Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo The Irish Sailing Association

Marine Clothing

If anyone is thinking of producing the Very Rough Guide to Making a Start in a Yacht Race, this evening’s opening episode in the continuing drama which is the 275-mile Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race 2017 produced Rules 1, 2 & 3 in jig time writes W M Nixon

Rule 1 states: “When push comes to shove, might is right.”

Rule 2 states: “When you’re in the bigger boat, never give an inch until you actually hear breaking glass”

Rule 3 states: “Whatever happens, keep smiling as though it’s all perfectly normal.”

It was of course entirely the weather’s fault. An expected veering of the southerly wind, forecast for the start time around 1900 hours, actually arrived a clear hour early. Thus, where it should have been a beat from the start line in Scotsman’s Bay to the first mark of the course at the Muglins, it was the closest of close fetches on starboard tack.

And though Race Officer Con Murphy then put a marked bias on the line to encourage people not to crowd in on the Committee Boat, the testosterone-fuelled racers setting up to get to Kerry just as fast and as soon as they could crowded towards the Committee Boat like crazed bees around a honey pot.

dingle start2Animal spirits rampant. Still about 35 seconds to go to the start, but those boats (left) are coming in far too fast with no-one easing up.........Photo: W M NixonDun Laoghaire Dingle Race Start....as seen from the pin end...Photo: Afloat.ie

dingle start3Soon the madness spreads and everyone is going for the line......Photo: W M Nixon
dingle start4.......and this is the scene with five seconds still to go to the start. Photo: W M Nixon

D2D Race Start 2017And they're off.....National Yacht Club Commodore Ronan Beirne spots the line from the NYC pin end RIB. Eamonn Crosbie's Pamela, IRL 5503, the largest yacht in the Dingle Race, makes a great start at the leeward end Photo: Afloat.ie Or at least that’s how it seemed from the Committee Boat itself. In a fleet of 43 boats, there were of course plenty of reasonable souls making civilized starts further down the line. But it was such a close fetch to shape your course right on the Muglins that the hottest competition couldn’t resist the temptation to take every bit of weathering that they could at the start.

The result was that a herd of marauding bulls came charging in, but they were going to be about ten seconds early, yet nobody seemed to be able to do a damn thing about it until a certain 44–footer realized the only option was to bear off and sail down the line as though this was normal procedure. Most of the fleet being smaller craft, those in the immediate vicinity gave way, albeit with wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Out of one sailor’s adversity comes another’s advantage, and though Stephen Quinn and Dave Cotter in the sweet little J/97 Lambay Rules, racing in the Two-handed Division, were all in order to make a proper and perfect start, some other bigger fully-crewed machine rolled over them and down across their bows, stitching up Lambay Rules good and proper.

But the canny old salts on Ian Hickey’s veteran Granada 38 Cavatina sensed that a gap was going to appear out of nowhere, Lambay Rules’ undoing was their advantage, and they swept through the gap to make the best start in the fleet.

As that seasoned observer of Dublin Bay sailing Ian Meldon drily remarked: “That was a vigorous start”. And with a beat in prospect from the Muglins at least to the Fastnet Rock, the kerfuffles of the start were soon put astern and people settled down to serious racing.

Wow Farr 42Early leader – George Sisk's Wow, a Farr 42, lead the fleet out of Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat.ie

Once the Muglins were passed, some boats made the curious decision to continue on starboard tack on out into the strongest line of the new north-going flood. But with further veering of the wind expected, it was Paul O’Higgins JPK10.80 Rockabill VI which first took the seemingly logical decision to tack inshore, with Derek Martin’s First 44.7 Lively Lady and George Sisk’s Farr 42 WOW going with her.

Yachts at Muglins Rock Dublin BayThe Spirit 54 Soufriere (Stephen O'Flaherty) leads a group of boats passed the Muglins with Mojito (Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox), Cavatina (Ian Hickey) and Lambay Rules (Stephen Quinn) all leaving Dublin Bay together Photo: Afloat.ie

Yet the more you hug the shore, the flukier the winds might be. And as midnight nears, the leaders are in the tricky situation of approaching the hyper-strong foul tide in the vicinity of Wicklow Head. But WOW has been sailing a blinder, skilfully staying sufficiently clear enough of Bray Head to avoid its notorious flat spots, yet working the land from Greystones southward to such good effect that she leads on corrected time with Lively Lady second, Andrew Algeo’s Juggerknot the best of the J/109s in third, and Rockabill VI fourth.

