We are delighted that we were able to commence a short summer series of racing this evening with a good turnout of dinghies enjoying a great race in near perfect conditions. The keelboats start their series on Thursday evening, 13th August.
To welcome back our sailors and to celebrate the start of our long awaited summer racing, we are going to open the bar on Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 7pm until 10pm, until the series finishes on Thursday 3rd September. With the current restrictions this still has to be outdoors so unfortunately will be weather dependant.
The forecast (so far) for Thursday is good so hopefully you will come down to enjoy the racing, with a few drinks from the bar.
The slipway was finally opened this week for recreational sailing use by members and one of the first families to take advantage of the reopening and widened slip for the first time were the Calvin family.
Neil has been instrumental in the resurgence of dinghy sailing in the club after returning home from university and initially getting a fleet of Lasers on the water, which has progressed into the RS 400 fleet. He has also been involved in assisting the Club obtain the vital planning permission for the widened slip.
As a junior sailor Neil was one of the team of junior sailors who completed the challenge to sail an optimist dinghy across the North Channel to Scotland and actively sailed Mirror dinghies before progressing into Lasers. It was good therefore to see him along with his children, junior members Emily and Ollie take to the water not in the RS 400 but their newly acquired Pico recently purchased from the club fleet to make way for our new RS Qubas.
During the 1980’s Neil’s father and mother Ray and Maggie who were for many years responsible for junior training at the club, sailed a yellow Ruffian 23 called Bounder for a number of years before progressing to much larger yachts and many sailing adventures abroad.
Emily and Ollie have named their yellow Pico ” Little Bounder” in memory of their grand parents boat and took to the water wearing Ray and Maggie’s “Bounder” caps from the original boat.
The Calvin’s were quickly followed on to the water on Saturday afternoon by the MacFarlane family who decided to wait until there was a full tide and a strong southerly wind head on to the slip. No balmy evenings for them!
Frank, like Neil started life as a junior sailor in the club and progressed through the junior training programme and various boats into Lasers and eventually his own RS400.
Frank has also been actively involved in assisting the Club achieve the slipway improvement and as an Environmental Engineer prepared the essential Environmental Management Plan for the works to support the planning application and importantly obtained the necessary Marine License to allow the works to proceed and has been invaluable in the slipway development.
Frank’s boat of choice for the first launch off the slip was not his RS400 but again the Pico and whilst he worked out his plan for tacking off the slip dispatched his children junior members Ana and Matthew to clear the seaweed for him!
Frank successfully completed a full tack out off the slip in a strong headwind something which would have been impossible off the original slip, particularly for the conditions encountered on Saturday.
Frank, Ana and Matthew enjoyed a great sail in the harbour reminding us all of the benefit of this facility for training and sailing on those unfavorable days.
Hopefully as restrictions ease we will see not only the Calvin’s and MacFarlane’s but many other families and individuals take advantage of the improved slip and get on the water over the summer months while we all look forward to full activity returning and hopefully an official opening event.
Friday 29th May saw the final set of races in the inaugural Virtual Summer Series. Ryan Seaton was the clear winner with a nine point lead over Rick McCaig in second, only beating Steve Atkinson to third by a single point. The racing was all very close with place changes regularly taking place throughout the races and frequently on the final run to the finish line. The craic has been good with some spectators joining the Zoom call each week to watch the racing being streamed.
There has been sufficient interest for us to continue on and run some more racing through the next stages of lockdown. The format of four races in an hour seems to have worked, although there has been some discussion about the preferred day for racing.
Friday 15 May saw the first night of the club Virtual Summer Series with 19 people entered. Fourteen people made it on to the virtual water to enjoy four races over an hour. Several competitors were even seen on the Zoom call dressed for real racing with buoyancy aids, foul weather gear and sun glasses. After the success of the evening everyone is looking forward to the continuation of the series this Friday.
Last weekend, 16/17 May, should have been the first J/24 event of 2020 at Carrickfergus. In the absence of real sailing due to the lockdown the J/24 class took to the virtual water with a series of ten races over two days.
Cillian Dickson initiated proceedings to get everyone onboard, participating via the Virtual Regatta Inshore game. Custom races were handled by Cillian Dickson, Rick McCaig and Brendan Ryan. The club was able to assist by hosting a Zoom call enhance competitors experience with a bit of craic.
25 entries necessitated a split into two fleets on Saturday to determine Gold and Silver fleets for the racing on Sunday. Five races were run over an hour on both Saturday and Sunday morning.
Close racing prevailed as expected in both fleets; one race on Saturday had only 4 seconds between 3rd and 10th place at the finish line.
Congratulations to Ryan Glynn, Michael McCormack and Garrett Kinnane who were 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the Gold fleet, and Matthew Hennessy, Brendan Ryan and Donal McCormack in the Silver Fleet.
With the success of the event the class plans to run a similar event for the J/24 Westerns to be hosted by Sligo Yacht Club towards the end of June, if lockdown/social distancing continues.
Have you missed sailing? We have too, so we are organising a Virtual Summer Series until we can get back on the water. If you are interested please comment on the Facebook post below. If you are are not on Facebook then email firstname.lastname@example.org. More info to follow once we know numbers. Let’s get esailing 📱💻⛵
The Committee of Carrickfergus Sailing Club have taken the decision to postpone the J/24 event due to be hosted by the club on 16/17 May.
This is based on the RYA recommendation that all sailing be cancelled up until at least the end of April.
We realize that this means that people will feel unable to commit to the event until much too close to the time, both as competitors and organizers.
We will be issuing refunds for any entries paid to date.
There has been discussion with the club and J/24 Association of Ireland around a suitable date to reschedule the event to and 8/9 August is the best option available currently, but this is still obviously dependent on circumstances related to the lockdown both in Ireland and the UK.
Hopefully we can firm that up and confirm it once the state of play with the lockdown becomes clearer over the next months.