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Student Keelboat Nationals Will Pick Up The Pieces At Howth On 26th-27th March

15th March 2022
It’s prehistoric in Intervarsity racing terms – the winning IUSA Keelboat Nationals Team at Howth in March 2019 (the last time the event was staged) were (left to right) Ewan O’Keeffe, Mark Murphy, Morgan Knight, Harry Durcan (helm) and Grattan Roberts (Tactician), with HYC Commodore Ian Byrne and Race Officer Scorie Walls.
It’s prehistoric in Intervarsity racing terms – the winning IUSA Keelboat Nationals Team at Howth in March 2019 (the last time the event was staged) were (left to right) Ewan O’Keeffe, Mark Murphy, Morgan Knight, Harry Durcan (helm) and Grattan Roberts (Tactician), with HYC Commodore Ian Byrne and Race Officer Scorie Walls.

Time was when the Student Yachting Worlds in France was quite the thing, and never more so than in October 2008 when National Universities Champion Nin O’Leary of Cork Institute of Technology won it for Ireland from a very international field. But as it’s “run by students for students” through the Paris Polytech, it has had a very uneven history for what should be a major world event, as the rapid turnover of Parisian college sailors and their club officers does not always provide the most solid administrative continuity.

Nevertheless, for the Irish Universities, it provided double value in its good times, as each year the Irish representative squad was simply the winner of the IUSA Keelboat Nationals. Thus even if there were glitches in the staging of the Worlds, the team from Ireland were already garlanded in the honour of the national title.

But with the uneven spread of the pandemic leading to major international sailing events being under total lockdown in different countries at different times, it has actually been three clear years since the Irish Universities Sailing Association Keelboat Nationals have been held, as the Worlds went into abeyance and are still in some sort of limbo.

In these weird circumstances, the best solution is simply to resume where they left off back in March 2019 at Howth as though the lost years never happened, with ten teams returning to race the HYC flotilla of J/80s on March 26th & 27th, and with Scorie Walls resuming her role as Race Officer.

If acronyms are your thing, then you can revel in all this, as the full preview of the event is summed up by stating that on 26-27 March 2022, HYC will be hosting the WY&SMS IUSA Nats 2022 for UCCx2, CITx2, UCD, TUD, DCU, NUIG, QUB & TCD.

IUSA sponsors 2022IUSA sponsors 2022

The elucidation of all that is that the Howth Yacht Club-hosted Western Yacht & Small Craft Surveyors-sponsored Irish Universities Sailing Association Keelboat Nationals for 2022 will see racing by two teams from University College Cork, two teams from Cork Institute of Technology, and teams from University College Dublin, Technological University Dublin (formerly DIT, alma mater of sailing legend Gordon Maguire), Dublin City University. National University of Ireland Galway, Queens University Belfast, and Trinity College Dublin.

In terms of college life and sport, a gap of three years is forever. But for those who are interested in pre-history, the word is that back in March 2019 in increasingly brisk winds, the winners were CIT with Harry Durcan as helm and Grattan Roberts as tactician with crew of Ewan O’Keeffe, Mark Murphy, and Morgan Knight. But it was a close run if very Corkonian thing, as they beat UCC by just one point.

 After a ferociously-fought final in a rising March wind, UCC lost by only one point. After a ferociously-fought final in a rising March wind, UCC lost by only one point.

Published in Howth YC
WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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Howth Yacht Club information

Howth Yacht Club is the largest members sailing club in Ireland, with over 1,700 members. The club welcomes inquiries about membership - see top of this page for contact details.

Howth Yacht Club (HYC) is 125 years old. It operates from its award-winning building overlooking Howth Harbour that houses office, bar, dining, and changing facilities. Apart from the Clubhouse, HYC has a 250-berth marina, two cranes and a boat storage area. In addition. its moorings in the harbour are serviced by launch.

The Club employs up to 31 staff during the summer and is the largest employer in Howth village and has a turnover of €2.2m.

HYC normally provides an annual programme of club racing on a year-round basis as well as hosting a full calendar of International, National and Regional competitive events. It operates a fleet of two large committee boats, 9 RIBs, 5 J80 Sportboats, a J24 and a variety of sailing dinghies that are available for members and training. The Club is also growing its commercial activities afloat using its QUEST sail and power boat training operation while ashore it hosts a wide range of functions each year, including conferences, weddings, parties and the like.

