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Displaying items by tag: Kinsale

We hear so much about the “New Normal” in everyday life ashore that it’s becoming difficult to remember what the Old Normal was like, as employers resort to bribery (“Special Bonuses” if you insist) to entice WFH employees back into the office. Equally in sailing, while there were always hyper-keen types who made sure that all compliance was in place to enable racing to be possible within the pandemic limits - with Dublin Bay SC setting the pace with weekly turnouts of 142 boats in times of lockdown lifting - there were those who felt that a restrained involvement was the only way to go.

So after two to three years of control at varying levels, it’s welcome to notice a growing and familiar buzz in the new season’s sailing scene as we finally approach May. And equally, it was reassuring to note that God is clearly in his heaven and results were as they should be in last weekend’s two major cruiser-racer happenings on the east and south coasts, with Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI (RIYC) winning the brisk opening race from Dublin Bay of the Golden Jubilee season of the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association, while in Kinsale Denis & Annamarie Murphy’s Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo likewise did the business in robust breezes and offshore conditions in Classes Zero and 1 in the Axiom Private Spring Series, which concludes today.

Both Nieulargo and Rockabill VI are quite hefty boats which enjoy a breeze, which means that in somewhere like Long Island Sound they’d be regarded as distinctly under-canvassed. But in Ireland, they’re just about spot-on for most of the time, even if the idea that Ireland always provides good sailing breezes is a rose-tinted fantasy.

The Vice Admiral Royal Cork YC shows the way off Kinsale. The Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo (RCYC Vice Admiral Annamarie Fegan & Denis Murphy) on the way to success at Kinsale in the Axiom Private Spring Series. Photo: Robert BatemanThe Vice Admiral Royal Cork YC shows the way off Kinsale. The Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo (RCYC Vice Admiral Annamarie Fegan & Denis Murphy) on the way to success at Kinsale in the Axiom Private Spring Series. Photo: Robert Bateman

Be that as it may, another example of a return to normality of sorts was in evidence with the 1898-vintage Howth 17s starting their 122nd season on Tuesday with current champion, the 1907-vintage Deilginis (Massey, Toomey & Kenny) still on the pace with 2022’s first win.

EVERY CLASS NEEDS A DILIGENT RECORD-KEEPER

Those with the ability for instant calculations might wonder how we come up with the figure of 122 seasons, but some racing seasons were lost during the Great War of 1914-1918, and for years the Howth 17s’ Keeper of the Records was TCD engineer-mathematician Gerald FitzGibbon, who typically insisted that the class’s 75th Anniversary be celebrated in 1972. This was even though they weren’t 75 years old until 1973, for in Gerald’s precise class recording terms, the season of 1898 was Year 1, and thus last night’s Howth 17 Annual Dinner, hosted in HYC by Class Captain David O’Shea and the first to be held for a couple of years, was also the Golden Jubilee of the 75th Anniversary.

It may seem pernickety, but every venerable local one design class needs its Gerald FtzGibbon. For among other things, such folk keep the history in proper order, and as things settle down and it becomes clear that to maintain cross-class enthusiasm, a parallel set of results based on performance handicaps is required, when the FitzGibbons of this world become indispensable for its successful implementation.

For those who would argue that handicaps are against the spirit of OD racing, I’d reiterate that it’s a parallel system, not a scratch-racing replacement, which is used. And as for it being un-Irish, I’d suggest you reflect on where local golf would be without it, and remind you that the very idea of golf handicaps was first floated globally in 1897 by George Combe, Honorary Secretary of the Golfing Union of Ireland.

Thus by Gerald’s fastidious standards, the Shannon One Designs should actually be celebrating their 101st Anniversary this year, but as it happens Centenaries and Anniversaries are two different things, and when the Howth 17s’ Centenary came up in April 1998, a flotilla of the class was in Carrickfergus to celebrate. The first five boats to the design (there are now 20) were built by Hilditch of Carrickfergus, who four years earlier had built what is now Hal Sisk’s award-winning 36ft G L Watson cutter Peggy Bawn

AN EXCESS OF HISTORY UP NORTH

There was an excess of history going on up north at the time of the Seventeens’ return to Carrickfergus, as the Good Friday Agreement was being signed on the same day in Belfast. So while everyone was watching that, the Seventeens - having visited various places around Belfast Lough – cheekily took advantage of a strong and very cold nor’easter to sail overnight along the 90 miles to Howth, as one does.

