Leisure 17 & small boats day sail, 1st July 2023,
Celebrations of 50 years of Leisure 17s at East Down Yacht Club, Strangford Lough, sees the 2nd in a series of 5 day sails:
The weather forecasts in the week leading up to the outing had everyone’s attention, with wind strength fluctuating greatly, the forecasts on the morning averaging 18 mph gusting 28 mph from the west, to WNW for the late morning.
In the relative shelter of the club, looking across the Dorn to Holm Bay, white horses were appearing. Collectively the seven Leisure 17 skippers present elected to proceed with reduced sails.
The initial passage plan had the boats travel 12 miles north, upon the kind invitation from Newtownards Sailing Club to join them for refreshments in their clubhouse. Regrettably, the strong westerly wind would leave the boats very exposed at anchor on the north east shore of the lough and the hospitality would not have been fully appreciated, with an eye constantly on the water. The plan was amended, keeping the boats upon the western side of the lough, traveling 9 miles North to Whiterock Bay.
The wind grew as the fleet of 17s gathered by the club committee boat at 10:15 hrs, and wisely two newcomers to the club and the pleasures of sailing, chose to return to their moorings in the dorn. ‘Better to be on land wishing to be at sea, that at sea wishing to be on land.’
The skippers commenced, some on main sail alone, some on jib alone, some with both, though reefed and with the wind to be energetically spilled. After 90 minutes of exhilarating sailing through the pladdies and islands of the western shores of the lough, close hauled on a port tack the boats rounded the north end of Trasnagh Island and on a starboard reach, made for the relative shelter provided in Whiterock Bay, south of Braddock Island, just as the racing fleet of SLYC were returning from a spirited morning of club racing.
After refreshments and discussion of the merits of the differing sail arrangements and the observation that the fin keeled Leisure 17 ‘Filia’ pointed better than her siblings, the course was set for home. The southward journey through the sheltered moorings of Ringhaddy Sound on anything between a reach and a training run, made for a more comfortable passage, but still in 17mph winds gusting 26mph.
For the day the sailors covered 14.5 miles, with an average of 4.5 mph SOG, with a maximum of 8.33mph, and whilst allowing for 1 knot of current, the little 17s were proving they had some pace, yet tough enough to handle the gusts as they came.
Once home all were pleased with their accomplishments in the adventurous sailing of the day, having gained confidence, experience and knowledge, whilst forging friendships with like minded folk. All sailors, tested and tired were pleased to have undertaken the second in the series of day sails celebrating 50 years of Leisure 17s at EDYC, and look forward to the remaining dates:
Further photos are in a small gallery – approach using this link
Remaining Dates follow:-
Sunday 6th August; through The Narrows to Bendurg Bay
Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th September; though The Narrows, to Ardglass Marina, returning the following day
Saturday 23rd & Sunday 24th September; late afternoon at Portaferry Marina, overnight stay, return early afternoon Sunday.
For further details on upcoming Leisure 17 and small boat cruises,
contact Stephen Perry, EDYC L17 Assoc. Secretary, mobile # 07779895613