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Displaying items by tag: Autumn League

#HYC – Several forecasts suggesting that the current spell of exceptionally good weather could last until mid-October have helped to inspire the revival of a Mini-Series between Howth and Dun Laoghaire boats during the last three races of the Howth Autumn League, which concludes on Saturday October 18th writes WM Nixon.

Dublin Bay Sailing Club's programme of summer Saturday racing for keelboats concludes this weekend (Saturday 27th September). ICRA Commodore Nobby Reilly, who races out of Howth in the Mills 36 Crazy Horse, feels that there's still enough life in the last of the summer to encourage the Dun Laoghaire boats across the bay for three more Saturdays of racing, and to facilitate this he is organising a three race challenge series within the second half of the six race Howth Autumn League format.

Dun Laoghaire crews will be encouraged by the user-friendly times. The races at Howth on Saturday October 4th and 11th will see the first gun at 2.30pm, while the concluding regatta on Saturday 18th October will get under way at 1130, thereby allowing plenty of time for the prize-giving and for the Dun Laoghaire boats to return to their home base.

Racing is available in IRC 1, 2 & 3, and in White Sails 4 & 5. Entries will be accepted up to the day of the first race (details from http://hyc.ie/autumn-league-homepage), but please call the HYC Marina Office on 01-8392777 few days beforehand to arrange your spcial-deal marina berth a few days beforehand.

Published in Howth YC

#hyc – Almost 100 keelboats raced in Howth Yacht Club's idyllic conditions on Saturday for the second weekend of the MSL Park Motors Autumn League. Competitors enjoyed bright sunshine and the steady 10-13 knots of north-easterly wind enabled the two race management teams to challenge the nine participating classes with the finest selection of 'round-the–cans' courses.

The initial rolling swell on the racecourse was smoothened by the advancing flood tide and HYC Race Officers Derek Bothwell and Richard Kissane wasted no time in setting their planned 2-hour races for all classes, including some additional time on the water for the Class 3 participants.

Pat Kelly and his team on their J109 Storm have wasted no time in declaring their intent and suggested to the race organising team that there should be a good selection of X-Large MSL Park Motors Mercedes-Benz race winner jackets and shirts in stock for their confident and 'bulky' crew, this following their second race win in Class 1 IRC and ECHO. The conditions have been ideally suited to the half-tonners and J24s in Classes 2 & 3 respectively where the Evans brothers' The Big Picture and Brian McDowell's Scandal have dominated the top of the leaderboard, although HYC Past Commodore Anthony Gore Grimes' Dux is keeping the pressure on within Class 2.

On the start line in Class 4, HYC's Honorary Treasurer David Sargent in Indulgence counted on great boat speed to recover from being trapped On-Course-Side of the start line to win again on ECHO, while the IRC division is likely to become a hard-fought affair – with Stephen Harris and Frank Hughes' Tiger winning this weeks prize.

In Class 5, Kevin O'Byrne and his crew on Mary Ellen continue their recent event form with a win in the highly competitive ECHO division, while Emmet Dalton's Jebus was securing its second win on IRC.

The one-design keelboat classes settled into their racing after an initial general recall for the J80s. A race win in the ISA Sailfleet J80 class for Joe Phelan's team put them on a 3-way tie for the lead in a fleet that saw recently qualified 2016 Olympian Annalise Murphy join Alistair Kissane's team for this race.

Gold Dust and Cloud 9 emerged from the busiest start-line of the day winning the scratch and handicap honours in the Puppeteer class and both consolidating their positions at the top of those leaderboards.

Father and son duo of Fergus and Gus O'Kelly (14) won the Squib race for the second week and Marcus Lynch and John Curley's 116-year-old Rita took line honours in the ever-competitive Howth 17 class Scratch division, while Zaida won the handicap race prize.

While protest chairmen Neil Murphy and Ed Alcock were kept busy with their jury teams in the Protest Rooms, the fine weather afforded HYC's entertainment and catering teams to extend their afternoon offering of BBQ's and outdoor live music late into the evening. Event Chairman Feargal Kinsella explained that 'this helps consolidate the decision of our organising team to both raise the profile of the event in conjunction with sponsors MSL Park Motors Mercedes Benz and to provide the very best racing and social offering for our competitors and their guests.'

The series continues for another four weeks, finishing on Saturday 18th October.

Full results here

Published in Howth YC

#hyc – A new billboard on Howth Yacht Club's prominent gable wall has re-kindled local and general interest in the Fingal port's place in Irish and international sailing and maritime history. And it has led to an upsurge of warm local pride around Howth Harbour. After a summer visiting other ports, W M Nixon returns home and tells how it all came about, and of the re-vitalised seaborn sport which has resulted from this imaginative initiative.

