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#sod – The Annual Shannon-One-Design regatta will take place on Lough Corrib from Lisloughrey Pier in Cong. Co. Mayo and 15 boats are already confirmed.

The Regatta, which is for Shannon-One-Designs (SOD's) was first run in 1960 and has been run at various locations around the lake since then, including Oughterard, Inishambo and Lisloughrey.

Shannon- One-Designs are handmade 18 foot clinker built boats with a mainsail of 140 square feet and a crew of three, designed by Morgan Giles in 1920 and are the second oldest one design dinghy in the world and they boast the largest fleet of any classic one design in Ireland.

On Saturday three races will take place in close proximity to Ashford Castle. On Sunday, weather permitting there will be a passage race to Cornnamona where sandwiches and refreshments will be enjoyed in Johnny O'Malley's pub where our sailors can practice their Gaeilige before racing back to Lisloughrey. This is the only Gaeltacht area that the SOD's race in each year. Monday racing will take place between the islands of Inchagill and Inchmicatreer. Prize giving afterwards in Lydon's Lodge Hotel.

Published in Shannon One Design
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#helmsmans – The stakes are raised in this weekend's All Ireland Senior Sailing Championship at Dromineer on Lough Derg following the success of the Junior Championship in Schull a fortnight ago. In some of the best sailing conditions of 2012, the new junior title holder by a clear margin was West Cork's Fionn Lyden (17), who has since been declared the Independent "Sailor of the Month" for September.

But Lyden has been allowed little time to reflect on his success. He's back in the fray this weekend in the seniors event, and the lineup he will face racing in the SailFleet J/80s contains some formidable talent, including defending champion George Kenefick (24) of Crosshaven.

Former champion Mark Mansfield has been on top form recently, heading the racing in the 1720s, and he is fired up to avenge the narrow defeat inflicted on him by Kenefick at the same venue a year ago in this championship.

As the racing is in a specialized boat which does not feature as a supported class at any Irish sailing centre, the hope is that the competition will be as even as possible among sailors who usually helm craft of many different types. But of course the wind strengths will play a major role regardless of how even the racing is in theory, and predictions for this weekend suggest a wide variety of conditions.

Today's expected light breezes could inflict havoc in the programme, but the prospect of a freshening southeaster tomorrow – albeit with rain later – will provide ample opportunities to get a result before the weekend is out.

The lineup includes an interesting mixture of sailing specialities, including two veterans of the 2012 Olympics, Star class helm Peter O'Leary from Cork and the 49er's Ryan Seaton from Ballyholme.

Carrickfergus is putting forward Trevor Kirkpatrick, the helm from the Ruffian 23 class on Belfast Lough. It is of course the hope of all club sailors that some day the All Ireland will throw up an unexpected winner from one of the minor leagues. But that hasn't happened for a long time now, and by tomorrow afternoon the smart money is betting that it will be the big guns yet again in the final shootout.

Thus the likelihood of Royal Cork dominating with Mansfield, Kennefick and O'Leary setting the pace is high, but as well there are several highly possible contenders in the form of Tim Goodbody, Ben Duncan, David Dickson, Fionn Lyden, and Alan Ruigrok.


When you consider the nationwide spread of the home ports of these top sailing talents, there's inescapable logic in staging the All Ireland on Lough Derg, as it and Lough Ree are about as central as you can get in Ireland. It was back in 1982 that I first saw what Dromineer could do when the Helmsmans Championship was staged in Shannon One Designs, and the winner was Dave Cummins of Sutton, crewed by Gordon Maguire no less, and Joe MacSweeney.

There was no lack of wind at that championship, but as John Lefroy's 1874-built all-iron former steam yacht Phoenix was the committee boat, the race officers (Jock Smith was OOD) at least were comfortably ensconced, and when the racing was completed we took the Phoenix up the lough at full chat just for the hell of it, giving a passable impression of a destroyer at the Battle of Jutland.


She'd turn round and look at you". Even in a moderate breeze, the Shannon One Design (sailed here by Sid Shine of Lough Ree) develops a marked twist in her hull.

As for the Shannon One Designs being sailed as hard as they could go by Ireland's brightest and best, they coped remarkably well, though inevitably there were breakages. The design having been developed from slim lake boats, the clinker hulls tend to twist a bit when pinned in for hard windward work - as Pompey Delaney used to say, in a breeze they'd turn round and look at you.

