August 2022 Letter from the Commodore

Commodore’s Newsletter

August 2022

HYC members continue to produce tremendous results at home and abroad. On the heels of the success of our Round Ireland competitors, three of our young sailors have excelled at the recently completed series of events sailed in the ILCA Class – formerly the Laser. Eve McMahon has taken gold medals at the ILCA6 Youth World Championship in Houston, Texas, at the World Sailing’s Youth Championship in The Hague, and at the European Class Championship in Greece. Of the eleven races sailed in the Texas event, she took eight wins; a level of consistency unheard of in the ILCA Class, where the closeness of the racing is renowned and just a sneeze can cost places. Rocco Wright, who took the gold in the boys’ event at The Hague, followed his gold medal performance up with a third place finish in the U17s in Texas, where Clubmate Luke Turvey finished 20th in the 52-strong Silver Fleet. It was a tremendous result for Irish sailing and for Howth YC and as a Club we take pride in the success of these young sailors. We honour the support that they get from Irish Sailing, their parents, and their friends and supporters – and we thank everyone involved for all the effort and investment put into developing the skills of these talented young people from the moment they first stepped into an Optimist dinghy, not so many years ago. Most of all, we respect the huge effort and commitment shown by the sailors themselves in their preparation for the events. To that end, we are very pleased to host a Homecoming reception at HYC on August 12th, to welcome the sailors back to the Club, and to recognise their achievements. Details have been circulated among members and all are welcome.

Our racing calendar is packed full this August, with every weekend committed to high calibre events – the  Howth 17 Nationals (‘Intergalactics’), the Squib Easterns, the J24 Easterns and then the J24 European Championship at the end of the month. In addition to these, the Gibney Classic makes its return on Aug 14th, and the hospitality of Gibney’s in Malahide can be enjoyed after an early afternoon race to work up a thirst. This year’s race will, for a change, be on Sunday, with the first gun at 11.25am. With high water at 14.10 and discounted rates for competitors in Malahide marina, all is in place for a pleasant day of racing and après-sailing in the unrivalled ambience of Gibney’s, before boats make a leisurely return to HYC on the ebb tide. The HYC Double-Handed Race will take place the following weekend on Saturday, August 20th and will again feature course options for faster and slower boats. We look forward to another big turnout, with ‘lack of crew’ an excuse no one can offer for skipping this event. However, if any skippers are seeking crew for Club racing, or members are looking to get afloat, please note that there is now a HYC WhatsApp Group in place, to help skippers source crew and allow members who want to get afloat to contact owners with spaces open. See the WhatsApp section of our members’ portal to gain access.

The Cruising Group has been very active with tutorials, courses, and various expeditions planned and undertaken. Unfortunately, the proposed Menai Straits’ cruise had to be cancelled due to the weather forecast, but other events are in the offing. If you are interested in cruising rather than racing, you should contact Class Captain Susan Kavanagh, who will add you to the WhatsApp for the Cruising Group.

For those who would like to participate in any of the waterborne activities at HYC (racing, cruising or training), QR codes are being placed on the noticeboard. When scanned, these will allow you to directly contact the relevant group who will help you get involved and to enjoy the full range of activities that come with being part of our club.

A Stand-up Paddleboards (SUP) collaboration with DiscoverSUP has been launched, with members getting a 15% discount on group sessions and complimentary equipment rental; while Eilis, our own paddlesports instructor, has kayak sessions for our Juniors sailors to keep them engaged with the Club throughout the summer. If you feel like trying these out, contact the Office.

The Marina Party at the start of July was dampened by the rain showers that the evening, with the result that many of those enjoying the on-board hospitality on moored boats transferred to the shelter of the Clubhouse. Star Point had been berthed alongside the pontoon for the evening, and the DJ and sound system mounted on it were excellent. Despite the rain, a good time was had by all and consideration is being given to holding another later this year.

As we all know, energy costs for fuel, gas and electricity have soared in recent months and HYC decided to reduce the margin charged on fuel whilst still giving full members a 10% discount on the selling price. Our selling price is based on the cost that the fuel is bought in at, and the price is lower than on garage forecourts when their prices go up. However, if garage prices start to fall, the HYC price reductions will lag behind, because our volume of sales is low by forecourt standards and it takes longer to clear the fuel bought in at a more expensive price.

The Membership Committee (MC) recently made a presentation to the General Committee (GC) that contained a ‘SWOT’ analysis of the threats and opportunities presenting to HYC, and an analysis of areas of Club activity that should be focussed on in response. The Flag Officers have requested a meeting with the MC to receive their proposals about membership structures, and changes that they may wish to suggest. After consideration of such proposals by the GC, an EGM can be called for later this year to consider the adoption of proposals that emerge.

Emmet Dalton has kindly taken on the role of Sailing Secretary and replaces Harry Gallagher on both the Sailing and General Committee. Thanks, Harry, for your work to date as Sailing Secretary; we will look forward to seeing you on the Race Management teams.  Emmet, who is a National Judge, will bring his experience and ideas to complement the SC team.

For those who are interested in the financial aspects of our Club, I am happy to report that the mid-term audit was satisfactory and the Club is trading well. The Quest training operation is performing better than in 2019 – the  last ‘normal year’ before Covid intervened – and  Club membership numbers continue to grow. The continuous decline in average member subscriptions over recent years has been turned around;as the result of the actions taken by your General Committee, and the changes to the membership structure and subscription levels approved at both the EGM and the General Meeting held at the end of 2021. The HYC financial year ends on September 30th (a throwback to the era when sailing was a summer sport), and our 2022 annual accounts will be finalised from that date before being made available to members, when the figures are signed off on after the annual audit. 

We look forward to seeing you around the Clubhouse and on the water, whether it’s to celebrate our winning Juniors at the Homecoming Party, sailing up to Gibney’s to socialise, or locked into the competition of the J24 events later this month. Here’s to happy sailing and soaking up the summer wherever you may be!