Founded in 1992 by the Glandore Harbour Yacht Club to pay homage to the classic sailing yachts of Ireland, this year’s Classic Regatta event attracted 80 entrants.
Starting off the week was the traditional ‘Parade of Sail’ led by the Baltimore RNLI.
Following closely behind was Michael O’Donnell’s Big Momma which also served as the committee boat for the week. Other boats included Brian Smullen’s beautiful 17m planked McGruer’s ketch Cuilaun; Patrick Dorgan’s Elsie, one of the oldest boats in the event, designed by William Fife and built in 1896; visiting yachtsman Thomas Drewes’ 7.3m work boat Jane Paul; Dr. Michael Brogan's MacDuach, which is the oldest of the Galway Hookers built during the 1970s revival of the class and an assortment of other classics as well as Dragons, Squibs and Ettes.
Making a return to the Glandore Classic was the fleet of Water Wags, brought from Dublin by Regatta veteran, Hal Sisk. The Water Wag is the oldest one-design dinghy in existence, having been devised in 1886 and formalised as a one-design class in 1887. The Water Wag inspired similar one-design fleets around Ireland and subsequently around the world. The Water Wags thrilled the crowd with their synchronised sailing performance led by Water Wag Club Captain, Hal Sisk.
Racing was divided into two fleets. The Bay Fleet comprised of larger offshore boats and the Harbour Fleet was made up of one-designs. The racing was hotly contested with some classes being decided by just one point.
In Class One, Cuilaun led the way with seven points (including three first places) followed closely by Elsie (older boats still perform well) and Joe Hamilton’s Freya.
Owen Sisk, sailing Emmanuel led the way in Class Two, with Jane Paul and Conor O’Hanlon’s, Glennmiller following closely behind.
Class Three ended in a tie (only two races were completed) with world renowned actor and local celebrity, Jeremy Irons, at the helm of Willing Lass and Stephen Sionna’s Sally O’Keefe each winning one race.
The Dragons (the largest fleet in Ireland is based in Glandore) completed six races and in the end, Glandore Harbour Yacht Club’s Vice-Commodore and Sailing Secretary, John Wyles, sailing Aphrodite, led the fleet with 11 points. Former Commodore, Maeve Cotter’s Serafina was one point behind and in third place was yet another former GHYC Commodore, Diarmuid O’Donovan aboard Pongo. Of course no Dragon race in Glandore Harbour would be complete without local sailing legend, Don Street, steering his wooden Gypsy built in 1933. This year, Don celebrated his 87th birthday with his usual Heineken in hand and surrounded by his family who flew in to help mark this momentous occasion.
The Squibs class was won by visiting sailor Pat Simpson from Norfolk at the helm of Penny B, followed closely by the local Squib-sailing hotshot, Dave Sheahan, steering Too Dee. Third place was taken by Joe O’Byrne at the helm of Femme Fatale, probably the oldest Squib in Ireland.
Honours in the Ette Class went to yacht builder Rui Ferrara aboard Sagette. Classic Dinghies was won by Jens Franke’s Goldenwind and Gary O’Sullivan’s Haven walked away with victory in the Day Boat fleet.
The Race Committee was led by USA’s Bill Sandberg serving his third regatta as PRO as well as local race officers, John and Ann Williams who run more than 160 races per year. The committee boat and support boat were manned by junior sailors and many other members.