Displaying items by tag: National Yacht Club
After cancelling its 2020 championships twice, the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) has now seen fit to move the dates of its 2021 National Championships from May to September next year because of the continuing threat of COVID-19.
In a statement issued this afternoon, Commodore Richard Colwell, said "It is now evident that the continued impact of Covid-19 will be felt well into 2021. With that in mind, ICRA was conscious of a need to provide as much time as possible to try and ensure that a National Championship does take place in 2021".
As such, ICRA says it has worked with Dun Laoghaire Harbour's National Yacht Club, the 2021 hosts of the event, to rearrange the National Championship dates from its original date in late May, to an alternative date in early September 2021.
The new dates for next year's ICRA National Championships are September 3rd - 5th 2021.
In 2020, it was originally planned to race the ICRA Nationals as part of Cork Week and RCYC's 300th celebrations and when that July date was cancelled, ICRA opted to race as part of Septembers' rescheduled Wave Regatta which in turn was axed at Howth also due to COVID leaving the championships not sailed for the first time in its 18-year-history.
The National Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire Harbour is set to run the first of their 'Covid Friendly' match racing events this weekend. Eight Under 25 teams will battle it out in the club's fleet of four Elliott Six-Metre sportsboats.
As the first event of its kind, the aim is to increase the interest and involvement of youth sailors in match racing.
The racing format will consist of two sessions, morning and afternoon with finals in the evening. Each session will have four teams of three sailors each that are counted as their own pod.
The top two teams from each session will progress to the finals. Teams will race in four boats to avoid changeovers and maintain social distancing.
The boats will also be sanitised before each session. It is great to see such activity happening in the club throughout COVID-19, and every precaution is being taken to ensure the event remains compliant.
The event follows on from the NYC150 Regatta last week that attracted a record turnout on Dublin Bay this season.
For a Class that has been synonymous with the National Yacht Club, for a significant period of time, – there are seventeen Flying Fifteens parked on the deck – it was entirely appropriate that there should be a good turnout for the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Club. Thirteen boats from the host club were joined by two from the DMYC and one from the RStGYC for the three-race event on Saturday past.
XCWeather was forecasting 12- 15 knots with gusts in the 18/19 range and that was an accurate assessment of what was enjoyed on the water. Wind direction was slightly north of west and that wasn't too far of the mark either.
International Race Officer Con Murphy and his team were able to give his charges – SB20s, Sportsboats, Dragons, Fifteens, Ruffians and Shipmans a good-length beat with two laps for each race.
The consensus view as to go left off the first start line towards the shore and by halfway up the beat it was apparent that Ian Mathews and Keith Poole (3864, The Gruffalo) were going to be the boat to catch. By the rounding of the first weather mark they had a comfortable lead and could watch the peloton chasing them with some comfort. The peloton consisted of John Lavery & Alan Green (4803, Phoenix), Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (4028, Ffuzzy), Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley (4801, Enfant de Marie), and Alistair Court & Conor O'Leary (3753, Ffinnisterre). While Mathews & Poole were undisturbed after the first weather mark, Lavery, Colin and Mulligan found themselves in reasonably close company for the balance of the race, before finishing in the order, Lavery, Colin, Mulligan, Court, behind Mathews.
Mulligan & Bradley led the second race to the first weather mark and enjoyed the same position down the first downwind leg. However, Lavery & Green were lurking and towards the last third of the second beat, they took the lead and applied a loose cover on Mulligan to the second weather mark. Behind these two Colin & Casey were having an excellent day sitting in third place with Niall Meagher & Nicki Mathews (3938, The Ffantastic Mr Fox) appearing well up the pecking order. Tom Murphy & Karl (4057, Fflagella) were also part of the peloton chasing the lead pair. Mathews & Poole were conspicuous by their absence and they would eventually finish in 9th place. Ahead of them, the finishing order was Lavery, Mulligan, Colin, Meagher and Murphy.
For the final race of the day, Mathews & Poole got the "bit between their teeth" to quote my helm and repeated the performance of the first race, storming into a first-leg lead that they never relinquished. Colin & Casey were also well up the order in a podium place, enjoying the fresh conditions. Murphy too had an excellent star and first beat to establish a place at the head of the fleet. Lavery found himself having to chase the lead boats to get into the race and he and Mulligan joined the bunch chasing Mathews. Throughout the race, the two new boats were either crossing tacks or watching each other down the offwind legs and in the second run down to the leeward mark a poor gybe by Bradley saw Lavery park his bow very close to Mulligan's transom. This was enough to give Lavery an incentive to chase Mulligan into the finish-line upwind of the committee boat and with the boats overlapped on the finish line, Lavery got the nod to finish fourth, behind Mathews, Colin and Murphy.
