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Howth 17 Sailing News
The start of the 2019 National YC Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race, with eventual overall winner Rockabill VI (JPK 10.80, Paul O’Higgins RIYC) just ahead of Mick Cotter’s 94ft Windfall, which took line honours and established a new course record. The 30th Anniversary D2D starts in Dublin Bay on June 7th 2023
Did we really manage it? Did we really cram all those major special and routine regular sailing events into the one season of 2022? And all that despite its three main months afloat experiencing decidedly mixed weather? And also despite…
Hull speed…..the Howth 17 Isobel (Conor & Brian Turvey) digs in and goes for it as she runs hard at Howth on Saturday
With six solid race results already on the leaderboard, the weekend’s seventh and final race of the Beshoff Motors Autumn League at Howth Yacht Club came through as a bonus with an often sunny though brisk and freshening southerly. But…
Reasonable conditions for a while on a volatile afternoon - HYC Vice Commodore Neil Murphy helmed the Puppeteer 22 Yellow Peril to a second after leading for much of the race in the Beshoff Motors Autumn League at Howth
The purple arrows were out in force on Day 3 of the Beshoff Motors Autumn League at Howth, though the heaviest of them passed to the north of the race area. The purple arrows are the ones that indicate squalls,…
Summertime sailing on the Fingal coast. The 1907-vintage Howth 17 Rosemary, built by James Kelly of Portrush and owned since 1974 by David Jones and George Curley with David Potter a more recent additional partner, comes to the lee mark under spinnaker in third place in one of Saturday’s four races. After the completion of the five-race series, Rosemary was Howth 17 National Champion for the first time
Even by the long-view standards of the 124-year-old Howth 17 Class, the 48-year owning partnership in the 1907-vintage Rosemary between David Jones and George Curley - with David Potter more recently joining the strength as George turned 90 last year…
HYC Commodore Paddy Judge welcomes the Howth squad home from the ILCA6 Youth Worlds in Texas with (left to right) Luke Turvey, Eve McMahon (Gold) and Rocco Wright (Bronze in U17). A carnival-style welcome home celebration will be staged at Howth YC next Friday (August 12th), starting 4 pm
In some ways, Howth Yacht Club has it easy. It isn’t hampered by being the senior sailing centre in Ireland. That particular burden has been carried since 1720 by Cork. Nor is it sailing’s premier centre. Since the active first…
J/109s racing Wave Regatta at Howth. This weekend’s Wave will include the class’s Eastern Championship
When a weather forecast looks just too good to be true, usually with hindsight we’re able to say that it was. But at the moment, the forecast for Howth’s Wave Regatta (starting this Friday, June 3rd) for three days of…
Never happier than when afloat – Neville Maguire aged 93 heading seawards from Howth in his final boat, the Seaward 23 Two Much
Neville Maguire (1927-2021) was a devotedly local sailor whose racing was at world standard. Yet any civilised sailing enthusiast would wish to be as he was, for although Neville’s racing was important, it was only part of a lifelong love…
Newest boat in the oldest class – the 2017-built Orla (Mark FitzGibbon & Donal Gallagher) shows ahead at the South Rowan Buoy in the three-way sail-off for the Howth 17s' Studdart Cup on Bank Holiday Monday
The vintage Howth 17 Class have registered Annual General Meetings every year since 1898. But although 124 summers have passed since their first season of 1898 - which thereby counts as Year One and not Year Zero - they can…
Mixed action in the weekend's final race of the Howth Yacht Club Beshoff Motors Autumn League, with Kevin Darmody's X Class Viking crossing safely ahead of Stephen O'Flaherty's Spirit 54 Soufriere
When the Autumn League started as a regular part of the programme at Howth Yacht Club thirty-nine years ago after the Marina opened in July 1982 (making for two significant anniversaries coming up next year), it was thought fairly normal…
Oona (17, Peter Courtney) Isobel (19, Brian & Conor Turvey) and Rosemary (12, David Jones, George Curley & David Potter) getting stuck in at the Howth 17 Nationals
With a rising westerly of notably dense air today (Saturday), Race Officer Scorie Walls did well to get three contests completed for the vintage Howth 17s annual championship at their home port, with the fleet benefiting from the class having…
A class in good heart. Some of the top-performing Howth 17s racing in July's spell of good weather with (left to right) Rita (Marcus Lynch & John Curley), Aura (Ian Malcolm), Isobel (Brian & Conor Turvey), Sheila (Dave Mulligan & Andy Johnston) and Oona (Peter Courtney)
For more than fifty years now, the 1898-founded Howth 17s have all been located at their port of origin, and the class has been thriving, so much so that serious damage to seven of the boats in winter storage in…
Mixed Howth fleet at the back of the island – classic Lambay Race boat variety on Lambay's north coast, with Stephen Harris's First 40.7 Tiger nearest camera
With official club racing only permissible since last Monday, June 7th, and many fit-out schedules delayed through May's atrocious weather, the realists had been hoping for a turnout of maybe around 40 boats for Howth YC's opening major event of…
The summer morning breeze - the Howth 17 Aura (Ian & Judith Malcolm) leading Brian & Conor Turvey’s Isobel in this morning’s first
Although the 123-year-old Howth 17s are scheduled to start their fully-sanctioned club programme of weekly racing tomorrow (Tuesday) evening, five of the class’s most dedicated aficionados reckoned that the lifting of limitations - which had permitted only Training Races until…
Better than a Health Farm……the soothing setup in the McMahon shed in Athlone, with the "new-old" Dublin Bay Water Wag Shindilla (original built in 1932) nearing completion beside a useful little clinker-built dinghy, while a multi-purpose canoe with sailing potential is stored by suspension from the roof
In times of stress like this, there is nowhere more soothing than a well-organised but not unduly fussy timber workshop where each day's harmonious effort shows a tangible result. And of all such workshops, there's nowhere so healthily absorbing –…
A fair tide with a soldier's wind for Lambay – Roddy Cooper's Leila (built Carrickfergus 1898) and Anita (D.O'Connell & M. Karasahin, built Kingstown 1900 and re-built France 2019) at the start of the Howth 17's Lambay Race
The Olympic sailing dream is of competition on a sterile racing area with weak to non-existent tides, well clear of any special wind effects that a nearby coastline and an island or two might provide, while of course using a…
A gybe rounding at the lee mark could be doubly difficult with the Howth 17s insistence that their spinnakers are one-sided, but Shane O’Doherty and his team on the 2020 Champion Pauline have got it to perfection despite being hounded by light-air flyer Rita (No 1, John Curley and Marcus Lynch,) and defending champion Deilginis (No 11)
The Howth 17 Nationals 2020 saw five good races sailed – a pier starter on Friday evening, and four committee boat open water races on Saturday – with the sunny nor’east wind holding up enough for the four open water…

