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Hal Sisk is April’s “Sailor of the Month April (Classics)”

1st May 2022
Hal Sisk aboard his restored 1894-built G L Watson cutter Peggy Bawn in Dublin Bay in 2005
Hal Sisk aboard his restored 1894-built G L Watson cutter Peggy Bawn in Dublin Bay in 2005 Credit: W M Nixon

When Hal Sisk of Dun Laoghaire was awarded the International “Classic Boater Of The Year” Award in London on April 12th, the brief outline of his major achievements in preserving maritime heritage may have high-lighted his current project - with Fionan de Barra and Steve Morris – of restoring the Dublin Bay 21 Class. But even a quite detailed outline of his other successes, such as the internationally-awarded restoration of the 1894 Watson cutter Peggy Bawn in 2003-2005, inevitably missed out some other visionary projects like the 1984 Centenary revival of the 1884 Fife cutter Vagrant, and the re-creation of the Dublin Bay-tested (and proven) catamaran Simon & Jude, originally of 1663 vintage.

As to his determination in undertaking the completion and publishing of major works of maritime historical reference, here again the sheer weight of output has overshadowed some works. The definitive guide to the traditional craft of Ireland – published in 2008 – is now a standard reference, but equally the Peggy Bawn Press’s beautifully produced and profusely-illustrated work about the Scottish designer G L Watson – the first yacht designer to function as a stand-alone specialist – is now a book of major international significance. Yet typically it is just another part of the remarkable creative output encouraged and organised over many years by Hal Sisk.

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