With no formal prize-giving for the day, the DMYC boats, Colin and Mulligan headed westwards and tried to work out the overall results for the day – the debate being – Was a discard applicable or not? The first iteration of an overall result had an incorrect result for Lavery and a discard applying. That gave the regatta win to Mathews & Poole (1, 1) versus 1,4 for Lavery, 2,3 for Colin and 2,4 for Mulligan.
Then the correction was applied to Lavery's first race result giving him back his second place. With a discard applying Mathews was still in pole position, but Lavery jumped to second, with Colin down to third.
But if all races were to count, the result changed again with Lavery taking pole position (2, 1, 4), Colin second (3,3,2), Mathews third (1,9,1) and Mulligan fourth (4,2,5).
It appears the NoR may have specified the discard rule for "less than three races" and "more than three races", but not for the actual three races sailed.
But for the purposes of this report the results (of the races) are;
- John Lavery & Alan Green, NYC; 4083, Phoenix: 2, 1, 4
- Neil Colin & Margaret Casey, DMYC; 4028, Ffuzzy: 3, 3, 2
- Ian Mathews & Keith Poole, NYC; 3864, The Gruffalo: 1, 9, 1
- Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley, DMYC; 4081, Enfant de Marie: 4, 2, 5
- Tom Murphy & Karl, NYC: 4057, Fflagella: 9, 5, 3
IRO Con Murphy gave us an excellent day's racing and post the event many people noted how physical the day had been – but in a very pleasurable way!
It was a lively day of racing for Fireballs during the NYC 150th Race Day today at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. While the class was dismayed to hear that racing would be confined to the harbour the wind gods smiled on the fleet and sailors enjoyed westerly winds between 12 and 24 knots.
In race one, Frank Miller/Ed Butler led to the weather mark but a sudden vacuum of air at the mark caused a significant teabagging ceremony which allowed Noel Butler with crew Neil Cramer fly past into a lead which they never relinquished. Miller/Butler shook themselves down and gave chase, with Louise McKenna/Hermine O'Keeffe hot on their heels. The latter overtook downwind but were reeled in again when Miller/Butler gybed and regained inside overlap before the leeward mark. In race two, Butler/Cramer got clean away at the start and were never challenged. Miller/Butler had a disastrous start and spent the entire race recovering. Owen Sinnott and Grattan Donnelly sailed an excellent race, especially upwind where they perfectly judged the shifts and variations in pressure to stretch their lead on the chasing pack and were rewarded with a second place. In race three Butler/Cramer again got away from the pack with Miller/Butler closest behind. With the wind up a notch that pair pulled away from the followers to score 2nd, followed by McKenna/O'Keeffe, Sinnott/Donnelly.
Three wins (one to discard) gave Butler/Cramer the overall event with Miller/Butler second and Sinnott/Donnelly 3rd. Mention should be made of those relatively new to Fireballs who took part in fresh and exciting conditions and lived to tell the tale including Paul Ter Host and Colm Breen from SID and young Clodagh Fischer with her father Glen on the wire.
As the class had designated this event as it's Leinsters Butler got to keep the trophy which carried along in his sailing bag. All in all a great day's racing and thanks are due to the NYC, the organisers, race committee and rescue volunteers who made it possible.
Today's National Yacht Club 150th anniversary regatta saw a large fleet of 152 dinghies and keelboats complete a full programme of races for NYC Sesquicentennial medals.
Raced in moderate to fresh North Westerly breezes, up to three races were sailed in some of the 22 competing classes that was managed on the water by Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC).
Prima Forte from the Royal Irish Yacht Club was the Cruisers Zero winner on IRC and the NYC's own Gringo was the Class One winner.
Chimaera won the J109 division and the NYC entry Prospect was the 31.7 winner.
As Afloat reported earlier, last night a small but important ceremony was held at the NYC where waterfront Commodores gathered to receive special NYC burgees as a token of appreciation for the support in staging today's special event.
