Posted on July 1, 2014 | Categories Whats Afloat | Comments Off
Donaghadee was treated to an exciting spectacle last weekend when 25 dinghies from all over Ireland raced close to the harbour with their colourful spinnakers billowing, as the Club hosted the Stairlift Solutions Ulster GP 14 Championship. It was sponsored by the local GP 14 racer of renown and former Commodore and Honorary Sailing Secretary, Ken Wallace. Six boats from Donaghadee Sailing Club represented the Club, crewed by both senior experienced racing sailors, as well as the club’s “up and coming” hopefuls and those that were there racing just for the “craic”.
A brilliantly sunny Saturday showed off Donaghadee at its best and was complemented by a brisk wind which promised exciting racing. Setting “Gerona”, the Committee Boat, was no mean feat given problems with anchor chain and the fact that due to the boats design and that the tide was stronger than the wind it sat stern to wind (i.e. the opposite to normal). Thankfully Ken Walsh who skippered the boat masterfully throughout was well up to the challenge. The Race Officer, Jimmy McKee, made several mark adjustments to the course because of the shifting wind, before running three races in quick succession. The strong tide caught a few crews off guard and resulted in numerous melees and near misses at the leeward mark. Brian Lennox and the Commodore had an impressive start and were well up at the first mark and subsequently observed the rest of the event from the back of the fleet! The first race was won by Alan Blay and David Johnston from Sutton Dinghy Club. The weather conditions remained steady and the second race was won by Newtownards Sailing Club’s Curly Morris and Laura McFarland, Curly having first won the event in 1963!(?). The prolonged effect of the wind and tide took its toll on the sailors as James Ogg and Michael Rutherford were rammed, capsized and retired before the third race was won by Niall Henry and Ossian Gerraghty from Sligo Yacht Club.
On Saturday evening the competitors enjoyed a veritable feast provided by the “Galley Girls”, Coirle and Heather, accompanied by live music followed by an stunning display of Irish Dancing by the Donna Revie School of Dancing. The visitors had a great time and complimented the Club on their superb facilities and hospitality.
On Sunday Donaghadee was again bathed in glorious sunshine however the wind had dropped overnight to little more than a light puff of wind. About midday it had risen to about 4 or 5 knots and after consultation Jimmy McKee decided to run a few more races closer inshore minimising the effect of the tide. A further two races were run with Dan and Hugh Gill from Sutton Dinghy Club taking the 1st Place honours in race four. Oisin and Ivan had a great start on the last and final race of the event and were looking good on the beat but lost ground downwind. The race was won by John and Donal McGuinness from Moville Boat Club. The overall Event champions were Alan Blay and David Johnston from Sutton Dingy Club. The six Club entries performed creditably and the size of the entry is indicative of the growing GP14 fleet in Donaghadee currently numbering 15 boats, which bodes well for Club racing and the GP 14 Worlds in EDBC in August. Oisin McClelland and Ivan Heaney came second in the Bronze Fleet, and James Ogg and Michael Rutherford came third in the Bronze.
The weekend was a blazing success and was a credit to the Event Principal and Safety Officer, Stuart Ogg, who has put an immense amount of time into ensuring all the pieces of the jigsaw were in place and that the boat, the marks and radios were up to the task, ably supported by the Club RYA Principal, James Ogg. A huge thank you to all those volunteers that made it possible: Ken Walsh and Noel for delivering and returning “Gerona”, Chris Burrows and Donna Parkinson in the Race Office, Alvin and his team on the slip, Jimmy McKee and the Committee Boat stalwarts, the safety boat crews, BYC for providing additional safety boats and helms, Paul Wright and his team in the bar, and DAniel Kinnear who once again has provided photographic coverage for us. There were some fabulous photos taken which can be seen on the DSC Facebook (Official) site. Also Daniel has an order site http://daniel-kinnear-photograph.smugmug.com/Other-1 listed by boat.
The good weather has continued and visitors will have observed the club Toppers and Picos in the bay each day as the Club continues with its Summer training programme.
It has been quite a week at Donaghadee Sailing Club!
Club racing on Sunday and Wednesday was undertaken in fairly gusty conditions which resulted in several capsizes and even a broken mast. On Wednesday our Drascombe, which was being used for a school sailing experience in the harbour, began to take in water. Those on board were transferred to one of our safety boats before the Drascombe was towed back to shore to be checked for the cause of the leak. One of our safety boats has also been having electrical difficulties so it had to be taken out of the water and have some work undertaken.
Sailing was cancelled for Friday Club Nights for Juniors this week due to the wind strength again but that meant many members were able to enjoy the festivities on the pier which included a fly past by a Catalina, a aerobatic display and a landing by the Royal Marines on the north breakwater. All of this was capped off with a performance on the pier by the Royal Marines Band. The sun stayed out, some of us had ice cream and many of us returned to the Clubhouse to enjoy a BBQ and time to chat in the bar.
Next weekend our Club will host the GP14 Ulster Championships. It would be great to see as many member as possible popping down to either experience or volunteer at the event. Registration takes place on Friday evening with racing on Saturday and Sunday. There will also be social events on Saturday evening and catering throughout the day. If you are able to help out on shore or afloat please let us know. Or just pop down with the family or friends to enjoy the spectacle on either Saturday or Sunday.