Ian Malcolm’s 1898-built Howth 17 Aura off Carrickfergus Castle, celebrating her Centenary at her birthplace in April 1998. Photo: Damian CroninIan Malcolm’s 1898-built Howth 17 Aura off Carrickfergus Castle, celebrating her Centenary at her birthplace in April 1998. Photo: Damian Cronin

Some of the 22 Dublin Bay Water Wags which mustered for their first race of the 2022 season on Wednesday. Photo Wag AssociationSome of the 22 Dublin Bay Water Wags which mustered for their first race of the 2022 season on Wednesday. Photo Wag Association

Ian & Judith Malcolm’s 1915-vintage Water Wag Barbara winning the first race of the 2022 seasonIan & Judith Malcolm’s 1915-vintage Water Wag Barbara winning the first race of the 2022 season

A fondness for classic boats and yachts can become multiply-addictive, for one of those boats making the scene back in Carrickfergus in 1998 was Ian Malcolm’s Aura. While he may have been bested in Tuesday’s race at Howth by Deilginis, on Wednesday evening this week he and Judith were across Dublin Bay racing their 1915-vintage Water Wag Barbara in Dun Laoghaire in the 22-strong turnout (a record for the Wags’ first race of the season), and they duly won, with second place going to Guy Kilroy with Swift. He’s another classics multiple-enthusiast, as he also owns the 26ft 1896 Herbert Boyd jackyard topsail gaff cutter Marguerite, restored by Larry Archer.

WATER WAGS ATTRACT THE STELLAR SAILORS

In fact, it rather looks as though cutting the mustard with an immaculate Water Wag of whatever vintage (the current design goes back to 1900) is increasingly expected for stars from other classes, for the word is that tomorrow (Sunday), former Helmsmans Champion, Laser ace and RSAero winner Sean Craig is going to be arriving in Dun Laoghaire with his recently-acquired Water Wag.

Laser Masters Champion and former Helmsman’s Champion Sean Craig is the latest star helm to join the Water Wag classLaser Masters Champion and former Helmsman’s Champion Sean Craig is the latest star helm to join the Water Wag class

What with folk like the Craigs involved with the Wags, and the Hal Sisk/Fionan de Barra restoration of the Dublin Bay 21s moving steadily along, the classics scene in Dun Laoghaire is looking much rosier. So who knows, it may yet be the case that in the fullness of time the historic Dublin Bay 24s may find their way back from their various projects on both sides of the Atlantic involving Boat Building Schools, but at present the only one in full sailing trim in Dun Laoghaire is Periwinkle (David Espey & Chris Craig).

At moments of optimism all things seem possible, but even in sunny places they’re finding a challenge in restoring normal rhythm. Thus in the Caribbean, there has been no Antigua Week for three years, but this morning they’re having a re-launch, starting today with the Round Antigua race. In the big winds of this time of year, it can be quite a challenge, so to make it more user-friendly there’s an alternative race partially round Antigua.

HOW CAN YOU HAVE A SHORTER VERSION OF RACE ROUND AN ISLAND?

But quite how they’ll organize that remains to be seen, for a race or voyage round anywhere inevitably reaches a Point of No Return – for instance, if you’ve sailed from Dublin and you pass the decidedly obtuse Slyne Head in Connemara, you’re almost inevitably going to sail round Ireland whether you meant to or not.

Chris Power Smith’s J/122 Aurelia (RStGYC) has been entered for Kinsale YV’s new Inishtearaght race on May 20th. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O’BrienChris Power Smith’s J/122 Aurelia (RStGYC) has been entered for Kinsale YV’s new Inishtearaght race

Whatever, the feeling is that if you can somehow temporarily compartmentalise the current events in Eastern Europe, then the prospects for the 2022 Irish sailing season are looking good. The news that Chris Power Smith’s J/122 Aurelia (RStGYC) has signed up for Kinsale YC’s new Inishtearaght Race on May 20th is adding spice to an already intriguing challenge, as for the dedicated offshore types, the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race from Wicklow a month later has now broken comfortably through the 40 entry mark with the latest batch led by RORC Commodore James Neville with his HH42 INO XXX. For regatta racing both inshore and offshore there’s the Wave at Howth at the beginning of June and Bangor Town Regatta at the end of the Month, and then in July Volvo Cork Week is spreading its wings with the addition of a Classics Division.

