This ever-popular Squib Championship hosted by Howth Yacht Club was supported by a somewhat unusual list of competitors, firstly Peter Wallace, current Irish Squib Champion’s Toy for the Boys broke free from it’s moorings and went up on the rocks at Belfast Lough three days before the event, secondly, Gordon Patterson couldn’t make up his mind which of his two boats was fastest, so he brought the hull of Quickstep III and sails from former 1994 UK Championship winner Fagin. Other unfamiliar boats included Outlaw which has lost its colourful paint job and in order to be inconspicuous on starting lines has returned to British Standard off-white.
There was an entry of nineteen boats, seven from the home club where the revived Squib fleet is growing rapidly, four hot boats from the Royal North of Ireland YC on Belfast Lough, three from Killyleagh Y.C. on Strangford Lough, two from Kinsale, and one from Kilbarrack S.C where the average water depth is about 300mm., one from Lough Derg Y.C. and one from the Royal St George Y.C.
Various weather forecasts suggested both easterly and westerly winds which were to back/ veer to the south. Forecasters seemed unsure about the strength of the wind but they knew that it would never reach gale force.
Race one which was held in westerly winds of Force two with flat water and strong tides was won by former Champion David Eccles in Inshallagh, followed by Simon Watson in Volante and Gordon Patterson and Ross Nolan in Quickstep III third. With northern boats taking the top three places, was this to be the pattern, yet again, for the championship.
Race two in similar conditions after the wind swung towards the south-west was won by Ian Travers in Outlaw, followed by Colm Dunne and Fiona Ward in the beautiful Allegro, boat boats from Kinsale, venue for the UK and Irish Squib Nationals next year.
The wind clocked around over a period of more than an hour from 250, to 180 and settled at about 150 degrees. It takes a patient race officer team to wait for the wind to settle to a championship standard. In the third race Peter Wallace and Martin Weatherstone were coming to terms with the borrowed Tears in Heaven which won the third race with their own Hyde sails from Toy for the Boys from Inshallagh and Allegro.
Overnight the results brought up some surprises due to the number of ‘U’ flag offenders, with Inshallagh in first place, Quickstep second and Noel Colclough’s consistent Periquin third.
On Sunday strong winds were expected from the south- but they never came. The competitors had a repeat of the previous days Force 2 winds which again backed all day. In race four the wind fell away completely and on a shortened course, was won by Greg Bell’s Prodigal crewed by Squib veteran Fred Campbell, Quickstep was second and Steve Bridges’ Firecracker third. At this point each race had a different winner.
The final race was won by Outlaw, with Periquin second and Quickstep III. Quickstep III had done enough to win the championship.
Download results below