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An Appreciation of Clare Hogan

18th April 2021
Clare Hogan at Cork Week 1976
Clare Hogan at Cork Week 1976

Clare Hogan, who sadly died on 10th April 2021, taken from us so prematurely, will be sorely missed by her sailing friends, particularly those of us in the Irish Dragon Class. She sailed from the Royal St George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire in her Dragons "Aphrodite" and "Cloud".

Clare came from a sailing family where her brothers Peter, Neil and Tom are well-known sailors. Clare enjoyed success in her Cadet as a young teenager.

In College, she joined the UCD Sailing Club becoming a Committee member, where her efforts played no small part in reviving the Club and putting it back on a sound financial footing.

Clare studied to become an Architect. She was the first lady elected auditor of the UCD Architectural Society. She worked in private practice in Paris, before returning to Dublin. Whilst working in Dublin, she gained a Masters degree in Urban Building Conservation. She then joined Dublin City Council as their Conservation Architect gaining a second Masters degree in spatial planning. One of her last projects for the DCC was the restoration of the Smithfield Fruit and Vegetable Market building in Dublin.

More recently, Clare returned to private practice principally providing conservation advice to architects and local authorities and was regarded as one of the pre-eminent conservation specialists in the country.

Clare was never ordinary, for example in her early twenties, Clare cruised onboard Rory O'Hanlon's "Meermin" to Iceland and Jan Mayen island N of 70 degrees latitude, where they experienced and survived horrendous conditions, including a knockdown, loss of a rudder, a snapped anchor chain in 60 – 70 knot winds, resulting in a broken bow-sprit having virtually gone on the rocks. Clare's capabilities must have been extraordinary throughout these life-threatening experiences. The ICC log of this cruise is an incredible read.

For some, Clare came to prominence in the Dragon Class in 1976 when she borrowed the Dragon "Elfin", sailed with a crew of two to Abersoch in what transpired to be particularly heavy winds, to participate in the Edinburgh Cup. The Dragon "Isolde" from Howth also sailed across the Irish Sea, but foul weather and poor visibility forced her to seek shelter overnight in a bay North of Bardsey Sound. Clare arrived safely and featured during the series by making a port tack start in one of the races and on conclusion of the event, sailed back to Dun Laoghaire.

In the following years Clare sailed predominantly offshore aboard Ciaran Foley’s Stephen Jones-designed Oyster 43 Stormbird and his Dubois 54 - also called Stormbird - while she put in further offshore miles with Barry O’Donnell’s Oyster 37 Sundowner.

Clare at the helm of the Dubois 54 StormbirdClare at the helm of the Dubois 54 Stormbird

Clare helming "Sundowner". Photo courtesy BekenClare helming "Sundowner". Photo courtesy Beken

She enjoyed some measure of success in Cork Week, Round Ireland, Cowes Week and Fastnet Races and raced on the Irish Admiral's Cup team in 1983.

From inshore and offshore racing Clare advanced to her real passion, one-design racing, and joined the J24 class with the "Flying Ferret".

Later she campaigned on Michael Cotter's "Whisper" and "Windfall", both Southern Wind yachts, featuring in the Middle Sea Race, Maxi Regattas, Voile de St Barth and particularly the 2009 Fastnet Race, which achieved a fifth overall and fifth line honours. As well as capably doing her shift on the helm, Clare could more than acquit herself in the galley.

On her return to Dragons in the nineties, Clare enjoyed more than her share of success particularly in light and unstable conditions. She travelled extensively to International Dragon Regattas and Championships, primarily in the UK and France. Clare actually won a race in the Gold Cup with approximately 70 starters. The race was sadly declared void by the Jury as it was deemed not to have fulfilled all the required Gold Cup conditions.

Clare gave so much back to sailing with her presence alone, but she also did "the hard yards", serving on various sailing committees including the Royal Alfred Yacht Club where she served as Commodore. Clare also became a National Race Judge.

Clare's quick wit and good humour attracted people to her. Her daily blog on board "Whisper" in the 2009 Fastnet Race was legendary and surely should be published somewhere. Clare won first prize for her race blog, which was followed by most of the fleet and many more ashore. She had become famous even before the race concluded in Plymouth. Clare's straight-talking kept those who crossed her in no doubt where they stood. On one occasion she made it known that she disapproved of an extension that a fellow Dragon sailor had built to his house. On his first Christmas, he received a card from Clare with the envelope addressed to "The incredibly ugly house on the Stillorgan Road opposite RTE". Much to Clare's satisfaction and his disgust, the postman had no trouble delivering the card.

Clare; Gone but not forgottenClare; gone but not forgotten

In life, Clare was simply an amazing woman who made a difference. She may be gone but not forgotten.

Clare is survived by her daughter Moselle, her brothers Peter, Neil and Tom and her sister Felicity.

PVM

Afloat.ie Team

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Royal St. George Yacht Club

The Royal St George Yacht Club was founded in Dun Laoghaire (then Kingstown) Harbour in 1838 by a small number of like-minded individuals who liked to go rowing and sailing together. The club gradually gathered pace and has become, with the passage of time and the unstinting efforts of its Flag Officers, committees and members, a world-class yacht club.