Athough two larger J Boats didn’t make the start, we’ve even more J/109s than were officially listed. For although he and all his crew knew that of course Stephen Tudor and the 2016 ISORA Champion Sgrech knew they were doing the Dingle race, it seems they omitted to tell the organisers. But they’re in there anyway, battling as usual with sister-ship and clubmate Mojito (Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox).

ian meldon and stephen tudor5“But surely you just knew we’d be racing to Dingle?” Very late entrant Stephen Tudor (right) with Ian Meldon of the National YC Photo: W M Nixon

Race tracker here

Published in Dun Laoghaire Dingle

Even with leading contenders Aurelia (J/122) and Jacana (J/115) scratching (the former with rigging problems, the latter with logistics difficulties), J/Boats still might have it all the way in the remaining fleet of 43 boats in the National YC’s 275-mile Volvo Dun Laoghaire-Dingle Race, which starts this evening off the East Pier at 1900hrs writes W M Nixon.

After all, in 2015 it was J/Boats filling most of the top six places, with the J/109 Ruth (Shanahan family) taking it by twenty minutes from sister ship Mojito (Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox). So far in the 2017 season, Mojito has been the Irish Sea pace-setter, so she has to be seen as the smart money bet.

Against that, Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI is safely back in her home port of Dun Laoghaire after a fast incident-free passage returning from the ICRA Nats in Crosshaven, where she’d showed steadily improving performance. We have to remember that she was overall winner of ISORA’s first all-feet cross-channel race last month, so never under-estimate a JPK 10.80 – they specialise in surprises.

Rockabill VI yacht isoraRockabill VI – the JPK 10.80 is a recent ISORA cross channel winner. Photo: Afloat.ie

The J/Boat dominance continues into the 11-strong Two-Handed Division, where defending champions Colm Buckley and Simon Knowles have upped their game from the Elan 340 Blue Eyes to the J/109 Indian. They won the ISORA Dun Laoghaire-Arklow Race in Indian fully crewed, so they have good form, but ironically their closest competition may come from Howth clubmates Stephen Quinn and Dave Cotter racing the significantly smaller J/97 Lambay Rules, which has been one of Irish offshore racing’s most consistently successful performers at home and abroad for a couple of seasons.

Inevitably, though, with the wind veering steadily during the course of the race, the fastest front runners will be favoured, as they may find they get to crucial headlands while it is still just possible to lay the course direct to the next headland, whereas it looks as though the little ’uns will be slugging it out to windward just about every inch of the way.

And there’s no doubt that “slugging” will be the operative word. Writing this at noon on Wednesday, the wind is still moderate to fresh southerly in the Irish Sea, while the Dublin Bay effect means there’s a strong touch of east in the breeze off Dun Laoghaire to make for a distinctly rumbly sea.

But just at start time, a veering is forecast with an untable gusty front coming through to switch the underlying wind to sou’sou’west. While this may see the average wind speed at a manageable 15 mph, it will make for harder work for crews, as the gusts will see the top strengths rocket up to 25 and even 30-32 mph.

On top of that, the ebb tide will be running south for no more than a couple of hours after the start, and much less at some locations. So it could well be that some crews will get to know what an accursed place Bray Head can be when the unstable wind is beginning to acquire an offshore element, and you’re trying to get inshore and best-placed to deal with a foul tide.

And all that within hours of the start. It has all the makings of quite a rugged race, and those who make the already legendary Prize Giving Party in Benner’s Hotel on Saturday night in the heart of Dingle will have certainly earned it.

By that time, however, better weather will have settled in, and the challenging conditions of Wednesday night and Thursday will be fading behind memories of finishing in summery conditions.