Both Dave Cummins and Gordon Maguire have been Australia-based for many years now, and of course Gordon was sailing master aboard the superb 63ft Loki, overall winner of the most recent Sydney-Hobart Race. He was home recently with his family for a few weeks holiday, and caught me out round the back of Howth YC in the boatyard in the midst of the keel and rudder re-configuration which is the current boat project (and has been for quite some time). Fortunately the great man dropped by at a stage when the job was going well, which isn't necessarily always the case. It's a bit unnerving, to say the least, to have your work evaluated by a Sydney-Hobart winner who is also trained in engineering, but if he thought the whole thing was crazy, he was still too polite to say so.


The fantastic trimarans of the MOD 70 class will by now be cherishing their memories of the great racing they had in Dublin Bay in good breezes on Saturday September 8th, as they have finally completed their European Tour at Genoa, and lack of wind has been a problem for much of the southern section of the programme.

Michel Desjoyeaux emerged as overall winner of the EuroTour on Foncia. But "emerged" is very much the word, as the final miles into Genoa saw these mighty machines crawling along at just two knots in the finest of zephyrs. It looked as though Spindrift Racing had it all sewn up, but by snatching a couple of places virtually on the finish line – just as he did on the stage from Kiel to Dun Laoghaire – the Foncia skipper carried off the cup, while Spindrift Racing was the season's winner when the Transatlantic results are combined with the EuroTour points.

Despite the subdued finish, the potential of this new class to provide spectacular sailing in a manageable budget has been amply proven, and it provides a marked contrast with the America's Cup, where the focus has swung to San Francisco and next year's series.


Foncia (Michel Desjoyeaux, seen here in Dublin Bay) has won the MOD 70s EuroTour, while Spindrift Racing is the season's champion. Photo W M Nixon

That will be raced in 70ft catamarans, and the first of these awesome and unbelievably expensive machines has been showing her paces. But meanwhile not everyone is a happy budgie in San Francisco, where a proposed major development of two piers to provide useful shore bases for challengers has been changed into an intention to have all the action focused more on the Golden Gate Yacht Club.

As ever with the America's Cup, massive sums of money top the agenda, and you can understand the frustration of the few remaining challengers as they take on the huge resources of Larry Ellison. After all, how can a few guys from New Zealand and their mates expect to face up to someone who has recently been able to buy quite a substantial Hawaiian island out of pocket money?

Published in W M Nixon

#inland – Strong winds arrived for the inaugural Waterways Ireland Raid that finishes today and it has produced fantastic photographs including this one above by Nic Compton of Cathy MacAleavey, steering a reefed down Shannon One Design (SOD) dinghy Number 178 across Lough Ree earlier this week. Murphy crewed by her daughter Claudine and Howth YC sailor Amy Wickham sailed from Lanesborough in County Cavan to Lough Ree Yacht Club in just two hours, a journey of some ten miles.

One of the boats taking part in the first Irish Raid was dismasted as the fleet was hit by 25-knot winds crossing Loch Erne on the Shannon River. Former Whitbread sailor and Route du Rhum organizer Sylvie Viant was skippering the Water Wag when the mast collapsed half way down the loch.

"We noticed the mast flexing forward, but the wind was too strong to stop. Then suddenly the whole thing fell forward into the sea," said Ms Viant. "The safety boat came over very quickly, so we weren't in any danger – just disappointed we couldn't carry on sailing!"


Windy conditions for Wags. The boat on the left of the picture lost its mast in one gust. See below. Photo: Nic Compton

The mast was glued back together that evening by a team of volunteers during the stopover at the Lough Ree Yacht Club (LRYC), and Sylvie and her race partner Martine Gahinet-Charrier were racing again the next day.


Come in Number 18, your time is up! A broken spar was quickly repaired. Photo: Nic Compton

Meanwhile, the rest of the crews enjoyed a helter skelter ride in brilliant, but windy, conditions during the fourth day of the seven-day event. Competition was particularily stiff in the Shannon OD class where former Tornado champion Koji Akido vied with Lough Ree Yacht Club commodore Alan Algoe. Despite starting last, the Japanese skipper overtook almost the whole fleet to finish the fourth leg in second place overall, and first in class. First boat home on Lough Ree was the Wayfarer skippered by Monica Shaeffer.

