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BENETEAU 31.7 - 1. Fiddly Bits (Timmins/Quigley/Murray/Breen), 2. Crazy Horse (F Heath & I Schuster), 3. Attitude (Milner Sugars Owens) 

BENETEAU 31.7 - 1. Prospect (Chris Johnston), 2. Crazy Horse (F Heath & I Schuster), 3. Levante (M.Leahy/J.Power)

CRUISERS 0 - 1. Lively Lady (Derek Martin), 2. Wow (George Sisk)

CRUISERS 0 - 1. Wow (George Sisk), 2. Lively Lady (Derek Martin)

CRUISERS 1 - 1. Indecision (Declan Hayes et al), 2. Prima Luce (O'Flynn, Burke, Lemass), 3. Jalapeno (P Barrington et al)

CRUISERS 1 - 1. White Mischief (Tim Goodbody), 2. Something Else (J.Hall et al), 3. Jalapeno (P Barrington et al)

CRUISERS 2 - 1. ECLIPSE (D BELL), 2. Windjammer (L Casey & D Power), 3. GWILI TWO (D CLARKE & P MAGUIRE)

CRUISERS 2 - 1. Peridot (Jim McCann et al), 2. Windjammer (L Casey & D Power), 3. SPRINGER (I BOWRING)

CRUISERS 3 - 1. Cartoon (McCormack/Brady/Lawless), 2. Dubious (P Richardson), 3. Asterix (Boushel/Meredith/Counihan)

CRUISERS 3 - 1. Pamafe (M Costello), 2. Dubious (P Richardson), 3. Cartoon (McCormack/Brady/Lawless)

FLYING FIFTEEN - 1. FFantastic Mr Fox (N Meagher & N Matthews), 2. Elena (Ross Doyle), 3. Ignis Caput (David Mulvin)

FLYING FIFTEEN - 1. Ignis Caput (David Mulvin), 2. Frequent Flyer (C Doorley), 3. As Good As It Gets (Ben Mulligan 

GLEN - 1. Pterodactyl (R & D McCaffrey), 2. Glendun (B.Denham et al), 3. Glenariff (Adrian Lee)

IDRA 14 FOOT - 1. Diane (B Murphy), 2. Doody (J.Fitzgerald/J.Byrne), 3. Dart (Pierre Long)

IDRA 14 FOOT - 1. Diane (B Murphy), 2. Dart (Pierre Long), 3. Sapphire (Lorcan O'Sullivan)

RUFFIAN 23 - 1. Alias (D.Meeke/M.McCarthy), 2. Ruff Nuff (D & C Mitchell), 3. Bandit (Kirwan/Cullen/Brown)

SHIPMAN - 1. Barrosa (Geraghty/Trotter), 2. Jo Slim (J.Clarke et al), 3. Invader (Gerard Glynn)

SHIPMAN - 1. Barrosa (Geraghty/Trotter), 2. Jo Slim (J.Clarke et al), 3. Invader (Gerard Glynn)

SQUIB - 1. Periguin (N Colcough), 2. Tais (Michael O'Connell), 3. Little Demon (Sheila Power)

SQUIB - 1. Tears in Heaven (M Halpenny & G Ferguson), 2. Little Demon (Sheila Power), 3. Periguin (N Colcough)

Sportsboat - 1. Jambiya (M Ryan & V Lattimore), 2. Jawesome III (M Dyke & B Darcy), 3. JOYRIDE (P BOURKE)

Sportsboat - 1. Jambiya (M Ryan & V Lattimore), 2. Jawesome III (M Dyke & B Darcy), 3. JOYRIDE (P BOURKE) 

WHITE SAIL CRUISERS - 1. The Great Escape (P Rigney), 2. Lucyo (P Aonghus OhEocha), 3. Sweet Martini (B Carswell)

WHITE SAIL CRUISERS - 1. Persistence (C Broadhead et al), 2. Act Two (M O'Leary), 3. Cevantes (P Conway)

Published in DBSC

#MarineWildlife - This weekend Dublin Port is deploying data buoys in Dublin Bay to monitor marine wildlife activity during the controversial dredging works at Alexandra Basin.

According to The Irish Times, the four boys will provide live data on any whales, dolphins or porpoises in the vicinity of the Burford Bank near Howth, where up to a million tonnes of dredge spoil will be dumped over the next few weeks.

