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Beshoff Motors Autumn League At Howth Yacht Club Finishes On A High

25th October 2022
Hull speed…..the Howth 17 Isobel (Conor & Brian Turvey) digs in and goes for it as she runs hard at Howth on Saturday
Hull speed…..the Howth 17 Isobel (Conor & Brian Turvey) digs in and goes for it as she runs hard at Howth on Saturday Credit: David O’Shea

With six solid race results already on the leaderboard, the weekend’s seventh and final race of the Beshoff Motors Autumn League at Howth Yacht Club came through as a bonus with an often sunny though brisk and freshening southerly. But it was a wind which was steady neither in direction nor precise in pressure, though at least it could be relied on to be ever-present in one form or another.

Yet with many of the nine classes so close in points at the top that this last contest became the decider, it was - as one seasoned campaigner was to comment - like a fabric workshop in the HYC racing area beyond and around Ireland’s Eye. For the wind direction was busily weaving throughout the race period, yet at every level of each fleet, crews and helms were doing their damnedest to keep at least one and usually several other boats very tightly stitched up.

In all, it was classic Howth sailing, as the ebb was running for much of the racing, but by the finish the new flood was setting in. This meant that for the bigger boats finishing to the east of Ireland’s Eye, the sea had smoothed somewhat and there was no tidal mini-race off The Stack. But for the smaller craft finishing in the Sound, the final beat took that little bit longer, requiring total concentration right to the finish.

Checkmate checks out with success – the biggest boat in the fleet, the First 50 Checkmate XX (Dave Cullen & Nigel Biggs) finished the series with Class 1 line honours win and second on CT in the last raceCheckmate checks out with success – the biggest boat in the fleet, the First 50 Checkmate XX (Dave Cullen & Nigel Biggs) finished the series with Class 1 line honours win and second on CT in the last race

CLASS 1

This was the day of days for the biggest boat in the fleet, Dave Cullen and Nigel Biggs’ new First 50 Checkmate XX, as she romped round the course to take line honours by nearly five minutes ahead on the water of Robert Rendell’s Grand Soleil 44 Samatom. However, Mike & Richie Evans’ J/99 Snapshot concluded a great season - which had opened with them being a close second overall and top Irish boat in the Round Ireland 2022 back in June - with yet another CT win in the Howth series, though Checkmate XX managed to hang onto second on CT, albeit by just one second ahead of Pat Kelly’s J/109 Storm from Rush SC.

Overall, Snapshot had it convincingly by 9 pts to the 16 of Stephen Quinn’s J/97 Lambay Rules, Storm getting third with 24pts.

CLASS 2

The various X Yachts in this division just loved the day that was in it, with the Gore-Grimes family’s veteran war horse Dux taking line honours and the CT win in conditions when the usually challenging Corby Impetuous (Fergal Noonan and Robert Chambers) didn’t seem at all happy – she finished back in fifth.

However, solid results earlier in the series meant that Paddy Kyne’s Maximus – logging a second – just hung onto the overall lead on 12 points, with the tie break of Dux and Impetuous on 13 seeing the latter taking the number-crunching edge for second.

A perfect day for X Yacht racing, and by the end of it the veteran Dux (Gore-Grimes family) had taken line honours and the CT win in Class 2A perfect day for X Yacht racing, and by the end of it the veteran Dux (Gore-Grimes family) had taken line honours and the CT win in Class 2

CLASS 3

It doesn’t really get better than discarding a second in a series when all your other races are bullets, and Stephen Mullaney’s Insider – current Irish Sigma 33 Champion for good measure – now has the minimum six points to look back on after the 2022 Autumn League, with Conor Fogerty’s museum piece Silver Shamrock (Half Ton World Champion 1976) in second overall on 16, third going to Malahide visitor Kahera (Russell Camier). 

CLASS 4 (White Sail)

Despite the beefy weather, Stephen Harris’s First 40.7 Tiger had to be content with second in this last race, Colm Berminghan’s Elan 333 Bite the Bullet sailing a blinder to win by three minutes on CT. But a scorecard of three wins and three seconds kept Tiger at the top of the leaderboard, with Bite the Bullet second and White Pearl from Malahide (David Greene) third.

