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International 12ft & Dublin Bay SC 12ft Irish Championship at Royal St George Yacht Club

by Vincent Delany 18 Sep 10:20 BST 15 September 2019
No. 11 Pixie wins the International 12 Footer Irish Championship 2019 © Vincent Delany

In June 1925 a fleet of six International 12 Foot Dinghies were launched at Seapoint Boat Club, near Dublin, Ireland. These boats had been ordered from Mahony of Kingstown in order that their owners could compete in one-design races against other clubs both within the Republic of Ireland, in Britain and on Continental Europe. Soon two more dinghies Nos 7 and 8 joined the one-design fleet.

One must remember that in 1925, many clubs sailed one-design dinghies which were unique to the venue where they sailed, and this was a deterrent to interaction between adjoining dinghy clubs. Furthermore, lack of road trailers limited interaction between clubs which were far apart.

On 15th September 2019 a fleet of International 12 Foot Dinghies and Dublin Bay Sailing Club 12 Foot Dinghies (utilising the same hull with a gunter rig and jib of the same sail area) sailed the short distance from Dun Laoghaire harbour to Seapoint Bay, the same place where the International 12 foot dinghies had competed some ninety-four years previous. By an extraordinary coincidence, one of the dinghies competing in 2019 had been owned by a member of the Seapoint Boat Club, Lt. Col. Hon. Claud Maitland Patrick Brabazon (who had served in the Boer War, in in the Irish Guards, and in the Great War he utilised his ballooning skills).

In 1928 under Brabazon's ownership she sailed under the name 'Gadget' and used sail number K29. She has changed owners four times over her life and is now called 'Cora' and sails under the number IRL 8 (sail numbers were allocated by clubs in those days).

The Royal St George hosted the combined 12 Foot Dinghy championship on a day which will be remembered both for the incessant rain, and for tight competition. After two races it was evident that the old rivalry between 'Pixie' (George and Andrew Miller) and 'Cora' (Mark Delany) was alive, and that one or other would win the championship.

At lunchtime, the dinghies were left at anchor in Seapoint Bay, while the competitors were taken ashore by RIB for their lunch, and in some cases, extra clothing, extra waterproofing, or additional pumps for bailing.

In the afternoon, the wind has increased to about 8 kts, and 'Pixie' had edged ahead in the rankings. Thus, in the final race, and the decider of the championship. 'Cora' used her team-racing skills to push 'Pixie' away from the start line. Furhermore, during the race 'Pixie's' yard strop broke, causing her rig to slip down ten inches and, of course deminished her speed. As 'Cora' approached the finish line in the lead, she slowed up with the hope of escorting 'Scythian' (David and Henry Shackleton) into second place and pushing 'Pixie' into third place, but her plan went awry, and 'Pixie' stole second place to win the championship.

The Cora trophy for international dinghies was awarded to George and Andrew Miller in 'Pixie'.

At the prize-giving, Vincent Delany chairman of the 12 Foot Dinghy Association in Ireland explained next year's Irish Championship with International entries will take place at Lough Ree Yacht Club who are celebrating their 250th birthday from 30 May till 1 June 2020.

Overall Results:

PlaceSail NoBoatR1R2race 3R4Pts
1IRL 11Pixie12126
2IRL 8Cora31217
3AUS 1Scythian443314
4IRL 9Albany235515

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