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Water Wags Set Sail in Heritage Week Race at Dun Laoghaire

24th August 2017
The wind dropped to nothing during the Water Wag Race inside Dun Laoghaire Harbour The wind dropped to nothing during the Water Wag Race inside Dun Laoghaire Harbour Photo: Amy O’Leary (aboard Water Wag ‘Chloe’)

Heritage week runs from 19th to 27th August, and the Water Wags are part of Ireland’s heritage, and thus the race for 23rd. August was a Heritage Week event.

The wind blew force four at the beginning, so, some of the competitors were asking if we would be better reefed? The clouds above ensured that the wind would be shifty in direction.

The committee, under the leadership of Tom Hudson laid a suitably long line for the 25–boats competing. By the start of the race the wind had dropped to a kindly 10–knots which is perfect weather for Water Wags.

The fleet were quite evenly spread along the line, and those nearest to the committee boat end tacked off early to obtain benefit from the rising tide. At that stage, nobody realised what a game of snakes and ladders it would become. Over the first beat, the wind dropped down to about four knots along the marina side, while near the harbour mouth, there was no wind. Mariposa was first at the windward mark. On the first run it did not matter a bit which side one took, or which gybe. There were few gains to be made. More significant was the leeward marks.

Those who took the starboard mark remained in wind, while those who took the other mark were left out to dry. At the next windward mark the brave committee decided not to shorten the race, and to set the Water Wags on a second lap. At that stage the order was Mariposa, Little Tern, and Pansy. Again, the run offered few opportunities other than the straight line. On the third beat, the wind was offered, and as quickly taken away from the competitors. At the final windward mark the race was shortened with the order:

1st – 45, Mariposa- Cathy MacAleavey & Con Murphy.
2nd.- 36 Little Tern- Tim & Marcus Pearson.
3rd. - 3, Pansy, - Vincent Delany and Emma Webb.
4th. - 38, Swift,
5th. -24, Gavotte.
6th. -41, Mollie,
7th. – 12, Alfa.
8th. - 16, Penelope.
9th. -9 Marie Louise.
10th. -20 Badger.
11th. -42, Tortoise.
12th. -4, Vela.
13th. -18, Good Hope
14th.- 40, Swallow.
15th. -43, Freddie.
16th. – 33, Eva.
17th. -44, Scallywag.
18th. -31, Polly
19th -34, Chloe.
20th. -17, Coquette.
21st. – 30, Sara.
22nd. -15, Moosmie.
23rd.. -26, Nandor,
24th. -08, Eros.
25th. -47, Peggy.

Published in Water Wag
Vincent Delany

About The Author

Vincent Delany

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Sailing historian Vincent Delany is a member of the Association of Yachting Historians, and an active sailor in Water Wag, SOD and Squib classes. He has written a thesis on 'Yachting and yachtsmen on the River Shannon 1830-1930.' He has lectured on the history of The Water Wag Club, Royal St.George Yacht Club, and the Killinure Yacht Club, He has written two sailing books 'The Water Wags 1887-2012' and 'The International 12 foot class in Ireland' both of which are available from

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