A Look Back at Denis Toomey's Life in HYC
Author: Seamus O'Carroll Posted on: 18/9/11 Print Version

Denis Toomey who died recently was a long standing member of Howth Yacht Club. He started his sailing career in Clontarf in the early 1960s where he and his late brother Michael sailed an IDRA 14, later moving to the Hornet class.

When Denis and Eileen moved to Howth, Denis and Michael competed successfully in the Dragon class in Ceres and later Polly throughout the 1970s. As the Howth Dragon class declined in the late 1970s, Denis bought the bare hull of Folkboat Talisman and using his talents with wood and all things mechanical, he fitted it out to a very high standard.

In Talisman, Denis, Michael and sister Helen were leading members of the Folkboat class through the 1980s, winning many trophies including a clean sweep of the 1982 Irish Sea Folkboat Week.

Denis Toomey
They raced Impala Nadia during the 1990s and since 2000 competed in Cruisers 2 in Dehler 34 Harmony, sometimes unkindly dubbed "Disharmony" as Denis's helming would on occasion be subject to vocal criticism from his siblings.

Denis contributed enormously to sailing activities in HYC in his own low key way. A member of the General Committee for seven years, he chaired the Harbour and Marina Committees and was Sailing Secretary in 2000 and 2001.

He was very involved in handicapping, being the HYC representative on the ECHO Handicap committee for many years. He introduced the Howth Performance Handicap (HPH) system which he administered with John Faller, a thankless task where the successful attribute their success to their ability and the less successful blame their "unreasonable" handicaps. Denis endured the regular gripes with his usual patience and good humour.

He was also an active member of the Sailing and Development Committees for over the past twelve years.

A physicist by profession Denis had a mastery of the technicalities of sailing and the mechanics of boats and engines. He was extraordinarily generous with his time and support to all who sought his advice. We will miss his wisdom, good humour and wry smile. Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family Eileen, Sarah, Eleanor, Mike and his sisters Helen, Deirdre and Stephanie.