As previously reported on, campaigners have raised concerns about the safety of Dublin Bay’s harbour porpoises, protected by an SAC since 2013, during the dredging operation.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Jean Mitton's Levana of the Royal St. George Yacht Club has won the cut-short Beneteau 31.7 National Championships at the Royal Irish Yacht Club. See full results below.

Mitton held the overnight lead after four races in the 13–boat fleet with a second and three firsts from Chris Johnston's National Yacht Club entry Prospect who counted a first and three seconds.

Third place went to class Captain Frank Heath on Crazy Horse of the Royal St. George.

Today's racing was cancelled due to strong southerly winds on Dublin Bay.

Beneteau 31.7 Prospect 2319Chris Johnston's Prospect from the National Yacht Club entry was second overall. Photo:

Beneteau 31.7 avalon DBSC 2110Roger Conlans and James Fox's Beneteau 31.7 Avalon from Dun Laoghaire Marina Photo:

Beneteau 31.7 2056Michael and Bernie Bryson's Bluefin Two from the National Yacht Club on starboard tack passes Michael Blaney's Royal St. George entry After You. Photo: Afloat.ieBeneteau 31.7 2056Beneteau 31.7 2056Jean Mitton's Levana keeps Chris Johnston's Prospect in close cover Photo:

Beneteau 31.7 after you DBSC 2310Beneteau 31.7 after you DBSC 2310Beneteau 31.7 after you DBSC 2310Beneteau 31.7 after you DBSC 2310Beneteau 31.7 after you DBSC 2310

Beneteau 31.7 National Championships 2017 Entries: 13 Races Sailed: 4

Series Place Sail No Boat Helm Club Series Points Race 1 Race 2 Race 3 Race 4
1 IRL1740 Levana Jean Mitton RSGYC 5 2 1 1 1
2 IRL1565 Prospect Chris Johnston NYC/RIYC 7 1 2 2 2
3 IRL2004 Crazy Horse Frank Heath & Ivan Schuster RIYC/RSGYC 16 3 5 5 3
4 IRL6662 Bluefin 2 Michael & Bernie Bryson NYC 19 7 4 3 5
5 IRL1310 After You Too Michael Blaney RStGYC 25 4 3 4 DNF14
6 IRL7317 Attitude Trina Milner RIYC 28 8 7 9 4
7 IRL8063 Indigo Joe McDonald NYC 28 6 10 6 6
8 IRL6909 Extreme Reality Lorcan Balfe NYC 31 10 6 8 7
9 IRL2970 Kernach Eoin O'Driscoll NYC 36 12 9 7 8
10 IRL3171 Kalamar Dave Russell NYC 44 13 12 10 9
11 IRL1041 Avalon Roger Conan RStGYC 45 9 8 DNF14 DNC14
12 IRL2474 Camira Peter Beamish RIYC 47 5 DNF14 DNC14 DNC14
13 IRL5317 Fiddly Bits Bill Quigley & Others NYC 47 11 11 11 DNF14
Published in Racing

The new offshore racing entity, 'Ireland Ocean Racing', that will put Royal Cork Yacht Club's Nicholas O'Leary (31) at the helm of the IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss on the 2020 Vendée Globe start line is sailing off Cork Harbour.

As reported previously, the demo sails are part of the launch of the world–girdling project that will arrive into Dun Laoghaire Harbour on Wednesday or Thursday. O’Leary, son of Royal Cork's Anthony and Sally O'Leary, wants to be the first Irish sailor to complete the non–stop round the world challenge. He'll be following in the wake of plucky Enda O'Coineen's ill–fated Kilcullen that was dismasted in the last race off New Zealand in December.

Hugo Boss 3852(Above and below) The Ireland Ocean Racing Team onboard Hugo Boss. Photos: Bob Bateman

Hugo boss OLeary cork harbour1Hugo boss OLeary cork harbour1Hugo boss OLeary cork harbour1Hugo boss OLeary cork harbour1Hugo boss OLeary cork harbour1Hugo boss OLeary cork harbour1

O'Leary's team say he is expected into Dublin Bay on August 30. 

Read more in WM Nixon's blog: How Much in the Sponsorship Pot for all These Irish Offshore Sailing Superstar Hopefuls?

