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Kinsale Squib Wins Lough Derg Freshwater Keelboat Regatta

3rd November 2017
The Squib fleet racing at Lough Derg The Squib fleet racing at Lough Derg

The annual pilgrimage of the Squib Class to the Whiskey Still Pub Lough Derg Yacht Club in the picturesque village of Dromineer on Lough Derg was somewhat interrupted/disrupted this year by the passage of Storm Brian during the weekend of October 21st-22nd.

Part of the annual Freshwater Regatta, with the weekend also shared by the Dragon, SB20 and Flying Fifteen Classes, given the time of year there is always the strong possibility of some extreme of weather during the weekend, be it calm or gales! With the forecast clearly indicating that racing was going to be unlikely on Saturday, the organisers notified the competitors on Thursday that the Regatta would be going ahead anyway (the Dragon Class start their Regatta on Friday) with the intention of an earlier start on Sunday morning for the Classes that would likely miss racing on Saturday with the intention of getting four races in. For those who couldn’t travel early on Friday, the prospect of towing a boat in winds gusting 35-45 knots plus on Friday evening, or during Saturday, inevitably meant that many boats that had intended to travel decided to wisely stay at home. Nevertheless, 12 Squibs came to the start line early on Sunday morning in winds generally in the 12-14 knots range from the South West. With a slight delay to allow the last boats which had just launched to make their way to the course area North of the Corrikeen Islands (the Squibs and Flying 15’s shared the same course).

With a tight schedule, OOD John Leech wisely decided to keep the courses simple and run windward-leewards. Ably assisted by Start-Sequence-Controller-and-Master Adair Leech, assisted by Jenny Kent and Captain Patrick Blaney (who kindly provided his services and his wonderful motor cruiser Bo Derg as the Committee boat) racing ran smoothly and effortlessly all day (once the Leeward Gate was secured to the Lake bed!).

The first race gone underway without any drama with a well-set line and it wasn’t long before the usual suspects were at the top of the fleet in winds which were fluctuating in direction and generally increasing. There were some very close battles going on throughout the fleet which kept the race fun and interesting. Continuing the form that they have shown all year (outside of the Irish & UK National Championship and despite a late night in the Whiskey Still Pub with some other leading Squib aficionados) Colm Dunne with No.1 crew Fiona Ward on 134 Allegro showed that they meant business by leading the fleet home, followed by Sam Lyness and Eric Heyes on 824 The Worm who were keen to show that last years win wasn’t a flash in the pan! They were followed home by current National Champions Peter Wallace and Martin Weatherstone on 818 Toys for the Boys.

With a wind that was shifting 20-25 degrees at times requiring some adjustment of the course and increasing to 20-22 knots during the race, Race 2 was a livelier affair. After an uncharacteristically poor start from Allegro leaving them with it all to do to catch up, it was Toys for the Boys who took the win with a resurgent Gordon Patterson and Ross Nolan on 100 Fagan taking the 2nd having shaken off the cobwebs, with Allegro recovering to take a well-deserved 3rd. With winds continuing to increase, despite the forecast (the OOD recorded a gust of 31 knots during the race), Race 3 was won with a convincing performance by none other than Irish Sailing President, Jack Roy, crewed by daughter Jill on 130 Kanola. They were followed home by Toys for the Boys with Allegro taking the 3rd to keep them in contention going into the last race. Race 4 saw the wind drop off dramatically, right down to 5-6 knots, resulting in the OOD shortening the final beat to keep more-or-less on schedule. Allegro went hard left up the beat while the others went middle to right. She got a ‘lucky’ wind shift (according to the lads elsewhere on the course!) and got a jump on the fleet giving them a comfortable win with Fagan taking 2nd and Toys for the Boys coming in 3rd.

This gave Colm & Fiona a well-deserved win with Toys for the Boys taking 2nd overall and Fagan 3rd.

Much thanks must go to LDYC for their persistence despite the weather, to the many volunteers ashore and on the mark boats and also to the OOD John Leech and his team on the Committee Boat.

We will be hoping for more favourable weather next year and a record turnout of Squibs for what is regularly the most popular event of the season.

Published in Squib
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