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Shannon One Designs See Pace Accelerate As They Pile On The Events For Centenary Year

1st June 2022
Tally-Ho! Classic scene of the Shannon One Designs making a start with the 148-year-old Phoenix as Committee Boat
Tally-Ho! Classic scene of the Shannon One Designs making a start with the 148-year-old Phoenix as Committee Boat Credit: courtesy SODA

You need stamina afloat and ashore to get the best of Shannon One Design Racing, and already it’s clear that that the class – with Philip Mayne as Captain/Chairman and Naomi Algeo as Honorary Secretary - will be looking for Olympic-grade resilience from crews and boats in this their Centenary Year. While the first seriously high profile event in a busy programme is the coming Bank Holiday Weekend’s Clinkerfest at Lough Ree Yacht Club (4th-6th June), this unique class (we choose our adjectives with the greatest care and after due consultation with m’learned friends) has already been active on three great lakes with all the coiled-spring energy of a force of nature recently released from pandemic privations.

This was after the boisterous Centenary-launching dinner in the National YC in Dun Laoghaire on Saturday, March 5th, which seemed to be staged within minutes of restrictions being lifted, yet they’d managed to have a proper-job Hundredth Birthday Cake created on time, and it was also Alan Algeo’s birthday, age not disclosed. Sundry presentations were made, not least the Transom Trophy to Rachel Guy and the team from 142, and with it the realisation that Transom Trophies proliferate because they usually go to people who seldom spend much time looking at transoms, but it really wouldn’t do to have a Stemhead Superstar Award, as the cruel temptation would be to give it to the boat whose crew scarcely ever see another boat’s bow when looking astern.

Profoundly rural Lough Corrib. In this their Centenary Year, the Shannon One Designs have already revived the tradition of a regatta at Cong on island-studded Lough Corrib in County Galway. Photo: W M NixonProfoundly rural Lough Corrib. In this their Centenary Year, the Shannon One Designs have already revived the tradition of a regatta at Cong on island-studded Lough Corrib in County Galway. Photo: W M Nixon

Be that as it may, events already held include a return after three years to regatta sailing on Lough Corrib in County Galway and the charms of Cong, the revival of the Mountshannon Regatta (“wild and wet” we’re told, on Lough Derg, when that wondrous symbol of the Shannon, John & Sandra Lefroy’s 148-year-old iron-hulled classic poweryacht the Phoenix made her re-appearance, and most recently on May 21st and 22nd when Sam Haffield put a programme together in southeast Lough Ree under the comprehensive title of the LRYC Inner Lakes Regatta, involving multiple venues with the apparent purpose of ensuring that no lakeside licensed premises felt they’re being left out of the hospitality bonanza which this Centenary implies.

On the frontiers of the west – Shannon ODs racing off Dromineer on Lough DergOn the frontiers of the west – Shannon ODs racing off Dromineer on Lough Derg

Looking ahead, in addition to the time-honoured regatta weeks on Lough Derg and Lough Ree in August, the first specifically Centenary-celebrating Regatta will be at Lough Derg YC at Dromineer on 2nd & 3rd July when the shoreside festivities include a performance by the Nenagh Brass Band, and then the second Centenary Regatta will be at Lough Ree YC at Ballyglass on 23rd & 24th July, with shoreside entertainment as yet unspecified, but if the Athlone and district music scene can’t come up with something rather special, we’ll be vey surprised.

In due course, we may have more specific details as to who actually won some of these events. But right now, the only precise number that’s getting any attention is 100, and rightly so.

The Mother of all Mother-ships – the 1874-built Phoenix on Lough Derg in 1982, when “smoking-along” was still an acceptable mode of progress. Photo: W M NixonThe Mother of all Mother-ships – the 1874-built Phoenix on Lough Derg in 1982, when “smoking-along” was still an acceptable mode of progress. Photo: W M Nixon

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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