Dinghies & Dunmore East with Flica in Rare Old Times

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From time to time, a photo scrolls across the screen, its origins unknown and its destination a mystery, yet its reality is perfectly clear. This header photo is one of them. I don’t know how it came about, or who sent it, or even who took it about seventy years ago.

But everything indicates that this is a first IDRA Dinghy Week in Dunmore East, which would make it 1950 or 1955, and it is assumed that it was in 1950 when Teddy Crosbie won the Helmsmans Championship, racing in the new ones. hot boats of the IDRA 14 class which in 2021 will celebrate its 75th anniversary.

They spent that week in 1950 afloat on temporary moorings, something designer O’Brien Kennedy had been asked to make them well capable of, for when the design was commissioned in 1946 clubs such as Waterford Harbor SC in Dunmore East had little of the way of dinghy parks with their own boat launching ramps.

That said, WHSC was well aware of the IDRA 14s and its own class of National 18s built to the Yachting World sponsored Uffa Ace design of 1938 – in the photo there is a handful moored to the dock to the right.

Flica’s barometer, installed in a section of her broken mast recovered after her fall on August 15, 1957 at the Cobh People’s Regatta.

But of course the eye-catching lens of the whole image is the 12-meter Flica, the Queen of Cork Harbor, designed by Charles E Nicholson and built by C&N in 1929, where they still speak in muted tones. of the time. she was dismasted during the Cobh People’s Regatta. It was certainly a lot of masts to collapse, and it also seemed impossible to climb it without assistance.

This made it a useful challenge. In Dunmore East at the time, Waterford’s three McBride brothers – Oweny, Davy and Denny – were staples of the summer sailing scene, and Davy embarked aboard Flica, where he quickly delivered controversial opinions in the classic Davy style. So, to get some rest, Flica’s ship company challenged him to climb the mast.

He did better than that. Instead of raising the spar itself, he raised the forestay hand in hand and climbed the last piece of the mast to the masthead itself. Then he lowered the backstay hand in hand, and barely stopped to catch his breath before resuming explaining to the Corkmen why Dunmore East and his sailors were infinitely superior to anything Cork Harbor could hope to offer.

The downward spiral.  A stalled restoration project on Flica, seen in Birdham in Sussex in 2013. Photo: WM NixonThe downward spiral. A restoration project stuck on Flica, seen in Birdham in Sussex in 2013. Photo: WM Nixon

Alas, Davy McBride is no longer with us and Flica is barely hanging on by a thread. It was around 2013 that we found her in the Birdham Pool hangar on Chichester harbor, paralyzed in a very stalled restoration project. Since then she has been more or less kicked out of Sussex and was last heard about a year ago looking genuinely desolate in a field in Essex.

Barely alive: the 1929 International 12 Meter Flica and several times the Solent Championship, seen in Essex in 2020Barely alive: the 1929 International 12 Meter Flica and several times the Solent Championship, seen in Essex in 2020

The stern is the part of Flica that most other 12-meter sailors saw in the Solent in the 1930s, but luckily few saw it like this.The stern is the part of Flica that most other 12-meter sailors saw in the Solent in the 1930s, but luckily few saw it like this.F

It would be a miracle if a philanthropist with bottomless pockets could hire him for one of those 12-meter zillion-euro restorations that classic boat builders Robbe & Berking specialize in on the Danish-German border. . Because our header photo reminds us of a simpler time when Irish sailing was more consistent, all boats were beautiful, Dinghy Week would see fleets of cruisers moving to accommodate small boat racers, and everyone knew each other.


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