Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Displaying items by tag: National Yacht Club

On a warm Septembers day an impressive 20 Flying Fifteens turned out for racing on the Bay. It was a difficult day for the PRO Eddie Totterdell and his team as the weather was to shift at some stage to the SW but when it would change nobody knew, but change it did on the first beat of the first race.

In Race 1 the wind was still NW and there was a strong outgoing tide, so strong that boats had difficulty getting over the start line. An individual recall was called, a few who had dipped down were too close to call, this included McCambridge and Gorman who played safe and went back.

Tom Murphy along with O,Neill and the Meaghers headed towards the shore while Mathews and most of the fleet went right as the SB20 had done. Meanwhile those who went back including Gorman and Coughlan were having their own little battle to see who would be off the start line last!

A short time later the winds were changing as forecast and those on the left looked like they would get it first, they did but they had overstood the mark. Gorman after a late start tacked early and somehow managed to get in a good position as they approached the weather mark, at this stage the wind was behind and the spinakers were up!

O'Neill & MJ Mulligan led but Gorman managed to slip inside at the wing mark to take the lead down the run which was now a beat down to the gate which was the new weather mark! It stayed this way for the next lap with the Meaghers third, Murphy fourth and Alan Balfe fifth.

After resetting the course Race 2 got going but with the tide pushing the boats over the line and with the boats going up to soon and to fast there was a general recall. No messing with Eddie and the black flag went up for the restart. Three were still over the line, others including Gorman got stuck adjacent the committee boat as most of the fleet headed out to sea. The Meagher;s and O’Neill were nip and tuck but judging the tide and wind perfectly the Meagher’s lead at the weather mark and there was no catching them. They were closely followed by O’Neill and Mathews but it was all very close behind. On the last lap the Meagher’s increased their lead but behind there were changes happening, Mathews moved into second, Frazer & Gabrial were third and Gorman with the yellow Mitsibishi spinnaker had moved to fourth. The Meagher’s third and first was enough for them to deservedly win the day.

Thanks to the PRO Eddie and his team who did a great job in difficult conditions. To have 20 boats out in a club race was fantastic, all being well there will be a good number entered for the East Coast Championships that take place in two weeks time in Dun Laoghaire.

Published in Flying Fifteen

As the Olympic medal celebrations swing through West Cork this week, with today’s party taking over Skibbereen and its mighty Silver Medal winning oarsmen (and now World Champion) Gary and Paul O’Donovan writes W M Nixon, we’re still receiving souvenirs and feedback from last Thursday’s extraordinary seven hour programme of celebrations in Dun Laoghaire for Annalise Murphy’s Silver Medal from Rio de Janeiro.

There, the festivities took in the Harbour and went on to the People’s Park before reaching their peak at her sailing home, the National Yacht Club. In theory, the NYC clubhouse and its forecourt could not take a crowd of no more than 2,000 people. But this photo from the National Yacht Club of a section of the starstruck assembly at the height of the stage presentation suggests there were well over 2,000 there, still scarcely able to grasp the full significance of what they were seeing on a great night for Irish sailing.

Published in National YC

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and the Irish Sailing Association are planning a major celebration of Annalise Murphy's Olympic Silver medal in the Laser Radial class. A civic reception for the Irish Olympic Sailing team will take place in Dun Laoghaire, Annalise's home port this Thursday, (25th August 2016).

Plans are underway to give the Dun Laoghaire sailing star a major homecoming celebration that will start with a flotilla arrival at Dun Laoghaire harbour before proceeding to a public event at Dun Laoghaire's nearby People's Park, close to the East Pier. The reception will be staged from 6.30pm – 8.00pm.

Annalise will be officially welcomed home by An Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council Cormac Devlin.

The Homecoming in the People’s Park will host a big stage & screen and will feature a Brazilian Samba band, a dancing troupe, DJ, facepainting, flags, balloons, boat display and possibility of an icecream or two, say DLRCoCo.

In what will be an important acknowledgment of Murphy's crowning achievement, the country's largest racing club, Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) has rescheduled Thursday's end of season race for up to 300 boats and over 1,000 sailors on Dublin Bay to allow sailors participate in the homecoming event.

