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Displaying items by tag: Sandefjord

There’s a small but sure glow of stardust in Dun Laoghaire Marina at the moment. Rugged stardust perhaps, but unmistakably genuine stardust nevertheless. The Norwegian gaff ketch Sandefjord, the quintessential Colin Archer-created rescue vessel of 1913 vintage which added ocean voyaging and global circumnavigation to her extraordinary life-path after she’d been retired from at-sea support and life-saving work for the national fishing fleet in 1935, is in port primarily to visit a legendary Dublin Bay seafarer who was on her crew when she sailed round the world in 1965-66.

Sandefjord is 15 metres (49ft) hull length and all boat, as her beam of 5 metres gives an unusually hefty 1/3 ratio. Her gaff rig is squat but powerful, while the scantlings of her hull construction are massive. Officially numbered R28 when built at Risor, she was the 28th redningsskoyte constructed for the Norwegian Lifeboat Society to Archer’s designs, and in 22 years of service was credited with saving 117 lives and guiding 258 vessels to safety, while also providing medical assistance as she was a miniature hospital ship.

Sandefjord sailing off Durban in February 1966 before departing on her world voyageSandefjord sailing off Durban in February 1966 before departing on her world voyage

Colin Archer (1832-1921), the Norwegian naval architect and shipwright of Scottish descent, was widely renowned for his successful yachts of which our own Asgard (1905) is now the best-known. But his sailing lifeboats had such a special cachet that even before they were replaced by powered craft in the 1930s, many clients had commissioned cruising yachts based directly on the classic rescue boat hull.

Through several ownerships, Sandefjord inspired special thoughts – this was from the time of Tilly Penso of Capetown, who owned Sandefjord for more than twenty years until his death in 1961.Through several ownerships, Sandefjord inspired special thoughts – this was from the time of Tilly Penso of Capetown, who owned Sandefjord for more than twenty years until his death in 1961

Nevertheless there was something special about seafaring in a genuine retired Colin Archer lifeboat, and they gradually spread across the world. But after thousands of miles of ocean sailing, many ended up in distant places in an abandoned and deteriorating condition.

Tobias Revold, owner of Sandefjord. Nowadays in Norway, ownership of a Colin Archer rescue boat is regarded as a sacred mission. Photo: W M NixonTobias Revold, owner of Sandefjord. Nowadays in Norway, ownership of a Colin Archer rescue boat is regarded as a sacred mission. Photo: W M Nixon

Fortunately a movement for their eventually re-patriation to Norway for restoration and active preservation through busily sailing began to develop, but along the way there were many side adventures, and one such - starting in South Africa in Durban in the 1960s - involved Ireland’s Tim Magennis.

We looked at it in some depth on Afloat.ie in 2013 here when Tim was President of the Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association as they were in the throes of organising one of the main events in the international OGA’s Golden Jubilee.

Tim has since very deservedly become an OGA Honorary Member, but this month the circumnavigation he made with his shipmates 56 years ago has been released as a full-length documentary on Youtube 

You’re strongly advised not to watch it if the approaching prospect of an Irish Autumn and Winter seems somewhat gloomily over-powering. However, for those who can’t resist at least thinking of the South Sea escape, it’s a reminder of a time when we all thought the world was a dangerous Cold War-dominated place, and yet life seemed so much simpler, something to be lived to the fullest and very much in the present, with little thought for tomorrow.

Tim Magennis on Sandefjord in the South Pacific in 1966, “being Jack Nicholson before Jack Nicholson was fully formed”.Tim Magennis on Sandefjord in the South Pacific in 1966, “being Jack Nicholson before Jack Nicholson was fully formed”

Thus we find that in the South Pacific islands in 1966, our own much-loved Tim Magennis mutated into a sort of prototype of Hollywood superstar Jack Nicholson some years before the complete Jack Nicholson Tinseltown persona had been been created. Since then, Tim has gone on through many successful roles, and yesterday in Dun Laoghaire aboard Sandefjord he was right in character as patriarch, father, grandfather, friend to many and admired by all as someone who has lived at least ten lives, and enjoys it all as much as ever.