GP14s at Sligo in times past – Curly Morris chasing Ger Owens. The GP 14s are in Sligo this weekend as the countdown to their 2022 Worlds in Skerries in Augst gets under wayGP14s at Sligo in times past – Curly Morris chasing Ger Owens. The GP 14s are in Sligo this weekend as the countdown to their 2022 Worlds in Skerries in Augst gets under way

There are at least three World Championships, with the countdown towards the GP 14 Worlds in Skerries (from 14th to 19th August) getting under way today with the season’s first Open Meeting at Sligo, and then in a week’s time at Dromineer on Lough Derg, the Fireball 2022 Worlds there on 20th to 26th August are being anticipated on May 6-7th with an intensive training weekend by Thomas Chaix for the growing Irish class.

ILEN FOLLOWS THE MONEY IN LONDON

Meanwhile in London, the Ilen from Limerick berthed at St Katharine Dock yesterday, having overnighted on Thursday at a handy pier in Gravesend in a place which, despite the modern installations across the river, had something of the flavour of the scene-setting in a Conrad novel.

It could be the setting for the start of a Conrad novel – Ilen finds a handy overnight berth in the River Thames on Thursday nightIt could be the setting for the start of a Conrad novel – Ilen finds a handy overnight berth in the River Thames on Thursday night

Then yesterday (Friday) it was a case of follow the money, as inevitably her long bowsprit - with sails set – found itself pointing at the finance machine which is Canary Wharf as the flood tide swept her up the Thames. And for those who have been wondering on Afloat.ie’s Facebook page about how Ien could be described as “a Limerick ketch” despite being built and then restored in West Cork, having spent her working life in the Falklands, the explanation is that by “Limerick” we incorporate the entire Shannon Estuary, Ilen was designed by Conor O’Brien of County Limerick in a cottage on Foynes Island (as had her small predecessor-sister Saoirse), and she is of course owned and run by the Gary Mac Mahon-directed Ilen Marine School of Limerick, all partially in celebration of the comparable sailing traders of the Shannon Estuary, which used to depart from Limerick city with each ebb tide, laden with goods for all the small ports on both sides of the estuary as far west as Ballylongford and Kilbaha.

A long way from Ballylongford and Kilbaha……Ilen’s long bowsprit headed for the money-towers of Canary Wharf yesterday (Friday).A long way from Ballylongford and Kilbaha……Ilen’s long bowsprit headed for the money-towers of Canary Wharf yesterday (Friday).

Outward voyage completed - Ilen at Tower bridge yesterday (Friday evening)Outward voyage completed - Ilen at Tower bridge yesterday (Friday evening)

 Job done - Ilen below Tower Bridge in St Katharine Dock Waiting Berth Job done - Ilen below Tower Bridge in St Katharine Dock Waiting Berth

Published in W M Nixon
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Funds to help regions 'adjust' to Brexit will be used to fund major improvements at 14 harbours across West Cork it was announced earlier this week.

As Afloat reported earlier, the grant is the largest ever funding announcement of its kind for local authority marine infrastructure for piers and harbours right around Ireland's coast.

As a result, many West Cork piers, slipways and pontoons are set to undergo major improvements with 14 out of 15 projects submitted getting green-lit for funds from the Brexit Adjustment Local Authority Marine Infrastructure Scheme 2022-2023.

The funding will go into marine amenities in Kinsale, Courtmacsherry, Glengarriff, Baltimore and some other areas too.

 Glandore Pier - safety improvement works and repairs to the existing slipway are to be carried out(Above and below) Glandore Pier - safety improvement works and repairs to the existing slipway are to be carried out Photos: Bob Bateman

(Above and below) Glandore Pier - safety improvement works and repairs to the existing slipway are to be carried out Photo: Bob Bateman

Minister Charlie McConalogue T.D.announced the approval of €32.7m in funding for 110 projects around the Irish coast (see table below) which will fund projects worth over €40m in total. The scheme is proposed for funding under the EU Brexit Adjustment Reserve.

Cork South West Deputy Christopher O’Sullivan said it was a very welcome boost for the harbours that will see investment that will benefit all who use them. "I’ve consistently said west Cork’s potential in terms of marine activities is completely untapped," Deputy O’Sullivan told media.

"A way of accessing that is by funding and improving our small piers and harbours, the provision of extra pontoons and more. This will benefit the inshore fishing sector and marine activities such as boat tours, whale watching and kayaking", he said. 

