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#loughderg – Lough Derg's annual Keelboat Freshwater Regatta in October is meant to round out the season with some gentle lake sailing for salty folk in big boats. But 2014's event last weekend was just too near a ferociously active bad weather system which had lows sometimes down to the 950s spinning around each other out in the Atlantic close to Ireland's West Coast. Thus although it was possible to get in the racing in the CH Marine Autumn Series down at Crosshaven, while the MSL Park Motors Autumn League at Howth concluded in balmy if breezy conditions across on the east coast, over to the west on Lough Derg they were lashed by the tails of two storms, and two classes failed to get any racing at all. But if you happened to be with the stately Dragons or the perky Squibs, then there was some great sport which has W M Nixon reflecting on the way our keelboat classes are developing.

Of all Ireland's lakes, it is Lough Derg which most truly merits the description of "Inland Sea'. Lough Neagh may have greater area, but in the final analysis it's only an oddly characterless shallow basin which happens to be filled with water. Lough Erne is marvellous, but too convoluted. Lough Ree has the area and the intricate coastline, but lacks the scenery. And while Lough Corrib is right up there in the beauty stakes, it's isolated from the rest of the world.

But Lough Derg – now there really is a proper inland sea. It has splendid scenery, and historic little ports with ancient quaysides all round its complex coastline, while beside them you'll find modern marinas which host an astonishing variety and number of boats, including some quite substantial sailing cruisers.

Not only is it a splendid place unto itself, but Lough Derg is part of the greater world. From it, you can undertake inland voyages to every part of Ireland, yet it takes only a day to access the sea and the oceans beyond. It's the sort of place where boating and sailing ambitions can seem endless, so it's not surprising that in recent years the Autumn keelboat regatta has become a trendy annual fixture.

Last weekend, sixty boats from four classes headed Dromineer way, to a hospitable bay and village where Lough Derg YC has been established since 1835. Keelboat racing is nothing new on Lough Derg, but boat numbers at this level is something new, and the logistics of getting the visitors launched, and organising racing on two courses when the weather was being massively unco-operative, caused something of an overload on the club system.

As well, being slightly later in October than is usual, some key members of LDYC's small core of voluntary workers afloat and ashore were already out of the country on their usual mid-Autumn breaks. So although it would have been manageable if the weather had been clement, with the main part of the racing planned for mid-lake there simply weren't the service boats and personnel available to make a sudden shift of some of the racing to a second inshore course in Dromineer Bay.

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Lough Derg isn't just a lake – it's a proper inland sea with connections to the wide world.

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There's nothing new about keelboats on Lough Derg. This is the 7-ton cutter Tessa (Trahern Holmes, LDYC) on the lake in 1884......

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....and this is the keelboat class at Dromineer in the late 1920s. The Bermuda rigged sail number L11 is a former Olympic 6 Metre from Finland

Happily for the Dragons racing in their well-established challenge for the Jack Craig Cup, the trophy which started the whole Dromineer Autumn Keelboat event, their racing was planned for three days. In the end, they only managed the required mid-lake racing on the Friday, but it gave great sport.

derg5.jpgThe Dragons start on the Friday. It was the introduction of the Jack Craig Cup for the International Dragons which inaugurated the Lough Derg Keelboat Regatta. The overall winner was to be Phantom (Neil Hegarty, RStGYC, no 176) Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

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Diva (Richard Goodbody) holds the lead downwind from Dublin Bay (Gary Treacy), Little Fella (Cameron Good) and Mar J (Adrian Bendon) Photo Gareth Craig/fotosail

derg6a.jpgWhen the going was good for the Dragons at Dromineer, it was very good. Gary Treacy's Dublin Bay from Dun Laoghaire and Adrian Bendon's Mar J from Kinsale neck and neck on the run, with Lough Derg YC's clubhouse and harbour on the shoreline beyond. Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

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Gary Treacy's Dublin Bay settles into the groove upwind. Photo: Gareth Craig /fotosail