The world's most historically interesting and best-preserved one design keelboat class is hidden in plain sight just 14 kilometres from the heart of Dublin. And at the entrance to the harbour where these very significant boats have their secret summer existence, there stands the most perfect little classic lighthouse you ever saw. It too is hidden in full view.

Or at least, it all seems virtually invisible for many of the folk who live in Howth, who have simply become so accustomed to the presence of the 1817-built lighthouse and the 1898-founded Howth Seventeen Class that they scarcely appear to notice them any more. They seem to take them for granted, as is the case many of the other special features of what is a remarkably successful fishing and sailing port.

Well, maybe they do take a little bit of notice. Certainly if some environment-altering project gets under way which doesn't meet with quiet general approval, you'd be surprised by the level of opposition which can be aroused, and with effect too. But it's part of Howth's reserved way of doing and seeing things not to make a song and dance about local features of importance and attraction when they are as they should be. For it is a fact that, well within living memory, Howth most certainly didn't exude prosperity. So the ingrained pessimism of a fishing port means that when things are going well and the place is functioning as it should, you just stay quiet and don't make a song and dance about the good times rolling.

Nevertheless, now and again when someone with experience of the outside world, and the standing to have opinions which matter, says that Howth is very special and it's time somebody said so, we're quietly rather pleased. And when it's done in in a way which has the style and effect of the new Mercedes-Benz billboard on the prominent gable wall of Howth Yacht Club, we're very pleased indeed.

This billboard encapsulates much that it is significant in the history of Howth Harbour, and it gets the spirit of the place. It shows four boats of the Howth Seventeen class (the "17" refers to their waterline length) gliding in close formation under their full jackyard tops'l rig into the harbour past the gem of a lighthouse in a photo which is so pin sharp that you can easily read the date plate of 1817 on the lighthouse.

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The Howth Seventeens which made it to stardom are (left to right) Hera (Michael Duffy0, Oona (Peter Courtney), Isobel (Brian & Conor Turvey) and Aura (Ian Malcolm) Photo of David Branigan photo by W M Nixon

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Howth was a distinctly disadvantaged port until relatively recently. Used as the main Dublin ferry port only between 1817 and 1826 (when Dun Laoghaire took over), it only became a "fishing station" around the 1840s-1850s. Then when the herring were fished out by the 1890s, some recreational boating space became available. But even by the late 1950s, as seen here, it was still a very limited harbour.

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This outline plans for a major Howth redevelopment became available in the late 1970s. In those days, the very idea of a marina was anathema to some interests. So although a new breakwater is indicated as the "Marina Breakwater", the actual space in which Howth YC were to be obliged to install a marina at their own expense was only referred to as a "Yacht Mooring Basin".
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Howth Harbour as it is today, looking southwest across the peninsula with the waters of Dublin Bay at Sutton at top of photo. With clearcut boundaries between the different harbour uses, it has become a harmonious place. The presence of an active fishing port has led to a proliferation of good seafood restaurants. And the preservation of swinging moorings in the northeast corner of the harbour (foreground) has enabled the historic Howth 17s to survive and prosper. Photo: W M Nixon

The Howth Seventeens are part of Irish and international sailing lore. They still sail to the original design by Herbert Boyd of Howth House as signed off in October 1897, and they still race as keenly as they first did on May 4th 1898. More keenly, in fact - they currently have something like sixty races a year, and new boats and new owners and crews have lately been joining the fleet.

As to how they have acquired this overnight fame after 116 years, it's down to Stephen O'Flaherty of Mercedes-Benz. He brought together the needs of Howth YC for a sponsor for their Autumn League in concert with the fact that his quality marque sought a happy match with something which allied classic and timeless style, and could withstand the prolonged exposure of being on a highly visible billboard for the three years of the contract.

Working in close consultation with former and present HYC Commodores Derek Bothwell and Brian Turvey, the idea developed of a big screen photo which would encapsulate key aspects of Howth's unique maritime features in a clear and eloquent combination. Stephen O'Flaherty is owner of the achingly handsome Spirit 54 Soufriere, so he has an eye for a good-looking boat. And as a relative newcomer to being a Howth peninsula resident, he still sees it all afresh.

He pointed out that the little lighthouse at the end of the East Pier is still beautifully maintained, though it is now redundant as the working lighthouse is further north on the breakwater extension added in the early 1980s. Indeed, it is still even inhabited, and for many folk from elsewhere, that plucky little historic lighthouse symbolizes the spirit of Howth. It looks just as a lighthouse should, and it provides a perfect background for a sailing scene featuring the Howth 17s.

