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Light winds in Lough Ree did not stop the ILCA fleet from completing two days of very tight racing in 5 to 10 knots. In stereotypical lake sailing weather, the light northerly breeze kept all three fleets with their heads out of the boat, trying to anticipate the next shift or gust of wind. Race Officer Alan Algeo and his team had their work cut out for them as nearly 100 ILCAs played snakes and ladders in the beautiful surroundings of Lough Ree.

The ILCA 4 fleet had much at stake this weekend. In the aftermath of Storm Kathleen, the ILCA 4 Class was left without any competitive sailing at the Irish Sailing Youth Nationals held at the Royal Cork Yacht Club in early April. However, ILCA Ireland has stepped up to the plate and agreed to allow the ILCA Connachts to be used as a trophy event for the ILCA 4 category for the Irish Sailing Youth Nationals. After 6 races Conor Cronin led the way on 12 points. Second went to Caoilinn McDonnell on 16 point and third to Andrew O’Neill on 17 points.

Racing for the Junior National Championship title in ILCA 4s on Lough ReeRacing for the Junior National Championship title in ILCA 4s on Lough Ree Photo: Clive Long

The ILCA 6 fleet, as usual, was looking for every possible advantage and pushed the line to general recall on a number of occasions over the weekend. After five races, Andrew Kingston led the fleet on 6 points, with Daniel Palmer in second on 13 points and Dan O’Connor in third, also on 13 points. Sean Craig led the ILCA 6 masters, finishing 4th overall on 15 points, with Gavin Doig 5th overall and second master.

In the ILCA 7, Tom Coulter won convincingly, discarding a second to finish on 5 points. Conor Byrne finished second and was the first master on 14 points, while Rory Lynch, also on 14 points, finished 3rd.

As always, Lough Ree Yacht Club were exceptional hosts, providing ample space and facilities for camping and a catered dinner on Saturday evening.

The ILCA dinghies sailing in Lough Ree at the Connaught Championships 2024 Photo: Clive LongThe ILCA dinghies sailing in Lough Ree at the Connaught Championships 2024 Photo: Clive Long

The next ILCA event is the Masters Championship, which will take place at Howth Yacht Club on May 11th and 12th. It is open to all ILCA sailors 30+ years of age.

Full Results are available here

Published in Laser
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Lough Ree Yacht Club, located on the picturesque River Shannon in Ireland, is seeking passionate and skilled instructors to join their existing team of 18+ instructors for their burgeoning Junior Sailing Course.

The course runs for three weeks at the beginning of July (1st to 19th July) and is run like a summer camp, with many families and most instructors staying on site. The club was founded in 1770 and is regarded as being the second oldest Yacht Club in the world.

Despite its long history, the club has a progressive and welcoming atmosphere. It is home to many talented sailors, whose competitive successes have been achieved nationally and internationally.

Junior sailing was first introduced to the club in 1968 in the form of a dozen Optimist dinghies. Since then, the fleet has expanded and thrived, with Mirrors, Fevas, 420s and Lasers being added in recent years.

Over 120 sailing trainees engage with the Junior Sailing Course every summer, and the club is looking for instructors who are passionate about sailing and adept at teaching to contribute to their thriving community.

The tranquil setting of the club truly makes it special, and the strong family participation ethos means that it is common to see young and old mingling together both on and off the water.

The club continues its tradition of being a convivial centre of sailing on Lough Ree and the host to many important sailing events. If you are passionate about sailing and skilled in instructing others, Lough Ree Yacht Club welcomes you.

For more information and to apply, email juniorsailingcourse@outlook.com.

Published in Youth Sailing
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Navigating November weather can be a stern test for regional championship events, yet the 420 dinghy fleet returned to Lough Ree Yacht Club on Ireland's inland waters for the second consecutive weekend, where they were met with ideal 420 sailing conditions. With fifteen boats competing in what was traditionally a poorly attended end-of-season event, the 420 fleet is showing a resurgence of interest.

Lough Ree also hosted the 420 fleet over the previous bank holiday week for their annual late autumn three-day intensive training camp meticulously overseen by Graeme Grant and supported by Cara McDowell and a team of experienced 420 coaches. The forty-two participating sailors had the opportunity to perfect their processes and chart a winter training and boat work plan with the coaches.

During the intervening week, the initial weather forecast was ominous, but thankfully, Lough Ree was spared Storm Ciaran. As the sailors gathered on Saturday morning, they were met with a direct north wind and waves coursing down Lough Ree. These conditions led to competitive races and a fair share of capsizes for the silver fleet in the squalls. Race officer Garrett Leech organised three races on an Olympic triangle course, with Cora McNaughton (BSC) and Sean Cronin (MYC) leading with two race wins over Sean Lemonnier and Killian Mathieu (GBSC) at the end of racing on Saturday.

Sunday brought steadier winds, calmer waters, sunshine, and showers. After three more races, the Waterford Harbour duo of Max Sweetman and Fionn Lynch moved from third place overnight, taking three bullets to win Gold Fleet and the new Ulster Bowl Trophy. Cora McNaughton (Blessington Sailing Club) and Sean Cronin (Malahide Yacht Club) took second place, and Sean Lemonier and Killian Mathieu (Galway Bay Sailing Club) finished third.

Max Sweetman and Fionn Lynch were the Gold Fleet winners of the 420 Ulster Championships held at Lough Ree Yacht Club Max Sweetman and Fionn Lynch were the Gold Fleet winners of the 420 Ulster Championships held at Lough Ree Yacht Club 

Cora McNaughton and Sean Cronin were second in Gold Fleet at the 2023 420 Ulster Championships held at Lough Ree Yacht ClubCora McNaughton and Sean Cronin were second in Gold Fleet at the 2023 420 Ulster Championships held at Lough Ree Yacht Club

Sean Lemonnier and Killian Mathieu of Galway Bay Sailing Club were third in Gold Fleet at the 2023 420 Ulster Championships held at Lough Ree Yacht ClubSean Lemonnier and Killian Mathieu of Galway Bay Sailing Club were third in Gold Fleet at the 2023 420 Ulster Championships held at Lough Ree Yacht Club

The Silver Fleet category was a hotly contested affair between the eleven boats and the new Royal Cork YC pairing of Isha Duggan and Tommy Hiras, holding off Galway Bay SC Eoin Morrin and Owen Cosgrave by two points overnight but pulling clear on Sunday with two fourths to take the Silver Fleet Bowl. Kinsale YC / Royal Cork YCs Caoimhe Corkery and Lucy Moynan were second, and Eoin Morrin and Owen Cosgrave took the third spot.

Isha Duggan and Tommy Hiras of Royal Cork were winners of the silver fleet of the 2023 420 Ulster Championships held at Lough Ree Yacht Club Isha Duggan and Tommy Hiras of Royal Cork were winners of the silver fleet of the 2023 420 Ulster Championships held at Lough Ree Yacht Club 

Caoimhe Corkery and Lucy Moynan of KYC/RCYC were second in the silver fleet of the 2023 420 Ulster Championships held at Lough Ree Yacht Club Caoimhe Corkery and Lucy Moynan of KYC/RCYC were second in the silver fleet of the 2023 420 Ulster Championships held at Lough Ree Yacht Club  

Eoin Morrin and Owen Cosgrove of GBSC were third in the silver fleet of the 2023 420 Ulster Championships held at Lough Ree Yacht Club Eoin Morrin and Owen Cosgrove of GBSC were third in the silver fleet of the 2023 420 Ulster Championships held at Lough Ree Yacht Club 

"Lough Ree Yacht Club were superb hosts, sincere thanks to the volunteers on and off the water: said 420 President Martina Whyte.

It was great to witness an influx of new sailors joining the fleet, and coaching and racing are underway for all 420 regions throughout the country for the winter season. To echo the words of Seamus Heaney, “If we winter this one out, we can summer anywhere.” Exciting times for the 420 fleet in the season ahead, she added.

