginbotham Neil HIgginbotham Malahide Yacht Club   158 Lazy Bones Beneteau First Class 8 Class 3
61 Matthew Knowles Howth Yacht Club   34 Intersceptre Puppeteer 22  
62 Micheal Carroll Howth Yacht Club   1950 Flexit -  
63 Craig O’Neill Royal Cork Yacht Club   IRL4064 Legal Alien J/24 One Design
64 Peter Levins, Brendan Foley, Colm O'Buachalla, Mark Hennessey, Patrick Ryan, Conor Twoney Royal St. George Yacht Club   FR111 ALLIG8R First Class 8 Class 3
65 Neil Murphy / Conor Costello Howth Yacht Club   6413 Yellow Peril Puppeteer 22  
66 Conor Haughton, Jonny Flood, Charles Heather, Garrett Kinnane Wicklow Sailing Club   5270 Jupiter J24 Class 3
67 Nicola & Stuart Harris Waterford Harbour Sailing Club   3370 Moxy X332 sport Class 1
68 pat kelly Rush Sailing Club rsc hyc irl1141 storm j 109 Class 1
69 kelly boardman oleary Club not listed rsc bsc hyc rcyc irl 2269 two farr half tonner Class 2
70 Joanne Hall / Martin Mahon Club not listed Courtown Sailing Club IRL90210 SNOOPY Quarter Tonner Class 3
71 Flood/Greene Howth Yacht Club   IRL8151 Jokers Wild Beneteau 32S5  
72 Roger Conan Royal St. George Yacht Club   1041 Avalon 31.7  
73 Mark Chambers & Alan Switzer Club not listed Courtown sailing club IRL1707 Artemis Sigma 33c  
74 Peter Courtney Howth Yacht Club   17 Oona Howth 17  
75 Miller, Crompton & Hodges Club not listed South Caenarvonshire Yacht Club GBR7737R Impetuous Corby 37 Class 0
76 Barry Cunningham Royal Irish Yacht Club   IRL 2160 Chimaera J109 Class 1
77 Rima Macken Howth Yacht Club   16 Eileen Howth 17  
78 paul conway Royal St. George Yacht Club   IRL 932 CERVANTES Contessa 32  
79 Cliff Waddilove Skerries Sailing Club   279 Aoife E-Boat  
80 Dave Clarke Howth Yacht Club   2021c Harlequin Puppeteer  
81 Kieran Jameson Howth Yacht Club   IRL 8331 Changeling Sigma 38  
82 Donal Harkin Howth Yacht Club   1048 Ghosty Ned Puppeteer  
83 Paddy Kyne Howth Yacht Club   7495 Maximus X 302 Class 3
84 James Dwyer Royal Cork Yacht Club   KZ3494 Swuzzlebubble Farr halftonner Class 2
85 Johnny Treanor National Yacht Club   IRL 3721 ValenTina J112e Class 0
86 Declan Gray Howth Yacht Club   Irl3230 Sapphire Oceanis 323 Clipper  
87 Ger Smith / Niall Sabongi Skerries Sailing Club   IRL4443 An Oifig Sigma 33  
88 Carty Finucane O'Byrne Howth Yacht Club   IRL 1430 Mary Ellen .  
89 Roddy cooper Howth Yacht Club   3 LEILA 17 footer  
90 William Lacy Howth Yacht Club   IRL 8322 Sojourn Arcona 400
Published in Wave Regatta

Two US-based sailors will add an international flavour to the fourth Irish RS Aero National Championships on the 15th & 16th of June at Howth Yacht Club.

Paul McMahon of the host club is the defending champion and will be hoping for a repeat on home waters. The sailors will also be hoping for a repeat of the classic Howth Easterly conditions of last October’s event.

The Principal Race Officer for the event is top sailor Nigel Biggs.

The Nationals will once again be supported by KODC Advisory who also sponsored the Easterns in Howth last year.

A key feature of many RS Aero events, which has proved very popular, is top-class coaching before the event and Thomas Chaix has agreed to provide a session on Friday afternoon.

Entry can be made here. There may be opportunities to charter an Aero for the event. Please contact Daragh Sheridan at [email protected] for further information.