So all that was needed was a suitable day to get ace marine photographer David Branigan of Dun Laoghaire (who showed at last year's J/24 Worlds in Howth that he has a talent for drawing the locals' attention to the more picturesque aspects of their port and peninsula), line up half a dozen well-presented Howth Seventeens complete unto jackyard tops'ls, and get them in a harmonious arrangement with the lighthouse in the background and the flanks of the steep island of Ireland's Eye beyond, and lo and behold you have your magic picture, just like that.

Anyone who has ever tried to take a photo of just one boat sailing will realize what an extraordinary challenge this was, as even with one boat you're relying on the presence of a breeze, you're hoping for sunshine, and you're praying that when the best moment arrives, nobody will be standing up on deck or in the cockpit, or looking at the camera, thereby ruining the balance of the photo. And that's just with one boat.

Worse still, it all had to be brought together at very short notice. But the first day suggested for a photo shoot – Thursday August 28th and already under pressure with just two weeks and a couple of days to go to the start of the Autumn League – was a complete no-go with adverse conditions. Time was running out. It had to be Monday September 1st.

They had neither decent breeze nor sunshine on the day, and getting the Howth Seventeens to sail in concert is about as easy as herding cats. As for the wind, it was only fitful from the east, while to the inexperienced eye, the light seemed very flat, and no sunshine.

On top of that, team head Joanna Kavanagh of MSL had only been available on the Thursday – by Monday she was on another photo shoot in Portugal. But far from letting this get them down, the location team rose to the challenge. And the Howth Seventeen sailors gave of their best for a whole day. Show me a Howth Seventeen sailor, and I'll show you a ham......

In the cruel ways of Tinseltown, of the six Howth Seventeens which gave of their very best for that long and often frustrating day's shooting, two ended up on the cutting-room floor - Roddy Cooper's Leila and the Nick Massey syndicate's Deilginis. The final masterful Branigan photo shows Ian Malcolm's Aura (no 7) ahead of Peter Courtney's Oona (no 17), Conor and Brian Turvey's Isobel (no 19) and Michael Duffy's Hera (no 9).

As a sailing photo, it mightn't garner enough excitement to make it into a yachting magazine. But as a billboard designed to tell a story in a specific location, it tells ten thousand words, and tells them very well too. And as clearly as possible – Jason Hurley of Jason Hurley Designs, who was involved in the shoot, also cleaned up the raw photo afterwards to enhance it and take out stains from sails, scrapes from topsides, and weed from waterlines. When it went up just three days before the Autumn League was due to start on Saturday September 13th, it was to be greeted with a shared wave of enthusiasm of a kind which is rare enough in a quirky little community like Howth.

Needless to say, there were soon the usual quips to be heard. The Howth Seventeens survive through turning the laws of physics on their heads. Thus while energy creates friction for other folk, among Seventeen-footer persons it's friction which creates energy. There's nothing like a barbed remark or two to sharpen enthusiasm for the next race. So for those who have said that it takes a posed billboard photo to ensure that Ian Malcolm with Aura will be at the head of the fleet, let me say that in addition to winning races now and again, nobody else in the class has done as much to tell the world that the Howth Seventeens are alive and well and sailing more keenly than ever, and here's a selection of just some of the things that Aura has done in the last sixteen years:

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Aura goes offshore. In 1998, the Howth 17s celebrated the Centenary of their inaugural voyage from builder John Hilditch of Carrickfergus 95 miles non-stop back to Howth. Aura is seen here starting to get offshore off the County Down coast as a bright but very cold evening draws in on April 15th 1998. Photo: Damian Cronin

howth7.jpgThe Howth 17s make the scene at the Glandore Classics 2003 with a foggy race from Castlehaven to Glandore. Here, Aura is chasing Deilginis close inshore. The winner was the first boat to have a crewman downing a pint in Casey's bar in Glandore. Photo: W M Nixon

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In 2008, Aura was the only Howth 17 to take part in the Waterways Ireland Classic Boat Regatta at Dromineer on Lough Derg. She is seen here sharing the lake with an International 12, Water Wags, Shannon One Designs and a Folkboat together with the 1873-built committee boat Phoenix (John & Sandra Lefroy). It was the first time a jackyard tops'l had been seen on Lough Derg since before the Great War of 1914-18, as the post-war fleet there were either gunter or Bermuda rigged. Photo: Gerardine Wisdom

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Aura and Deilginis off the Royal Yacht Squadron Castle at Cowes in July 2013 during the Classic One Designs Regatta. It is thought to be the first time the Howth 17s were in the Solent. Photo: Mel Massey

As to the Howth Autumn league, it started 35 years ago in a low key sort of way, when the boats of the newly-formed Squib Class realized they'd been at full first season fleet numbers for only a few weeks, yet if they followed the local wooden-boat traditions, they'd soon be laying up. But the Squib is a minimal maintenance little 19ft keelboat, most of the boats were new in any case, and the Lasers had been having their annual winter series in Howth since October 1974. So the Squibs decided to tag themselves on to the Laser race officer team, and continue their sailing until early December, and thus was the Howth Autumn League born, though it didn't become a fully-fledged all-keelboat-classes business until the marina opened in 1982.