The next event on the 420 Calendar is the Munster Championships, with training at Kinsale Yacht Club during the February mid-term school holiday.

Published in 420
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In an era when solo dinghy stars seem to get much of the glamour attention, Lough Ree YC's Double Ree Regatta for four leading two-handed classes on 16th-17th July is poised to meet a popular demand as the weather settles into a much more summery pattern.

For the Mirror Class, it will include the Irish Nationals from the 15th to 17th July, while the RS Fevas, 420s and 29ers will have their sailing built around a more compact formula on the Saturday and Sunday, 16-17 July.

The inaugural Double Ree in 2020 was notably successful. Now with LRYC's shoreside reception and camping facilities further developed to match an improved "product" afloat, Double Ree 2022 will be offering an attractive package to match LRYC's position as the current MG Motor "Sailing Club of the Year".

Published in Mirror

Lough Ree Yacht Club and the Shannon One Design Association are sharing this year’s MG Motors Sailing Club of the Year Award. It’s the well-deserved honouring of a dynamic combination that provides a core contribution to the Athlone area’s reputation as a hotbed of Irish sailing advancement and was recognised back in 2008 when they previously were joint winners.

At that time, Shannon OD numbers were expanding at an unprecedented rate, while Lough Ree YC was settling into an enlarged clubhouse which facilitated the club’s growth as a national focal point for sailing in Ireland, both as a venue afloat and a meeting place ashore.

MG Motors Sailing club of the Year

In this new award some fourteen years later, there are two vital extra elements to add to the healthy combination which was so outstanding in 2008 and continues today. In 2020, Lough Ree YC should have been celebrating its Quarter Millennium in exuberant style, but the fact that - with its foundation in 1770 - the Club is possibly the second-oldest in the world had to be marked in a COVID-muted way, and thus 2022 hopes to see LRYC celebrate Quarter Millennium + 2, if anything with added zest.

Lough Ree Yacht Club at Ballyglass. The club has steadily increased its land-holding, and with activity and membership increasing on a strongly family basis, it is contemplating further extension of the premises and facilities afloat and ashoreLough Ree Yacht Club at Ballyglass. The club has steadily increased its land-holding, and with activity and membership increasing on a strongly family basis, it is contemplating further extension of the premises and facilities afloat and ashore  

But for the Shannon One Designs, 2022 is it - the Centenary Year. In making the award, we will be celebrating one of the most remarkable classes in the world, a class which - thanks to its classic clinker-built construction - is now recognised as being of special Heritage Significance, with official UNESCO recognition of this ancient-yet-updated method of boat-building.

Walter Levinge of Lough Ree YC built many of the Shannon One Designs in the early days of the class from 1922 onwards, and was active in boat-building and sailing until the 1960s. His clinker construction of these classic boats was of a quality well deserving of the recently-awarded UNESCO Heritage Status.Walter Levinge of Lough Ree YC built many of the Shannon One Designs in the early days of the class from 1922 onwards, and was active in boat-building and sailing until the 1960s. His clinker construction of these classic boats was of a quality well deserving of the recently-awarded UNESCO Heritage Status.

In fact, so much of long-term sailing heritage is to be found in and around the southeast corner of Lough Ree that perhaps the entire area should be declared a UNESCO Heritage Site, for in addition to the Lough Ree YC complex, it includes the location where the legendary Walter Levinge built many of the early Shannon One Designs in addition to other classic clinker-built designs, and it also includes the newly re-configured headquarters of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland.

MGM Motors Sailing club of the Year

LOUGH REE YACHT CLUB

It’s probable that organised sailing of some sort was taking place on Lough Ree long before 1770, but the records from 1770 prove beyond doubt that something was under way by that time. And though the name Lough Ree Yacht Club was not always the title being used, it’s the one that has lasted, even if within the past hundred years the club activity had sometimes become thin enough.

That said, dedicated families like the Murtaghs of Athlone kept the flame alight, even though - in the very thin years of the 1950s - if it hadn’t been for Sid Shine of Athlone making his houseboat/barge The Fox available for use as a clubhouse when required, LRYC might have become an idea rather than something tangible.

Jimmy Furey and Sid Shine. The late Jimmy Furey of Leecarrow on Lough Ree took over the Levinge mantle as the leading builder of Shannon ODs of the highest standard, while Sid Shine of Athlone was a dedicated sailing enthusiast who played a central role in keeping Lough Ree YC going through the thin years of the 1950s. Photo: W M NixonJimmy Furey and Sid Shine. The late Jimmy Furey of Leecarrow on Lough Ree took over the Levinge mantle as the leading builder of Shannon ODs of the highest standard, while Sid Shine of Athlone was a dedicated sailing enthusiast who played a central role in keeping Lough Ree YC going through the thin years of the 1950s. Photo: W M Nixon

That is something difficult to imagine as we contemplate the contemporary thriving clubhouse/dinghy park/boatyard/marina complex at Ballyglass. As proof of the club’s thriving good health, it has managed to keep a busy if truncated COVID-compliant programme going during the regulation periods under current Commodore John McGonigle, who incidentally is Ireland’s leading classic watch-maker. And before that in 2020 itself with his predecessor Garrett Leech, there was as much activity afloat as possible, and a continuing programme of acquiring extra land which has led to LRYC having a total site of six acres. This will facilitate the re-routing of the access road and other amenities, thereby making the interaction between the clubhouse and the on-water facilities more user-friendly, while providing a launching pad for further clubhouse expansion.

The secret life of yacht club flag officers…..John McGonigle, Lough Ree YC Commodore, is Ireland’s leading creator of customised classic wrist watchesThe secret life of yacht club flag officers…..John McGonigle, Lough Ree YC Commodore, is Ireland’s leading creator of customised classic wrist watches

Virtually all of this has been done with voluntary effort as far as the actual running of the club is concerned. Yet that’s something the members take in their stride as they focus on sailing, with one of their peak interests being the Olympic 49er duo of Rob Dickson and Sean Waddilove. Although the pair are generally associated with the east coast Fingal clubs of Howth and Skerries, Rob Dickson’s total passion for sailing was basically shaped around family holidays on the Shannon with the focus on Lough Ree YC, and while his head may be in Fingal or at some major international venue, his heart is on Lough Ree.

Lough Ree is renowned for its big skies, seen here making shapes over the LRYC SB20 Class.Lough Ree is renowned for its big skies, seen here making shapes over the LRYC SB20 Class.

There, the LRYC fleet is eclectic, with a strong emphasis on family and junior sailing through Optimists, Mirrors and 420s in addition to the Shannon ODs, while they’re also a stronghold of Cruisers and the SB20 Class, having provided the SB20s with their exuberant “Pandemic President” John Malone, who enthusiastically led his fleet both at LRYC and nationally into as much activity as was permitted, making them one of Ireland’s busiest classes.

LRYC is noted for its encouragement of youth classes, and while the 420s can enjoy its best summertime racing condition………LRYC is noted for its encouragement of youth classes, and while the 420s can enjoy its best summertime racing condition………
….there are many times when the lough reminds them that is basically an inland sea.….there are many times when the lough reminds them that is basically an inland sea.

But like all LRYC classes, the Lough Ree SB20s’ first loyalty is to their own home waters, and the way that they and all the sailors of Lough Ree YC interact in the most positive way with their own local community is an aspect of the club which the adjudicators find particularly inspiring. This soothing vid of a lone Shannon One Design sailing on the lake at Ballyglass tells us much about why the LRYC approach works so well:

 

SHANNON ONE DESIGN ASSOCIATION

Any organization which was founded in Ireland a hundred years ago will have found its earliest experiences coinciding precisely with the birth throes of the Irish Free State, which between 1919 and 1922 included a War of Independence, and the Civil War fought over the Treaty which resulted from the Independence conflict.

