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Howth Yacht Club Gets Ferrari Fix For Fifth Weekend Of Beshoff Motors Autumn League

12th October 2021
Neck-and-neck in IRC3 at Howth on Saturday – the J/24 Kilcullen (HYC-U25), the Laser 28 Alliance II (Vincent Gaffney) and the 2021 Irish Sigma 33 Champion Insider (S & D Mullaney)
Neck-and-neck in IRC3 at Howth on Saturday – the J/24 Kilcullen (HYC-U25), the Laser 28 Alliance II (Vincent Gaffney) and the 2021 Irish Sigma 33 Champion Insider (S & D Mullaney) Credit: Annraoi Blaney

In 1905, mutineer Ivan Beshoff made good his escape from the Imperial Russian Battleship Potemkin after he and his shipmates had taken over command in the Black Sea, and he set out walking west. Knowing of the long reach of the Tzarist secret police, he went as far as he could go in Europe, and ended up in Ireland, where the Beshoff family is now well established.

It's rather more than can be said for the Tzars back in Russia. But meanwhile, two years after Ivan Beshoff's long walk to freedom, Clem Courtney of Howth bought one of the locally-based Howth 17 One-Designs - back in 1907, they'd been in existence for only nine years. The Courtney family has been involved with the Howth 17s - and offshore racers too – ever since, and in Saturday's two races of the fifth weekend of Beshoff Motor Autumn League, Peter Courtney racing Oona kept himself in the top four overall of the 14-strong Seventeen fleet.

Time for a Ferrari Fix – Jeremy Beshoff and Peter CourtneyTime for a Ferrari Fix – Jeremy Beshoff and Peter Courtney

So when he got ashore it was only right and proper that he should be invited to sit into the hottest car that Jeremy Beshoff and his classic specialists in Beshoff Motors had brought along for the day, and it was of course a Ferrari. Indeed, it was notable just how many sailors found themselves feeling completely at home in that Ferrari driving seat. But they'd certainly earned the privilege, for although the day's westerly breeze was fading as the big high pressure system built from the southwest, the Race Officer teams were determined to get in two races where possible in this penultimate weekend. They've now got seven good results for most classes in the bag, and the final day this coming Saturday will be almost a bonus.

Isobel (Brian & Conor Turvey) taking a third in the Howth 17s to consolidate her second overall in the points table. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyIsobel (Brian & Conor Turvey) taking a third in the Howth 17s

But while the Courtney link with the Seventeens may be the longest of all the Howth sailing families, it was another well-established local maritime clan which made it their day in the old class, as Ian Malcolm with Aura recorded a first and second. This makes it close at the top overall for the leading four, as Deilginis (Massey/Toomey/Kenny) is now on 16 pts, Isobel (Brian & Conor Turvey) is at 17, Aura is at 19 and Oona is at 20.

In fact, after 123 years, the Seventeens are still providing some of the closest racing as indicated by the points, for in IRC1 Nigel Biggs' Classic Half Tonner Checkmate XVIII has been making hay, and after a 5th and 1st on Saturday, she's on only 12 pts to the 20 of the J/99 Snapshot (Mike & Richie Evans) which is just ahead of the J/109 Outrajeous (Richard Colwell & Johnny Murphy) on 21.

IRC1 start – Checkmate XVIII (Nigel Biggs, nearest) now leads overall, while the J/99 Snapshot (M & R Evans, far end) is second. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyIRC1 start – Checkmate XVIII (Nigel Biggs, nearest) now leads overall, while the J/99 Snapshot (M & R Evans, far end) is second. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

It was the sort of day when they got the racing finished just before the breeze failed – Simon Knowles' J/109 Indian making the best of it. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyIt was the sort of day when they got the racing finished just before the breeze failed – Simon Knowles' J/109 Indian making the best of it. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

IRC 2 continues to see the Gore-Grimes family make the pace convincingly with Dux, while in IRC 3 the Mullaneys with the Irish Champion Sigma 33 Insider notched a useful 1st and 2nd to give them a massive overall lead over Vincent Gaffney's Laser 28 Alliance 2.

The biggest class of all – the Puppeteer 22s with 17 boats now on the water as more contenders emerge from the sheds on the family farms – still has Scorie Walls with Gold Dust leading overall on 15 pts, but she was off form as Gold Dust recorded an 8th and 4th on Saturday while the McMahons with Shiggi-Shiggi took two bullets to make it a very tight final contest for the top five places.

The Puppeteer 22s are now the biggest class – enjoying the sun are (left to right) Wey Hey (Ian Dickson), Yellow Peril (Murphy/Costello), Honeybadger (May/Burke) and Trick-or-Treat (Pearson/Blay. Trick or Treat now lies second overall. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyThe Puppeteer 22s are now the biggest class – enjoying the sun are (left to right) Wey Hey (Ian Dickson), Yellow Peril (Murphy/Costello), Honeybadger (May/Burke) and Trick-or-Treat (Pearson/Blay. Trick or Treat now lies second overall. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

As we get further into October, predicting this coming final Saturday's wind and weather is an increasing challenge, but with those seven races now in the can, it is already an excellent series. Next year, it will be the 40th Anniversary Howth Autumn League. Meanwhile, for those who had mixed fortunes on Saturday, getting up close and personal with a Ferrari proved to be just the tonic.

Full details here

Let's hear it for Bray – Flor O'Driscoll of Bray SC in action at Howth with his J/24 Hard on Port. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyLet's hear it for Bray – Flor O'Driscoll of Bray SC in action at Howth with his J/24 Hard on Port. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Published in Howth YC
WM Nixon

About The Author

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 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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