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#schoolteamsailing – Current Munster school sailing champions Schull 1 will go head to head with Leinster champions Kilkenny College for the Irish title this weekend when the Irish Schools Sailing (ISSA) Team Racing National Championships takes place in Schull, West Cork. 12 teams have qualified from there regional events with two teams travelling from the UK.

The Fastnet Trophy will be awarded to the first Irish Team Gold, Silver and Bronze medals will be awarded to the first three Irish teams.
The FMOEC Trophy will be awarded to the first overseas Team.

The qualifying teams are:
Schull 1
Schull 2
Schull 3
Scoil Mhuire
Kilkenny College
St Andrews College
Mt Anville

Download NOR for the event below

Published in Team Racing
Tagged under

#youth sailing – David Harte of Schull Community College Sailing Club offers his views on how one secondary school in West Cork is contributing to youth sailing and the Irish dinghy scene.

I have taken on board, with interest, many of the recent letters, forums, and discussions on the present state of dinghy racing in Ireland. Whilst generating much food for thought, I would like to avail of the opportunity to mention the very positive input, that a small secondary school situated in the far south-west, contributes to the overall status of dinghy sailing, and, racing, in Ireland.

Schull Community College has 450 enrolled students, 98% of which, would come from a non-sailing background,. The College Sailing Club has 78 members. Introduction to sailing takes place in September when all 1st year students are afforded an opportunity to experience sailing. This would take the form of a fun day out with the goal that all students come back with a smile. Those interested in learning the skills, to whatever level or standard, are invited to become members of the Schull Community College Sailing Club.

The cost for membership is €100 for the year, or €150, for two, or more, family members. This fee covers Saturday sailing throughout the year (weather permitting), with instructors and coaches, and the use of a variety of dinghies to suit all skills.

Beginners are thought the skills of sailing without reference to the SBSS (ISA Small Boat Sailing Scheme). We intentionally do not use this scheme as we have found in the past, that students prioritise attainment of levels over skills.

The goals of each student are different, with some content to sail back and forth with their friends having fun, but using the proper skills to do so, while others are eager to advance to developing Team Racing skills. Progress to this stage can be achieved once the student has demonstrated a good understanding of the 5E's, and can sail around a course with little or no rudder. Saturday sailing, during the year, attracts an average of 30 sailors on a cold day to 50+ on a sunny day Team racing discipline is used at the school as it is an achievable goal with little or no personal resources required, with boats and coach supplied by the FMOEC.

"We intentionally do not use the ISA Small Boat Sailing Scheme as we have found in the past, that students prioritise attainment of levels over skills".

Students learn the advanced skills of sailing, an introduction to racing rules, and team work. A typical Saturday would involve, briefing, boat handling exercises, team racing, and de-briefing, as well as boat maintenance, and seamanship skills, etc. With team racing, students upskill rapidly, as competition for team places is continuous throughout the year. Most of the students would never have sailed outside of Schull Harbour, but, within a few years, clearly demonstrate a skill level, equal to, or above their peers from other clubs. When students reach transition year they have an extra days sailing on Wednesdays. At this stage students are divided into two groups, with one group learning to sail and the other learning the skills required to become a Dinghy Instructor. For instructorship, students attend VHF, First Aid, and Powerboat courses, and their pre-entry. At this stage, none of the students would have any SBSS levels, but, they would have the skills necessary to pass their pre-entry Most of these courses are subsidised by the FMOEC which allows the student to become an Instructor, without the burden of recourse to personal resources. Mainstream costs to fulfill all courses required to become an Instructor approximate in the region of €1,500, which, in my view, is completely ridiculous.

Most of the students who become instructors, are offered summer jobs at the centre, teaching the SBSS to the general public. Our courses run for nine weeks, and it is during this that our instructors see the downfall of the SBSS, with a sizeable percentage of students attending the courses showing more interest in the cert., rather than the skill. This in turn forces sailing clubs and centres to issue certs., as parents believe they have paid for the cert., and not the skills. Our team racing teams participate in many events throughout the year, ranging from the Munster Schools Team Racing Championships to the International Wilson Trophy.

