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Howth’s Half Tonners Dominate 38-Boat Aqua Two-Handed Challenge When Tiger Fades

20th July 2020
Seasoned campaigners. Robert Dix and brother-in-law Richard Burrows combined 50 years ago to see the former win the Helmsmans Championship of Ireland in one of the highlight events of the Royal Cork YC Quarter Millennium celebrations in 1970. They’re still at it, as seen yesterday (Saturday) when they raced Dixie’s J/80 Jeannie to second in class in the Aqua Restaurant Two-Hander at Howth Seasoned campaigners. Robert Dix and brother-in-law Richard Burrows combined 50 years ago to see the former win the Helmsmans Championship of Ireland in one of the highlight events of the Royal Cork YC Quarter Millennium celebrations in 1970. They’re still at it, as seen yesterday (Saturday) when they raced Dixie’s J/80 Jeannie to second in class in the Aqua Restaurant Two-Hander at Howth Photo: Judith Malcolm

When in doubt, send ’em round Lambay. That seems to be the feeling among Howth Yacht Club’s race officers as this uncertain semi-season gradually cranks into action. And with Saturday’s early-start Aqua Double-Hander Challenge seeing a greyish morning giving a fulfilled promise of sunshine to come, the trusty big island seven miles to the north of Howth Harbour came up on the course card with some windward work to get there and gentle progress back, all to fit in with the overall idea of a comfortably-finished event, well on time for a socially-distanced party.

Robeet Dix and Richard Burrows J80 Out on their own. Stephen Harris and his daughter Jenny looked to have it all sewn up with their First 40.7 Tiger, but the curse of having a big lead in the water came all too true as they sailed into a flat patch which others managed to avoid. Photo: Judith Malcolm

What with a goodly selection of cruiser-racers, and all eight of the club and privately-owned J/80s showing their faces, plus a choice selection of Puppeteer 22s, there were 38 boats racing in idyllic conditions. And in the proper order of things, as they came round the island it was Stephen and Jenny Harris in the First 40.7 Tiger who held a good lead – all of twenty minutes.

But halfway back to Ireland’s Eye, the Leader’s Curse of being first to sail into a wind-hole struck down Tiger’s formerly stylish progress, and she sat there for all of that twenty minutes and more while back along the the fleet, Howth’s nimble flotilla of Half Tonners were best at wriggling their way towards the new breeze – a summer wind from the west – which brought everyone to the finish after around four hours of racing, every minute of it hugely appreciated following the pandemic-imposed drought.

 “Great to be sailing again!” Ben Colwell and his father Richard (Commodore ICRA) on their J/109 Outrajeous, which they sailed to third place in the White Sails Division“Great to be sailing again!” Ben Colwell and his father Richard (Commodore ICRA) on their J/109 Outrajeous, which they sailed to third place in the White Sails Division. Photo: Ben Colwell

The Big Picture (left, finished second overall) showing ahead of Outrajeous“Those Half Tonners are just too nippy for their own good…..” The Big Picture (left, finished second overall) showing ahead of Outrajeous. Photo: Judith Malcolm

Sam O’Byrne and Ryan Glynn read the wind-shift to perfection in Mata to lead fellow Half Tonner The Big Picture (Mike Evans & Des Flood) by a significant margin, which in turn saw the Evans boat clear of Stephen Quinn’s attractive J/97 Lambay Rules to provide the top three in Open IRC.

The White Sails Division was good day out for Kieran Jameson and Michael Wright on the former’s slightly-modified Sigma 38 and they took the gong with second going to the Malahide McAlister crew of Fore 5, while ICRA Commodore Richard Colwell with son Ben on the J/109 Outrajeous polled well to take third.

Kieran Jameson looks after the trim while Michael Wright does the helming on ChangelingKieran Jameson looks after the trim while Michael Wright does the helming on Changeling, winner of the White Sails Division. Photo: Judith Malcolm

Diana Kissane and Graham Curran got it all together with the chartered HYC-owned J/109 Cryptohouse despite the challenges of the private sector, with brothers-in-law Ribert Dix and Richard Burrows bringing Jennie in second ahead of Paddy O’Neill’s Mojo.

The Puppeteer 22s will usually race with four or maybe five, but owners Alan Pearson and Alan Blay with Trick or Treat upped their personal work-rate to win from Honey Badger, with Neil Murphy bringing Yellow Peril in third.

Diana Kissane on helm and Graham CurranKeeping the weight amidships, and going well - Diana Kissane on helm and Graham Curran on everything else as the club-owned J/80 Cryptohouse heads for the class win

As for the Howth 17s, they decided through the week that in a fore-shortened season it wasn’t fair to squander a precious Saturday by leading half of their crew ashore, so they sailed a normal fully-crewed club race. But now they may find themselves up against a revolutionary movement to dry-sail the boats, as Gerry Comferford (who is building his own completely new Howth 17 up at his house on the hill) was sufficiently fired up with fresh enthusiasm to launch the Class Association-owned almost-new Orla with just two hours to go to the start.

And then, didn’t he go out and win, Ian Malcolm taking second in Aura with the hotshot syndicate third in Deilginis, while a frequent contender for a place in the Howth 17 frame dreamed the afternoon away in waiting for the tide to return and give sufficient thickness of water to a temporarily very thin bit out at Ireland’s Eye, but then it was that kind of day.
Not quite a horizon job, but near enough – Mata leads The Big PictureNot quite a horizon job, but near enough – Mata leads The Big Picture towards the finish. Photo: Judith Malcolm

Aqua Double-Hander at Howth Yacht Club Results 

Aqua Double-Hander All Classes IRC: lst Mata (sailed by Stephen O’Byrne & Liam Glynn), 2nd The Big Picture (Mike Evans & Des Flood), 3rd Lambay Rules (Stephen Quinn and Kieran Cotter).

White Sails IRC: 1st Changeling (Kieran Jameson & Michael Wright), 2nd Force Five (R & J McAllister) 3rd Outrajeous (Richard & Ben Colwell).

J/80 1st Cryptohouse (Diana Kissane & Graham Curran), 2nd Jeannie (Robert Dix & Richard Burrows), 3rd Mojo (Paddy O’Neill & Aaron Jones).

Puppeteer 22s 1st Trick or Treat (Plan Pearson & Alan Blay), 2nd Honey Badger (Burke & May), 3rd Yellow Peril (Neil Murphy & P Costello.

Howths 17s (Club Course) 1st Orla (Gerry Comerford), 2nd Aura (Ian Malcolm) 3rd Deilginis (Massey/Toomey/Kenny).

Published in Howth YC, Half Tonners
WM Nixon

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WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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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 and can be accessed through its official website.

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