Howth Yacht Club originated as Howth Sailing Club in 1895. In 1968 Howth Sailing Club combined with Howth Motor Yacht Club, which had operated from the West Pier since 1935, to form Howth Yacht Club. The new clubhouse was opened in 1987 with further extensions carried out and more planned for the future including dredging and expanded marina facilities.

HYC caters for sailors of all ages and run sailing courses throughout the year as part of being an Irish Sailing accredited training facility with its own sailing school.

The club has a fully serviced marina with berthing for 250 yachts and HYC is delighted to be able to welcome visitors to this famous and scenic area of Dublin.

New applications for membership are always welcome

Howth Yacht Club FAQs

Howth Yacht Club is one of the most storied in Ireland — celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2020 — and has an active club sailing and racing scene to rival those of the Dun Laoghaire Waterfront Clubs on the other side of Dublin Bay.

Howth Yacht Club is based at the harbour of Howth, a suburban coastal village in north Co Dublin on the northern side of the Howth Head peninsula. The village is around 13km east-north-east of Dublin city centre and has a population of some 8,200.

Howth Yacht Club was founded as Howth Sailing Club in 1895. Howth Sailing Club later combined with Howth Motor Yacht Club, which had operated from the village’s West Pier since 1935, to form Howth Yacht Club.

The club organises and runs sailing events and courses for members and visitors all throughout the year and has very active keelboat and dinghy racing fleets. In addition, Howth Yacht Club prides itself as being a world-class international sailing event venue and hosts many National, European and World Championships as part of its busy annual sailing schedule.

As of November 2020, the Commodore of the Royal St George Yacht Club is Ian Byrne, with Paddy Judge as Vice-Commodore (Clubhouse and Administration). The club has two Rear-Commodores, Neil Murphy for Sailing and Sara Lacy for Junior Sailing, Training & Development.

Howth Yacht Club says it has one of the largest sailing memberships in Ireland and the UK; an exact number could not be confirmed as of November 2020.

Howth Yacht Club’s burgee is a vertical-banded pennant of red, white and red with a red anchor at its centre. The club’s ensign has a blue-grey field with the Irish tricolour in its top left corner and red anchor towards the bottom right corner.

The club organises and runs sailing events and courses for members and visitors all throughout the year and has very active keelboat and dinghy racing fleets. In addition, Howth Yacht Club prides itself as being a world-class international sailing event venue and hosts many National, European and World Championships as part of its busy annual sailing schedule.

Yes, Howth Yacht Club has an active junior section.

Yes, Howth Yacht Club hosts sailing and powerboat training for adults, juniors and corporate sailing under the Quest Howth brand.

Among its active keelboat and dinghy fleets, Howth Yacht Club is famous for being the home of the world’s oldest one-design racing keelboat class, the Howth Seventeen Footer. This still-thriving class of boat was designed by Walter Herbert Boyd in 1897 to be sailed in the local waters off Howth. The original five ‘gaff-rigged topsail’ boats that came to the harbour in the spring of 1898 are still raced hard from April until November every year along with the other 13 historical boats of this class.

Yes, Howth Yacht Club has a fleet of five J80 keelboats for charter by members for training, racing, organised events and day sailing.

The current modern clubhouse was the product of a design competition that was run in conjunction with the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland in 1983. The winning design by architects Vincent Fitzgerald and Reg Chandler was built and completed in March 1987. Further extensions have since been made to the building, grounds and its own secure 250-berth marina.

Yes, the Howth Yacht Club clubhouse offers a full bar and lounge, snug bar and coffee bar as well as a 180-seat dining room. Currently, the bar is closed due to Covid-19 restrictions. Catering remains available on weekends, take-home and delivery menus for Saturday night tapas and Sunday lunch.

The Howth Yacht Club office is open weekdays from 9am to 5pm. Contact the club for current restaurant opening hours at [email protected] or phone 01 832 0606.

Yes — when hosting sailing events, club racing, coaching and sailing courses, entertaining guests and running evening entertainment, tuition and talks, the club caters for all sorts of corporate, family and social occasions with a wide range of meeting, event and function rooms. For enquiries contact [email protected] or phone 01 832 2141.

Howth Yacht Club has various categories of membership, each affording the opportunity to avail of all the facilities at one of Ireland’s finest sailing clubs.

No — members can join active crews taking part in club keelboat and open sailing events, not to mention Pay & Sail J80 racing, charter sailing and more.

Fees range from €190 to €885 for ordinary members.
Memberships are renewed annually.

©Afloat 2020

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