Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Eccles and Wright Win Irish Squib Championships at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club

12th August 2023
Irish Squib Champions David Eccles and Michael Wright sailing Inshallah
Irish Squib Champions David Eccles and Michael Wright sailing Inshallah Credit: Lindsay Nolan McCarty

David Eccles and Mike Wright, in Inshallah from the host club, Royal North on the south side of Belfast Lough, are the new Irish National Squib Champions and lifted the trophy for the first time.

Second were Ruan O’Tiarnaigh and Ross Nolan, also from RNIYC.

The event was held on the first weekend in August. Inshallah dominated the scoresheet with three first places and an 11, and the OCS in Race 5 was the discard.

The 22-strong fleet counted a very strong local contingent, including many previous national champions. Competitors came from Kinsale, Dun Laoghaire, Howth and Killyleagh and were joined by Ryan Seddon and Leuan William from Wales.

Fresh conditions for the Squib National Championships on Belfast LoughFresh conditions for the Squib National Championships on Belfast Lough Photo: Lindsay Nolan McCarthy

Friday's opening races saw a mixture of sunshine and squally showers, making it difficult to anticipate the wind shifts accurately. Race Officer Sammy Lyness got the fleet underway in light conditions on Friday evening, but a dying breeze meant that not all the fleet finished the race within the time limit.

The race was won by David Eccles and Michael Wright in Inshallah who established a lead at the end of the first run over early leader Vincent Delaney and Joe O’Byrne in Femme Fatale Royal from Royal St George YC. After a tortuous final run the committee finished at the leeward gate and after a period of sustained battling against a stubborn tide it was Inshallah first and Femme Fatale in second but the Royal St.George pair hit the finish mark and were forced to refinish losing a number of place to end up fifth.

2023 Squib Champion Inshallah in a tight weather mark rounding2023 Squib Champion Inshallah in a tight weather mark rounding Photo: Lindsay Nolan McCarthy

Saturday dawned with an overcast sky, and the sailors faced a challenging day on the water with a northeast wind which produced a nasty chop. The weather gods were particularly demanding, with winds varying from almost dead calm to gusts that tested the sailors' control and tactical decision-making. Eccles and Wright continued their winning streak, finishing the day with another two firsts, an 11th and, unfortunately, an OCS, allowing them to hold on to their lead, but the following pack of Ian Travers and Keith O’Riordan from Kinsale in Outlaw and the local Peter Wallace and Martin Weatherstone in Toy for the Boys kept them on their toes.

The overall scores on Saturday night were intriguing, with Eccles and Wright in Inshallah, having discarded an OCS but carrying three firsts and an 11th, were leading on 14 points. The most consistent boat of the fleet was Quickstep, Ruan O’Tiarnaigh and Ross Nolan, whose discard was seventh, was lying in second.

As Sunday approached, the event was still all to play for, and hopes were high for two thrilling races to determine the champions. However, heavy rain engulfed the course, reducing visibility and creating unpredictable and shifty winds. The race committee diligently attempted to set a fair course, but the conditions deteriorated, and after several attempts to lay the course, the difficult decision was taken to abandon Sunday's race. This called for the championship standings to be determined based on the results from the previous days. With local boat Inshallah's consistent performance, they secured their victory as the new Irish National Champions.

The Silver Fleet was won by the local crew of Stephen Stewart and Kevin Thomas in Second Chance, just pipping Johnny Park and Bob Stinson in Gizmo and overseas Welsh visitors Ryan Seddon and Ieuan William in Siadwel. Sorcha Ni Shuilleabhain in Mucky Duck from Kinsale won the prize for the first female helm.

The event was sponsored by the Estate Agents Rodgers and Browne, and the organisers managed to ensure the success of the event despite the challenging weather.

The class now looks forward to the Irish East Coast Championships 2023 at Howth Yacht Club Howth Yacht Club on 9th and 10th September.

Race Results

You may need to scroll vertically and horizontally within the box to view the full results

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down

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At a Glance - Squib Class 2024 Event Dates

  • Southern Championships- 11th/12th May- Baltimore Sailing Club (dates to be confirmed)
  • Northern Championships – 25th/26th May – Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club
  • National Championships – 26th 28th July – Howth Yacht Club
  • Eastern Championships – 7th/8th September – Royal George Yacht Club
  • Inland Championships – 12th/13th October – Lough Derg Yacht Club

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