Full results are below
DBSC Results for 05/09/2020
Cruiser 0 IRC: 1. Prima Forte, 2. Wow, 3. D-Tox
Cruiser 0 Echo: 1. Prima Forte, 2. Wow, 3. D-Tox
Cruiser 1 IRC: 1. Gringo, 2. Chimaera, 3. Joker 2
Cruiser 1 Echo: 1. Joker 2, 2. Gringo, 3. Chimaera
Cruiser 1 J109: 1. Chimaera, 2. Joker 2, 3. Jalapeno
31.7 One Design: 1. Prospect, 2. Levante, 3. Attitude
31.7 Echo: 1. Attitude, 2. Levante, 3. Fiddly Bits
Cruiser 2 IRC: 1. Windjammer, 2. Rupert, 3. Peridot
Cruiser 2 Echo: 1. Rupert, 2. Enchantress, 3. Springer
Cruiser 2 Sigma 33: 1. Rupert, 2. Springer, 3. Enchantress
Cruiser 3 IRC: 1. Dubious, 2. Starlet, 3. Eleint
Cruiser 3 Echo: 1. Papytoo, 2. Pamafe, 3=. Dubious, 3=. Eleint
Cruiser 5 NS-IRC: 1. Gung Ho, 2. The Great Escape, 3. Act Two
Cruiser 5 Echo: 1. Sweet Martini, 2. Spirit, 3. Katienua
SB20: 1. Ted, 2. Sneaky B, 3. Carpe Diem
Sportsboat: 1. Jamiroquai
Dragon: 1. Phantom, 2. D-Cision
Flying 15: 1. The Gruffalo, 2. 4083 (JL), 3. FFuZZy
Ruffian: 1. Bandit, 2. Ripples, 3. Ruffles
Shipman: 1. Viking, 2. Jo Slim, 3. The Den
B211 One Design: 1. Chinook, 2. Plan B, 3. Billy Whizz
Glen: 1. Glen Luce, 2. GlenDun
PY Class: 1. R Tate, 2. B Foley, 3. S Dwyer
IDRA 14: 1. Dart, 2. Diane
Fireball: 1. F Miller, 2. O Sinnott, 3. P ter Horst
Laser Standard: 1. G Murphy, 2. R Wallace, 3. F Walker
Laser Radial: 1. H O'Connor, 2. S Craig, 3. R Geraghty-McDonnell
Laser 4.7: 1. F McDonnell, 2. L Turvey, 3. A Daly
SB20: 1. Ted, 2. So Blue, 3. Carpe Diem
Sportsboat: 1. Jamiroquai
Dragon: 1. Phantom, 2. D-Cision
Flying 15: 1. 4083 (JL), 2. Enfant de Marie, 3. FFuZZy
B211 One Design: 1. Yikes, 2. Chinook, 3. Billy Whizz
B211 Echo: 1. Beeswing, 2. Billy Whizz, 3. Ventuno
PY Class: 1. M Gavin, 2. B Foley, 3. R Tate
IDRA 14: 1. Dart, 2. Diane
Fireball: 1. O Sinnott, 2. F Miller, 3. P ter Horst
Laser Standard: 1. F Walker, 2. R Wallace, 3. T Lyttle
Laser Radial: 1. R Geraghty-McDonnell, 2. S Craig, 3. C Gorman
Laser 4.7: 1. H Turvey, 2. A Daly, 3. F McDonnell
PY Class: 1. B Foley, 2. R Tate, 3. S Dwyer
IDRA 14: 1. Diane, 2. Dart
Fireball: 1. O Sinnott, 2. F Miller, 3. P ter Horst
Laser Standard: 1. R Wallace, 2. F Walker, 3. C Arrowsmith
Laser Radial: 1. R Geraghty-McDonnell, 2. S Craig, 3. J O'Driscoll
Laser 4.7: 1. L Turvey, 2. F McDonnell, 3. A Daly
National Yacht Club Commodore Martin McCarthy yesterday presented a special flag to each of four neighbouring Clubs as a mark of Solidarity and to thank them for helping his Club hold a Raceday to celebrate the Club's 150th anniversary.
Commodore McCarthy said, before a socially distanced, outdoor, audience, led by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Cathaoirleach Cllr. Una Power: "We are marking the formal announcement of the National Yacht Club's Sesquicentennial Raceday which is the sailing highlight of this historic year for our Club. In a typical year, we would have a four-day Regatta with lots of parties and fireworks. It would have been one of the four Regattas hosted here in Dun Laoghaire – one by each of the waterfront Clubs.