Today, the ‘George’, as it is known by everyone, maybe one of the world’s oldest sailing clubs, but it has a very contemporary friendly outlook that is in touch with the demands of today and offers world-class facilities for all forms of water sports

Royal St. George Yacht Club FAQs

The Royal St George Yacht Club — often abbreviated as RStGYC and affectionately known as ‘the George’ — is one of the world’s oldest sailing clubs, and one of a number that ring Dublin Bay on the East Coast of Ireland.

The Royal St George Yacht Club is based at the harbour of Dun Laoghaire, a suburban coastal town in south Co Dublin around 11km south-east of Dublin city centre and with a population of some 26,000. The Royal St George is one of the four Dun Laoghaire Waterfront Clubs, along with the National Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club (RIYC) and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club (DMYC).

The Royal St George was founded by members of the Pembroke Rowing Club in 1838 and was originally known as Kingstown Boat Club, as Kingstown was what Dun Laoghaire was named at the time. The club obtained royal patronage in 1845 and became known as Royal Kingstown Yacht Club. After 1847 the club took on its current name.

The George is first and foremost an active yacht club with a strong commitment to and involvement with all aspects of the sport of sailing, whether racing your one design on Dublin Bay, to offshore racing in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, to junior sailing, to cruising and all that can loosely be described as “messing about in boats”.

As of November 2020, the Commodore of the Royal St George Yacht Club is Peter Bowring, with Richard O’Connor as Vice-Commodore. The club has two Rear-Commodores, Mark Hennessy for Sailing and Derek Ryan for Social.

As of November 2020, the Royal St George has around 1,900 members.

The Royal St George’s burgee is a red pennant with a white cross which has a crown at its centre. The club’s ensign has a blue field with the Irish tricolour in its top left corner and a crown towards the bottom right corner.

Yes, the club hosts regular weekly racing for dinghies and keelboats as well as a number of national and international sailing events each season. Major annual events include the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, hosted in conjunction with the three other Dun Laoghaire Waterfront Clubs.

Yes, the Royal St George has a vibrant junior sailing section that organises training and events throughout the year.

Sail training is a core part of what the George does, and training programmes start with the Sea Squirts aged 5 to 8, continuing through its Irish Sailing Youth Training Scheme for ages 8 to 18, with adult sail training a new feature since 2009. The George runs probably the largest and most comprehensive programme each summer with upwards of 500 children participating. This junior focus continues at competitive level, with coaching programmes run for aspiring young racers from Optimist through to Lasers, 420s and Skiffs.

 

The most popular boats raced at the club are one-design keelboats such as the Dragon, Shipman 28, Ruffian, SB20, Squib and J80; dinghy classes including the Laser, RS200 and RS400; junior classes the 420, Optimist and Laser Radial; and heritage wooden boats including the Water Wags, the oldest one-design dinghy class in the world. The club also has a large group of cruising yachts.

The Royal St George is based in a Victorian-style clubhouse that dates from 1843 and adjoins the harbour’s Watering Pier. The clubhouse was conceived as a miniature classical Palladian Villa, a feature which has been faithfully maintained despite a series of extensions, and a 1919 fire that destroyed all but four rooms. Additionally, the club has a substantial forecourt with space for more than 50 boats dry sailing, as well as its entire dinghy fleet. There is also a dry dock, four cranes (limit 12 tonnes) and a dedicated lift=out facility enabling members keep their boats in ready to race condition at all times. The George also has a floating dock for short stays and can supply fuel, power and water to visitors.

Yes, the Royal St George’s clubhouse offers a full bar and catering service for members, visitors and guests. Currently the bar is closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The Royal St George boathouse is open daily from 9.30am to 5.30pm during the winter. The office and reception are open Tuesdays to Fridays from 10am to 5pm. The bar is currently closed due to Covid-19 restrictions. Lunch is served on Wednesdays and Fridays from 12.30pm to 2.30pm, with brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 3pm.

Yes, the Royal St George regularly hosts weddings and family celebrations from birthdays to christenings, and offers a unique and prestigious location to celebrate your day. The club also hosts corporate meetings, sailing workshops and company celebrations with a choice of rooms. From small private meetings to work parties and celebrations hosting up to 150 guests, the club can professionally and successfully manage your corporate requirements. In addition, team building events can utilise its fleet of club boats and highly trained instructors. For enquiries contact Laura Smart at [email protected] or phone 01 280 1811.

The George is delighted to welcome new members. It may look traditional — and is proud of its heritage — but behind the facade is a lively and friendly club, steeped in history but not stuck in it. It is a strongly held belief that new members bring new ideas, new skills and new contacts on both the sailing and social sides.

No — members can avail of the club’s own fleet of watercraft.

There is currently no joining fee for new members of the Royal St George. The introductory ordinary membership subscription fee is €775 annually for the first two years. A full list of membership categories and related annual subscriptions is available.

Membership subscriptions are renewed on an annual basis

Full contact details for the club and its staff can be found at the top of this page

©Afloat 2020

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