Eamon Ryan TD, Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, addressing the gathering at the Launch of Sheila, the latest addition to the Howth Seventeen Fleet
(L-R) Peter McKenna, HYC Commodore; Shelagh Wilkinson (widow of class stalwart Norman) - launched the new boat; Eamon Ryan TD, Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources; Mark Lynch, Howth Seventeen Class President; Brian Turvey, Howth Seventeen Class Captain
The newest addition to the world's oldest one-design keelboat class - the Howth 17 Footer - was launched at a special ceremony at Howth Yacht Club on Saturday 23rd May attended by the Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources Eamon Ryan TD.
The wooden boat - built to a 112 year old design is the first brand new Howth 17 Footer, known affectionately as 'Seventeens', to be built in 21 years.
In time-honoured tradition, Seventeens are given a female name ending in the letter 'a' and although it is being called after Shelagh Wilkinson (widow of class stalwart Norman), - she launched the boat with a bottle of champagne - the new Seventeen has been named
The project to build her began in Wicklow some years ago and was completed by master boatbuilder Dougal McMahon in County Offaly recently, with support from a number of sponsors and the practical input of Class members.
The new boat brings to 18 the number of Seventeens now active in Howth where they have been an integral part of the sailing scene for over a century.