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Displaying items by tag: Royal Cork Yacht Club

#topper – Royal Cork sailor Adam D'Arcy has won Silver at the Topper World Championships in Pwllheli, Wales. The Fermoy sailor beat 132 competitors from France, Great Britain, India, Japan, Malta, and South Africa. It's a second youth silver for Royal Cork in as many months. In July, ISAF youth silver went to D'Arcy's club–mate Seafra Guilfoyle in the Laser radial class.

As Afloat reported earlier, a total of 11 races were sailed during the regatta in a mixture of weather conditions that concluded this afternoon.

The 16–year–old had a total of 27 points to be on equal points with winner Calum Rosie from the UK, however agonisingly Ireland missed out on Gold on the count-back rule. Last year Ulster sailor Liam Glynn won the world title when the regatta was held in France.

The Gwynedd championship culminated today with four races with podium positions alternating after each race. It made for a nail biting climax to see who would be crowned World Champion. In the end it was Calum Rosie who took the final race win and with it the World Title. 

Waterford's Geoff Power finished 10th overall while Peter Gilmore, Heather Spain, Conor Quinn and Hugh Perrette all finished within the top 30. 

Top 5 Topper World Championship Results
1. Calum Rosie, UK – 27 pts
2. Adam D'Arcy, Ireland – 27 pts
3. Tom Walker, UK – 28 pts
4. Bella Fellows, UK – 32 pts
5. Oliver Blackburn, UK – 37 pts

Full results here

Published in Topper

#topperworlds – Adam D'Arcy from Royal Cork Yacht Club goes into the final day of the Topper World championships this morning in third overall, just a week after finishing fifth at the Topper British Championships at the same North Wales venue.

Going in to the final rounds. D'Arcy is four points off the overall lead and on the same points as second overall. The Munster youth has broken a British stranglehold on the top ten in the 138–boat fleet. Next best Irish in Pwllheli is Carlingford's Conor Quinn in 12th.

The major dinghy sailing event was delayed because of strong winds gusting up to 40mph in Gwynedd earlier in the week.

Ireland won the Topper worlds last year when Liam Glynn topped the fleet in France.


Full results here

Published in Topper

#optimist – The scene was set at Royal Cork Yacht Club this morning when some 190 competitors took to the water for the first day of racing at the CH Marine Irish Optimist National Championships writes Claire Bateman. The adrenaline fueled young sailors were champing at the bit in their eagerness to get to sea to commence battle. At the launch scene with all the volunteer helpers involved and with the different accents and the varying languages resounding in the morning air, it could have been likened to the tower of babel. The slick preparations and procedures put into place by the host club were well evident and the large number of optimist dinghies took smoothly to the water and on their way to the race area. The Senior and Junior fleets headed to Ringabella with the Regatta fleet younger sailors remaining comfortably closer to home on the Curlane Bank. The beauty of Cork harbour for sailing in any type of weather conditions is well known and the variety of courses available to choose to suit such conditions is second to none.

The weather proved to be in a slightly disobliging mood only providing 6 to 8 knots of a north westerly wind, other times rising to 12 knots and then dying away to 2 or 3. However, Race Officer David O'Brien got the Junior fleet underway followed by the Seniors and Race 1 was duly completed with the shock result of an OCS for Harry Durcan RCYC . However, whilst waiting for Race 2 to follow, the weather mood suddenly changed and the heavens opened with an almost biblical like deluge. This duly passed over and then a change of wind direction forced a relaying of some marks with ensuing delays due to the changeable breeze. Patience persevered and Race 2 finally got under way with an excellent win for Durcan who had suffered an OCS in Race 1. Harry will be our sole Irish Optimist at the forthcoming World Optimist Championship in Buenos Aires.

The Regatta fleet in the safe hands of Race Officer Eddie Rice, sailed on the Curlane Bank and experienced the same deluge before it arrived with the Junior and senior fleets. Racing went very smoothly and it was good to see the smiling faces of the sailors arriving back at the club delighted they had been able to sail two races in spite of the light winds. A tribute indeed to David O'Brien and Eddie Rice with their race teams.

Racing continues tomorrow and hopefully we will see a little more of a steady breeze.

