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Dun Laoghaire Harbour Water Wags Get the Best of the Twilight Sailing

17th September 2020
With all of Dun Laoghaire Harbour to play with, and an unusual evening onshore breeze, the Water Wag fleet takes all the tactical options on Wednesday evening. Polly (31, Roger Mossop & Henry Rooke), Badger (20, John & Anne Marie Cox) and Ethna (1, David Sommervillle & Pauline McNamara) in foreground With all of Dun Laoghaire Harbour to play with, and an unusual evening onshore breeze, the Water Wag fleet takes all the tactical options on Wednesday evening. Polly (31, Roger Mossop & Henry Rooke), Badger (20, John & Anne Marie Cox) and Ethna (1, David Sommervillle & Pauline McNamara) in foreground Photo: Cathy Mac Aleavey

With a turnout of 24 boats keen to enjoy the benefit of sunshine at sea while the mist gloomed over the land, the Dublin Bay Water Wags continued to push the truncated 2020 season to its limits on Wednesday evening. They'd good racing with a relatively rare if light onshore nor’east breeze blowing into the harbour, providing some new twists on tactics. With a history going back to 1887, the class has trophies for every contingency, and winners on the water Tim & Marcus Pearson with Little Tern have set themselves on course for the Meldon Mirror by taking the overall win in what will be be the first of two races for the Meldon’s reflected glory. Ian & Judith Malcolm with Barbara were second overall, and by so doing they also won Division 1A. There, the trophy was a more poignant affair, the Great War relic of a Shell Case which was presented by the Findlater family to commemorate the three Water Wag sailors who died at Gallipoli in World War I.

Water Wags found it well worth the effort going racing on Wednesday eveningMurky mist over the town, but sunshine on the harbour - the Water Wags found it well worth the effort going racing on Wednesday evening. Photo: Cathy Mac Aleavey

It was a telling reminder of just how far away that particular military disaster seemed at the time in Ireland, as the Malcolm’s boat was being built to completion by Gray of Kingstown at the time of the Gallipoli Landings in 1915, though before the year was out, all sailing was finished for the duration. Wednesday night’s third trophy, the Commemoration Cup for Division 2, had more cheerful longterm associations, as it was won by the newest boat in the fleet, Mandy Chambers’ Siskin crewed by Sue Westrup. Created in a boat-building school in San Sebastian in northern Spain, Siskin has the coveted sail number 50. But the class are very strict in allocating sail numbers, and the lavish care and attention now applied to the classic Water Wag fleet has not always been the case. Thus it could well be that as many as 65 boats have been built to Maimie Doyle's transom-stern design which became the 1900 version of the class, but inevitably some have simply faded away over the years.

Autumn timing to perfection – sunset developing stylishly as Barbara (8, Ian & Judith Malcolm), Hilda (49, Martin & Triona Byrne) and overall winner Little TernAutumn timing to perfection – sunset developing stylishly as Barbara (8, Ian & Judith Malcolm), Hilda (49, Martin & Triona Byrne) and overall winner Little Tern (36, Tim & Marcus Parson) close in on the finish. Photo: Cathy Mac Aleavey

WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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