After the civic reception, National Yacht Club Commodore Larry Power will bestow Honorary Life Membership of the National Yacht Club to 26–year–old Annalise for her Rio achievement, Ireland's first Olympic sailing medal in 36 years.

Ireland’s young sailors to welcome Annalise Murphy

The Irish Sailing Association is making a special appeal for junior and youth sailors from across the county–and country– to attend on Thursday evening to help form the welcome party for Annalise and her team. Sailing club colours and flags are especially welcome. 

The Silver medal won by Annalise marks not only her efforts for London 2012 when fourth overall was both a disappointment for her as well as being the best Irish result in decades, but also the reconstruction of her campaign for Rio 2016 that saw her become an all-round performer in what is now regarded as one of the most challenging Olympic regatta venues ever. From the opening race of her series, she held a top-three result through the ten-race qualification series.

Annalise Murphy won Ireland’s first Olympic Sailing medal for 36 years at Rio 2016 and the result marks her reward for eleven years of dedication and intensive campaigning.

“I am incredibly happy with my medal. It has been a long road to achieve this, especially since London 2012 but it has been hugely worthwhile,” said Annalise Murphy. “My hope is that this medal represents an opportunity for Irish sailing to attract new people to our sport which is ideal for this island nation".

Team members

Finn Lynch (20) from Carlow and also a National YC sailor was the youngest ever Olympic helm to represent Ireland as well as being the youngest in his 46-strong class. He achieved several notable performances during his ten-race series at Rio including several top 20 results. In an event where the average age of the top ten finishers is 30, he has proven his ability with an Olympic experience under his belt and is certain to be a prospect for Tokyo 2020.

Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey from the Royal Irish YC started their campaign together exactly three years ago and sailed the 49erFX class for the new Women’s Skiff event at Rio 2016. After overcoming a three-month injury hiatus to their campaign, they qualified Ireland for the event earlier this year and their form improved steadily in the build-up to the Olympics. Over their 12 race series, they achieved five top ten results and ended their debut Olympic Games in 12th place overall.

Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern, from Carrickfergus Sailing Club, Ballyholme YC & Royal Ulster YC were the last of the six Irish sailors into action on Guanabara Bay on Thursday afternoon in the Men’s Skiff event Medal Race final. The London 2012 veterans improved on their performance from four years ago by qualifying for the final to place tenth overall. Their results included two race wins in which they beat the four times world champions and eventual Gold medal winners. This ensured they were within reach of the podium going in to the last day of fleet racing.

“This result proves that our strategy in high performance is working and is providing the success that all involved in sailing and sport crave,” commented David Lovegrove, President of the Irish Sailing Association. “I want to acknowledge the tremendous professionalism of our coaching staff who have demonstrated such passion and commitment to our sailors. In particular I want to commend James O’Callaghan’s leadership and guidance of high performance sailing, ably supported by Rory Fitzpatrick.”

“Annalise’s medal confirms the intent of our programme that both delivers the highest standard of performance but also makes a return to our domestic sport,” said James O’Callaghan, ISA Performance Director.

Published in Olympic

In the final race of the Laser Radial qualification series, prior to Monday's medal race, Annalise Murphy finished seventh to complete the preliminaries in the bronze medal position. It is an excellent performance in difficult conditions by the National Yacht Club sailor with a string of very consistent results of 1, 13, 4, 7, 5, 2, (17), 12, 6, 7 in the 37–boat fleet. 

But even with such a scoresheet a medal is not yet guaranteed. All Murphy's main rivals finished ahead of her in race ten and regatta leader Marit Bouwmeester (NED), who finished the race in second place, now has an 8 point gap over second placed Annemarie Rindom (DEN) going into the medal race.

Rindom's third place in this race, allowed her to leapfrog Murphy by two points, while another big gain was made by Belgium's Evi Van Acker who narrowed the gap to Murphy to 9 points.

Starting at the pin end of race ten, Murphy was third around the first weather mark and, like Bouwmeester favoured the right hand side of the run to round the bottom mark in fourth place. However, her chosen left side was not the place to be on the next upwind leg and, despite the full hiking conditions, she fell back in to the pack, rounding the 2nd weather mark in eighth place. Up ahead the Dutch girl maintained second behind Alison Young (GBR) thus widening the gap between herself and Murphy in overall points. The downwind saw the Irish girl lose a further four places, but a hike out to the right on the last upwind prompted a small recovery to 10th, consolidated on the final run, with a further three places gained by the finish line.