Last May, it became clear that with Covid 19, everything has changed in the world – and the Sailing world.
An idea came from the Royal St. George YC to have a single event, to be called the Solidarity Regatta, run by all the Clubs together. As time went on, it became clear that the problem with events were not the events themselves – but the post-event social side. So, it was whittled down to a one-day event – without a social side – and now termed a RACEDAY.
In a splendid gesture of Solidarity, our neighbouring Clubs allowed us to proceed with this event, renamed The NYC 150th Raceday, forgoing their Regattas.
Words cannot express how grateful we are to the other clubs, not just giving us the window to have a celebration of our 150th on the water – but for enthusiastically supporting it.
In that context, we have a special commemorative Flag designed and made to mark this occasion.
We presented a National YC 150th Flag to:
- Frank Gilfoyle, Commodore of Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club
- Pat Shannon, Commodore of Royal Irish Yacht Club
- Peter Bowring, Commodore of the Royal St. George Yacht Club
- Ann Kirwan, Vice Commodore of Dublin Bay Sailing Club
I also want to thank the Race Officers for the event, Eddie Totterdell & Con Murphy and the DBSC team, who has done trojan work in drawing up the plans for the Raceday. We expect to have 175 entries, from across the waterfront.
I especially want to thank Dun Laoghaire Rathdown CoCo Caothaoirleach, Una Power for being here today to mark this historic occasion.
The Council's support has been invaluable, and we much appreciate it, as we are planning now for the impacts of Covid 19, which, while temporary, is serious and maybe around for some time."
Cathaoirleach Power said: "This is an especially significant year for the National YC, which was founded, on this spot 150 years ago. The Clubs have shown great Solidarity to make the Raceday possible, and it is this spirit that we will need to show to help our tourism economy make a full recovery. Sailing is a significant employer, and we hope that we can get back to seeing more big sailing events in the future."
The 1906-built Dublin Bay Water Wag Pansy has been in the ownership of the Delany family since 1939. But while she has won many trophies, the absence of medals as prizes in local One Design racing has meant that winning one has been something rare and special, to be celebrated in depth and at leisure. In fact, the last time Pansy won a significant medal was thirty-six years ago, at the Centenary Regatta of Dublin Bay Sailing Club in 1984, when she was sailed to victory by Water Wag legend Alf Delany.
Once upon a time, Alf had the great Eric Tabarly as guest helm on board. But that only served to demonstrate that Pansy definitely needs a Delany to do the driving. These days, the driving Delany is Alf’s son Vincent. And now, Vincent can savour something similar to winning the 1984 medal, because although the main part of the National YC’s 150th Anniversary Regatta is going to be raced this Saturday (September 5th), in best Dun Laoghaire harbour style the weekly Wednesday evening contest of the historic Water Wag class was rated as the opening event of the Sesquicentennial Celebration. And in a fleet of 22 classic clinker-built boats yesterday (Wednesday) evening, Vincent and Pansy were in cracking form, clinching the win and being awarded the first Sesquicentennial Medal by NYC Commodore Martin McCarthy at a socially-distanced post-race dinner in the NYC clubhouse this week.
It is unusual to have two leading figures sharing the "Sailor of the Month (Services to Sailing)" award. And it surely unique when one is Admiral of the world's oldest yacht club, the Royal Cork at Crosshaven, in its Tricentenary Year, while the other is Commodore of the National YC in Dun Laoghaire as it marks its 150th Anniversary.
Yet both have shared an indomitable spirit in encouraging and leading their members in whatever sailing and club activity is possible through the COVID-19 crisis, and both, in turn, have seen their members support with a sense of responsible community which is a credit to both clubs, and to Irish sailing generally.
This was celebrated by a very special occasion on the morning of Saturday, August 22nd, when a small but select and carefully-choreographed gathering, hosted by Commodore Martin McCarthy at the National YC, marked the imminent start of the Fastnet 450 Race to the Fastnet Rock and Crosshaven. Afloat and ashore, it was to be a very special event which cemented the links between the clubs and their senior flag officers, and provided Irish sailing with a much-needed highlight in a difficult year.
Admiral Morehead attended from Cork – as did his predecessor Thomas G French for the first such race 160 years ago, in 1860 - and there too was the new Cathaoirleach of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Councillor Una Power, to show her support for the increasingly important role sailing fulfills in the harbour.