Published in Vendee Globe



BENETEAU 31.7 - 1. After You Too (M Blaney), 2. Levana (Jean Mitton), 3. Crazy Horse (F Heath & I Schuster)

BENETEAU 31.7 - 1. Fiddly Bits (Timmins/Quigley/Murray/Breen), 2. Avalon (R.Conan/J.Fox), 3. Extreme Reality (L Balfe)

CRUISERS 0 - 1. Wow (George Sisk), 2. Lively Lady (Derek Martin)

CRUISERS 0 - 1. Wow (George Sisk), 2. Lively Lady (Derek Martin)

CRUISERS 1 - 1. Indecision (Declan Hayes et al), 2. Something Else (J.Hall et al), 3. Jigamaree (R Harris)

CRUISERS 1 - 1. Something Else (J.Hall et al), 2. Juggerknot (A Algeo et al), 3. Bon Exemple (C Byrne)

CRUISERS 2 - 1. RUPERT (R & P LOVEGROVE), 2. GWILI TWO (D CLARKE & P MAGUIRE), 3. Red Rhum (J Nicholson)

CRUISERS 2 - 1. RUPERT (R & P LOVEGROVE), 2. Windjammer (L Casey & D Power), 3. GWILI TWO (D CLARKE & P MAGUIRE 

CRUISERS 3 A - 1. Enigma (J Monaghan), 2. Running Wild (B & S Foley), 3. Cartoon (McCormack & Lawless)

CRUISERS 3 A - 1. Running Wild (B & S Foley), 2. Cartoon (McCormack & Lawless), 3. Enigma (J Monaghan) 

CRUISERS 3 B - 1. Cacciatore (M Ni Cheallachain), 2. Maranda (Myles Kelly), 3. Gung Ho (G & S O'Shea) 

CRUISERS 3 B - 1. Maranda (Myles Kelly), 2. Cacciatore (M Ni Cheallachain), 3. Saki (Paget McCormack et al)

CRUISERS 5A - 1. Coumeenole (B Kavanagh), 2. Edenpark (Liam Farmer), 3. Persistence (C. Broadhead et al)

CRUISERS 5A - 1. Coumeenole (B Kavanagh), 2. Persistence (C. Broadhead et al), 3. White Lotus (Paul Tully)

CRUISERS 5B - 1. Fortitudine (D & A Clarke), 2. Calypso (Howard Knott), 3. Menapia (J Sweeney)

CRUISERS 5B - 1. Vertigo (M Muldoon), 2. The Great Escape (P Rigney), 3. Nirvana (B Neeson) 

DRAGON - 1. Zu (M Minch/C Grimley/T Pearson), 2. Phantom (D.Williams & P.Bowring), 3. DCision (J.Mason/G.Purcell/C.Fleming)

FLYING FIFTEEN - 1. Deranged (N Colin), 2. As Good As It Gets (Ben Mulligan), 3. fFinisterre (C O'Leary & A Court) 

GLEN - 1. Glendun (B.Denham et al), 2. Pterodactyl (R & D McCaffrey), 3. Glenroan (T O'Sullivan) 

RUFFIAN 23 - 1. Shannagh (S.Gill/P.MacDiarmada), 2. RUFFLES (M CUTLIFFE), 3. Ruff Nuff (D & C Mitchell)

SB20 - 1. Sin Bin (Michael O'Connor), 2. Sacrebleu (R Hayes & C Galavan), 3. (J Burke & D Burke)

SHIPMAN - 1. The Den (A. Costello/G.Millar), 2. Viking (Brian Glynn et al), 3. Bluefin (B.Finucane et al 

SHIPMAN - 1. Viking (Brian Glynn et al), 2. The Den (A. Costello/G.Millar), 3. Invader (Gerard Glynn) 

SQUIB - 1. Why Not (Derek & Jean Jago), 2. Sidewinder (R Westrup & R Bowen), 3. Fox (M Moran & M Shiel)

Sportsboat - 1. Jester (D Curtain), 2. Big Bad Wolfe (David Ryan), 3. GRADUATE (D O'KEEFE)

Published in DBSC

As the midweek racing in Dublin Bay Sailing Club gets to its close we had one of the more pleasant evenings of weather this summer with a gentle breeze and sunshine for two races outside the harbour in Scotsman’s Bay. Twenty-four boats answered the Race Officer’s call, Ian Mathews from the Flying Fifteen fleet, and of these, three were Fireballs.

With Stephen Oram unavailable due to work commitments, Noel Butler teamed up with Grattan Donnelly and with Hermine O’Keefe on hockey support duties in Europe, Louise McKenna engaged the services of Cormac Bradley, leaving David and Michael Keegan (14676) as the only regular team out on the water. Holidays and unavailability reduced the fleet to three boats.