howth10.jpgWhen it all started. The newly-established Squib Class inaugurated the Howth Autumn League in 1979, and this was the first race of that series. Photo: Jamie Blandford

Underlying all this, the Howth Winter Lasers will be celebrating their 40th Anniversary. And it also means that HYC have had a continuous sailing programme since their Opening Day in April 1974. But last weekend the first race of the Mercedes-Benz Autumn League 2014 was enough to be going on with, sailed to mark the new sponsorship and the 35th anniversary of the inaugural Autumn League. And as I was one of those mad keen little Squib skippers 35 years ago, it was an ideal opportunity to take up an invitation to race on Soufriere and mark it all with a bit of style.

She has been having a good year on the race courses. Stephen O'Flaherty has teamed up with David Cagney to bring that wayward sailing genius into his regular crew, and while you wouldn't dream of calling them the Odd Couple, the phrase springs irresistibly to mind. They have raised Soufriere's racing to a new level, with an excellent win in the long inshore race at the Panerai Classics at Cowes in July, and then last month they found a new level of joint success with an extremely good debut in Two-Handed racing in the Aqua Double-Hander at Howth, leading a fleet of 34 boats on the water and on corrected time for much of the race round Lambay and the Kish and back to Howth Harbour, only slipping to a close second overall through being becalmed for a couple of minutes just yards short of the finish line.

howth11.jpgSoufriere approaching the finish of the Aqua Double-Hander at Howth in August, when she would have won overall on both handicaps had she not been becalmed for four minutes within yards of the line. That race-winning headsail may look gossamer light, but on a 54-footer it weighs around 40 kilos, and it's quite a haul for a two man crew to get it aloft. Photo: W M Nixon

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A penny for your thoughts....David Cagney and Stephen O'Flaherty pondering the options for Soufriere when their just isn't enough wind to get the big lady moving properly. Photo: W M Nixon

Many folk would think it absurd to race a "new classic" like Soufriere against the likes of our opposition last Saturday, as it included Nobby Reilly and Alan Chambers' Mills 36 Crazy Horse, and the Kelly team's J/109 Storm which is always there or thereabouts in ICRA Racing, and has been ICRA Boat of the Year in her time. But Soufriere has a modern underwater profile of vertical bulb keel and spade rudder, and despite her very attractive wood construction in edge-glued strip planking, her all-up weight is only about nine tons.

Nevertheless, she does have to cart about these elegant long ends, which are only an asset for extra speed when the wind is above a certain strength. To add to the challenge, the ideal minimum wind varies, dependent on which point of sailing you're on. Beating, she seems to come to life in as little as 6 knots real wind speed. Reaching, you need about 8 knots. But downwind, she's sticky until it's getting near 10 knots, and preferably more.

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The forward cabin shows the Spirit style. With the wooden hull unlined, the noise of the water going past is pleasantly distinctive. Photo: W M Nixon

As to the impression on going on board, you have to think of Soufriere as they do with the Howth Seventeens, in terms of her waterline length. She certainly doesn't have anything like the accommodation of a standard modern 54 footer, and even her waterline length of 12m (39ft 8ins) suggests more room than there is, as her beam is only 3.3m (10ft 10ins). But within that, the accommodation is welcoming and elegant, and the boat gives out very pleasant vibes, as she is immaculately maintained by Tim Foley of Dun Laoghaire.

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Back in harness. Aidan MacManus of the King Sitric Restaurant has re-joined the Howth 17s by buying the Howth 17 Gladys in partnership with Kieran jameson and others. He first bought Gladys in 1974, and is the first helmsman to have won a race in the Seventeens with 16 other boats astern. Photo: W M Nixon

Going out for the that first race of the re-vitalised Autumn League last Saturday, we motored quietly along past noted restaurateur Aidan MacManus in his Howth 17 Gladys, which he has re-bought in partnership with Kieran Jameson and others. Aidan first bought Gladys in 1974, and he is written permanently into the class's history as in 1988 he was the first skipper ever to win a Howth 17 race with 16 other boats behind, for in a class of such great age, it's seldom that any season will see all the boats afloat.

The wind was light easterly on a day which belied it was mid-September, shirt sleeves stuff and careful reading of summery conditions which were too light for Soufriere. But the team gave it their best shot, and when there was occasionally that essential little bite to the breeze, suddenly we were at the races.

