Annual Regatta

For any yacht or boat club the annual regatta day is the premier event of their year.  In Belfast Lough all the Clubs have regattas and every boat from each club is invited to attend the regattas of other clubs in the Lough.  Royal Ulster YC, Ballyholme YC, Royal North of Ireland YC, Holywood YC, East Antrim BC Co Antrim YC, Cockle Island BC, Donaghadee SC and Carrickfergus SC.

The Belfast Lough Yachting Conference (BLYC) is the body which helps to organise these regattas.  The Sailing Secretary or representative from each club attends meetings to arrange which clubs will hold their regatta on which dates.  This choice of dates is not of major importance to RUYC but to other Clubs the tide times are all important.

The BLYC publish, via their web site,http://www.belfastloughsailing.org/regattas.htm, the standing instructions for the lough regattas and the list of boats in the lough sorted by class.  Each club publishes its particular instructions on its own web site with links to it from the BLYC site.

The BLYC also discusses any other changes to regatta formats.  For a number of years the racing has been divided into two sessions.  The Cruiser/Racer classes start with a Round the Lough style course in the morning while the rest of the boats start round-the-buoys racing in the afternoon.  From time to time some Clubs have varied this format but this is the one RUYC are using at present.  Once the round-the-lough boats have finished their first round across the RUYC line they will  usually be sent round another shorter course.

The Race Officer for the Regatta will work with the highly skilled battery team to determine the best courses to send the boats round, fire the guns, note all the sail numbers and sort the boats into the correct classes and time each boat as it finishes - not always an easy task!

Of course, to many people, the regatta is the chance to wander down to the Club on a warm summer afternoon and watch the boats go by while taking some form of refreshment in the Clubhouse or in the marquee specially installed for the day.  To entertain the spectators, and the yachters once they come ashore for the tea and buns, there is normally a small brass band belting out a fine selection of tunes.  This year, as previously, there will be a formal Summer Regatta Ball at RUYC on Saturday evening.

The prize giving for the regatta is held as soon as possible after racing but can be held up due to anomalies such as two boats with the same sail number, someone with no published handicap or even a boat not appearing in the Regatta Handbook (this usually means no result).

The Royal Ulster Yacht Club Regatta has for several years now been sponsored by local estate agents Templeton Robinson and the Club is grateful to John Todd and his staff for their continuing support of the event.