Friday, November 15, 2013

J/24 DJANGO Knighted With “Rinevella Plate”!

J/24 plate (Limerick, Ireland)- As one of their last events in the fall sailing season, the Irish J/24 fleet convened off Limerick, Ireland to compete for the Estuary's most historic prize— the “Rinevella Plate”.  Adrian O'Connell, Racing Captain at the host Royal Western Yacht Club, says “that piece and its relevance to sailors in Ireland is steeped in enormous amounts of history!”

First won in 1832 by the Knight of Glin, the coveted Rinevella Plate has become a much sought after prize amongst the sailing community on the West Coast of Ireland and its pride of place remains at the County Limerick Castle.  Hand crafted from Limerick silver, the plate depicts the many historic elements associated with maritime traditions on the Shannon Estuary and right up the west coast.

The Rinevella Plate, which resides on the dining room sideboard at Glin Castle, was first won by the then Knight of Glin at the Galway Regatta when the family commissioned the unique piece for a once-off regatta. Given to the then Galway Yacht club as prize for the winner, the winning boat owner staked their claim on the piece as the family sought to increase interest and participation on Irish waterways.

J/24 Ireland- plateFrom the archive Mr O'Connell notes, "On the Shannon Estuary, with the Knight of Glin's encouragement, the numbers of commercial sailing trading vessels were growing apace, with the establishment of towns and sea-going trade along the Estuary. It soon became an established fact of life during the summer months, that interested groups decided to organize at each small port regattas for all the types of craft to be found on the Estuary.”

Limerick yachts and sailors he said, “accounted for almost a quarter of the club's membership and with prizes like the Rinevella Plate up for grabs, interest, like in the mid 1800s, is growing again today! In the modern era, interest in the waterways is experiencing somewhat of a resurgence as more take to the water. Clubs in the region are noting an increase in membership.”

Despite only having the plate in their possession for a few short hours, winners leave the West coast club in Kilrush with the honour of adding their names to a long list that is almost 180 years old.

Like many years before, the Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland hosted the October series to determine the winner of the priceless Plate cast in Limerick silver.  More importantly, the competition lived up to its history and its roots!

The “DJANGO Hyundai Ireland” J/24 team sailed their mighty yacht for the Rinevella Plate and took the overall title this year after winning the IRC Class 1 over the series of six races!  Crewed by Martin MacNamara, Thomas Whelan, Andrew Carey, Charlie Glynn and Diarmuid Whelan, the 2013 winners said they were honoured to take the title amongst stiff competition.

Limerick boats from Foynes YC, together with Disaray sailing out of Tralee Bay Sailing Club, and Kilrush-based yachts made up the tough competition to decide the winners of this year’s historic plate regatta.  Needless to say, “good times” were had by all after raising a multitude of toasts to all over several dozen pints of the best ales from County Limerick!