Results here

Published in Optimist

#optimists – 200 Optimist sailors gathered at Royal Cork Yacht Club for the Opening Ceremony of the CH Marine Irish Optimist National Championships to be raced in Cork Harbour this weekend writes Claire Bateman.

The ceremony was preceded by a parade of competitors with flags from the dinghy park to the club house. The atmosphere was electric with the excited young competitors milling around on a glorious sunny evening. The flags were flying, Crosshaven was looking at its best, registration and checking of certificates and sail measurement was attracting long queues. The competitors and their families were welcomed by MC for the evening, Optimist Class Captain Rob Foster. Admiral Pat Lyons then spoke and also welcomed the competitors many of whom had come from the four corners of Ireland. A large contingent travelled from the U.K. and competitors also came from Spain, Italy and Bermuda, as well as a squad from India.

The Admiral then turned to a particularly significant part of the evening which was the Royal Cork Yacht Club recognition of the outstanding achievement of well known and very popular club member Séafra Guilfoyle who recently represented the club with honour at the highest level in international dinghy sailing. In July Séafra took silver in the Laser Radial Class at the ISAF Youth Worlds in Tavira, Portugal. This was only the third time an Irish sailor had achieved a podium position at an ISAF Youth World Championship and a first for a Royal Cork sailor. Seafra won Afloat's Sailor of the Month for July for his endeavours.


(From L. to R) Nick Bendon, CH Marine, Doug Howlett, Admiral Pat Lyons, Optimist Class Captain Rob Foster. Aidan Staunton, President IODAI and Martin O'Donovan CH Marine. Photo: Robert Bateman

It is worth noting that it was only a short six years since Séafra was competing in the Oppie Nationals having come up through the ranks before moving on to the Laser Radial. The Admiral then made a presentation to Séafra on behalf of the club and this was greeted with rousing applause from the assembled gathering.


Rear Admiral Dinghies, Celine Mc Grath, Séafra Guilfoyle and Admiral Pat Lyons Photo: Robert Bateman

The IODAI President, Aidan Staunton also spoke and wished the competitors the very best of competition for the event. Also present in the official welcoming party were principal sponsor for the event Nick Bendon of CH Marine and his CH Marine colleague Martin O'Donavan.

Then came the moment of the evening all the youngsters and rugby fans had been awaiting, the legendary Doug Howlett addressed the gathering to a rapturous reception and then declared the CH Marine Irish Optimist National Championship to be officially open. He proved to be a huge hit with the gathering and was a very popular choice to perform the official opening. When he had finished speaking he was surrounded by young sailors who were very proud to be seen walking around the club with the backs of their t-shirts bearing the signature of the rugby ace.

All in all a very successful and enjoyable evening.

Published in Optimist

#420sailing – Four Royal Cork, two Howth/Skerries combinations plus a Kinsale YC and Malahide YC team will contest the 420 and 470 Junior European Championships in Gdynia, Poland this morning.

The seven boat Irish youth sailing line up comprises Harry Whitaker and Grattan Roberts, RCYC; Peter McCann and Arran Walsh RCYC;  Lizzy McDowell and Cara McDowell Malahide Yacht Club; Douglas Elmes and Bill Staunton, RCYC; and Skerries/HYC; Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove, Howth YC/Skerries SC; Cliodhna Ni Shuilleabhain and Jil McGinley Kinsale YC and Royal Cork YC and Ewan McMahon and Colin O'Sullivan, Howth.

The two Junior European Championships are held alongside each other to support the natural transition between the 420 and 470, although the racing format and course areas are separate.

A total of 332 sailors are competing, with teams from 25 nations contesting the 420 Junior Europeans and 470 Junior Europeans. Joining the European nations are teams from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand and the USA.

Warm-up events for both classes has seen the 470 Class running a three-day training clinic led by world-class coach Nigel Cochrane (CAN), whilst the 420 fleet has enjoyed the Polish 420 National Championships as a training ground. The 420 National Championships gave an early taste of form with fifty-eight teams competing, including twenty-five international teams. The Nationals was won by Greece's Nikolaos Brilakis/Nikolaos Georgakopoulos and top ladies team were Poland's Ewa Romaniuk/KataRzyna Goralska in second overall.

