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Shannon One Designs To Launch Centenary Year With Sold-Out Mad March Dinner in National YC

8th February 2022

There are highly individualistic One Design Classes. And then there are the 1922-founded Shannon One Designs. They’re in a league of their own. And they’ll be launching their Hundred Year Programme for 2022 with a Centenary Dinner in the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire Harbour on Saturday 5th March, with the class’s spirit being revealed by the fact that all tickets were sold out within 12 hours of the event being opened for business by Class Chairman Philip Mayne and Honorary Secretary Naomi Algeo.

Although the class races almost exclusively on the great lakes of the Shannon, it makes occasional excursions to other places like Lough Corrib in Galway and Lough Owel in Westmeath, while they made an impressive Dun Laoghaire debut in the sailing events of the 1924 Tailteann Games on Dublin Bay, when they returned home with the Gold Medal.

 The Shannon ODs have been providing close competition ever since their first race. It is believed to have been on Thursday 24th August 1922 on Lough Ree, though the first contest properly recorded was on Lough Bofin with the North Shannon YC on Tuesday 29th August 1922, won by Dr V Delany with Kiwi. Photo courtesy SODA The Shannon ODs have been providing close competition ever since their first race. It is believed to have been on Thursday 24th August 1922 on Lough Ree, though the first contest properly recorded was on Lough Bofin with the North Shannon YC on Tuesday 29th August 1922, won by Dr V Delany with Kiwi. Photo courtesy SODA

Such is this una-rigged 18ft clinker-built dinghy’s unique appeal that owners are to be found in more than half of the counties of Ireland. And as many of them winter - so to speak - in Dublin, a Springtime seasonal opening get-together with gala overtones at the hospitable National Yacht club will fit the bill to perfection.

The class has long links with the NYC, as the Earl of Granard, NYC Commodore from 1931 to 1941, was also involved with County Longford’s North Shannon YC, one of the clubs which made an active input into the foundation of the class in 1921-22.

More recently, the NYC Commodore was Con Murphy from 2005 to 2008, and his wife – former Olympic sailor Cathy Mac Aleavey - is not only a devoted Shannon OD sailor, but she built her boat personally, working with the late Jimmy Furey, the legendary classic boat-builder of Leecarrow in County Roscommon.

Olympic sailor Cathy Mac Aleavey, wife of former NYC Commodore Con Murphy, making knots with the Shannon OD she built with Jimmy Furey. Photo courtesy SODAOlympic sailor Cathy Mac Aleavey, wife of former NYC Commodore Con Murphy, making knots with the Shannon OD she built with Jimmy Furey. Photo courtesy SODA

Olympic enthusiasm is one of the Shannon OD’s character traits, starting with Dr Alf Delany who sailed for Ireland in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics while at the same time being a leading helm in both the Dublin Bay Water Wags and the Shannon One Designs.

Afloat.ie’s W M Nixon, who will be one of the speakers at the Dinner in the NYC on March 5th, was introduced to the Shannon ODs by sailing with Alf Delany at the Golden Jubilee Regatta at Lough Derg YC in Dromineer in August 1972.

“It was remarkable sailing with Alf” he recalls, “it was as though he and the boat became one, and despite his tyro crewmate, we were in the frame in both races sailed. As for the Shannon One Designs as a class and as a colourful group of people, I was immediately mesmerized, and have remained so ever since.”

Bendy boats do best…..Among the more fascinating aspects of the Shannon One Design is their hull flexibility in a good wind – “In a strong breeze, they’ll turn round and look at you”. Photo SODABendy boats do best…..Among the more fascinating aspects of the Shannon One Design is their hull flexibility in a good wind – “In a strong breeze, they’ll turn round and look at you”. Photo SODA

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