Read also: Annalise's Medal Race Possibilities

Bouwmeester has moved back to the top of the leaderboard and holds a useful eight-point buffer on second placed Rindom for the Medal Race. The London 2012 silver medallist is assured of another medal and is strongly positioned to win the gold that was so nearly hers four years ago.

The Laser Radials contested one race on the Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) course and one on Niterói, and Bouwmeester proved very adaptable to the different conditions, scoring 5,2. Murphy also sailed superbly to score a sixth and seventh which puts her just two points behind Rindom. However best performer of the day was Evi Van Acker (BEL) whose first and fifth has brought her back into medal contention after a shaky start to the regatta, compounded by the effects of an intestinal infection. She and fifth-placed Tuula Tenkanen (FIN) will have to sail a very good Medal Race to have a chance at silver or bronze, but it's possible.

For Bouwmeester the Olympic Medal Race is familiar territory, after taking silver in the tightest of contests four years ago in London. "I think this time the difference is I have a few points on second and I'm certain of a medal, but the similarity is I still have to do a good Medal Race on Monday. We like the Medal Race course, it's challenging, but I'm quite confident there even though you never quite know what's going to happen on that course."

Evi van Acker was looking forward to another period of rest before Monday's showdown. "I still need to rest, after today. I'm pretty tired. I had my best day so far, and I'm so happy with the way I recovered after the bad three days at the beginning. For me the 36 hours of treatment and rest in the middle of the week was very important to have more energy and keep fighting. I made sure I had a lot of rest, a lot of food and a lot of smiling."

The bronze medallist from 2012 will have to fight hard and sail well to be assured of another medal in Rio. "It feels like London all over again, pretty much the same people and same situation except this this time I'm a bit behind. So I'll have to sail well in the Medal Race. But I'll be ready to go."

Meanwhile, China’s Lijia Xu was disqualified from races seven and eight for ‘right of way’ incidents. The pre-event favourite had already discarded a disqualification earlier in the series meaning she had to count two maximum scores for Friday’s races. She ends the series in 18th overall and will not be in the medal race on Monday.

