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Howth Yacht Club Will Have Local History & Round Britain & Ireland Focus This Weekend

7th August 2018
The Baily Headland at the north side of Dublin Bay is often in the midst of rough water, but in high summer with the vintage Howth 17s having their annual race round to Clontarf Regatta, it's in a benign mood. This is Joanna Cawley and Holly O'Doherty aboard Pauline in a race which was won by Isobel (Conor & Brian Turvey) The Baily Headland at the north side of Dublin Bay is often in the midst of rough water, but in high summer with the vintage Howth 17s having their annual race round to Clontarf Regatta, it's in a benign mood. This is Joanna Cawley and Holly O'Doherty aboard Pauline in a race which was won by Isobel (Conor & Brian Turvey) Photo: Shane O'Doherty

Howth Yacht Club will find itself in double focus this coming weekend, with the Club's historic 1898-founded Howth 17s staging their Annual Championship off the peninsula port, while down in the Solent on Sunday 12th August, leading HYC member Conor Fogerty – the current Afloat.ie Sailor of the Year on the strength of his success in the OSTAR – starts in the Two-Handed Division in the RORC  Round Britain & Ireland Race with Simon Knowles as co-skipper writes W M Nixon.

conor and annalise2Conor Fogerty, the current Volvo Sailor of the Year, with the 2016 winner, Olympic Silver Medallist Annalise Murphy. Photo: Brian Turvey
The Club has been on a real roll since Fogerty was awarded the supreme title early in February. Before the month was out, he and a full crew, including regular shipmate Simon Knowles, had for the second time (previous was in 2016) won Class 4 in the RORC Caribbean 600 with the much-travelled Sunfast 3600 Bam!

And Howth's Caribbean 600 success didn't stop there, as clubmate Michael Wright had chartered the 45ft Pata Negra to race Class 2, and they recorded a second. Then it was back to Howth and into planning and organisation of the new-style Wave Regatta scheduled for the first weekend of June, with Michael Wright's leading hospitality organisation the primary sponsor.

pata negra3The Michael Wright-chartered 45ft Pata Negra, on her way to second in Class 2 in the RORC Caribbean 600 2018

Classic Half Tonner Checkmate XV

With the weather coming into line in the nick of time to provide summery sailing, it was a very well-supported success, with local skipper Dave Cullen's Classic Half Tonner Checkmate XV taking the overall honours. But this was no flash in the pan gained solely by having rock stars in the crew, for in July Checkmate XV went on to win the Howth Aqua Two-Handed Race, with Dave Cullen crewed by Aidan Beggan, they'd also taken the bullet in all three Dun Laoghaire regattas, and later this month they'll be racing the Half Ton Classic Worlds in Nieuwpoort in Belgium, starting August 20th.

Checkmate xv halfton4Dave Cullen's Checkmate XV getting a perfect start in a staging of the Half Ton Classics Worlds. They'll be going again at this year's championship at Nieuwpoort in Belgium, which starts on August 20th

Meanwhile, other areas of Howth sailing had been having highlights and lowlights since the Fogerty circus set the world alight in February. The Howth-based J/109 Storm (Kelly family) won both the Largs Regatta and the Scottish Series across in Scotland in May, while in July Jonny Swann of Howth with the Half Tonner Harmony was the overall winner of the all-comers Harbour Race in Volvo Cork Week, with clubmate Paddy Kyne third overall in the X-302 Maximus.

Historic 120-year-old Howth 17s

But at home, there had been some concern about the future of the historic 120-year-old Howth 17s, the "soul of Howth sailing", as several of them had been severely damaged when Storm Emma destroyed their winter storage shed on the East Pier at the beginning of March.

Yet miraculously only one boat – Anita – was deemed a total loss. Fingal's own ace boatbuilder Larry Archer has worked miracles in bringing the other damaged boats back to full health, with only one still to go afloat again. And as for Anita, in classic yacht terms she wasn't a total loss as they always had her original lead ballast keel, so now she is being re-built in Douarnenez in Brittany using the subsidised support of the French government's boatbuilding apprentice scheme at the Paul Robert-headed L'Atelier d'Enfer.

This does indeed mean "The Workshop of Hell", for that was the name given to the part of the old port in which it is located when the area was massively noisome and malodorous with the activities of at least 25 fish-processing companies. But as far as Howth 17 sailors are concerned, they can call it anything they like so long as work on re-building continues to progress smoothly with HYC Rear Commodore Ian Malcolm liaising the project, and Anita expects to re-launch next June.

howth seventeen isobel5The Howth 17 Isobel (Conor & Brian Turvey) returning to her home port. In 2018 she has been celebrating her 30th birthday with wins including the National YC Regatta, Clontarf Regatta and the Single-Handed Race. Photo: W M Nixon

Back home, the class seems to have been energised by the shock of the events in March, and the 2018 season has been good, getting average turnouts of 14 boats week in, week out, with many young people joining the class to enjoy its unique flavor which includes the annual race round the Baily Headland to Clontarf Regatta, and racing to Malahide in the Jack Gibney Classic, as well as racing across Dublin Bay to the National YC Regatta in Dun Laoghaire.

Newer owners such as HYC Vice Commodore Ian Byrne have been encouraged by that very special experience of getting their first winning gun in this unique class, and he did it in boat No 14, Gladys, which also provided the same experience many years ago for renowned chef Aidan MacManus of the famed King Sitric restaurant in Howth.

aidan and neven6Cooking up for a storm…….chefs Aidan MacManus and Neven Maguire of TV fame. As an experienced offshore racing campaigner, Aidan MacManus has been preparing ready meals for the Round Britain & Ireland challengers, fellow Howth sailors Conor Fogerty and Simon Knowles

After his years with the Seventeens, Aidan went into offshore racing ownership in partnership with Kieran Jameson in the Sigma 38 Changeling, and one of the many major events they completed together was the Round Britain and Ireland Race. This week, his experience in that 1800-mile marathon is being put to good use, as he is preparing a store of ready meals to sustain Conor Fogerty and Simon Knowles as they campaign Bam! round the same course.

Round Britain and Ireland

The RORC Seven Star Round Britain and Ireland – held every four years – was an event of outstanding success for Ireland last time round, as 2014's saw Liam Coyne of the National YC and Brian Flahive of Wicklow win the Two-handed Division and several classes with the First 36.7 Lulu Belle, a great achievement in a notably rough contest.

For 2018, the turnout in the two-handed division has significantly increased, and Conor Fogerty and Simon Knowles certainly have a job of work on their hands. But the fact that the key area of on-board catering has been overseen in advance by a master-chef who has personal experience of the race gets certainly them off to a flying start.

Published in Howth YC
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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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