Brexit Adjustment: West Cork's Marine Infrastructure Scheme 2022-2023

  • Kinsale - Fisherman's pontoon €1,291,492
  • Courtmacsherry - dredging for the reinstallation of the pontoon. €552,000
  • Baltimore - Safety improvement works €170,000
  • Laheratanvally pier - €202,000
  • Turk Head pier - remedial works to pier deck €82,429
  • Kinsale Slipways - improvement to various slips €179,254
  • Glengarriff - dredging works €212,500
  • Cunnamore pier - various works including storage area, handrails, signage, line marking - €90,607
  • Glandore Pier - safety improvement works - €84,487, repair to the existing slipway, a new concrete section at toe €68,406

Baltimore Harbour - Safety improvement works to the value of €170,000 will be carried out(Above and below) Baltimore Harbour - Safety improvement works to the value of €170,000 will be carried out Photos: Bob Bateman

Download the full Brexit Adjustment: Local Authority Marine Infrastructure Scheme 2022-2023 here

Published in West Cork
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A public event was organised on Sunday by An Garda Síochána to remember the first-ever members of the Cork West Garda Division.

Attending the ceremony on the water were Courtmacsherry and Kinsale RNLI lifeboats and the local civil defence RIB.

The centenary event began at the main pier in Kinsale at 1 pm, where gardaí berthed a Kinsale Yacht Club launch to replicate how the members first came ashore in the town 100 years ago.

The Kinsale Civil Defence RIBThe Kinsale Civil Defence RIB

Serving and retired Gardaí participated in the march, along with other representatives of the Emergency Services and Defence Forces.

Echolive has more here

Published in Kinsale
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Kinsale is the southernmost point of the Wild Atlantic Way and yesterday's conditions outside this West Cork Harbour lived up to their billing in the third race of Kinsale Yacht Club's Axiom Private Clients Series.

A lumpy sea and a force 4/5 easterly wind gave KYC Race Officers the opportunity to lay a weather mark close to the Sovereign's Isles followed by racing around existing marks in the outer harbour before a reach to the finish off Charles Fort.

It was a dull day that brightened up midway through the race. 

The course for the third race of Kinsale Yacht Club's Axiom Private Clients SeriesThe course for the third race of Kinsale Yacht Club's Axiom Private Clients Series

IRC 0 and 1 Fleet

J/122 Jelly Baby Revels in Strong WindsThe Royal Cork J/122 Jelly Baby Photo: Bob Bateman

Last week's third overall yacht, the Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo (Annamarie & Denis Murphy) from Royal Cork has taken the overall lead in IRC Zero and One fleet. One time leader Reavra Too, an Elan 333 skippered by Stephen Lysaght is now in second with Kinsale club mate Finbarr O'Regan in the J/109 'Artful DodJer' now in third place in the seven boat fleet.

IRC 2 Fleet

Royal Cork Albin Express North Star skippered by Fiona YoungRoyal Cork Albin Express North Star skippered by Fiona Young Photo: Bob Bateman

There is no stopping the march of the Royal Cork Albin Express North Star skippered by Fiona Young who is a clear leader in the six-boat IRC Two fleet ahead of Conor Phelan's Farr Quarter Tonner Anchor Challenge. 

Conor Phelan's Farr Quarter Tonner Anchor ChallengeConor Phelan's Farr Quarter Tonner Anchor Challenge Photo: Bob Bateman

Third is Kieran Kelleher/Colman Garvey's Dubois Quarter Tonner, Diamond.

White Sails 1 Echo Fleet

James Matthews' Fiscala from KinsaleJames Matthews' Fiscala from Kinsale Photo: Bob Bateman

After three races sailed, Batt & Helen O'Leary lead the six-boat White Sails 1 Echo Fleet in Sweet Dreams, a Sun Odyssey 36 from James Matthews' Fiscala. Mike MacCarthy's Royal Cork Dehler 40, Jolastan is third.

Mike MacCarthy's Royal Cork Dehler 40, JolastanMike MacCarthy's Royal Cork Dehler 40, Jolastan Photo: Bob Bateman

White Sails 2 Echo Fleet

Patrick Beckett's Tofinou 8 Miss CharliePatrick Beckett's Tofinou 8 Miss Charlie

Leading the seven-boat fleet is Sam Cohen's First 32, Gunsmoke 2. Albert O'Neill's Feeling 326 Sallybelle is second with Patrick Beckett's Tofinou 8 Miss Charlie now third.

See full results here

The concluding race of the series is next Saturday (not Sunday).