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Reaching the weather mark neck-and-neck with Crazy Horse but miraculous to tell.......... Photo: W M Nixon

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....on the reach Soufriere found her groove and the Horse was soon put astern......Photo: W M Nixon

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.....and for as long as we were on the reach, we were lengthening away......Photo: W M Nixon

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.....while the crew prepared for the run. Photo: W M Nixon

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Deflation. We pass the mark at the end of the reach, knowing the run can only mean one thing.......Photo: W M Nixon

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....and with her spinnaker pole deployed, Crazy Horse was soon rolling over us, so we gybed away into what proved to be the light wind side of the leg. Photo: W M Nixon

We rounded the first weather mark vying for the lead on the water with Crazy Horse, and then - mirabile dictu – Soufriere found her mojo and rolled over the Reilly-Chambers boat and led down the short reach to the next turn, but after that it was a wearing dead run with light patches everywhere. Crazy Horse was soon over us again, and as we don't carry a spinnaker pole, we were tacking sharply to lee down the left hand of the run where winds became lighter, while the Horse and Storm went to the right to find a better breeze, and both were ahead at the lee mark.

But then they clearly reckoned they'd used up all the breeze over to the northeast during their success on the run, so for the beat they went to the right where we'd been flat on the run. We meanwhile were left all on our own to do what we wanted, taking a big punt to the left, and it paid in spades. Getting back up to the weather mark, Storm was well astern and we were snapping at Crazy Horse's heels.

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On the second long run, we managed to keep in contact with Crazy Horse.....Photo: W M Nixon

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.....while Storm took the scenic route, seeking a private breeze in under the cliffs of Ireland's Eye. Photo: W M Nixon

The next run piled on the pain, but somehow we were hanging in with Crazy Horse, and Storm took a flyer right in under the cliffs of Ireland's Eye. With the wind fading, the Committee Boat had gone over towards Malahide to shorten the course at the lee mark, and a fine selection of the 97 boat fleet were running down together towards it from their various courses.

It made for a very civilised finish time instead of hanging around far into the evening, and we might have hoped for a third or even a second as the long lady which is Soufriere had been doing her very best. But then, just as we neared the finish, didn't the breeze pipe up for a crucial quarter of an hour. We finished at a crisp little speed, but down towards Ireland's Eye the two J/109s and the X332 Equinox were coming up towards the finish with bones in their teeth, and a reasonable chance of a third or even a second for us evaporated to fifth, suddenly three minutes down on the fourth-placed J/109 Dear Prudence (Patrick Cruise O'Brien), while the other J/109 Storm had finished at such speed she pipped Crazy Horse for the win.

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At last a bite to the breeze, but we're just about to finish.......Photo: W M Nixon

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.....so the brief but temporary breeze at the finish brings up the tail-ender Dear Prudence with a bone in her teeth, and Soufriere is pushed back into fifth on CT. Photo: W M Nixon

But that's boat racing. It had been an interesting day in good company, and when she could, the lovely Soufriere rewarded us with competitive performance, at all times with the water tinkling past in that special way it does with a wooden hull. She was a joy to be aboard.

On the 35th Anniversary of the introduction of the Howth Autumn League, it was good to be heading back in the hazy evening sun into this regenerated port where modern facilities are right beside the traditional anchorage. There, the eternally re-born Howth 17s were striking their tops'ls after an afternoon's racing, just as they've always done for 116 years, while continuing with the banter which will go on for ever.

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The Howth 17s striking their tops'ls after a Saturday afternoon race, as they have been doing for 116 years. Photo: W M Nixon

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A very likeable boat, and remarkably rewarding to race against more modern types. Soufriere in her berth at Howth after the first race of the MSL Autumn League 2014 at Howth, showing the quality of the work Jimmy Foley of Dun Laoghaire puts into her maintenance. Photo: W M Nixon

Published in W M Nixon

#hyc – No sooner had Howth Yacht Club successfully staged a new double–handed fixture on the capital's waters this month than the north Dublin Club is back with a further announcement on a new format for the Howth Yacht Club Autumn league. Now opens for entries, MSL Park Motors Mercedes-Benz have announced a three-year sponsorship deal for the League that is celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2014.

With final date for entries of next Wednesday 10th September, entry-forms are arriving steadily with strong demand across all classes. Organisers are predicting a fleet of around 120 boats across in nine divisions starting on Saturday 13th September and ending on 18th October.

Although London 2012 Olympian Annalise Murphy was present for the announcement today (Tuesday 2nd September 2014) the Laser Radial sailor won't be competing in Howth as she will be on the road in her Mercedes Vito Mixto, en route to the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander where she hopes to qualify for Rio 2016.

Cruiser classes 1 to 3 will have racing under IRC and ECHO handicaps as will two white sails divisions competing on a separate course between Ireland's Eye and Lambay Island. Meanwhile, Puppeteer 22's, Squibs, Sailfleet J80's and the classic Howth Seventeen footers will have a separate course inshore closer to Howth. Racing begins at 1430 on each racing day.