Thus the establishment of the Shannon One Design Association between the members of the North Shannon YC on Lough Bofin in Longford, Lough Ree YC at Athlone, and Lough Derg YC at Dromineer took place in a sort of parallel universe in which many people were trying to get on with some sort of normal life, while others in relatively confined areas were prepared to fight to the death for their objectives.

An early Shannon One Design clearly revealing the class’s noted hull flexibility.An early Shannon One Design clearly revealing the class’s noted hull flexibility

The ability to live with parallel situations was already almost normal in Ireland, for after the Sinn Fein victory in the 1918 General Election, an alternative government to that ruling from Dublin Castle was established under the new and “illegal” Dail, such that in many parts of the country, it was quietly if almost invisibly accepted as the real administration which either got things done, or prevented the supposedly official government from performing its more mundane functions.

MGM Motors Sailing club of the Year

In such circumstances, and with the River Shannon available to provide them with the means of travel should various roads and railways be blocked by felled trees or detonated bridges, the task of setting the Shannon One Design Association in being was put in motion, the key meeting being a gathering in the Prince of Wales Hotel in Athlone on January 20th 1920.

It may have started with a tentative January meeting in Athlone in 1920, but since then the Shannon One Designs have become one of the wonders of Irish sailing, as seen here with the class making a boisterous start in racing at Dromineer on Lough Derg, with John & Sandra Lefroy’s 1873-vintage iron-built Phoenix as Committee Boat. Photo SODAIt may have started with a tentative January meeting in Athlone in 1920, but since then the Shannon One Designs have become one of the wonders of Irish sailing, as seen here with the class making a boisterous start in racing at Dromineer on Lough Derg, with John & Sandra Lefroy’s 1873-vintage iron-built Phoenix as Committee Boat. Photo SODA

We get a fascinating insight into the mood and attitude of those involved through the 1972-published Golden Jubilee History of the class by L. M. “Bunny” Goodbody. For the most part, those originally involved lived in big house on the lakes and along the river, or were top professional and business people in the Shannon port towns. Nicknames were almost the norm – Bunny Goodbody had a formidable female relative, Posie Goodbody, whose most famous of many achievements was to set off at dawn from Killaloe in her hyper-fast motor-powered hydroplane, and by sunset she was at Lough Key, having power-boated in one span of daylight through the length of the Shannon.

MG Motors Sailing club of the Year

Then as the Shannon ODs – or Sods as everyone called them – got going after many discussions, their long-serving timekeeper was one Henry R Newland MA (TCD), whom you might expect to be called Harry or even Hal, but you’d be wrong. Everyone knew him as Tulip.

With noted longtime Shannon sailing families like the Delanys, Murtaghs, Hogans, Lefroys, Levinges, Lysters, Moerans, Devenishes, Handcocks, Wallers, Goodbodies and Boltons involved from the start, it’s not surprising to learn that some of these talented individuals expected their own self-created designs to become the standard boat for the new 18ft una-rigged class, so perhaps it was a peace-making ploy to go to the English designer Morgan Giles of Devon for the designs.

He produced something whose hull looked in profile like his recently-created clinker-built Essex One-Design, but the proposed SOD was much narrower and this – with the una rig - changed the character of the boat completely to make it truly expressive of the classic Irish lake boat with a substantial sail added.

Shannon OD designer Frank Morgan Giles of Devon created some noted dinghy classes. However, when his original plan for a dipping-lug mainsail for the Shannon One Designs in 1921 was soon changed by the class to a much neater gunter lug, they only told him after it had been done, resulting in frosty relations for 35 years.Shannon OD designer Frank Morgan Giles of Devon created some noted dinghy classes. However, when his original plan for a dipping-lug mainsail for the Shannon One Designs in 1921 was soon changed by the class to a much neater gunter lug, they only told him after it had been done, resulting in frosty relations for 35 years.

The sail immediately caused trouble. Giles had designed it as a lug sail, and despite the increasing presence in Ireland of the International 12 dinghy with its very effective standing lug, the Shannon sailors seem to have been provided with a dipping lug.

This was an infernal nuisance, so they quickly changed it to a gunter lug, and almost as an afterthought, they sent a letter about the change to Morgan Giles. He replied in such a frosty style that there was a stand-off in friendly relations for something like 35 years before any sort of client-designer harmony was properly restored.

This may have been something to do with the Irish situation, for while the new class merrily went ahead with Walter Levinge building seven boats to the new design for the 1922 season, the Civil War was causing sporadic violence in Ireland, and increasing hostility and incomprehension in England.

Yet those who were determined to get the new class going and continue to live in Ireland knew well the mood of their people among whom they lived, whatever their own political views. A certain mutual tolerance, understanding and respect was needed.

MG Motors Sailing club of the Year

Thus when the new class was finally lined up for its first proper race on Wednesday, August 23rd 1922 at Lough Ree YC at Ballyglass, as the L. M. Goodbody Shannon OD History of 1972 records: “Wednesday brought the news of the death in action in West Cork of General Michael Collins, the Commander in Chief of the National Army, and in consequence all racing that day was suspended”.

Referring to the former guerilla leader as General Collins was something which had first emerged from Winston Churchill and F E Smith - of all people – during the long and tedious Treaty negotiations. But the fact that it should have appeared as a natural part of the first history of the Shannon One Designs tells us much about how the class’s members – as natural conservatives – were already anticipating di Lampedusa’s philosophy that those who wish things to stay basically the same must give a subtle lead in controlled change.

Consequently, when an invitation was extended to the expanding new class to take part in the Tailteann Games in 1924 to celebrate the new Irish Free State, it was accepted with enthusiasm, with seven SODs going to what all those involved still thought of as Kingstown. Part of the attraction was that this offered the chance to prove their mettle against the Dublin Bay Water Wags, who apparently didn’t think very highly of this new take on the traditional Shannon sailing boat.

When the Shannon One Designs first raced on the sea with their participation in the sailing events of the Tailteann Games in 1924 at Dun Laoghaire, the big seas of Dublin Bay revealed their readiness to plane when conditions suited. It takes a bit more effort to do the same on freshwater lakes, but here we see Olympic sailor Cathy Mac Aleavey’s boat – which she built herself working with Jimmy Furey – getting up to planning speed on Lough Derg.When the Shannon One Designs first raced on the sea with their participation in the sailing events of the Tailteann Games in 1924 at Dun Laoghaire, the big seas of Dublin Bay revealed their readiness to plane when conditions suited. It takes a bit more effort to do the same on freshwater lakes, but here we see Olympic sailor Cathy Mac Aleavey’s boat – which she built herself working with Jimmy Furey – getting up to planning speed on Lough Derg.

We tend nowadays to think that Shannon One Designs look slightly out of place on the sea, but in their 1924 expedition to Dun Laoghaire where they were based at the Royal Irish YC, they very forcefully demonstrated otherwise. On one particularly rough day when the Water Wags refused to go out of the harbour, the Shannons sallied for with gusto and revelled in the planing opportunities which the big seas of Dublin Bay provided.

Edgar Waller of Lough Derg YC sailing SOD No. 47 (they’d started their numbering at 30) won the Tailteann Sailing Gold Medal after they’d out-performed the Water Wags boat-for-boat. It was a very satisfied group that returned to their home waters, with their new boats delivered back to the Shannon in due course on flat-bed rail trucks in a joint exercise by the Dublin South Eastern Railway and the Great Southern & Western Railway.

MG Motors Sailing club of the Year

This very convenient facility was available at Dun Laoghaire until 1961, when the entire Firefly Class, having raced their DBSC Tuesday evening contest, was transferred by launching trolleys to the waiting flatbed trucks on the waterfront railway, and on Friday evening their crews re-claimed them in West Cork in Baltimore Station nicely in time for Dinghy Week. It the last year in which they could so such a thing with the West Cork Line soon closing, though not all was lost - in time, the quayside Baltimore Railway Station became the first Glenans Base in Ireland.

