Dublin Bay OGA member awarded Honorary Life Membership

Tim Magennis, Dublin Bay Area
©Ken Finlay

The Dublin Bay OGA proposed that past Area President, Tim Magennis, be granted honorary membership of the OGA. Following consideration at the OGA AGM on 12 January, 2019, the proposal was accepted by a unanimous vote from members present in London.

Alongside this recognition for Tim, Dublin Bay Area members were also awarded two Association trophies: The Cape Horn Trophy for Darryl Hughes' achievement with 'Maybird' in the Volvo Round Ireland Race, 2018 and the Grumpy II Cups for grandfather, Paddy Murphy sailing 'Aigh Vie' round Ireland with grandson, Conor as crew. Read Winkie Nixon's excellent account on Afloat.ie of the history behind these three achievements. Read another account of the 'Sandefjord' circumnavigation on Sailing By.

Tim was born and raised in the busy fishing port of Ardglass, Co Down. The constant arrival and departure of traditional fishing boats instilled in him his life-long love of traditional sailing vessels and gaff-rigged boats in particular. The visiting fishing boats would pay him 6d to clean the decks of the worthless and annoying prawns (how times have changed!). One of the boats in particular he was attached to was a Manx Nobby – the 'Aigh Vie'. 

In 1965, while working as a journalist in Durban, Tim took the plunge and embarked on a two-year 30,000 mile circumnavigation aboard the 'Sandefjord', a 47’ gaff ketch designed by Colin Archer and built in 1913. That voyage is a fascinating story in its own right and was the subject of the award-winning documentary “Sandefjord: Her Voyage Around the World”. Tim is one of the very few people in the OGA, or even anywhere, to have sailed around the world in a gaff-rigged boat.

Tim was a founding member of the Dublin Bay OGA in the late eighties and been an active committee member every year since. He has held numerous officer positions including President. He organised the successful winter talks series for many years.

Tim has been very active in many national and local campaigns and is a well-known journalist, broadcaster and contributor on nautical topics in Ireland. He (along with fellow DBOGA members Arthur Hughes and Michael Prior) was pivotal in the long, but ultimately successful, campaign to get the 'Asgard' conserved. The 'Asgard' is a 51’ gaff ketch designed by Colin Archer in 1905 and owned by Erskine Childers, Irish nationalist and noted author (Riddle of the Sands). The 'Asgard' played an important role in the campaign for Irish independence in 1914. She was completely conserved during a 5-year conservation project starting in 2007 and is now on permanent display at Collins Barracks, Dublin.

On his retirement Tim undertook the complete restoration of 'Marguerite', the 21’ gaff cutter built in 1896 and prototype of the Howth 17 class, the fleet of 20 of which are still actively racing in their original gaff-rig. 'Marguerite' was a stalwart of all DBOGA activities from that time until 2017, when Tim reluctantly felt that the time had come for Marguerite to have a new owner.

The 'Aigh Vie' was restored over nearly two decades and was launched in June 2018. She sailed from Dublin to Peel to attend the Peel Traditional Boat Weekend. On board was one Tim Magennis, delighted to be-acquainted with her over 80 years after he cleaned down her decks in Ardglass.

Tim has made a very significant contribution to promoting the gaff rig over an extended time and Dublin Bay OGA takes great pleasure in nominating him for honorary membership of the OGA.

Mark Sweetnam, Area Secretary, Dublin Bay OGA

15 Jan 2019