Tim Magennis in 2013 as President of the Dublin Bay Old gaffers Association at the time of the OGA Golden Jubilee celebrations. Photo: W M NixonTim Magennis in 2013 as President of the Dublin Bay Old gaffers Association at the time of the OGA Golden Jubilee celebrations. Photo: W M Nixon

Tim Magennis back on board Sandefjord in Dun Laoghaire this week. Photo: W M NixonTim Magennis back on board Sandefjord in Dun Laoghaire this week. Photo: W M Nixon

Sandefjord in her restored form has been owned for some years now by Tobias Revold, and it was at the suggestion of Sean Cullen, the captain of Ireland’s national survey vessel and son of one of Tim’s shipmates on Sandefjord’s circumnavigation, that Sandefjord came for her first visit from Norway to Ireland.

Noted ship restorer Paddy Murphy of Renvyle with Sean Cullen. Photo: W M NixonNoted ship restorer Paddy Murphy of Renvyle with Sean Cullen

Sean himself has impeccable crewing credentials with the ship, as post-circumnavigation he sailed as a very youthful crewman when Sandefjord was voyaging from South Africa to her base for several years at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. But even so it took some serendipity to get it all together yesterday afternoon, yet it was clear something special was in the air at the entrance to Dun Laoghaire marina when the great Paddy Murphy of Renvyle in far Connemara, restorer of the legendary Manx nobby Aigh Vie and central to many other projects, arrived like me to pay our respects to a very special vessel and celebrate Tim Magennis’s links with her.

 The extensive flush deck was kept as clear as possible in the assumption that it would regularly be swept by heavily-breaking seas. Photo: W M NixonThe extensive flush deck was kept as clear as possible in the assumption that it would regularly be swept by heavily-breaking seas. Photo: W M Nixon

 With the original tiller steering restored, the only concession to a cockpit is a tiny steering well which is deep enough for the helmsman to crouch down in some shelter if the ship is swept by a really big breaker. Photo: W M NixonWith the original tiller steering restored, the only concession to a cockpit is a tiny steering well which is deep enough for the helmsman to crouch down in some shelter if the ship is swept by a really big breaker. Photo: W M Nixon

Aboard, we found former Cruising Association of Ireland longtime former Commodore John Leahy already being bowled over by the Sandefjord presence, for that’s the effect this very special vessel has on anyone who can grasp just what she means. With all due respect to the many fine yachts based in Dun Laoghaire Marina, she makes them seem slightly frivolous.

Despite Sandefjord’s enormous carrying power, Colin Archer took considerable trouble to keep the weight out of the ends, and the heavy anchor chain was led aft……Photo: W M NixonDespite Sandefjord’s enormous carrying power, Colin Archer took considerable trouble to keep the weight out of the ends, and the heavy anchor chain was led aft……Photo: W M Nixon

…..to a powerful windlass aft of the mainmast, and then lowered into a chain-locker abeam of the mast. Photo: W M Nixon…..to a powerful windlass aft of the mainmast, and then lowered into a chain-locker abeam of the mast. Photo: W M Nixon

Meanwhile, the sense of occasion was a-building towards the arrival of the Main Man. If you’re berthed on the furthest pontoon of Dun Laoghaire Marina, you’ve to walk for exactly one kilometre before you reach dry land. But though Sandefjord was berthed opposite the Irish Lights base and by no means as far away as she might have been, we of the osteo-arthritic brigade knew it was plenty far by the time we got there. However, Sean had thought of this for Tim, far and away the most senior of our brigade, and had organised a RIB to convey him from the marina gates to the scene of the action. Marina del Rey, how are you?

While Sandefjord is as authentic as possible above decks, some concessions to contemporary comfort have been made in her accommodation, but there are still signs of her original existence as a mini-Hospital Ship. Photo: W M NixonWhile Sandefjord is as authentic as possible above decks, some concessions to contemporary comfort have been made in her accommodation, but there are still signs of her original existence as a mini-Hospital Ship. Photo: W M Nixon

It turned out to be such a stylish mode of access that I couldn’t help but think of the arrival of herself in Antony & Cleopatra - “the barge she sat in, like a burnish’d throne…purple the sails etc etc…”. But you have to understand that for anyone with the slightest knowledge of the Sandefjord story, with its links to Colin Archer and thereby to Asgard and much else, we were all going through a charisma-filled experience which is going to take quite a bit of processing over the next few days.

Tobias Revold and his crew will be preparing Sandefjord for departure through Thursday (August 18th), so Dun Laoghaire’s time with The Presence is limited. But if you happen to see her in the meantime, she deserves a pause for thought and respect.

Sandefjord has real charisma, she deserves a pause for thought and respect. Photo: John LeahySandefjord has real charisma, she deserves a pause for thought and respect. Photo: John Leahy

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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