The swans in the evening – Shannon One Designs return to portThe swans in the evening – Shannon One Designs return to port

Meanwhile, the Shannon One Designs built steadily through the 1920s and ’30s, with all transport needs between regattas being provided by sundry motor-cruisers when the wind didn’t suit. The North Shannon Yacht Club on Lough Bofin more or less expired after 1929, but this enabled a more compact programme between Lough Ree and Lough Derg to be devised for August, when many of the Shannon OD sailors returned on leave from remote postings in distant places – it’s said you could find photos of Shannon One Designs displayed on walls in District Offices in dusty places up towards the Khyber Pass.

Thus the user-friendly system of a week on Lough Ree followed by a week on Lough Derg developed, with additional spice being added to the summer’s doings with a long-distance race from Athlone down-Shannon to Lough Derg, with a midway stop at Shannonbridge and sustenance from the house speciality of hot rum and chocolate at Killeen’s pub.

They’ll always be trying something new – as August approaches, in distant parts of the world people will be dreaming of getting home to Ireland and trying a new trick or two in Shannon OD racing.They’ll always be trying something new – as August approaches, in distant parts of the world people will be dreaming of getting home to Ireland and trying a new trick or two in Shannon OD racing.

With class numbers continuing to expand as the challenge of building boats to the required high standard passed from Walter Levinge of Athlone to Jimmy Furey of Leecarrow and then since his demise (at a great age) to Dougal MacMahon of Athlone – thereby retaining Lough Ree’s reputation as the heartland of SOD construction - new names have emerged to the fore both in the racing and in the class administration, with the tradition of family involvement being stronger than ever.

Thus in 2021’s racing, the top overall prize, the Transom Trophy, was won by the Guy family of LDYC with number 142, second place going to the Mannions of Lough Ree with number 97, while third was another LRYC boat, number 73 sailed by David Dickson, uncle of Olympian Rob.

MG Motors Sailing club of the Year

Facing into the Centenary, the Class Chairman is Philip Mayne of Lough Ree who, like many other top Shannon OD sailors, has more to his sailing CV than just this one class, for among many other achievements he did a successful two-handed Round Britain and Ireland race in 1985 with Lough Derg’s Jocelyn Waller in the latter’s slim but slippy First Class 10 Silk.

The Shannon One Design Association Honorary Secretary is Naomi Algeo of Lough Ree YC, where her father Alan – a SOD sailor of many decades - has played many roles, including being Commodore.

Family matters…..SODA Hon. Sec. Naomi Algeo and her father Alan, former Lough Ree YC Commodore and longtime Shannon OD sailor.Family matters…..SODA Hon. Sec. Naomi Algeo and her father Alan, former Lough Ree YC Commodore and longtime Shannon OD sailor.

The programme to celebrate the Centenary will be developed as it becomes clear how the pandemic is moving and what becomes possible, though we can be sure that if it’s at all permissible, the Shannon One Designs will be doing it, and in considerable numbers too. Meanwhile, there’s a group effort in hand to publish the Centenary History before the magic hundred years are fully upon us all. Our thoughts are with the pictures editors in particular. The word is that they have 4,000 images - and counting – to choose between.

Meanwhile, congratulations to Lough Ree Yacht Club and the Shannon One Design Association on becoming the MG Motors Sailing Clubs of the year for 2022. Their joint achievements are so very special that if this informal and uniquely Irish contest hadn’t already been in existence for 43 years, it would be imperative to invent it immediately…….

The Guy family’s SOD No 142, Transom Trophy winner in 2021.The Guy family’s SOD No 142, Transom Trophy winner in 2021.

Published in W M Nixon

As often happens, the result of an improvised plan can be better than the original. Due to Covid, Lough Ree Yacht Club was unable to hold their usual Christmas party in the clubhouse.

It was decided instead to decorate boats and sailors for a night sail.

Seventeen boats took part. There was a mixture of Optimists and Picos. All the sailors were youth sailors.

The night sail scene at Lough Ree Yacht ClubThe night sail scene at Lough Ree Yacht Club

The idea came from Andrew Mannion, who along with a dedicated group of parents have built up the Lough Ree Optimist fleet over the course of the year.

"The secret sauce has been to teach skills while keeping the sailing fun"

The secret sauce has been to teach skills while keeping the sailing fun. A Christmas night sail fell neatly into this formula.

The boats were launched at dusk and were carefully corralled by a group of parents in ribs. As darkness fell, those onshore were treated to a spectacular light display from the fleet, while tucking into mince pies and mulled wine (or hot chocolate), all served in a responsible manner outside.

"We were fortunate that the conditions allowed the sail to go ahead", says Lough Ree Commodore John McGonigle.

"For the sailors who took part, they’ll remember that experience for some time to come", he said. 

Published in Inland Waterways
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Reigning all Ireland Junior sailing champion Chris Bateman swapped his local waters of Cork Harbour for Lough Ree Yacht Club's 'Double Ree' double-handed dinghy regatta last weekend and provides this report for Afloat

On the last weekend of August 2020, Lough Ree Yacht Club held their renowned “Double Ree” sailing event. First held in 2018 and designed for the double-handed dinghy enthusiast, this event was immensely successful. That success was repeated this year, on the 29/30th of August.

On Friday afternoon, Lough Ree Yacht Club opened their gates to groups of enthusiastic competitors. With a pandemic looming overhead, masks were donned and one way systems were followed. These simple things became second nature and by the evening, tents were spread out across the fields surrounding the 250-year-old yacht club.

Lough Ree Yacht Club's Committee Boat heads out on the lake to start racing in its 2020 Double Ree RegattaLough Ree Yacht Club's Committee Boat heads out on the lake to start racing in its 2020 Double Ree Regatta

Three fleets of double handers were expected this year, which meant that each arriving car carried a different boat on its roof. The cars and trailers were hastily unloaded and each dinghy was put with its own fleet, each fleet having been allocated a corner of the dinghy park. This left fifteen 420s, fourteen Mirrors, and thirteen 29ers sitting at the lakeside.

Registration was completed in a controlled manner as darkness fell over the happy campers, all waiting in anticipation for the next day.

Saturday, the first race day came around. The sailors awoke to the unique sound of the lake water lapping against the shoreline. A low sun hovered over Lough Ree, revealing a cascade of white water, churned up by a twenty-knot northerly wind. With a start scheduled for 12:00 pm, the competitors lost no time rigging up their boats despite the cold temperature. Each sail was hoisted eagerly and the scene became loud as the sails flogged in the high wind.

Fourteen Mirrors contested Double Ree RegattaFourteen Mirrors contested Double Ree Regatta

The Mirror fleet launched first, braving the harsh conditions as each sailed out one by one. Even among their own fleet, the variation between boats was huge. They ranged from modern, finely tuned fibreglass constructed boats all the way to copper stitched plywood boats, beautifully finished with varnished decks and painted hulls. Their red sails were instantly recognisable as they bobbed on the short chop. Next to launch were the 420’s, who skimmed their way out of the slip, to be joined by the 29er fleet a few minutes later.

The race committee dived straight into the first race, having set a trapezoid course for each fleet to complete. In a flurry of action, each fleet set off on separate starts to begin the first race.

The dinghies battled up the course, struggling through the high, short chop. While the Mirrors had a head start, the different fleets would eventually converge with each other due to speed differences. The 29ers put on an entertaining show, with wild high-speed capsizes and general hooliganism. While yachtsmen shudder at the thought of such bad seamanship as capsizing, the three fleets showed a whole new side of dinghy racing that was fast and furious, while also very entertaining to watch!

Three races were completed that day and the battered sailors returned to shore, fit to collapse. After each fleet had battled it out on the water for over five hours, the results were set. In the Mirror fleet, overnight leaders were Matthew Fallon with crew Jonathan Flannery. In the 420 fleet, Ben Graf and Alexander Farrell were overnight leaders, while in the 29ers it was James Dwyer and Chris Bateman.

