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Squib Irish Title Goes to UK Visitors at Howth Yacht Club

21st June 2015
Squib Irish Title Goes to UK Visitors at Howth Yacht Club

#squib – Visiting UK father and son crew Nigel and Jack Grogan of the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club at Burnham–on–Crouch in Essex made a clean sweep of the Irish National Squib Championships at Howth Yacht Club today. The pair took three race wins with a final score of eight nett points and did not have to sail the last race of the series.

Local crew Fergus O'Kelly and Jonathan Wormald were second on 22 points in the  26-boat fleet.

Recent Northern Ireland Champions John Driscoll and David Cagney got off to a poor start counting two disqualifications in the six race, one discard series but reocovered well – to also count three race wins – to finish sixth overall.

Third was 2012 Irish champion Aidan O'Conell and Ross Nolan.

Was the three day Squib Championships held in Howth Yacht Club on 19-21 June just like any other regional championships with the usual suspects at the top? The answer is no. Unlike other Irish events, we had two very welcome visitors from the UK.

They were the two class sailmakers, Dick Batt and Pamela Phelan in Squib, and Nigel and Jack Grogan in Helmut Shoing II. Did they take first and second places? No they didn't.

Race one was held on Friday evening on the course north of Howth harbour where the Nationals are due to be sailed in a weeks time. Helmut Shoing showed great speed in a 10 knot breeze and ran away with the race, winning by a few minutes. Second place went to David Eccles and Phil Hutchinson in Innisallagh from the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club, with third place going to Sam Lyness and John Reynolds in The Worm from the same club. The pattern appeared to be set. The UK teams to take the lead followed by the Northern teams. In this windward-leeward race there was a strong ebb tide and important tactical decisions to be taken on which leeward mark to round. In fact it paid to ignore the tide and to head left on the beat, where the wind pressure was greater. Three of the fastest boats in the fleet, Fagin, Aficianado and Arctic Fox which were all previous championship winners, were premature starters. This was to be significant in the overall championship results.

On Sunday there were three races, in the same westerly wind conditions. Race two was on the windward leeward course with Helmut ShoingII taking the gun from SB20 sailor Aidan O'Connell standing in for the injured Gordon Patterson with Ross Nolan in Quickstep III from R.N.I.Y.C. taking second place, and Fergus O'Kelly and Jonathan Wormaid in the mid-numbered boat Selik from the host club. Would it be possible for a mid-numbered Squib to produce consistent championship winning results?

Race three was also held in a shifty wind which flicked back and forth by up to 20 degrees. The early leaders Vincent Delany and Joe O'Byrne in Femme Fatale from the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club and Royal St. George Yacht Club were unable to resist the pressure from astern and particularly from John Driscoll and David Cagney in Afficianado on the triangular course, so at the finish it was Afficianado, Femme Fatale and Helmut ShoingII.
Race four was a windward leeward race in the shifty wind, and again saw the cool crew in Afficianado, taking the gun from Helmut Schoing and Inishallah.
Overnight it was clear that it was going to be a high scoring championship with Helmut ShoingII holding a good lead from Femme Fatale and Selik. Every competitors required to improve his consistency. Who could achieve it?

On Sunday the forecast was for eighteen knots of wind from the same direction as the previous day which would certainly present a challenge to all the crews. The shorter windward leeward race was selected by OOD Harry Gallagher and his team in their new flagship Starship Wonderprise.
Helmut Schoing showed great boat handling skill by working through the fleet from behind to take a win from Selik and Quickstep III. The eighteen knot wind never arrived, but there were heavy gusts and also some confusing light patches in the shifty offshore wind blowing from Portmarnock which demanded quick gear changing from the crews. The flood tide remained strong.

By the last race it was clear that Helmut Shoing II with three wins, a second and a third place had won the championship. They headed ashore leaving the last race to the Irish to fight out the final race between themselves. It was a longer windward-leeward race in which the wind had shifted about fifteen degrees to the north. In the early stages Afficianado and Fagin were making up for their misdeamour in the first race. They seemed to be wired together in the lead with and invisible thread. Then on the third beat Inisallagh found a windshift by heading south, and she moved to the lead. Until the finish line these three boats and QuickstepIII fought to win the race, and potentially win the championship. At the finish line after five long beats Aficianado won from Fagin and Inisallagh and QuickstepIII.
What had happened to Squib? She showed astounding speed on the first beat of almost every race, frequently rounding in first place, thereafter the problems arouse, with minor breakdowns showing that unless your boat is well prepared and tried and tested, you are putting yourself at a great disadvantage.

Are the Irish happy to have amateurs and professionals racing together on the same event? The answer is a resounding yes!

Which sailmakers products won?
Helmut Schoing II- All Hydes.
Selik- Hyde main and Batt Jib.
Quickstep III- Not Known.
Femme Fatale- Hyde jib and spinnaker and Batt mainsail.

Next big event for the Squibs is the British Isles Championships also to be sailed at Howth from the 26th June – 3rd July. 

Results are downloadable below 


Published in Squib Team

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