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Richard Goodbody's Diva showing the form which won second overall. Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

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Martin Byrne's Jaguar at the finish on starboard. A former Edinburgh Cup winner, Jaguar placed third on Lough Derg. Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

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The Lough Derg 2014 Dragon Champions – Neil Hegarty's Phantom (right) won from Richard Goodbody's Diva (left). Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

derg11.jpgAutumn sailing at its best – Adrian Bendon's Mar J from Kinsale closes in on the finish and tenth place overall at Dromineer. Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

However, for the SB20s and the Flying Fifteens, trying to race the same waters on Saturday proved a non-event, and again on Sunday too. All of which made it even more galling that the Squibs, the biggest fleet of all, had requested their own simple windward-leeward course set further into Dromineer Bay on the Saturday. As long as the wind stayed in the south, the Squibs were able to race on into Saturday afternoon until, with a slight veering and further freshening of the already strong wind, all options were off.

Then on the Sunday with the wind firmly in the southwest and strong, only the Squibs had racing with one contest out on the lake, and another – with very short legs – in the inner bay. With hindsight, it seems reasonable to think that room might have been found in the bay for the two other classes of smaller boats, though admittedly the SB20s at full cry do need quite a bit of space. But that would have needed some very slick manoeuvres by more supporting RIBs, committee boats and personnel than were available.

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Revelling in it. Veteran skipper Vincent Delany (who also races Water Wags and Shannon ODs) puts his vintage Squib Femme Fatale (no 24) through her paces on Lough Derg. Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

Come to think of it, the Dragons might also have been given racing on Saturday morning if they'd been prepared to set out early and get over to the shelter of the Garrykennedy shore. But in truth, after their super sailing during Friday, the night had passed in turbo-powered conviviality, and as the Dragon crews came very slowly to life on Saturday morning on various motor-cruisers and in other accommodation, they reckoned to let the approaching storm have its way, and made arrangements to watch the rugby in the Whiskey Still in Dromineer, while other more intrepid Dragoneers battled across the lake in their vast hired Shannon motor-cruiser for a slight change of scene to watch the match in Larkin's of Garrykennedy.

But meanwhile the little Squibs were having themselves a fine old time. It was of extra interest in Dromineer, as that great stalwart of Shannon sailing Reggie Goodbody, supported by David Meredith and others, has been quietly beavering away during the past couple of years to get the Squibs going as a local class at Lough Derg Yacht Club.

As of Thursday of this week, they'd got numbers up to nine boats with others interested, which is good going from a standing start late in the summer of 2012. And though they knew that Squibs from the more experienced classes from all round Ireland would be giving them a hard time on the water, they were there ready and willing to welcome them as they drove into Dromineer on the Friday night last weekend, with twenty visiting Squibs being rigged and launched in one-and-a-half hours.

The Lough Derg people are keen to keep their new class in manageable parameters, so they've set a purchase price limit of €4,500 on people buying Squibs new to the area, which still allows for shrewd purchases in sailing centres in Great Britain, where at this time of the year it's a happy hunting ground for Squib seekers.

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The breeze is building. One of the newest Squibs racing was Tonia McAllister's Pintail from the National YC, which finished 7th. Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

derg14.jpgStorm? What storm? Despite dire weather predictions, at first on the Saturday morning the Squibs had perfect sailing conditions. Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

derg15.jpgSailing as it should be. In foreground is Rupert Bowen's Sidewinder (138, RStGYC) and beyond is clubmate Gerry O'Connor's Buzzlite (125). Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

The attraction of the Squib for Dromineer is that it is so easily managed and maintained, a real bonus for people who may find they no longer have the energy and enthusiasm to maintain and tune a Shannon One Design, let alone the athletic ability to race one flat out. As I well recall from my own happy year of owning a Squib, they really are proper little sit-in keelboats despite being only 19ft LOA, and with our family including three small boys, a Squib proved ideal for mini-cruises along the Fingal coast and out to the islands of Ireland's Eye and Lambay, while the rapid development of the class at Howth meant we were getting good racing by the early summer of 1979.

