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World Record Attendance of 31 Water Wags is Celebrated at Royal Irish Yacht Club

31st August 2017
Polly racing in last night's Captain's Prize race at Dun Laoghaire Harbour as as viewed from Eros No. 8 Polly racing in last night's Captain's Prize race at Dun Laoghaire Harbour as as viewed from Eros No. 8

Over a number of years, the numbers of Water Wag competing in club racing, on Wednesday evenings, has been bucking the national trend, by increasing in numbers of competitors. Hal Sisk, the 2017 Captain of the Water Wags, decided that the race for the Captain’s Prize, would be an opportunity to break the current world record for Water Wags in the same race, which currently stands at twenty-eight.

Water wag Hugo bossThe Royal Irish Yacht Club was abuzz with the arrival of Hugo Boss boat and the Water Wags Captain’s Prize. Photo: Amy O'Leary

On 30th August, the light wind was somewhat unstable, and blowing from the west. The committee, under the leadership of Tom Hudson laid a windward mark off the marina entrance, and a clever start line, long enough for thirty Water Wags, with a pin end advantage, which could have led the competitors into the lighter wind close to the shore, while those starting near the committee boat could tack away, into the last of the flood tide at the harbour mouth to their advantage. With a large fleet, one might have expected a general recall, but only two boats were recalled. At the first windward mark, the leader was Pansy, (at 111 years old, the second oldest boat competing) who had started near the pin mark, followed by Moosmie and Eva. The race was four windward-leeward laps of the harbour. At the bottom of the run, the gate marks were widely spaced. Pansy opted for the north mark, while Moosmie and Eva took the south mark, which dropped Pansy to third place at the second windward mark. It appeared that the best course was to sail up the middle of the harbour.

At the next windward mark, Swift moved up into third place. On the next run, there was a big wind shift. The boats which gybed quickly did best out of this change, which turned the north gate mark into the preferred one. At the third windward mark Tortoise was in third place. The wind was growing in strength, which brought six boats to the finish line together. They crossed the line in the following order.

1st –15, Moosmie. David MacFarlane.
2nd.– 8, Barbara, Ian & Judith Malcolm.
3rd. 33, Eva, Katie Tingle & Dermot O Flynn (Winner division 1B)
4th.. -42, Tortoise, William Prentice & Moiselle Hogan.
5th. - 38, Swift,
6th, -24, Gavotte.
7th. -46, Mademoiselle.
8th. -3, Pansy.
9th.-32, Skee.
10th. -9, Marie Louise.
11th. – 17, Coquette.
12th. – 44, Scallywag.
13th.- 18, Good Hope.
14th. 26, Nandor (Winner division 2)
15th. -6, Mary Kate.
16th. -47, Peggy.
17th. – 43, Freddie.
18th. -30, Sara.
19th. – 14, Phyllis.
20th. - 36, Little Tern.
21st. – 40, Swallow.
22nd. – 16, Penelope.
23rd. – 12, Alfa.
24th. – 20, Badger.
25th. - 4, Vela.
26th. – 31, Polly.
27th – O8, Eros.
28th. –34, Chloe.
29th – 10, Sprite.
OCS- 41, Mollie.
OCS- 45, Mariposa.

The world record attendance of 31 Water Wags was achieved, and celebrated afterwards with a dinner in the Royal Irish Yacht Club.

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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