At the AGM in Warwick, Ireland was suggested as a possible destination for a MacGregor visit. I said I would investigate and help coordinate such an event if it became a 'goer'. The first thing I did was contact Tom O'Brien, a MacGregor sailor based in Ireland. He contributes to the Newsletter quite regularly and if you search 'Ireland' in the forum you can read his 2014 plans for sailing the Irish waterways from Enniskillen down to Limerick.
For our purposes, his suggestion was either launch at Hodson's Bay for Loch Ree or at Dromineer for Loch Derg; both allow free launching and parking. Having looked a little more into this I can see there are many possibilities in both Lochs for a week's sailing and probably two. There is also the Shannon river navigation between the two Lochs - about 25 miles - which might form part of the plan. There are lots of non-sailing activities and I think this would be a family-friendly event. The intention would be that we meet up with, at some point, Irish Mac owners.
In issue 25 of the Newsletter, from 2001, there is an inspiring article, newspaper report and even some poetry from a visit to Loch Ree in late May/June. At one point there were 12 British and Irish Macs gathered. http://macgregorowners.org.uk/drupal/system/files/newsletters/MacGregorS...
Personally, I am thinking a of a 7-day visit (possibly a day or so longer), 2 days travelling, 5/6 days on the Loch(s). Dublin is the most likely port of entry and then it is 2 hours drive or so to Dromineer, a little less to Hodson's Bay.
I have just been looking at the ferry prices - quite expensive. Unless I am doing something wrong in terms of dimensions of boat and vehicle I am being quoted between £400 and £500 for ferries leaving on the 1st August, returning on the 8th for two persons. I will need to check that but that could be prohibitive.
Dates for this week (or so) are flexible but early to mid- August seems to fit in with other MacGregor planning. There is also a MacGregor proposal to join the Dartmouth Regatta and that would probably start the week beginning 21/8 or thereabouts. At the meeting some members were thinking they would do one or the other?
For the benefit of persons organising the Dartmouth week and for the benefit of making a proper assessment of interest in Ireland, perhaps it is time for members to stick their necks out and declare an interest in one or the other, or both. It only takes a couple of boats to make it worthwhile and once the ball is rolling and plans firmed up, interest might grow.
The article in the Newsletter that I mentioned above is written by someone who, like many of us, was unsure of what he was getting into, joining a rally with people he'd never met before and, as is nearly always the case, the outcome was very positive. If you own a Mac, the chances are you will get on fine with someone else who has one.
Let me know if you are interested and if a few of you are we can take it to the next stage of planning.
Quentin Sands (Editor)
1993 MacGregor 19, Margarita