Some of the sport's most talented youth teams are set to flex their muscles on the race tracks of Gdynia, including the 2014 470 Men Junior World Champions, 470 Women Junior World Championship podium finishers, the defending 470 Women Junior European Champions and a stellar line up of 420 sailors including medallists from the recently held 420 World Championships and the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships.

Keeping Poland's ambitions burning strong are 38 of the nation's best young sailors, with ten teams in the 470 fleets and a fourteen-boat line-up in the 420 Class.

The 2014 420 and 470 Junior European Championships officially opened this evening at an opening followed by sailors' buffet.

Reigning 470 Junior World Champions, Jordi Xammar/Joan Herp of Spain successfully defended their 2013 Junior World Championship title in Italy in June and are now on a quest to do the double this year and add the 470 Junior European Championship to their growing gold medal haul. After their win at the 2013 470 Junior Worlds, the pair fell short of the podium at the 2013 Junior Europeans, finishing 4th by 10 points, so are back to make amends. Competing here in Poland was a last minute decision for the pair who were on vacation and simply had an overwhelming mission to compete and try to claim the Championship medal which has so far eluded them.

"We were not planning to come, but then we decided we'd better come just to see what we could do here," smiled Xammar. "The 470 Junior Europeans has not been our Championships. We have won five other junior world titles and this is the only one we haven't won."

Predicting what will give them the edge on the race track, Xammar continued, "The wind conditions and speed are not going to be the priority here. I think more important will be tactics and strategy around the race course."

The Spanish are joined by six of the other teams in the overall top 10 from the 470 Men Junior Worlds, so an intense battle is on the cards.

In the 470 Women, defending 470 Women Junior European gold medallists Anna Kyselova/Anastasiya Krasko from the Ukraine are back to defend national pride. The pair claimed silver at the 2013 Junior Worlds, but with a raft of penalty scores at this year's 470 Junior Worlds year in Italy failed to show their true form, and didn't qualify into the Medal Race top ten 10. The pair have parked that that disappointment firmly behind them and know they can win gold here if they focus on a consistent scoreline.

Teams lining up against them include silver medallists at the 470 Junior Worlds Jess Lavery/Megan Brickwood from Great Britain and the bronze medallists Noya Bar-Am/Rimon Shoshan from Israel, These three teams, are joined by five more of the top 10 from the 470 Junior Worlds in italy.

The British pair have had a break from international competition since the Junior Worlds, focusing on work commitments and training in the UK, so are also fresh to the race track.

"We have had a good few days training out here and had some good tuning with the Canadian team," commented Lavery. "It has gone well so far and we are getting familiar with the venue and feeling happy with how we are sailing."

The 470 Men and Women will race as two separate fleets, each fleet contesting a single series of 10 races, followed by the ten-boat Medal Race final. Racing is scheduled to get underway at 1100 hours on Wednesday 13 August 2014.

420 OPEN
In the 420 fleet, there are numerous familiar faces who have headed to Poland straight from the 420 Worlds in Travemuende, Germany and are back on the race track for the 420 Junior Europeans. To ensure quality of racing, entries are limited with a strict quota of seven teams per nation, apart from the host nation who can enter 14 teams. Teams race all together, so mixed teams, men and ladies teams all up against each other.

In 2013, the 420 Ladies controlled the leaderboard, claiming gold and silver, with the men's teams surprisingly off the pace in last year's windy conditions at Pwllheli, Wales.

Lighter winds are forecast for the Championship here in Poland, but judging from today's practice race, it may be more to do with who can read the wind best as shifty conditions look set to prevail.

Spain's Silvia Mas/Marta Davila won the ladies 420 division at the ISAF Youth Worlds and are looking forward to the challenge of racing in an open fleet

"I think for me it is more fun," laughed Mas. "It is a different thing just sailing with just girls compared to mixed. In the lighter winds the girls all do better, but we drop down when the wind picks up. I think it is really fun to sail all together."

"It is a bit shifty and the waves are quite difficult, particularly on starboard," she continued. "But it is the same for everybody."

The summer has been a gruelling back to back schedule of Championships, which take their toll.

"I am a bit tired," said Mas. "But I am feeling OK as although I have raced lots of Championships I have learnt a lot."