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One of the attractions of the Squib is that though she is only 19ft long, there's a proper sit-in cockpit. These are some very junior Nixons sailing on the family Squib Huppatee while returning to Howth from Ireland's Eye (hence the dinghy towing astern) in 1979. The only drawback of the Squib was she had only one tiller, so not all could steer, thus the most junior crewmember needed special consolation from his Mum.

These days the Squibs in Howth are in something of a fallow period, as many of the people who would have raced the boat in times past have moved on and up to the Puppeteer 22 which, with its little cabin and easily handled fractional rig, ticks very many boxes. However, the British & Irish Squib Championship 2015 is scheduled for Howth next June 26th- July 3rd, so doubtless that will lead to a local revival, though whether the magic number of a hundred boat racing in the same championship at the Howth venue in 1996 will be reached again is a moot point.

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Off Dromineer, there's starting to be a real bite to the breeze as Pintail chases Femme Fatale (right) and Lola..........Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

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....while keeping an eye on Sidewinder off the starboard quarter. Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

But you never know. New boats are being built, so the class's enduring attraction is still proven, and certainly the way they got themselves back into some very confined berths at Dromineer on Saturday afternoon as further racing was being blown out was testament to their quality design and very positive handling qualities. Admittedly they may seem almost too smoothly-handling for sailing's thrill seekers, but growing classes in Dun Laoghaire and Kinsale, and the continuing health of the Squib fleets in Northern Ireland, means that the new Squib fleet at Lough Derg need never feel lonely.

That said, because the Squib has a countrywide spread, trying to keep it first and foremost a local class - as they hope to do at Dromineer - is quite a challenge. Many inshore keelboat classes today find they are becoming event boats, with crew concentrating on big happenings to which they travel perhaps every other weekend, or every three weeks or so, and they simply don't bother trying to keep up the twice-weekly commitment of club racing.

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Experiment under way. Jill Fleming of Dun Laoghaire was testing a new variant on Squib sails, but although her rig looked very potent, she was back in 8th place overall with seven suits of standard tan sails ahead of her. Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

Certainly that's often the case with the Dragons, but then the Dragon class in Ireland offers its members a very attractive package of events all round the country at the most pleasant and glamorous sailing centres. Thus Dragon racing today in Ireland is a high-powered and potentially very expensive way of sailing, and just about as far removed as possible from Reggie Goodbody's ambitions for inexpensive Squibs at Dromineer.

He hopes to see the them develop as a good-value local class which will bring life back to Lough Derg Yacht Club during the more everyday times, when there isn't a championship going on, or it isn't the annual Lough Derg Week in August. This isn't at all the style of the Dragons' jet-setters – they're big-event performers.

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Cool sailing. One of the reasons the Squib appeals to former Shannon One Design sailors in Dromineer is that even on a busy run, you can still be relaxed and comfortable (very comfortable for the helmsman), whereas a SOD would be providing a hairy ride. Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

So it was fascinating to see the two very different classes sharing the lake and harbour space at Dromineer, though it was clear that if you wished to take the cheque book sailing route, the Squibs offer that as well, so Reggie and his team will have to keep the expenditure lid very firmly clamped in place.

The racing results well reflected the nationwide appeal of this event, for though the Dragons may seem to have emerged with a Dun Laoghaire dominance, winner Neil Hegarty of Royal St George YC originally hailed from Cork, and Cameron Good of Kinsale was consistent with a 6th and 3rd to take fourth behind two Dublin Bay boats.

In the Squibs, James Matthews and Rob Jacob of Kinsale racing the vintage Mucky Duck were notably consistent with a final scoreline of two firsts, a second and a third, but almost equally good were Gordon Paterson and Ross Nolan of Royal North of Ireland YC with two firsts, a second and a fifth. Another RNIYC boat from Cultra, Des and Chris Clayton's Inismara, got into the frame with the win in the final race, and the complete Squib scoreline shows the longterm health of the class, as the top six boats range in sail numbers from 24 to 820.