Kinsale Yacht Club Racing Photo Gallery by Bob Bateman

Published in Kinsale
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After nine races sailed at Kinsale Yacht Club's Custom Rigging Frostbites Series, Ian Travers and Keith O'Riordan took three wins yesterday in Outlaw to lead overall by a single point.

The duo lead Colm Dunne and Fiona Ward in the 13-boat fleet. 

Full results here

In the smaller six boat Topper dinghy division, Matt Maplebeck has a 13 point lead over Lucy Foster.

Full results here

Published in Kinsale
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After six races sailed at Kinsale Yacht Club's Custom Rigging Frostbites Series, Colm Dunne and Fiona Ward in Allegro lead by three points.

The duo lead KYC Commodore Matthias Hellstern and Colm Daly in the 13-boat fleet. Third is Ian Travers and Keith O'Riordan on 12 points.

Full results here

The series got back on track on Sunday after losing two consecutive days of racing due to bad weather.

In the smaller six boat Topper dinghy division, Matt Maplebeck leads from Lucy Foster.

Full results here

Published in Kinsale
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21 420 racing dinghies have arrived at Kinsale Yacht Club for their annual February Mid-Term coaching camp.

This record number has doubled in number since it was last held at Schull in 2019. Boats have travelled from Wexford Harbour, Waterford Harbour, Malahide, Howth, Galway, Athlone, Sligo and Blessington to attend the event in what is normally a fun-filled and highly productive week of training.

To put them through their paces on (and off) the water, the Association says it is lucky enough to have some of the best coaches around. David Harte, Graeme Grant, Cara McDowell and local, Micheal O’Suilleabhain will push the youth sailors to get the most out of the week.

420 Mid-Term coaching camp

"We are hoping the weather gods will be good to us and that all of the fleet can make it out each day. It is hoped that as many as possible will attend the Youth Sailing Nationals, which takes place between the 21st-24th April at Ballyholme Yacht Club. The Association currently has 10 entries and are pushing to increase this number", Irish 420 Association Chairman, Garrett Leech told Afloat.

420 Mid-Term coaching camp

"There has been a resurgence in recent times of the beloved 420 in youth sailing. It fills a very important niche to keep young kids who have left Optimist, racing. The Laser/ILCA is not for all young sailors who need company and nor is the flighty 29er, the 420 is keeping kids sailing who might otherwise through the towel in if they have not found something that keeps them engaged with sailing and particularly, racing", Leech said.

With this growth comes its own issues, there are not enough starter boats to satisfy the influx of new entries but this issue is being addressed. “We have a fair idea there are boats in storage around the country, we just need to get to & persuade people to sell them on,” says Leech.

420 Mid-Term coaching camp

The Association is asking that if you have a boat that is not been used, please make contact with us please email: [email protected]

Published in 420
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When the Irish Squib Class signed off their 2021 season with boats from all parts of the country taking part in the successful though socially-distanced Freshwater Regatta for four national keelboat classes at Dromineer on Lough Derg in October, the parting message of hope was: “See you in Kinsale next June”.

Even then, when no-one knew what the future might bring and omicron was still only something in the ancient Greek alphabet, the sport at Dromineer had been such a booster in itself that optimism was the mood of the moment. And despite soaring adverse graphs since, there’s no escaping the feeling that Kinsale – with its new offshore challenge, the Inishtearaght Race Round the Blaskets in May, and the Bandon Co-op Squib Nationals in June (June 19th to 24th) - is emerging as a pace-setter in getting the 2022 season up to speed.

Squib action for the October Freshwater Regatta on Lough Derg. Photo: W M NixonSquib action for the October Freshwater Regatta on Lough Derg. Photo: W M Nixon

As well it might be. It just has so much going for it, in terms of the superb natural harbour and the picturesque port town, with its south-facing location in the deep south of Ireland where summer arriving earlier than anywhere else. Thus the Kinsallions (or should that be Kinsaleans?) would be letting themselves down - and everyone else too - if they didn’t realise the full potential of a port which is so complete it could comfortably be the ultimate computer-generated creation for the dream of a perfect Irish sailing centre, were it not already so very much abundantly in existence.

Yet as any observer of the national and international sailing scene will be well aware, Kinsale Yacht Club builds on the blessings of its location. It is renowned for its hospitable enthusiasm in sharing the attractions of its many sailing advantages with visitors from near and far, whether they be racing or cruising.