"Our new three-year association with Howth Yacht Club is a perfect match between a world class sailing club and our North Dublin Mercedes-Benz dealership at MSL Park Motors," commented Brendan Grace, Managing Director at MSL Motor Group. "Sports sponsorship isn't new for us but sailing and Fingal's beautiful coastline makes this event an ideal fit for Mercedes Benz."

And in a new development for the long-running series, racing has been switched from Sunday mornings to Saturday afternoon. "We made the change as we recognise that while competitors enjoy the half-day competition format, they also want to socialise with the other crews and friends after racing ends so Saturday makes better sense," commented Brian Turvey, Commodore of Howth Yacht Club. "The new timing will boost racing and bring the crews ashore in time for a great social programme at the club."

Published in Howth YC

#rcyc – Scroll down for more photos from the lens of Bob Bateman from yesterday's first race of the CH Marine sponsored Autumn league at Royal Cork Yacht Club in Cork Harbour.

Published in Royal Cork YC

#royalcork – Kieran Twomey's Gloves Off continues to lead in the 14-boat Cruisers 1 fleet of the CH Marine Autumn league at Royal Cork. The Corby 38 took its third race win this afternoon to lead by a margin of 13 points from Rob McConnell's A35, Fools Gold. Third is Dan Buckley's J109 Justus writes Claire Bateman.

With thrills, spills, T bones, a medical emergency and seasick sailors the second Sunday of the CH Autumn Regatta provided very different fare to last week.

Outside the harbour Class One were the first to start today and they got away cleanly as they had a long start line square to the boat and off they went on a windward leeward course.

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There was no catching Kieran Twomey's lightweight flying machine 'Gloves Off' on the day. However, a ding dong battle ensued between Conor Doyle's Freya and Tom Roche's Meridian, Conor Doyle leading at the first weather mark but a better hoist on Meridian brought them into the lead. This lead continued for the three rounds of the course and ended up with Meridian coming into the finish line on starboard with Freya coming in on port but one boat length behind. Mary O'Keeffe's X332 'Tux' was also engaged in tough rivalry with the other two X332s. Similar situations of these ding dong battles pertained right throughout the fleet in today's conditions. Bad Company, Alpaca, and Allure were also engaged in tough battles for supremacy. A similar situation also existed with the three quarter tonners, Iles Pitiuses, Per Elisa and Anchor Challenge.

Today there was an awkward sea with wind over tide for a period and also the matter of the tide flowing out the harbour to create lumpy stretches followed by dropping into holes in the sea and with wind of about 16 knots occasionally rising to over 20 it put the crews to the test. There were many broaches and many sailors not feeling the best as a result and many raised voices urging fast action as required.

The second race was a triangle course, the wind having shifted some 30 degrees more into the south east and again there were many incident s including one port and starboard incident where the porthand boat tried to dip the starboard boat but in the conditions the boat wouldn't bear away quickly enough.

Meanwhile, inside the harbour the Class four and whitesail fleets were having good racing as well with flat water and with the wind starting out at about 11 knots and before racing finished it had risen to some 16 or 17 knots. The 1720s were sailing on this course today and they had a fleet of nine boats. Class four were given a course running between the East Ferry mark and no. 16 buoy while the wind shift that was affecting the outside harbour course caused the Race Officer to slightly alter the course on the eastern bank as well using EF2 and No. 13.

A competitor who was feeling unwell was whisked away in one of the Club's high speed rescue RIBs to rendezvous with Crosshaven RNLI 'Miss Betty'. The lifeboat crew then took the sailor on board and transferred him to the ambulance waiting to take him to CUH. The good news welcomed is the sailor involved is making a good recovery.

All in all today proved to be a wonderful day of sailing with the sailors congregating afterwards while awaiting the prize giving and regaling one another with stories of their experiences of the day that left everyone looking forward to next Sunday's racing.

Published in Royal Cork YC

#rcyc – A fleet of almost seventy cruisers took to the waters of Cork Harbour today for the opening race of the CH Marine Autumn Regatta writes Claire Bateman.

Competitors travelled from Waterford, Kilkenny, Schull, Cobh and a group of nine very well known and welcome racing boats arrived from Kinsale including Tom Roche's 45ft Salona 'Meridian' and Conor Doyle's X442 the beautiful 'Freya'. All the very welcome boats from other clubs augmented the Royal Cork entry to an excellent number for this very popular event.

Sunday morning's weather was somewhat unkind with rain, mist and a lot of wind. After a short postponement a decision was made to race all the fleets within the harbour. Race Officer Peter Crowley set up Sparetime just north of Whitegate jetty and sent the seven fleets off on various courses in a westerly breeze that started out about 17 to 18 knots but quickly abated to 8 or 9 knots.

