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Water Wags Still Learning New Tricks After 131 years

26th April 2018
Idyllic conditions on Lough Ree last Saturday for the Water Wags, with Paul and Ann Smith leading in Sara Idyllic conditions on Lough Ree last Saturday for the Water Wags, with Paul and Ann Smith leading in Sara Photo: Garrett Leech

You’re never too old to learn, and at 131 years old the Dublin Bay Water Wags (founded 1887, though current boats date from 1900) seemed determined to prove this by having a two-day Coaching Session last weekend at Killinure on Lough Ree, based at Quigley’s Boatyard & Marina writes W M Nixon.

The fifteen boats which travelled west were put through their paces by coaches Alistair Kissane and Rory Fitzpatrick. Those of us who find the current spell of unsettled weather an abomination will be charmed by Lough Ree YC Commodore Garrett Leech’s photos, which capture something that would feel like summer were it not for the bare look of the trees.

mariposa death roll2Mariposa (Cathy MacAleavy) zooms into a death roll in Sunday’s rising wind – they managed to roll out of it again. Photo: Garrett Lynch

Being a Coaching Session, we’re not really allowed to reveal who won the many races that they somehow managed to put through before the fleet adjourned for lunch at Wineport Lodge where – the Water Wags being an entirely Leinster-based class – the outcome of the afternoon’s rugby match on the televisual device was a source of great satisfaction.

Next day saw the weather going downhill as the morning progressed, so they finished as the wind piped up through the 25 knots-plus barrier in order to get home with everyone and everything intact, thereby recalling the Orders of the Day of the Killinure YC (founded 1831, and unearthed by yachting historian Vincent Delany) which required that the club fleet gather at 11 am on the first and third Monday of every month during the sailing season, and that “each member must be supported by a servant who shall remain sober enough to take him home in safety……”

moth wag3Con Murphy upsetting the natural order with a heavier-than-air flying machine. Photo: Garrett Leech

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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