Published in Olympic

Bad-Kilcullen (Stefan Hyde, Jerry Dowling & Jimmy Dowling) crowned SB20 National Champions for 2016 which took place last weekend (5-7 August). Defending champions Sin Bin (Michael O'Connor, Owen Laverty & Kevin Johnson) on coming 2nd overall and to Venuesworld.com (Ger Dempsey, Chris Nolan, Blair Stanaway & Graham Barker) on coming third overall.
It was a super event with some very high speeds downwind on the Saturday. Rubadubdub had an impressive max speed of 18.1 knots!
Hosted by the National Yacht Club and under the excellent race management of Colin McMullen and his team they managed six races over the three days. Sandra Moore welcomed the 19 competitors to the NYC race office and supervised the very accurate weigh in. Fridays racing presented the Colm Mc Mullin the PRO with a difficult task . The light wind was from the East and the forecast was for heavier winds from the west later in the day.
The SB20 is one of the most competitive fleets. This was evident in that they were five different race winners over the six races. It would need nerve and consistency for a winner to emerge.
Stefan Hyde, Jerry & Jimmy Dowling in Bád/Kilcullen were proving that they were determined to wrestle back their title they won in 2014 in RCYC, with two seconds on the first day in moderate conditions.Hot on their heals were the 2015 Champions of Michael O’Connor,Owen Lafferty & Kevin Johnson.
The first race was got off at the first time of asking . The race was won by the class President Peter Lee and hot on his heels was Stefan Hyde, and the Dowling Brothers Gerry and Jimmy in 2nd. The ever present Ger Dempsey / Chris Nolan on Venuesworld.com came in 3rd. And Michael O’Connor the current holder in 4th. The first race results reflected the duel that was going to finish on the podium.
The 2nd. Race the wind was shifting and falling away ,from the East . Colm Mc Mullin the PRO used the U flag after the general recall . Your author and one other were OCS and left the course . After a tiresome light airs beat the PRO abandoned the race ..
Colin move the course further into the bay to avail of the new strengthening westerly breeze.
The 2nd race got off into a 12 knot breeze from the SW.. The race was won by Davy Taylor (his luck deserted him later courtesy of a lobster pot), followed by the consistent Dowling / Hyde combination with Justin Burke, Ed Cook , Henrik Olerud Alertpackaging.com in 3rd.
Race 3 the wind had increased to 14 knots with Colin Galavan showing how to win a race by staying out of trouble. Dave Barry finished 2nd. but was subsequently unluckily DSQ in a multiple boat situation. Second was finally secured by Aiden O’Connell.The Hunt/Lee combination secured third.
Day two tested all competitors, winds close to 30–knots made sure that crews would have to be on top of their game.Venuesworld.com crewed by Ger Dempsey, Chris Nolan, Blair Stanaway & Graham Barker were showing really good form with two seconds and a fifth. That put them into contention with four points separating them from the leading boat Bád/Kilcullen going into the final day. Michael O’Connor’s Sin Bin were just two points behind in second.
Race 4 was run in 18 knots with the right hand side paying . The tide swept the competitors away from the weather mark and made for very tight rounding . The race was all about doing the basic’s well and Michael O’ Connor won this race showing how it should be done. Not to be outdone Venuesworld.com came in 2nd. and the ever threatening Darragh Sheridan, Shane Murphy, John Phelan in third.
Race 5 starter in 22 knots with a massive left hand shift . This was especially frustration for James Gorman won had successfully port tacked the fleet only to find himself at the back of the pack within 5 minutes. The wind dropped to 12 knots and within 3 minutes has re-established mean direction at 22 knots . Michael O’Connor found no problem with this and went on to record his 2nd .win of the day. Alertpackaging rounded the weather mark in 2nd. hoisted and sailed for 1 minute only to watch the rig go over the side. Again the NYC infrastructure swung into place with Mal Nowlan no fuss rescues to hand. Ger Dempsey received his just rewards with a second and the Dowling/ Hyde keeping the pressure up with a 3rd.
The weather was forecasted to be wild for Sunday and the forecaster got it right. The PRO had no choice but to cancel the Sunday racing. The smile on Stefan Hyde's face said it all and the Dowling Bros./Hyde had won the 2016 SB20 Nationals with last years winner Michael O’Connor, Owen Laverty and Kevin Johnson in 2nd. and the Venuesworld.com team of Ger Dempsey, Chris Nolan, Blair Stanaway,Graham Baker in 3rd. The silver fleet prize went to Colin Galavan, Chris Arrowsmith.
The class show their appreciation of the winners at the prize giving and recorded the appreciation for the sponsors Venuesworld.com and Dubarry , and the Committee, PRO and NYC for job well done. The Commodore Larry Power presented the prizes.
This left Bád/Kilcullen as well deserved Champions, they proved the most consistent boat over the series.Stefan Hyde and his team can look forward to competing in the ISA Helmsmans Championships later on in the year.

The SB20 World Championships are in Cascais, Portugal later this month.

Published in SB20
Tagged under

#SB20 - Sailing was cancelled in high winds on the last day of the SB20 National Championships yesterday (Sunday 7 August), meaning that Saturday's leaders – Jerry Dowling's Bád – sail away with this year's title.

The Royal Irish Yacht Club boat topped the table after six races sailed, four points clear of defending champion Michael O'Connor on Sin Bin from the Royal St George YC.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, it was a Dun Laoghaire-dominated weekend at the National Yacht Club, with Dowling's club mate Ger Dempsey on Venuesworld.com in third place.

Published in SB20

Jerry Dowling's Bad from the Royal Irish Yacht Club leads the SB20 National Championships at the National Yacht Club going into the final day of the 18–boat championships this morning. It looks likely there'll be the same big breeze same conditions for the final two races that produced a top speed of 18–knots on the water yesterday too. It's a Dun Laoghaire dominated nationals so far after six races sailed with second place overall  currently held by the defending champion Michael O'Connor from the Royal St. George YC on 18 points and Dowling's club mate Ger Dempsey one point behind in third. Full results to date downloadable below.

