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Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Mixed action in the weekend's final race of the Howth Yacht Club Beshoff Motors Autumn League, with Kevin Darmody's X Class Viking crossing safely ahead of Stephen O'Flaherty's Spirit 54 Soufriere
When the Autumn League started as a regular part of the programme at Howth Yacht Club thirty-nine years ago after the Marina opened in July 1982 (making for two significant anniversaries coming up next year), it was thought fairly normal…
First in Class 2 - Nigel Biggs' Checkmate XVIII on her way to overall victory of the ICRA National Championships on Dublin Bay
In the end, it became a Half Tonner domination of Class Two of the ICRA Championships on Dublin Bay this weekend, where light to medium conditions played right into the hands of the optimised vintage yachts. All three podium places…
Half Tonners rule - Checkmate XVIII (Nigel Biggs) and Jonny Swan sailing King One (both pictured above with King One to leeward) are lying first and second overall respectively after five races sailed in the IRC Two Division of the ICRA 2021 National Championships on Dublin Bay
At the helm of David Kelly's King One, Jonny Swan has ruined the perfect scoresheet of Nigel Biggs and his Checkmate XVIII team after an intense second day of competition at the ICRA National Championships on Dublin Bay. Checkmate continues…
Nigel Biggs and his Checkmate XVIII crew won both races in IRC 2 of the ICRA Nationals on Dublin Bay
It is a perfect scoreline of two firsts for Nigel Biggs and his Checkmate XVIII crew in IRC2 after the first day of the ICRA National Championships on Dublin Bay.  The three competing Half Tonners made hay in the light and…
After a win at 60-boat Calves Week in West Cork in August, Frank Whelan's new J122 Kaya from Greystones makes her ICRA debut on Friday on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat
The Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) National Championships returns to Dublin Bay this weekend (September 3-5th) and brings one of the biggest Division Zero fleets the cruiser-racer body has ever seen. An expected fleet of 13 Zeros is bigger than the…
Riaghan Boardman (junior) (left) collecting the Half Ton Offshore Trophy from HYC's Dave Cullen
Despite only four boats in each class making it to the start line, the small fleets enjoyed very close racing in 12-20 knots on Saturday and only 3 – 8 knots on Sunday. Nigel Biggs’ Half Tonner Checkmate sealed the…
The Irish Half Ton Cup will set sail at Howth on August 21
At least six Half Tonners and six X302s are expected for a newly devised Championships at Howth Yacht Club later this month. The Irish Half Ton Cup and X302 Challenge will be sailed over three windward-leeward courses and a coastal race from August…
Mixed Howth fleet at the back of the island – classic Lambay Race boat variety on Lambay's north coast, with Stephen Harris's First 40.7 Tiger nearest camera
With official club racing only permissible since last Monday, June 7th, and many fit-out schedules delayed through May's atrocious weather, the realists had been hoping for a turnout of maybe around 40 boats for Howth YC's opening major event of…
The Half Tonner Big Picture' is for sale from at €48,000
The Howth Yacht Club Half Tonner 'The Big Picture' that is currently on the market has had a price drop from €55,000 to €48,000 as the 2021 sailing season kicks off. Skipper Michael Evans says he is selling due to the purchase of a…
Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta has received 94 entries so far for the Open Cruiser Championship (8th – 11th July 2021) on Dublin Bay
Entries for Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta (VDLR) are beyond expectations for July's event giving organisers the opportunity to close the entry system at the end of April to review the 320 boats received so far. Ireland's biggest regatta on Dublin…
The Half Ton Classic Cup 2022
The date for the Half Ton Classic Cup 2022 announced this week for Cowes following the cancellation of the 2021 event due to COVID-19 has changed its dates.Inbox The Cup will now be run from the 15-19th August 2022 to…
The Half-Ton Classic Cup has been forced to cancel for a second time. The Cup is now scheduled for Cowes on 18-22nd July 2022
The Half Ton Classic Cup in Cowes has been cancelled in July. It is the second time the event has cancelled due to COVID. Unfortunately, with most of the fleet hailing from Belgium, France and Ireland, it isn’t expected to…
Howth Yacht Club Half Tonner 'The Big Picture' is for sale
The Howth Yacht Club Half Tonner 'The Big Picture' is for sale at €55,000.  The MG HS30 MOD yacht has been stored indoors, well maintained, and as regular Afloat readers know has been raced locally in Howth and at regattas…
Seasoned campaigners. Robert Dix and brother-in-law Richard Burrows combined 50 years ago to see the former win the Helmsmans Championship of Ireland in one of the highlight events of the Royal Cork YC Quarter Millennium celebrations in 1970. They’re still at it, as seen yesterday (Saturday) when they raced Dixie’s J/80 Jeannie to second in class in the Aqua Restaurant Two-Hander at Howth
When in doubt, send ’em round Lambay. That seems to be the feeling among Howth Yacht Club’s race officers as this uncertain semi-season gradually cranks into action. And with Saturday’s early-start Aqua Double-Hander Challenge seeing a greyish morning giving a…
Irish Half Tonners are expected to focus on September's WAVE Regatta
July's Half Ton Classics Cup due to be held a week before Cowes Week – at the same venue – has been cancelled. The news will be disappointing but not unexpected in this COVID-19 hit season among the burgeoning Dublin fleet…
Darren Wright (left) with the crew of Mata and the Irish Half Ton Trophy in Kinsale with co-owners Michael Wright (right) and Rick De Neve (second right)
Darren Wright of Howth rounded out an exceptional year of achievement in 2019 with a courageous bareboat charter campaign in the especially challenging 75th Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race. Nearer home, his year had already seen success with the Classic Half Tonner…