Published in RS Aero
Tagged under

The ILCA Masters National Championships proved that the ILCA is a boat for all ages. The masters travelled to Howth Yacht Club to race in the sunshine and a steady south-easterly breeze ranging from 8 to 14 knots. Under the watchful eye of Race Officer Neil Murphy and his team, six races took place over two days in the ILCA 6 and ILCA 7 fleets.

Masters sailors are split into five categories: Apprentices aged 30 to 45, Masters aged 45 to 54, Grand Masters 55 – 64, Great Grand Masters 65 – 74, and Legends 75+. Within each fleet, multiple contests take place, and prizes are awarded in each category and for overall winners.

2024 ILCA Masters National Championship Masters Championships competitors post racing on Sunday at Howth Yacht Club2024 ILCA Masters National Championship Masters Championships competitors post racing on Sunday at Howth Yacht Club

In the 24-boat ILCA 7 fleet, Dan O’Connell and Rory Lynch, both regular Howth winter sailors, battled hard for the top spot, while Conor Byrne, last year's winner, was not far behind. After two wins in race 4 and 6, Rory Lynch topped the fleet and Apprentice category. Dan O’Connell, was second overall and first Master. while Conor Byrne last year 39s Masters Champion had to settle for third overall and second Apprentice. The top Grand Master was Nick Walshe, starting and finishing strong with a third in race one and a second in race six.

Baltimore Sailing Club's Rory Lynch - ILCA 7 Masters National ChampionBaltimore Sailing Club's Rory Lynch - ILCA 7 Masters National Champion

In the ILCA 6 fleet, Conor Clancy and Sean Craig were well-matched rivals, both finishing all races in the top four. Sean Craig showed his experience with three race wins, discarding a fourth to take first overall and top Grand Master. Conor Clancy was just three points behind and finished second overall and top Apprentice. Conor Barry sailed a very consistent series, winning race six to take third place and top Master.

Royal St. George Yacht Club's Shirley Gilmore, the Women's Irish Masters ILCA 6 National Champion Royal St. George Yacht Club's Shirley Gilmore, the Women's Irish Masters ILCA 6 National Champion 

In the ILCA 6 Women's category Shirley Gilmore, Judy O’Byrne, Mary Chambers, Alison Pigot and Carla Fagan were racing hard. Shirley Gilmore inched ahead after day one and, with a fourth in race six, did enough to retain her Women’s Masters title, with Judy O’Beirne finishing second and Mary Chambers third overall. Alison Pigot was second in the Grand Master category, while Carla Fagan was the top Apprentice.

As always, Howth Yacht Club ran a top-class event. Jill Sommerville and Conor Murphy did an exceptional job organising it.

ILCA Ireland’s next event is the Ulster Championships which takes place in County Antrim Yacht Club on the 22 and 23 of June.

Full results below

Published in Laser
Tagged under

The weekend's almost freakish display of the Northern Lights were better seen in some places than others. Howth on its peninsula avoided the later thundery rain which affected other parts of the country, some with flooding. The HYC Photography Fellowship were busy, with the Talented Turveys' Conor Turvey - best known for ace helming on the Howth 17 Isobel - managing to get a quartet of images of such quality that the stars themselves are seen clearly as part of what are some very big pictures - in every sense.

Howth's outer harbour is looking eastward, with the HYC Howth 17s and Squibs making up the bulk of the fleet lying to moorings. Photo: Conor TurveyHowth's outer harbour is looking eastward, with the HYC Howth 17s and Squibs making up the bulk of the fleet lying to moorings. Photo: Conor Turvey

The humble Starter's Hut on the East Pier fronted up the most colourful display. Photo: Conor TurveyThe humble Starter's Hut on the East Pier fronted up the most colourful display. Photo: Conor Turvey

Howth Lighthouse - probably the most-photographed building on the Peninsula - had to share the stage with a rare display of cosmic glory. Photo: Conor TurveyHowth Lighthouse - probably the most-photographed building on the Peninsula - had to share the stage with a rare display of cosmic glory. Photo: Conor Turvey

Published in Howth YC

When it was announced that the three-day Howth Wave Regatta 2024 would be in the last full May weekend of Friday 24th to Sunday 26th, there was a certain thoughtful sucking of the molars among the waterfront pundits. For this was clear evidence that the over-crowded cruiser-racing programme had led the Howth event organiser Brian Turvey into going head-to-head with the Scottish Series for the timing of his home event, which has Porsche as the classy lead sponsor.