 Summer perfection. Squib racing at Kinsale. Photo KYC Summer perfection. Squib racing at Kinsale. Photo KYC

Under Commodore Matthias Hellstern and his team, they’ve taken on board the pandemic-compliant lessons learned during 2021 when they successfully hosted a socially-distanced Sovereigns Cup series as well as other events. And though everyone hopes that the COVID-19 situation will have improved out of all recognition by the early summer, the Kinsale YC volunteers now know well that you should plan in a way that can cope with setbacks while taking full advantage of any improvements.

Kinsale is a place where the colourful 19ft Squib keelboats seem at their happiest, so much so that almost all of Bob Bateman’s photos of them racing there seem to be in bright sunshine, with the little boats and their crews exuding joy in the sea and sailing. But then, the Squib has a built-in happiness factor, for it can be more or less just whatever you want it to be.

Bob Bateman impression of Squibs at Kinsale – you’d get a suntan from just looking at this image…..photo: Robert BatemanBob Bateman impression of Squibs at Kinsale – you’d get a suntan from just looking at this image…..Photo: Robert Bateman

For if you demand a boat around this size which provides really hairy high-speed sport and boy racers to go with it, then the SB20 is your only man. And if you need a comparable boat in which racing is the be-all and end-all of its existence, then it’s the Flying Fifteen for you. But if you want a keelboat in this size range which isn’t priced off the planet yet can provide real sit-in comfort and user-friendly options for family day cruising in addition to an excellent racing programme, then the Squib ticks all the boxes.

Thus it’s understandable that the idea of pandemic emergence for the Squibs and sailing generally could best be served by a joint Irish-British Squib championship in Kinsale was enthusiastically saluted from the moment it went up the flagpole, and it will simply be known as the Squib Nationals. Those who would be pedantic in querying the validity of this title should rest easy, for it has been done before with notable success, way back in 1996 in Howth.

The Howth Squib fleet is of modest size these days, but where else would you find a lighthouse with colourful floral window-boxes? Photo: Annraoi BlaneyThe Howth Squib fleet is of modest size these days, but where else would you find a lighthouse with colourful floral window-boxes? Photo: Annraoi Blaney

In those days Howth was the happening place for Squibs, whereas nowadays they do well to muster double figures, though the class is currently on the up again. But 26 years ago, the Peninsula was awash with the little boats. Despite the fraught political situation - for this was still two years before the Good Friday Agreement - they hunted regularly with the English and Welsh fleets, and when it was agreed that they’d run the combined championship at Howth in June, a reverse invasion took place to such good effect that on one particular day, Tuesday 25th June 1996 with key organizer Dave Murnane pushing everyone afloat, they managed a hundred boats on the starting line.

Ghosts from the past – a hundred Squibs making an excellent fleet start at Howth in 1996. Photo: Mandy Murnane, courtesy Dave MurnaneGhosts from the past – a hundred Squibs making an excellent fleet start at Howth in 1996. Photo: Mandy Murnane, courtesy Dave Murnane

At the front end of the fleet the pace was ferocious, but it was only right and proper that the overall winners should be Stuart Brewer and Paul Manning of the Royal Corinthian YC in Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex. For it’s part of Squib mythology that the concept of the boat originated from the local doctor having a couple of pints with designer/builder Oliver Lee in the pub in Burnham in late 1966. It turned into a brain-storming session, as the doctor had the complete distinctive blue sails and rig for an Enterprise dinghy but with no boat to go with it all, so he wondered if Lee could design him a little keelboat suitable for a sailor of advancing years which would make use of this redundant rig.

Just in case there was any subsequent doubt, the caption made it very clear.Just in case there was any subsequent doubt, the caption made it very clear. 

Quite how a rig of blue sails for a 13ft 3in racing dinghy designed by Jack Holt with river racing a priority became a suit of tanned sails for a 19ft keelboat designed by Oliver Lee and noted for its seagoing power is anyone’s guess. But for 2022 there’s a certain symmetry to all this, for although there were few if any Enterprise dinghies around Howth in 1996 or any other time, in their day Kinsale was a stronghold of the Enterprise class, for they were attractive-looking boats and their river-oriented rig with a huge mainsail made them extremely entertaining to race in a big seaway – sailing conditions which are not exactly unknown in the waters outside Kinsale’s glorious natural harbour.

