The 30th Wayfarer International Rally was held at East Down YC over a week 10th to 17th June 23.
This international rally has been held only once before in N.Ireland, in 2001, also at East Down Yacht Club on Strangford Lough, Co Down.
Attending were representatives from sister associations of the UKWA (UK Wayfarer Assoc): NEDWA (Netherlands Wayfarer Assoc) and North American Wayfarer Assoc.)
The Chair of UK Wayfarer Association, John Mellor was here, also the Chair of NEDWA, Joke Peers.
On the first Monday evening Ralph Roberts, the Wayfarer Int Committee Secretary gave a talk ‘Nine lives of a Wayfarer Cruiser’ on his lifetime’s cruising experiences and the lessons learned.
Some key facts:
44 Boats participating – including 29 Visiting Boats
67 Visiting Sailors from US, Canada, Belgium, Holland, France, Scotland, England, Wales and ROI.
21 EDYC sailors.
79 people at the Welcome meal
Accomodation including Tents on site and Campervans on site supplemented the local B&B provision.
The welcome from East Down Sailing Club was tremendous. The club have been planning for this for well over a year, championed by John Miller. The warm and dry weather was a real bonus. Sailing Lead Gordon Jess came up with programmes making best use of the tides and at times some very light winds.
EDYC members generously loaned boats to visitors flying in from overseas, which is a traditional feature of the International Rally. Mixing and sailing with Wayfarer enthusiasts from different countries and with different experiences keeps people coming back year after year.
On the Saturday the fleet sailed down beyond Audley’s Point and landed in Castleward Bay and lunched in the grounds of the castle.
On Sunday 29 boats took the ebbing tide through the Narrows experiencing the currents and sounds and seeing dolphins play near the Routen Wheel. Out on the Irish Sea the fleet rounded Killard Point and landed on the expansive sands of Ballyhornan Bay.
A shorter sail on Monday after waiting for the wind to fill in took the fleet inside Taggart Island up to Long Sheelah and then into the bay on the west side of Pawle Island for a lunch stop. Lots of light wind tactics were seen as the fleet slowly returned to EDYC rounding Dunnyneil Islands.
On Tuesday during a break from sailing many of the group climbed Slieve Binnian or visited the Blue Lough for a first experience of the Mountains of Mourne.
Sailing Lead Gordon Jess EDYC briefs the crews at a morning gathering
The fleet continued sailing in the Strangford Lough until Saturday when the Rally concluded with a farewell meal.
The Wayfarer dinghy is 15’10” in length with a 6′ beam and particularly suitable for cruising and family sailing as well as for open sea voyages for those with suitable experience as Ralph Roberts demonstrated in having crossed the English Channel 6 times and sailing to Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
Many thanks to:- Merrin (M. Froggett) UKWA editor for this write up
Concluding this post on the 30th Wayfarer International Rally – we must thank all members of EDYC directly involved or marginally involved. Our site was busier and more crowed for a week and we all worked around each other without friction and happily assisted our visitors, giving them both time, help and advice. Thanks all volunteers and organisers. Already all reports are showing that the rally was very well received and our visitors parted with an excellent experience. One very minor grumble has been heard that the winds were light (Don’t blame us!). Other reports have appeared in the Belfast Telegraph and in Ireland afloat. Many pictures are within whatsapp groups and are available – contact a rally attendee. If desired we could put a gallery on this web site – just contact appropriately.
The 2001 event was combined with a championship and a write up remains in the Belfast Telegraph. Unfortunately our own web site has been reformatted and lost our early content/write up.