Letter from the Commodore
October 2021

Greetings from a very wet and soggy Irish midlands! Thankfully, we seem to have turned a corner in dealing with the Covid pandemic and the first stirrings of normality can be seen. Let us hope it is not a false dawn!

Aoife and I were delighted to be able to attend the barbecue organized by John Clementson at Newtownards Sailing Club on 28th May. We were kindly hosted on Ballyclaire by Viv and Derek White. It was marvelous to meet old friends in person and to begin to believe that we might revert to at least some of our old ways. The event was a great success.

Then in July Seamus O’Connor held a most enjoyable week-long rally in Bantry Bay culminating in an around Whiddy race and a supper on the island.  I’m afraid that I only made it down for the supper, flying solo, but it was a great occasion and especially good to see that Muglins and Conundrum had come from the East coast.

Finally, Aoife and I joined Alan and Helen Markey aboard Altaria for the Northern Rally at Quoile Yacht Club.  Seven boats made the passage up from Dublin and joined twenty Northern ones.  As always, the hospitality was splendid.  We were able to meet old friends and make new ones. This was a hugely successful event.  ur thanks to Derek and Viv White, and Joanne Magowan and her team at Quoile for making it so.

As I write, our planned first face to face committee meeting since the 2020 AGM remains in some doubt because of the recent resurgence in Covid infections, especially in Northern Ireland, but let us hope that we can meet in person.  The full programme of Christmas lunches and the Southern dinner is scheduled to take place this year starting with lunch for the West in Kinvara on 27th November.  The full diary can be found ont he website. It is of course all subject to the prevailing rules at the time.

In the meantime, the serious day to day business of the Club has continued. Norman Kean and Geraldine work ceaselessly on the Sailing Directions, keeping the databases up to date.  Norman has also made a significant contribution to the new Coastal Atlas of Ireland (Cork University Press 2021).  It includes quite a number of our photographs and an excellent chapter penned by Norman.  John Clementson, as well as running a barbecue, keeps the website and our Facebook page up to scratch.  Alex Blackwell has done sterling work, with relatively meagre resources of content because of our curtailed season, in producing another excellent Newsletter.  Ed Wheeler and the publications team are having a good year with excellent sales of the Sailing Directions, while Máire Breathnach is in full flight working on this year’s Annual.  Don’t forget to write a contribution.

I know some members managed to get out to their boats based overseas, in most cases for the f rst time in 18 months.  Well done for navigating the myriad of conflicting regulations and guidelines whilst staying safe!  In our case, I’m afraid ReeSpray hasn’t shown her face this year and won’t until 2022.  However, we did manage to sail from time to time on the lake.

Next year we should be due to hold a major rally. However, the continued uncertainty exerted by the pandemic makes it difficult to justify making the financial commitments required to tie down detailed arrangements outside Ireland for the large numbers typically attracted to participate in our major events . As a result, the feeling is that we should stick to venues nearer home for our main event.  To that end, we are planning a two week visit to the west coast centred on Clew Bay/Inishbofin for five days followed by a similar period in Galway Bay and its environs.  Further information on this plan, on next year’s regional rallies, and any events further afi eld will issue shortly.

Next March we are scheduled to hold our Annual Dinner in the North Region. The scope of that event will inevitably be somewhat restricted because of pandemic concerns.  Derek White is leading the charge in this regard and will release information when we are able to crystalise our arrangements.

I hope that you have been able to make the best of things this year and have gotten afloat somehow. We should look forward to next year and with luck a return to normal service, adventures, sociability, and just old-fashioned camaraderie.

Best wishes for a safe and healthy winter season.  I hope to meet you soon.

David Beattie,