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The J24 Southern Championships were held at Tralee Bay Sailing Club over the weekend of 24/25 May. Fifteen boats travelled from all over Ireland for the event including four local boats.

Racing was scheduled at 1125 on Saturday but contrary to the forecast there wasn’t a puff of wind. Eventually a light breeze filled in from the NW and PRO Peter Moore sent the fleet off on two laps of a windward-leeward course, The breeze was shifty and fickle but eventually, all boats finished within the time limit. There was a further delay as the wind strengthened and backed to the SW.

Race 2 was all action as Janx Spirit lead at the leeward mark for the final time only for a problem with their spinnaker to allow Stouche through. Stouche lost a crew overboard though at their next tack wnd could only finish in 6th. Race three and four were more orderly affairs although the wind had increased to 20 knots or more.

Overnight Stouche lead on 6 points with Il Ricco and Gossip hard on their heels both on 7 points.

Sunday morning was fresh and sunny with a steady NW breeze. Peter started bang on time and race 5 finished with Gala Racing in 1st followed by Stouche and Il Ricco. It was still wide open for the final race and Il Ricco lead for most of the way to take another win. Stouche was 3rd at the leeward mark but just edged out Janx Spirit to claim 2nd at the finish line.

A protest delayed the final results but eventually, Stouche was declared the winner on 10 points with Il Ricco second on 11 and gossip 3rd on 15. The silver fleet was won by Gala Racing with Yachtzee second and Crazyhorse 3rd. The under 25 team prize went to Janx Spirit.

J24 Southern Championships Results

Sail No Boat Type of Boat Owner Points Place R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6
IRL4215 Stouche D. McCormack 10 1 2 6 3 1 2 2
5219 Il Ricco JP. McCaldin 11 2 1 5 1 5 3 1
IRL4212 Gossip B. Raftery 15 3 3 1 4 3 9 4
IRL4252 Jibe F. Kelliher 27 4 4 4 7 11 5 7
IRL8824 Janx Spirit Tadg O'Loinsigh 30 5 6 3 6 12 14 3
IRL5278 Gala Racing McGibney/O'Mahony 32 6 8 8 12 7 1 8
IRL5067 Jana C. O'Flaherty 32 7 5 14 2 4 7 18
IRL3060 Jumpin Jive M. Usher 33 8 10 9 5 6 8 5
IRL4794 Hard on Port F. O'Driscoll 38 9 12 7 13 2 4 18
IRL4532 Jelegnite F. Ryan 42 10 11 2 8 10 12 11
IRL5285 YachtZee D. O'Donovan 43 11 9 12 10 13 6 6
IRL4533 Crazyhorse L. McBride 49 12 7 13 9 8 13 12
IRL4188 Jasper 2 FoynesU25 50 13 13 11 11 9 10 9
IRL400 Jaguar G. Fort 60 14 14 10 15 18 11 10
GB4083 Jenepi Daly/Magowan 71 15 15 15 14 14 15 13
IR4384 Proud Mary McGibney/O'Mahony 90 16 18 18 18 18 18 18
IRL4628 Bad S. Atkinson 90 16 18 18 18 18 18 18

Published in J24
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9th December 2018

Gerry Gilligan, RIP

Gerry Gilligan, who was very widely known and loved in Irish sailing has died. Gerry was an avid and accomplished GP14 dinghy and J/24 helmsman and sailor, and will be very much missed writes Michael Clarke.

He was a good friend and strong supporter of Lough Erne Yacht Club and our recent Autumn J/24 Series in which he first competed with Barry Humphreys in TJ then in his own newly acquired J/24 Jana. The funeral notice is below: 

Gerry Gilligan, Parkhill, Ballyshannon Co. Donegal. Peacefully at his residence. Veterinary Surgeon. Remains will repose at his residence today (Sunday 9 December) from 4pm until 10pm and on Monday from 2pm until 10pm. House private at all other times. Remains will arrive in St. Patrick's Church, Ballyshannon on Tuesday for 12pm Funeral Mass followed by interment in Saint Ninnidh's Cemetery, Bundoran.

Published in J24
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Mark Usher of Greystones Sailing Club is Ireland’s new 2018 Northern J/24 Champion helming Jumpin Jive in a six-race championship on Lough Erne in boisterous very windy conditions on 29 & 30 September. This top crew counted three firsts and two seconds in their nett final score (7). A month previous, the Jumpin Jive team had emerged second among the three Irish boats in the 2018 World J/24 Championship – a record 89 strong World J/24 fleet on Lake Garda, Italy.

