HYC's Puppeteer 22 Class Celebrates 40 Year Milestone at Annual Prizegiving...

31 January 2024
HYC's Puppeteer 22 Class Celebrates 40 Year Milestone at Annual Prizegiving...

January 26th saw over 100 of the HYC Puppeteer 22 sailors assembling for the Annual Prizegiving Dinner in the Clubhouse.

The Dinner marked the start of the celebrations for the fleet’s 40th year as a standalone Class at Howth Yacht Club. During that time the Club’s fleet has grown from its initial four boats to being the biggest one design keelboat fleet at Howth, or indeed any Irish club. The first four were Snowgoose, Sanderling, Gannet and Ibis, three of them still in the same families, and they are still among the fastest in the fleet. It now counts 32 boats afloat with four more in HYC, currently either resting ashore or undergoing refurbs.

Photo Gallery from Dinner

2023 saw two additions to the fleet, Ms Emma (B Mohan) making a long journey by road from northern parts while Pinocchio (J McMahon) made a relatively short but incident packed voyage from its previous abode in Malahide.

A programme of birthday celebrations is planned for 2024 and Friday night saw it get underway when each boat was presented with an encapsulated sheet featuring a photograph of the boat sailing and a list of its ownership history and record of successes. Gerry Sargent is ‘Mr Puppeteer’ in Howth YC and his records of each of the 54 boats, which were built in Northern Ireland to Chris Boyd’s design, is an invaluable archive of the history of a unique 32 county story of sailing success. Mary McDyer and Olibhe Ní Bhraonain are sharing the party planning and Friday night was a fantastic start to the celebrations.

24 boats took part in Club racing in 2023 and, with 18 afloat on a number of the evenings, competition was keen. The three series over the summer and the short end of season Mini-Series were dominated by Yellow Peril (Murphy/Costello) and Trick or Treat (Pearson/Blay). In the scratch series, each enjoyed two wins and two runner-up positions while, in the handicap events, the four wins went to Odyssey (P&R Byrne), No Strings (T. Harvey) and Gannet (T. Chillingworth) with Blue Velvet (G. Kennedy) and Papagena (K&B Barker) getting on the prize winners’ list as runner-ups. The two Saturday Series were won by Odyssey and by WeyHey (I. Dickson).

Photo Gallery of Prize Winners

The undoubted star performer of 2023 was Trick or Treat which, apart from its share of success in Club racing, won the Lambay Races, National Championship and Autumn League to take a clean sweep of the three major Class events of the year. Outgoing Class Captain Paul McMahon thanked the sailors for supporting the Class and Club racing and congratulated the prizewinners. Club racing starts again on April 23rd and competition promises to be fierce with both newcomers and increasingly quick old-timers determined to challenge the 2023 dominance of Trick or Treat.

With plenty of other Puppeteer 22s still racing, particularly in Northern Ireland, the Howth fleet looks forward to welcoming their Classmates this summer to share the celebrations and sample the racing area that so well suits these beautiful and long-lived boats.

Report kindly provided by Neil Murphy.  Photo Credits: Ros Byrne.