#hyc – A solid entry list of 22 boats and counting has built up for this Saturday's inaugural double-hander at Howth Yacht Club, the brainchild of noted helmsman Simon Knowles. He so enjoyed racing two-handed in the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle last year with clubmate Colm Buckley on the Elan 333 Blue Eyes that he got to thinking how the concept might be transferred to a long day race from their home club writes W M Nixon.
The Race Report is published HERE
With sponsorship from Aqua Restaurant, which most appropriately is located at the end of Howth's West Pier in the former yacht club building, the new race has many traditional overtones, with the start at 1000 hrs being from the time-honoured shore line on the East Pier.
As for the course, it will be set on the morning of the race, and could be as long as 40 miles using the Kish, Lambay and Rockabill as turning marks. The idea has certainly rung a bell with people jaded by today's round-the-cans racing with full crews, as the entry list as of Wednesday ranges in size from Stephen O'Flaherty's Spirit 54 Soufriere at the top of the fleet, down to the smallest boat so far entered, Roy Dickson's Corby 25 Rosie.
Simon Knowles himself will be racing again aboard Blue Eyes with Colm Buckley, though as a noted Etchells 22 helm, he reckons an Etchells might make for a good outside bet in this kind of challenge. Other noted skippers down-sizing their crew include Ross McDonald with the X332 Equinox, and David Kelly of Rush with the J/109 Storm.
Having a biggish boat doesn't seem to have discouraged several entries, as Stephen Harris is in the list with the First 40.7 Tiger, while Fred McCollum is also going with the Oyster 485 Arctic Fox. Another contender of special interest is former HYC Commodore Roger Cagney with the Hanse 37 Hansebacker, better known as a fast cruiser, while the pure racing side is also well represented with craft of the calibre of Dave Cullen's top Half Tonner King One. In all, it's an eclectic entry list, and the outcome should be neatly in place before the weather deteriorates as forecast on Sunday.
The new Aqua Double-Hander at Howth may be as much as 40 miles long making turning marks of the rocks, lighthouses and islands off the Fingal coast and Dublin Bay.