Day two began with a clear sky and a strong feeling of early winter. The wind was down and the water was calm. The fleets launched much earlier than the previous day, with a start scheduled for 10:30 am. As they sailed out to the course the wind picked up to a fickle five knots. Conditions were light and shifty, which meant that decision making on the course was crucial. The 29er fleet started first, then came the 420’s and the Mirrors. After a course change and three long races, the sailors drifted home, in what was a huge contrast to the previous day’s racing.

The light winds gave everyone a chance to appreciate the lovely waters of Lough Ree, with its green shorelines and various dotted islands. A true sailing venue, worthy of adventurers and racing yachtsmen alike. The Lough Ree Yacht Club celebrates its 250th anniversary this year, and this is where the “Double Ree” finished up, with the prize-giving held outside its front door. In the Mirror fleet (also their westerns), 1st place went to Jessica Greer with crew Mark Greer. In 2nd was Matthew Fallon and Jonathan Flannery, while in 3rd was Luke Johnston and James Boyd.

A competitive start for the 420 fleet contesting its Connaught Championships as part of Double Ree RegattaA competitive start for the 420 fleet contesting its Connaught Championships as part of Double Ree Regatta

In the 420 fleet, it was Jack McDowell and crew Harry Thompson in 1st, with Ben Graf and Alexander Farrell in 2nd. In 3rd place was Harry Shackleton and Cara McDowell. (See also Afloat's 420 separate Double Ree report here - Web Ed)

A fine turnout of 29ers on Lough ReeA fine turnout of 29ers on Lough Ree 

In the 29er fleet, 1st place went to James Dwyer and Chris Bateman. In 2nd was Tim Norwood and Nathan van Steenberge, with Lauren McDowell and Erin Mcllwaine taking 3rd place. 

The LRYC pulled off what many said would be impossible, which was to run a successful national event in a carefully controlled manner. By doing this, they have managed to spread enjoyment and some relief among the dinghy racing community. There was no better place to do this than on a lake such as Lough Ree, and every competitor and family that travelled to the “Double Ree” is very grateful to the people that made it happen.

Published in Inland Waterways

"The seas is for sailing and the lakes are for fishing". Quite. It's a gross over-simplification to put any analysis of the Irish public perception of our use of waterways into such crude terms. But we didn't get where we are today by any highfalutin tendency towards subtlety in the popular optics of waterborne activity. Thus you mightn't be a million miles out in reckoning that Joe Public watches for any transgression of lockdown rules in the inevitably high profile saltwater sailing, but as a result, he and Mrs Joe have their backs turned on the lakes when they focus their critical attention.

Which is a pity, for not only does our high-quality lake racing deserve every bit as much interest as the seaborn version, but the leading lake clubs have been absolutely exemplary to the point of being national trailblazers in showing how to comply with the strictest regulations and still get great sport. And in so doing, they have provided our rather complex vehicle-based activity with a useful template of how to have "sport behind closed doors" within prescribed number limitations.

It has been an emotionally demanding task at Lough Ree Yacht Club, where incoming Commodore John McGonigle took over from Garrett Leech with the club's many good ideas for celebrating its Quarter Millennium in 2020 taking on a distinctly pared-back look, or indeed disappearing altogether as in the case of Garrett Leech's keenly-anticipated ClinkerFest for the long weekend as May became June.

Lough Ree Yacht Club is a renowned après-sail party venue, but even on its Quarter Millennium, it had to be very careful in maintaining social distancingLough Ree Yacht Club is a renowned après-sail party venue, but even on its Quarter Millennium, it had to be very careful in maintaining social distancing.

Ireland is a paradise in its variety of clinker-built boats. We have to thank the Vikings for that, even if their memory along the Shannon lakes is not something which is otherwise cherished. But as soon as the brilliant idea of the Clinkerfest was floated, it became a cherished ambition among clinkerfolk of all sorts to take part, and its total cancellation was an action of national significance in sailing, a matter of enormous regret, and a wake-up call – were it needed – of the enormity of the problems being faced.

It's at such junctures that the underlying strength of long-established organisations - structures which have survived and thrived through times good and bad - provide the fallback strength to continue whatever is possible. And of course down Shannon way, no-one would argue other than that that the 1920s vintage Shannon One Designs are the strong golden thread which holds it all together.

Shannon One Design Association Chairperson Erica Mulvihill and SODA Hon. Sec. Naomi Algeo racing with Rachel Guy on SOD 162. The women in charge – Shannon One Design Association Chairperson Erica Mulvihill and SODA Hon. Sec. Naomi Algeo racing with Rachel Guy on SOD 162.

To put it in another context, in Dublin Bay the 1884-founded Dublin Bay Sailing Club became the fallback point of reference in difficult times, while for offshore racers the newer Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association played a key role. So much so, in fact, that as 2020's pandemic took hold, an almost unreasonable pressure was put on DBSC Commodore Jonathan Nicholson, his Honorary Secretary Chris Moore and their other officers to make decisions and take actions on behalf of Dun Laoghaire enormous fleet, actions which would define how 2020's season would pan out.

The fact that a busy programme is now under way - with Thursday evenings in Dublin Bay, in particular, seeing keelboat turnouts which would be reckoned as a fine regatta fleet in other locations - speaks volumes of how successfully the DBSC people read the situation and called the shots, and in this they were greatly aided by DBSC's remarkable sense of continuity.

Dublin Bay Sailing Club racing. The DBSC experience of 136 years of organising races in the bay has given it an exceptional authority in over-seeing the resumption of sailingDublin Bay Sailing Club racing. The DBSC experience of 136 years of organising races in the bay has given it an exceptional authority in over-seeing the resumption of sailing. Phito: Afloat.ie/David O'Brien

Meantime on the Shannon, while the two main clubs – Lough Ree YC at Ballyglass near Athlone in Westmeath dating back to 1770, and Lough Derg YC at Dromineer near Nenagh in Tipperary with its foundation in 1835 – have their own values and traditions with other classes involved. But nevertheless, they are greatly strengthened by the unifying link of the Shannon One Designs, which in turn reflects each club's strong core of family association and active involvement, handed down and faithfully upheld through many generations.

This confidence of a healthy river-long tradition with local applications has made the very firm imposition of the COVID regulations at the Shannon Regatta Weeks somehow seem less of an arduous duty than has been experienced at other clubs. Maybe this has something to do with the lifting of the spirits that comes for stressed East Coast folk as they approach the great river with its promise of soothing relaxation, but somehow even the strict enforcement of the 200-people limit for the Lough Ree Regatta in the first week of August - with all places taken up in less than a day after going online – was given a more human face when former LRYC Commodores Alan Algeo and Eileen Brown berthed their barges Linquenda and Rud Eile across on the Roscommon shore, thereby freeing up extra approved people-space in the LRYC compound.

SB20s saw a starring role played by young Ben Graf seen here helming Bango owned by Kevin Fenton (forward) with LRYC Commodore John McGonigle amidships Other classes featured in the LRYC 250th, and the SB20s saw a starring role played by young Ben Graf seen here helming Bango owned by Kevin Fenton (forward) with LRYC Commodore John McGonigle amidships. During 2020 Ben Graf has also starred in the Fireballs and the 420s at National level. Photo: Alex Hobbs

As for the racing, thanks to the efficient multi-tasking abilities of the Shannon One Design Association's Honorary Secretary Naomi Algeo and the steady encouragement of Class Chairperson Erica Mulvihill, a Class Newsletter was out in a timely manner after the last race at Lough Derg in mid-August. All the most effective classic classes in Ireland such as the SODs, the Water Wags, the Howth 17s, the Mermaids and even the Lasers – now that they've passed their Golden Jubilee – seem to communicate partially through some sort of telepathy which even WhatsApp can't supplant, thus something clearly delineated is enormously helpful to the outside world.

