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Exciting action in big winds and seas at Howth Autumn League

12th October 2010
Exciting action in big winds and seas at Howth Autumn League

As if to confuse all concerned, the conditions encountered for race 4 of the Autumn League sailing were totally at odds with the forecasts being given in the days beforehand. Instead of the predicted balmy day, the fleets faced very fresh north-easterlies and a big sea, both of which had a significant input into the outcome of the day's racing.

Indeed, only a couple of series leaders across the nine classes managed to secure a win yet still retained their top positions with the final two races to go next Saturday morning. It was a day when jammed halyards, torn sails, a few broaches, some rapid downwind speeds, very wet foredeck crew, and even the odd bloodied forehead were to be witnessed.

The Squibs made a collective decision that their small craft might have some problems with such a large swell and opted for a civilised class breakfast instead. Some of those who sailed may have envied that option but the reaction was generally one of satisfaction in mastering the conditions over a two-hour period.

'Crazy Horse' (Chambers/Reilly) again took line honours in Class 1 but had to settle for 2nd on IRC while series leader 'Storm' (Pat Kelly) emerged as race winner on both handicaps. That 'double' secures a double overall lead, albeit only by two points on IRC and tying with 'Equinox' on ECHO.

The conditions were never going to favour Class 2 leader 'Kinetic' (Colwell/Murphy) and so it proved, yet 4th equal with main rival 'King One' (Dave Cullen) is hardly a disaster and doesn't alter their place at the top of the table. The 'twins' 'Xebec' and 'Dux' however revelled in the big seas and finished in that order on IRC, with 'Xebec' (with Francis Ennis on helm) also taking the ECHO honours. 'Kinetic' still heads both handicap tables but only by two points in each case, ahead of 'King One' and 'Maximus' respectively.

For the second week in a row, Vincent Gaffney's 'Alliance' didn't notch a win in Class 3, finishing second just behind 'Starlet' (E.Bourke) but it didn't adversely affect the overall position on IRC, with 'Alliance's' cause greatly helped by rival 'Gecko' (Kevin Darmody) having their worst result of the series. Malahide visitor 'Tobago' (Ray & Others) had a good day, winning on ECHO ahead of clubmate 'Shenanigans' (Douglas/Keane) to leapfrog over 'Rossinver' (C.Scott) to lead overall.

Class 4 leader 'On the Rox' (C&J Boyle) didn't finish the race so it becomes their discard and they still lead the fleet on ECHO but only by a single point from 'Bite the Bullet' (Colm Bermingham) who finished second in the fourth race behind 'FanatiX' (R. Fanning). 'Flashback' (Hogg et al) had a good day last Sunday and they followed it up with another, winning on IRC by a comfortable margin to stay ahead of 'Bite the Bullet' in the overall standings.

As the smallest boat in Class 5, 'Demelza' (Ennis/Laudan) was always going to struggle in the heavy conditions against much bigger boats and a 7th place confirmed that prediction but, allowing for a discard, the Shamrock still leads the field by two points from Denis Toomey's 'Harmony'. Andrew Knowles' 'Sandpiper' had a memorable day, winning on both handicaps, and now moves to 3rd overall on ECHO, while there's a tie for first on IRC between 'Alphida' (Harry Byrne) and 'Voyager' (Joe Carton).

The only non-HYC entry in the Etchells, Jay Bourke from the Royal St.George YC, in 'Northside Dragon' again showed the way, taking the gun just less than 30 seconds ahead of 'Jabberwocky' (Simon Knowles), a result which is mirrored in the overall standings too.

In the J/24s, national champion Flor O'Driscoll (who missed a couple of races, partly because of All-Ireland Championship duty) came back to fill his customary position but was pressured throughout by 'Jibberish' (Fergus O'Kelly & others) and in the end only 5 seconds separated them on the line. The Howth boat still leads overall by three points over 'Scandal' with O'Driscoll and crew only point adrift in third spot.

There was yet another new race winner in the Puppeteers, this time in the shape of 'Gold Dust' (Walls & Browne), 15 seconds clear of series leader 'Harlequin' (Clarke & Egan) and Alan Pearson's 'Trick or Treat' a further 15 seconds back. The result had the added bonus of moving 'Gold Dust' up to equal 2nd with Neil Murphy's Yellow Peril, while a handicap win for 'Gepetto' (Edward O'Reilly) jumps them ahead of 'Ghosty Ned' (Donal Harkin) on the HPH leaderboard.

Roddy Cooper's delight in steering 'Leila' to victory by a minute ahead of Ian Malcolm's 'Aura' was, it appears, short-lived. He was subsequently disqualified for not passing the Spit mark correctly so 'Aura' got the win on scratch and handicap ahead of 'Oona' (Peter Courtney) and 'Sheila' (Derek Bothwell) respectively. It means the Malcolm crew narrow the gap at the top behind series leader 'Rita' (Lynch/Curley) to one point and assume the HPH lead by two points over 'Sheila'.

The 2010 Autumn League, sponsored by WD-40, Crystal Holidays and The Food Room, concludes next Saturday 16th with two back-to-back races over windward-leeward courses to complete a six-race series.

Published in Howth YC
Afloat.ie Team

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Howth Yacht Club information

Howth Yacht Club is the largest members sailing club in Ireland, with over 1,700 members. The club welcomes inquiries about membership - see top of this page for contact details.

