Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) is the largest yacht-racing organisation on the Irish east coast
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With sixteen hundred elected members, the Club provides regular weekly racing for upwards of 360 yachts, ranging from ocean-going forty footers to small dinghies for juniors. It prompted the question by Afloat.ie's WM Nixon Is Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) The Most Effective Sailing Organisation in the World?
The most remarkable thing about Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) is not that it is one of Europe's biggest, Ireland's busiest or that 2013 marked the club's 132nd season. It's more the fact, in the current climate, that the club – which has no club house - appears to have escaped the ravages of the 'R' word. In 2016, the club embarked on a new sponsorship deal.
Dublin Bay Sailing Club's Committee Vessel, the Mac Lir. Photo: David O'Brien
In a shot in the arm for bay sailing, there is no reported drop in DBSC entries at a time when individual waterfront clubs are struggling to hold members.
A total of 390 boats across 15 fleets are preparing to come to the line off Dun Laoghaire for the first race of the DBSC summer series on Tuesday week (April 24th).
The biggest DBSC fleet is Cruisers III a mix of 37 types to include quarter tonners, J24s and eight or nine Sonatas.
The SB3 Sports boat maintains its fleet of 34 and therefore its place as the biggest one design class on the bay.
Formed in 1884 with humble ambitions for small boat racing in the area, DBSC has remained true to these roots but grown with the popularity of sailing here and become the de facto club racing organisation for the capital's dinghies and cruisers; organising racing five nights per week from April to October.
Since the marina arrived in 2001 the club has also organised winter fixtures, thereby giving itself a year round remit.
It organises club racing for all four of Dun Laoghaire's waterfront clubs plus an increasing number for those who have opted out of yacht club membership to sail instead from the town's public marina.
The increase in numbers though, particularly on Thursday evenings, led to growing pains and last season an experiment to split the massive fleet removed congestion at certain mark roundings proved successful.
The red fleet and blue fleet divisions remain but there are more improvements for Thursday nights slated for this season with the introduction of a second committee boat on the water.
Inevitably the move means the end of a Dublin Bay institution, for Thursday's nights at least. The West Pier starting hut, in operation since 1968, will disappear except for use in very heavy weather.
The club's own MacLir committee boat will be servicing the Blue Fleet in the northern section of the racing area, The Royal Irish Yacht Club's Spirit of the Irish vessel will service the red fleet in the south-east section.
Other changes afloat have required re-drafting of courses and some re-location of marks. Omega mark has moved from its original position not far from the West Pier to serve as a hub for the Red Fleet marks which, with the addition of a new Bay Mark, form a natural circle. Similarly, Middle mark becomes the hub of the Blue Fleet circle.
Consequently, some shifting of other mark positions has ensued‚ the only radical change is that of Poldy, which was situated too close to the shipping lane for comfort; it will now be stationed roughly between East and Island Marks. Martello Mark is now redundant.
The Club operates from Dun Laoghaire, a major marine recreational centre and ferry port six miles to the south of Dublin. The members are drawn for the most part from the four local yacht clubs but visiting yachts can participate in racing if they complete the Club's temporary yacht entry and membership form and pay a small fee. Visiting yachts may also compete in the Club's Cruiser Challenge, held every year over the third weekend of August.
Apart from a Starter's Hut on Dun Laoghaire West Pier, the Club possesses no premises; moorings – the usual onshore facilities are provided by the local yacht clubs. The new Dun Laoghaire Marina, situated in the north-western side of the Harbour, now accommodates a growing number of racing yachts.
Racing usually starts at the end of April and continues up to the end of September. Mid-week races for keelboats takes place on Thursday evenings, from late April to the end of August. Keelboat crews and dinghy sailors race on Tuesday evenings. On Saturday afternoons (April to September) racing is provided for both keelboats and dinghies. Keelboat races start either on fixed lines on the seaward side of Dun Laoghaire West Pier or from a committee boat stationed not far from the harbour mouth.
Courses are designed around fixed marks in Dublin Bay, in an area of nearly 40 square miles, extending from Salthill and Seapoint on the western side of Bay to the Burford Bank on the east. All races finish at the Club's fixed lines at the West Pier but may be be shortened at the committee boat if necessary.
On Saturdays afternoons, two classes (Dragons and J24s) race on Olympic-style courses, joined occasionally by the Ruffian and Glen classes.
Dinghy racing takes place on Olympic-type courses on Saturdays in Seapoint Bay, on the northwest side of the West Pier and, on Tuesday evenings in Scotsman's Bay, on the seaward side of Dun Laoghaire East Pier. On certain Saturdays in June and July, the Club makes way for the annual one-day regattas of the the four local yacht clubs.
Correspondence to: Hon. Secretary, DBSC, 72 Clonkeen Drive, Foxrock, Dublin 18. Tel: 01 289 8565
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