Lough Erne YC hosted this event as part of bicentenary celebrations, 1818-2018. Boats and helms came from ten clubs, Greystones, Foynes, Kilrush, Bray, Carrickfergus, Erne, Sligo, Lough Ree, Lough Swilly and Mullaghmore SC (Bronagh Carvill, only woman helm in LEYC boat Jeriatrix).

JnJ Champion crewIrish Northern J/24 Champion, Mark Usher & crew, at the prizegiving with June Clarke and John Carton, LEYC Commodore

Sponsors were Waterways Ireland and Modern Tyres. There was much praise for event committee chair and organiser, LEYC Fleet Captain June Clarke, unanimously elected also to the Committee of the J/24 Association of Ireland at Friday evening’s AGM. The fleet was bisected, Gold fleet, modern J/24s and six Silver fleet, all old Westerly boats built about 1980.

Second Gold and overall, Simon McGibney’s Gala Racing, road-towed north from Kilrush, counted a first and second in nett 15 points. Third, the fleet’s senior sailor, Flor O’Driscoll, from Bray, counted only a first in his nett 15 equal points. Fourth, from Carrickfergus, Steve Atkinson’s Bád had best place a second in nett 21. Fifth Gold and best home club LEYC boat, Diarmuid O’Donovan counted two fourths in nett 24 points. Mark McCormack’s Stouche, best of three Irish in Italy’s World event emerged sixth on Lough Erne – wild and windier than Lake Garda! Ninth Gold was Tim Rippey’s Jigalo, LEYC, best a fifth place. This excellent J/24 was twice borrowed to win in a World Championship, but seriously lacked crew weight this very windy weekend.

Luke McBride, Lough Swilly, helming Bandit, clearly topped the Silver fleet. Bandit is also top scoring boat in the 2018 LEYC Autumn Sunday series. Ken Draper, Sligo in Jevan was second Silver and Barry Humphreys, LEYC, third Silver in TJ. Bronagh Carvill, building J/24 helming experience, did very well in 1979 vintage Jeriatrix with a very light crew for the conditions.

LEYC’s third successful Autumn Sunday J/24 series, four races each afternoon then a BBQ, had attracted a dozen J/24s, local and visiting. Scoring includes the six Championship races, 22 in all, including the two final Sundays, 7 & 14 October. Down in Kilrush, a similar October endeavour is planned for six J/24s. Local J/24 events like these have happened all round the world near 40 years past - J24s still being the world’s most popular and widespread keelboat class.

Published in J24
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The J24 National Championships concluded at Foynes Yacht Club today in a light to moderate westerly breeze. OOD Derek Bothwell was able to start on schedule for the first time this weekend after hours spent waiting around for wind. Race six of the championships got off to a clear start with the fleet splitting both left and right on the course in a flooding tide. Gala Racing, who went right on the first beat and left on the second, got their first win of the championships followed by HYC’s under 25 team Scandal in 2nd and Tim Corcoran on Crazyhorse in third.

Download results below

As the tide strengthened and wind lightened the race course was shortened before the start of the final race of the event. Flor O’Driscoll tacked off to the right immediately after the start keeping further right than any other boat and emerged with a clear lead by the windward mark. A battle for second developed between Jibe, Crazyhorse and Jumpin Jive who exchanged places numerous times on both the upwind and downwind legs with Crazyhorse finishing in 2nd just ahead of Jumpin Jive.

J24 Under 25 National Champions 2018J24 Under 25 National Champions 2018 – the crew of Scandal 

With the championship complete and boats lifted out attention turned to the prizegiving. There were multiple changes in positions in the fleet after the final two races. In Gold, Royal Cork Yacht Club’s Stefan Hyde on Maurice Johnson and Partners is the new J24 National Champion for 2018. The new under 25 National Champion is Harry Cronin and Scandal from Howth Yacht Club.

A number of initiatives brought in for this year’s event were very successful. The trialling of On the Water Judging conducted by Gordon Davies was well received by the competitors. Also the introduction of a Bronze Fleet made for competitive sailing for all competitors.

The association acknowledged the support of the sponsors of the event and ICRA for their support and finally the host club and its members for a great weekend of sailing! 

