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Royal Ulster Foray to West Cork's Calves Week Proves Fruitful for Mahon's Belfast Lough Quarter Tonner

8th August 2021
The Snoopy crew at Calves Week: Martin Mahon (right) and crew l to r  Gavin Watson, Josh Milhench and Robbie Milhench.
The Snoopy at Calves Week: Martin Mahon (right) and crew l to r Gavin Watson, Josh Milhench and Robbie Milhench

Martin Mahon from Courtown Sailing Club in North Wexford is also a member of Royal Ulster Yacht Club in Bangor, having lived in Holywood on the south side of Belfast Lough for some years. He regularly sails his Joubert-Nievelt 1/4 tonner Snoopy at RUYC but wanted to experience a big event, so he chose Calves Week in West Cork. Snoopy finished second overall.

Martin made the long journey south with Snoopy on a trailer for the four-day regatta in Schull Harbour, which began on Tuesday 3rd August. Joining him were Robby and his son Josh Milhench and Gavin Watson. They sailed under the RUYC and Courtown SC flag in Class 3.

Snoopy began with a bullet in the first race on a Round the Islands course ahead of Peter O'Leary's First Class 8, Repo8. With a second in the Fastnet Race on Wednesday behind Patrick Collins' Dehler 34 Ealu from Baltimore and a third behind the same boat in the third race, also Round the Islands, they started the final race with high hopes of a big performance. But unfortunately, a friend of Martins' brought on board to boost the crew in the heavy winds of the last day, suffered a knock out in a big gust and had to be taken ashore. She is fortunately recovering. Snoopy retired and had to discard the seventh place.

Martin has returned north enthusiastic about taking part in more significant events.

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down

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About Quarter Tonners

The Quarter Ton Class is a sailing class of the International Offshore Rule racing the Quarter Ton Cup between 1967 and 1996 and from 2005 until today.

The class is sailed by smaller keelboats of similar size and is likely the world's most-produced keelboat class.

The Ton, Half, Quarter, etc. 'classes' were each given a 'length' and yacht designers had almost free rein to work the hull shapes and measurements to achieve the best speed for that nominal length.

The Ton Rules produced cranky and tender boats without actual downwind speed. Measurement points created weird, almost square hull shapes with longish overhangs.

They were challenging to sail optimally and lost value very quickly as any new wrinkle (e.g. 'bustles') to take advantage of the rule made older boats very quickly uncompetitive.

Although its heyday was 30 years ago, the boat class continues to make its presence felt by holding its own in terms of popularity against some fern race fleets.

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