Published in SB20
Tagged under

As Dublin Bay Mermaid Week starts in Howth Yacht Club tomorrow, a Kestrel that landed in Dan Brennan's Mermaid, Aideen, writes about her experience at the front end of the Dun Laoghaire Fleet's special races around Dalkey Island on Sunday.

Interviewed after the race the Kestrel said “It has always been my ambition to sail in a traditional hand crafted wooden boat. I could land in a modern mass production boat any day of the week, but I wanted the real classic boat experience. I saw the beautiful five boat Mermaid fleet under spinnaker running towards Dalkey Island and couldn’t resist the temptation to try out a Mermaid. I was not disappointed, the Mermaid handled beautifully in the breeze. We were a bit behind when I landed aboard but the fleet came together at the back of the Island where the tide had started to flood and we worked our way into the lead by playing the shifts and getting into the strongest tide as we returned through Dalkey Sound. The breeze was very shifty with lots of holes as we passed through the Sound and beat back to Dun Laoghaire. My skipper did well but was outfoxed by former three times National Champion, Jonathan O’Rourke in Tiller Girl who was the 2016 winner of the Meg Mug.” The Mug is named after Meg of the Muglins and is raced for each year by the Mermaids around Dalkey Island.

She added (because she was a proper lady Kestrel and quite a rare bird) “While I really enjoyed the race I was disappointed that we did not win and I was upset to hear one of the crew, eight year old Charlie Martin say about me ‘this is the scariest thing that ever happened to me’. I have really caught the Mermaid bug and I am looking forward to dropping in on the Mermaid Nationals which are in Howth 4-8 August and maybe doing a few DBSC races. I appreciated the offer to have a few pints with the lads after the race but I had to fly home. ”

The Kestrel circumnavigated Dalkey Island in Aideen and flew away safely when back ashore in the National Yacht Club. Charlie enjoyed his first race and quickly recovered from his Kestrel scare.

A Kestrel is a small bird of prey (raptor) with a distinctive hovering flight which lives on a diet of small mammals. It is not a sea bird. Kestrels are amber listed due to concerns over declining numbers.

If you would like to join the discerning raptor in sailing in a DBSC Mermaid either as a crew or as a Mermaid owner, please contact the Mermaid Sailing Association, any member of the Mermaid fleet or Dan Brennan, Dun Laoghaire Mermaid Class Captain 087 -7985218. You will be most welcome.

Published in Mermaid

With the confirmation that Kinsale Yacht Club will be hosting the Half Ton Classic Worlds from August 14th to 18th 2017, Irish interest will intensify further in a class which already attracts much favourable attention. W M Nixon tells us more about a popular boat type which will have a defending champion from Ireland when the Worlds get under way in Falmouth in Cornwall in a week’s time.

If today’s newcomers to sailing find the resurrection of old offshore racing classes which are apparently only identified by specific weights a bit bewildering, then they can blame the first Commodore of the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire.

The first Commodore of the NYC in 1931 was the Earl of Granard. The club had been founded in 1870 as the Kingstown Royal Harbour Boat Club, and in 1901 it became the Edward Yacht Club in honour of one of Queen Victoria’s many offspring. But with the new mood of the times after Irish Independence in 1922, such a name just wouldn’t do. Nevertheless it was a very sporting gesture when one of the landed aristocracy proposed the new no-nonsense name in 1930, giving it a fair wind by agreeing to be Commodore the following year.

Thus the big change to becoming “The National Yacht Club” was made respectable. But then, the Earl of Granard was a well-respected sailing man in his own right, despite the fact that his ancestral pile in County Longford was about as far from the sea as you can get in Ireland.

Admittedly there was sailing nearby with the North Shannon Yacht Club on Lough Forbes, which incidentally is named after the earl’s family – they were connected to the Forbes of the famous business magazine in America. However, despite the joys of sailing on Lough Forbes, the Earl had long been into bigger things on the international scene, though his interest still had an inland waterways aspect. In 1899 he’d presented a magnificent silver cup to the leading French sailing club, the Cercle de la Voile de Paris (CVP) for an international competition, to be sailed on the River Seine near Paris or on the Solent at Cowes, with the racing between boats which weighed one ton.