Irish Sailing Classes and Association – There’s no shortage of one-design classes from which to choose and each gives its enthusiasts great competition, fun and camaraderie, writes Graham Smith in this review of the classes. 

One-design racing is where it all starts. It is, after all, where all the top sailors earned their stripes, battling away for line honours without a thought for a handicapper’s calculator wiping away a hard-fought victory!

Indeed, you could count on less than one hand the number of top Irish sailors who didn’t cut their teeth in a one-design dinghy! Just think of Cudmore, Barrington, Watson, Wilkins, Hennessy and Dix to name a few and you realise that they honed their skills in everything from Enterprises to Lasers and a lot in between.

At present count, there are a little over 30 one-design classes in Ireland, split almost evenly between dinghies and keelboats, a statistic which might raise a few eyebrows. They range from the long-established Mermaids, IDRA14s and Dragons to the newer additions like Fevas, Topaz and RS Elite. They all fill a particular need and give their owners and crews considerable enjoyment.

Many have attracted their World or European Championships to Irish waters over the years and while 2009 is notable for a lack of such events here, the following year will see the Etchells Worlds at Howth and perhaps a few other international regattas too.

In addition to the review, we asked each class to complete a questionnaire giving details of their fleet numbers, whether they were on a growth pattern or holding their own, so we could highlight those ‘on the up’ and those remaining static in terms of numbers. The older traditional designs, as you might imagine, fall into the latter category, although that’s not a negative!

CLASS REVIEW  The State of the Classes – League Table (as at February 2009)

S = Static; U = Up/growing

275     Optimist   U

200+   Laser   S

189     Mermaid   S

160     Flying Fifteen   S

130     RS Feva   U

115     Shannon One Design    U

100+   Mirror   S

100+   Topper   U

99       Topaz   U

94       Laser SB3   U

87       GP14   U

85       Squib   S

70       Fireball   S

70       Ruffian   S

60       J24   S

60       Shipman   S

52       Dragon   S

50       RS400/200   S

50       420    U

43       Multihulls    U

42       Dragon    S

40       Water Wags    U

40       Wayfarer    S

34       IDRA14    U

33       Puppeteer    U

28       Etchells    S

27       E-Boat    U

26       Glen    S

25       Enterprise    S

18       Sigma 33    S

18       Howth 17    U

13       RS Elite    U

Who is Your Sailor of the Year 2021?
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