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The Squibs might have been invented with Lough Derg YC's facilities in mind, as they are easy to berth on the outer harbour....Photo: W M Nixon

derg22.jpg...yet even in an awkward breeze, they can head confidently for the narrow little East Dock.......Photo: W M Nixon

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....and stay nicely under control while assessing the situation. This is Peter Kennedy's Whipper Snapper, which was top of the local boats at 11th overall in the Dromineer regatta. Photo: W M Nixon

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The Squib is so well mannered she'll wriggle up the most unlikely channel whatever the wind.........Photo: W M Nixon

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....and so Whipper Snapper reaches her berth right at the top of the dock with no bother at all. Photo: W M Nixon

As to the longterm health of the event, despite this year's problems for which we have to make some allowance for the extreme weather, there's no doubt everyone very much wants Dromineer to succeed as the venue for what has the potential to be a major and rather special keelboat regatta.

But as an outside observer who has been notably unsuccessful in running races himself, it seemed to me that when number start pushing towards the sixty mark and four classes are involved, then the visiting classes will have to expect to be bringing back-up support boats and some race officials with them. And that in turn will require a certain amount of diplomacy between the visitors and the established race administration at the hosting club. Yet that would be well worth the effort. For when the going was good at Dromineer, it was very good indeed.

LOUGH DERG YACHT CLUB KEELBOAT REGATTA 2014

International Dragon Class: 1st Phantom (Neil Hegarty, RStGYC) 3pts; 2nd Diva (Richard Goodbody, RIYC) 4pt; 3rd Jaguar (Martin Byrne, RStGYC) 7 pts; 4th Little Fella (Cameron Good, KYC) 9 pts; 5th Sir Ossis (Denis Bergin, RIYC) 13pts; 6th Cloud (Claire Hogan, RStGYC) 14pts. (15 raced).

National Squib Class: 1st Mucky Duck (James Matthews, KYC) 7pts; 2nd Quickstep (Gordon Paterson, RNIYC) 9pts; 3rd Inismara (Des Clayton, RNIYC) 15pts; 4th Fagan (Cian O'Regan, KYC) 15pts; 5th Femme Fatale (Vincent Delany, RStGYC) 15 pts; 6th Perfection (Jill Fleming, RStGYC) 17pts; 7th Pintail (Tonia McAllister, NYC) 37pts; 8th Sidewinder (Rupert Bowen, RStGYC) 40 pts (23 raced).

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When the going gets too rough on Lough Derg, the prudent Dromineer mariner will seek a secure berth in the Whiskey Still to watch the rugby. Photo: W M Nixon

Published in W M Nixon

#squib – An overall win of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week for the second year in a row has further endorsed the Squib's reputation as one of the most successful, versatile and affordable small racing keelboats on the market writes Sue Pelling.

Corinthian sailors Malcolm Hutchings and crewman Andy Ramsey sailing Lady Penelope not only won their class at Cowes Week from a highly competitive 31-boat fleet, but also won White Group overall, and were deemed overall winners of the week from the 800 plus fleet beating Adam Gosling's Corby 36 Yes! – winner of Black Group – for the second year running.

While there is no doubt that Hutchings and Ramsey's impressive sailing skill and teamwork led to their ultimate win, their passion for the 47-year-old class is what really spurs them on. As fine class ambassadors they have proved once again that winning the biggest regatta of its type in the world is not all about spending big bucks but more about good, consistent competition and maintaining a healthy class status within a fleet.

With over 500 members including a strong youth contingent, 35 fleets around the British Isles, plus boats in France, Denmark, Germany and the Caribbean, the Squib class is booming. The recent appointment of Rondar Raceboats as the new builder is good news too because it means more used boats are likely to be on the market once production of new boats is underway.