The seven-day event on the Shannon River includes a former Olympian, a transatlantic record breaker, a Whitbread sailor and a former world windsurf champion.

Two local classes, the Shannon One-Design and the Water Wags, joined a mixed fleet of boats in the Open Class to race the 195km course. In a spirit of cross-border cooperation, the first two days of the event took place in Northern Ireland, before the boats crossed the border into the Republic of Ireland and resumed racing down the Shannon River.

Published in Inland Waterways

#INLAND WATERWAYS - The Lakelands & Inland Waterways Ireland Sailing Raid is a unique event combining sailing, adventure, exploration and racing in the setting of some of the most stunning countryside in Western Europe.

On 14-21 September a fleet of about 40 'open' boats – including the 5.5-metre Shannon One Design, the 4.5-metre Water Wags and various traditional styles and new builds all under 7.5 metres long – will sail 190km from Lough Erne in Northern Ireland, through the River Shannon and across the great lakes of Lough Ree and Lough Derg to Killaloe.

Although it will be a competitive race, there will be some time left to enjoy the scenery and the Irish hospitality of the three participating yacht clubs along the way. Some will come for the racing, some for the scenery, some for the spirit of comraderie – but everyone is sure to enjoy the craic.

To maintain the maritime nature of the event, the Lakelands & Inland Waterways Ireland Sailing Raid will be based as much as possible on the water.

Accommodation will be provided in motor cruisers for those who want it, while some will be able to camp near the river bank and others will make their own arrangements. Each stopover will therefore bring together participants in a 'floating village', with several receptions and festivities in the evenings.

The event is being organised in close collaboration with Waterways Ireland, with logistical support will be provided by the three main yacht clubs on the route: Lough Erne Yacht Club, Lough Ree Yacht Club and Lough Derg Yacht Club.

Members of the local clubs are being invited to take part at a preferential rate, while raid competitors from all over Europe will provide an international element to the event. 

For more information and application details, visit the Sailing Raid website at

Published in Inland Waterways

#shannononedesign –  A new inaugural trophy has been awarded this month to the winner of a race that celebrates the ninety years of Shannon One Design sailing. Over the winter of 1921-1922 nine new SODS were built to the design drawings of Morgan Giles. Seven of these boats were built by Walter Levinge at Craigduff. The first batch of boats were No. 32 built by Keneavy, Nos. 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 40 and 43 built by Levinge, and No. 39 built by Merne. Although some of these early boats still exist, it was No. 37 Kiwi which turned up at the 90th. birthday celebrations and held pride of place surrounded by her younger siblings.

It was in the late 1920's that the Motor Yacht Club of Ireland organised motor boat racing at Lough Ree Yacht Club, and they erected the old Starter's Hut at that club to facilitate the motor boat racing. Alf Delany was one of the participants at the motor boat racing. In fact, he won a small but elegant silver cup in his hydroplane Hold Everythin' which has been in the possession of the Delany family since then.

It seemed appropriate therefore, to hold a special event for the SODS to celebrate the 90th birthday for those earliest boats. It was agreed between the Delany family and Lough Ree Yacht Club that the event would be held at Lough Ree Yacht Club in late July. A date was agreed which did not clash with the various events being held in the club.

On Friday evening before most of the competitors arrived things stated to go wrong. It was fated that Kiwi would be sitting on her trailer at right angles to the main slipway at Lough Ree when a Laser 16 was preparing for launching. The Laser was sitting on her trailer attached to the back of a car when the tow-bar hitch broke at the top of the hill. The boat and trailer started to run down the hill uncontrolled. There was a scream of "Watch out". But nobody could avert the impending accident. The Laser built up substantial momentum before she collided with the side of Kiwi. The accident happened before anybody could run to her assistance. Fortunately the impact was absorbed by the road tyres and by the hull siding 200mm across the trailer. Fortunately only minor damage occurred.

The first race took place in warm weather and a southerly breeze of about 8 knots. 26 boats took part. The start line was laid by Owen Delany close to the Little Yellow Island, with a beat to a windward mark slightly downstream of the club. Being a location with shifty winds, there was plenty of opportunity for place changing. After two laps of the course and a great battle with Frank Browne's 86, it was David Dickson's 73 which took the gun. All headed ashore for some lunch and liquid refreshment before the second race which took place in a slightly stronger wind. This time the leeward mark was laid half way between Little Yellow and Beam Island. This gave competitors the choice to pass to the east or west of Little Yellow Island. After a good fight it was David Dickson's 73 which broke the line (which was located at the windward mark) in first place. The committee boat Moonshine quickly moved back to station of the Yellow Islands and held a third race. The wind had not increased in strength. The crews were beginning to understand the wind shifts at this stage and knew where to go, but at the end of the day 73 still won.