A look at the results from last years 1st team, which consisted of six team members, of which, five came from a non-sailing background, demonstrates the achievement of the FMOEC syllabus. Irish National Champions, British U21 Champions British Schools Champions, Youth Helmsman Champion, Silver Senior Helmsman Championships, 4.7 National Champion and Silver Radial Championships. It would be easy to ascribe this success to 'an exceptional team', but, Schull teams have been Irish National Champions every year, except two, have won the British Schools Championships four times, and been in the top four over the last six years.

One may pose the question....'where do they go after they finish at Schull Community College, and, do they continue sailing?..... Follow up on team-racing participants, whether they go on to 3rd. level, or, otherwise, demonstrates a continuing healthy involvement in sailing activities. In 2011 the ITRA (Irish Team Racing Championships) were held in Schull and over 50% of the helms entered in the event were ex-Schull Community College.

In conclusion, it is my belief that the present state of dinghy racing in Schull (Ireland) is strong, and, demonstrably, getting stronger.

More on this subject of dinghy sailing here

Published in ISA

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The carcass of the fin whale that died after being trapped in Baltimore Harbour two months ago has been towed out to sea after its presence in a conservation area attracted complaints.

According to the Irish Examiner, disappointment has been expressed by a local group in Baltimore who hoped to salvage the skeleton of the 65ft female fin whale, the remains of which have now been towed out beyond Fastnet Rock for disposal.

Last week reported on claims from local resident Tom McCarthy, among others from the Schull area, that the whale carcass was creating a "rancid oil slick" with a "horrendous smell" in Roaringwater Bay, a Special Area of Conservation for marine wildlife that houses a grey seal breeding ground.

However, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) - which was working with Baltimore residents on their plan to retrieve the bones with a view to displaying the skeleton in the town - criticised the decision by Cork County Council to dump the remains.

IWDG sightings co-ordinator Pádraig Whooley pointed the finger at "vested interests" exaggerating claims about health hazards, arguing that "towing it out to sea raises the very real possibility that [it] could simply wash up on the coast again."

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#youthsailing – Nine wins from nine races gave Fionn Lyden the Junior All Ireland Sailing Championship this afternoon in Schull, West Cork. Scroll down to download full results as a pdf.

Lyden, a member of Schull's Youth Team that lifted the under 21 trophy at the Wilson trophy at West Kirby in the UK in May, capped off the 2012 season with the storming win in the locally built TR3.6 dinghy.

Conditions remained ideal for the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) event with a steady easterly breeze of between 10 and 12 knots on the windward leeward courses today.

Under the management of David Harte, racing got off to a good start at 10.30am and Fionn and his crew of Anna O'Regan were quick to take the lead yet again. Continuing their domination of the fleet, the duo from Schull Community College Sailing Club were unbeatable in the locally built boat TR3.6 dinghy as they won all three of the remaining fleet races putting them on 7 points entering the medal race followed by Finn Lynch and his crew Sean Donnelly on 24 points and Eoin Lyden and Darragh McCormack on 28 points in third place.

At 1.25pm the top 10 sailors, consisting of eight boys and two girls, crossed the start line for the last time. Fionn got off to a bad start but echoing his skill from the previous races, he sailed hard and rounded the first mark in first place. The wind dropped off to only 3 knots at the windward mark but Fionn extended his lead while his cousin Eoin Lyden chased him in vain from second place. Never wavering from his leading position, Fionn crossed the finish line in first place.


The TR3.6 dinghy fleet in action. Photo: Brian Carlin

Meanwhile Finn Lynch from the National Yacht Club and Eoin Lyden from Royal Cork Yacht Club had been fighting it out for the silver. Finn had a four point lead going in to the medal race but the 2012 ISAF Youth Worlds silver medallist had a disastrous final race finishing in 10th place. The additional 20 points meant he dropped to third overall to take the bronze.

Eoin however sailed a great race finishing in second place moving him up to second overall to take the silver.

Competing for the title of First Girl were Aisling Keller from Lough Derg and Laura Gilmore from Northern Ireland. Both girls had sailed a strong regatta with a total of nine top 10 finishes between them but ultimately a 4th in the medal race for Aisling saw her finish the regatta in 7th overall taking the prize for Frist Girl with Laura finishing in 9th overall.