Thus the most basic metric of the wisdom (or not) of his decision lay in two simple outcomes – which way would John Minnis’s A35 Final Call II from Belfast Lough go, and which way would Pat Kelly’s J/109 Storm from Rush incline her attention?

HARD-HEADED CHOICES

For both boats have found the Scottish Series to be a very happy hunting ground for conspicuous success in recent years. They are the form boats. Yet both boats and crews are noted for making very hard-headed decisions about where they’ll get their best competition in this time-precious age, resulting in something of a zero sum situation when events precisely clash.

So although it was the solidly reliable First 50 Checkmate XX (Nigel Biggs & Dave Cullen) which led the way in becoming Entry Number One for Wave, it was when Final Call II came in at Entry 22 and Storm came in at Entry 68 that the Waterfront Brains Trust agreed the Turvey Team had successfully made the crucial cut – the show was definitely on the road.

John Minnis’s Archambault 35 Final Call II from Belfast Lough on her way to success in Dublin Bay. She is headed south again for Howth Wave 2024 in ten days’ time. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O’BrienJohn Minnis’s Archambault 35 Final Call II from Belfast Lough on her way to success in Dublin Bay. She is headed south again for Howth Wave 2024 in ten days’ time. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O’Brien

John Minnis’s entry was especially fulsome, as he’d enthused about the quality of racing he’d experienced in previous visits to Howth. Yet the 2023 ICRA National’s event success at Howth had been achieved despite a very disobliging weather pattern, so it seems that it’s the general atmosphere - in addition to the quality of racing when available - which is Wave’s USP. and it has also attracted a representative Cork contingent.

 “Ya just gotta learn to live with it” – Pat Kelly in the midst of his crew shrugs his way through another Storm success at the Scottish series, but for 2024 Storm is Entry 68 in Howth Wave. Photo: Marc Turner “Ya just gotta learn to live with it” – Pat Kelly in the midst of his crew shrugs his way through another Storm success at the Scottish series, but for 2024 Storm is Entry 68 in Howth Wave. Photo: Marc Turner

HOWTH ENTERTAINMENT RATING A CONSTANT

But the entertainment value of Howth Yacht Club’s setting in a picturesque and hospitable fishing/sailing port is more or less a given when you add in the hectic social programme available. Thus in the end it’s the quality of the racing which is the ultimate factor, and it’s Howth’s race team – whose talents are regularly hi-jacked off around the corner of Howth Head by Dublin Bay Sailing Club – that gives the greatest and most continuous attention to improving the product.

Now, wouldn’t this be quite the place for a party? Howth Yacht Club and the village by night. Photo: HYCNow, wouldn’t this be quite the place for a party? Howth Yacht Club and the village by night. Photo: HYC

Then too, with this major regatta being so conveniently provided right on the threshold of Dublin means that the organiser’s tolerance in accepting entries up to just three days in advance causes the weather situation and its immediate prospects some ten days hence to be a factor in some crew and boat participation decisions.

Let’s hear it for the big one! Checkmate XX racing at the ICRA Nationals 2023 in Howth. Owners Dave Cullen and Nigel Biggs find that a boat of this size provides added opportunities to give dinghy sailors their first serious keelboat experience. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyLet’s hear it for the big one! Checkmate XX racing at the ICRA Nationals 2023 in Howth. Owners Dave Cullen and Nigel Biggs find that a boat of this size provides added opportunities to give dinghy sailors their first serious keelboat experience. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

PLUS CA CHANGE……..

Thus it’s a matter of things changing all the time in order to stay the same, as Wave is ultimately based around Howth Yacht Club’s signature event, the Lambay Race. Originally using a trophy donated by the Stokes family in 1899, it was first known to have been eventually maiden sailed in 1904 (it didn’t do to rush into new things back in them days), and since then its mystique has increased with every year.

CENTENARY? WHAT CENTENARY?

Yet its Centenary in 2004 passed with little enough fanfare, as Howth may have been experiencing some “Centenary Fatigue”, what with the hundredth of Howth YC in 1995, and the big hundred of the ancient Howth 17 class in 1998. You can have enough of centenaries, whatever they may celebrate.