GOLD Fleet

1st – Maurice Johnson and Partners – Stefan Hyde
2nd – Crazyhorse – Tim Corcoran
3rd – Hard on Port – Flor O’Driscoll

1st – Gala Racing – Simon McGibney
2nd – FYC Under 25 Team – Michael Lynch
3rd – Kilcullen – Colin O’Sullivan

1st – Jevan – Ken Draper/Adam Sutor
2nd – Blue Jay – Brian McDowell
3rd – NUIG Galway – Aaron O’Reilly

1st – Scandal – Harry Cronin
2nd – FYC Under 25 – Michael Lynch
3rd – Kilcullen – Colin O’Sullivan

Published in J24
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With no visible wind this morning OOD Derek Bothwell issued a two-hour postponement to the start of day two of the J24 National Championships at Foynes Yacht Club on the Shannon Estuary. A perfectly timed postponement for many competitors who wished to watch the Ireland v Australia match. And just as the final whistle in the match blew the AP came down to head to the race area with the prospect of wind!

However, wind did not fill in as expected and a further AP was signalled afloat which resulted in some swimming and more ice cream and a lot of moving of marks to find the right race course in a fickle and patchy wind and baking sunshine. With time running out and at least one more race needed to complete the championship the first gun for race one was finally signalled at 1730hrs in a freshening westerly breeze.

As the race one start counted down the OOD drew competitor’s attention to the ebbing tide pushing competitors over the line and urged caution and a clear start was had. Two leaders emerged by the first windward mark with Martin Reilly’s Crazyhorse leading ahead of Darragh McCormack’s Stouche who held those positions to the finish.

In a day when even one race looked unlikely the fleet were delighted to be able to compete in a second race however as the tide increased in strength less caution was used at the start of race two resulting in a general recall and the U flag being raised and a number of boats still caught OCS on the second attempt. The breeze was up again which made for some spectacular close racing and numerous position changes throughout the race. Jibe, helmed by Fergus Kelliher from Tralee Bay Sailing Club, took his first win of the event followed Stefan Hyde in 2nd.

A championship dinner took place in the clubhouse that evening with a few short speeches from Foynes Commodore James McCormack and J24 President Brian McDowell both complimenting the race committee on getting in five race thus far and expressing their delight in the seeing the seven u25 teams taking part and highlighting the importance of bringing our young sailors from dinghies into keelboat racing.

A successful championship to date and hopeful of more sailing on today!

Published in J24
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Derek Bothwell, PRO, assisted by Ray McGibney of the host club at Foynes Yacht Club greeted the twenty boat J24 fleet on a beautiful sun filled morning with very little breeze. Being optimistic about a sea breeze filling in it was let known at the briefing that the fleet would be heading out to the start on time. Returning to the J24 fleet, International Judge Gordon Davies highlighted the importance of sailing being a self-policing sport and drew competitor’s attention to the new On the Water Judging System which would be enforced on the water today.

Brian McDowell, J24 President, who has been working closely with the Irish Cruiser Racing Association over the last number of months on the development of under 25 teams as a natural pathway from dinghies to cruisers, announced that ICRA was also supporting the u25 initiative by way of entry grants. These were warmly and enthusiastically received by all the sailors.

At an initially sunny but windless Friday the twenty-one boat fleet was treated to an ice cream on the water courtesy of the host club before the breeze was switched on for three frantic races.

Racing got underway in a light southwesterly wind. Finbarr Ryan’s Jelignite led the fleet to the windward mark, with the rest of the fleet hot on his heels and extended to the finish. Simon McGibney on Gala Racing finished in 2nd, with the RCYC Under 25 Team finished a very impressive 3rd on their very first outing, helmed by Tom McGrath.

Race two got underway in a freshening breeze, Stefan Hyde, Morris Johnson and Partners, led to the finish line, with the J24 legend Flor O’Driscoll, on Hard on Port in second and Jumpin Jive helmed by Mark Usher in 3rd.

Before the start of race 3, the wind shifted to a more northerly direction and moderated. Stefan Hyde took the honours again, with Sligo boat Crazy Horse, helmed by Tim Corcoran in 2nd, and local boat Darragh McCormack in 3rd.

Race results below

Published in J24
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The future is looking very bright indeed for the J24 Association of Ireland with seven under twenty-five age group teams from around the country taking part at the J24 National Championships next week from at the 8th to the 10th June being hosted by Foynes Yacht Club on the Shannon Estuary

The J24 Class Association of Ireland has advocated on many an occasion that the J24 is the perfect transition from dinghies to keelboat racing. It is very evident that this route can be successful with seven teams confirming their entry in this year’s event.

With the very successful under twenty-five programme being run by Howth Yacht Club, various clubs around the country are starting to emulate that success.