Also, there were former NYC Commodore and current ISORA Chairman Peter Ryan - whose organisational support and loan of Yellowbrick Trackers was vital to the success of the race – and current SCORA Commodore Johanna Murphy of Cobh who, together with RCYC Rear Admiral Annamarie Murphy and Mark Mansfield, formed the core trio that put this very successful pop-up race into place.
As for the Guests of Honour, they emphasised the long and healthy links between the two clubs. One was Clayton Love Jnr, who amalgamated the Royal Cork and Royal Munster in 1967 to give it full strength for its Quarter Millennium fifty years ago, when he served as Admiral RCYC while at the same time being President of the Irish Yachting Association, which he guided into national authority status from being the Irish Dinghy Racing Association.
And the other was the National Yacht Club's own indomitable Carmel Winkelmann, who in the 1960s led the way in setting up the pioneering junior training section in the National YC, and from that went on to play a major national role in Junior Training through the IYA.
It may have been a socially-distanced gathering of very restricted numbers, but in national sailing terms – both current and historical - it certainly packed formidable firepower, and well illustrates why we feel honoured to celebrate Colin Morehead and Martin McCarthy as our "Sailors of the Month (Services to Sailing)" for August 2020.
A year ago, the Irish Flying Fifteen community was gearing itself up for the Subaru World Championships in Dun Laoghaire Harbour when a 72-boat fleet contested the Championships in what was considered, post-event, to have been a very successful regatta. Of course, the fact that Race Officer Jack Roy managed to get enough races completed in conditions that embraced the full spectrum of wind strengths to give everyone a second discard helped enormously. But in addition to the wind, we had sunshine and a well-organised shore team to make sure that launching and recovery went as smoothly as possible when 72 boats are trying to get onto and off the water. Socially, the National Yacht Club and the organising committee put together a schedule that kept everyone happy.
In the build-up to the Worlds, we saw several new boats added to the fleet, Tom Murphy's 4057, "Fflagella" (late 2018), David Mulvin's 4068, "Ignis Caput II" (2019) and Bryan Willis' 4074 "Pure Gold". (2019) However, it is in the post-Worlds environment that the state of health of a class is most precarious. The Dun Laoghaire Harbour Flying Fifteen fleet has bucked the trend and seen a further injection of new boats in this Covid-19 ravaged season which only got underway in late July.
The first of these to hit the water was 4081, Phoenix, saw the return of John Lavery to the fleet with Alan Green at the pointy end. Their debut on the DBSC circuit saw them open their account with a 1, 2 on 8th August and followed it up with a 1,3 on 15th August. Since then they have added the Championship of Ireland to their haul, winning a four-race Championship in a very breezy Dunmore East with a three-day event reduced to a single day of racing. In another indication of the rude health of the Class, a significant number of boats from N Ireland contested the regatta, significant because of the combined effects of Covid-19 and the adverse implication of an unseasonal August storm that saw Friday's racing cancelled by WhatsApp at 08:00 (approx.) that morning. Saturday's racing went the same way, but the fleet went sailing on Sunday in big seas generated by the storm. Downwind was exhilarating we are told!
The second of the new boats to be added to the 2020 fleet arrived later than intended due to Covid-19 and a relaxed delivery schedule. Ben Mulligan's 4081, "Enfant de Marie" hit the water on the Saturday of the Championship of Ireland, but in Dublin Bay, not Dunmore East. With the Fifteens' DBSC race cancelled, Mulligan and Cormac Bradley tested the new boat in high, blustery winds and found all systems to be working well. Their race debut in DBSC came in a fifteen-boat fleet last Saturday. The forecast was for breeze out of the north, quite strong in the early morning, but forecast to drop as the day wore on – at least to manageable strengths. Race Officer Barry O'Neill set a long course to blow away the cobwebs and was "rewarded" by the fleet misbehaving at the start, necessitating a General Recall. It would be unfair to cast dispersions as to who may have jumped the gun, but the author's sense was that it just wasn't one or two boats. It prompted Mulligan & Bradley to review which way to go up the beat, and that saw them at the opposite end of the start line to the aborted start – the committee boat. Negotiating a course around Neil Colin and Margaret Casey (4028 – Ffuzzy), they were closest to the committee boat and free to tack out to the right-hand side of the beat. Our sense was that while there was more tide out there (ebbing), there was also more breeze. Colin & Casey appeared to agree with that synopsis, and from a poor start by their standards, their decision was vindicated when they rounded the weather mark in the peloton. Mulligan/Bradley having committed from the "get-go" to that side found themselves in a healthy position as they came across on starboard to close on the mark. With the whole fleet bar those as mentioned above two going left, the debutants found themselves with a healthy gap to the chasing pack, led by Ian Matthews and Keith Poole, 3864, "The Gruffalo". Also featuring prominently was David Mulvin and Ronan Beirne (4068) and Tom Murphy with Karl (4057). Joe Coughlan and Andrew (Ash, 3913) were also well up the pecking order.