So the annual Lambay Race has gradually and rather quietly become a cornerstone of the architecture of the Fingal sailing programme. And traditionalists would argue that all they should have to do is fire a starting gun from the Howth pierhead when the tide is flooding north through Howth Sound, and send the fleet of multiple classes on the most basic course round the always slightly mysterious Lambay (please don’t call it Lambay island, “island” is implicit in that “ay” ending), and then time them home again when the ebb hustles them south.

The original Lambay Race course was very basic, but since 1904 various zigs and zags have been addedThe original Lambay Race course was very basic, but since 1904 various zigs and zags have been added

LENGTHENING THE COURSE

But that results in a course of only fifteen or so sea miles when something special is needed, so they’ve introduced all sorts of variants in order to provide extra length and ensure there’s a good beat or two. But whether or not you agree with what they do is rather dependent on how well you did.

I did my first Lambay on Johnny Pearson’s 8 Metre Cruiser/Racer Orana in 1970, when she was still smelling of roses thanks to having been overall winner of the RORC Beaumaris to Cork Race of 1966, a triumph achieved by the genius tactics of Brian Hegarty. Quite how we did round Lambay four yearslater is long forgotten, so obviously we didn’t win, but the good news is that the 1960-built Orana has since been meticulously restored by an owner in the south of England, and has been cutting a dash at the Morbihan Festival in Brittany.

The late Johnny Pearson of Howth’s 8 Metre C/R Orana is now based in the English Channel, and here is showing her well-maintained condition at the Morbihan Festival in South Brittany.The late Johnny Pearson of Howth’s 8 Metre C/R Orana is now based in the English Channel, and here is showing her well-maintained condition at the Morbihan Festival in South Brittany.

Subsequent Lambay Races have been done in boats as small as a Squib – you could keep racing flat-out sustained by an easily-handled diet of Superquinn of Sutton Cross’s superb Scotch eggs and a screw-top bottle of cider, something that kept you going on a Howth 17 too – while at the other end of the size scale, the serious biggies like Perry Greer’s 57ft Helen of Howth and Otto Glaser’s all-varnish Tritsch-Tratsch II tried to outdo each other in the style of their mid-race lunch.

The Howth 17s Aura (Ian & Judith Malcolm) and Pauline on the north side of Lambay. Photo: John DeanThe Howth 17s Aura (Ian & Judith Malcolm) and Pauline on the north side of Lambay. Photo: John Dean

USING THE ZIGS TO CHANGE SAILS FOR THE ZAGS

Naturally a bit of us inclines to go along with the traditionalists who say the course should be simply there and back. But it has to be admitted our big win came in 1981 thanks to the zig-zag nature of the course set from Lambay south. It was our first year with the Hustler 30 Turtle (bought in a Leeson Street night-club around 4 o’clock in the morning, but that’s another story) which had lovely Hood sails, but the jibs and genoas were hanked on. Yet with a strong but steadily easing sou’wester, coming back fro Lambay the zigs while screaming along under spinnaker enabled us to change up from working jib through No 2 (a really wonderful sail) to face the beats on the zags with the right cloth set, until the last zag leg to the finish was close-hauled under the No 1, going like a train.

The Hustler 30 Turtle racing with her hanked-on Hood No 2 genoa set. She managed to win the new-syle Lambay Race 1981 thanks to being able to change up on the headsails during the short spinnaker legs.The Hustler 30 Turtle racing with her hanked-on Hood No 2 genoa set. She managed to win the new-syle Lambay Race 1981 thanks to being able to change up on the headsails during the short spinnaker legs.

BAD CAREER MOVE

It was beginner’s luck. But it was a very bad career move to have had it right in such a major scenario, as our ECHO handicap went so stratospheric that it continued to penalize us when we moved on up to a 35-footer ten years alter. So with both boats, for any subsequent sniff of the silverware we had to go to the then-considerable expense of getting an impartial Channel Handicap rating and subsequently going IRC, with the latter being no cake-walk as they wouldn’t allow us to be weighed for measurement with the chain locker filled with the 45 fathoms of seven-eighths tested cable we reckoned made her a proper cruiser-racer.