The under twenty teams confirmed for this year’s National Championship are from Howth Yacht Club (three teams), Royal Cork Yacht Club (two teams), NUIG Galway and host club Foynes Yacht Club.

It is also worth noting that Sligo Yacht Club has purchased a J24 for club use and there is a J24 being sailed out of Mullaghmore Sailing Club with an under twenty-five team.

"Irish Sailing has given organisers the green light to create an under twenty-five National Title, the first of its kind for the J24s"

The J24 Class Association of Ireland and Harry Hermon CEO of Irish Sailing have given organisers the green light to create an under twenty-five National Title, the first of its kind for the J24s.

Another first for the J24 Nationals championships will be that there will be on the water Jury Boat, looking after fair sailing. This is been trialled at this year’s Nationals as a response from members to encourage more participation on a level playing field.

The National feet will be split into three fleets – Gold, Silver and Bronze. Bronze fleet is for the less experienced and the boats short of crew and is there not to make up the numbers, but there to learn and have the fun associated with the National event. Howth Yacht Club is sending in addition to their under twenty-five teams, a ‘Try Racing’ team from their Adult training programme, the Bronze fleet dovetails nicely into this programme.

“The J24 under twenty-five national title is an excellent initiative; this is a very attractive way to retain young people within our sport from the transition from dinghies to keelboat. I would like to endorse the event and wish the competitors, officials, organisers a very successful National Championships and best of luck to the new J24 Under Twenty Five National Champion, says Jack Roy, President Irish Sailing

“My mandate is about getting new people involved in the class with a particular focus on the under twenty-five’s. It is a great reflection on the class with the numbers at the J24 events and they are known to be fun and friendly. I must pay credit to the major effort from host club to make it happen” says Brian McDowell, President J24 Class Association of Ireland.

Event organisers have set an ambitious target of thirty entries with twenty-three entries confirmed to date. They would like to call on any other J24 owners out there to get in touch if there is anything they can help with to encourage them to enter.

Published in J24
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The J24 Association has been growing its fleet steadily over the past few years and last year had an impressive 26 boats at the National Championships in Sligo. This year the J24 Association are keen to improve on that number at their National Championships in Foynes in Limerick on the 8th to 10th June. While the target is always 30 boats this would be an exceptional achievement given just two years ago the Irish Nationals had 14 boats taking part.

The association have been targeting a number of areas to help in this development. One of these areas is the Under 25 teams. This follows the success of the K25 teams in Howth Yacht Club and this year an additional two u25 teams have sprung up on the west coast; one from Foynes and one from NUIG Galway with the potential of one or two others from either the south or Northwest regions. Five u25 teams have already entered in the Nationals the J24 Assoc. have agreed there will be an u25 National Champion if there are six teams.

Gordon Davies Race Judge 1Race Judge Gordon Davies will be in attendance in Foynes. Photo:

Another area targeted to bring J24 boats back into one design racing is the introduction of a Bronze Fleet at the Nationals. Again, six boats permitting. To facilitate safer sailing and any potential ‘differences of opinion’ with regard to the Rules of Racing, at this year’s Nationals there will be longer start lines and umpires on the water, led by International ISAF Judge, Gordon Davies.

"With less than five weeks to go the entry list is already at 20 boats"

The association have also been actively contacting J24 owners to aid them in getting boats back in the water, linking potential sellers up with new buyers and lending out road trailers to move boats from event to event.

With less than five weeks to go the entry list is already at 20 boats. The J24 Association and Foynes Yacht Club are encouraging J24 owners to get their entries in as soon as possible. The message is don’t be stuck getting there. Contact either the J24 association or FYC and they will help you out.

Published in J24
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As previewed here, the first event of the 2018 J24 season took place this weekend with the J24 Eastern Championships at Howth Yacht Club.

Pre–weekend forecasts looked ominous for any racing at all with less than 5kts forecast all week long so competitors could only be pleased when winds picked up to a sailable 6-8kts southerly on Saturday morning.

Racing took place just north of Ireland's Eye. Conditions while sailable were very challenging as winds were very light and very shifty. Racing throughout the weekend would find the fleets continuously splitting between the right & left sides of the course in attempts to judge pressure versus tide.