So we're going to quote shamelessly from this News Letter to give a flavour of how the Shannon sailors coped with both the pandemic restrictions and an increasingly volatile Atlantic weather pattern which in time was to combust itself in Storm Ellen, from which few had fully recovered before Storm Francis came along. But when those two beauties followed each other darkly over the hills, the Shannon One Design Championship 2020 was already decided.

Ian Croxon recounts the story for the Lough Ree Regatta:

Celebrating its 250th year, LRYC certainly proved they can still learn new tricks

After many months of lock-down lethargy, the sheer sound of a sail filling or water rushing off a bow would have been enough for most to call this regatta a week well spent. The organisers went a whole lot further in providing us with a remarkably enjoyable event.

There were no packed-out nights at the bar,
 no bellowing by the piano, and the rumour 
mills were fuelled with antics from the water rather than the shadows of the clubhouse. All the same, we got to experience the essentials - sailing, sociability – albeit distanced - and the serenity of the Shannon.

25 Shannon One Designs appeared for the long weekend and with little else to tempt them away, the vast majority remained for the week. For the records, 200 people was
 the cap set by the government for outdoor meets, and this was strictly adhered to by a very diligent committee. We were in for a regatta that produced a few new precedents, but not all were planned.

 Social-distance-compliant briefing at Lough Ree Yacht Club Social-distance-compliant briefing at Lough Ree YC. Photo: Naomi Algeo

No half measures at the Bar – Sean, the shepherd of thirsty sailors, outdid himself this year. Keeping everyone comfortable while constrained is no mean feat. Basil Fawlty would have eaten his hat observing the slick operation of dining every evening, with multiple sittings to ensure as many could get a seat at the table while we remained at a safe distance.

What's the code flag for 'lie-in'? – On Tuesday, many of the fleet were still in bed when they heard the happy news... "No sailing for the day, already decided." It was blowing smoke. The race officer's name was blessed over the eventual breakfast to follow.

A family feud – The top end of the fleet got a lot taller this year. On multiple occasions, it seemed the fleet was watching a feud for first between the two McMullin boats, 151 and 67. Needless to say not a word was whispered as they remained hot on each other's heels. Great Danes never tend to bark I suppose!

The SODs at Lough Ree experimented with windward-leeward coursesIn a Con Murphy innovation this year, the SODs at Lough Ree experimented with windward-leeward courses. They found that there were more place changes on the runs than on the beats. Photo: Con Murphy

Horses for Courses – Generously helping out
 on the committee boat, Con Murphy and Cathy Mac Aleavey joined Alan Algeo and the team for the first three days and brought with them a common course used in the Water Wags, a sausage with a gate at the leeward end. The shape has other names of course, but all the same, it is a rarity to experience a dead downwind in Shannon One Designs. In the suitable wind strengths we had, it proved hugely beneficial in keeping the fleet tighter together, and on several occasions, more places changed downwind than back up the following beat.

Ironically (against its intention) it also proved
 to result in considerably more chaos at the leeward roundings with death-defying angles 
of approach and crash gybes a-plenty.


Shannon One Designs get to grips with a lee gate"After you". "Oh no, after you…." The Shannon One Designs get to grips with a lee gate. Photo: Con Murphy

A sensational showdown – I'd welcome the correction from any reader on the point of stating this was the most competitive championship we have ever seen. Leading into the final race, four boats could have taken gold. They'll each agree however that remaining at the top of the fleet through the week was no mean feat. We had numerous race winners throughout the week and every race proved to be a game 
of snakes and ladders with a few wings being clipped, and several Lazarus recoveries.

Andrew Mannion in Number 97 came out tops, his crew including subsequent Irish Mirror National Champion Caolan Croasdell who did the Mirror business up in Sligo a week later as reported on Afloat.ie, where for obvious reasons he acquired the nickname of "The Hat".

Andrew Mannion in 97, his crew including Irish Mirror National Champion 2020 Caolan Croasdell, was Shannon One Design Overall Champion at Lough Ree YC Quarter Millennial RegattaAndrew Mannion in 97, his crew including Irish Mirror National Champion 2020 Caolan Croasdell, was Shannon One Design Overall Champion at Lough Ree YC Quarter Millennial Regatta. Photo: Con Murphy

MOVING SOUTH TO LOUGH DERG

Having put in a determinedly-compliant event at Lough Ree, everyone knew that the complexities of the regulated transference of fleet operations downriver to Lough Derg would see some change in personnel, and though 25 Shannon One Designs raced at Lough Ree and 18 raced at Lough Derg (where general fleet numbers were made up by additional classes such as the Squibs), in all only five SODs managed to do both and thereby qualify for the Delany Memorial Salver.
Stephen Day take up the story of the Week at Dromineer:

Hot off the heels of a successful Lough Ree Annual Regatta, 18 Shannon One Designs turned up for a week's racing on the shores of Lough Derg, but unfortunately, on several occasions the wind did not make it to Dromineer.

Patrick Blaney obliged as PRO, but he and his team had their work cut out all week.
 Where Lough Ree had a stop-everything gale on the Tuesday, a week later we were held ashore by calm for the morning, and despite best efforts to race in the afternoon, we couldn't.

Lough Derg Yacht Club at Dromineer has its origins in 1835Lough Derg Yacht Club at Dromineer has its origins in 1835

Instead, we
 were distracted by the LDYC
 Commodore Joe Gilmartin water-skiing past the sitting
 SODs, and sailing turned into a lazy afternoon of swimming and socialising on the lake.
 On Wednesday every effort was made to sail the famous Belle Isle Plate and St. David's Cup, but they were not to be, sailing was called off for the day, and this time Alan Algeo, who has served two terms as Commodore of LRYC, got suited and booted and went water-skiing for the first time in 15 years. He certainly hasn't lost his balance and only had one fall.

While Alan was entertaining 
us all, the single-handed race was taking place. Johnny Horgan in the 167 was leading from the first windward mark right through to the finish, having gone back through the starting line, but was closely followed by Rachel Guy in 142 and Simone Hanley in the 118.


Driftathon for Squibs at Lough Derg YCDriftathon for Squibs at Lough Derg YC Photo: Oisin Higgins

The all important Juvenile Race followed, where under 16s take charge of our classic boats. With the breeze dying and a wind shift to boot, it
was a fetch home. Oscar Flynn in the 148 was triumphant, with Eoin Keogh in 142 second and Trevor Bolger in 164 third.


As the forecast had promised, Thursday morning had a gentle breeze on the lake, much to the PRO's delight. With two races in the morning Frank Guy in the 142 was in the groove taking both bullets, followed by Alan Algeo in 138. 

That afternoon Ian Croxon laid out the course 
for the Ted Croxon Perpetual Pint. Due to the weather he had to keep it short and sweet, but Laurence Hanley in the 118 had a dream running start and could not be caught, even though Alex Leech and Mary Cox kept him 
on his toes, with both finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively.


Laurence Hanley in the 118 took one more race on Friday, with Alex Leech in the 164 getting a much deserved bullet (by a country mile, too) in the final championship race of the week. Alex also took home the Milligan Cup – for the youngest helm of the week at just sixteen. You can sail a Shannon One Design before you can drive a car, but a car is definitely easier. Johnny Horgan in 167 rounded off 
the week with a winning finish through Goose Island in the '54' Perpetual Cup and Lifeboat Pennant – the latter which was awarded to the girls in the 144.


Frank Guy leads the Shannon ODs at Dromineer – he went on to wind the LDYC Regatta 2020 overall.Frank Guy leads the Shannon ODs at Dromineer – he went on to wind the LDYC Regatta 2020 overall. Photo: Oisin Higgins

The overall LDYC Championship was very close with Alex Leech finishing a very impressive 3rd in
 164, Alan Algeo was 2nd in the 138 and 
Frank Guy in the 142 taking home the Perpetual Challenge Cup. Frank's crew Rachel Guy and Laura Prentice were both deserving winners
 of the Bruce Plaque and McNally Knot. The Starters Gun went to Alan Algeo in the 138, with Frank Guy in the 142 2nd, and Johnny Horgan in the 167 in 3rd.