Published in Youth Sailing

#youthsailing – Fionn Lyden and Anna O'Regan from Schull Community College Sailing Club lead the All Ireland Junior Championships in Schull this evening. Download full results as pdf below.

The Current European U17 Laser Radial champion Finn Lynch from the National Yacht Club crewed by Sean Donnelly finished second in four of the races is four points adrift on 8 points overall. In third place and on 16 points is Eoin Lyden and Darragh McCormack from Royal Cork Yacht Club.

The invitational regatta saw 21 of Ireland's top young sailors take to the water in TR3.6 dinghies for the initial five races. A further three more races are schedlued for tomorrow followed by a double points medal race decider for the top 10 sailors.

Published in Youth Sailing

#youthsailing – Ireland's silver medal winner from the ISAF youth worlds will be back on the water again at the Junior All Ireland Sailing Championship this weekend. Racing takes place at the Fastnet Marine OEC in Schull, Co. Cork in a fleet of  locally built TR3.6 dinghies.

Laser Radial sailor Lynch of the Natinoal Yacht Club who is the reigning U17 Laser Radial European Champion will be joined by rival Laser sailors Robbie Gilmore, Fionn Lyden and Seafra Guilfoyle as well as numerous other youth sailors, across seven classes, with national and international experience.

Each competitor will sail with one crew member of their choice in one of the TR3.6 dinghies. Following an optional practice day on Friday, all sailors will compete in up to five fleet races on Saturday. Up to a further three races will be sailed on Sunday with one additional final double points medal. Upon the completion of five fleet races, one discard will come in to play.




Published in Youth Sailing
Tagged under

Cork Dry Gin Calves Week at Schull, West Cork, certainly kept the best til the last writes Claire Bateman. Scroll down for Photos.

Given the fog and poor visibility experienced during the early part of the regatta week, the organisers made the wise decision to switch the Fastnet race to Friday and what a day it turned out to be. There was a beautiful warm easterly breeze force 4/5 with non stop sunshine. Race Officer Neil Prendeville reversed the order of the start so that the lower handicapped boats started first and off went all the classes of the sixty boat fleet to enjoy a day the like of which has not been experienced for a long, long time and certainly not this year. The wind, which was coming from the east, meant that instead of a start directly into the wind what they had was a reaching start and by the time it came to the Class Two and Three start they charged the line some believing that the buoy safeguarding the stern of the committee boat was an inner distance mark.

Both the Corby 25 Allure and the quarter tonner Per Elisa returned to start again before proceeding on a course that took them up Long Island Sound under spinnaker, seven and eight abreast, and what a sight that was, before taking Goat Island to port and then a fetch to the Fastnet which course was also followed by the Class One boats. Being a Fastnet race with the magnet of rounding the famous rock, the boats as usual were packed with not only racing crews but there were also a lot of families on board from Grannies and Grandads to babies and even some canines, all having the time of their lives in the brilliant sun and white capped seas.

In a race like this taking in the Fastnet with the tidal sweep around it throwing up a lumpy sea it was inevitable there would be one or two incidents and one of these saw the Travers/Rohan quarter tonner Per Elisa doing a pirouette much to the astonishment of her helm and crew only to find their rudder had loosened and one of the other boats came to her assistance. There were one or two other coming togethers in the tight racing and Pat Barret/Cathal Conlon in Y knot came in to the finish on a tight spinnaker reach and experienced great difficulty in dropping their big red kite trying everything from going backwards and forwards and even sending a crew member up the mast to try to free it which they eventually succeeded in doing.

In the midst of all this enjoying the glorious weather and sailing spectacle of the sixty boat fleet the cruise ship Hebridean Princess was arriving in Schull Harbour and the gentlemanly Master called the Race Officer to ascertain the situation and having it explained to him the race would last approximately anther hour, brought his ship around Long Island through the Gascanane Sound to anchor at the mouth of the harbour thus enabling his passengers to have the unexpected treat of viewing the racing in the unbeatable scenic surroundings.

