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Royal St. George Team Racers Win Millennium Trophy at Dun Laoghaire Harbour

1st November 2021
Perfect sailing conditions on Dublin Bay for the Royal St. George hosted Millennium Trophy Team Racing event in J/80 keelboats
Perfect sailing conditions on Dublin Bay for the Royal St. George hosted Millennium Trophy Team Racing event in J/80 keelboats

The Royal St. George Yacht Club were the convincing winner after 24 races of the J/80 Millennium Bowl Team Racing event at Dun Laoghaire Harbour at the weekend.

Saturday saw Dublin Bay Race Officer Barry O'Neill complete 18 races that put the hosts easily ahead in club J/80s.

Despite the threat of a gale warning, another six races on Sunday in some shifty conditions saw the John Sheehy captained local side produce an overall victory against visitors Royal Thames Yacht Club in second and the Royal Northern & Clyde Yacht Club in third. 

The tri-club competition is held annually between the George, Royal Thames YC and the Gareloch's Royal Northern and Clyde.

The inspiration for the competition was provided by the late Harry Maguire who decided in 2000 after a challenge race against the Clyde that an event should be expanded to three clubs and run to involve senior racers in keelboats. The Thames agreed to join and allocated a significant meter high silver trophy presented by Kaiser Willhelm II for the Race between the German and British Royals (specifically his cousin Edward VII who he never beat). Probably why he started the First World War!! The Trophy is taken from the club vault and shown only whenever the Thames host the event in London.

This year's event was run in Dun Laoghaire and sailed in the club's six J80's crewed by four crew whose total age has to exceed 160 years with at least one crew of opposite gender and one crew over 55 on each boat. The George fielded a very strong team comprising John Sheehy, Nick Smyth and Andrew Fowler & supporting crews. The Clyde team led by Nichole McPhearson are long time team racing stalwarts of the Clyde and former holders of the trophy. Thames, the current holders, fielded a solid group of ex Firefly team racers in years past, one being Jon Redding of Nottingham Outlaws fame who were multiple winners of the Wilson Trophy in West Kirby.

The George opened their account to the positive early taking wins from Thames and the Clyde. The weather was perfect for the sport and racing continued in sunny and mild 14 knots westerly on the M shaped course skilfully managed by SRO Barry O'Neill and his team. The George continued to rack up wins but Thames came back in a purple spell in the afternoon taking back a couple of points from the George and hammering the Clyde who despite valiant team racing found themselves unable to hold onto precarious winning combinations to the finish line. The team skills improved as experience gained on the water accumulated and match victories pivoted on a place lost or the decisions of the Umpire Team led by Ailbe MIllerick who were kept relentlessly busy in the close manoeuvring.

The George however was most artful at turning over results in the last couple of legs giving lessons in coordinated team demolition. After 12 races apiece, the teams retired for refreshments, tall tales and gutter boat racing ashore. The George's tally was an unassailable 8 1/2 wins, Thames 4 1/2 wins and despondent Clyde 2 wins. After overnight gales, the teams took to the water again in the eye of the storm sunshine on Sunday morning. Overall placings were unlikely to change but pride had to be salvaged afloat. Clyde took a race from Thames and ran the George close as did Thames the race lead changing on all four legs alas to no avail.

RStGYC John Sheehy (Capt. helm), Peter Bowring, Moselle Foley & Owen Laverty. Andrew Fowler (helm), Max Treacy, Martin Byrne & Stephanie Bourke Nick Smyth (helm), Jenny Andreasson, Heather Craig & Ben Cooke

RTYC  Katie Greenland (helm), William Edwards, Ollie Dix & Capt Ben Clothier. Ian Dobson (helm), Chris Griffiths, Harry Edwards & Jon Redding (helm) Jo Redding, Emma Geary & David Robertson.

RN&YC (helms) Nichole McPhearson (Capt), Griogair Whyte & Theo Hoole

Umpires Ailbe Millerick, Vincent Delany, Dave Sheahan & Eunice Kennedy

SRO Barry O'Neill

The next edition of the annual Millennium Trophy will be held in Scotland.

Afloat.ie Team

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