D’unbeatables….Stephen Mullaney’s Sigma 33 Insider finished the series on minimum points, the only boat to do soD’unbeatables….Stephen Mullaney’s Sigma 33 Insider finished the series on minimum points, the only boat to do so

CLASS 5 (White Sail)

This class of little ’uns musters very few IRC boats, and here the winner overall was Steffi & Windsor’s veteran Club Shamrock Demelza. But in the much larger HPH Division, Demelza had to be content with third overall, the honours going to Mary Ellen (O’Byrne, Finucane & Carty), with Richard Flood & Lorcan Greene’s Joker’s Wild in second.

HOWTH SEVENTEENS

When we remember that just four years ago the 1898-founded Howth Seventeens were wondering if they had a future at all, after Storm Emma in March 2018 had flattened both their winter storage shed on the East Pier and several of the boat within, then the contemplation of their racing in the Autumn League 2022 is a real wonder, as it has never been better.

In one of the gentler phases on Saturday, the Howth 17s Isobel, Orla and Gladys round the Portmarnock Mark. Photo: David O’SheaIn one of the gentler phases on Saturday, the Howth 17s Isobel, Orla and Gladys round the Portmarnock Mark. Photo: David O’Shea

It went to the wire in this final race in more ways than one, for although it was comfortably topsail weather when they went out, it was getting towards the upper limits at the finish. Under her new mast as used a week earlier, Davy Nixon with Erica would have had his second dismasting of the season, as the fancy spar was more like a trout fishing rod. But for the final race he changed back to the class’s battered but durable spare stick, and was able to drive his 1988-built boat with so much confidence that he beat nearest challenger Deilginis (built 1907, Toomey, Kenny & Massey) by two minutes to win overall by half a point, third going to the 1919-built Orla (Marc FitzGibbon & Darragh Gallagher. On HPH, Rima Macken’s Eileen won from Zaida (Carroll, Houlihan & Hurley). 

PUPPETEERS

Howth Yacht Club is in the happy position where its two most completely local classes – the Howth Seventeens from 1898 and the Puppeteer 22s from 1978 – are both in great heart, with the Puppeteer 22s this past weekend having a classic contest. The two leading boats – Paul & Laura McMahon’s Shiggi-Shiggi and Neil Murphy & Con Costello’s Yellow Peril – zapped across the line with just ten seconds between them. Right on their heels were overall points leader Trick or Treat (Alan Pearson & Alan Blay) who were in turn just staying ahead of Weyhey (Ian Dickson), No Strings (Terry Harvey) and Harlequin (Dave Clarke).

 The Puppeteer 22s had the closest racing in the fleet, and Yellow Peril (Neil Murphy and Con Costello) missed the win in the fina race by just ten seconds The Puppeteer 22s had the closest racing in the fleet, and Yellow Peril (Neil Murphy and Con Costello) missed the win in the fina race by just ten seconds

But while others had had their moments of glory through the series, Trick or Treat was a real Steady Eddy from start to finish, discarding a third to take it by 10 points to the 16 of Shiggi-Shiggi, just one point ahead of Yellow Peril. On HPH, No Strings was tops with Weyhey second and Ghosty Ned (Donal Harkin) third.

SQUIBS

Robert Marshall, the Pied Piper of Killyleagh, may have led the Squibs to Lough Derg a week ago when they learned that fresh water can be every bit as rough as salt. But at least they managed some racing down there when Howth was blown out. And nothing daunted, the Squibs were back on the Howth line this past weekend doubling up on their racing, with the Marshall boat Slipstream holding her overall lead with a third in the final race, the win in that going to Tiger Roll (F O’Leary) with Thomas O’Reilly’s Cool Beans second.

TEAM PRIZE

To absolutely nobody’s surprise, the three boat Team Competition’s lead was retained overall by the T.I.Ts – Tiger, Insider, and Trick or Treat - who ran away with it on a final score of 246 pts to the 510 of Bite De Bells (Isobel, Demelza and Bite the Bullet), with Team Perilous (White Pearl, Yellow Peril & Kahera) third.

HOWTH KEEPS BUSY

There isn’t a pause for breath over Hallowe’en in the Howth late season programme, as the Dinghy Regatta is on October 30th, and then the annual Howth Frostbites (of which more tomorrow - it goes back to 1974) gets underway on November 6th.

Hallowe'en hit: Jeremy Beshoff of Beshoff Motors (left) with Alan Pearson, co-skipper of all-conquering Puppeteer 22 Trick or TreatHallowe'en hit: Jeremy Beshoff of Beshoff Motors (left) with Alan Pearson, co-skipper of all-conquering Puppeteer 22 Trick or Treat

Race Results

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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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