The 50th anniversary of the Ballyholme Yacht Club laser fleet will be celebrated with a special regatta


Their names will forever be associated with the Laser class of the Ballyholme Yacht Club. Ron Hutchieson and Trevor Millar were instrumental in starting the class in 1974. Ron persuaded Trevor to leave Newtownards SC and come to Ballyholme. And Ron bought the first BYC laser, for a brand new, princely sum of £ 263! His interest in switching from motorsport to sailing could be attributed to his wife Doris who suggested it; “I should join the local yacht club as it would take less time and mean I could go sailing while being home in time for my meals” She didn’t know!

Trevor was a motivator and his and Ron’s tireless work in the ’70s shows today with Ballyholme’s fleet of over 80. Ron says some of the highlights are “Seeing the children of Laser Sailors as I have known in the 70s and 80s now entering the Laser class and I am delighted that so many sailors on the larger boats today are or still are Laser sailors “. The big draw in the 1970s was that the Laser was virtually maintenance free.

“The warriors about to go into battle”. This seriously serious quartet of the crème de la crème of the Irish laser class of 1982, with their mentor Ron Huthcieson at right, are (left to right) Simon Brien (later several Edinburgh Cup winners and other majors), multiple champion Charlie Taylor (still in the Laser Masters), Olympian Bill O’Hara and Dave Cummins, 1981 and 1982 All-Ireland Helmsmans champion Credit: courtesy of Bill O’Hara

Also, in the early years there was Willie Forsythe, Charlie Taylor, John Stewart, Mike Kinnear and in case you thought it was an all-male preserve, Elaine Taylor joined it. in 1977, as Bill O’Hara who is one of the “oldies” is planning to show up on Saturday, September 25 for the anniversary open event. John Simms started in 1978.

The event will feature ILCA 7 (Standards), ILCA 6 (Radials) and ILCA 4 (4.7s). The warning gun is at 10:25 am with races on the Windward-Leeward and Trapezoid courses.

Maeve Donnelly (McNally) and Trevor Millar courtesy of Elaine TaylorMaeve Donnelly (McNally) and Trevor Millar courtesy of Elaine Taylor

Ron was Honorary Secretary of the Irish Laser Class from 1974 – when the Laser made its debut in that country – until 2017. Last year he retired as Chairman of the Rules Committee. Irish Sailing race and appeal.

Bill rose to the pinnacle of international sailing at the Olympic level and eventually held all three positions in the competitive sailing world as a judge, referee and racing officer. Earlier this year, she received an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for service in sailing.

Olympian Bill O'HaraOlympian Bill O’Hara

Also neither Ron nor Bill were judging at the start of a Royal North regatta at Cultra over Belfast Lough when Charlie Taylor got a little annoyed and (I saw this happen) approached Trevor Miller and jumped on board – let’s say it was surprising that they remained standing! But two in a Laser were only a fraction of the time Elaine set what she said was a “world record” with 42 people on board! She admits that most of them were young cadets.

It was the time when sailors named their ships. Trevor was Maggie Mae from Rod Stewart’s song; John Simms was Strawberry Streak; Bill O’Hara called his The Flying Fenian and he said, “I restored the balance with my next Laser which was called King Billy”. Ms. Elaineous is self-explanatory and Mike Kinnear’s was Ruth.

Gillian Guinness and Elaine TaylorGillian Guinness and Elaine Taylor

Trevor Millar then trained SailCoach at Newtownards Business Center and worked for RYA. And long before the RYANI had “squads,” Trevor created the Ross Water Sailing Squad. Elaine remembers “It was the time when we were traveling all over Ireland to see Laser events – Trevor towed us with his father’s old Marina Estate, then his builder’s van. Everyone has camped before to run all weekend! “. She continued, “Those were happy days with no worries, mortgages or pressure to gamble, and lots and lots of laughs. We all made lifelong friends with lasers, and some are still my best friends today.” hui – Gillian Guinness and Maeve McNally. I have raced against Annalize Murphy’s mom over the years, Cathy MacAleavey “.

Irish Laser and Women's Masters Championships circa 1975 courtesy of Elaine TaylorIrish Laser and Women’s Masters Championships circa 1975 courtesy of Elaine Taylor

BYC Rear Commodore Sailing Des Magee said: “With one of the largest laser club fleets in Ireland, the Ballyholme Yacht Club is pleased to welcome all Laser Sailors to its 50th anniversary celebration of the Laser Open. Event on Saturday September 25. BYC has a long association with the Laser Class and a wealth of talent from former Olympians, top Laser Sailors and less experienced recent additions to the fleet. and the rest of us “.

Laser race today at Ballyholme Laser race today at Ballyholme

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