In race one, in the Gold Fleet, 2017 National Champion, JP McCaldin from LEYC got a good start and headed out to sea to get the wind, while most of the rest of the fleet went right, and had pulled out enough of a lead by the first windward mark to take the first race of the year. Dave Lane & Sinéad Enright from RCYC on YaGottaWanna also went left and a fifth saw them lead the Silver Fleet. In race two, in Gold, Darragh McCormack on Stouche from Foynes favouring the right side of the course towards Howth this time led from the first beat only to be pipped on the final tack with a wind shift and Flor O’Driscoll from Bray Sailing Club on Hard on Port capitalised to take first. Howth K25 Team, Kilcullen also choosing the favoured side in sixth place were the lead boat in the Silver Fleet.

A thick fog descended over Ireland's Eye resulting in a delay in racing with the OOD Derek Bothwell continuously reminding competitors to stay nearby and within visibility. With no sign of fog lifting scouts were sent inshore to find visibility much better and the fleet moved closer to Howth. In race three the fleet again split left and right and with less tide inshore Steve Atkinson on Bád from Carrickfergus Sailing Club lead on the first beat but again Hard on Port hot on their heels overtook Bád on the first downwind and lead to the finish. In Silver, Gerard Gilligan’s Jana from Sligo Yacht Club with consistently improving place finishes took fifth to lead the fleet.

The OOD judged enough was enough by that stage and the fleet were sent ashore to a championship dinner laid on by Howth Yacht Club.

"By race five it was still anyone’s championship in both Gold and Silver"

On day two sunshine and a consistent breeze meant racing got off to a great start with smiles all round and sunblock even applied. In race four there was consistency across the course with slack tides and the fleet again split left and right but merged in unison at the windward mark. Overnight leaders in the Gold Fleet, Stouche, kept their championships hopes well and truly alive with an excellent win being matched tack for tack by Jamais Encore and YaGottaWanna who lead the Silver Fleet.

By race five it was still anyone’s championship in both Gold and Silver. Hard on Port, so hard to beat, took the win ahead of Jamais Encore to take the lead in Gold and Jana pipped YaGottaWana for third to jump ahead in the overalls by half a point. And that was the end of the lovely conditions, race six started but was abandoned mid race as another thick fog appeared and the race marks disappeared from sight!

The next event is the J24 National Championships in Foynes Yacht Club on the 8th to 10th June.

Gold Fleet: 1st Hard on Port, 2nd Stouche, 3rd Jamais Encore

Silver Fleet: 1st Jana, 2nd YaGottaWanna, 3rd Kilcullen

Full results available on the J24 website here

Published in J24
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This week and for the second time, HYC's Autumn League race management teams were presented with and efficiently managed the considerable challenge of running two races for the inshore and offshore fleets. Aided by some slight alterations to the sailing instructions, Howth’s rich cohort of race officials set out windward-leeward courses for the first race and into a north-westerly 18-20 knot wind that accommodatingly behaved in terms of direction and strength for the whole afternoon.

The teams on the race committee vessels (Sea Wych, Star Point and six accompanying RIBs) finished the nine racing classes, then laid a ‘Round the Cans’ course and got all 100 boats cleanly away for the second race by 4pm. The decision to move to a ‘Round the cans’ course for the second race meant that both fleets finished in Howth Sound and in plenty of time to enjoy the revelry ashore.

With more than four races now completed, boats now discard their worst score and many of the leaderboards tighten as a result. The notoriously cluttered sailing calendar conspired against Class 1 this weekend, with the J109 National Championships clashing with the Autumn League, but culminating in sweet success for Pat Kelly’s ‘Storm’ (See here). But the Breen/ Hogg/ Gregory partnership on their First 34.7 ‘Flashback’ were quick to take advantage of the absence of the J109s, winning both IRC races and really stirring it up at the top of the Class 1 leaderboard. Stephen O’Flaherty‘s Spirit 54 ‘Soufriere’ now commands a formidable lead at the top of the ECHO division, following two wins. The standard of racing and level of competition continues at breathtaking pace in Class 2. The X-Boats, Half-Tonners and Corbys continue to jostle for dominance of this class and while Dave Cullen's ‘Checkmate XV’ earned the right to top this division after winning the second race on Saturday, the Half-Tonner was beaten in the first race by the Wright/ DeNeve/ Cronnelly team on their Corby designed ‘Kodachi’. Jonny Swan’s Half-Tonner ‘Harmony’ leads the ECHO division.