Hutchings and Ramsey, from Burnham-on-Crouch on the east coast, say that 13-year-old Lady Penelope is a fine example of the sort of results an ageing Squib can achieve: "Age is not an issue in the Squib class it's all about keeping the fleet alive. Because she is a one-design, nothing really changes, so it is possible to pick up relatively old boat for a good price and, and as long as it is maintained well, there is no reason not to do well. The key is to keep everything in tip top condition as this will ensure the Squib class is winning in years to come."

With 31 boats on the water, the Squib class was the second largest one-design fleet after the X-One Designs at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week this year. Endorsing the ethos of the class, which encourages 'sailing for all', Cowes Week attracted eight under 25-year-olds including the youngest at just 12. Twenty-two of the boats had family members on board, and a third of the fleet girls including five at the helm.

Steve Warren-Smith – chairman of the class association – crewing for Sarah Everitt on Aquabat, were the only team to beat Hutchings and Ramsey in a race during Cowes Week. Warren-Smith concluded: "Winning Cowes Week in a Squib is a bit like winning the Champions League with the local village team, or winning a Grand Prix in a go-cart. It's the ability that counts, not the wallet!"

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#squib – Cousins Ross and Andrew Vaughan, in 'Joint Venture', have secured the Rodgers & Browne Squib Irish Championship in mixed weather conditions at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club at the weekend.

Supported by North Down Borough Council, the event attracted 24 boats from all over the island of Ireland. A strong local Royal North contingent was boosted by visitors from Howth, Dun Laoghaire and strong representation from Killyleagh Yacht Club and the Quoile.

Day one brought perfect sailing conditions – bright sunshine and 10-12 knots of breeze - which made for exciting, close racing and a bar full of smiling sailors when they all returned ashore. The first raced ended with a near photo finish. 'Joint Venture' (RNIYC) won by inches from 'Inshallah' (David Eccles/Phil Hutchinson, RNIYC) and 'Quickstep III' (Gordon Patterson/Ross Nolan, RNIYC). In Race 2, 'Inshallagh' secured first place and the third race was won by 'Perfection' crewed by Jill Fleming and Conor O'Leary from the RSGYC. After three races 'Aficionado' crewed by John Driscoll and David Cagney (RNIYC) were topping the leader board by one point from 'Joint Venture', followed by 'Quickstep III' in third place.

However, the tail end of hurricane Bertha made its presence felt on Sunday and the sun was replaced with continuous rain and a stiff breeze. Smiling faces were hard to find as sailors left the warmth of the club house to head out to the moorings for the scheduled three races. The north easterly wind direction meant that the race area was close to the moorings and racing got underway after a short postponement as a result of a slightly shifting breeze.

The conditions suited the Vaughans and they got line honours in all three of the day's races with 'Aficionado' clocking in three second places. 'The Worm' (Sam Lyness/Eric Hayes, RNIYC), 'Quickstep III' and 'Kerfuffle' (Jonathan Craig/Hazel Ruane, Howth YC) secured third place in races four, five and six respectively.

This left the Vaughans four points ahead of 'Aficionado' overnight and 'Quickstep III' in third place. However, the Vaughans' 10 point discard coupled with John Driscoll and David Cagney's consistent scoring meant that the race for the Championship was far from over. Race seven was certainly shaping up to be an interesting one...

Monday morning dawned bright but very breezy with a number of boats deciding not to race. 'Inshallah' led the race at the first windward mark with 'Joint Venture' and 'Aficionado' in hot pursuit. However by the next lap, 'Joint Venture' had managed to pull out into the lead. However, in the end it was 'Aficionado' that crossed the line first with 'Joint Venture' second and 'Quickstep III' in third. Second place was enough to secure the Championship for the Vaughan cousins in 'Joint Venture'.

The Squib Class will now focus its attention on the Inland Championship in Lough Derg in October.

