Archive for the 'Traditional Boats' Category

Racing Lough Foyle Punts 08/07/16

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

Sorry, I have no report.

Punt sailing is shrouded in a veil of mystery.

Some information can be found here

Break the Boom race. A unique sailing event!

Sunday, July 31st, 2016


Its August again, the boom needs to be broken, the siege lifted and the citizens saved.

LFYC are proud to be co-hosts the Mountjoy Challenge with the Maiden City Festival

The Mountjoy is the name of the ship whose long boats broke the boom in 1689. This race is named after her. Captain Browning of the Mountjoy was shot while hacking at the boom and died later of his injuries.

This year will be the third year we have held such an event. (2013, 2015 and this year)

A boom will be laid at the Marina near the Council offices. A race will be held from a start position near the Foyle Bridge. Being first is not enough, the boom must broken, skippers and crews should arm themselves with knifes and such. Jacobite and Williamite boats are welcome.

The race is on Saturday 06/08/16 at 11.00 at the start line (from a committee boat) in Rosses bay (just the city side of the Foyle Bridge). We will be leaving Culmore at 10.00 to allow time to get up. The race is a dinghy race, all classes are welcome. This is not a PY race, it is a straight forward dash (although Navigation marks must be observed).

After the race we will tie up at the Marina and go ashore for the presentations and tea and coffees. This is a unique Lough Foyle event, it is historic, celebrates a special history and great fun.


We left Culmore in good time and sailed into town in a nice breeze coming directly down the river (so there were plenty of tack required)

Liam H moored in Rosses bay and formed a line to a navigation mark. The race started in well with Anton H getting out in front in the Laser. Ken and Ryan L broke the boom overhauling Anton H within a couple of boat lengths of the finish. A musket man fired over the boats as they came in.

We all came ashore at the Derry City marina and the Apprentice Boys Governor Jim Brownlee did the prize giving on the Marina. We then went for tea and coffees in a near by coffee shop.

The sail home was easy as we had tide and wind behind us.

Many thanks to the Apprentice Boys and to the Maiden City Festival. Thanks also to Danny G for laying the boom and Peter F and Liam H for bringing up the support boats. Thanks also to John O’K and Joan D for co-ordination and support.

Ken and Ryan L break the boom in 2016.

Gov. Jim Brownlee speaking at the end of the race

PUNT Regatta

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014
Punt Regatta
Race 1 Race 2
Roy L +crew 1 2
Danny G +crew 2 3
Ken, George D + crew 3 1

Didn’t see it myself but it sounds like race 2 may have featured a capsize and a broken tooth. Ah, the joys of sailing punts!

ARTICLE published by Derry City Council about Ken Doherty and PUNTS

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014
There aren’t too many people who can say they have sailed – indeed raced – a boat they have built themselves.
Ken Doherty is certainly an exception to the rule as he builds a type of boat that is unique to local waters in Lough Foyle – the Foyle Class Punt.

A member of Lough Foyle Yacht Club, Ken has had a lifelong interest in boat-building and sailing.

A number of his hand-crafted sailing punts will be taking part in the Lough Foyle Yacht Club Punt Race during the LegenDerry Maritime Festival which is taking place in Derry~Londonderry from June 21~29.

And it won’t just be local and visiting spectators who will be out in force to watch the race set off from Culmore Point on Wednesday, June 25, at 7pm.
Skippers from the twelve 2013-2014 Clipper Round The World Yacht Race yachts will be swapping their familiar vessels to experience the local custom.
It will be more of a jaunt for the skippers who have steered the Clipper Race yachts tens of thousands of miles across the globe since last September.
The Clipper Race crews are stopping off in Derry~Londonderry on the Homecoming leg of their epic 40,000 miles transatlantic odyssey, visiting 14 ports on six continents in the world’s longest ocean race.

Ken Doherty recalls that massive crowds attended the Punt Race during the last Clipper Race stop-over in the city in the summer of 2012.
The Lough Foyle Yacht Club stalwart said: “We decided that because the Foyle Punts are peculiar to Lough Foyle and they wouldn’t see them anywhere else, we would invite a skipper from each of the Clipper Race yachts to sail a Foyle Class Punt in a race at Culmore Point.”

The venture was such a success, it’s being repeated this time around, bringing a real international flavour to the occasion.
Ken recalled: “It was absolutely brilliant. There was a massive crowd the last time, it was unbelievable.” Among those in attendance was Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the founder of the Clipper Race and the first man to sail solo, non-stop around in the world in 1968-69.

Ken, an engineer by profession, is currently putting the finishing touches to his latest hand-crafted punt which is soon to make its maiden voyage on Lough Foyle.

For now, the stunning piece of craftsmanship – which Ken modestly regards as a hobby – is housed in the garage-cum-workshop at his Prehen home.
The distinctive smell of freshly varnished wood gives a hint of the newness of the spruce and mahogany-trimmed boat, one of eight sailing punts Ken has built over the years.