There was a slightly eerie feel to the race course area, the tide had already started to ebb and while there was wind on the water there was no real “oomph” to it. While spinnakers were set on the sail down to the start area, there was no real energy to the boat.

For the first start the three Fireballs decided to go for the pin end and to be frank none of us were on the start line when the gun went. Possibly a tactical call, but even Noel was late across the start line as the three boats decided to embrace the flow of the ebbing tide and sail westwards towards the harbour mouth. Noel/Grattan occupied the windward slot, David/Michael the leeward slot and Louise/Cormac were the “meat in the sandwich”. Initially the latter pair seemed to have a bit more boat speed, but this was going to be a night of wind vagaries and soon Noel/Grattan had sailed over the top of the other two. A starboard hail by a Laser Vago caused Louise/Cormac to take a hitch inshore and by the time they rounded the weather mark, Noel/Grattan had a healthy lead which they never relinquished. Two laps of a windward-leeward course was the recipe for Race 1 with a weather mark set in the direction of the East Wall of the harbour. The first downwind leg saw a variety of approaches being taken with more than one gybe being executed on the way to the leeward mark. A snagged spinnaker halyard for Louise resulted in a poor spinnaker drop that allowed the Keegans to close the gap to less than a boat-length but a recovery was fashioned on the next beat to generate a final finishing order of Butler-McKenna-Keegan.

While the wind strength and direction was pretty much the same for the second race, all three boats adopted the opposite approach to the start of the first race. In tandem with the PY start that preceded the Fireballs – everyone went inshore first! Noel/Grattan played a game of “Shut the Door” at the pin end with Louise/Cormac with both boats doing pirouettes in the vicinity of the pin before all three headed off on starboard tack, Noel/Grattan having the windward slot. All three worked their way up to the port lay-line of the weather mark and took a long sail into the mark on port tack. This led to the easing of sheets as they closed in on the mark. On rounding the weather and spreader marks spinnakers were set on a starboard tack as the boats went down-tide with the sequence being Noel/Grattan, Louise/Cormac and David/Michael with a couple of boat-lengths separating each from the other. The leaders gybed first, followed a moment or two later by Louise/Cormac with David/Michael gybing simultaneously with the second pair. This left all three sailing a slightly loose reach to the leeward mark with the committee boat already on the move to relocate at the weather mark for a shortened course. David/Michael got better breeze and sailed away from Louise/Cormac. Rounding the leeward mark, there seemed little sense in Louise/Cormac following the other two out to the right of the course as there was little sense that boat speed alone would effect a place change, so an inshore tack was initiated – after all it had worked on the first beat! For a period of time it looked better, rather than good, and the sense of a possible recovery was heightened when the other two seemed to have to sail a huge distance westwards before they tacked for a starboard approach to what was now the finishing line.

While hope sprang eternal, reality bit and a finishing order of Noel/Grattan, David/Michael and Louise/Cormac closed the evening’s proceedings. David/Michael appeared to close quite a bit on Noel/Grattan but the winners gained a few more boat-lengths at the finish.

With two possible Tuesdays left the current situation in Series 2 is as follows;

DBSC Series 2: Tuesday Nights; 6 races, 2 discards.




Conor & James Clancy/Teddy Byrne







Noel Butler/Phil Lawton &

Stephen Oram/Grattan Donnelly







Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe/Cormac Bradley







Frank Miller & Ed Butler/Grattan Donnelly







David & Michael Keegan






Four Irish Fireballs will be in Lyme Regis for the Europeans next week, with measurement on Saturday and racing starting on Sunday (20th) through to Friday (25th). The entry now stands at 85, with entries from the UK, Australia, France, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Canada, Belgium and Ireland. The defending champions are Ruedi Moser and Claude Mermod (SUI 14799) and as can be expected of a Fireball International event in the UK, the entry list is littered with the “Who’s Who” of the Fireball community. Race Officer is Paul Withers, an IJ and IRO and former Secretary of the Class.

Irish Fireball readers of this report are also reminded of our Fireball Nationals which are scheduled for Lough Derg Yacht Club on the weekend of 15 – 17th September, under the race management of National race Officer John Leech. This is a nine-race programme and we will be endeavouring to have a “latish start” to proceedings on Friday to try and accommodate those who might want to go to the office first. Nothing confirmed yet, but this is what we have done before.

