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Water Wag 'Swift' Takes the Gun in Newsom Memorial Trophy Race

24th August 2018
Water Wags prepare for in harbour racing at Dun Laoghaire Water Wags prepare for in harbour racing at Dun Laoghaire

On 22 August, Division 1A Water Wags raced the second match for The Newsom Memorial Trophy, while division 1B raced for The Hilpotsteiner Tankard and Division 2 raced for The Phyllis Cup.

It was a warm evening in Dun Laoghaire, and at 17.30 hrs. there was not a breath of wind in the harbour. All the moored boats were lying to tide. A few dinghies struggled to make forward progress. Nevertheless, the ever-optimistic Wags rigged and launched. Their Race committee were adamant that they would lay a course and start a race. A small breeze arrived, firstly, from the west, and then from the south. By the time the windward mark was laid and a starting mark down, it was very evident that both were misplaced. Tweaks were undertaken. Then five minutes after the appointed time, the class flag went up. All of the Wags on the start line found it difficult to find any wind pressure, while those between the committee boat and the east pier lighthouse enjoyed a good 6–knot breeze.

A ‘U’ flag was hoisted, and later dropped and then the Wags started. Four miscreants were caught on the Course Side within the final minute before the start. At the start, there was a 4 knot breeze along the full length of the line. After the start, and it was difficult to tack out towards the harbour mouth, so, most headed into the ferryport where the pressure was lighter. At the windward mark, ‘Mademoiselle’, led from ‘Pansy’. On the offwind leg, ‘Mademoiselle’ remained on starboard tack while ‘Pansy’ gybed away on the port tack and selected the port hand leeward mark, followed by ‘Tortoise’. At the second windward mark the order remained the same, despite the two leaders sailed mirror reflections of each other’s courses. At the third windward mark David Somerville in ‘Ethna’ squeezed inside ‘Swift’ to take third place, but on the next run disaster struck. The entire fleet of spinnakers stole ‘Mademoiselle’s’ wind, allowing ‘Pansy’ to pull into first place, but not for long. Approaching the finish, ‘Pansy’ and ‘Swift’ crossed tacks. As they crossed the line ‘Swift’ put her lovely bow a half meter ahead, to take the gun.

For full results see below:

1st. Swift, Guy & Jackie Kilroy. Winner Div. 1A.
2nd Pansy, Vincent Delany & Emma Webb.
3rd. Mademoiselle, Doug Smith & Adam Winkleman. Winner Div. 1B.
4th. Patricia
5th. Tortoise
9th. Vela
10th Peggy
11th Alfa
12th Freddie
13th Eva
14th Scallywag, Dan O’Connor & Hugh Delap Winner Div 2.
15th Barbara
16th Coquette
17th Little Tern
18th Badger
19th Chloe
20th Polly
21st Eros
22nd Dipper
23rd Sara
24th Nandor
25th Mary Kate
OCS Gavotte
OCS Phyllis
OCS good Hope
OCS Ethna.

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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