Having missed the first race because they were competing in the J24 World Championships in Canada, the Howth K25 team on ‘Scandal’ capitalised on their discard this week and won both races, leapfrogging their way to the top of the leaderboard in Class 3 IRC. However they will have to stay on top form to fend off the challenge from Gerry O’Sullivan’s Formula 28 ‘Animal’ and Autumn League veteran Vince Gaffney and his team on ‘Alliance Eleven’. The same three boats dominated the ECHO division for the first race, but the resulting adjustment of ratings presented an opportunity to Lionel McMurtry and his team on ‘Hellyhunter’, who won the second race by a minute on corrected time.

It seems like business-as-usual at the front end of Class 4, where Colin Bermingham’s ‘Bite-the-Bullet’ is a familiar sight at the top of the IRC division. But he’s not having it all his own way this time, with the Harris/ Hughes First 40.7 ‘Tiger’ snapping at his heels with only seconds separating them in some of the races and only one point between them in the overall stakes. The ECHO division in Class 4 would be a bookmaker’s challenge but the Burrows/ Skeffington partnership on their Sigma 38 ‘Spellbound’ seem to have found the secret, topping the ECHO leaderboard - by consistently scoring in third and fourth place, their rating changes very little after each race in comparison to the rest of the fleet and any continued gradual improvement should see them as favourites for the ECHO title. The Class 5 boats ‘centre of interest’ is in the ECHO division, where 12 boats are battling every week and where the additional rating points added to Terry McCoy’s ‘Out & About’ after winning the first race, didn’t stop their relative performance and they managed to beat ‘Baily II’ by 13 seconds in the last race. Only 5 boats compete in Class 5 IRC and Windsor Lauden and Steffi Ennis’s Club Shamrock ‘Demelza’ continues to dominate, although this time the 13-second gap in the last race went against the team on ‘Out & About’, finishing second and lying second overall in that division.

The ‘Taste of Racing’ teams on the club’s J80s continue to enjoy thrilling racing as they hone their skills in the club’s assymetric-rigged keelboats. Three boats took part this week, including teams from Intel (skippered and mentored by Fergus O’Kelly) and Accenture as well as a training squad mentored by Noel Davidson. The ‘Taste of Racing’ programme is designed to introduce new sailors to the sport and offers them all a chance to try all positions on the boat during a race. This gives them valuable experience, provides a transition from basic sailing skills through to competent racing experience and as a result, last year’s participants are now all racing on members boats.

Neil Murphy’s ‘Yellow Peril’ is demonstrating consistent results in the large Puppeteer class, but dealing with some tough competition from experienced teams on Dave Clark and Liam Egan’s ‘Harlequin’, Alan Pearson and Alan Blay’s ‘Trick or Treat’ and also from Scorie Walls and Declan Browne’s ‘Gold Dust’, which suffered a main halyard failure on the way to the start line, but managed to recover to consolidate 3rd place overall. There was less luck for ‘Trick or Treat’ and their team who retired after finishing and will be looking for two strong results to challenge ‘Yellow Peril’ before the approach of Halloween and finish of the series! Only half a point separates the top three in the Puppeteer handicap division, to the benefit of Frank Dillon and his team on ‘Flycatcher’, so they will need to be on top of their game to stay in front with two races to go.

The strong winds and forecasted gusts convinced all but two of the Squib class not to race this week and Serena Blacoe’s ‘Seabiscuit’ and Ronan MacDonell’s ‘Fantome’ did the honourable thing by sharing the spoils, winning a race each. ‘Seabiscuit’ has the honour of being the first probable Autumn League winner after only five races, but will no doubt be battling on to contend for the overall event prize.

Not one of the 16-strong Howth Seventeen class took the risk to hoist their topsail in the fresh conditions as they rigged up in the harbour on Saturday afternoon. Probably a wise move because it was a day for maximum ‘weight on the rail’ for every competing class. Mike Toomey and his team on their Howth Seventeen ‘Deilginis’ took full advantage of their season-long form and won both races, moving to the top of the leaderboard ahead of Brian and Conor Turvey’s ‘Isobel’, now separated by four points. Some consistent racing by the Doyle, Walsh, Finnegan trio in ‘Bobolink’ affords them a slim lead at the top of the handicap division from Harriette and Bryan Lynch’s ‘Echo’ and the jointly chartered ‘Erica’ (Hansen/ O’Meara/ Gilna). 

As a consequence of the close quarter action on the busy racecourses, the protest room was in full use on Saturday until almost 9pm, and the hearings were generously overseen and managed by chairman Ed Alcock and supported by Kieran Barker and Rima Macken.

As the leaders emerge in each class and following the busy evening ashore after racing last Saturday, it’s certain that the final two days will be lively affairs.

Published in Howth YC
Page 1 of 6

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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