Published in Fireball


COMBINED CRUISERS TUESDAY - 1. Windjammer (L Casey & D Power), 2. Elandra (J Conway), 3. Powder Monkey (C Moore)

CRUISERS 3 Tuesday - 1. Running Wild (B & S Foley), 2. Maranda (M Kelly), 3. Jiminy Cricket (M Tyndall)

FIREBALL - 1. No Name (S Oram), 2. GOODNESS GRACIOUS (L MCKENNA), 3. GBH (M & P Keegan) 

FIREBALL - 1. No Name (S Oram), 2. GBH (M & P Keegan), 3. GOODNESS GRACIOUS (L MCKENNA)

GLEN - 1. Glenariff (Adrian Lee), 2. Glenroan (T O'Sullivan), 3. Glenshane (P Hogan)

IDRA 14 FOOT - 1. Sapphire (Lorcan O'Sullivan), 2. Dart (Pierre Long), 3. Slipstream (Julie Ascoop)

IDRA 14 FOOT - 1. Slipstream (Julie Ascoop), 2. Sapphire (Lorcan O'Sullivan), 3. Dart (Pierre Long)

Laser - 1. DARACH DINEEN (RIYC), 2. G Murphy (RSGYC), 3. Marco Sorgassi (RSGYC)

Laser - 1. Marco Sorgassi (RSGYC), 2. G Murphy (RSGYC), 3. Ross O'Leary 

PY CLASS - 1. Richard Tate (), 2. Conor Corson (RS200), 3. Tom Murphy (K1)

PY CLASS - 1. Tom Murphy (K1), 2. Des Fortune (Finn)

Published in DBSC

In a break from the growing trend of setting windward-leeward courses on a Tuesday night for dinghy racing on Dublin Bay, OOD Ben Mulligan (Flying Fifteens) & the DBSC Race Management Team set Olympic courses for the August 1st DBSC Fleet – in partial response to the request from the IDRA Class that these courses be set in advance of their impending Nationals writes Cormac Bradley. It was also a good night for Olympic courses with an offshore breeze of good strength and flat water even if there were large wind shifts.

Six Fireballs were on the start line with a few crew changes in the mix. Stephen Oram (15061) engaged the services of Olympian (470) Phil Lawton to helm while Conor Clancy (14807) had Teddy Byrne on board as crew. Also out were two all-lady combinations – Hermine & Louise (14691) and Cariosa & Marie (14854). Frank Miller (14713) brought in another of his roster of “contracted crews”, Grattan Donnelly whom we haven’t seen for a while and also making a welcome return was David & Michael Keegan (14676).

The forecast was for 10 – 12 knots from a SW direction with a possibility of drizzle which thankfully stayed away. There was some movement of the breeze but it still provided a reasonable beat with the fleets spread across the course.

The first start was reasonably even with the fleet distributed along the line. However, as I was on the committee boat (sound signal) and involved in the subsequent start (Lasers), I wasn’t able to follow the “nitty-gritty” action off the start line. My recall is that the boats that went left initially, even if not for very long came out best at the top end.  Even more confusing in a six boat fleet where there are only two spinnakers that aren’t red, I got the opening sequence of spinnakers wrong at the first weather mark – assuming it was the Olympian helm leading the way round – only to find out afterwards that it was Miller & Donnelly. Clancy/Byrne rounded second, which meant that Lawton/Oram were third followed by Power, McKenna and Keegan. Immediately after the spinnaker hoist Clancy/Byrne (blue spinnaker) went over the top of Miller/ Donnelly (red) and to my mind this was the significant place change of the entire race, because Clancy & Byrne led the rest of the race to finish first.

While Lawton & Oram may have closed on occasion, it became apparent that they had to give as much attention to watching Miller & Donnelly as they were to catching Clancy & Byrne. Clancy & Byrne had the comfort of being able to watch the chasing pack with the comfort of a bit of distance between them.

A tighter race was taking place between the two all-lady teams with McKenna & O’Keeffe chasing the other pair for all of the race and ultimately being unsuccessful! On the downwind leg of the sausage the leading three boats, Clancy, Lawton & Miller went right before Clancy broke left and then gybed back again to cover the other two in the run-in to the leeward mark for the second time. Up the third beat Clancy & Byrne worked the middle and left of the course while Lawton/Oram and Miller/Donnelly worked the right hand side. It didn’t help!

The 4-lap race was shortened to three laps and a second race was set with the marks staying in their original positions. A short single lap race was signalled for the second race due to a combination of time, light and a breeze that was starting to show signs of fading.