After afternoon tea of scones and ginger cake prepared by Brenda and Margaret Delany the final race of the day was held over the shorter course used for the first race.

In the evening Gerry Murray organised a drinks reception in the front hall of the clubhouse. The ingredients included a secret mixture of Gin, Lemonade and lemons. This Pimms replacement doesn't have a name yet, but Gerry's would be a catchy marketing name.

This was followed by Dinner for 160 in the club dining room. Peter Delany spoke of how his father, Alf (who was aged 11) had travelled down to Coosan Lough from Longford in La Vague with Vincent S. Delany where they inspected the 6 new boats which were ready for collection. They picked one boat, brought it down to the lake, and towed it back to Tarmonbarry. The Delany's were, at that time members of the North Shannon Yacht Club. This was followed by Harmon Murtagh who spoke about the early days of the SODs and the relationship between the Delanys and Murtaghs and how it was the loyalty of these families, along with the Brownes, Wallers, Lefroys, Maynes and others which is critical to our enjoyment of our sailing and the sustenance of the yacht clubs.

On Sunday morning the wind was still from the south, but had increased in strength to about 20 knots. One reef was called. Soon it was realised that one reef would not be enough as the wind was gusting at about 22knots, and the competitors put in a second reef. It was a somewhat depleted fleet of about 15 boats which headed towards the Little Yellow Island where the start line was located. This was a real opportunity for the younger crews and it was the O' Carrolls who valiantly tried to hold off the ever conquering 73. They stayed in the lead for two laps but were eventually overtaken. Despite the small sail area the boats planed on the reaching legs without much effort. The gybe mark was laid about 16m. offshore them the outer jetty of the club, which gave the spectators a great view of the scared faces as gusts hit and boats gybed. It was Dan O'Connor who was in a strong third place when he capsized, and presented a challenge for the following boats. Would they gybe between the capsized boat and the mark, and run the risk of running down the people in the water? or would they squeeze between the cruisers tied up to the jetty and risk hitting them with a fast moving boom?

After lunch another race was held in an equally strong wind. There was some interesting congestion at some of the leeward marks.

At the prizegiving Owen Delany presented a new trophy to be held in perpetuity by the Lough Ree Yacht Club- to be called the 1922 Cup. He explained that it was the intention that the Cup would be raced for every 5 or 10 years. It was awarded to David Dickson and his family who sailed the 73 with such skill in all conditions. It was a pity that the trophy wasn't won by her numerical anagram, the 90 year old No. 37, which had been sailed by various members of the Delany family, and finished in a lowly 11th place.

Published in Shannon One Design
Tagged under
A former Olympian's 'mid-life crisis' and a love of  traditional boat building has led to a unique partnership in Roscommon where the art of clinker boat construction is being kept alive. 85–year–old boat builder Jimmy Furey, the doyene of the Shannon One Design class, took on 1988 Seoul dinghy sailor Cathy MacAleavey as his 'apprentice' last winter. The story of the 16-foot wooden dinghy they built has been recounted on RTE Television this week. Click here for the Nationwide programme by Niall Martin.
Published in Maritime TV

Waterways Ireland advises the Shannon One Design annual long distance sailing race on the inland waterways will commence at 10.00 hrs on Sat 26th from Athlone Lock, overnight at Banagher and finish at Portumna Bridge on Sun 27th Jun 2010. The Shannon Inspector of Navigation has warned masters to give way to vessels and boats navigating by sail only. Full notice is attached.

Published in Shannon One Design
24th September 2009

Shannon One Design Association

Courtesy of the Shannon One Design Association:

164newfull.jpgThe Shannon One Design sailboat (known as a 'SOD' or 'Shannon') has a long and colourful history going back to 1920, when it was originally designed by Morgan Giles. Despite its charming looks, the Shannon One Design is a very exciting boat to sail and fleets of SODs have been racing on Loughs Ree and Derg in Ireland since 1922. The racing is very competitive, and the sailing season is filled each year with a wide variety of events. SODA is governed by a committee made up of Shannon One Design owners and sailors.