Although the trophy’s official name was the Coupe Internationale du Cercle de la Voile de Paris, it soon became known as the One Ton Cup, and continued to be so named even when racing was between yachts of the International 6 Metre Class, despite their weighing several tons apiece.

One Ton Cup 2The cause of all the trouble – the One Ton Cup was presented to the CVP by the Earl of Granard, future Commodore of the National YC, in 1898, and was first raced for in 1899.
The magnificent cup remained as beautiful as ever, but with World War II it became almost forgotten until 1965, when the CVP proposed using it for an inshore-offshore international series for yachts rating at 22ft under the RORC rule, which worked out to be boats around the 36-37ft mark. The idea took off like a rocket - level-rating racing among diverse boats was an idea whose time had come. Very quickly, a whole range of additional international rating levels arose, with Two Tonners around 40-42ft, Three Quarter Tonners around 34ft, Half Tonners around 30ft, Quarter Tonners around 25ft, Mini-Tonners around 21ft, and they even had Micro-Tonners at about 18ft.

Ton Classes 3The Ton Classes at their peak

It all worked very well for twenty years and more in some cases (the last Half Tonner was built in 1992), with the boat sizes staying broadly the same size range, but with the ratings changed to accommodate the RORC rule being replaced by the IOR. And Irish sailing certainly had its moments in this continuing circus of various offshore racing acts. In 1974 the Ron Holland-designed, Cork–built 36ft Golden Apple somehow became more famous than the winner by being runner up the One Ton Worlds. But then in 1976, Harold Cudmore and a youthful crew from Cork put all questions aside by managing to get the new race-prepared Ron Holland-designed 30ft Silver Shamrock to Trieste for the Half Ton Worlds, and he won in style, famously celebrating by sailing up the Grand Canal in Venice with spinnaker set.

Half Ton World champion Silver Shamrock 4The 1976 Half Ton World champion Silver Shamrock, getting an end-of-season lift-out at her current home port of Penzance in CornwallSilver Shamrock sailing 5 See the conquering heroes come…….Silver Shamrock sailing up the Grand Canal in Venice after winning the Half Ton Worlds 1976 in Trieste under Harold Cudmore’s command. Ronnie Dunphy on left, Killian Bushe on foredeck

In 1981 he was back on top again, winning the One Ton Worlds at Crosshaven with the Castro-design Justine IV owned by Frank Woods (NYC). But by this time the boats involved were very different in form from those skinny-sterned designs which had dominated in the earlier 1970s, as a fresh wave of New Zealand designers like Bruce Farr and Laurie Davidson had been showing what could be achieved with broader sterns and better offwind performance.

The Half Ton Worlds was won in 1977, ’78 and ’79 by Kiwi boats of this type. But though she was not the overall winner, Ian Gibbs’ Farr-designed Swuzzlebubble was the one everyone remembered best, as she was on the podium one year as a centreboarder, and back there in the top three the year after, but this time as a keelboat.

Swuzzlebubble 1976The new wave arrives from New Zealand – Swuzzlebubble in 1979
The following year she arrived in Ireland in the ownership of Bruce Lyster of Royal St George in Dun Laoghaire, and he won the ISORA Championship in 1980, plus ISORA Week and just about everything for which the boat was eligible in Cowes Week.

He had an exceptional crew of all the talents with Robert Dix, Drewry Pearson and Des Cummins, and Dixie remembers her as one of the most wonderful boats he ever sailed: “She found her own way to peak performance so effortlessly that you’d almost be scared to do anything which might adversely effect the trim” he quips.

He continues to say that even though Bruce Lyster sold Swuzzlebubble to Greece at season’s end, as you simply couldn’t improve on a season like they’d had in 1980. The Three Musketeers meanwhile transferred aboard Ken Rohan’s 40ft Regardless, with which they won their class big time in the 1981 Fastnet.

Regardless would be on most people’s short list for the greatest Irish racing yacht ever, yet Robert Dix remembers the previous season with Swuzzlebubble with even more enthusiasm. So it’s intriguing that at next week’s Henri Lloyd Half Ton Classics Worlds, the new wave of Irish Classic Half Ton sailors will be taking on Swuzzlebubble for the first time.