All of which seems rather a long way from the Lambay Race 2024 and Howth Wave 2024 enveloping it, but then the Lambay can attract some odd boats, everything from the hottest new things to boats as old as Methuselah. Memorable in the latter category is a Lambay Race aboard Adrian “Stu” Spence’s 1873-vintage pilot cutter Madcap which – despite her supposedly speedy pilot cutter pedigree – managed to be beaten boat-for-boat by the mighty Clondalkin-built Galway Hooker Naomh Cronan, helmed in considerable style by Paddy Murphy who’d come across from Renvyle on Connemara’s Atlantic coast, and made his journey well worthwhile through this success.

Adrian “Stu” Spence’s Pilot Cutter Madcap on one of his Arctic cruises. Built 1873, she is believed to be the oldest boat ever to take part in the Lambay Race, but on the day……Adrian “Stu” Spence’s Pilot Cutter Madcap on one of his Arctic cruises. Built 1873, she is believed to be the oldest boat ever to take part in the Lambay Race, but on the day……

…….Madcap was beaten boat-for-boat round Lambay by the Clondalkin-built Galway Hooker Naomh Cronan, helmed by Paddy Murphy from Renvyle in Connemara. Photo: W M Nixon…….Madcap was beaten boat-for-boat round Lambay by the Clondalkin-built Galway Hooker Naomh Cronan, helmed by Paddy Murphy from Renvyle in Connemara. Photo: W M Nixon

ENTRIES CLOSE MAY 21ST

Meanwhile, returning to prospects for Howth Wave 2024, we’re kept on tenterhooks by the fact that entries are being accepted right up to Tuesday May 21st. We can see this becoming a dangerous game, maybe even involving AI. As clubs become increasingly proud and sure of their race management equipment, we can see entries being accepted as they show up. Which, as it happens, was the way it always used to be:

“Didn’t you know we were coming? Sure didn’t we come last year? Of course were coming again this year – who’d have thought there was any need to tell you?

Published in W M Nixon

Olympians and former champions are set to compete in this year's ILCA Masters Championships at Howth Yacht Club. The event comes just nine months after the North Dublin club hosted the national championships for the 2023 class last August.

One of the main attractions of the event will be the ILCA 7 fleet, where defending champion Conor Byrne of the RStGYC is expected to face stiff competition from the likes of 1984 and 1988 Olympian Bill O'Hara. Byrne, who has taken fourth and second place in the regional ILCA events so far this year, is set to put up a strong defence of his title.

Nick Walsh of RCYC, winner of the 2022 Masters Championships and second place in 2021, will also be competing, along with Dan O'Connell of Cobh SC, who was second in the 2022 Masters Championships.

Royal St. George's Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire Harbour competing in the ILCA 6 Grand Masters World Championships in Adelaide, Australia Credit: Jack FletcherRoyal St. George's Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire Harbour competing in the 2023 ILCA 6 Grand Masters World Championships in Adelaide, Australia Photo: Jack Fletcher

In the smaller rig ILCA 6s, a strong Royal St. George Yacht Club turnout is expected, led by Sean Craig, who won the event in 2022 and 2021. Craig's clubmate Darren Griffin has also taken podium places in the past two years, while Hugh Delap, who was the first master at the recent Munster Championships, narrowly missed out on a podium place last year.

Shirley Gilmore is defending her Ladies Masters National Title and will be up against Mary Chambers, Great Grand Master who took line honours last week in DBSC. Also competing is Carla Fagan of the host club, Ali Pigott of the National Yacht Club and Judy O'Beirne, Dun Laoghaire ILCA Class Captain from the Royal St George Yacht Club.

The event will be overseen by Race Officer Neil Murphy, along with the rest of the race committee from the recent HYC Dinghy Frostbites. 

Published in Laser
Tagged under

Howth Yacht Club in Ireland is set to receive a full container of 12 Melges 15s next week, as the class continues to grow rapidly.

This arrival will double the Irish fleet to 24 boats, with a strong fleet of 13 boats ready to sail in Howth’s Thursday dinghy racing, where a diverse range of owners ranging from the Oppie ‘Dad’ to the ‘Cruiser Racer’ will take ownership.