For the second start, a wind switch and the scheduled change of the tide saw the fleet playing “chicken” at the pin end of the line, each boat in turn approaching the pin and performing a pirouette to duck out. The last boat to have the door slammed shut on them was McKenna & O’Keeffe, by Clancy & Byrne, who executed a perfectly timed start on port at the pin. McKenna went to the back of the queue and Lawton/Oram followed Clancy & Oram across the line. The latter pair then took a hitch to the left to clear their air. The Keegans were furthest to leeward of the bunch and found themselves out on the right of the beat. The wind was starting to die at this stage of the evening and given the grey skies and the time, the single lap decision appeared to be vindicated.

Clancy & Byrne rounded the weather mark first and led to the finish, followed by Lawton & Oram, Miller & Donnelly, Power & Barry, McKenna & O’Keeffe and Keegan & Keegan.

Again the “race within a race” was between the two all-lady teams with Power & Barry winning by a short distance.

DBSC: Tuesday Nights: Series 3 (4 races, 1 discard)



Conor & James Clancy/Teddy Byrne





Frank Miller & Ed Butler/Grattan Donnelly





Noel Butler/Phil Lawton & Stephen Oram




Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe





Cariosa Power & Marie Barry





With next Tuesday following a Bank Holiday in Ireland (Monday 7th), there will be no racing which means there is only one Tuesday night session before the Fireball Europeans in Lyme Regis, Devon, UK starting Saturday 18th August and running through to the following Friday. Facebook posts from Fireball UK, hosting in tandem with Lyme Regis Sailing Club, this morning (02/08) state that the entry currently stands at 81 boats with entries from nine countries. Ireland will have three representatives at the regatta.

In other news, Lough Derg Yacht Club has confirmed the hosting of the Irish Fireball Nationals over the weekend of 15- 17 September. All Irish Fireballers are encouraged to attend this event in this very hospitable club. Regatta documentation will be prepared shortly.

Published in Fireball

For the second handicap race of the year, for The Buckingham Cup and The Wigham Trophy, the Dun Laoghaire Water Wags were discommoded by a 9,975 ton, 440ft long cruise liner, The Star Pride with her 208 passengers and 164 crew.

She was scheduled to leave the Carlisle Pier at 18.00hrs but there was an upset to her plans. Allegedly, a replacement part was required for her engines, which was being delivered from Dublin Port by car, leaving the latter venue at 18.00hrs. Instructions were conveyed to the Water Wags by Harbour Company officials. The reality was something different. At approx. 18.45hrs the tugboat Burfort arrived in Dun Laoghaire harbour joined by the Dublin Port harbour pilot. They set to work quickly, towed The Star Pride by the stern, until the liner was in the centre of the harbour. They then spun her, until the bow was pointing towards the harbour mouth.

The Wags quickly launched, the committee boat then laid a four-lap course with a start line near the marina entrance, and windward mark under the East Pier Lighthouse. The first Water wag to start was Nandor, followed half a minute later by Chloe, and Coquette, Polly and Scallywag two minutes later. Last to start after the passage of six minutes were Moosmie, Gavotte, Swift, Tortoise and Eva.
As the race developed the early starters merged with some of those faster boats attacking from behind. It soon became clear that the leaders, mother and daughter team of Kate & Amy O’Leary in Chloe and Mc Bride & McBean in Nandor were in for a great battle. A similar battle developed between Hal Sisk and Sue Westrup in Good Hope and Ian Magowan in the recently restored Mary Kate. At the finish, the order was:

1st – 34, Chloe. Kate & Amy O’Leary
2nd. -26, Nandor, Brian McBride and Stuart McBean
3rd.- 6, Mary Kate, Ian & Jenny Magowan
4th. -18, Good Hope
5th. -46, Mademoiselle
6th. - 3, Pansy
7th. -Moosmie
8th. - 38, Swift
9th. - 10, Sprite
10th. -30 Sara
11th. -45, Mariposa
12th. -42, Tortoise
13th. -17, Coquette

Published in Water Wag

With its focus on quality over quantity, next week's Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta has grown over 12 years into one of Ireland’s premiere sporting events, let alone sailing – and is now competing with the best in Europe.

If you want a snapshot of the sport of sailing in Ireland, Scotland and Wales in 2017, where would you go? Dun Laoghaire is the answer.

The pages of this year's 2017 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta programme detail over 450 boats in 35 classes, and in so doing they provide the most accurate picture of the Irish Sea sailing scene.

Over four days in July, 300 volunteers will stage 290 races for a mix of cruiser–racers, one-design keelboats and dinghies, plus a unique classics division, all wrapped up in one Irish Sea sail-fest – with Dun Laoghaire as its centre.