Howth Yacht Club (HYC) is 125 years old. It operates from its award-winning building overlooking Howth Harbour that houses office, bar, dining, and changing facilities. Apart from the Clubhouse, HYC has a 250-berth marina, two cranes and a boat storage area. In addition. its moorings in the harbour are serviced by launch.

The Club employs up to 31 staff during the summer and is the largest employer in Howth village and has a turnover of €2.2m.

HYC normally provides an annual programme of club racing on a year-round basis as well as hosting a full calendar of International, National and Regional competitive events. It operates a fleet of two large committee boats, 9 RIBs, 5 J80 Sportboats, a J24 and a variety of sailing dinghies that are available for members and training. The Club is also growing its commercial activities afloat using its QUEST sail and power boat training operation while ashore it hosts a wide range of functions each year, including conferences, weddings, parties and the like.

Howth Yacht Club originated as Howth Sailing Club in 1895. In 1968 Howth Sailing Club combined with Howth Motor Yacht Club, which had operated from the West Pier since 1935, to form Howth Yacht Club. The new clubhouse was opened in 1987 with further extensions carried out and more planned for the future including dredging and expanded marina facilities.

HYC caters for sailors of all ages and run sailing courses throughout the year as part of being an Irish Sailing accredited training facility with its own sailing school.

The club has a fully serviced marina with berthing for 250 yachts and HYC is delighted to be able to welcome visitors to this famous and scenic area of Dublin.

New applications for membership are always welcome

Howth Yacht Club FAQs

Howth Yacht Club is one of the most storied in Ireland — celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2020 — and has an active club sailing and racing scene to rival those of the Dun Laoghaire Waterfront Clubs on the other side of Dublin Bay.

Howth Yacht Club is based at the harbour of Howth, a suburban coastal village in north Co Dublin on the northern side of the Howth Head peninsula. The village is around 13km east-north-east of Dublin city centre and has a population of some 8,200.

Howth Yacht Club was founded as Howth Sailing Club in 1895. Howth Sailing Club later combined with Howth Motor Yacht Club, which had operated from the village’s West Pier since 1935, to form Howth Yacht Club.

The club organises and runs sailing events and courses for members and visitors all throughout the year and has very active keelboat and dinghy racing fleets. In addition, Howth Yacht Club prides itself as being a world-class international sailing event venue and hosts many National, European and World Championships as part of its busy annual sailing schedule.

As of November 2020, the Commodore of the Royal St George Yacht Club is Ian Byrne, with Paddy Judge as Vice-Commodore (Clubhouse and Administration). The club has two Rear-Commodores, Neil Murphy for Sailing and Sara Lacy for Junior Sailing, Training & Development.

Howth Yacht Club says it has one of the largest sailing memberships in Ireland and the UK; an exact number could not be confirmed as of November 2020.

Howth Yacht Club’s burgee is a vertical-banded pennant of red, white and red with a red anchor at its centre. The club’s ensign has a blue-grey field with the Irish tricolour in its top left corner and red anchor towards the bottom right corner.

The club organises and runs sailing events and courses for members and visitors all throughout the year and has very active keelboat and dinghy racing fleets. In addition, Howth Yacht Club prides itself as being a world-class international sailing event venue and hosts many National, European and World Championships as part of its busy annual sailing schedule.

Yes, Howth Yacht Club has an active junior section.

Yes, Howth Yacht Club hosts sailing and powerboat training for adults, juniors and corporate sailing under the Quest Howth brand.

Among its active keelboat and dinghy fleets, Howth Yacht Club is famous for being the home of the world’s oldest one-design racing keelboat class, the Howth Seventeen Footer. This still-thriving class of boat was designed by Walter Herbert Boyd in 1897 to be sailed in the local waters off Howth. The original five ‘gaff-rigged topsail’ boats that came to the harbour in the spring of 1898 are still raced hard from April until November every year along with the other 13 historical boats of this class.

Yes, Howth Yacht Club has a fleet of five J80 keelboats for charter by members for training, racing, organised events and day sailing.

The current modern clubhouse was the product of a design competition that was run in conjunction with the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland in 1983. The winning design by architects Vincent Fitzgerald and Reg Chandler was built and completed in March 1987. Further extensions have since been made to the building, grounds and its own secure 250-berth marina.

Yes, the Howth Yacht Club clubhouse offers a full bar and lounge, snug bar and coffee bar as well as a 180-seat dining room. Currently, the bar is closed due to Covid-19 restrictions. Catering remains available on weekends, take-home and delivery menus for Saturday night tapas and Sunday lunch.

The Howth Yacht Club office is open weekdays from 9am to 5pm. Contact the club for current restaurant opening hours at [email protected] or phone 01 832 0606.

Yes — when hosting sailing events, club racing, coaching and sailing courses, entertaining guests and running evening entertainment, tuition and talks, the club caters for all sorts of corporate, family and social occasions with a wide range of meeting, event and function rooms. For enquiries contact [email protected] or phone 01 832 2141.

Howth Yacht Club has various categories of membership, each affording the opportunity to avail of all the facilities at one of Ireland’s finest sailing clubs.

No — members can join active crews taking part in club keelboat and open sailing events, not to mention Pay & Sail J80 racing, charter sailing and more.

Fees range from €190 to €885 for ordinary members.
Memberships are renewed annually.

©Afloat 2020

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