Howth 17 information

The oldest one-design keelboat racing class in the world is still competing today to its original 1897 design exclusively at Howth Yacht club.

Howth 17 FAQs

The Howth 17 is a type of keelboat. It is a 3-man single-design keelboat designed to race in the waters off Howth and Dublin Bay.

The Howth Seventeen is just 22ft 6ins in hull length.

The Howth 17 class is raced and maintained by the Association members preserving the unique heritage of the boats. Association Members maintain the vibrancy of the Class by racing and cruising together as a class and also encourage new participants to the Class in order to maintain succession. This philosophy is taken account of and explained when the boats are sold.

The boat is the oldest one-design keelboat racing class in the world and it is still racing today to its original design exclusively at Howth Yacht club. It has important historical and heritage value keep alive by a vibrant class of members who race and cruise the boats.

Although 21 boats are in existence, a full fleet rarely sails buy turnouts for the annual championships are regularly in the high teens.

The plans of the Howth 17 were originally drawn by Walter Herbert Boyd in 1897 for Howth Sailing Club. The boat was launched in Ireland in 1898.

They were originally built by John Hilditch at Carrickfergus, County Down. Initially, five boats were constructed by him and sailed the 90-mile passage to Howth in the spring of 1898. The latest Number 21 was built in France in 2017.

The Howth 17s were designed to combat local conditions in Howth that many of the keel-less boats of that era such as the 'Half-Rater' would have found difficult.

The original fleet of five, Rita, Leila, Silver Moon, Aura and Hera, was increased in 1900 with the addition of Pauline, Zaida and Anita. By 1913 the class had increased to fourteen boats. The extra nine were commissioned by Dublin Bay Sailing Club for racing from Kingstown (Dún Laoghaire) - Echo, Sylvia, Mimosa, Deilginis, Rosemary, Gladys, Bobolink, Eileen and Nautilus. Gradually the boats found their way to Howth from various places, including the Solent and by the latter part of the 20th century they were all based there. The class, however, was reduced to 15 due to mishaps and storm damage for a few short years but in May 1988 Isobel and Erica were launched at Howth Yacht Club, the boats having been built in a shed at Howth Castle - the first of the class actually built in Howth.

The basic wooden Howth 17 specification was for a stem and keel of oak and elm, deadwood and frames of oak, planking of yellow pine above the waterline and red pine below, a shelf of pitch pine and a topstrake of teak, larch deck-beams and yellow pine planking and Baltic spruce spars with a keel of lead. Other than the inclusion of teak, the boats were designed to be built of materials which at that time were readily available. However today yellow pine and pitch pine are scarce, their properties of endurance and longevity much appreciated and very much in evidence on the original five boats.

 

It is always a busy 60-race season of regular midweek evening and Saturday afternoon contests plus regattas and the Howth Autumn League.

In 2017, a new Howth 17 Orla, No 21, was built for Ian Malcolm. The construction of Orla began in September 2016 at Skol ar Mor, the boat-building school run by American Mike Newmeyer and his dedicated team of instructor-craftsmen at Mesquer in southern Brittany. In 2018, Storm Emma wrought extensive destruction through the seven Howth Seventeens stored in their much-damaged shed on Howth’s East Pier at the beginning of March 2018, it was feared that several of the boats – which since 1898 have been the very heart of Howth sailing – would be written off. But in the end only one – David O’Connell’s Anita built in 1900 by James Clancy of Dun Laoghaire – was assessed as needing a complete re-build. Anita was rebuilt by Paul Robert and his team at Les Ateliers de l’Enfer in Douarnenez in Brittany in 2019 and Brought home to Howth.

The Howth 17 has a gaff rig.

The total sail area is 305 sq ft (28.3 m2).

©Afloat 2020

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