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Displaying items by tag: Ballyholme Yacht Club

Following last weekend’s RS Nationals, Ballyholme Yacht Club hosted the first ever open training session of its kind for RS Fevas with RYA Northern Ireland coaches earlier this week.

Eight RS Fevas took to the water for their first training session with RYANI’s performance programme coach Chris Penny and performance manager Andrew Baker.

There were two sessions on the water in Belfast Lough in Northern Ireland on Monday (22 August) with plenty of onshore boat prep as well as theory.


While some of the youth sailors are experienced sailing with the Feva, it was the first time for others — and for some it was their first time sailing a double hander.

All of the participants made significant improvements in their manoeuvres and crew work as the day progressed.


Unfortunately, poor weather conditions on Tuesday (23 August) meant the sailors couldn’t get on the water but they took part in more theory and some outdoor games and drills.

One pair did venture out for a blast across the bay with a RIB escort and despite a bit of swimming they handled the conditions well.

Baker said: “It was great to see so many enthusiastic juniors keen to sail together and embrace the double handed side of sailing. Both Chris and I genuinely enjoyed both days witnessing what will hopefully be the start of a bright future for the class here in Northern Ireland.”

“Hopefully more clubs can take on the Fevas and add to a growing community. They are a great training boat and with the right sailors onboard, clubs could send teams to events and really build a thriving class.”

He added: “We wish all the sailors good luck this weekend at the RS Feva Northern Championships as they race in conjunction with the larger RS event at Ballyholme Yacht Club.


“We also hope to see a good turnout for the class at our annual RYANI Youth Championships which will take place on 10 and 11 September.”

Published in RS Sailing

A lively south-westerly forecast for the start today (19th) of the RS event at Ballyholme should give exciting racing in Belfast Lough for the 48-strong fleet.

Racing for the National Championship will be the RS 200s and RS 400s and for the Northern Championship will be the Fevas, Aeros and 2000s.

The event comes hot on the heels of the RS 400 Nationals at East Lothian Yacht Club in Scotland and two Northern Ireland crews who raced there have made it to Ballyholme to take part. They are Paul and Jane McMeekin and William Findlay and Tom McMeekin from Strangford Sailing Club.

Unfortunately, the runners-up in the Nationals at East Lothian, Chris Eames, originally from Strangford Lough YC and crew Rachel Tilley will not be competing in Ballyholme. They were lying first until the last race when on countback, they were pipped by Sam Knight and Chris Bownes.

The Feva class at BYC is showing increased numbers this season, and of these two crews who raced in the UK RS Feva Nationals and more recently the Worlds at Weymouth, Matt & Peter Ridout, Emily & Annabel Ridout, will relish sailing on home waters.

Among the senior contestants in the RS Aero are John and Julia Simms from the host club. John, with Adam Winkelmann and Martin Byrne, were the Royal St George team who came third in the Edinburgh Cup in Falmouth in July

Given that it seems that some crews leave entering until the last minute, the fleet may well increase to over 50. It is pleasing though that the event has attracted competitors from as far away as Galway, Killaloe, Greystones and Howth as well as from all over the North.

Published in RS Sailing
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Ballyholme Yacht Club will be the venue over the weekend of 19th till 21st August for an RS championship event which organiser Bob Espey hopes will attract around 60 competitors.

The event will be held in the waters of Belfast Lough and consists of two different championships; the two day six race RS Aero, RS Feva and RS 2000 Northern Championship 2022 on the Saturday and Sunday and the three day nine race RS 400 and RS 200 National Championship which starts on Friday 19th August.

This will the first time the RS2000 class will have an individual start.

Entrants are encouraged to take advantage of the Early Bird entry fees if booked before 15th August, and the first 30 entries will get a free one-off event T shirt. And among the prizes will be the daily Mug of the Day award, a frequent fun feature of BYC competition and a new idea, the best Social Media post of the event.

RS championship

The Race Officer for the two-day event, sponsored by Simply Telecom and supported by Ridgeway, will be Aidan Pounder, and for the RS200/400 event, Sheela Lewis.

More information is here 

Published in RS Sailing

On the first day of racing at the 2022 Irish Youth Sailing National Championships at Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough on Thursday, the event got off to a staggered start with four of the six classes racing. 

A 50-strong Optimist contingent had, what organisers termed 'a false start of sorts' when the fleet sailed to the wrong first mark and the first race had to be abandoned.

In the following two races, Caoilinn Geraghty-McDonnell of the Royal St. George YC emerged as overnight leader from Royal Cork's Oisin Pearse with a slim two boat lead.

Three races had been planned originally for all four classes but the fresh breeze dropped off mid-afternoon.

Nevertheless, two races were enough for Jonathan O'Shaughnessy (Royal Cork YC) to establish a six-point lead over no fewer than five Dublin boats tied for second place amongst the 38 Laser/ILCA6 single-handers.

