19 April 2021

Who would have believed when we were writing our similarly titled news report last June that in April 2021 we’d be in the same situation?   Our first amendment to the Club Racing Notice of Race went up this week, giving notice that the start of the season will be postponed and pointing out that two weeks’ notice of the first race will be given to all members once the timeline for the lifting of the current restrictions is received.

The Sailing Committee are holding off on posting the online entry form for Club Racing until such time as we know that we are going to be able to race but it will go up once we have a date, which we hope will be sometime in the month of May!   In the meantime, we are on standby ready to drop the racing marks and put the Hut in its usual summer spot on the East pier. 

If you have a story to tell and maybe a few photos about any work you have done on your boat over the last few months to prepare for your summer sailing, please let us know about it so that it can be shared with other members.  The Howth 17 Class have been even busier than a typical Winter for timber boat owners involves and a report with photos of various makeovers will be up soon.


Where matters now stand is as follows: 

  1. With the 2 metre ‘social distance’ rule still in place, the traditional Club racing series looks likely to be similar to that run last year, with the initial starts being off the pier.  However, we do hope to progress to some Committee Boat starts once our race management personnel are comfortable doing so – the envious have already commented that the ‘maturity’ of many of the volunteer ROs may see them vaccinated well before the majority of the sailors!
  2. The Club crane is operating and boats wanting to launch can do so.
  3. From April 26th, members of two households are allowed meet for exercise (while observing social distancing) so opportunities for social sailing are increased. 


The Fingal Series may be the first of our 2021 Open events and the first race is planned for May 22nd, using the self-start and finish system that proved so successful in 2020. 

The Lambay Races weekend is set for the June Bank Holiday weekend.  The Notice of Race is complete apart from answering some queries about the format that depend on what COVID restrictions are still in place at that time.  Whilst we hope that the format will be the familiar one of all Classes racing together on Saturday, if necessary we will run the event over Saturday and Sunday with one-designs and cruiser classes assigned to one day each, in the same way that the End of Season Series was arranged last September.  This should assist in limiting numbers around the Club each day but still give everyone a chance to take part.

The Optimist Leinsters are coming to HYC on June 12/13th and, as always, will require a big contingent of helpers, both afloat and ashore.  If you are free to give a hand, please let Darren Wright or Eamonn Twomey know and they will find you a job.

Looking forward to some more traffic jams on the slip in 2021


The changes that were in place in 2020 will remain and please remember to complete your Skipper and Crew logs before taking part in any racing.  All measures are targeted at minimising the risk of transmission of the virus and allowing any outbreaks to be controlled, which will hopefully give people the confidence that all can sail and use the Club safely.  Again it is anticipated that Pier Starts will be the norm initially and a greater reliance on VHF use for start sequences to avoid the transmission risks associated with hauling flags, displaying course boards, etc.   


Dinghy coaching and supervised dinghy sailing can commence from April 26th for Juniors in groups of no more than 15 and plans are underway to have coaching sessions on May 1st. 

The Summer junior training courses are planned to start with Teen Keelboat at the end of June with the rest of the courses starting at the begining of July. Courses have been booking out fast, but please contact the office if you have a Junior looking to take part.    

Thursday evening dinghy racing is going to start once we get Government approval to organise competition.  The plan is to run an initial series on Thursday nights over 6 weeks (12 races in total) for Lasers, a mixed handicap class and Optimists.  All age groups are encouraged to get involved and we look forward to seeing some of our more senior members providing evidence afloat of the dinghy sailing talents, and maybe even success, that they have only had the chance to tell us about at the Bar in recent years.  If you have a dinghy hidden in your garden, please bring it out racing and catch up on some of the sailing time lost since March of 2020.     

Long road to 2021 Olympics - Dickson / Waddilove 420 racing in 2012


Our K25 Squad is a group of under 25s who compete in the J24 Class primarily but also take on J80 events when the opportunity arises.  The members are gearing up for the start of the season and their J24, Kilcullen, is currently being worked on to make sure it is ready to go.  The Squad’s efforts in 2020 were frustrated by the lockdowns but there is a good head of enthusiasm built up.  A grant towards the cost of running the boat in 2021 has been provided by ICRA, which is much appreciated.  Most of the 2020 Squad are still eligible but new members are always being sought and a second J24 is available to ensure that everyone gets a chance to try keelboat racing.  Anyone interested in getting involved should contact David Johnston or Brian McDowell.

This is a big season for the J24 Class in the lead up the 2022 European Championships coming back to Ireland and Howth YC.  In anticipation of that, the Class will compete for their Eastern Championships this year at HYC on Aug 28 and 29th so it it is a good target for our Squad to aim at. 

'K25 Squad testing the limits of J24 control


The Cruising Group, under the direction of Class Captain Willie Kearney, and of course Admiral Gerry O’Neill, are looking at some one-day armadas as they did last year.  More information will follow but please get in touch with the Cruising Group, if you want to get involved.


The order for Kayaks and Paddleboards is expected to arrive mid May and there are plans underway to schedule On-The-Water Sessions for members of all ages. These sessions will start with Saturday & Sunday afternoons and we will expand our schedule to suit members. As part of these sessions, we will also give members the opportunity to rent out some of our dinghies and have some fun. All of these sessions will be supervised with RIB support to ensure members are kept safe, although no guarantees they will be kept dry! More updates to follow.

A double Kayak similar to those we have on order enjoying the natural wildlife


The Sailing Committee is anxious to get the 2021 season started and has the preparatory work in place to get Club racing underway.  We may be challenged in the short term by social distancing rules, single household restrictions, no changing rooms and the like but the weather is improving, the hardware shops and marine suppliers are trading and there is time to sort all the little jobs that it would usually be too late to do before launching.  A return to competition is imminent so let’s be ready.


Caroline Gore Grimes, Honorary Sailing Secretary