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Irish Squib Inland Championship at Lough Derg Yacht Club

by Vincent Delany on 24 Oct 2016 22-23 October 2016

On October 22-23, Squibs from all over Ireland converged on Lough Derg Yacht Club at Dromineer. Three came from the Royal North of Ireland in Belfast Lough, two from Killyleagh Yacht Club on Strangford Lough, two from Royal St George Yacht Club, and one from Royal Irish Yacht Club and one from National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, One from Howth Yacht Club, three from Kinsale Yacht Club, one from Galway Bay Sailing Club and plenty of Squibs from the home club. Only for a huge rugby funeral, there would have been many more boats from Kinsale. All in all, the entry of 20 Squibs equalled the Irish Championship in Kinsale a few weeks earlier.

Racing on Saturday was held on Lough Derg in the racing area North of the Corrikeen Islands, with windward-leeward courses. Initially there was almost no wind, so competitors paddled to the race area, and racing was postponed till a force two breeze from the south-south-east kicked in. In race one 'The Worm' sailed by Sam Lyness and Erk Heyes from RNIYC played the shifty wind and flat water to their advantage, to win the first race from Jack and Jill Roy's 'Kanaloa' from NYC and 'Fuggles' sailed by Jeffs Condell and Cochrane who were using the new 'Olympic Sails'. These prototype Squib sails depend on really bar tight rigging, unlike the normal set up for Squibs.

By race two the wind had swung to the south-east, again was light and shifty. This time the order was 'The Worm', 'Fuggles' and Gordon Patterson and Ross Nolan's 'Quickstep III'.

There was a quick break, for lunch afloat. By race three the wind was in the east, with the windward mark near the Tipperary shore. 'Quickstep III' skilfully handled the shifting winds, which were particularly trickey near the windward mark, and won from 'The Worm' and Simon Watson and Brian Kelly's 'Volante' from Killyleagh.

'The Worm' nailed the start of the fourth race, with the same wind strength and direction, and held a decent lead from the fighting pack behind. It was Judy Hamilton and Vincent Delany's 'Greeb' who stole second place from 'Volante' and 'Quickstep'. This was the significant result which decided the championship.

On Saturday evening the Lough Derg club, and The Whiskey Still's hospitality lived up to their reputations. 'The Worm' allegedly downed more gin and tonics than his overnight racing score.

On Sunday the forecast was for fourteen knots gusting to twenty-seven knots. Racing was held near Ryan's Point, with the windward mark off Urra. This would test the skills of the sailors. In the first race the wind only got up to about 12 knots. 'Quichstep III' took the gun (in a race with winds shifting up to twenty degrees), from Des Clayton and Paul Henry in 'Inismara' in what was almost a photo finish. 'The Worm' took fifth place which was enough to give him the championship.

By the final race the wind, as forecast, was very gusty, which allowed the Squibs to plane on the running legs, and produced a few spectacular broaches. This time it was 'Fuggles' which won from 'Quickstep' and Colm Dunne and Emmet Ryans 'Allegro'.

Thanks go to Commodore David Meredith and his team for organising a great regatta, and to Lt. Cdr. John Leech for acting as OOD in difficult conditions.

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