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Howth Yacht Club Autumn League Day 2 is Bright And Breezy

27th September 2022
The 2019 French-built Howth 17 Orla (Marc FitzGibbon & Daragh Gallagher) had a good day in the latest two-race outing for the Beshoff Motors Autumn League, moving herself up to second overall in class with a fourth and a first
The 2019 French-built Howth 17 Orla (Marc FitzGibbon & Daragh Gallagher) had a good day in the latest two-race outing for the Beshoff Motors Autumn League, moving herself up to second overall in class with a fourth and a first Credit: Eimear Shanahan

The 40th Annual Autumn League at Howth Yacht Club – sponsored these days by specialist car company Beshoff Motors – enjoyed a bright and brisk northerly breeze with a touch of nor’east for its second weekend. “Brisk” with a mixed fleet in Howth is when the Howth 17s do without their topsails, and thus it was a lively afternoon of sport for the notably varied turnout of nine classes on an extra-busy day.

They were extra-busy because the Stakhanovite race officers are always determined to get the race numbers up as soon as possible, so the fleet were zapped round the courses twice to have three good race results already in the leaderboard, even with four Saturdays of racing still in prospect.

But much and all as it left more than a few competitors acutely aware they’d been sailing energetically - with the afternoon well advanced when the tail-enders finally headed for home - any look at the volatile weather situation on the west side of the Atlantic suggests that our exceptionally benign period of late season weather is coming to an end, and it is prudent Series Management to build results while the sun shines.

Grabbing the best of the weather while it lasts - the veteran First 40.7 Tiger (Stephen Harris) stayed ahead overall in IRC 4 (White Sail) with two seconds, but the best of the day in the class was David Greene’s White Pearl from Malahide. Photo: Courtesy HYC Grabbing the best of the weather while it lasts - the veteran First 40.7 Tiger (Stephen Harris) stayed ahead overall in IRC 4 (White Sail) with two seconds, but the best of the day in the class was David Greene’s White Pearl from Malahide. Photo: Courtesy HYC 

CRUISERS 1

Two bullets from the Evans brothers’ J/99 Snapshot in IRC (and HPH) sees them take the overall lead from Stephen Quinn’s J/97 Lambay Rules, which managed a respectable 3,2 on the day to leave them a point behind after three races. Conditions were lumpy due to the northerly breeze of 15 to 20 knots, and the start of the two windward leeward races was delayed as some of the marks went wandering. A compact course made for plenty of close boat-on-boat racing, and boat handling skills needed to be at their best. Pat Kelly’s Storm was the best of the J109’s with a 2, 3 on the day. 

CRUISERS 2

Paddy Kyne’s Maximus now has the selection of X Yachts which dominate this class numerically back in the lead - where they think they belong as of Divine Right - as he won both times every which way – IRC and HPH. But the Corby interloper Impetuous (Fergal Noonan & Robert Chambers) continued in her dutiful role as X Yachts Irritant with a 4th and 2nd in IRC, and a 3rd and 2nd under HPH, while Dux is now third.

Maximus approaching the line, too busy keeping her lead to appreciate the coastal scenery. Photo: HYCMaximus approaching the line, too busy keeping her lead to appreciate the coastal scenery. Photo: HYC

CRUISERS 3

Increased breeze for Races 2 and 3 was always going to make things more interesting for Class 3 due to range in boat sizes. The big change for this week was the absence of Howth's K25 Team Kilcullen due to a structural issue with the boat that was luckily spotted prior to sailing, but they hope to be back in the other Howth K25 Boat Scandal next week.

The heavier breeze suited the Sigma 33 Insider (Stephen Mullaney) which was first on IRC, but they were again kept honest with Conor Fogerty’s Silver Shamrock (Ron Holland 1976) in hot pursuit, followed by Malahide entry Kahera in 3rd . In HPH, after the disappointment of missing a mark last week, Billy Whizz of Malahide were first ahead of Insider's sistership Pepsi, and Kahera posting 3rd to match their IRC result.

For Race 2 it was a shorter course, but with a better start from the whole fleet to give closer racing. Insider was first to the windward mark followed again by Silver Shamrock, Billy Whizz and Kahera. Some boats chose a more conservative approach downwind to avoid the gybe under spinnaker but there were gains to be had for those who hoisted straight away in the heavier breeze. In the end it was a repeat of the previous race on IRC with Insider, Silver Shamrock and Kahera. In HPH, Billy Whizz beat their Malahide club mate Kahera by 14 seconds with Pepsi again on the podium less than a further 30 seconds back.

Overall this leaves Insider 1st on IRC and Kahera 1st on HPH, but when Billy Whizz discards their DNF for race 1, they will be right up there on HPH.

CRUISERS 4 (White Sail)

The stately First 40.7 Tiger (Stephen Harris) inevitably took line honours both times out, but Malahide’s White Pearl (David Greene) had a great day out, with two firsts under IRC, and a second and first on HPH. Colm Bermingham’s Elan 333 Bite the Bullet was in on the action in IRC to move into third overall behind Tiger, but Kieran Jameson’s long-raced Sigma 38 Changeling got herself into the frame on HPH.