Also amongst the pre-race favourites will be the silver medallists at the 420 Worlds, Hippolyte Macheti/Sidoine Dantes of France who were also honoured as the top team placed team aged 18 and under and crowned Junior 420 World Champions.

As well as the Greek winners of the Polish 420 National Championships, local 420 team Ewa Romaniuk/KataRzyna Goralska will also be amongst the frontrunners.

Romaniuk/KataRzyna Goralska dominated during the early stages of the last year's 420 Junior Europeans, before struggling to maintain consistency and finishing 11th overall. But 2013 was a different game, as it marked their first season together. Rock forwards 12 months and the pair have far more experience to their credit and also secured the bronze medal at this year's ISAF Youth Worlds, up from 9th overall in 2014. They didn't compete at the 420 Worlds earlier in August, so are fresh for racing here in Gdynia.

Absent from the start line will be recently crowned 420 Ladies World Champions, Italy's Carlotta Omari/Francesca Russo Cirillo, and silver medallists Kimberly Lim/Savannah Siew who flew back to Singapore to prepare for upcoming school exams. Their absence also leaves the door open for the 420 Worlds bronze medallists Aikaterini Tavoulari/Fotini Koutsoumpou of Greece to step up. The pair gave the series leaders a run for their money in Germany and can do the same in Poland, particularly after their 7th overall at the Polish 420 Nationals.

There are numerous faces who can rise to the top from the 108 talented 420 teams competing, so expect some early leaderboard charges from Wednesday's opening three races.

Racing Schedule
Racing kicks off on Wednesday 13 August with three races scheduled for all fleets starting at 1100 hours. The 108 boat 420 Fleet have been split into two fleets, yellow and blue and will be re-seeded for each of the three days of qualification, after which they will advance through to gold and silver fleets for the final series.

The 470 Men and 470 Women are sailing a single race series in separate fleets, with 11 races scheduled followed by the top 10 Medal Race.


Published in 420

#dennisconner – Ireland will send three teams to New York this week for the Dennis Conner International Yacht Club Challenge in New York Harbour.

Two Howth Yacht Club teams for the event are HYC's U25 team; skippered by Joeseph Murphy with Gordon Stirling, Cillian Dickson, Harry Cronin and Cian Manly and secondly: HYC Red skippered by Simon Rattigan with Rob Kerley, Luke Malcolm, Harry O'Reilly and Sam O'Byrne.

A Royal Cork team includes David Lane, Sinead Enright, Clem McElligott and Wendy McElligott.

Nineteen teams of amateur club sailors from 14 nations will come together from August 15th to 17th to compete in the Sixth Dennis Conner International Yacht Club Challenge organized by the NY Harbor Sailing Foundation. The races will take place on boats borrowed from the Manhattan Yacht Club, one of the largest community sailing organizations in the country with more than 900 members and will take place at North Cove, the mega yacht marina in Battery Park City in Lower Manhattan.

The three-day spectacular will feature a daily series of hour-long races in New York Harbour. All of the races will begin and end at Manhattan Yacht Club's floating clubhouse located in the harbor, near Ellis Island.

The NY Harbor Sailing Foundation was founded in 1994 and organises sailing programs in the harbor such as Operation Optimist, a junior sailing program for kids.

Founded in 1987, Manhattan Yacht Club has reintroduced recreational sailing to the harbour after a 60-year absence.

The 19 teams from 14 nations include:

- Manhattan Yacht Club (United States) - 2 Teams
- Club Universitario de Buenos Aires (Argentina) - 2 Teams
- Norddeutscher Regatta Verein (Germany)
- Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron (Australia) - 2 Teams
- Nissan Marina Tokai (Japan)
- Howth Yacht Club (Ireland) - 2 Teams
- Fenerbahce Sailing Club "Team Goblin" (Turkey)
- Royal Cork Yacht Club (Ireland)
- Societe Nautique de la Baie de Saint-Malo (France)
- Royal Norwegian Yacht Club (Norway)
- Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club (Bermuda)
- Royal Danish Yacht Club (Denmark)
- Cercle de la Voile de la Societe Nautique de Geneve (Switzerland)
- Shanghai Boat and Yacht Club (China)
- Royal Cape Yacht Club (South Africa)

Published in Racing

#topper – Royal Cork Yacht Club's Adam D'Arcy finished fifth overall at last week's British Topper National Championships held in Club Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club. The 205–boat fleet included sailors from seven different countries. Connor Quinn (Carlingford Lough YC) finished 16th and Peter Gilmore (Strangford Lough Club) finished 19th.

