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New All Ireland Team Racing Event Takes Place in Ruffian 23s in Blustery Dun Laoghaire

18th June 2022
Team West beat Team East by four races to two at the Ruffian 23 All Ireland Team Racing at the DMYC in Dun Laoghaire Harbour
Team West beat Team East by four races to two at the Ruffian 23 All Ireland Team Racing at the DMYC in Dun Laoghaire Harbour

There is a new All-Ireland Team Racing event in Ruffian 23 one-design keelboats, between North, South, East & West, hosted by Carrickfergus SC, Wicklow SC, DL Combined clubs & Mayo SC writes Colin McMullen

A Sunday evening stroller on the bridge at Tarmonbarry might have noticed a band of sailors looking a bit battered and bruised in body, but jubilant in spirit, as they retreated in the twilight across the Shannon to their lairs among the drumlins of the Mayo seaboard, following a triumphant dawn raid on the Irish Sea. The weapons of choice were Ruffian 23 class boats on the somewhat cramped field of battle that is Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The opponents on this occasion were the Dun Laoghaire Ruffian Fleet, a.k.a. Team East, who triumphed in a match over the Westerners last September. The latest encounter was the first of a revitalised All-Ireland Team Racing Championship in Ruffians, the brainchild of long-time Ruffian sailor Brendan Duffy of the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club (DMYC) which hosted the event. Four teams, representing North, South, East and West, based in Carrickfergus, Wicklow, Dun Laoghaire and Westport will contest the All-Ireland title.

Ruffian 23 All Ireland Team Racing Event

Intending to race outside the harbour, a fresh westerly reaching F6 for much of the day put paid to that idea. Thus, a course was set in the harbour with two rounds in place of the planned one round. While the harbour’s 200-year-old walls of Dalkey granite made for a flat enough sea they were no match for the westerly wind. A “West Wind” of the metaphorical kind blew away the local team, sailing into an unassailable 4-0 lead in the 6-race contest. Such an outcome looked most unlikely at the end of the first round in Race 1, when Team East held a commanding position. Sadly for them, a tactical error handed Team West the initiative and victory in Race 1. The Westerners proceeded to take the next three races to seal the deal. Team East fought back hard to take Race 5 and 6, including one 1-2-3 combination, to restore their pride and narrow the points difference which comes into play for the All-Ireland title in the event of a tie-break.

Ruffian 23 All Ireland Team Racing Event

In large measure, the event was a family affair, with the Guilfoyle clan to the fore by providing no less than five members on the front line. Team West captain was Fergal Guilfoyle, whose brothers Kealan and Ronan acted as RIB driver and race crew respectively. Dad Frank drove the committee boat “Goose” while Frank’s sister Trish crewed on Team East. Incidentally, Frank and Fergal were commodores of their respective clubs at the same time, which must be something of a record. Frank Bradley, a former Ruffian class captain included on his crew his niece Helen who is the current class captain. Finally, manning a RIB was current DMYC commodore Ian Cutliffe whose father is long-time Ruffian sailor Michael Cutliffe and one of Team East’s skippers, as was Frank. Team East was completed by the National Yacht Club’s Ann Kirwan who is the reigning Ruffian 23 National Champion and whose versatility is highlighted by her commodoreship of Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC). Word of Ann’s prowess had filtered across the Shannon with counter-strategies being discussed at some length. She took line honours in Race 2, albeit in a losing cause, then Team West helm David Quinn returned the compliment by besting Ann in Race 3.

Ruffian 23 All Ireland Team Racing Event

The race committee was headed by your correspondent, ably assisted by long-time DBSC stalwarts Ida Kiernan, Jill Fleming and Tina Dunne, with Ian Cutliffe, Dave Coleman and Kealan Guilfoyle manning the RIBs. Unlike last year, the event featured on-the-water umpiring, provided by Vincent Delany and Eunice Kennedy. However, the strong winds curtailed much of the possible team-racing manoeuvres so they had a quiet enough day. There was a great buzz ashore afterwards, perhaps reflecting the universal joy of being able to indulge in a proper apres-sail at last, something all sailors have missed greatly over the last while. The bar talk spoke of eager anticipation of the return match next year and the remaining matches of the 2022 championship.

Ruffian 23 All Ireland Team Racing Event

A superb day in testing conditions was enjoyed by all. Thanks are due to Brendan Duffy for initiating and organising the event, to the boat owners for their generosity in lending their boats, the race committee crew, Umpires and RIB drivers and to the DMYC for their excellent hospitality.

Ruffian 23 All Ireland Team Racing Event

Result: Team West beat Team East by 4 races to 2. Points difference was 2 points in favour of West.

Team East: Mick Cutliffe (helm), Paul Griffin, Derek Gill, Simon Bridgeman, Ann Kirwan (helm), Feena Lynch, Emer Ní Mhéalóid, Trish Guilfoyle, Frank Bradley (helm), Eoin O'hEochaidh, Mike Hinkson, Aoife Hall

Team West: Fergal Guilfoyle (helm), Pat O' Malley and Libby Lambe, Bobby Conlon (helm and current Mayo SC commodore), Meghan Goldrick, Callum McLoughlin and Ronan Guilfoyle, David Quinn (helm), Blair Stanaway, Maeve Curley and Kyra Mullee.

Next match: West vs South (Wicklow SC) at Rosmoney, Westport (Mayo SC) on 9th July.

Published in Ruffian 23, DMYC, Team Racing
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