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Wayfarer Dinghies To Cruise Lough Derg

3rd September 2015
Lough Derg
Lough Derg is looking its very best at the moment, and this weekend should see less breeze than the lake – as seen here - was experiencing last week. Photo: W M Nixon
Wayfarer Dinghies To Cruise Lough Derg

#wayfarer – The 4.82 m (15ft 10ins) Ian Proctor-designed Wayfarer dinghy - which first appeared in 1957 - has become a multi-purpose classic for many small boat sailors who like to cruise as well as race. But there are surprisingly few in Ireland despite it being a robust boat which can cope confidently with a wide variety of conditions, while still being able to provide excellent racing.

This weekend, however, Wayfarer numbers in Ireland are going to see a significant increase with an international gathering of the class for a regatta at the Wayfarer stronghold of Cullaun Sailing Club in County Clare on Saturday, and then a fleet re-assembly after trailering to Dromineer on Lough Derg on Sunday, followed by a week of day cruises on the lake.

As Afloat.ie's W M Nixon will reveal in his blog on Saturday, after a recent cruise there he can confirm that Lough Derg is looking its very best at this time of year. The luxuriant scenery on the Tipperary and East Clare shores is contrasting vividly with the rugged Galway coastline where the Slieve Aughty mountains are already well into their Autumn colouring, and with a reasonable chance of good weather in the offing, Lough Derg will definitely be the place to be.

The International Wayfarer Association is one of the few dinghy classes which has both racing and cruising sections, and of course everyone knows of Frank and Margaret Dye's Wayfarer cruises to both Iceland and Norway. The class has seen some other remarkable cruises in its long history, so the arrival of between 35 and 40 Wayfarers from eleven different countries will see Dromineer become the focal point for a magic meeting of some very special boats with the superb sailing water they deserve.

Monica Schaefer of Greystones has been one of those co-ordinating this visionary programme, and once they get the fleet to Dromineer they'll have an ideal base as the visitors (83 people, and still counting) have taken all the village's rental Waterside Cottages for the week, while each evening there'll be full catering arrangements in place for convivial gatherings, with Lough Derg YC putting out the welcome mat in a big way.

way2.jpg
Multi-purpose boat – when they race Wayfarers, they don't mess about

The plan is to sail in company to other hospitable ports such as Garrykennedy and Mountshannon each day and then return every evening to Dromineer, though as the Wayfarers cherish individuality, some boats may work out their own particular way of best using Lough Derg's unrivalled dinghy cruising potential.

The rally concludes with some special adventure racing at Dromineer on the weekend of September 12th &13th, and already the word is that the idea has proven so attractive that some Fireballs and 420s have been told they can become involved as "honorary Wayfarers". Indeed, after the generally poor weather we've experienced this summer, if the sudden arrival of the late summer weather forecast by some meteorologists really does come to happen, we could well see quite a few dinghy crews from other classes deciding their boats are honorary Wayfarers.

way3.jpg
....and when they cruise Wayfarers, their commitment is total

Published in Wayfarer
Afloat.ie Team

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