It is testimony to the course accuracy that everyone had to gybe at least twice to make their way to the leeward mark. Mulligan/Bradley enjoyed a healthy gap to the chasing pack and maintained that distance to the second weather mark. Down the second run, Matthews & Poole closed when the leaders got themselves out of synch with the gybes, but they regained their distance when Matthews got the finish configuration wrong, going for the leeward mark, rather than rounding up to a finish line set to weather of the committee boat. They managed to save their second place, followed home by Murphy (4057), Coughlan (3913) and Colin (4028). Thus Mulligan/Bradley enjoyed a maiden win in their new boat.
The second race produced a more orderly start, Mulligan favouring the same approach as Race 1, but having to manoeuvre around Coughlan to achieve that objective. However, not all the fleet were committed to the left as had been the case in the first race and at the top mark, the leaders were Matthews & Poole. The chasing pack consisted of Mulvin, Colin, Murphy, with Mulligan back in 5th place. The run saw little change in the pecking order, but there was an element of "concertina-ing" at the leeward mark and a gap opened for Mulligan to sneak in. A quick tack on to starboard for a short hitch to the left followed by another tack saw Mulligan/Bradley virtually pointing at the weather mark, albeit from the bottom end of the beat. That short tack allowed three places to be gained over the length of the beat and saw Mulligan/Bradley chasing Matthews/Poole down the final run. They appeared to be closing at one stage, but Matthews pulled away again to maintain his lead to the finish. Mulligan/Bradley held the chasing boats off to finish second, followed by Colin, Mulvin and Murphy.
As it stands, the Saturday Series is as follows;
- David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne 26pts
- Ian Matthews & Keith Poole 35pts
- Alan Green & Chris Doorly 36pts
- Ken Dumpelton & Crew(s) 43pts
- Neil Colin & Margaret Casey 50pts
Twenty-two Flying Fifteens are on the DBSC register for Saturday, and a fleet of fifteen boats from that cohort is healthy by any measure. Outside the classes that sail to a handicap, this makes the Class the largest in Dublin Bay. We know a third new boat is destined for Dun Laoghaire, bought by an individual who is of the view that if you want regular two-handed competitive sailing, this is the only fleet that can provide it on the East Coast. We also note that the Afloat website has another Flying Fifteen (4060) advertised for sale.
Regatta-wise the fleet will sail the National Yacht Club regatta this weekend coming and two weeks later will contest the East Coast Championships at the same venue. DL Class Captain Neil Colin encourages as many boats as possible to support these two events.
The Fastnet 450 starts today (Saturday) at 1300hrs in Dublin Bay, and sends the fleet on a 270-mile course southward, taking them all the way to the Fastnet Rock before finishing back at the entrance to Cork Harbour, clear of the coast and shoreside communities throughout the race. The 450 comes from the combined ages of the Royal Cork YC and the National YC – 300 and 150 years respectively. As both have been prevented by the pandemic from implementing anything but the most basic parts of their planned celebrations, there's an impressive amount of pent-up energy going into this one permissible pop-up offshore event, which is COVID-compliant with designated Crew Pods.
This event has come to mean so much for the ultimate well-being of Irish sailing in this frustrated season of 2020 that it would surely be for the best if we could somehow – for the time being at least - set aside the burden of expectation which many are putting on it as primarily an icon of hope, and see it instead as just a uniquely historical challenge which will provide an enthusiastic group of Irish sailors with a very welcome sporting challenge, in which everyone will live for the moment and seize the day, without risking anyone's health.
In hoping to achieve that attitude this weekend, we are helped by that sometimes much-maligned yet ever-present element in our sport, the Irish weather. After a week of some of the grimmest weather - by any metric - in Irish meteorological history, whether summer or winter, our climate seems to have decided that a few light-hearted days won't go amiss.