Published in Squib

#squib – Reigning Irish Squib keelboat champions James and Bruce Matthews from Kinsale Yacht Club will battle with past winners and recently crowned Eastern Champions, John Driscoll/David Cagney, and Northern Champions, David Eccles/Michael Wright, all of whom are in contention for the main Irish Championship prize at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club. 

As Afloat previously reported, the Rodgers & Browne Squib Irish Championship, supported by North Down Borough Council, will be held on Belfast Lough over the 9th - 11th August and will attract Squibs from throughout Ireland to compete for the trophy.

The Squib Class is one of the largest one design keelboat classes in Ireland. It is sailed by two people and is well known for its distinctive brown sails. Over the
last decade fleets have flourished at Killyleagh Yacht Club, Quoile Yacht Club, Royal St George Yacht Club and Kinsale Yacht Club, in addition to the traditional strongholds of Cultra and Howth Yacht Club.

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#squib – They came from far and near to compete in the Squib South Coast Championship at glorious Glandore. Beautiful weather but light or no wind provided Principal Race Officer Nigel Kearney with challenging conditions to run the planned 3 races on the Saturday 19th July. Nigel achieved two shortened races but was forced to abandon the third race on the first beat, due to a significant fading wind shift. Patience and prayer would not suffice and all sailors were directed to the shore.

Race 1 saw Anemos, helmed by Pete Evans in first, Quickstep III helmed by Gordon Patterson second and Perfection helmed by Jill Fleming in third.
Race 2 provided a win for Lola helmed by Frank Whelan, second for Quickstep III and a third place for Anemos. Allegro improved to fourth, but posed no overall threat.

Sunday the 20th began with a light, but dying land breeze; racers wallowed around for approximately two hours for the wind gods to return to normal service. Race 4 commenced with a 10 to 15 knots of wind and sunshine – champagne sailing. From way back in the rankings, Allegro now found the groove and produced a sparkling first place finish, with Lola, and Quickstep III in close order. Effective points now were 5, 3 & 4 respectively.
In what would transpire to be the last race of the event Allegro pulled a dramatic first to Quickstep III's second, with Why Not helmed by Derek Jago, crashing the party with a third place, relegating Lola to fourth in this race.

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(left to right) - Colm Dunne, John Dowling Commodore, GHYC and Rob Gill. Photo: Mary Casey

Final effective points in the Gold Fleet were Allegro and Quickstep III, tied on 6 points each and Lola with 7 points, which was resolved by the scorer using appendix A8.1. The final result was first Allegro from KYC, second Quickstep III from RNYC and third Lola RSGYC.
In the Silver Fleet, John Stanley on Bateleur, KYC, took third, local hotshot Pat O'Riordan , GHYC on Blue Bottle placed second, and Colm Daly on Lazarus placed first.

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#squib – In August, the Squib Class will be returning to the southern shores of Belfast Lough and the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club.

The Rodgers & Browne Squib Irish Championship, supported by North Down Borough Council, will be held over the 9th- 11th August and will attract Squibs from throughout Ireland to compete for the national trophy.

The Squib Class is one of the largest one design keelboat classes in Ireland. It is sailed by two people and is well known for its distinctive brown sails. Over the last decade fleets have flourished at Killyleagh Yacht Club, Quoile Yacht Club, Royal St George Yacht Club (Dublin) and Kinsale Yacht Club, in addition to the traditional strongholds of Cultra and Howth Yacht Club.

The reigning champion pairing of James and Bruce Matthews from Kinsale Yacht Club will battle with past winners and recently crowned Eastern Champions, John Driscoll/David Cagney, and Northern Champions, David Eccles/Michael Wright, all of whom are in contention for the main prize.

Thomas Anderson, Commodore of the Royal North commented "I am delighted to welcome the Squib Irish Championship back to Cultra. This has only been possible with the ongoing support of Rodgers & Browne and North Down Borough Council. The Squib Class has been the backbone of our Club for several decades and it is fantastic that the fleet will be showcased through this event. In addition to the excellent sailing waters of Belfast

Lough, the Club's well known hospitality will ensure that this event will be well worth attending".