In assembling such an armada, Dun Laoghaire Regatta (VDLR) has become, at its seventh staging, not only the country’s biggest sailing event — with over 2,500 sailors competing — but also one of Ireland’s largest participant sporting happenings.

X 302 equinoxRecently crowned ICRA class two champion, Equinox, skippered by Ross McDonald, is one of 27 entries from Howth Yacht Club. Photo: Bob Bateman

But what’s even more satisfying for the Dun Laoghaire organisers is that nearly half the entries are visiting boats – an indication of the future international prospects of the regatta.

It’s a big achievement for the capital’s waters, given so many other regattas are struggling for numbers.

Focus on quality

‘Never mind the quality, feel the width’ has been a criticism of modern-day regattas where organisers mistakenly focus on being the biggest in an effort to be the best. 

And at a time when regatta fleets have collapsed, there is some irony in the fact that Dun Laoghaire, with its own local fleet of 300 boats, never set out to be the biggest yet nevertheless has emerged as the yacht racing hub for the Irish Sea, from the Clyde to Lands End.

web map irelandThe bulk of entries are Dublin based but the regatta has a growing reach across the Irish Sea

Dublin Bay’s priority focussed instead on quality racing, even after it got off to a spectacularly bad start in 2005 when the event was becalmed for four days.

The idea to rekindle a combined Dublin Bay event had resurfaced after an absence of almost 40 years, mostly because of the persistence of a band of passionate Dun Laoghaire sailors who believed that their home could become the ‘Cowes of the Irish Sea’ if the town and the local clubs worked together.

2004 VDLR BeginningsVDLR Beginnings – In 2004, the then Rear Commodores of RStGYC, Owen McNally, (left) RIYC, Timothy Goodbody (centre) and NYC's Ronan Beirne were tasked by the Combined Clubs Committee, chaired by Phil Smith , to submit a proposed format for a combined regatta involving all four waterfront clubs. This they did over a very enjoyable dinner and submitted their proposals which were subsequently adopted by the all four waterfront clubs (Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club, National Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Royal St George Yacht Club, and the inaugural event was chaired by Brian Craig in 2005. Thirteen years on from that, the same, now ex- Rear Commodores, met again to reflect on the development of this great regatta over a very social and enjoyable lunch. Today, the biennial Dun Laoghaire Regatta is a firm fixture on the sailing calendar and run under Dublin Bay Regattas Limited, under the Chairmanship of Dermot Reidy (DMYC).

Although fickle winds conspired against them in 2005, the support since then from all four Dun Laoghaire waterfront yacht clubs – the Dun Laoghaire Motor YC, National YC, Royal Irish YC and Royal St George YC – in association with the two racing clubs of Dublin Bay SC and Royal Alfred YC, gave them the momentum to carry on.

Numbers peaked in 2007 with over 480 entries, and while that figure remains a record, it is this year’s turnout – matching 2005 – that shows the event is now a confirmed highlight on the British and Irish yachting calendar.

J109s racingOf the six cruiser classes there is a strong argument that not only is the 27–boat VDLR Cruisers One division the class of the event but it’s also the class of the year. 11 J109s (pictured above) will race as part of the red hot fleet. Photo:

Stronger than expected

If success is measured by fleet size, then the VDLR has looked on course for a buoyant seventh edition since April, when half of its massive fleet had already signed up.

More than 2,500 sailors and 800 visitors will race across 35 classes, so outgoing Irish Sailing Association (ISA) President David Lovegrove rightly noted at the regatta launch that it will be one of Ireland’s biggest sporting events when the first gun fires on July 6.

Only once since its inaugural outing in 2005 have numbers dipped below 400, and that was in the teeth of recession in 2013. But even then the fleet only dropped to 393, just 93 lower than 2007’s record year. In 2017 the numbers are tantalisingly close to matching that peak.

Dublin Bay Mermaids foynes 2016 12The Dublin Bay Mermaid (above) will have a strong 15–boat turnout. A strong Skerries Sailing Club contingent has swelled the classic clinker fleet that includes national champion Sam Shiels at the helm of number 189 Azeezy

Entries this year are also stronger than expected, as all four Dun Laoghaire clubs bang the drum for the harbour’s bicentenary year.

Well over half of all entries – 60% in fact – come from the locality, with the Royal Irish and National YCs providing half of that number between them.

In keeping with the local celebratory mood, this year a special Kingstown 200 Cup, kindly presented by Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company, will be awarded to the ‘Most Outstanding Classic Boat of Regatta’.