Punts evolved from working boats used for inshore fishing but their usage declined with the introduction of larger, motorised boats.
Ken said: “When inshore fishing was common, regattas were held at all the local ports and sailing and rowing competitions were organised for the fishing boats.
“As larger boats came along and these smaller boats were no longer used for fishing, they were still kept for sailing at the traditional regattas.
“The design and measurements would remain the same, but modern sails, fittings and safety features have been added.”
It’s not known for certain when the punts originated but they are believed to have Scandinavian roots.

The standard Foyle Punt has a 16ft long keel and a beam (width) of five to six feet with a sail and a crew of three.
Ken explained: “These boats do not have a centre board or drop keel but use bags of ballast to compensate for this, hence the third crewman.
“The Foyle Punts would originally have been built by two prominent boat-builders in Moville; McDonalds established in 1750 and Beatties, which ceased operation around 1950. Other people would have built punts as a hobby.”

A native of Whitecastle on the Inishowen peninsula, Ken had two uncles who built boats and he too developed a keen interest.
You can see his hand-built boats in full glory at the Lough Foyle Yacht Club Punt Race at Culmore Point on Wednesday, June 25, at 7pm.
The LegenDerry Maritime Festival is organised by Derry City Council with funding support from NITB and Diageo and delivery support from Foyle Port, the Loughs Agency, Visit Derry and Ilex.

View the programme at


Clipper Punt Race

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

LFYC are pleased to announce the 2014 Clipper Punt Race.

Lough Foyle Punts are the traditional fishing boats of Lough Foyle. The working rigs have long ago been replaced with larger racing sails. They are traditional boats but they are lightweight and fast.


The Skipper from each of the clipper boats will be invited to helm a punt in a race at Culmore Point at 6.30 on Wed 25th. The Punt will have at least one local crew man who knows the ropes. The details of the course will be set by the race officer on the night.
There will be three races, two heats in a six boat fleet then a final featuring the best three of each of the heats.

This will be a spectacular event not be missed. Get down early and make sure you have a good viewing spot.

Here is video from the Clipper Punt race 2012

Mountjoy Challenge Race 2013

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

Musket man outside the only fortified sailing club in Ireland. The fort came under fire in 1689 from the fleet on their way up the river way to Break the boom.

The Mountjoy Challenge Race is a sailing race for traditional boats to break the boom of Derry and lift the siege. The Mountjoy was the name of the ship involved in breaking the boom in 1689 lifting the Siege. The Mountjoy Challenge Race commemorates that momentous boom breaking event that brought to an end the Siege of Derry saving the people in the city and changing the course of European History.

The race marked the official launch of the week-long Maiden City Festival, which is held yearly as part of the Apprentice Boys’ ‘Derry Day’ commemoration. This year is the inaugural Mountjoy Challenge Race.

The race is a collaboration between the Lough Foyle Yacht Club and the Apprentice Boys of Derry. It has been kindly sponsored by the Culture Company.  It is hoped that many similar events will occur in the future.

The race was started by a musket man in period costume.  An artificial boom was laid near the new pontoon near the Derry City Council Offices. Five traditional Lough Foyle Punts started racing from a point near the Foyle Bridge. One boat decided to try a look for stronger wind by taking a wider course, there was no stronger wind but there was stronger tide so their strategy did not pay.  The four other boats initially close-hauled powered up into a beam reach as they moved across Rosses bay. The first boat hit the boom high speed but sailed through it without breaking it. The second boat approached in close pursuit with the jib man ready and armed with a knife and he efficiently broke the boom and won the race.

Sailors then tied up their boats on the pontoon and came ashore to a reception hosted by the Apprentice Boys in a dome shaped marquee.

The Governor of the Apprentice Boys awarded prizes to the winners and commemorative whiskey tumblers to all participating sailors. The Governor recounted the story of the actual boom break of 1689 two attempts were made, The Mountjoy rammed but did not break the boom. Instead, it was broken by sailors in a long boat from the frigate HMS Swallow. It was therefore all the more historically interesting that in the race today (after 324 years) that two attempts were still required to break the boom. Congratulations to Roy Louden, Ryan Louden and James Lynch who broke the boom.

Speech’s were made by the Mayor, the Governor and by Anthony Hutton on behalf of LFYC. LFYC would like to thank the Apprentice Boys whose hospitality was very generous and much appreciated. Thanks also to all those who helped with Rescue cover and laying the boom especially, Danny Gallagher, David Hoey, Liam Harrigan, Joan Doherty, Peter Fallon Snr. and many more.

Sean McCafferty was on hand to capture some great photo’s. Many thanks to Sean for this great Flickr set.

All the photo’s below were taken by Sean.

