The delayed 2020 racing programme at Howth Yacht Club had a boost last weekend with a 20-boat fleet for Saturday’s inaugural race for the Fingal Cruiser Challenge, while the Puppeteer 22s, Squibs and Howth 17s mustered viable turnouts for their regular club event. But since then, the slack wet weather of mid-week has put everything on hold, with Tuesday’s utterly flat no-race evening in particular so damp and windless you couldn’t tell where sea and sky ended or began.
Thus although Saturday’s forecast had not been too hopeful, it is already a memory to be cherished, as the westerly breeze held up, and the Race Officer’s courageous decision to send the cruiser fleet round Lambay saw them finished within a reasonable time, despite the course being a dogleg to the Portmarnock mark for some uphill work before they took in Lambay to port and back to a pier finish in Howth.
The special challenge of a close-reaching pier start as the fleet goes off in the first race of the Fingal Cruiser Challenge from Howth round Lambay. Video by Emer Quinn.
The Evans brothers’ Half Ton Classic The Big Picture found things to her liking to take line honours and the IRC win from Paddy O’Neill’s J/80 Mojo, while in Class 2 the Gore-Grimes team in the X 302 Dux also had the line honours and win, this time ahead of the Corby 25 Impetuous (Noonan /Chambers) and another X302, the Darmody/Patterson crew with Xebec, while the Mullaney brothers with the Sigma 33 Insider made the running in Class 3, and once again Dermot Skehan was there in front in the White Sails division with Toughnut.
Scorie Walls was back in top form for 2020 with the Puppeteer win on Gold Dust from Terry Harvey’s No Strings second, with Ghosty Ned getting third, while in the Howth 17s it was the familiar shape of Deilginis (Massey, Twomey, Kenny) out in front, with the Squibs (which will muster a fleet of 14 when all are in action this year) saw Fergus O’Kelly’s 3point9 take the bullet. The possibility of better weather this Saturday is encouraging others into socially-distanced action, and then after a full midweek programme, Saturday 18th July sees the all-keelboat-classes Aqua Two-Handed Challenge.