Combining quality keelboat racing with a lively après-sail social schedule, this year’s event will see the continuation of the winning formula of recent years and be run on Saturday afternoons.
This affords competitors plenty of time to get to the start line for the first gun at 2.30pm, with the exception of the slightly earlier final-day start sequence, which commences at 1pm.
Making the league more attractive for non-HYC teams is a focus for the event team this year, including special-rare marina berths for visiting boats (with a further discounts for entries received before this Wednesday 30 August).
The club will also present presenting a full social and hospitality programme for the six weeks, including sponsored weekly drinks promotions and a final night party to remember.
However, it’s the action on the water that makes Howth’s Autumn League what it is. Racing fleets will be separated into two groups and two race areas, with an ‘offshore’ fleet comprising at least five cruiser divisions and an inshore fleet for one-design keelboat classes.
Following a recent survey and feedback and in a move to encourage increased participation in the cruiser classes, the normal practice of resetting ECHO handicaps to standard level at the beginning of the event will not be used, and instead boats will be allocated a rating reflecting current form.
This year’s Autumn League starts two weeks after the J80 Nationals and J-Cup event, being hosted in Howth on the weekend of 2-3 September, and it’s hoped that many of those competitors, including J24s and J109s, will stay on to compete in the six-week series.
Following the often gentle sailing conditions usually experienced in July and August, HYC’s Autumn League can be an exhilarating event for many crews, always delivering a high standard of racing through the experienced hands and organisational skills of its internationally renowned race management teams.
The course card is designed to give a varied range of race options, including windward/leeward, Olympic and Round-the-Cans races.
In addition to completing for the spectacular range of Autumn League silverware, race winners will also enjoy weekly prizes, which will be distributed by the MSL Park Motors Mercedes-Benz team on the following Saturdays.
The Heineken Trophy will be awarded to the overall winner, calculated as the boat that wins on scratch or IRC by the largest margin. Competitors are also encouraged to enter a team (three boats from three separate classes) for the Olympus Trophy.
Special après-sail food menus from caterer Jason Dunphy will offer sailors and their guests a quality and alternating selection each week, with regular dining facilities in the evening and a special ‘party night’ dinner on the final Saturday. (Details can be found in race packs.)
Recently, Howth Yacht Club announced it has extended its three-year partnership with MSL Park Motors Mercedes-Benz to sponsor its Autumn League for a fourth season this year.
“Their partnership adds important value for our members, the competing sailors and their guests. This affords HYC the ability to run a top quality regatta with all the frills,” said Commodore Joe McPeake.
“This year we aim to provide competitors with a memorable experience, with a ‘refreshing’ welcome each day when they come ashore!”
The Notice of Race and online entry form to the 2017 MSL Park Motors Mercedes-Benz Autumn League are available from the HYC website HERE.