Many owners are reportedly returning to dinghy ownership after a long hiatus, while family is also a common theme with parents, partners, and siblings all set to sail and race on Howth waters this summer.

The Demo weekend off Ireland's Eye that led to the Melges 15 order of 12 boats for Howth Photo: Tom Ryan The Demo weekend off Ireland's Eye that led to the Melges 15 order of 12 boats for Howth Photo: Tom Ryan 

Irish promoter john sheehy says Tthe Melges 15 fleet is the fastest-growing dinghy fleet around the world, and with the arrival of these 12 boats, class numbers will top 800 internationally.

Boat numbers 796 to 807 will make their new home in the waters off Ireland’s eye, with one boat (805) owned by Howth Yacht Club itself, providing members more chances to get afloat. Club fleets have been popping up in the US over the last year, with Houston Yacht Club perhaps showing Howth Yacht Club the way forward with their own club-owned fleet of boats.

New Melges 15s are loaded in the factory. Next stop Howth Yacht Club!New Melges 15s are loaded in the factory. Next stop Howth Yacht Club!

The Irish national championships are set for Howth on August 24th and 25th, and with expected international entries, the event should be a competitive fair, pushing the fleet past 24 boats.

Published in Melges 15

Bob Fannin Jnr feels most at home on the high seas. For as the Bristol-based writer, broadcaster and university lecturer told the members of the Cruising Group at his former club of Howth on Tuesday night, when sailing the sea, life is simple. There are basically just three very important matters that have to be handled very well indeed on a daily basis, with the ship tidy and properly shipshape - and the food good - well up the list.

Yet in trying to live a decent shore life, a natural seaman is constantly assailed by what seems like wave after wave of relative trivia that needs constant attention. But he or she soon learns that you can survive and get by with “a barely acceptable level of response”, however unsatisfactory that may seem. That said, he gave an understanding nod to the old dictum “that when a man gets to like a sea life, then he is not fit to live on land.”

Bob Fannin Jnr – “in the years he has been away, he has somehow ended up looking like Bruce Springsteen’s seagoing brother”.Bob Fannin Jnr – “in the years he has been away, he has somehow ended up looking like Bruce Springsteen’s seagoing brother”

UNMATCHED SEA-GOING EXPERIENCE

His sea-going experience is off the scale, and in the years he has been away, this talented son of sailing cartoonist Bob Fannin Senr has somehow ended up looking like Bruce Springsteen’s sea-going brother. That’s as may be. But with skippers and shipmates like Arctic-pushing John Gore-Grimes and world-girdling Bill King on smaller yachts, combined with years of experience in the Caribbean and Mediterranean with classic big superyachts like Sumurun, Puritan and Tuiga, the depth of knowledge and tough experience he can draw on is mind-boggling.

Some of Bob Fannin’s best classic experience was gained on the renowned 15 Metre TuigaSome of Bob Fannin’s best classic experience was gained on the renowned 15 Metre Tuiga

But out of all that, he says that the simple most important thing is something that he learned from Bill King, something that is sublime in its simplicity. The secret to keeping the sailing show on the road in a lengthy sailing project, says Bob, is to be found in straightforward kindness and thoughtfulness towards your shipmates.

KINDNESS IS ALL

He frankly admitted that this was something he personally had to learn, remarking that until he sailed with Bill King, it wouldn’t have been his first reaction in difficult times, or indeed in most times. But Bill King with his unrivalled range of experience knew how to get the best out of his shipmates through empathy, courtesy and the right level of tolerance.

Bill King of Galway – “in getting the best out of a crew, the right level of kindness is everything”Bill King of Galway – “in getting the best out of a crew, the right level of kindness is everything”

It was so central to his character that you got the feeling that this was the way he’d been born, but Bob says Bill King modestly claimed he’d had to learn it like most other truly successful skippers.

Since then, Bob has tried to carry this approach with him, even if it sometimes took quite a bit of personal adjustment. But it certainly has stood him to the good, as he was able to review a hugely-varied sailor’s life, a way of life that clearly has provided him with more experiences than the entire enthralled HYC Cruising Group combined.

The 1914-vintage Fife ketch SumurunThe 1914-vintage Fife ketch Sumurun

Published in Howth YC
Tagged under
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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.

Competitions

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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