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Kinsale Will Take Major Combined Squib Nationals In Its Hospitable Stride

15th June 2022
The Squib fleet in action off Kinsale, where their premier 2022 Championship gets underway this weekend
The Squib fleet in action off Kinsale, where their premier 2022 Championship gets underway this weekend Credit: Robert Bateman

The Bandon Co-Op-sponsored week-long British & Irish Squib Nationals getting underway this weekend in Kinsale - with the first racing on Sunday, June 19th - is an eloquent example of the imaginative thinking that is needed to get sailing back to post-pandemic normality. Or maybe it’s some sort of new normality.

Whatever, the notion that we can emerge from paralysis by combining formerly constrained major fixtures seems to be working in this case, with 58 top entries. They’re drawn from all the Squib racing centres in Ireland and the main ones in England and Wales, the furthest travelled being from Suffolk on the East Coast and Portsmouth in the south. Their efforts, in particular, look like being rewarded, as the ten-day forecasts are suggesting that next week will see a fair effort at real summer in Ireland, but across in England, they’ll be under their own private low-pressure area, with much rain to match.

Kinsale Harbour is at the heart of The Land Flowing in Milk and Honey, and next week’s championship may provide appropriate summer weather for its full enjoymentKinsale Harbour is at the heart of The Land Flowing in Milk and Honey, and next week’s championship may provide appropriate summer weather for its full enjoyment

Kinsale meanwhile may well be firmly in line next week for the contest for Central HQ of the Land of Milk and Honey and Sunny Summertime Stakes. And that - combined with the picturesque port’s reputation for hospitality and the sponsorship of a multi-faceted locally-based agri-business – will give some idea of the developing flavour of an event in which the notable camaraderie of the Squib class will interact dynamically with the special venue’s unique sense of itself.

For although the Squib Class in Ireland – headed by the affable Class President Robert Marshall of Killyleagh on Strangford Lough – seems to be a by-word for amiable sport, that’s just a matter of keeping to the spirit of this attractive little 19th keelboat. In fact, they race at least as competitively as anyone else, but it’s regarded as distinctly un-Squibbish to give the impression of trying too hard.

While the Squib Class may like to project a laid-back approach, they race as hard and close as anyone elseWhile the Squib Class may like to project a laid-back approach, they race as hard and close as anyone else

Thus in order to deal with a fleet of 58 hot crews determined to get in as much competitive racing as they can while appearing to be simply going out for some agreeable sailing with a spot of racing thrown in, Organising Committee Chairman Ian Travers and his team, with Fiona Sugrue-Ward looking after communications, have been building up a formidable corps of volunteers to ensure that all the various logistical challenges are calmly met, while the legendary Peter Crowley – former RCYC Admiral and ISA President – is in the key role of Senior Race Officer.

As for the competition, while there were restricted-movement British Nationals at Abersoch in Wales and an Irish Championship at Killyleagh in 2021, the mood for the class in Ireland going into the winter lockdown was set at the Freshwater Regatta on Lough Derg in October when – after some great sport – “See you in Kinsale in June” was the parting greeting, and so it has come to pass.

Lough Derg is another Irish centre whee the fleet is growing, in this case at LDYC at Dromineer. Photo: W M NixonLough Derg is another Irish centre whee the fleet is growing, in this case at LDYC at Dromineer. Photo: W M Nixon

On current form, Gordon Patterson & Ross Nolan of Royal North of Ireland YC at Cultra on Belfast Lough with Fagin seem to be continuing their good form of 2021 as we look at 2022’s early results. But Dick and Pam Batt of Chichester Harbour – no strangers to racing with the Irish fleet – are always a force to be reckoned with, as are Kinsale’s Colm Dunne & Rob Gill, and Ian Travers himself.

Kinsale combines history with modern amenities – Squibs racing past the harbour guardian of Charlesfort. Photo: Robert BatemanKinsale combines history with modern amenities – Squibs racing past the harbour guardian of Charlesfort. Photo: Robert Bateman

But after the pandemic shrinkage, 58 boats is a large and strong fleet. It’s going to be fascinating seeing who emerges from the pack. And if we sought a vivid example of the colourful diversity of Irish sailing, we need look no further than next week, when the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race all round our coast, and the Bandon Co-Op Squib Championship at Kinsale, are taking place at precisely the same time.

Squib entry list here

Published in Squib, Kinsale
WM Nixon

About The Author

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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