However, back in 1996, it was two GP14 sailors from Sutton – Ruan O Tiarnaigh (who now sails an X38 from Belfast Lough) and Stephen Boyle, who were best of the Irish in the Squib mega-championship at fourth overall. But as the series was taking place at the same time as the Round Ireland Race (won that year by Michael Boyd in the J/35 Big Ears), photographers were scarce in Howth, but happily the late Mandy Murnane was there with her little happy-snap camera to get admittedly spectral proof that there were indeed a hundred boats on the starting line. And fair play to them, as a fleet they’re making a very good start.

So how will numbers stack up for 2022s Squib Nationals at Kinsale? As of today (Friday, January 14th) there are already 44 in the box.

Squib Nationals at Kinsale

It’s a list which certainly deserves examination, as it gives an excellent idea of the spread of the class and the kind of people involved, with the first sign-up being by Dick Batt, the sailmaker of Bosham on Chichester Harbour, who so enjoys racing his Squib in Ireland that he and Pamela have had their boat based here for the past couple of years.

It all started with two men in a pub…….the Squib very successfully fills a specific niche in the market.It all started with two men in a pub…….the Squib very successfully fills a specific niche in the market.

As mentioned, the most recent major gathering was the Freshwater Regatta at Dromineer in mid-October, where the overall winners were Cultra’s RNIYC crew of Gordon Patterson & Ross Nolan, while the runners-up were Kinsale’s Ian Travers and Keith O’Riordan.

But Ian Travers will be doing well if he actually races in June’s big championship, as he’s the Regatta Director, for the Travers family are a clan accustomed to putting their heads on the block for the good of sailing – his father Brendan was the prime force in persuading Shannon Development to install the vast improvements which made possible the marina and usefully-sheltered training waters at Kilrush in County Clare.

Ian Travers and Keith O’Riordan with the Squibs nicely under control racing in the Outer Harbour at Kinsale

However, in best Kinsale style, Ian Travers has assembled a team of formidable talents in support, as they include Michael O’Sullivan, John & Mary Stanley, Denis & Ger Kiernan, Frank McGowan, Fiona “The Pirate” Ward, and Class Captain Richard Calnan, while the broader Squib community is represented by NSOA Organiser Peter Richards and their Chairman Dick Batt, with the always informative and entertaining online Squib Forum being on the strength through Chairman Robert Marshall of Killyleagh.

Yet even with such a team, for complete success an event like this needs to be embedded into the community from which it is being sailed, so when I commented on the main sponsors being Bandon Co-op which you’d scarcely think of in a maritime context, Ian Travers responded that they’re very much part of the fabric of Kinsale’s life and commerce. For indeed if you head directly inland away up the narrow and winding streets away from Kinsale’s glamorously maritime waterfront, you’ll very quickly find yourself in the midst of rich and fertile farmland which would have Jeremy Clarkson eating his heart out.

Co-sponsors include Cork County Council, Holt Marine, Hyde Sails and Batt Sails, and very importantly the transport partner is Irish Ferries to get the cross-water entries across as efficiently and economically as possible.

If the pandemic does clear enough and we learn to live with whatever new circumstances evolve, the guess is we might be looking at 80 boats, as already the defending British champion Mike Budd has his name in the hat, and so too has Irish champion Ross Kearney. But with racing of that calibre guaranteed, who knows what talents from other classes might be tempted to take temporary flight in a Squib, for the sense of community of the class was such that the late and much-lamented Jack Roy – despite his many sailing commitments at national and international level – was never happier than when taking his essential dosage of Squib racing.

His Happy Place….the much-missed Jack Roy particularly cherished his time spent with his friends in the Squib ClassHis Happy Place….the much-missed Jack Roy particularly cherished his time spent with his friends in the Squib Class

For some, Squibs are for life – Dick Hewett, whose CV included being Royal Sailing Master on the International Dragon Class Bluebottle, was happily and successfully racing his Squib every Cowes Week until well into his eighties. For others, the Squib exactly fills the bill for use as the versatile tribal boat at a certain stage of family development.

Thus for the relatively brief period we were involved with the Squibs at Howth, we day-cruised en famille even more than we raced, even though the racing was a busy programme with the Lambay Race – for which the Squibs are ideal - at its peak.

That’s all rather a long time ago now. In this happily blurry family sailing snap, one of the very young sailors on our Squib Huppatee has since recorded some formidable offshore racing success, but now as a family man himself has gone into Howth 17 ownership.

