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McMahons Retain Puppeteer 22 Nationals at Howth Yacht Club

26th July 2021
Doing the business. Trick or Treat (Alan Pearson & Alan Blay) shows the style which had her overnight leader after the first day's racing in the Puppeteer Nationals at Howth
Doing the business. Trick or Treat (Alan Pearson & Alan Blay) shows the style which had her overnight leader after the first day's racing in the Puppeteer Nationals at Howth Credit: Annraoi Blaney

It was considered good going in the brief season of 2020 when Paul and Laura McMahon's 1978-vintage prototype Puppeteer 22 Shiggi Shiggi (sail number #1) emerged fresh but untried from the restoration laboratories and took the national title.

But in making their 2021 defence in a six-race series over this past sunny weekend in Howth, the McMahon boat by no means had it all her own way. In fact, the overnight leader after some highly photogenic competition in quite a decent sea breeze on Saturday was Trick or Treat (Alan Pearson & Alan Blay), and it was only by the third race that Shiggi Shiggi appeared to have found her mojo hidden in the back of a locker or wherever, waiting for its full deployment to win that particular contest from Scorie Walls in Gold Dust, with Trick or Treat in third.

On course for history – the leading Puppeteers head for the Portmarnock Mark, close under Portmarnock House, the former home of the legendary Jameson sailing (and whiskey) family. In the right foreground are Odyssey (#50, P & R Byrne) and Inter-Scepter (#34, Simon Knowles, which was restored in a 300-hour lockdown refurbishment project). Photo: Annraoi BlaneyOn course for history – the leading Puppeteers head for the Portmarnock Mark, close under Portmarnock House, the former home of the legendary Jameson sailing (and whiskey) family. In the right foreground are Odyssey (#50, P & R Byrne) and Inter-Scepter (#34, Simon Knowles, which was restored in a 300-hour lockdown refurbishment project). Photo: Annraoi Blaney

HYC Vice Commodore Neil Murphy at the helm of Yellow Peril was among those vying for a podium place. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Other who'd shown well in the first day included HYC Vice Commodore Neil Murphy helming Yellow Peril, and the May/Burke combo in Honey Badger. But on Sunday, Shiggi Shiggi took decisive control with three wins, and in the circumstances, the interest lay in who came second. Trick or Treat's Saturday success stood the Pearson/Blay team to the good, they were runners-up four points clear ahead of Gold Dust.

Winner trim. Siggi Siggi looking every inch a champion as she races through Howth Sound past the Martello Tower on Ireland's Eye. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyWinner trim. Shiggi Shiggi looking every inch a champion as she races through Howth Sound past the Martello Tower on Ireland's Eye. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Shiggi Shiggi was going so fast that she even overcame the HPH handicap system to win on that as well, but other names came onto the podium, second going to Mr Punch (Ni Bhraonain Wilson) and third (on a tie break) to P & R Byrne's Odyssey – details here 

Paul McMahon and his winning crew have just crossed the final line….. In the weeks ahead, it may take a real effort of memory to recall that for a magic time in 2021, we sailed in temperatures like this. Photo: Annraois BlaneyPaul McMahon and his winning crew have just crossed the final line….. In the weeks ahead, it may take a real effort of memory to recall that for a magic time in 2021, we sailed in temperatures like this. Photo: Annraois Blaney

Published in Puppeteers, Howth YC
WM Nixon

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WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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