The British National Championships is immediately followed by the World Championships at the same venue to give Topper sailors  two back-to-back weeks of racing.

The World Championships will consist of two ISAF-recognised World Championship Series – in the main 5.3 fleet and the smaller 4.2 fleet. Running concurrently with the ISAF World Championships will be the Intercontinental Cup for lady sailors.  More here


Published in Topper
If you've ever team-raced for "The Book" between Sutton Dinghy Club and a team from Cork Harbour, then you'll know that it is Irish sailing's Book of Kells, inaugurated seventy years ago with the winning team obliged to inscribe the outcome on vellum in illuminated style. W M Nixon found that this year's event last Sunday had the Corkmen celebrating a win, even if they lost the race.

Keeping the records of sporting events may seem the simplest thing in the world, but it's amazing how quickly the written reports can disappear completely. In this blog on 12th April, we were pointing out that ancient sailing trophies are doubly valuable, as they'll still be in existence and lovingly cared for because of their intrinsic worth as pieces of silverware, and with any luck they'll also carry the name of the boats and owners, the early winners of races back in those remote mists of time.

Yet even the world's oldest original sailing trophy, the Ladies Cup of Sligo Yacht Club which dates back to 1822, took a while to cop on to the need to inscribe the names. It didn't occur until 1831, when the winner was Owen Wynne of Hazelwood on Lough Gill, that lovely lake where the Sligomen sailed before they took to the sea at Rosses Point.

Because of this understandable omission – after all, everyone who was anyone in Sligo in the 1820s would have known know who was the current holder of the Ladies Cup – the oldest sailing trophy with a winner inscribed wasn't an annual challenge cup, it was a one off, the Cork Harbour Regatta Cup for 1829. The winner was J Caulfield Beamish with his cutter Little Paddy, which he designed himself. It's a thoughtful experience to contemplate this old trophy, and realize it was once handled by one of the greatest if largely unsung pioneers of Irish sailing.

But beyond the fact of who won, we know little enough of the event in 1829. And as sailing developed down the years, a plethora of events meant that the records became confused, or else there was so much data that nobody took any notice any more.

Enter the International 12ft dinghy, a simple little lugsail rigged clinker-built classic wooden boat. She was designed by George Cockshott of Southport in Lancashire in 1912, and seems to have been an instant success with the approval of the Boat Racing Association, a sort of precursor of ISAF. Fleets sprung up anywhere that sailing took place, though the class soon faded in England where newer designs appeared in the 1920s and '30s. But today, there are thriving groups of International 12s in The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Japan, while in Ireland they were quite the thing until 1950.

One good reason for this was that Ireland produced an International 12 superstar, Captain Jimmy Payne of Cork Harbour, who won the World Dinghy Championship racing International 12s in Belgium in 1924, the first time the new Irish Free State had competed in a sailing event in its own right. This meant that the return series for the crews from France, Holland, England, Belgium and Italy came to race against Ireland at the Royal Munster YC in Crosshaven in 1925. This time round it went down to the last race, which Jimmy Payne won by 29 seconds from Bokre of Holland, and his prize was a truly magnificent silver model of an International 12.

The International 12s were also popular around Dublin, particularly on the north side of the Bay where they either sailed from Howth or, when the tide suited, at Sutton Creek. There was only one club on the peninsula at the time, Howth SC, which sent forth an International 12 helmed by Harry McCracken to sail in the Tailteann Games in 1932, and he won the gold medal.

With International 12 sailors of this calibre in both Cork Harbour and around the Howth peninsula, there were links between the two class centres. But it wasn't until 1940 that Sutton Dinghy Club came into being beside the tidal creek. Then in 1944 an inter-club competition was inaugurated in International 12s between SDC and the Cork Harbour Sailing Club, whose young dinghy-oriented sailors with their International 12s included several people who were later to be big achievers in major clubs.