Flying Fifteen dbscDublin Bay’s Flying Fifteen fleet has been a mainstay of the regatta since 2005. A 17–boat fleet is entered this year

Unique facilities

Tim Goodbody, chairman of the VDLR in 2015 and 2017 (and a Cruisers One contender in his own right), believes the regatta owed its prominence in European sailing events to a number of factors.

“One of the reasons it attracts so many entrants is that it is one of the least expensive sailing events in Europe, thanks to generous sponsorship and support,” he said.

Another reason is certainly Dun Laoghaire’s unique facilities. This is the place where the modern rules of sailing were framed over 150 years ago. The Victorians built the best of yachting venues on Dublin’s south shore so that the sailors of today, four generations later, get to enjoy the fruit of their labours.

GP 14 DL regtattaNot only is the 26-boat GP14 fleet one of the largest of the ten competing dinghy classes it also has participation across the country from Moville in Donegal to Youghal in Couty Cork. The boats to watch, of course, in this Leinster Championship fleet will undoubtably be the match between Greystones Sailing Club’s Shane MacCarthy in 14203, the current World Champion and Olympian Ger Owens in 14076. Owens, sailing with Mel Morris, ended MacCarthy’s unbeaten run (on the World Champions) home waters at the Purcell Trophy in May.

Dun Laoghaire is a beautiful working and residential seaside town about 12 km (7.5 miles) south of Dublin city centre and 20 km (12 miles) from the Irish capital’s international airport.

Even from mainland Britain, it’s closer than many might think. Sailors from the Ribble, Mersey, Menai Strait, Anglesey, Cardigan Bay and Isle of Man have to travel three times the distance to the Solent as they do to Dublin Bay.

This is one of the major selling points of the Irish event, and explains the range of entries from 69 different clubs around Ireland, including 28 boats from Northern Ireland.

Across the Irish Sea, two boats are coming from the Isle of Man, 18 from Wales, 10 from Scotland and 14 from England. In a nod to organisers that a European market might be worth looking at for 2019, there is a single entry from Holland. 

Dun Laoghaire Harbour Aerial Dun Laoghaire Harbour's compact site has world class sailing clubs and race areas adjacent to a modern town with a Five Gold Anchor marina of 820 berths at its heart Photo: Michael Chester

Dun Laoghaire is also unique in sailing terms because there is only a short sail to the race areas from a Five Gold Anchor marina of 820 berths. Rapid transport links, local hotels, bars and restaurants, and four unique clubs positions it as a strong rival to any other European venue 

And let’s not forget the social side. The regatta has built up an enviable reputation ashore for exciting live music and entertainment, and this year’s full social programme promises to be no different.

Lively ladyNow firmly established as part of the VDLR mix after its 2015 introduction, the 26-boat offshore class includes many regular ISORA competitors including Derek Martin’s Beneteau 44.7 Lively Lady (pictured) from the Royal Irish Yacht Club

Sigma 33 leaky roofThe Sigma 33 is one of the biggest one design cruiser fleets with 20 entries. The long established Dublin Bay class merged with class two for local DBSC racing this year but will hold a special One Design Dun Laoghaire bicentennial Race Day on Friday, 7th July. Pictured is Alan Harper’s Scottish entry Leaky Roof 2 from the Clyde

Top quality racing

But the action on the water is what it’s all about. From the Baily Lighthouse at the northern entrance to Dublin Bay across to Dalkey Island in the south, there will be seven separate courses laid out for top quality racing. 

Indeed, 10 classes have included the regatta as part of their championship calendar in 2017: GP14s, 420s and Mermaid dinghies are racing for Leinster honours, while SB20s, J24s and Squibs will decide East Coast titles, and the Sigma 33s, Beneteau 21s and the Wayfarers will race for national trophies. The vintage Water Wag class will race for a new trophy, The Collen Cup.

B21 VDLRThe 15–boat Beneteau 211s are holding the Irish championships as part of VDLR 2017

Championships running as part of VDLR 2017

Royal Dee Yacht Club Irish Sea Offshore Championship
Irish Sigma 33 National Championship
Irish Wayfarer National Championship
Beneteau 211 Irish Championship
GP14 Leinster Championship
420 Leinster Championship
Mermaid Leinster Championships
SB20 Southern Championships
J24 East Coast Championship
Squib East Coast Championship

Read the entry list class by class starting here

Published in Volvo Regatta
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