The group includes Howth's Eve McMahon, the Under 17 World ILCA6 World Champion who was beaten into third place in the opening race right at the finish by O'Shaughnessy and would otherwise have edged ahead in the standings.

"We got two races, it didn't rain so I think everyone's pretty happy," said Olympian and International Umpire Bill O'Hara who is on the race management team this week. "When we went out we were expecting it to be full-on with 15-16 knots and some gusts to 20 and we didn't have any reason to think it wouldn't drop til five o'clock. But the forecast is brilliant (for the next few days) with wind from the northeast and nice, big rolling waves."

In the eight boat 29er skiff event, the lead is tied between Ben O'Shaughnessy with Eimer McMorrow Moriarty and James Dwyer with Andrew Conan both from the Royal Cork YC in Crosshaven.

Jack McDowell with Henry Thompson (Malahide Yacht Club) proved most consistent for the day in the 420 event with two race wins in the eleven-boat class. Racing continues on Friday with all classes due on the water from 11 am. 

Published in Youth Sailing

Planting trees is very different to sailing at Ballyholme, but this month a team from the Belfast Lough club travelled to Glas Na Braden wood in the Belfast Hills behind Newtownabbey on the north shore of the Lough to take part in a Woodland Trust tree planting session.

The Woodland Trust is the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity and recently secured the future of 98 hectares in the Belfast Hills.

The team planted over 700 saplings to help carbon offset the RIB emissions during the Irish Youth Sailing Championships to be held at the club next week and as part of Sailors for the Sea Clean Regattas Award.

The Sailors for the Sea Powered by Oceana is the world’s only ocean conservation organization that engages, educates, and activates the sailing and boating community toward restoring ocean health.

The hilltop site, which has been named via public vote as Glas-na-Bradan Wood, will be transformed into a new native woodland and will be planted for the first time in the Woodland Trust’s history in Northern Ireland completely by the public.

Interestingly the name Glas na Braden does have a connection with the sea in that the historical translation of Glas-na-Bradan is The Salmon Stream.

Published in Belfast Lough

Ballyholme Yacht Club in Bangor on Belfast Lough is the host club for this year’s Irish National Youth Sailing Championships from 21st until 24th April.

The cream of youth and junior sailors from across Ireland will compete in the Laser/ILCA 6, 29er, 420, Topper 5.3 and ILCA 4 classes and making a welcome return for 2022, the Optimist class.

The four days of racing will be on the virtually tide and hazard free Belfast Lough, organised by a club with many years of experience of hosting world, international and national events. There are four days of racing for the ILCA 6, 29er, 420 and Optimist classes, from Thursday 21st April – Sunday 24th and three days of racing starting on Friday 22nd for Topper 5.3 and ILCA 4.

Eleven races are scheduled for the Optimist, ILCA 6, 420 and 29er classes. Eight races are scheduled for the ILCA 4 and Topper 5.3 classes.

One of the standout competitors travelling to Bangor is 18-year-old Eve McMahon, who is Afloat.ie Irish Sailor of the Year 2021. The Howth ILCA 6 sailor won the Gold Medal at the Laser Youth Worlds on Lake Garda in July last year.

The entry list stands currently at 57 and with the early bird entry closing in less than a week on 1st March, and the Optimist entry not yet open, it is expected that there will be many more entries.

Apart from the sailing, there will be speakers each evening giving inspiring and informative talks to the sailors, family, and friends. All young sailors are encouraged to attend these talks (within COVID guidelines), even if not competing.

This is a Clean Regattas event registered with Sailors for the Sea. The event has a set of environmental standards to follow throughout the event, to help reduce the impact on the environment and keep the sea a cleaner place to sail.

Ballyholme is lucky to have copious dinghy and car parking and is within walking distance of the town centre.

Bob Espey is a long-time sailor at Ballyholme Yacht Club having raced Lasers, 49ers and RS400s, he now owns a Waszp dinghy. A ‘bonkers’ plan is what he has called his standout fundraising effort for little Jodi Tomalin who has, along with his parents Jeremy and Lisa been through the mill for most of 2021. A year ago Jodi was diagnosed with cancer.

Bob explains “To help raise money for the three charities who supported them through this I’ve come up with a plan of trying to sail a hydrofoiling dinghy (Waszp) across the Irish Sea and back. And so as not to be lonely, I’ve roped in my brother-in-law Matt McGovern (49er Olympian) to accompany me in his own Waszp. It’s about 20 miles from Ballyholme to Portpatrick on the Ayrshire coast across the North Channel and of course the date, which is most likely to be in March, is weather dependent. Bob estimates a time of 3 to 4 hours nonstop and, for their wives reassurance, amongst other reasons, they will be accompanied by safety boats.

Bob continues “A trip like this has never been attempted in a hydrofoiling dinghy and I’ve no doubt it will be a big challenge. I hope you will get behind us to say, “Buzz off to cancer” and hopefully we can raise some money for three very worthy charities – The Cancer Fund for Children, the Children’s Cancer Unit and Angel Wishes”.

