Lough Ree Yacht Club held a special regatta on the 27th and 28th of July to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of a remarkable river boat the ‘M.V. Harklow’ which was designed and built by the renowned Arklow boatbuilder Jack Tyrell for the international yachtsman Douglas Heard, the first President of the Irish Dinghy Racing Association and Commodore of the Royal St. George Yacht Club. The regatta was ably organized by her present owner Dan O’Connor.

A fleet of 18 Shannon-One-Designs competed in the warm summer conditions. In race one, the force 2 wind was from the south east, but quickly backed to the north east causing difficulty to the OOD who had laid the course close too close to the Yellow Islands. There were no opportunities for overtaking. The winner was Frank Browne / Julie Delany / crew in No. 86 followed by Owen / Mags / Margaret Delany in No. 37 and Mark McCormick / crew in No. 50. It was already looking like a regatta in which the older boats might dominate.

The second race, held after lunch, in the open lake with the windward mark close to Little Yellow Island in slightly steadier conditions, was won by Rory Walsh / crew in the beautifully prepared No. 170 from 50 and 86 third.  

The third race with a handicap start was started off the yacht club pontoons was won convincingly by Cathy MacAleavey / Philip Dilworth / crew in the newest boat competing, No.178, but this race was subsequently declared null and void by the protest committee under the careful eye of David Beatty, after one crew protested the entire fleet for sailing the wrong course.

This was followed by a dinner for the competitors and their friends when the Harklow cake was formally cut by Ruth Heard and her daughter Professor Hilary Biehler Delany, followed by Dr. Harmon Murtagh who gave an informative talk on the significance of the M.V. Harklow and her owners. ‘The Nuts’ a musical group managed by the regatta organizer bashed out 1960’s music for the rest of the night to the delight of those who wanted to dance.

On Sunday, after the protest was heard, the first race was held close to Beam Island in a light shifty wind and thundery conditions. Initially Commodore Alan Algeo / DJ / Crew lead the first lap of the race, but on the second beat the shifty wind foiled them, and allowed No. 176 sailed by Harmon Murtagh / Harmon Jnr / crew to win, from Eoin Carrol / crew in No. 60 and Graham McMullin and family in No. 151.

The second race was held back to back in a wind which was shifting back and forth by up to 80 degrees.  Thunder and lightning was showing its anger on all sides of the course. It was won by Ian Croxon / crew in No. 56 from No.60 and No. 170. These boats were fortunate to finish before the stair-rods arrived. And about 25mm of rain fell in half an hour. Due to the warm conditions many of the crews were not wearing heavy rain gear and were soaked.
Posted in: Racing
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