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40th Howth Autumn League Gets Off To Sunny Start

20th September 2022
Winning every which way. The sun may be going into hiding and the wind may be fading, but Stephen Mullaney’s champion Sigma 33 is finishing the first race of the Beshoff Motors Autumn League Ruby Jubilee at Howth to find multiple reasons for special celebration in the après sailing
Winning every which way. The sun may be going into hiding and the wind may be fading, but Stephen Mullaney’s champion Sigma 33 is finishing the first race of the Beshoff Motors Autumn League Ruby Jubilee at Howth to find multiple reasons for special celebration in the après sailing

Back in July 1982, HYC’s new Marina opened for business. This meant that - come September - the club’s diverse cruiser and keelboat fleet, which in those days still included a goodly number of wooden craft, could safely and conveniently follow the example of the low-maintenance Squibs. They were now able to have themselves a fully-fledged Autumn League which provided great sport right up to the threshold of Hallowe’en, when in times past the entire fleet would have long since been laid up ashore.

The fibreglass Squibs had been at the Autumn thing since 1979. But when the full fleet for the new all-comers series turned out for the first time in the third weekend of September 1982, it was something else altogether. It was mind-blowing. The lack of today’s other distractions and domestic expectations meant this was the only show in town, and it had the benefit of novelty, so much so that significant numbers came from other centres, and even across Dublin Bay.

Today, we’re accustomed to year-round sailing should we wish it. There’s also a huge marina in Dun Laoghaire. And forty years ago, there was much less access to the temptation of second boats based in the still-summery Mediterranean. Thus by comparison with 1982, it was a more modest fleet of 87 boats which entered for the weekend’s first race of the 2022 Beshoff Motors Autumn League to celebrate the Ruby Jubilee of the series, and have some rather good racing while they were at it.

While the sun shone, there’s no doubting it was Autumn with a cool northerly breeze which was soft enough in places. But with the ebb obligingly setting in at mid-race, the fleets were brought home to their finish lines in the Sound and off the harbour in a timely fashion, even if that same ebb’s accelerating power gave distinct advantage to the lower-rated boats in some of the handicap classes.

 The day started well……you don’t have to fly to New York and then fly back again to get pics like this, but this is how Howth looked for the latest image in the Stephen White collection . Photo: Stephen White The day started well……you don’t have to fly to New York and then fly back again to get pics like this, but this is how Howth looked for the latest image in the Stephen White collection . Photo: Stephen White

J/97s MAKE HAY IN CLASS 1

This was particularly so in Class 1, where Robert Rendell’s stately Grand Soleil 44 Samatom took very clearcut line honours, but when the sums were done it was the little J/97s which diced for the honours, with Stephen Quinn’s Lambay Rules taking it narrowly on IRC, while sister ship Jeneral Lee (Conor & Cathy Kavanagh) was just there on HPH.

Class 2 was an X-Yachts Festival bar one, which happened to be the winner, with Fergal Noonan & Robert Chambers’ vintage Corby Impetuous taking it on both rating systems, with the usual suspect Dux having to make do with a second and a third. Class 2 had Sigma 33 superstar Insider (Stephen Mullaney) doing the business on IRC, but Kahera from Malahide (Russell Camier) won on HPH, while a Blast from the Past came second in IRC with Coner Fogerty’s “home boat”, the Ron Holland-designed 1976 Half Ton World Champion Silver Shamrock, getting her umpteenth podium place in third.

Stephen Harris’s First 40.7 Tiger with her seemingly enormous mainsail defied the anti-size tendency by winning White Sails 4 on both systems, and in White Sails 5 the bigger HPH Division saw the history-laden Club Shamrock Demelza (previous sailors include Mark Mansfield and Neville Maguire) win HPH for Steffi & Windsor, but they won IRC for good measure, with Joe Carton’s Dehler 34 Voyager second both ways.

INTER-CASTLE CONTEST FOR CLASSICS 

The 124-year-old Howth 17s had a real ding-dong finish with David Nixon in Erica (built 1988 at Howth Castle) getting it by 20 seconds from Michael Duffy’s Hera (built 1898 at Carrickfergus Castle), third place going to the Tiger Prawn Syndicate in Deilginis.

After their lively and well-attended Class Championship a week ago won by the McMahons in Shiggi Shiggi, the Puppeteer 22s reckoned rightly that they’d have an even better turnout for the Rube Jube, and with 19 boats they’re the biggest class. But while Shiggi may be garlanded with the Nat Honours, it was the Alans – Pearson & Blay - who won this time with Trick or Treat, while the returned-to-racing-and-very-welcome David Clarke was second with Harlequin, and Paul & Laura McMahon with Shiggi took third.

No sooner do the Squibs in Howth get themselves back towards critical mass (the class used to be several dozens) than you find key performers have rival Autumnal distractions, such as going off to secret locations to indulge their personal vice of racing Foiling Moths. So even with the ever-keen Robert Marshall down from Killyleagh for the fun, there were only seven on the line-up, but even so Marshall’s notable performer Slipstream had to be content with second by a whisker under both systems, as Jeff Kay’s Chatterbox won on scratch while the club-owned Tiger Roll won on HPH.

The 40th Anniversary of the HYC Autumn League – the Ruby Jubilee – fits neatly with Jeremy Beshoff’s specialist car company.

TEAM SPIRIT

To add to the enhanced sense of community which the Autumn League has engendered in its forty years, there’s an across-the-classes Team Trophy, three boats drawn from three classes. After the first race of the Beshoff Autumn League, it’s the TITs very clear ahead with wins for all three – Tiger, Insider, and Trick or Treat.

As all this was being calculated, the BBQ was going full blast, and the various music machines were gearing up to do the same. It was something special. There were veterans from the first series of 1982 racing. Yet many of the Ruby Jubilee Celebrants hadn’t even been born when it all started way back when. In this extraordinary 2022 season with successes at home and abroad, Howth Yacht Club just keeps rolling along

Detailed Results below

Race Results

You may need to scroll vertically and horizontally within the box to view the full results

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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