However, Johnny Horgan's dogged determination to do both Lough Ree and Lough Derg while complying with restrictions was rewarded, as 167 was one of the five boats which managed to qualify for the Delany Memorial Salver and he won it, with second place going to DJ and Alan Algeo in 138 while Laurence Hanley was third and the youngest helm in the entire SOD fleet, Alex Leech, was fourth.

Shannon One Designs racing on Lough Derg as they have raced for more than 90 yearsShannon One Designs racing on Lough Derg as they have raced for more than 90 years. 138 with Stephen Day, Daragh O'Brien and Tom Day comes to the mark. Photo: Oisinn Higgins

In spite of the foregoing few months when there had been a real uncertainty as to whether the event could even take place, LDYC deserved special credit for organising a week's sailing which managed to overcome the shortage of wind. And though Autumn is now increasingly in evidence, it is hoped that experience gained in staging successful regatta weeks at both Ballyglass and Dromineer will enable the Shannon One Designs and other classes on the lakes to get in some more meaningful sailing before winter closes in. And perhaps Lough Ree and Lough Derg will be an inspiration to other centres where some clubs have buckled in face of the challenge of providing total compliance.

evening breeze at Dromineer for the single-handed race If we move, we race – evening breeze at Dromineer for the single-handed race, won by Johnny Horgan who also won the Delany Memorial Salver.

Published in W M Nixon

The second oldest yacht club in the world, Lough Ree Athlone, has cancelled a major event planned for the celebrations of its 250th year writes Tom MacSweeney.

The Club's Commodore, Garrett Leech, said that Clinkerfest, planned for three days over the Whit Bank Holiday Weekend, May 30-June 1, intended to be "a celebration of racing clinker-built boats," which it had been hoped would attract over 100 boats to Lough Ree for competitive racing, would not go ahead.

Shannon One Designs, Water Wags, Mermaids, IDRA14s and International 12s had indicated their attendance.

"We have no choice but to cancel this year," said Commodore Leech. "We intend to run next year. The interest was large in the event, very healthy.

We had well over 50 entered with 6 weeks to go, we will break the 100 boats. We had SODs, Wags, Mermaids, IDRA's and a large fleet of International 12's and also three Coleens entered. We had the Myths & Rankins thinking too.

"I think that we will get an even bigger fleet next year as it had garnered some momentum but naturally I am disappointed," he told Afloat.

The dates for the 2021 Clinkerfest are June 5-7.

Published in Historic Boats
Tagged under

There is enormous interest in the revival of the International 12 Foot Dinghy Class both in Ireland and abroad, in advance of the 250th centenary regatta at Athlone Yacht Club/ Lough Ree Yacht Club at the end of May 2020.

In Cork Harbour, John Murphy and Tom Kirby are renovating Caubeen which was once owned by Captain Jimmy Payne of Royal Munster Yacht Club. It was Caubeen which won the Dinghy World Championships for Ireland in 1924 against Mr Watney of England, Mr Bokre of The Netherlands, and Mr Van Haltern of Belgium. After the programme of races was complete, Bokre and Payne were still on equal points. In the sail-off, Payne and Caubeen won by 29 seconds. Caubeen was probably built in 1923 by James Pluck of Cobh, as one of fifteen dinghies built for £47 2s. 6d. each. In addition to the renovation, a new sail has been ordered for Caubeen from Germany, which should ensure that she is able to compete with the best. Also in Cork, we understand that a Co. Cork boatbuilder has received an order to build a new 12-foot dinghy from scratch in time for the event.

"a Co. Cork boatbuilder has received an order to build a new 12-foot dinghy from scratch in time for the event"

In Dublin, plans are well progressed for the relaunch of Elf which was built in 1931 for a Howth Sailing Club owner and spent much of her racing life in Dublin Bay
In Tralee, 1944 built Sgadan, has been stripped down to her bare timbers and will be varnished ready to defend the Irish Championship which she won in 2018. She also won most of the championships between 1960 and 1970 in the hands of Keith Collie. The Dun Laoghaire and Sutton based boats, Pixie, Albany, Calypso and Dorado which competed in the 2019 Championship are all planning to compete in Lough Ree.

nterantional 12sAt the regatta there Dublin Bay 12 foot dinghy with mainsail and jib and the International rig with a single sail will race against each other.

In Germany, Reinhard Schroeder has encouraged up to four boats to take the long journey including two ferries and to compete at Athlone. This is the first time ever that German 12 Foot Dinghies have come to Ireland to compete against Irish boats in a major regatta.

Also in Uganda, Bert Hemminga is preparing a 12-foot dinghy, probably No 112 Anneke from 1924 in which he won the Bosham(UK) Classic Boat Regatta in 2019. She will be ready for the Athlone Clinkerfest.

In the Netherlands, there are up to 8 boats including Pieter Bleeker of V.W.D.T.P. being prepared for their very first 250th centenary regatta.

Wisely the Canadian, Nicolette Aronldus of Soilspring Sailing Club, already has her 1944 built dinghy Albatros in Europe and is getting ready for racing.

Another visitor from abroad has already been delivered to Ireland, she is the beautiful Scythian from Australia.

Caubeen 4The bow section of the 1924-built Caubeen showing original brass fittings

Despite Brexit, all the known English boats currently in commission including Doug Branson from Bosham Sailing Club, Colin Blewett from Poole Yacht Club, Margaret Delany and Gerry Murray will be travelling to Athlone to compete.

At the regatta there Dublin Bay 12 foot dinghy with mainsail and jib and the International rig with a single sail will race against each other. Lough Ree Yacht Club Clinkerfest promises to be a great party!

Published in Historic Boats
Page 1 of 4

Irish Olympic Sailing Team

Ireland has a proud representation in sailing at the Olympics dating back to 1948. Today there is a modern governing structure surrounding the selection of sailors the Olympic Regatta

Irish Olympic Sailing FAQs

Ireland’s representation in sailing at the Olympics dates back to 1948, when a team consisting of Jimmy Mooney (Firefly), Alf Delany and Hugh Allen (Swallow) competed in that year’s Summer Games in London (sailing off Torquay). Except for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Ireland has sent at least one sailor to every Summer Games since then.