In Class One IRC Kieran Twomey's "Gloves Off" returned to her winning form with a tight twenty second victory over Martin Breen's "Lynx Clipper.This result confirmed " Gloves" as IRC One overall boat of the week.

In Class One ECHO it was another popular win for Gabby Hogan's "Growler" that also saw him take the overall trophy.

In Class Two IRC Jason Losty finished a fantastic week in runaway style with a comprehensive victory to take both the day prize and overall trophy, when his closest competitor the Travers/Rohan "Per Elisa" had to retire due to the already mentioned gear failure.

In Class Three IRC Derek Dillon posted another perfect score to comfortably win the overall from Dan O' Donovan's "Second Count",while in ECHO victory went to local Schull boat Paul Murray's "Full Pelt".

In Class Four it was a clean sweep in both divisions for the Murphy family in "Shelly D" while the overalls went to Richard Hanley's "Saoirse"in IRC and the Molloy/O' Shea duo on "No fixed Abode", who despite a disqualification in the final race, won the ECHO trophy.

In White Sail One Michael O Leary's "Act Two" revelled in the fresh conditions to win in both divisions and also took the ECHO overall while William Lacy and Charles Blandford in "Sojourn" collected the IRC trophy.

In White Sail Two Michael Hearn in "Summerfly" had a brilliant trip around the rock to win from Brian Ronan's "Kopper Too" with the overall going to Peter Morehead of the sponsor company, Cork Dry Gin, in "Giggles".

All in all a perfect ending to Cork Dry Gin Calves week 2012.

Published in Calves Week

#calves week – With over 40 confirmed entries at present, the 2012 Calves Week in Schull is again expected to top the 60 boat mark for the annual West Cork festival of sailing.

This year's event will incorporate a race in the Scora Offshore Series and will feature racing for six classes with the ever growing white sail class split into two fleets and with a cut-off point of approximately 34ft.

The traditional overnight Offshore Scora race starts from Crosshaven on Friday night, August 3rd, while on Sunday the Schull/Baltimore regatta feeder race will provide ample opportunity for skippers and crews to familiarise themselves with Roaring Water Bay where principal race officer for Calves Week, Neil Prendeville, has drawn up a new course card featuring over forty courses taking in the many islands and natural marks.

The opening reception and skippers briefing takes place at the Fastnet Marine Centre on Monday August 6th with the first "Round the islands" race starting at 12.30pm on Tuesday.

On Wednesday the fleet will sail two races on an Olympic type course in Long Island Bay, while Thursday will see the boats head for the Fastnet Rock .

The series will finish on Friday with racing in Roaring Water Bay followed by the overall presentation of prizes and closing ceremony on Schull Main Street.

Published in Calves Week

#CALVES WEEK – The new compact format for Cork Dry Gin Calves Week 2012 will consist of a 4 day racing series, including a race around the Fastnet Rock. As previously reported on the event will take place from Aug 7th - 10th to allow for visiting yachts to take part in the local regattas of Baltimore, Crookhaven and Schull.

Speaking about Cork Dry Gin's sponsorship Alan Dwyer, Commodore of Schull Harbour Sailing Club says "we are thrilled to have such a prestigious brand as Cork Dry Gin sponsoring this year's event, the new series will create a real buzz around Schull with a prize giving every night in the village".

Published in Calves Week

#WILSON TROPHY – West Cork's Schull Youth Team lifted the Under 21 trophy at the Wilson trophy at West Kirby in the UK this afternoon

Schull, one of three Irish team competing, finished the event half way down the leaderboard on eight wins. The team comprises four 18-year-olds and two 16-year-olds, all from Schull in southern Ireland, where team racing is part of their school curriculum. They competed at the ISAF Team Racing World Championship on home waters last year where they were narrowly beaten by West Kirby One (it came down to a penalty turn at the end of the deciding race). At the Wilson Trophy it was Schull Youth's turn.

"There is serious rivalry, but we beat them here - we got our revenge on their home turf," declared a satisfied Oisin O'Driscoll, a Schull Youth helm.

At one point on Saturday Schull Youth had pulled up to eighth overall, but O'Driscoll said they had made some silly mistakes due to their inexperience. "This was my first time at the Wilson Trophy – it is the most amazing team racing event ever. It is the best set-up I have ever seen. Every race is bang-bang-bang. We had over 200 races – it's incredible."