The Shannon One Design Association (SODA) is the Governing Body for the Shannon One Design Sailing Class. SODA is responsible for fixing the class rules and also for the enforcement of those rules.



The Shannon One Design (SOD) is an 18 foot boat unique to the lakes of Derg and Ree on the Shannon river in Ireland. On the 29th January 1920 a meeting of delegates from the Lough Derg, Lough Ree and North Shannon Yacht Clubs was held in the Prince of Wales Hotel in Athlone to set about the introduction of a one-design class racing boat on the Shannon. The SOD 'Design 102' by Morgan Giles was based on his Essex One Design both in profile and in sections.

The first Shannon One design trial boat was ordered in 1921 from Walter Levinge by L. Graham (Boy) Toler, and named 'Phyllis' later numbered SOD 43 and renamed 'Red Boat' in 1923. The new class should have commenced numbering at No 1, but this did not happen. Numbering of the following boats began at number 32.

The Shannon One Design began to race in earnest in 1922. New hull and sail specifications were adopted in 1989 to take into consideration emerging marine technologies. There is keen competition in the two major regattas at Lough Derg YC and Lough Ree YC in August. The Shannon One design boat register now exceeds No. 175.

Sailing Shannons has always attracted families, and generations in many cases have been involved in campaigning the same boat down through the years. Indeed many of the same family names that attended that first meeting in 1922 still feature in SOD racing today. 


The Boats

The Shannon One Design is a wooden, clinker-built, eighteen-foot (5.49m) racing dinghy, propelled by a single gunter-rigged mainsail of 140 square feet (15.6 sq.m). The boat has a relatively narrow beam of 4 feet 10.5 inches (1.5m), and draws 4 feet (1.23m) with her centreboard down.

With a large sail and comparatively narrow beam, a Shannon One Design is a lively performer, especially in a fresh breeze, and requires a three-person crew for normal sailing. 

There has long been a strong boat-building tradition on Loughs Derg and Ree, and almost all Shannon One Designs have come from the yards of skilled local craftsmen.

The boats are unique to the river Shannon and are actively raced in both Lough Ree Yacht Club and in Lough Derg Yacht Club.

Shannon sailing attracts a wide range of sailors from far and wide, not simply limited to Shannon riverside dwellers. At the two main events each year, the week-long regattas at Ballyglass on Lough Ree and Dromineer on Lough Derg, up to 55 SODs have been counted. These will be sailed by a mixture of local sailors and others based in Dublin or elsewhere (as far away as the USA), most of whom return year on year to compete.

Above all, the Shannon One Design class is a lot of fun, in which conviviality, wit, character and friendship are on a par with the high quality of the racing. Individual boats seem to develop their own idiosyncrasies to complement the eccentricities of those privileged to sail them. There is a strong and growing presence of young people alongside the older sailors, and new boats are joining the fleet every season.


Shannon One Design Association, c/o Damian Maloney, Honorary Secretary, 35 Littlewood, Stepaside, Dublin 18. Email: [email protected]


In March 2009, Graham Smith profiled the class for Afloat magazine as follows: "As one of the traditional clinker-built boats, you could be excused for thinking that the venerable SOD would be a static class on the numbers front, but you would be very wrong indeed. The number of clubs racing SODs remains at three but with 115 boats on the books, it ranks as a top five class.

That figure represents a 4% increase on the previous year, as new boats are built each year, although the increase is not reflected in numbers racing in the various regional championships during the summer when turn-outs were disappointingly low (the average in four events was around a dozen).

A feature of the year was the wide variety of venues, not restricted to the usual Lough Ree or Derg Yacht Clubs but with events in Kilgarvan, Cong, Mountshannon and Lanesborough, representing four different counties. It also saw four different winners, with Damian Maloney, Mark McCormick, John and Stephen O’Driscoll and Eoin Carroll winning the Easterns, Westerns, Southerns and Northerns respectively.
The Nationals saw a marked improvement in numbers with 26 boats competing at Lough Ree YC, where local hot-shot David Dickson added to his list of successes.
National Champion: David Dickson, Lough Ree YC 

There is a space for Irish boating clubs and racing classes to use as their own bulletin board and forum for announcements and discussion. If you want to see a dedicated forum slot for your club or class, click here

Published in Classes & Assoc
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