The 1720s and the Class One fleet were sent up to No.22 with Whitesail One and Two and Class Four starting with a weather mark that was laid off Spike Island. Classes Two and Three, after an initial beat followed by a run and a Gybe off Cuskinny, arrived at number 20 and on the return leg joined with a convergence of all the boats in the fleets arriving at No. 11 in close proximity to one another. This resulted in a well controlled, and fascinating to watch, Piccadilly Circus like situation. In some instances more than one fleet reached the buoy at the same time with one fleet rounding on Starboard and the other rounding on port.

By this stage the weather was clearing and lightening but it was adjudged too late to start a second race and all the crews returned to enjoy the hospitality of the warm clubhouse.

The event will continue for the next three Sundays and will finish on Saturday October 27th with a prize giving dinner that night. This function is always a heavily booked event so reservations would want to be secured as soon as possible.

Published in Royal Cork YC

#hyc – Another afternoon of fresh winds provided 118 boats with testing racing conditions for Howth Yacht Club's second weekend of Autumn League racing. A consistent south-easterly wind afforded the race management teams the opportunity of setting long race courses for all 10 classes. Scroll down for more photos by Gareth Craig.

On the 'inshore course', the Etchells were first away and Mike Evans's 'Valkyrie' wasted no time by taking first place and leading the fleet overall after the two races of this series. After a hard-fought race, Mossy Shanahan and his crew on "Crazy Horse' finished ahead of the J24 'Hard on Port' (Flor O'Driscoll) to trail them by one point on overall standings.

Following a disappointing result in their first week on the Puppeteer 'Harlequin', Dave Clarke and Liam Egan took line honours this week but have some work to do to catch 'Gold Dust' and 'Yellow Peril' at the top of the leaderboard. 'Mayfly' leads the Handicap scoreboard by 3 points.

By keeping within one and a half minutes of race winner 'Kerfuffle', Ronan McDonnell in his Squib "Fantome' remains on top in that class in both scratch and handicap.

Peter Courtney's 'Oona' led the Howth Seventeen class all the way around the course, but Brian and Conor Turvey's 'Isobel' still leads the class after last week's win, albeit on equal points with 'Pauline'. The 'two Kevins' (O'Byrne and Finucane) in 'Eileen' took handicap honours this week.

Pat Kelly's 'Storm' was a decisive victor in both IRC and ECHO divisions of Class 1 on the offshore course and Ross McDonald's 'Equinox' will be pushing 'Crazy Horse' all the way for the next place.

While 'Maximus' with Paddy Kyne and crew continue to dominate Class 2 with victories again in both IRC and ECHO divisions, Vince Gaffney's 'Alliance II' looks like the boat that all Class 3 IRC competitors will be seeking to beat - 'Starlet and 'Goyave' share top spot on ECHO.

In White Sails Class 4, 'Tiger' and 'Orna' will continue to share the spoils - 'Orna' won the IRC race and 'Tiger' took the prize for ECHO. In Class 5, Harry Byrne's 'Alphida' won the IRC race while Andy Knowles's 'Sandpiper' was uncatchable in the ECHO division race, winning by a margin of over 4 minutes.

In a division that will demand consistent results throughout the series, team prize leaders 'Orna', 'Valkyrie' and 'King One' lead by 36 points.

Published in Howth YC

#hyc – Boat of the year, Pat Kelly's J109 'Storm', reveled in lively conditions to take first place in Class 1 IRC of Howth's Autumn league yesterday, but had to share the honours for the ECHO prize with the Reilly-Chambers owned 'Crazy Horse'. Autumn league race one results here.

Third was Stephen O'Flaherty's Spirit 54 'Soufriere' and Ross McDonald and his team on 'Equinox', who will have been pleased to take 3rd place in IRC by a margin of 19 seconds after over two hours of racing.

A fresh westerly wind provided the 114 entries to the 2012 League with a lively start on the first of this 6-race series.

Nine classes in two separate fleets enjoyed perfect conditions with 15-20 knot conditions and race officers David Lovegrove and Richard Kissane made the most of the opportunity that facilitated ideal 'round the cans' racing.

In Class 2 Patrick Kyne's 'Maximus' dominated both IRC and ECHO divisions and only 11 seconds separated 'Dux', 'Sunburn' and 'King One' in that sequence in IRC. Malahide Yacht Club's Vincent O'Shea and James O'Brien in Buskwakka proved that the weather was on their side with a 2nd place in ECHO.

Howth's Vince Gaffney in 'Alliance II' showed the other boats in Class 3 that he will be the one to watch over the next 5 weeks, beating 'Starlet' and 'Goyave' in IRC with more than 3 minutes to spare - quite a margin in a day full of very close results. Eddie Bourke and his team on 'Starlet' were 1st in the ECHO division, with Malahide's 'Goyave' and 'Tobago' keeping the pressure up immediately behind.