LFYC sailors with Govenor of the Apprentice Boys of Derry and the Mayor of the City

LFYC sailors with Govenor of the Apprentice Boys of Derry and the Mayor of the City

Lough Foyle Punts on way to Break the Boom

Lough Foyle Punts on way to Break the Boom

LFYC sailors come ashore looking serious having broke the boom

LFYC sailors come ashore looking serious having broke the boom

Jim Brownlee (Gvnr Apprentice Boys), Martin Reilly (Major City of Derry), Anthony Hutton (Commodore, LFYC), Roy Louden (Skipper), Ryan Louden (Middle Crew), James Lynch (Jib Crew)

Jim Brownlee (Gvnr Apprentice Boys), Martin Reilly (Mayor City of Derry), Anthony Hutton (Commodore, LFYC), Roy Louden (Skipper of the winning boat), Ryan Louden (Middle Crew), James Lynch (Jib Crew)




Punt Regatta of 6th of July

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013
Punt Regatta 6th July
R1 R2
Ken D/Ciaran H/Ian D 1 1
James H/Kevin L/James Peter H 2 2
Danny G/Owen McC/Gareth G 3 3
Roy L/James L/John L 4 4

Ken D/Ciaran H and Ian D were unstoppable today. Ken D will no doubt be pleased especially after the hard justice served up on the 6th of June.

Thanks to Bill and James J and Liam H in rescue on a windy day.

The Mountjoy Race

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013


Race Report HERE


In 1690 the Siege was of Derry was lifted when Captain Browning and longboats from his ship the Mountjoy broke the boom and saved the City from certain starvation.

On the 1st of August LFYC are creating a sailing race to break the boom again. A boom will be laid near the pontoon in the City Centre. Traditional Lough Foyle Punts will race to break the boom. (Skippers should arm themselves with suitable equipment)
The concept for this event has been developed by  LFYC in co-operation with  Apprentice Boys of Derry with the idea of staging a race

Lough Foyle Punts (similar to the longboats that actually broke the original boom, the Mountjoy is often mistakenly given the credit) will race to break the boom and then land on the pontoon to be met by a delegation from the Apprentice Boys.

The race will begin from the Foyle Bridge at about 6.30pm and will head up the Foyle to where the first boat to the Council Marina will break a boom to win the first ever Mountjoy Challenge Race.

For more information contact:
David Hoey 077 8590 6966 Maiden City Festival
or Commodore Anthony Hutton 078 1378 0316 Lough Foyle Yacht Club




Notice of Race: 1st Peace Bridge Race

Sunday, September 9th, 2012


2012 Lough Foyle Yacht Club

The 1st Culmore Point to the Peace Bridge and back race,


the newly commissioned

John Hume and University of Ulster trophy

6th October 2012, 10.00am, Culmore Point

Organizing Authority: Lough Foyle Yacht Club


This is the first race for an elegant trophy in the iconic shape of the Peace Bridge. It was made by David Thomas, Jeweller and kindly sponsored by the University of Ulster through the office of the late Professor Jim Allen. The trophy is named after John Hume with the aim of supporting sailing in Lough Foyle.


The race will be governed by the rules as defined by The RYA rules for Dinghy sailing. This is an OPEN sailing race. All are welcome.


The race is open to all classes of sailing dinghies using the PY system of handicap.


The races will be start and finish at Culmore Point sailing up the river to a mark laid near the Peace Bridge and back down the river observing all Navigation Marks.


The sailing instructions will be available at a skippers meeting on shore before the racing starts. A protest committee will be formed (if required) by the OD and the Commodore.


Racing will start at 10.00am


The winner will be entitled to write his/her name and the name of their crew(s) and boat name on the scroll of winners located inside the trophy. The winner will be entitled to keep the trophy for a period of one year and will be asked to present the trophy to next year’s winner.


Competitors automatically grant to LFYC without payment the right in perpetuity to make, use and show any motion pictures, still pictures and live, taped or filmed television of or relating to the event.


Competitors are entirely responsible for their own safety, whether afloat or ashore, and nothing reduces this responsibility. It is for competitors to decide whether their boat and its helm and crew are fit to sail in the conditions that they might find. By launching or going on the water competitors confirm their boat is fit for those conditions and that they are competent to sail and compete in them. Nothing done by the organizers can reduce the responsibility of the owners and/or competitors, nor will it make the organizers responsible for any loss, damage, death or personal injury, however it may have occurred, as a result of the boat taking part in the racing. The organizers encompass everyone helping to run the event and include the organizing authority, race committee, race officer, safety officer, patrol boat personnel and beach masters. The provision of patrol boats does not relieve owners and competitors of their responsibilities.


Each participating boat shall be insured with valid third-party liability insurance.



LFYC Commodore: Anthony Hutton: antovoda at googlemail dot com

Lough Foyle Yacht Club

Punt racing Sat 18th August 2012

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Two races held today with a Culmore zig zag course: start near the peir, up to a mark near the jetty, over to a mark near George G’s house through the line around the point and run down to Fahan X2.

Ken D was in unstopable form with an ace crew comprising Ciaran H and Stuart D.

James P H had charge of James H Snr’s Punt and found crew with Owen McC and Jack H.

Roy L was sailing with James L and Sean McC.

In race one Roy L managed to catch James H from what looked like an impossible position.

James H and crew once bitten made no mistakes in race 2 chasing Ken D and crew very hard.

James H, helm, Jack H and Owen McC going well in Hockley’s Punt, 18 Aug 12