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Youth Sailors Light up Lough Ree With Christmas Night Sail

27th December 2021
Launching dinghies for the Lough Ree Yacht Club Night Sail
Launching dinghies for the Lough Ree Yacht Club Night Sail

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. 

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