Published in Waszp

Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough is hopeful that the Weekend of Speed which was cancelled last year will in fact happen in September. The dates set aside are 17th and 18th September and around 50 entries are expected.

Richard Swanston who is organising the event is hopeful that Multihulls, RS 400s, 600s and 700s as well as 49ers, Wazsps, Moths and 505s will enter.

The current Irish Champions, local crew Adrian Allen and Barry Swanston who were in the top 20 in a World F18 event are expected to be joined by another BYC pair, Mat McNichol and Thomas Nixon, the current Irish Champions, and Wyatt Orsmond the 2019 Champion.

Catamarans at the 2019 Weekend of Speed Photo: Wavelength ImagesCatamarans at the 2019 Weekend of Speed Photo: Wavelength Images

49ers will race in an Open Handicap fleet which will include RS dinghies and here Richard Swanston expects to see Tokyo Olympians Rob Dixon and Sean Waddilove as well as Seafra Guilefoyle and Johnny Durcan, 8th, and 20th respectively in last year’s Worlds in Oman. Irish Olympian Matt McGovern from BYC is also likely to compete. Matt is currently running the 49er training programme for Team Ireland.

Bob Espey of the home club has shown an impressive turn of speed in his Waszp last season and is a local favourite. Another foil sailor who Richard hopes to see is Charlie Cullen whose 2021 performance was highlighted by Afloat.ie here. Cullen is a nominee in Afloat’s 2020 Sailor of the Year list.

The 505 class used to be strong at BYC but there has not been a fleet there for many years. Hopefully, that class will be represented, with competition ignited by the World 505 Championship in Cork a month before.

Notice of Race will be posted in due course on Ballyholme Yacht Club's website.

It was grey and damp, with a cold gusty offshore South Easterly in Ballyholme Bay on Boxing Day (26th) but although the morning mass charity swim was postponed, racing went ahead in the afternoon with a mixed dinghy fleet sailing two back to back races. The saving grace was a relatively flat sea on Belfast Lough.

Thirty-five crossed the line formed by a RIB and a buoy on the outer edge of the bay which gave a windward start with the first leg of a triangular course into the bay, finishing at the club battery. Race Officer Des Magee did well to get two rounds into both races.

Ballyholme Yacht Club's Boxing Day RegattaA Laser dinghy start at Ballyholme Yacht Club's Boxing Day Regatta

The mixed large dinghy fleet, which included Bob Espey in his Wazsp, was won by Dave Fletcher and Ryan Smith in a 2000 with Ruan and Rebekah O’Tiarnaigh in a GP14 second.

The largest group was the Laser Standards with 17 out. The winner here was Irish 49er Olympian Matt McGovern with Richard McCullagh runner up. And in the Radial first was Barry McCartan with Lucas Nixon and Joni Rock tying and the tie broken in favour of Nixon.

Matt McNicholl won in the small fleet of three F18 multihulls and in the Small Dinghy fleet of Toppers and Laser 4.7s first was by Bobby Driscoll in a Topper with two first places.

The next weekly racing is the Icebreaker Sunday Series 2 which starts on 6th February.

Published in Belfast Lough

Great patience was required from the 44 youngsters competing in the 39 dinghies at the Ballyholme Yacht Club Cadet Christmas Regatta as wind was scarce on Belfast Lough. But persist they did in a variety of dinghies – Toppers, Picos, Fevas, Lasers and a lone Optimist.

First Topper 5.3 was Katie Brow and runner up was Ella Fitzgerald who had travelled from Dun Laoghaire. The 4.2 top prize went to Jessica Dadley-Young. In the Fevas Annabel and Emily Ridout repeated their success in the Junior Icebreaker taking first place with Hanna Bell and Evie Pringle second. The Laser win went to Zak Dalzell.

Dave Nelson with Hannah Bell and Evie Pringle runner up in the Feva classDave Nelson with Hannah Bell and Evie Pringle runner up in the Feva class

Again, as in the Icebreaker Series, Matthew Holden had a sail over in his Optimist.

The prize for the most Christmassy dinghy went to Isabel Nixon who decorated hers with fairy lights and tinsel. And Chloe Whyte got a mention for coming as a Christmas Present.

The next big gathering at the Club will be on Boxing Day (26th) for the traditional mass swim in the morning and a Regatta in the afternoon. 

Topper 5.3

1. Katie Brow
2. Ella Fitzgerald
3. Emily Macafee

Topper 4.2

1. Jessica Dadley-Young
2. Alex Eadie
3. James Eadie

Feva

1. Annabel and Emily Rideout
2. Hannah Bell and Evie Pringle
3. Annika Hunter and Romy Maguire

Laser

1. Zak Dalzell
2. Callum Dalzell
3. Eva McDonagh

Optimist

1. Matthew Holden

Published in Belfast Lough
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