Added value. The Squibs provide great racing, yet they can be used for family day cruising as well. Photo: W M NixonAdded value. The Squibs provide great racing, yet they can be used for family day cruising as well. Photo: W M Nixon

As for the one wolfing a sandwich at the helm, he now lives in a very ancient thatched house on the quay at Bosham on Chichester Harbour, just along the shore from Dick Batt’s sail-loft. The coast is very low-lying thereabouts, and thus our big son – with two very able junior sailors of his own – lives in the only house I know which is fitted with a large and very powerful bilge-pump.

But his life is easy compared to the pub just three doors along, which is even lower-lying. With rising sea levels, their back door had to be replaced with a complete door unit salvaged from a submarine which was being scrapped. It came with all the gear including the very accessible activating wheel which makes it all totally watertight. When a big tide comes surging up Bosham Creek, think Das Boot…

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Preparations at Kinsale Yacht Club for the Bandon Co-op Squib National Championships 2022 are off to a fabulous start with 42 teams entered to date from the UK and Ireland. Entries thus far availed of an attractive early bird entry option which closed at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Entries have been received from Squib strongholds across the UK and Ireland and include many past and present champions, together with long-standing supporters of the class, all the ingredients to serve up a top-class National Championships.

To help encourage early registration, Kinsale Yacht Club included all early bird entries into a draw, the winner of which was refunded their entire entry fee. The draw was won by Malcolm Hutchings and Andy Carley’ on “Lady Penelope” from the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club.

"It is clear Kinsale is an attractive proposition for Squib owners"

Speaking after the draw, Regatta Director Ian Travers congratulated Malcolm and Andy, and indicated “Kinsale Yacht Club is so excited to be hosting a dual championship of this calibre and it is wonderful to see such a high level of early commitment from the class. In conversation with many of the entries, the pent-up demand and enthusiasm for the event since its unfortunate cancellation in 2020 is brimming. It is particularly encouraging to see several competitive under-25 teams and helms entered, a cohort of sailors completely new to the class. The prospect of UK and Irish fleets racing together and experiencing all that Kinsale has to offer the visiting sailor is proving attractive. Preparations are well advanced, and we look forward to welcoming all our local, national and overseas friends to Kinsale in June.”

The National Squib Owners Association (NSOA), Chairman, Dick Batt, expressed his delight at the early uptake. “It is clear Kinsale is an attractive proposition for Squib owners to come together to race and socialise as one fleet. This early momentum should be a clear signal to those who have not yet entered, not to miss the party.”

The Bandon Co-op UK and Irish Squib National Championships are scheduled to take place in Kinsale from 19th to 24th June 2022. With nine races over six days, the event offers the perfect balance of close one design racing on the water with the unique shoreside experience only Kinsale can offer.

The Notice of Race, online entry and current entry list are available at Bandon Co-op Squib National Championships 2022 - Kinsale Yacht Club (kyc.ie). Further information is available by emailing [email protected]

Published in Kinsale
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A fleet of sixteen boats took part in the final race of the Kinsale Yacht Club October/November Series on Sunday 28th November. Northerly winds meant that the Race Officer, Donal Hayes, was able to send the fleet on a beat up the harbour to the Bostoon Buoy followed by a run out the harbour via a series of gybe marks.

Going into the final day race in Class 1 Sammy Cohen’s Gunsmoke on 17 points held a narrow lead over David Riome & Mark Leonards’s Sigma 33 Valfreya on 19 points.

In Class 2, there was a tie for first place with both Martin Hargrove’s Deboah and Albert O’Neill’s Sallybelle on 13 points each.

On the day Sammy Cohen managed to hang onto the lead in Class 1 with a fifth-place enough to secure the overall lead and the Class 1 trophy. Valfreya retained second position.

A fleet of 16 boats took part in the final race of the Kinsale Yacht Club October/November SeriesA fleet of 16 boats took part in the final race of the Kinsale Yacht Club October/November Series

In Class 2 a sixth place was enough to secure victory for Martin Hargrove’s Deboah thanks to a second discard that kicked in after race 7. Ailleacht and Sallybelle shared second position with 12 points each.

Martin Hargrove’s DeboahMartin Hargrove’s Deboah

Following the race, the Cruiser and White Sails fleets held their AGM.

The incoming class captains are Brian Carroll (Cruisers) and Albert O’Neill (White Sails). Thanks were expressed to the outgoing class captains (Finbarr O’Regan, Cruisers and Mark Leonard, White Sails).

The final cruiser race of the season will be the Gunsmoke Bell trophy race to be held on St. Stephens Day.

Full results available are here 

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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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