And finally, please take note of our summer training courses at Donaghadee Sailing Club which have been advertised recently – you can find details here if you do not have them already. Places are beginning to fill up fast so please sign up and encourage your friends to do so as well!
Yours in sailing
Donaghadee Sailing Club
It has been another great week at DSC with lots of members participating in events both on and off the water.
Following the successful Opening Day last Saturday, over 20 members ignored the poor weather warnings and enjoyed a great BBQ on Ballyvester beach last Sunday. With many members away over the Bank Holiday weekend and a wet afternoon forecast only Richard Brown and Tess Lysk were rigged ready to go at 1.30. They were rewarded with bright sunshine, mill pond conditions and no wind. Not deterred and in the hope that the wind might pick up Willie Anderson with me in the Safety Boat towed them to the beach, escorted by Chris and Emily Burrows in their new RIB. The advance party had already set up camp and Michael McClure had started the BBQ. We were joined by several more members who had come to have a look and after a few hours of burgers, hot dogs, beach games and crabbing in the rock pools we all headed back to the Clubhouse for further refreshment! For our next Club Picnic on Sunday 24 August we will be going across to the Copelands and hopefully we will be joined by the cruisers from Cockle Island Boat Club.
On Friday Night we had over 70 young people out on the water for our Friday Club Night for Juniors when our new Club BBQ was given its first outing. Yesterday, our two Safety Boats travelled to Ballyholme Yacht Club to support a charity Canoe Race in aid of RNLI. Neil Boyd, James Dowling, Mark Larmour and Paul Monaghan enjoyed the sunshine and were well looked after by their counterparts at BYC at what was a very successful event. Last night, members then enjoyed a successful Night at the Races Event in the Clubhouse that was organised by Stuart Ogg.
As we enter June it is great to see so many members actively participating in the Club activities both on and off the water. As we look forward to hosting the GP14 Ulster Championships at the end of June I hope that we continue to get everyone involved actively across the Club.
It was great to see so many members down at the Club, both on and off the water, for Opening Day. The morning racing saw 11 boats on the water, racing in a big swell with an easterly breeze. It was a great challenge for some of our younger sailors who were out on Toppers and a Pico to complete the course. The afternoon race saw mixed conditions as nine boats competed for honours. The stronger north easterly wind meant the swell had reduced but there was some rain.
At the Clubhouse after racing we welcomed Lady Sylvia Hermon MP who presented prizes to the winners of the racing, Willie Anderson/Stephen Duffield and Charlotte Hosick, before she officially opened the new installation of our photovoltaic, or solar, panels on the Clubhouse roof. These are already generating income for the Club over and above what had been anticipated. This, along with the energy reducing measures put in place in recent months by Ross Bennett, means that our overall energy bills are dropping away significantly, leaving more income for use on core activities by the Club. Tony Skeats and Ivan Heaney who have driven this project forward were present to talk Lady Sylvia through the project in some detail. Lady Sylvia in turn congratulated the Club for their foresight in taking forward this work and recognised that we were the first sailing club in Northern Ireland to make this investment. She said she was also impressed by the commitment shown by our junior sailors who were out racing in such challenging conditions.
Members enjoyed refreshments and entertainment in the Clubhouse after the formalities. Thank you to all who helped to make Opening Day such as success including our Racing Officer and battery team, safety boat crews, the Galley Girls, our Bar team and everyone who came down to support. Lets hope the summer at DSC continues to be a great success.
It was fantastic to see twenty Club boats and over 80 young people out on the water on Friday as we started our season of Friday Club Nights for Juniors at DSC. Congratulations to the Friday Night Team for their efforts in making this happen. The weather was even good!
The queue to collect an armband started before 6.30pm and after a short delay while the three safety boats were sorted, the Club Toppers, GP14s and Pico’s were taken down to the waters edge under the watchful eye of Richard Spence and Danky to be launched with the first group of young sailors. While they were having fun on the water, Donna Spence, Trevor Pollock and Mark Larmour were managing the paperwork on the slip with parents who were able to enjoy the evening sunshine. After a series of changeovers the last boat came off the water on a rising tide at 9.30pm as the sun set on what turned out to be a lovely evening.
By then the BBQ was in full swing in the Courtyard, under the supervision of Jill Smyth, providing sausages and burgers to hungry sailors while Alvin’s tuck shop was doing a roaring trade with juniors in the training room. The atmosphere in the Bar was electric as Paul Wright, George Aitken and colleagues provided service to all who were thirsty on what was a very busy evening. It was great to see the Club full of people and enjoying themselves. It was also great to see everyone working so well together.
And so much more goes on behind the scenes to allow these evenings to happen including the work by Stuart Ogg on our safety boats and the administration by Betty Pollock of over 107 juniors who have now registered for Friday Club Nights. And our amazing Clubhouse was looking great thanks to the efforts of John Townson, Noel Johnston and the rest of the ‘Not the Tufty Club’ team.
We rely on these Friday evenings to both welcome and bring in new members to the Club as well as being a focal point for all our membership to get the most out of the Club. I hope the coming weeks continue to be as successful and that we get some more of the good weather we enjoyed last Friday!