The first handicap race of the Water Wag season took place on 28th May when the Water Wags competed for the Buckingham Cup (Division 1A +1B) and the Wigham Trophy (Division 2). The wind from the north was blowing at about 8 knots. 

First boats to start were Penelope, Eva, and Sprite (the oldest boat of the fleet which will celebrate her 110th birthday this year.) They were followed one minute later by Mary Kate and Nandor. A further minute later Good Hope, Sara, Polly, and Chloe started. Then it was the turn of Swallow, Coquette, Badger and Alfa to cross the start line in clear wind. Then Freddie, Gavotte, Marie Louise and Scallywag were followed by Vela, Pansy and Barbara. Finally Tortoise, Swift and Mollie started five and a half minutes after the first Water Wags. By that stage, Dun Laoghaire Harbour was full of 23 lovely wooden boats, some old, most middle-aged and some relatively new.
It was soon evident that the wind was coming into the harbour through the Harbour Mouth and, unusually, due to the low tide almost no wind was came over the pier walls. This meant that there was an area of the harbour to leeward of the Harbour Mouth were there was a good steady breeze, and if one wandered out of that area, one quickly found that there was not  enough wind. Initially Adrian Masterson in Sprite and newcomer Orla Fitzgerald in Eva held the lead. Tactically they both stayed in the best wind. 

The fleet also realized that there was relatively little tide in the harbour, but when Water Wags were within a 30m. radius of the windward mark, the young incoming tide from the north-east was very strong, resulting in some boats having difficulty in laying the windward mark.

After two laps Hal Sisk in Good Hope and David Clarke in Sara had broken into the lead. 

On the fourth and final lap the wind became very light, causing problems for some of the competitors. Tortoise as scratch boat had  defied her name and crawled up to 7th. place.  

At the finish it was Hal Sisk and Sue Westrop in Good Hope (div.1B) who crossed the line first ahead of David and Anne Clarke in Sara (div.1B) and Adrian Masterson in  Sprite (div 2) and Michael and Zoe Donohoe (div 1A) who were the first father/ daughter combo to cross the line. In 5th  place Vincent Delany and Noelle Breen in the venerable Pansy (div 1A) finished inches ahead of newcomer Orla Fitzgerald and husband Dermot in Eva, the Centenary Water Wag. There will be two more handicap races during the season. 

Posted in: Racing
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