Admittedly we are not going to have a high-summer weekend of firmly settled weather. And by the time the fleet are getting themselves past Hook Head tomorrow morning after a fast reaching-to-close-reaching passage in an "off the grass" southwest to west wind down the east coast, they'll know for sure that they've put in some real offshore slugging to windward from the Tuskar out past the Coningbeg, particularly when the ebb is running against the big leftover swell which – for a while – will be one of the legacies of the now well-gone Storm Ellen.
But through Sunday there'll be a modest attempt at a pet day as a weak ridge builds, and they may even get the breeze drawing off the land before the wind starts to back on the west side of the ridge, when the leaders may well be closing towards the handbrake turn at the Fastnet. The way that plays out – coupled with the inevitability of local breezes or even calm spots - is going to make for a fascinating comparison of the racing benefits or otherwise of different boat sizes and types.
For although it may seem to be a very compact fleet, with all 20 boats in the 31ft to 40ft LOA range, the difference in performance possibilities increases exponentially. And while it may not be so extreme as the variations in wind power, where a Beaufort Force 6 of 25 to 32 knots is actually exerting 200 times the pressure of a Beaufort Force 2 of 5 to 8 knots, nevertheless the windward potential of a 40 footer such as Denis and Annamarie Murphy's Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo, or Chris and Patanne Smith's J/122 Aurelia, is in a different category completely to the upwind speed ability of little 'uns like Grzegorz Kalnecki's First 31.7 More Mischief from Dun Laoghaire, or Conor and Derek Dillon's Dehler 34 Big Deal from Foynes.
That said, offwind flying machines like Cian McCarthy's new Sunfast 3300 Cinnamon Girl from Kinsale – which will have the formidable talents of Mark Mansfield on board - and her larger older sisters, the Sunfast 3600s YOYO (Brendan Coghlan, RStGYC) and Hot Cookie (John O'Gorman, NYC, with Maurice "The Prof" O'Connell on the strength), will be hoping that the effect of the run back from the Fastnet is maximised to optimise their gains from their startling offwind performance, captured here (yet again) in this now-famous vid of Cinnamon Girl making hay off the Old Head of Kinsale. We run it for the umpteenth time in the hope that somebody will finally reveal the names of the auteurs, for crediting it to "A Couple of Kids in a RIB" really won't do.
That famous Cinnamon Girl vid recorded by "a couple of kids in a RIB". If the "couple of kids in a RIB" could identify themselves, we'd be delighted to credit this super bit of work to them. (Update: Vid by Jack & Robert Carroll)
However, as revealed in the Kinsale-Fastnet-Kinsale race a fortnight ago, the overall winner Nieulargo (which once again has Nin O'Leary and Killian Collins on board) sails to a rating of only 1.023 when she limits herself to her non-overlapping headsail, which had her level-pegging rating-wise with Cinnamon Girl, yet The Girl finished half an hour astern on the water. And though Nieulargo may be sailing with full headsail which would put her rating up to 1.035 this time round, it still keeps her below the Sunfast 3600s around the 1.040 mark, so both Sunfast marques will have their work cut out, and Nieulargo remains a good sensible wager.
Yet, Aurelia, the Golden One should never be under-estimated, even if she is the highest-rated boat in the fleet at IRC 1.076. In the last big fleet offshore race in Irish waters – the 2019 Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race – she was in consistent form to finish second overall. In fact, consistency is an Aurelia hallmark, and if ever a boat deserved an outstanding win such as the Fastnet 450 offers, then she is that boat.
But then, the crews of the 19 other boats all think exactly the same way about their craft, and while the compact fleet of 20 boats may be in line with COVID-19 compliance, between them they manage to represent 16 different yacht and sailing clubs, which for a race which has been put together in a fortnight, really is a remarkable achievement, and different clubs will be rooting for their own sailing gladiators.
Thus through being among the lowest-rated boats in the fleet, it's conceivable that More Mischief and Big Deal could have their day in the sun. Equally, the highly competitive racing among J Boats has really sharpened their game in the Dublin area, and there are those punters who would support the potential of Alan Algeo's J99 Juggerknot from the Royal Irish with dinghy champ Conor Kinsella in the crew, or Simon Knowles' well-prepared J/109 Indian from Howth.