It was a day designed for gallant windward work by veteran Shamrocks, and Demelza made the best of it. Photo: HYCIt was a day designed for gallant windward work by veteran Shamrocks, and Demelza made the best of it. Photo: HYC

CRUISERS 5 (White Sail)

Really good slug-it-out beats made it a great day for veteran Ron Holland-designed Half Ton Shamrocks, and while the one and only Silver Shamrock herself was giving everybody a hard time in Cruisers 3, the white sail Cruisers 5 saw the Club Shamrock Demelza (Steffi & Windsor) going out of sight on IRC overall and hanging in there on HPH, with Joe Carton’s Dehler 34 enjoying the conditions to log two seconds in IRC, and 2nd and third on HPH, with the veteran First 38 Out & About (McCoy/Cregan) also in the picture

PUPPETEER 22

With Trick or Treat (Alan Pearson / Alan Blay) having done a horizon job on the series largest fleet in the light weather of Race 1, the change in conditions for Day 2 offered their competition more hope of success. The beautiful autumnal day provided everything needed for a cracking day’s racing – strong northerly, choppy sea, wall to wall blue sky and warm temperature. The 18 Kn+ breeze made it a Number 2 headsail day and the boats revelled in the conditions, although some running repairs were needed amongst the 16-strong fleet as the wear and tear of a long season caught up on fittings that decided their duty was done.

Race Officer Robert Orr signalled a Windward Leeward course for the first race, and got the fleet away after a short postponement while the hard-working mark layers struggled to position their charges in the challenging conditions for RIBs. The fleet split on the first beat, with both sides being tested, before coming together at the windward mark to find that neither side had been particularly favoured.

The downwind leg produced lots of good surfing in the sun and some overheated sailors debated the merits of shedding layers before tackling the second beat of the two-lap course. Trick or Treat, with guest helm Gerard O’Sullivan calling the shots this week, had got to the front again and established a lead big enough to allow them to spectate on the dog fight (no pun intended) for the minor placings between Harlequin (D Clarke), HoneyBadger (G May) and Yellow Peril (Costello / Murphy). Place changing in the chasing group continued upwind and downwind for the rest of the race with WeyHey (Ian Dickson) also getting into the mix. At the finish, Trick or Treat took the gun from Harlequin and, after 45 minutes of racing, just five seconds spanned third placed Yellow Peril, HoneyBadger and WeyHey.

Race 2 provided more of the same in terms of course layout, conditions, close racing and winner. Trick or Treat led from the first mark to take a 25 second win with Yellow Peril second, followed by Shiggi Shiggi (P&L McMahon) and Harlequin.

On HPH, the spoils over the two races were divided between Papagena (K&B Barker) and Blue Velvet (G. Kennedy) with a win apiece. Ghosty Ned (D Harkin) and Sanderling (B Jennings) took the minor places in the first race and, in the second one, Papagena took the runner-up spot with Mr Punch (NiBhraonain / Wilson) finishing third.

So onwards to Day 3 and, with Trick or Treat now having won all three races of the Series to date, the question for the rest of the fleet is can anyone beat the red boat before the 2022 season ends on October 22nd.

After some Close Encounters of the First Kind, the Squibs got themselves round the courses without further entanglements. As the afternoon moved on, clouds build over the land but the sea-sky stays clearAfter some Close Encounters of the First Kind, the Squibs got themselves round the courses without further entanglements. As the afternoon moved on, clouds build over the land but the sea-sky stays clear

SQUIBS

In Race One, all boats got off to a clean start with Cool Bean a bit too keen to take full advantage of a clear committee boat end almost landing itself on its fenders in the swell. From there, Fergus O’Kelly, ever the gentleman, took it upon himself to direct the fleet around the course from the front in Tiger Roll. On the downwind leg, the following boats failed to see which leeward mark to round, probably due to the excitement of surfing their boats through the swell. As Slipstream, Cool Beans, Absolutely Fabulous and Tears for Fears together approached the other fleets’ leeward mark, Slipstream came to the realisation first that the yellow mark over his shoulder was the correct one and promptly headed up to it, prompting Cool Beans to wake up and change course too. In the confusion Tears For Fears , which had yet to drop its spinnaker, could do little to avoid Slipstream and ended up taking a penalty, resulting in them dropping to fifth.

In Race Two, and with the fleet finding form, a clip from Slipstream meant Tiger Roll found it impossible to recover after taking its penalty. Cool Beans once again took the Committee Vessel end, this time opting to not try to land the boat on it.

Slipstream, Aurora and Cool Beans were prominent early on. With regular place changes and traffic from other classes, Slipstream (from Killyleagh) pulled ahead. but the rest were close. Cool Beans taking second by 5 seconds from Tears for Fears.

Absolutely no cloud in the sky over the sea and Ireland’s Eye as Colm Bermingham’s Elan 333 Bite the Bullet closes on the finish. Photo: HYCAbsolutely no cloud in the sky over the sea and Ireland’s Eye as Colm Bermingham’s Elan 333 Bite the Bullet closes on the finish. Photo: HYC

HOWTH SEVENTEENS

For Howth’s oldest class, it was the sort of day when those with untested masts can be a bit cautious, but the hard cases with long experience and bullet-proof rigs were in their element for hard driving, with two of them – the Deilginis syndicate and the Turvey brothers with Isobel – emerging from the first race with a tie for first place.

Number 21 Orla, built in France in 2019 thanks to Ian Malcolm’s patience in form-filling in order to avail of Government grants there for having your boat built in a boat-building school, really came into her own in the second race to give proud owners Marc FitzGibbon and Daragh Gallagher the win. This put them up into second overall, but on scratch Deilginis is on top with 7.5 points overall to the 10 of Orla and the 13 of Michael & Jane Duffy’s Hera.

TEAM COMPETITION

The three-boat Team Competition with boats drawn from very different classes is supposed to gives everyone a look-in. But even the most cursory glance at the most recent pair of results shows that the TITs – Tiger (Cr 4), Insider (Cr 3) and Trick or Treat (Squibs) – are already beyond the horizon after just three races.

Detailed results are 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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