The innovative trophy for the new series was a large vellum book, the pages blank and awaiting inscription. There may well be other inter-club sailing club competitions whose perpetual trophy is an inscribed book containing the record of each annual race, but we don't know of them. Yet the continuing existence of The Book has been so central to a golden thread of sailing in Crosshaven and Sutton that those who have been involved tend to assume that everyone else knows all about it.


The Book (senior version from 1944) and the junior (from 1980) on display at Sutton Dinghy Club for Sunday's 70th Anniversary series. Photo: W M Nixon

Perhaps they do, but this year being the 70th Anniversary, it went slightly more public anyway, with Commodore Andy Johnston and his members at Sutton DC moving mountains to make it happen in a busy season in which, every other year, the race for The Book has to be slotted into a crowded annual programme and the additional need to fit the tidal window for sailing in Sutton Creek.

Over the years, The Book has stayed the same, and it's still the same Sutton Dinghy Club, albeit in larger premises. But Cork Harbour Sailing Club – whose members had been helped in their sailing by Jimmy Payne himself, who also raced for The Book – was wound up in 1950, and its membership largely subsumed into the Royal Munster in Crosshaven, which in turn became the Royal Cork for the Quarter Millennium in 1970.

Over the years, Irish sailing classes which have seen people emerge from the testing and training ground which is the racing for 'The Book' include Olympic boats such as the Flying Dutchman and the Tempest, the famous 505s, many offshore racing fleets, Fireballs, 470s, Lasers, 1720s, SB20s, Etchells 22s, Puppeteer 22s and J/24s, to name only a few. In all, it's an extraordinary list, linked by their connection to sailors from this unique event.


The historic International 12 restored by Aidan Henry of Sutton. Photo: W M Nixon


For many years, The Book was raced for in IDRA 14s, and this restored gem shows off her elegant lines at Sutton. Photo: W M Nixon

As for the gallant little International 12s, they were shunted aside in favour of IDRA14s in 1950. But there was a sweet reminder of the little boats at the 70th anniversary event on Sunday with a beautifully restored version brought back to life by Aidan Henry of Sutton, while also there was a lovingly-maintained and historic IDRA 14. Over the years, classes used have further changed, and for a while all the Cork-based races for The Book were sailed in Enterprises, while a Junior Book inaugurated in 1980 tended to favour Mirrors.

Boats may change and people move on, but The Book has remained as an extraordinary record of personal history and sailing development. The first series in 1944 was well won by Sutton, but over the years the balance has tilted in Cork's favour with 26 wins to Sutton's 18, while there have been two draws and 23 no races resulting from some weekends of total gale and other more grisly reasons - in 1956, it was the polio epidemic.


Grim reminder of times past – the terse entry in The Book for 1956 Photo: Ron Maher

Of that first Cork team of 1944, happily the great Joe Fitzgerald is still with us, and he subsequently sailed on winning teams. As you work your way through the handsome big pages, the names cascade down the years, so much so that just about every sailor of significance from Cork Harbour or Sutton (and sometimes Dublin Bay generally) has been racing for The Book.


The teams and Race Officers at Sutton in 1944 – Joe Fitzgerald of Cork is third from the right in the front row.


Royal Cork won in 1966 with a stellar team


Sutton's Ian Sargent and Royal Cork captain Harold Cudmore with The Book and their teams in 1966

These days, the Sutton sailors favour GP 14s, while for many years now the National 18s have been the heart and soul of Crosshaven sailing. This is so much the case that last year the Crosshaven class produced a fine book by Brian Wolfe not just of its history in Cork Harbour since 1939, but about the story of the National 18 at all its class centres through England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man.

Both the GP 14s at Sutton and the National 18s at Crosshaven are having a busy season throughout 2014. But it was noticed that while the cream of the Crosshaven class would be at the British & Irish National 18 Championship in Abersoch in North Wales from July 28th to August 1st, the top GP 14s at Sutton would not be heading away for their Worlds at East Down YC on Strangford Lough until Friday August 8th. There was a tiny window of opportunity on Bank Holiday Sunday, August 3rd, when the paths might be made to cross and the tide suited in late afternoon. So they grabbed it, and Sutton Dinghy Club readied up six evenly-matched GP 14s in a very focused frame of mind, as they hadn't won The Book in sixteen years.


These National 18 sailors from Crosshaven certainly are keen. Despite having raced a gruelling week in Abersoch with the National 18s, Tom Crosbie, Barry O'Meara and Tom Dwyer were ready and willing to race GP 14s for The Book just a day later. Photo: W M Nixon


The two teams for the 70th Anniversary of racing for The Book – Tom Crosbie (left) is Cork captain, while Hugh Gill (centre) captained Sutton. Photo: Ron Maher


At first, conditions looked reasonably promising, but fast moving clouds south and north.............Photo: Andy Johnston


....gave every indication of stronger winds to come. Photo: Andy Johnston


Downsizing from an 18-footer to a 14-footer was gallantly accepted by Cork crew Tom Dwyer and Barry O'Meara. Photo: Andy Johnston

After a week of hard racing off Abersoch, the Corkmen could have been forgiven for wishing only to head on home for a rest, but they're great sportsmen, they were determined to give it their best shot. However, for people down-sizing from a three man 18 footer to a two man 14 footer just for one afternoon's team racing, the conditions were cruel, with a squally west to southwest wind, and a fast-changing sky which promised more to come.

It duly delivered. They managed the first race with the teams even at first, but then Hugh Gill of Sutton sailed Patrick Crosbie of Crosshaven away from his lead over the next Sutton boat, and that changed the table just enough to have Sutton ahead by one point after one race. And that was the end of it. The wind rose well up into the 30 knot zone, there were four capsizes and one dismasting, and The Book for its 70th Anniversary went to Sutton Dinghy Club after a gap of sixteen years.


Tom Crosbie (left) returns The Book to Sutton's Hugh Gill after a 16-year run. But next year's racing will be in Cork in National 18s......Photo: Ron Maher

Yet everyone was delighted with the day. While the team racing tactics may have been cut-throat, the sport was great, and you could have run a string of bright lights off the camaraderie, with Dommo Long, the father of the National 18s, still much involved, although it's a report in The Book from very long ago which records how he kept all Sutton entranced with the post race party until six o'clock in the morning.


The National 18s as they are today. Photo: Bob Bateman


Testing the water. Father of the Class Dommo Long has an approving trial sail on the new National 18 last Autumn. Photo: Bob Bateman

Next year, of course, it will be an away match for the Sutton crews. And who knows, but they may be able to race in the brand new National 18s, a Cork-inspired concept which has been coming along very nicely, and is set to become Ireland's hottest "new" class in 2015, which goes some way to explain why the Cork men arrived in Sutton in such good form.

We ran a story in about the Phil Morrison-designed prototype sailing at Crosshaven last Autumn, the boat having been cleverly developed through outside sponsorship so the €65,000 development cost didn't make a dent in the class funds. But a prototype is one thing, getting it accepted by the class association and into production is something else altogether, and everything would hinge on how the mood went at the championship in Abersoch, which would also see the crucial AGM.

Afloat, everything went fine for the Corkmen. Stuart Urquhart of the Scottish fleet may have had a good lead in the early stages, but by the finish the 2014 Champion was Ewen Barry of Cork crewed by Dion Barrett and Stan Browne. In runner up place was another Cork helm, Colin Chapman (who has played a leading role in the moves towards the new design), crewed by Bobby Bearla and Morgan O'Sullivan, while initial leader Urquhart was back in third.


The new Odyssey National 18 looks the business for speed..... Photo: Bob Bateman


......and she retains the basic seamanlike features of the established National 18s. Photo: Bob Bateman

The new boat Odyssey was out sailing and showing fabulous performance, so minds were concentrated mightily for the main formal business which came on Thursday July 31st, the 2014 AGM and the acceptance or otherwise of the new design. The National 18 is a restricted class, so in theory any new design which complies with the rules should be accepted. But the days are long gone when cheque-book sailing affected the class – if it ever did – so a significant majority would be needed to be in line with the spirit of the class, which has always favoured design development, but at a measured pace.

The vote was better than a significant majority – it was overwhelmingly in favour. Exciting times lie ahead, and no more so than in Cork. Twelve deposits have already been put down on new boats to the Odyssey design, and eight of those have come from the Cork Harbour fleet.

There's no doubt the new Morrison boat is a gorgeous bit of kit which is a delight to sail, and if you doubt this, I've been told to say that Dommo Long says so. Already, the class is rejuvenating around Cork Harbour, and though there are bound to be growing pains, you need to experience the sheer joy in sailing and the camaraderie of a handsome big three-man boat to understand the extraordinary sense of community which the National 18s engender in the special RCYC context.

In the final analysis, these people are sportsmen who sail for fun, and their dedication and enthusiasm is a joy to behold. They're respectful of the past, yet excited about the future. And the spirit of Jimmy Payne and the International 12s lives on, not least in the fact that the supreme overall prize for the National 18s in Cork Harbour is now the silver International 12 trophy which he won back in 1925.


In 2011, Mrs Eithne Payne presented the International 12 trophy, won by her father-in-law Captain Jimmy Payne in 1925, to RCYC Admiral Peter Deasy to become the season-long overall winner prize for the National 18 Class on Cork Harbour. Photo: Bob Bateman

Published in W M Nixon

#sailorofthemonth – It has been a busy and successful sailing season for Irish crews at home and abroad, and one team achievement stands head and shoulders above all others in setting the tone for the year.

Ireland's runaway victory in the international and multi-faceted Brewin Dolphin Commodore's Cup series from July 20th to 26th has raised the mood of the nation in a very encouraging way. And while many were involved, there is no doubt that one man, the Team Captain Anthony O'Leary of Cork, was head and shoulders above all others in making the primary contribution.

Part of the robust build-up to Ireland's challenge was the British IRC Championship. As a result of his convincing overall win of that title with his Ker 39 Antix, Anthony O'Leary was "Sailor of the Month" for June. Thus the adjudicators feel that as O'Leary is already in the pool for the overall award at the end of the year, they are enabled to deploy the monthly award to another meritorious sailor.

But in any case, one of the significant aspects of the Commodore's Cup campaign was the way in which several American and British sailors became involved in this Irish campaign. Of the total sailing squad of 31, four were American while six were British. Yet they were all wearing the green jerseys with full commitment.

To celebrate this, we're making one of our special International Awards. The last one was in 2013 for Bruno Sroka, who kite-surfed from France to Ireland - the ultimate lone achievement. This time round, it couldn't be more different. Ireland's Brewin Dolphin Commodore's Cup victory is surely the ultimate team achievement, but very deserving of the International Award.

The Irish Commodore's Cup Team list

Published in Sailor of the Month

#sailorofthemonth – The Royal Cork Yacht Club's Cup of Success was running over in July, as the Commodore's Cup victory followed on to a Silver Medal at the ISAF Worlds for 18-year-old Seafra Guilfoyle of Crosshaven, who is now the "Sailor of the Month".

Racing in the boys Laser Radials at the Youth Worlds at Tavira on the Algarve in Portugal from July 14th to 20th, by the last day Guilfoyle was certain of a medal, with the final race to decide which one. As it happened, he came tantalisingly close to Gold.

During the week, after winning the first race, he topped the leaderboard for much of the series. But the last day's racing started with the points leadership held by Joel Rodriguez Perez of Spain 7 points ahead of Guilfoyle, who was now third as Ryan Lo of Singapore had moved up to second.

Yet the Irish helmsman sailed like a champion, and headed the fleet throughout that final contest, with the two other main contenders well down the line It looked as though the Gold was Guilfoyle's. But then Perez battled his way up the fleet, and went like a train in the final stages to get up to fourth and take the Gold by four points, with Guilfoyle solidly placed in second overall for the Silver, the third medal for Ireland in the last two years in the ISAF Youth Worlds.

Published in Sailor of the Month
Page 57 of 67


  • Take the Helm, Malahide Sailing Club, April 13th & 14th
  • Royal St George Invitational, RStGYC, May 25th & 26th
  • Mixed Pairs Team Racing Event, Galway, June 22nd & 23rd
  • Take the Helm 2, Venue TBC, September 21st & 22nd (Provisional)
  • 2K Keelboat Team Racing, Dun Laoighaire, September 28th & 29th
  • ITRA National Championships, Baltimore, October 18th-20th

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