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Howth Yacht Club Develop Their Annual IceBreaker Series for Dinghies

3rd March 2019
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It could well be Connemara, but it’s actually Howth Sound in late March, when the annual eight-race IceBreakers series gets under way It could well be Connemara, but it’s actually Howth Sound in late March, when the annual eight-race IceBreakers series gets under way

Howth Yacht Club will soon be hosting their annual IceBreaker Dinghy Series, kicking off this year on the 24th March, and running for four Sunday mornings with two races each morning writes Cormac Farrelly. It’s a great eight-race opportunity to dig out those dinghies from their winter resting areas, and get sailors out of hibernation to kick off the 2019 season. 

The inaugural event last year was very successful, attracting 50-plus entries across six different dinghy fleets - RS400s, Lasers, RS Feva, 420s, Oppies and Toppers. IceBreakers is now a firm fixture on the HYC event calendar, and its status as an Open Event has been endorsed by Irish Sailing, who have added it to their racing line up.

howth icebreakers2A well-mixed fleet at HYC IceBreakers 2018, with RS Fevas, 420s and Optimists

The user-friendly formula certainly seems to work. Start all races on time at 10:25 and have everyone off the water by 12:30. Then a quick burger in the club afterwards, and for those who have travelled, you’re out of Howth before the Sunday traffic builds up. Then just Rinse and Repeat the following weekend……

Top Laser sailor David Quinn comments: “I’ve always enjoyed the Frostbite Series in Howth, and the Icebreaker Series is an exciting new development of that proven programme. It combines the superb organisation and race format of the Frostbites, with the nicer Spring conditions. The Sunday morning start time and quick race turnaround is perfect for those with busy weekend schedules and today’s family demands”

dave quinn3IceBreakers enthusiast Dave Quinn (HYC), who was runner-up in 2018 to overall winner Alan Ruigrok of Rush SC.

RS200 National Champion Neil Spain adds: “Ourselves - and the rest of the RS400s competing - found the series a great way to get back into the swing of things after the off season. The race area right outside the harbour is only a short sail away from the club, and the races were the perfect balance between quality time on the water with great race management as usual from HYC, and getting packed up and home by lunchtime.”

neil spain4Neil Spain in RS 400 racing highlights the convenience of the race area location

Last year, Howth’s neighbouring clubs like Skerries, Malahide, Sutton, Clontarf, Dun Laoghaire and Bray provided entrants, and HYC looks forward to welcoming them all back again this year, plus first-time IceBreakers too. 

Overall, the event in 2018 enjoyed perfect weekends with some great racing. The RS400, 420s, and Lasers competed under the Sundry fast division while Fevas and Toppers were under 'Sundry slow'. A large contingent of 25 Optimists made up the last division, and it was great to see the club buzzing with over 60 dinghy sailors coming out to race each Sunday.

howth fevas5The local RS Feva fleet is growing

In the eight race series, dinghies in the Sundry Fast and Slow divisions compete for an overall prize under PY handicap, while individual prizes for scratch results within each class are awarded for classes with more than 3 entries. It’s really interesting and very encouraging to see how well the PY handicap works. 

Even though the RS400s are lightning-quick on the racecourse, three different classes were featured in last season’s overall results – Alan Ruigrok and crew sailing their RS400 from Rush finished first overall, with veteran Laser sailor Dave Quinn a close second.

This year HYC is putting added focus on the event to encourage the continued growth of dinghy sailing at the club, and an important part of this renewed focus includes a dedicated Dinghy Race Management team, led by Harry Gallagher and Derek Bothwell to reinforce the promise of excellent racing for all classes.

varadkar juniors6The HYC Optimist sailors had a chance to meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD during his recent visit to Howth Yacht Club.

The dinghy sailors of Howth are currently on a roll with the club’s sailing achievements being recognised during the recent visit from An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, when he met Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove, HYC’s U23 World Champions in the 49er class, and also got to meet with some of the club’s young Optimist sailors.

Enter Icebreakers 2019 online here

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