Paul Tully and his crew on Dun Laoghaire's 'White Lotus' must have had the Harris-Hughes owned 'Tiger' baring their teeth when they finished ahead of them in the White Sails Class 4 ECHO division by just 1 second. They will be strongly challenged in this series by NYC's Philip Dilworth and crew on his Grand Soleil 42 'Orna' who finished 3rd but took 1st prize in the IRC division and their record in recent Howth events means that they will certainly be the boat to beat in this class.

The Class 5 White Sails race was won by Peter and Declan McCabe's 'Arcturus', narrowly pushing 'Sandpiper' into second place in ECHO. Stephanie Ennis and Windsor Laudan's classic Club Shamrock 'Demelza' took the honours in IRC and will be a tough boat to beat in this class.

On the one-design racecourse, Simon Knowles and team on his Etchells 'Jabberwocky' just finished ahead of Mike Evans's 'Valkyrie', with a gap of only 16 seconds separating them.

Howth's Flor O'Driscoll in the J24 'Hard on Port' won a close race from Stefan Hyde and his team on RCYC's 'Nyah', closely followed by Mossy Shanahan's 'Crazy Horse' and Brian McDowell and Noel Davidson's 'Scandal'.

Twenty entries and a very busy start line for the Puppeteer class saw two boats OCS at the start gun, but not Susan Sheridan's 'Ibis', which finished 1st ahead of 'in-form' boats 'Gold Dust' and 'Eclipse', with Susan and team also taking the Handicap prize.

In the Squib Class, Ronan MacDonnell's 'Fantome also did 'the double' winning both Scratch and Handicap divisions.

Turvey brothers Brian and Conor with their crew in the Howth 17 'Isobel' took line honours from 'Pauline' while the winner on handicap was Bryan and Harriette Lynch's 'Echo'.

Ten teams are be competing for the Olympus Team Trophy and the standings after this first week show the Howth trio of 'Crazy Horse' (Class 1), 'Bite the Bullet' (Class 4) and 'Voyager' (Class 5) leading the field by 14 points.

Published in Howth YC

Southerly gales put paid to racing on the final day of the WD-40 Autumn League, sponsored by Team PR Reilly, leaving the series to be decided on the results of the three races sailed on previous weekends. With one Sunday abandoned for lack of wind and the last day a complete blow-out, the League was, for the first time in many years, reduced to half of its schedule of races.

 

In some classes, it didn’t really matter a lot, with a number of three-wins-in-a-row crews on target to wrap up their particular series. In Class 1, for instance, ‘Storm’ (Pat Kelly) and ‘Tiger’ (Harris/Hughes) had treble successes on IRC and ECHO respectively so were clear winners in those categories while Anthony Gore-Grimes’ ‘Dux’ had the same score-sheet on IRC in Class 2. Nearest rival was ‘Indigo’ (Ritchie/Eadie) which had the satisfaction of reversing that order to win the ECHO prize.

 

Class 3 showed the best results for visitors, with Alfred Mayrs’ ‘Quickflash’ from Antrim securing the IRC title by a single point from Russell Camier and Colm Fitzpatrick’s ‘Goyave’ from Malahide, with the latter enjoying success on ECHO by winning that division, also by a point, from Ed Bourke’s Starlet.

 

Colm Bermingham’s ‘Bite the Bullet’ won Class 4 IRC by the narrowest of margins from ‘Changeling’ (Kieran Jameson), which had to settle for second again on ECHO, this time behind the impressive debutant ‘Sojourn’ (Lacy/Blandford). Harry Byrne and the crew of ‘Alphida’ retained their Class 5 IRC title, a point ahead of ‘Demelza’ (Ennis/Lauden), but the veteran Shamrock enjoyed a second successive series victory on ECHO.

 

Three straight wins gave the Etchells top prize to Jay Bourke in ‘Dirty Protest’ while despite missing the second race because he was competing in the All-Ireland Sailing Championship at Lough Derg, Flor O’Driscoll (‘Hard on Port’) took the J/24 title from Mossy Shanahan’s ‘Crazy Horse’ (on the same points) because of winning the other two races.

 

It was success on the double in the Puppeteers for the Walls/Browne partnership on ‘Gold Dust’, with a narrow win over ‘Mojo’ (Callen/Stanley) on scratch and a bigger four point gap on handicap over the same opposition.

 

It was a similar story in both the Squibs and 17s, with Kerfuffle (Craig/Ruane) winning the former and ‘Oona’ (Peter Courtney) the latter both on scratch and handicap. 

Published in Howth YC
Page 3 of 4

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