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Water Wag Single Handed Race for ‘the Jacqueline Trophy’

26th June 2018
This fleet of ten singled-handed Water Wags are racing in Kingstown Harbour in the 1890s. This fleet of ten singled-handed Water Wags are racing in Kingstown Harbour in the 1890s.

The Water Wag club has a long tradition of single-handed races as is shown by this picture above. Ideally, the weather for a single-handed race should be an evening with not too much wind, and not too many waves. On 25th June, in Dun Laoghaire Harbour had perfect conditions, twenty-two degrees air temperature, four to five knots of wind and sunshine.

Con Murphy with his able team of assistants: Carol O’Rourke and Judith Malcolm laid a windward-leeward course for the fifteen Water Wags which turned up at the start line. Before the start Bairbre Stuart’s needed to do some tuning on ‘Freddie’, so she dropped her yard, found a desert island at which to undertake her modifications. By the time the yard was rehoisted, and everything was ‘Bristol fashion’, Bairbre arrived at the start line a mere fourteen seconds before the gun. As can be seen in the picture below, Vincent Delany’s ‘Pansy’ was somewhat premature, and had to start again.

Water wag Race startCathy MacAleavey's 'Mariposa' starts at the committee boat

close finish water wagA close finish between ‘Barbara’ and ‘Marie Louise’

The jury is still out as to whether it paid to sail towards the harbour mouth with an incoming tide or towards the marina wall. At the end of three laps the winning order was:
1. Guy Kilroy’s ‘Swift’
2. Marcus Pearson’s ‘Little Tern’
3. Bairbre Stuart’s ‘Freddie’
4. ‘Pansy’
5. ‘Mariposa’
6. ‘Barbara’
7. ‘Marie Louise’
8. ‘Skee’
9. ‘Dipper’
10. ‘Polly’
11. ‘Scallywag’
12. ‘Sara’
13. ‘Chloe’
14. ‘Good Hope’
15. ‘Coquette’.

Fifteen boats is a world record for single-handed Water Wags in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. Congratulations to the Wags and the weather gods!

Published in Water Wag
Vincent Delany

About The Author

Vincent Delany

Email The Author

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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