Lough Erne Yacht Club

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Fleets > Motor Cruisers

Fleet Captain:

Welcome to the Motor Boat Fleet, this is without a doubt the biggest fleet at Lough Erne Yacht Club with a fleet of approximately 50 boats ranging in size from 23 feet to 45 foot. Most members are moored at Lough Erne Yacht Club. This class continues to grow every year as a result of past and future events.

for more information on the activity of the fleet please contact the rearcommodore@leyc.net

History of Class

The Erne’s first steam boat voyage was at Christmas 1842 by William Dargan’s Countess of Erne, a paddle steamer,, 32 tons, 20 HP, from the newly opened Ulster Canal lock to Enniskillen, calling at Lord Erne’s new quay for Lisnaskea.
Later Lord Erne flew his Commodore’s flag on his own paddle steamer, Elgington, LEYC’s first powered craft, built 1859 in Scotland. Some other LEYC steam launches were Firefly at Crom, Edward Sauderson’s Filibuster, he being an MP, and the work boat Wide-Awake, seen at the starts of early Fairy races, and abandoned today in Enniskillen.
Most famous was the Rossclare, later Lady of the Lake and Pandora, built 1868 and scrapped 1957, so the new Portora Lock need not be big enough to take her. Her funnel, wheel and deck rail stanchions all folded flat to get under the West Bridge in floods. Her stanchions survive, a rope strung through them, fencing off today’s LEYC lawn.
Edward Archdale’s steam launch was kept afloat in a fine boathouse, still there beside today’s big slip way in Castle Archdale caravan site. He was a keen Victorian engineer who once served on Brunel’s mighty Great Eastern.
The Erne’s most recent steamer voyages were only in 1996, when ten home built boats in a Steam Boat Association of Great Britain rally took part in the LEYC Summer Regatta– a fine sight, hissing steam and gleaming varnish.
Early motor cars and boats were at the first Fairy regattas. Lough Erne Motor Boat Club emerged, running speed and reliability trials and cruises. It wound up and passed some assets to LEYC. AGM 1964 then changed rules to add a motor boat Fleet Captain and this fleet grew strong. Forty years later, a valuable LEYC feature is a larger proportion of power craft than have most yacht clubs. Most are for cruising and moor at LEYC Marina or elsewhere about the lake.
© Michael Clarke, Historian LEYC, Ireland’s oldest yacht racing club
b>Lough Erne's First Power Boat 1842
Lough Erne Yacht Club may be the oldest sailing yacht racing club in Ireland but it also takes pride in integrating its motor cruiser members. The sailing folk have a history, so also have the motor cruiser folk, and it goes back to the early days of steam. The new railway bridge across the Lagan in Belfast has been named Dargan Bridge and this is a reminder of William Dargan (1799-1867) the great Irish transport engineer. He built railways, canals and Belfast port, by digging the Victoria Channel, and Queens Island with the spoil.
However, for us at Lough Erne Yacht Club, his notable achievement was the first Lough Erne steam-boat, ancestor of today's fleet of diesel motor cruisers.
The Ulster Canal joined Lough Neagh to the Erne at Wattlebridge. Lough Neagh had earlier been connected by the world's first proper canal to Newry. William Dargan set out to completed this new trade route through to Enniskillen.. He brought the wooden paddle steamer Countess of Erne here, and in December 1842 she made the first ever voyage of a power driven boat on the Erne, Wattlebridge to Enniskillen. She went aground near Lisnaskea, so there was a double excuse for a celebration drink - actually they had several - when her cold crew finally landed at Enniskillen on Christmas Eve.
Should not Lough Erne Yacht Club, like Belfast, commemorating this great engineer?. He pioneered powered craft on Lough Erne. Is there a place in the programme for a competition among motor cruisers for a new Dargan trophy

Michael Clarke, LEYC Historian

Class members - click on a boat for details

Click here to view fleet photographs

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