There was such a cascade of results from the 190-boat, 208 -ailor Irish Youth Sailing Pathway Nationals at Ballyholme Yacht Club at the weekend that fully analysing the results every which way can go on for as long as you wish writes W M Nixon.
But in addition to the absolutely outstanding runaway win by Justin Lucas of Cork and Tralee in the Optimists, another aspect of note is the way that an eight mile stretch of coastline in Fingal has dominated what might be called the premier class, the Laser Radials.
In youth sailing terms, this is definitely the Grown-Ups’ Game. So when we recall that there are just eight sea miles between Howth Yacht Club at the end of its peninsula at the noted sailing/fishing port, and Rush Sailing Club to the north in its sunny south-facing building beside the swift-flowing waters of the sandy Rogerstown Estuary, it’s intriguing that between them, they filled the top three places in a very closely contested national championship.
Howth’s Ewan McMahon took first at the finish, yet at the early stages the leader was Aaron Rogers of Rush. He had his ups and downs thereafter, but the final race saw a rush of Rushmen as Conor Quinn (of RSC but also of CLYC) put in a stellar concluding performance to place second, while Aaron Rogers got his mojo back to take third
They barely have time to pause for breath at Rush, as this weekend sees their staging of a national event in the Toppers Travellers’ Trophy series. And while there’ll also be all sorts of club racing as the season gets into full gear, with the long-established Mermaids playing a key role, another big one coming up the Rush agenda is the Leinster Lasers from 3rd to 5th August.
So the future is bright for Rush Sailing Club. But they’ve special links to the past in addition to their Mermaids. It goes back quite a few years now, to a time when St Marnock’s House in Portmarnock, ancestral home of the James whiskey family who were and are great sailors, had been sold to become a hotel.
It had an old-fashioned glass conservatory which was still in good order, but was too small for the needs of a modern hotel. The word was put out that the intact conservatory was available absolutely for free for anyone who was prepared to come and take it cleanly away. The sailing men of Rush saw their chance, as they were planning a proper clubhouse. They moved the conservatory lock, stock and barrel to the north shore of Rogerstown estuary, and created their hospitable clubhouse around it.
So if you sit in Rush Sailing Club in its sunny south-facing aspect, looking out over the crowded dinghy park and busy anchorage, you’re sitting in a conservatory which was once at the home of the legendary Willie Jameson, who was the hugely successful Royal Sailing Master on the Prince of Wales’s cutter Britannia during her greatest seasons from 1893 to 1897.