Race tracker here

Published in Dun Laoghaire Dingle

A 43–boat fleet are expecting an upwind start and winds gusting to 25–knots for tonight's 7pm Dun Laoghaire–Dingle Race at the National Yacht Club.

At start time, winds are expected to shift from a southerly to a south westerly direction and increase in what looks like an unstable front. Gusts are expected up to 30–knots tonight on the east coast. Winds are expected to go westerly tomorrow for the 275–mile race to County Kerry.

Xc weather D2DXC weather's forecast for tonight's D2D race from Dun Laoghaire

The record entry fleet of 45 is down by two boats that have withdrawn. Royal St. George's J122 Aurelia, a top ISORA performer, has pulled out due to rig problems and another J-boat, the Carrickfergus–based J133 Spirit of Jacana was delayed in getting to Dun Laoghaire due to weather. 

Aurelia J122Rig problems have forced Chris Power–Smith's J122 Aurelia out of the race

At the National Yacht Club HQ, the Royal Ocean Racing Club has given input into race Sailing Instructions with a view to standardising documentation prior to the Dun Laoghaire–Dingle Race's incorporation into the RORC calendar for 2019

The RORC's Janet Grosvenor and Commodore Michael Boyd (the weekend winner of the RORC's Morgan Cup race) will be in Dun Laoghaire to observe tonight's departure.

Read the full race preview by WM Nixon here.  

Read also: 

Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race Tracker

Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race Form Guide: D2D Could Be Another J/Boats Triumph

Five Reasons Why Volvo 'D2D' is The Perfect Mini-Offshore Race

Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race Entry 'Exceeds all Expectations'

Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Yacht Race Gets National Yacht Club Turbo Power

WM Nixon will be posting regular race updates on Afloat.ie here

Published in Dun Laoghaire Dingle

It started in 1993 as a gentler (it was hoped) biennial alternative to the Round Ireland Race, with the 275-mile Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race being the brainchild of Martin Crotty and Peter Cullen of the National Yacht Club writes W M Nixon.

They’d been forced to run back to the shelter of Dingle – a port they didn’t know at all until then – after their mainsail on the Sigma 41 Koala had disintegrated during a ferocious beat northward off the Clare coast during the 1992 Round Ireland Race. In Dingle, they found the perfect port-town for recovery, and a warm welcome which got them thinking it would make the ideal venue for a cruiser-racer event starting at their own club in Dun Laoghaire.

They didn’t let the grass grow under their feet, with the first Dingle Race staged in June 1993. But the thinking behind it was that this was primarily a convenient way to get comfortable performance-cruisers to the sacred cruising territories of southwest Ireland as rapidly as possible, adding to the entertainment by turning the long haul to West Kerry into a bit of sport.

national yacht club2The National Yacht Club’s special corner in Dun Laoghaire harbour provides an ideal setting for the pre-race buzz before the fleet sails out, bound for Dingle

Certainly there has always been a significant contingent of cruising-oriented performance sailors in the fleet. But right from the off, the event’s attraction as a serious race was obviously the reason for many of the competitors’ presence, and the first winner was Richard Burrows’ Sigma 36 Black Pepper with a crew including such noted talents as Robert Dix and Peter Wilson.

Moonduster racing2When Denis Doyle’s Moonduster first did the biennial Dingle Race in 1994, it became a pillar of the Irish sailing programme

Then for 1994’s edition, Denis Doyle appeared from Cork to race the mighty Moonduster to Dingle, and it was clear the event had arrived. Since then, like all Irish sailing it has had its ups and with the rise and fall and rise again of the Irish economy. But there’s no doubting that 2015’s staging showed an event regaining full health. It put out a fleet of 30 with line honours being taken by the Cookson 50 Lee Overlay Partner (Adrian Lee, RStGYC) ahead of the Fast 40+ Antix (Anthony O’Leary, Royal Cork YC,) while the corrected time battle was won by the Shanahan family’s J/109 Ruth (NYC) by just 20 minutes from sister-ship Mojito (Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox, Pwllheli SC).