The 63rd Wilson Trophy will be remembered as the sunniest and windiest on record, but also for being the first time, in as long as anyone can remember, that competition at West Kirby Sailing Club's British Open Team Racing Championship had to be cut short mid-way through the quarter finals.

Ireland's two other teams Royal St. George YC and Howth YC finished tenth and 11th respectively. Dun Laoghaire's John Sheehy was the guest speaker at the event and Rachel McManus received the Joyce Evans Trophy. Full results table here. Below youtube footage of the race between Schull Youth and Royal Lymington YC 2012.

Because of this the final results reverted to the last complete round, or round 16 of the Wilson Trophy's Swiss league, where local favourites West Kirby Hawks had come out on top, followed by New Forest Pirates.

Racing today started at 0800 in 12 knots, the wind having backed into the west overnight. This enabled the race management team to bring the number of rounds completed up to 16, or an amazing 240 races sailed for the thirty teams taking part. Unfortunately, just as the final rounds were starting, the wind built significantly. The teams were sent back to fit smaller mainsails and the quarterfinals eventually got underway with the gathered crowd on the stadium seating adding their own unique commentary to the proceedings. Sadly the wind continued to build and with this came damage - jib tensioners and main halyards parting company and a broken rudder.

The big conditions were forecast, only for later in the afternoon, as Principle Race Officer Adam Whittle explained: "The wind came in a lot earlier than it was meant to. It was gusting 36 knots at Hilbre [the weather station nearby] and it just wasn't feasible to continue. We were having break downs and people were getting injured. It wasn't team racing – it was survival. Having sailed 16 rounds in perfect team racing conditions, I thought it would have been wrong of us to carry on."

Having suffered defeats to a US team in the last two Wilson Trophy finals, West Kirby Hawks finally came out on top for the first time since 2009.

Hawks helmsman Andy Cornah said they were right to stop racing. "The problem with these conditions is you are not team racing, you are just trying to get the boats around the course and it changes it a lot and it's not what you want."

West Kirby Hawks started the day on the back foot, a win behind Wessex Exempt and Royal Thames Red, but an excellent morning saw them complete the league in the lead, the sole team on 12 wins, ahead of New Forest Pirates, Tabby Cats, West Kirby SC and Wessex Exempt on 11.


Winners West Kirby Hawks. Photo: James Boyd

"Yesterday was a little bit frustrating and we dropped a few races, which we were disappointed about," admitted Cornah. "We knew this forecast was here today and winning the league would be important, so we just forgot about yesterday and moved on and put a good series together."

West Kirby Hawks has a 'new' boat this season sailed by Matt Findlay and Toby Lewis, after Dom Johnson and Debs Steele retired following their ISAF Team Racing World Championship victory last year. However in a one-off appearance Johnson and Steele returned to this Wilson Trophy with New Forest Pirates and, clearly having lost none of their skill, came home second with Stuart and Jane Hudson and Owen Modral and Claire Wood.

Dom Johnson explained: "We are taking some time out and are not campaigning at the moment, so we took the opportunity to reform an old team we used to sail together as. My team mates haven't really done any team racing for the last four years, so it was nice to come back and do the best team racing event of the calendar and have some fun. We were really chuffed to end up with second place."

A highlight was beating the West Kirby Hawks early on yesterday, although they were subsequently beaten by the eventual victors when the two teams came head to head earlier today.

As to terminating racing, Johnson added: "It is a shame we haven't been able to finish off the event, but I think they made the right call – I snapped a rudder in the last race and it was a bit of a melee. We were at that stage of breeze where things were starting to give up. It must have been blowing over 30 knots in some of those gusts and masts and ripped sails would have been next."

Despite the weather not co-operating, West Kirby Sailing Club Commodore Chris Riley was satisfied with this year's event. "I think it has gone very well. It is a shame about the weather at the beginning and at the end, but that's sailing. This morning and Saturday the weather was perfect and we got over 200 races in and that was fantastic. We can't complain and all the competitors are very very happy. It is just a shame we didn't get the finals in."

Published in Team Racing
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