The story of her re-birth is typical of the modern revival of the very best of the old Ton Cup boats, with the One Ton Championship itself being revived for its Golden Jubilee in New Zealand in 2015 with a classic fleet. As for Swuzzlebubble, she was discovered in a very poor way indeed in a Greek boatyard in 2012, but was brought back to life by the King of Cowes, Peter Morton, who duly won the Half Ton Classics Worlds in Brittany in 2014 with her.

Swuzzlebubble wreck 7Next stop, the landfill site? Swuzzlebubble as she was found in Greece in 2012
half ton Swuzzlebubble restored 8Swuzzlebubble restored, on her way to winning the Half Ton Classics in Brittany in 2014

However, Swuzzlebubble wasn’t campaigned in the 2015 series in Belgium, when Dave Cullen took the trophy for Ireland with Checkmate XV. So there has been an air of unfinished business about these two rather special boats floating about the ocean without actually locking horns, but that’s all going to be changed in Falmouth.

Dave Cullen Checkmate XV 9Dave Cullen on the helm as Checkmate XV makes a start to die for at the Half Ton Worlds in Belgium, 2015Dave Cullen crew 10Winners take all – Dave Cullen and his crew with the trophy after victory last year

In fact, it has become Howth versus Falmouth, as Swuzzlebubble is now Falmouth-owned by Gregory Peck who, in a very varied sailing career, was one of the crew with Dickie Gomes aboard the 83ft catamaran Novanet when a new Round Ireland Record was established in November 1986, but that’s another story altogether.

However, in Falmouth there’ll be other boats involved too, as the word is they might muster as many as 30 entries, which is as big a fleet as anyone could reasonably wish for. The remarkable Howth/Fingal contingent will be there in full strength, as Checkmate XV will be taking the road with Jonny Swann’s Harmony, Michael and Richard Evans’ The Big Picture, and the David Kelly and Patrick Boardman team from Rush SC with King One, Half Ton World Champion in 1981.

It’s an intriguing mixture of nostalgia and modernity, as the boats get revamped to new ideas, yet they always carry their history lightly but definitely with them. In the case of the Howth boats, much of the technical work in revamping is done by ace boatbuilder Alan Power of Malahide, who appropriately is a powerboat nut himself, but his ability to think outside the usual boat-building box makes him the ideal man to undertake crazy notions for addicts of old but still potent offshore racers.

Half tonners Big Picture Checkmate XV 11Preparation zone…..The Big Picture (left) and Checkmate XV undergoing modifications with Power Marine in Malahide back in April. Photo: W M Nixon

In line with this aim of maximising performance, the Howth/Fingal crewing lineup will include some formidable talent from all over Ireland, with Dave Cullen leading the charge with his 2015 crew of Johnny Murphy, Gary Cullen (no relation), Aidan Beggan, Mark Pettit, James Hynes and Andy George.

The crew on The Big Picture meanwhile have roped in Mark Mansfield of Cork, who is having a great year of it in a variety of boats, while the jockey for King One is young Marty O’Leary, one of the bright new talents to emerge in recent years from Courtown in County Wexford.

Down Falmouth way, it’s going to be Classic Half Ton Racing at its classic best. And if you wonder why it is that the Half Tonners seem to have been the most successful of all the Ton classes in reviving themselves after more than fifty years, perhaps the answer is that at 30ft they’re big enough as boats to be taken seriously, yet small enough to be a manageable proposition for keeping in top order and raced keenly.

half ton Classics fleet 12The contemporary Half Ton Classics lineup – the boats are big enough to be taken seriously, yet small enough to be manageable

Published in Half Tonners

Yesterday's Laser Leinster Championships at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire has started a two week period of Laser dinghy racing action on Dublin Bay in advance of next week's KBC Laser Radial World Championships.

Yesterday's prizegiving saluted winners in Standard, Radial and 4.7 divisions.

For a report and results click here

 
Published in Laser
Page 9 of 25

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

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

mgm sidebutton
bjmarine sidebutton
xyachts sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events

tokyo sidebutton
sovscup sidebutton
vdlr sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating