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#HYC - Entries are open for Howth Yacht Club’s 38th Autumn League, which runs for six weeks from Saturday 16 September.

Combining quality keelboat racing with a lively après-sail social schedule, this year’s event will see the continuation of the winning formula of recent years and be run on Saturday afternoons.

This affords competitors plenty of time to get to the start line for the first gun at 2.30pm, with the exception of the slightly earlier final-day start sequence, which commences at 1pm.

Making the league more attractive for non-HYC teams is a focus for the event team this year, including special-rare marina berths for visiting boats (with a further discounts for entries received before this Wednesday 30 August).

The club will also present presenting a full social and hospitality programme for the six weeks, including sponsored weekly drinks promotions and a final night party to remember.

However, it’s the action on the water that makes Howth’s Autumn League what it is. Racing fleets will be separated into two groups and two race areas, with an ‘offshore’ fleet comprising at least five cruiser divisions and an inshore fleet for one-design keelboat classes.

Following a recent survey and feedback and in a move to encourage increased participation in the cruiser classes, the normal practice of resetting ECHO handicaps to standard level at the beginning of the event will not be used, and instead boats will be allocated a rating reflecting current form.

This year’s Autumn League starts two weeks after the J80 Nationals and J-Cup event, being hosted in Howth on the weekend of 2-3 September, and it’s hoped that many of those competitors, including J24s and J109s, will stay on to compete in the six-week series.

Following the often gentle sailing conditions usually experienced in July and August, HYC’s Autumn League can be an exhilarating event for many crews, always delivering a high standard of racing through the experienced hands and organisational skills of its internationally renowned race management teams.

The course card is designed to give a varied range of race options, including windward/leeward, Olympic and Round-the-Cans races.

In addition to completing for the spectacular range of Autumn League silverware, race winners will also enjoy weekly prizes, which will be distributed by the MSL Park Motors Mercedes-Benz team on the following Saturdays.

The Heineken Trophy will be awarded to the overall winner, calculated as the boat that wins on scratch or IRC by the largest margin. Competitors are also encouraged to enter a team (three boats from three separate classes) for the Olympus Trophy.

Special après-sail food menus from caterer Jason Dunphy will offer sailors and their guests a quality and alternating selection each week, with regular dining facilities in the evening and a special ‘party night’ dinner on the final Saturday. (Details can be found in race packs.)

Recently, Howth Yacht Club announced it has extended its three-year partnership with MSL Park Motors Mercedes-Benz to sponsor its Autumn League for a fourth season this year.

“Their partnership adds important value for our members, the competing sailors and their guests. This affords HYC the ability to run a top quality regatta with all the frills,” said Commodore Joe McPeake.

“This year we aim to provide competitors with a memorable experience, with a ‘refreshing’ welcome each day when they come ashore!”

The Notice of Race and online entry form to the 2017 MSL Park Motors Mercedes-Benz Autumn League are available from the HYC website HERE.

Published in Howth YC

#HYC - A new sailing school for North Dublin Bay is part of plans to secure the future of Howth Yacht Club.

Commodore Joe McPeake laid out the club’s intentions in a statement on the HYC website in mid July, in which he announced a workshop would be held at the end of September for members to help shape its future.

Envisaged to be up and running as soon as March next year, the school plan aims to attract the “huge number of people now living in Dublin from outside Ireland, and working in the IFSC and other multinational areas” to get involved in sailing.

“It is vital that we attract these people, for if we don’t, we can quite sure that other clubs and sports will,” wrote McPeake.

Increasing members is a “paramount” goal for the club, with the commodore admitting that methods to drive the current turnaround in finances, by cost-cutting and raising subscriptions, are “not sustainable in the long term”.

Youth sailing is particularly underrepresented at Howth, he added. Despite a near full capacity in its summer sailing courses, McPeake said there as been a “marked reduction” in juniors involved in club racing, though this is part of a pattern across many other clubs.

“New forms of sailing must be developed to enthuse those who want to have fun in their own way, and sailing for juniors must be reinvented as it is competing against many other summer sports,” he wrote.

It’s hoped that solutions can be found to match the performance of the marina, where visitor numbers are up 20% on last year; the success of Howth crews in the ICRA Nationals, Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta and elsewhere; and the rude health of Howth’s dinghies and keelboats like the Puppeteer 22s and the homegrown Howth 17 class.

Published in Howth YC

#HYC - With all the recent offshore success for Howth Yacht Club sailors — not least Conor Fogerty in the OSTAR — you’d be forgiven for missing out on the impressive performance by Darren Wright, Kieran Jameson and company at the Giraglia Rolex Cup 2017, the Mediterranean's oldest offshore sailing event last week.

The HYC crew sailing on Hydra, a chartered DK46 designed by Wicklow-based Mark Mills, placed third overall in class ORC A in the inshore races at St Tropez — including a win in the third and final race from a tightly packed 80-boat start line last Tuesday 13 June.

Hydra was just out of the top third of finishers in the main offshore sprint to Genoa from Wednesday 14 to Saturday 17 June, placing 41st among the combined ORC A and B classes.

Combining the inshore races and offshore race, the Howth crew placed a very respectable fifth on 27 points from the 22-strong ORC A class — making for an emphatic tick on their offshore ‘bucket list’.

Published in Howth YC

#HYC - Howth Yacht Club has posted the Notice of Race and sailing instructions for the Lambay Race and Howth Regatta taking place this Friday 2 and Saturday 3 June.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, this year’s Lambay Race will feature a special ‘ISORA class’ alongside the day race scheduled by the offshore sailing series this Saturday.

However, the ISORA fleet will continue from the Lambay finish mark in Howth towards Dublin Port to join the festivities at Dublin Riverfest.

As for the annual North Dublin regatta, the entry list stands at 62 boats as of this morning (Monday 29 May).

While the vast majority of entrants are cruisers both spinnaker and non-spinnaker, there are a few Puppeteers, Ruffian 23s and of course Howth 17s in the mix for the races, recently paid tribute by our own WM Nixon.

Published in Howth YC

#AutumnLeague - Howth Yacht Club has extended its three-year partnership with MSL Park Motors Mercedes-Benz to sponsor the club’s Autumn League for a fourth season in 2017.

“We are absolutely thrilled with this announcement and are very thankful to Dean and his team at MSL Park Motors for this extended support,” said HYC Commodore Joe McPeake.

“It allows the club to build important value-added benefits at this early stage and ensures that we are providing very best quality event for our competitors.”

Dean Fullston, brand manager for the North Dublin dealership, also hailed the continuation of the sponsorship agreement.

“We’ve got to know the club members and are looking forward to seeing them again this year. It is also a great opportunity to showcase a handful of the 27 exquisite Mercedes-Benz models which make up the extensive range.”

The Autumn League will take place over six Saturdays from 16 September to 21 October and will see some changes to the format in 2017, including additional entertainment after racing and the provision of rescheduled racing on a Sunday where the Saturday race has been cancelled due to weather.

Published in Howth YC

#HYC - Kieran Jameson’s Howth Yacht Club team aim to tick another one off their offshore ‘bucket list’ this summer as they charter a keelboat for the Giraglia Rolex Cup.

The core group of Jameson, brothers Darren and Michael Wright, Johnny White, Colm Bermingham, navigator Rick DeNeve and Puppeteer regular Frank Dillon will be joined by offshore enthusiast Brian Turvey, Viking co-owner Mark Patterson and Dillon’s sailing partner Ronan Galligan, as well as young guns Sam O’Byrne and Shane Diviney for the Mediterranean’s oldest offshore race.

Usually in the water on their Corby 27 Kodachi, the core team will be taking over the Spanish-owned (but Wicklow designed) DK46 Maserati Hydra for the 65th Giraglia Rolex Cup from 9 June, which comprises three days of inshore races in St Tropez before the 450km offshore sprint to Genoa via the titular French island.

The challenge comes from the unpredictable winds along the route, particularly the Mistral — making this the Mediterranean equivalent of the similarly testing Rolex Fastnet Race.

The HYC website has more on the story HERE — and below you can watch a short film on last year’s Rolex Cup:

Published in Howth YC

The 121-year-old Howth Yacht Club, which has one of the largest yacht or sailing club memberships in the country, saw Joe McPeake succeed Berchmans Gannon unopposed as Commodore at a very well-attended Annual General Meeting in the club on Thursday December 8th writes W M Nixon.

What may well be a record AGM turnout of 275 voting members gave strong support to the new management team, which retains former officers Emmet Dalton as Vice Commodore, Ian Byrne and Jonathan Wormald as Rear Commodores, and Bernadette Condy as Honorary Secretary, while the new Honorary Treasurer is David Mulligan. He is an experienced financial administrator while also being a sailor’s sailor who actively campaigned a classic Howth 17 and then an Etchells 22, following which he has been a stalwart as an owner-skipper in the white-sail cruiser class.

New Commodore Joe McPeake – who was formerly Rear Commodore – is a lawyer and property developer who has been an HYC member for 26 years, and is a boat owner who has recently concentrated on cruising under both power and sail, his ventures including reaching the Arctic Circle along the Norwegian coast in a Contest ketch. But he has also raced locally, and in national regatta weeks, as well as racing round Ireland.

A strong committee moves into place combining much new talent with many experienced long time voluntary workers for sailing and HYC. While - like many clubs - Howth has gone through difficulties during the lean years, the meeting concluded in an optimistic mood, as the good news included the fact that a much-needed roof replacement project has come in on time and within budget.

HOWTH YACHT CLUB J80Some of the record fleet in the current Brass Monkeys series at Howth competing their final race of the first half on Sunday, with an HYC-owned J/80 foreground .

As though to emphasise the spirit of can-do optimism which became the HYC mood around mid-meeting, next day saw the annual and decidedly convivial charity lunch organized by top offshore skipper Dave Cullen. It featured a presentation by Marcus Hutchinson (originally of Howth) about the Vendee Globe and Enda O’Coineen’s participation in it, including a live interview with the gallant man himself deep into the Southern Ocean, while the event raised €27,000 for Children’s Liver Disease Research.

Then next day the annual HYC Brass Monkeys Winter League – now approaching its 30th year of organisation by Pat Connolly – concluded its first half with a record fleet racing including J/80s from HYC’s own training fleet.

Following that, the noted toy distributor S Claus of North Pole Enterprises came to call on Sunday (yesterday), and then this Thursday (December 15th) sees perhaps the most legendary annual event in the HYC social calendar, the Ladies Lunch organised by Martina Gannon and her team, this year in support of The Ross Nugent Foundation. Guest speaker this year is Howth’s own Susan Whelan, who is CEO of Premiership champions Leicester City Football Club. Needless to say, the event has long been a sell-out.

santa yacht reindeerComing to a club near you – the noted Toy Distributor S Claus of North Pole Enterprises has been using some novel ways of going about his business this year

Published in Howth YC

In an event and at a time of the year that always promises to challenge the skills of keelboat sailors, the 37th consecutive year of Howth Yacht Club’s Autumn League didn’t disappoint the hundreds of competitors who entered and completed the six-week series this weekend. Losing two of the race days due to the contrasting weather conditions that are to be expected in September and October in these latitudes, only demonstrated that those who emerged as winners in the eight competing classes (and 15 divisions) could rightfully boast about having the ability to succeed in a variety of weather conditions, sea states and in a mix of ‘round the cans’ and ‘windward-leeward’ race courses.

The final day gave the competitors a light breeze of 10-12 knots from the southeast, increasing steadily over the 90 to 120 minutes that they would take to complete their last race of the series. The race management team cleverly utilised the race schedule to ensure that the event would be completed having given the competing teams 5 races, including two windward-leeward on one of the days – this despite having to cancel two race days as mentioned above.

HYC’s Commodore Berchmans Gannon praised the race management teams for their skillful work and relayed the thanks of the 600 competing sailors. He also thanked event sponsors MSL Park Motors Mercedes-Benz for the huge added value that they were able to bring to the event, observing how they have become an integral partner to the club and their support is greatly appreciated by the members, guests, event competitors and visitors.

The final prizegiving is always a lengthy affair and this year’s presentations were no exception with over 40 different prizes awarded, including presentations to the ‘Team Event’ winners – Howth 17 ‘Aura’, Puppeteer ‘Gold Dust’ and the Half Tonner ‘Harmony’. David Cullen’s ‘Checkmate’ won the overall event and Heineken Trophy and the trophy was presented to crew Aidan Beggan.

A special presentation was made to Howth RNLI and Rupert Jeffares by event sponsors Brendan Grace and Dean Fullston from MSL Park Motors Mercedes-Benz, with a cheque for €1000.

Competitors and their guests enjoyed the post event celebrations at the event dinner in HYC and in the very many local restaurants that were booked out everywhere in the village and then returned back to the club for the live entertainment and late DJ.

The other winners:

IRC 
Class 1 Storm (Pat Kelly) 

Class 2 Checkmate XV (Cullen/ Biggs)

Class 3 Alliance II (Vincent Gaffney)

Class 4 Tiger (Harris/ Hughes)

Class 5 Demelza (Steffi Ennis/ Windsor Lauden)

ECHO

Class 1 Sourfiere (Stephen O'Flaherty) 

Class 2 Kodachi (Wright/ DeNeve)

Class 3 Kahera (R Camier)

Class 4 Splashdance (Howard McMullen)

Class 5 Mary Ellen (Kevin O'Byrne)

Scratch Handicap

Puppeteers Harlequin (David Clarke/ Liam Egan) Flycatcher (Frank Dillon)

Howth 17s Isobel (Brian & Conor Turvey) Silver Moon (Susan Morgan)

Taste of Racing Leahanne McHenry

Published in Howth YC

Following the cancellation of two days racing in mid-series due to adverse weather, this year's MSL Park Motors Mercedes-Benz Autumn League competitors enjoyed two races this Saturday, affording the competing teams a real opportunity to challenge the leaders in all 8 classes. Aided by an ever-increasing wind forecast, the race management teams chose to run two windward-leeward courses for both inshore and offshore fleets. Multiple windward-leeward race starts are always a risky undertaking, but the HYC teams used their considerable experience to manage two races for each fleet within the time limit.

Having now completed 4 races, a discard now applies and allows competitors to accumulate their best 3 results before including next Saturday's last race of the six week series. The limited time to complete this week's two races made for very close and exciting racing with short legs and very busy mark-roundings. Boat handling was crucial as only seconds separated many of the classes in each race.

It was business as usual on the 'Offshore' course, with Pat Kelly's Storm winning the first race but their DNC (Did Not Compete) in the second race leaves it all to play for in Class 1 IRC. It would appear that Stephen O'Flaherty's immaculate Spirit 54 Soufriere will certainly be a contender for the ECHO prize in that class next week.

A first and second place for Dave Cullen and his team on Checkmate guarantees that the Cullen/Biggs Half-Tonner will collect the Class 2 IRC trophy next week and meant that they could pack the boat into its winter storage a week earlier than anyone else. Second place will certainly go the last race, with two other Half-Tonners The Big Picture and King One along with Richard Colwell and Ronan Cobbe's Fusion all contending for the remaining spoils. A late-season run of form sees Darren Wright and Rick DeNeve's Kodachi 'neck-and-neck' with Dux and Harmony for next week's overall ECHO result.

The application of discards certainly condenses the leaderboard in Class 3, which presents itself as anyone's game with one day to go. Always prominent at the top of the Autumn League scoresheet, Vince Gaffney's Alliance II will race the two K25 teams on their J24s Johnny Bravo and Scandal as well as Kahera and Fulmar Fever for the top prize. The fact that a 4th place IRC prize will be presented means that Fulmar Fever is also likely to be jousting for the ECHO trophy with Jonathan Wormald's Formula 28 Starlet.

The Harris/ Hughes team on their Beneteau Tiger are being hunted down by Dermot Skehan's Toughnut in Class 4, with Harry Byrne's Alphida only 2 points behind. This class is notable for the pedigree of its 'senior' racers, proving that skill and determination are more than a match for youth and enthusiasm in our sport! The ECHO prize might go to either Howard McMullen's Splashdance or Kieran Jameson's Changeling in a result that might replicate the event statistics of many previous decades.

An impressive string of wins in Class 5 means that Windsor Lauden and Steffi Ennis's Shamrock 28 Demelza is already guaranteed the trophy while Declan Gray's Sapphire and Vincent Lundy's Cheyenne lead the class for the ECHO prize and the Denis Wickham Trophy.

Nothing separates Gold Dust and Harlequin in the Puppeteer Class and it's very unlikely that the chasing boats (Trick or Treat and Yellow Peril) will manage to make an impression on the leaders, whose impressive results show them tied on 4 points each after 4 races. However in the Handicap division, the bookies won't be taking any money on Frank Dillon's Flycatcher whose results suggest a remarkable improvement in form within the 17-boat fleet.

Never a class to sit quietly, the Howth Seventeens emerged from a protest that saw just 6 boats scored in a race 2 weeks ago, and consequently many must have been glad to be able to apply their discard following the races this weekend. Two wins by the Turveys' Isobel puts their team at the top of the leaderboard, just ahead of Peter Courtney's Oona and Michael and Jane Duffy's Hera is a further 3 points behind. An effective class handicapping system means that the improved performances of Silver Moon and Eileen affords them the opportunity to compete for the Alphida Cup next week.

One of the most remarkable successes of this year's Autumn League has been the popularity of the 'Taste of Racing', a formula devised by Fergus O'Kelly and utilising the four ISA Sailfleet J80s with a selection of experienced HYC keelboat racers offering a tutorial to keen and prospective racing sailors that are new to the sport. Four of the clubs new J80s are also being chartered by members and are competing in Class 2.

The race management team have confirmed that they will be running a single final race next week and remind competitors of the earlier first warning signal time of 13:00. There are still limited places available at the event dinner and bookings can be made by contacting the office at 01 8322141.

Published in Howth YC

Following its national championships at Howth Yacht Club in June, the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) is seeking feedback on the event via an online questionnaire.

ICRA commodore Simon McGibney says the survey aims to get views on how the event went for attendees but it also seeks the views of non attendees. The survery can be taken here

The next ICRA National Championships take place in at the Royal Cork Yacht Club in 2017

Published in ICRA
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