When Irish Olympic sailor Sean Waddilove was asked to name his “coolest” place to sail, he chose An Spidéal in County Galway.
Waddilove, who represented Ireland with Robert Dickson in their 49er dinghy in Japan, is from Skerries, County Dublin.
However, in a recent profile he was clearly impressed by the beautiful seascape of Spiddal – and the hospitality ashore with the local Sailing Club Cumann Seoltóireachta an Spidéil (CSS).
Dolphins are known to spin the stars at An Sean Céibh, and a pod swam with the club’s fleet last Sunday.
The Spiddal Club and its Commodore Dave Cahill host the annual regatta on Saturday. (September 18)
Weather permitting, and with or without Waddilove and dolphins, there will be a lively competition on the water.
Races will take place in several categories of dinghies – Optimists, Pico and Topaz, and Laser / 420 – under Portsmouth Yardstick rules.
The Optimists, involving junior sailors, will compete on Saturday morning from 11:30 am.
The main fleet of 420, Lasers, Topaz and Pico dinghies will take to the water from 2 p.m., with the first of three races starting at 2:30 p.m.
The races can be seen on land – especially with a good pair of binoculars – between 11:30 am and 4 pm.
CSS is a bilingual dinghy sailing club based in An Spidéil, Co Galway.
It was founded in 2002 by a group of parents keen to encourage junior sailing, and its initial fleet included Optimists and 420s.
CSS has hosted 420 class national and regional championships, and it is an ISA approved training facility, which hosts a popular junior sailing course every year.
CSS member Rob Talbot and Rian De Bairéid of the Galway City Sailing Club recently won the Cong-Galway marathon race, competing in a 420 dinghy.
Last year, the club launched a new annual award in memory of the late sea kayaker, mountaineer and circuit court judge John Hannan, who died in February 2020.
The Hannan family were very involved in CSS, Stephanie Hannan being the club’s sailing training organizer for several years.
The Hannan Trophy, a dinghy-shaped piece of glassware on bog oak, was designed and made by Sue Donnellan’s glass craft design studio in An Ceardlann, An Spidéal.
He will be presented at the regatta this year by Marcus Hannan, who is also a very good sailor.
CSS is located in the center of An Spidéil, departing from Sean Céibh every Sunday.