Connor Browne, Partner at Rodgers & Browne, said "We are looking forward to collaborating again with the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club and the Squib Class to bring the Irish Championship to Cultra. North Down is a stunning location for many sporting activities, which is reflected in the demand for housing within the greater Holywood, Helen's Bay and North Down areas."

Published in Squib

#squib – 25 Squibs keelboats will compete for the first time for Southern Championship honours on July 19 at Glandore in West Cork. Ten visitors are expected to join a local fleet of 15 according to Glandore Harbour Yacht Club Commodore John Dowling.

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#squib – The key to a successful cruise is good organisation. Plan ahead, select your destination, ensure that the tide is going in a favourable direction, ensure that the facilities at your place of arrival are adequate for your group of cruisers, and that the weather is fine writes Vincent Delany.

A Squib class event was conceived on 12th June after club racing, to cruise on the following Saturday to Howth, on the opposite side of Dublin Bay, on the expectation of a fish and chip lunch at Beshoff's famous fish shop, followed by a leisurely pint at Howth Yacht Club.
All did not go to plan.
There was a high pressure system sitting over the east coast of Ireland on Saturday morning with about 1 knot of wind from the north. It took the seven squibs, (Jill, Conor and Dermot in Perfection, Vincent and Joe in Femme Fatale, Gerry and Elena in Buzz Lite, Sheila and Gilly in Little Demon, Rupert and Emily in Sidewinder, Fergal and Wendy in Aija and Derek and Jean in Why Not) at least an hour to sail from the Royal St George Yacht Club to the Dun Laoghaire Harbour mouth. At that rate of progress they were guaranteed not to have a favourable tide all the way to Howth Harbour. What should they do? It was agreed to raft up and put the thinking hats on! Then a small breeze from the north east appeared. Somebody suggested "Let's go to Clontarf.", the Squibs were pointed in the direction of Poolbeg where two venerable lighthouses mark the entrance to Dublin Port. En route we sailed through hundreds of large racing yachts looking for wind, and when they found it, trying to get it to stay in a constant direction to allow a Bloomsday race to start.
When the first Squibs reached Poolbeg lighthouses, they waited for the others to catch up, before entering the Dublin Port area where Clontarf is on the north shore. The tide was almost full in so there was plenty of depth, except in a few areas which were inevitably unmarked. As the Clontarf fleet were our racing, some moorings were lifted and some anchors dropped in the shallow water. Yes we did know that the moorings dry out at low water. Next question was, how do we get ashore? A launch appeared from nowhere, welcomed us to Clontarf, an asked us where we had come from, and enquired if we wanted to go ashore. Some headed straight to Beshoffs (yes there are two branches of Beshoffs, on in Howth and one in Clontarf.) while others went straight to the Yacht club for refreshment. Peter Reilly asked us if we would like to see the O'Brien Kennedy designed IDRA 14 footer which is currently being built at the back of the clubhouse by the members. She was progressing well with at least half the planking complete. When we came back to the front of the clubhouse the 15 hungry Squibs we consuming huge platters of sandwiches which had been quickly made by Mrs. O'Rourke. It turned out that Clontarf is celebrating the 100 year centenary of another invasion, from the Vikings, so the Squibs were invited to don some Viking helmets.

 

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The Squibs make their way into Dublin Port

After about an hour of chat and gossip, it was time to check our boats in the falling tide. Yes they were all afloat with at least 300mm of water under the keels. An informal race was made out of the return trip, during which some Squibs were nearly run down by freighters entering Dublin Port. The light wind was from the south east, which meant that it was a beat all the way, but with a strong tide under us.
When only a few hundred yards from Dun Laoghaire harbour mouth, the wind disappeared entirely, so it was time to apply some paddle power.
In retrospect, spontaneity can be great fun. We should all spend more time cruising! .