Either way, it's little short of miraculous that a competitive fleet has been recruited in such a short time. But as we've pointed out already in Afloat, the granddaddy of them all, the Dublin Bay to Cork Harbour or Kingstown to Queenstown Race of July 1860 was also a pop-up event, put together in the days beforehand by the 80-year-old Admiral of the Royal Cork, T G French, who recruited his 16 entries among the yacht racing in a week of regattas in Dublin Bay staged by the Royal St George YC.
So ad hoc was it all that the "fine old Admiral" (as Hunt's Yachting Magazine described him in its August 1860 issue) confirmed entries by visiting each of the 16 interested yacht on the morning of the start in order to confirm entries by collecting the entry fee, which was based on the size of the yacht being entered.
The total amount collected was a tidy £60, which was a very substantial sum of money in 1860. But instead of augmenting club coffers, it became the prize purse which went to the crew of the winning boat. And as the winner by matter of minutes was one of the smallest competitors, the 39-ton cutter Sibyl skippered by the noted amateur Henry O'Bryen, her relatively small professional crew will have hit the inns of the Holy Ground like a tsunami with their newfound personal wealth.
The fine young Admiral of today's Royal Cork, Colin Morehead, is in Dun Laoghaire this (Saturday) morning to see the fleet on its way, just as his predecessor did 160 years ago. But whether he and his host - NYC Commodore Martin McCarthy – can arrange contactless payments from entries to make up a prize purse for the winning crew is something else altogether, and in any case when the fleet reaches Crosshaven, there'll be no way that financial tsunamis of any size can hit the local hostelries under lockdown rules.
For as Mark Mansfield, one of those who have determinedly put together this one and only chance of a decent mid-length offshore race in 2020 has bluntly put it:
"This is pure racing, boy. Forget about your parties before and after. This is all about those who really care very deeply about their sailing – that's the beginning and the middle and the end of it all."
Thanks to the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association, all competitors have been provided with a Yellowbrick tracker below
The 1 pm race start may also be visible on the Dublin Bay webcam here
Fastnet 450 Race Entry List @ 20/08/20
|First Name||Last Name||Club||Boat Name||Boat Type||Sail Number||class||IRC TCC||Echo|
|James||Tyrrell||Arklow Sailing club||Aquelina||J-112E||IRL 1507||1||1.061||1.055|
|John||Harrington||RUYC and BYC||eXcession||IMX38||IRL1880||1||1.014||No ECHO|
|John||O'Gorman||NYC||Hot Cookie||Sunfast 3600||GBR7536R||1||1.037||1.035|
|Rónán||Ó Siochrú||Irish Offshore Sailing||Desert Star Irish Offshore Sailing||Sunfast 37||IRL1455||2||0.952||0.97|
|Cian||McCarthy||Kinsale yacht club||cinnamon girl||Sunfast 3300||IRL1627||1||1.023||1.025|
|Simon||Knowles||Howth Yacht club||Indian||J109||IRL1543||1||1.007||1.015|
|Derek||Dillon||Foynes Yacht Club||Big Deal||Dehler 34||IRL3492||2||0.928||0.93|
|Grzegorz||Kalinecki||ISA||More Mischief||first 310||IRL966||2||0.911||0.92|
|Peter||Coad||Waterford Harbour Sailing Club||Blackjack||Pocock 37||IRL1988||2||0.917||0.92|
|Andrew||Algeo||RIYC / BSC||Juggerknot 2||J/99||IRL3990||1||1.01||1.02|
|Rupert||Barry||Greystones Sailing Club||Red Alert||JOD35||IRL6036||2||0.993||1|
|Flynn||Kinsman||NYC||A plus||Archambault 31||IRL977||2||0.978||0.98|
|Coleman/Coleman||David/Noel||RCYC||Blue Oyster||Oyster 37||IRL3852||2||0.93||0.932|
|Denis & Annamarie||Murphy||Royal Cork Yacht Club||Nieulargo||Grand Soleil 40 B+C||IRL2129||1||1.023||1.035|
|Riome (skipper)/ co owner Leonard||David/ Mark||Kinsale Yacht Club||Valfreya||Sigma 33||IRL 4297||2||0.912||0.915|
|Power Smith||Chris||Royal St George Yacht Club||Aurelia||J112||IRL35950||1||1.076||1.08|
|dMiller||Keith||Kilmore quay||Andante||Yamaha 36||IRL375||2||0.95||0.935|