The Pearl is back!


by Gerry Byrne. The Oyster Pearl Regatta has always been regarded as the blue ribbon event in the Carlingford Lough cruiser racing calendar. In its heyday in the 80’s and 90’s, fleets of over sixty boats from the east coast and the Isle of Man sailing clubs came to compete for the coveted Oyster Pearl Trophy in what was then a two day event organised by Dundalk & Carlingford Sailing Club. For various reasons, the regatta in its original format didn’t take place for several years.
In an attempt to re-energise the event, in conjunction with Carlingford Sailing Club, CLYC have taken on the race organisation with plans next year to set up the original two day racing format and to encourage clubs outside the lough to compete again for the Moneley sponsored trophy.
On Saturday, a small fleet of six cruisers came to the starting line to compete in four short course races. Race officer Kieran Cranley had set up one port and three starboard triangular courses in NW 2-10 knot winds. With a second and two firsts under the Carlingford Lough Rating handicap system, Sula, skippered by Chris Cassidy was the worthy overall winner adding to his previous win in the Boathouse Trophy two weeks ago. The Sigma 33 can still shift with the help of the competitive “Team Sula”. Despite line honours in all three races, Tim Gibbons’ Warrior was runner up. New boat on the block, J24 Proud Mary, skippered by Brian McConville, completed the podium with a well deserved third. Unfortunately race four was abandoned as fading wind caused the fleet to be unable to reach the windward mark within the required 15 minutes.
Post race presentations took place in Carlingford marina where sponsor Jonathan Moneley presented Sula skipper Chris Cassidy with the beautiful Moneley Oyster Pearl Trophy.
Next week the cruiser programme continues with the newly instated Sea Safety Trophy race. The Sea Safety Trophy has been sponsored by Newry Maritime Association in memory of a boating tragedy on the Lough 65 years ago, to the day, on 22nd June 1954. As an open race, anybody can enter providing they register with CLYC at www.clyc.info.

The beautiful Moneley Oyster Pearl Trophy

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