 

 

 

Published in Squib

#squib – A strong Royal North of Ireland contingent took the top three places overall at yesterday's 23–boat Squib keelboat eastern championships at the Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. Full results are available to download below. Overall winners were 1996 Olympic helmsman John Driscoll sailing with David Cagney on 6 nett points. Second on ten points was Royal North club mates Gordon Patterson and Ross Nolan with third going to Des Clayton and Paul Henry on 20 points. Local Royal St. George crew Pete Evans and Paul Maguire were next home on 22 points. 

As well as Royal North of Ireland visitors came from Killyleagh, Royal Irish Yacht Club, and National Yacht Club.

The first three races were held in approx. 15kts. of cold northerly wind with a big confused sea left over from gales of the previous night.

Race 1 was won by Martin Byrne and Joe O'Byrne in 24, Femme Fatale from Pete Evans and Paul Maguire in 832, Anemos and Peter and Marie Dee in 813 Kookaburra. Remarkably each of these Dublin Bay boats is manned by refugees from the Dragon fleet.

Race 2 was won by Olympian John Driscoll and Dave Cagney in 78, Afficianado from Gordon Patterson and Ross Nolan in Quickstep III with Des Clayton and Paul Henry in 794, Inismara. This result with three northern boats is a carbon copy of the final overall placings.

With crews getting tired in the strenuous conditions, Race 3 was won by Quickstep III followed by Afficianado and Anemos

Overnight the leaders were Quickstep III from Femme Fatale and Inismara on equal points. The Royal St. George put on an enjoyable dinner for all the competitors and their friends and partners.
Sunday dawned with very different conditions, sunshine, fickle winds of between 3-6 knots which progressively swung around from the west to the north. Fortunately the waves had declined from the previous day, so the conditions were more kindly to the lighter crews.

Race 4 was won by light air specialist Frank Whelan 46, in Lola from Afficianado and Kookaburra. After 4 races a discard was applied which was beneficial to Afficianado who had missed the first race (for reasons best known to themselves), and Anemos who were able to drop their OCS.

The final race in a falling wind went to Afficianado from best lady Jill Fleming and Conor O'Leary in 44, Perfection and Quickstep III.

In the final line up it was three Royal North of Ireland boats in the top 3 places.

The fleet will compete again next week in The Northern Championships in Killyleagh.

Published in Squib

#kinsale – The May bank holiday event saw the inaugural 'Axiom sponsored One Design keelboat Regatta' held in Kinsale YC. Twelve Squibs and five Dragons came out to do battle for the very generous prizes and newly commissioned trophy.

PRO Tony Ireson and his team provided great racing with 6 races held over the two days on a windward leeward course. Saturdays racing was held in 12-18 knots from the south west with the opening races in Dragons been taken by Little fella sailed by Cameron Good/Simon Furney and Henry Kingston.

The Squibs were having a fierce battle with places at the top constantly been swapped with National Champion James Mathews in Mucky Duck, Colm Dunne and Rob Gill in Allegro and Finbarr and Cian O'Regan in Fagin. Kevin Downey knocked in a great day with 4, 4, 5 in his new squib Grey Matter.

Day two saw the wind blowing from due south so Tony Ireson set his line at the mouth of the harbour. Lumpy seas and slightly lighter winds made for difficult sailing but Colm Dunne and Cameron Good found the groove and extended their leads with both finishing as overall winners.

At the prize giving there was great excitement as to which boat would win the newly commissioned trophy and after the criteria was spelt out by sailing secretary John Stallard the first name to go on the trophy is Allegro sailed by Colm Dunne and Rob Gill.

Such was the success of the event club Commodore Finbarr O' Regan was able to announce that Axiom Private Clients are to come on board for 2015 as the main sponsor and the dates were announced as May 2nd &3rd 2015.

Published in Kinsale
Page 7 of 11

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