Light winds provided interesting challenges for the Killyleagh Yacht Club race team as they ran the Downey’s Kia Squib Northern Championship last weekend.
The two day event welcomed 23 boats from across the UK and Ireland attracting competitors from as far away as Royal Victoria Yacht Club on the Isle of Wight, Holyhead in Wales as well as Kinsale, Lough Derg and Dublin Bay.
The crews arrived to flat calm conditions on Saturday morning with little sign of any breeze filling in. However, after a short postponement the flags began to flutter and the mark layers were able to set up a windward leeward course and the competitors eventually set off in the first race of a five-race series. Tricky conditions made for changing positions on the course but it was the visiting sailors who came out on top in race one with RNIYC crew mates Terry Rowan and Paul McMahon in Dogwatch claiming the podium place, with Sean and Paul Murphy in Crackers taking a close second followed by The Bees Knees in third, sailed by Frank McGowan and Richard Callanan. The winds continued to lighten as the remainder of the fleet crossed the finish line so unfortunately no more races were held on Saturday.
Sunday started damp and foggy but to everyone’s delight there was a more promising north easterly breeze. As race two got under way, it was a local boat leading the way, with Killyleagh’s Billy Ruff’n sailed by David Ferris and Dermott Quinn beating David Stewart’s Granat in a nail-biting finish to take line honours and claim first place in that race. The local boats continued to dominate day two with Robert Marshall and Fiona Ward securing a win in race three while Steven Bridges’ Firecracker, crewed by Matthew Bolton, held a commanding lead to take first place in race four.
However, with a bullet on day one and a discarded nine points – a second and fourth place on Sunday were enough to take Dogwatch into first place overall, crowning Terry Rowan and Paul McMahon 2023 Northern Champions. Overall results are as follows:
1st – Dogwatch, Terry Rowan & Paul McMahon, Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club
2nd – Billy Ruff’n, David Ferris & Dermott Quinn, Killyleagh Yacht Club
3rd – Granat, David Stewart & Brian Hare, Royal Irish Yacht Club
Killyleagh Yacht Club would like to thank our sponsor, Downey’s Kia Newtownards for supporting the club and event as well as all of those involved, both on and off the water, in making the event a great success.