  • 1948 – London (Torquay) — Firefly: Jimmy Mooney; Swallow: Alf Delany, Hugh Allen
  • 1952 – Helsinki — Finn: Alf Delany * 1956 – Melbourne — Finn: J Somers Payne
  • 1960 – Rome — Flying Dutchman: Johnny Hooper, Peter Gray; Dragon: Jimmy Mooney, David Ryder, Robin Benson; Finn: J Somers Payne
  • 1964 – Tokyo — Dragon: Eddie Kelliher, Harry Maguire, Rob Dalton; Finn: Johnny Hooper 
  • 1972 – Munich (Kiel) — Tempest: David Wilkins, Sean Whitaker; Dragon: Robin Hennessy, Harry Byrne, Owen Delany; Finn: Kevin McLaverty; Flying Dutchman: Harold Cudmore, Richard O’Shea
  • 1976 – Montreal (Kingston) — 470: Robert Dix, Peter Dix; Flying Dutchman: Barry O’Neill, Jamie Wilkinson; Tempest: David Wilkins, Derek Jago
  • 1980 – Moscow (Tallinn) — Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Jamie Wilkinson (Silver medalists) * 1984 – Los Angeles — Finn: Bill O’Hara
  • 1988 – Seoul (Pusan) — Finn: Bill O’Hara; Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Peter Kennedy; 470 (Women): Cathy MacAleavy, Aisling Byrne
  • 1992 – Barcelona — Europe: Denise Lyttle; Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Peter Kennedy; Star: Mark Mansfield, Tom McWilliam
  • 1996 – Atlanta (Savannah) — Laser: Mark Lyttle; Europe: Aisling Bowman (Byrne); Finn: John Driscoll; Star: Mark Mansfield, David Burrows; 470 (Women): Denise Lyttle, Louise Cole; Soling: Marshall King, Dan O’Grady, Garrett Connolly
  • 2000 – Sydney — Europe: Maria Coleman; Finn: David Burrows; Star: Mark Mansfield, David O'Brien
  • 2004 – Athens — Europe: Maria Coleman; Finn: David Burrows; Star: Mark Mansfield, Killian Collins; 49er: Tom Fitzpatrick, Fraser Brown; 470: Gerald Owens, Ross Killian; Laser: Rory Fitzpatrick
  • 2008 – Beijing (Qingdao) — Star: Peter O’Leary, Stephen Milne; Finn: Tim Goodbody; Laser Radial: Ciara Peelo; 470: Gerald Owens, Phil Lawton
  • 2012 – London (Weymouth) — Star: Peter O’Leary, David Burrows; 49er: Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern; Laser Radial: Annalise Murphy; Laser: James Espey; 470: Gerald Owens, Scott Flanigan
  • 2016 – Rio — Laser Radial (Women): Annalise Murphy (Silver medalist); 49er: Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern; 49erFX: Andrea Brewster, Saskia Tidey; Laser: Finn Lynch; Paralympic Sonar: John Twomey, Ian Costello & Austin O’Carroll

Ireland has won two Olympics medals in sailing events, both silver: David Wilkins, Jamie Wilkinson in the Flying Dutchman at Moscow 1980, and Annalise Murphy in the Laser Radial at Rio 2016.

The current team, as of December 2020, consists of Laser sailors Finn Lynch, Liam Glynn and Ewan McMahon, 49er pairs Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle, and Sean Waddilove and Robert Dickson, as well as Laser Radial sailors Annalise Murphy and Aoife Hopkins.

Irish Sailing is the National Governing Body for sailing in Ireland.

Irish Sailing’s Performance division is responsible for selecting and nurturing Olympic contenders as part of its Performance Pathway.

The Performance Pathway is Irish Sailing’s Olympic talent pipeline. The Performance Pathway counts over 70 sailors from 11 years up in its programme.The Performance Pathway is made up of Junior, Youth, Academy, Development and Olympic squads. It provides young, talented and ambitious Irish sailors with opportunities to move up through the ranks from an early age. With up to 100 young athletes training with the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway, every aspect of their performance is planned and closely monitored while strong relationships are simultaneously built with the sailors and their families

Rory Fitzpatrick is the head coach of Irish Sailing Performance. He is a graduate of University College Dublin and was an Athens 2004 Olympian in the Laser class.

The Performance Director of Irish Sailing is James O’Callaghan. Since 2006 James has been responsible for the development and delivery of athlete-focused, coach-led, performance-measured programmes across the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway. A Business & Economics graduate of Trinity College Dublin, he is a Level 3 Qualified Coach and Level 2 Coach Tutor. He has coached at five Olympic Games and numerous European and World Championship events across multiple Olympic classes. He is also a member of the Irish Sailing Foundation board.

Annalise Murphy is by far and away the biggest Irish sailing star. Her fourth in London 2012 when she came so agonisingly close to a bronze medal followed by her superb silver medal performance four years later at Rio won the hearts of Ireland. Murphy is aiming to go one better in Tokyo 2021. 

Under head coach Rory Fitzpatrick, the coaching staff consists of Laser Radial Academy coach Sean Evans, Olympic Laser coach Vasilij Zbogar and 49er team coach Matt McGovern.

The Irish Government provides funding to Irish Sailing. These funds are exclusively for the benefit of the Performance Pathway. However, this falls short of the amount required to fund the Performance Pathway in order to allow Ireland compete at the highest level. As a result the Performance Pathway programme currently receives around €850,000 per annum from Sport Ireland and €150,000 from sponsorship. A further €2 million per annum is needed to have a major impact at the highest level. The Irish Sailing Foundation was established to bridge the financial gap through securing philanthropic donations, corporate giving and sponsorship.

The vision of the Irish Sailing Foundation is to generate the required financial resources for Ireland to scale-up and execute its world-class sailing programme. Irish Sailing works tirelessly to promote sailing in Ireland and abroad and has been successful in securing funding of 1 million euro from Sport Ireland. However, to compete on a par with other nations, a further €2 million is required annually to realise the ambitions of our talented sailors. For this reason, the Irish Sailing Foundation was formed to seek philanthropic donations. Led by a Board of Directors and Head of Development Kathryn Grace, the foundation lads a campaign to bridge the financial gap to provide the Performance Pathway with the funds necessary to increase coaching hours, upgrade equipment and provide world class sport science support to a greater number of high-potential Irish sailors.

The Senior and Academy teams of the Performance Pathway are supported with the provision of a coach, vehicle, coach boat and boats. Even with this level of subsidy there is still a large financial burden on individual families due to travel costs, entry fees and accommodation. There are often compromises made on the amount of days a coach can be hired for and on many occasions it is necessary to opt out of major competitions outside Europe due to cost. Money raised by the Irish Sailing Foundation will go towards increased quality coaching time, world-class equipment, and subsiding entry fees and travel-related costs. It also goes towards broadening the base of talented sailors that can consider campaigning by removing financial hurdles, and the Performance HQ in Dublin to increase efficiency and reduce logistical issues.

The ethos of the Performance Pathway is progression. At each stage international performance benchmarks are utilised to ensure the sailors are meeting expectations set. The size of a sailor will generally dictate which boat they sail. The classes selected on the pathway have been identified as the best feeder classes for progression. Currently the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway consists of the following groups: * Pathway (U15) Optimist and Topper * Youth Academy (U19) Laser 4.7, Laser Radial and 420 * Development Academy (U23) Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX * Team IRL (direct-funded athletes) Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX

The Irish Sailing performance director produces a detailed annual budget for the programme which is presented to Sport Ireland, Irish Sailing and the Foundation for detailed discussion and analysis of the programme, where each item of expenditure is reviewed and approved. Each year, the performance director drafts a Performance Plan and Budget designed to meet the objectives of Irish Performance Sailing based on an annual review of the Pathway Programmes from Junior to Olympic level. The plan is then presented to the Olympic Steering Group (OSG) where it is independently assessed and the budget is agreed. The OSG closely monitors the delivery of the plan ensuring it meets the agreed strategy, is within budget and in line with operational plans. The performance director communicates on an ongoing basis with the OSG throughout the year, reporting formally on a quarterly basis.

Due to the specialised nature of Performance Sport, Irish Sailing established an expert sub-committee which is referred to as the Olympic Steering Group (OSG). The OSG is chaired by Patrick Coveney and its objective is centred around winning Olympic medals so it oversees the delivery of the Irish Sailing’s Performance plan.

At Junior level (U15) sailors learn not only to be a sailor but also an athlete. They develop the discipline required to keep a training log while undertaking fitness programmes, attending coaching sessions and travelling to competitions. During the winter Regional Squads take place and then in spring the National Squads are selected for Summer Competitions. As sailors move into Youth level (U19) there is an exhaustive selection matrix used when considering a sailor for entry into the Performance Academy. Completion of club training programmes, attendance at the performance seminars, physical suitability and also progress at Junior and Youth competitions are assessed and reviewed. Once invited in to the Performance Academy, sailors are given a six-month trial before a final decision is made on their selection. Sailors in the Academy are very closely monitored and engage in a very well planned out sailing, training and competition programme. There are also defined international benchmarks which these sailors are required to meet by a certain age. Biannual reviews are conducted transparently with the sailors so they know exactly where they are performing well and they are made aware of where they may need to improve before the next review.

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