Having brought his race back to full health, Martin Crotty signalled his hopes of standing down from the central organisational role. But before doing so, he made sure he’d the ideal person to succeed him in the person of leading NYC clubmate Adam Winkelmann. For 2017, Winkelmann has taken an already great event and given it turbo power on the sponsorship side by making it the Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race. It’s now recognised by ISORA (who are providing the trackers), it is being appraised this time round for inclusion in future RORC programmes, and with 45 very varied boats down to start the race next Wednesday evening (June 14th, 1900hrs) off the Dun Laoghaire pierheads, the dash to Dingle has entered the big time with a 50% increase in participants.

adam winkelmann12Given a strong brand to manage with the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race, Adam Winkelmann has seen entries in the Volvo-sponsored event increase by 50% for 2017’s edition. Photo: Michael Chester

As for the fleet, the only significant absentees from 2015 are the two former contenders for line honours, Lee Overlay Partners and Antix. There are many new boats in the mix, and the winners on corrected time are in there too, notably overall winner Ruth and runner-up Mojito.

There is also a significant two-handed division with eleven boats entered, while the fleet is further spiced up by the presence of three Mini Transat 650s which will be racing to Dingle as an event within the event. At the other extremity, the Dingle race even has its first gaff-rigged entry, Darryl Hughes’s 43ft 1937 Tyrrell of Arklow-built Maybird. She’s able to race thanks to there being a division for Progressive ECHO. And before you dismiss her chances, bear it in mind that at the end of the long leg from the start to the Arklow Buoy in the recent ISORA Dun Laoghaire-Arklow Race, Maybird was leading the fleet on ECHO CT at the turn. So they’ll be hoping for a lot of reaching to ease their progress along the coast, and their main hope is to be in Dingle by Saturday (June 17th) in time for the Dingle Race’s very special prize-giving.

Maybird ISORA 2As part of the celebrations for her 80th birthday, the 1937-built classic Maybird will be racing to Dingle, the first gaff-rigged entry in the event’s 24-year history Photo: Afloat.ie

Overall, the sensible money would have to be on the J/109s, but although Ruth is in the entry lists and is very much the defending champion, she and her crew have been quiet enough in the 2017 season so far, while overall after five ISORA races the fleet leader is Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox’s Mojito, which must make her favourite for the new Volvo Trophy for the overall winner.

But hold hard. The Entry List also includes Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.80 Rockabil VI. She may rate higher than the J/109s (she’s 1.051 to the 1.015 of Ruth), but experience shows that in a variety of conditions, Rockabill VI can overcome that disadvantage, and a 275 miles race along a hugely varied (and rather magnificent) coastline will almost inevitably serve up a wide variety of conditions.

Mojito yacht isoraThe J/109 Mojito, runner-up in the Dingle Race of 2015, is currently topping the ISORA points table as she lines up to race to Dingle again

In the current spell of hyper-unsettled weather, there’s a lot of guessing in telling what that wide variety of conditions might be some four days hence, but all predictions seem to agree in having the words southwest and west in their wind direction forecasts, so at this juncture we’ll just leave it at that and focus up again nearer the time.

Meanwhile, the fleet has enough able boats to deal with all and any conditions, a welcome re-appearance in the Dublin Bay area being the Douglas brothers from Carrickfergus with their J/133 Jacana, which in her day has been the top Irish performer in the Fastnet Race as well as having Round Ireland credentials.

But if it’s Round Ireland and Fastnet Race credentials you seek, few can match Ian Hickey’s veteran Granada 38 Cavatina from Cork, which on an IRC Rating of 0.930 can just keep plodding along at best possible speed, and suddenly she emerges as overall winner.

cavatina racing7Ian Hickey’s veteran Granada 38 Cavatina from Royal Cork – a “serial Round Ireland winner” – will always have to be factored into the calculations for the Volvo Dun Laoghaire-Dingle race

Other proven craft which are always there ready to pounce include George Sisk’s Farr 42 WOW, Chris and Patanne Power Smith’s J122 Aurelia (RStGYC), and Andrew Algeo’s J/109 Juggerknot, while the interesting Sailing School side of things is represented both by Fastnet Race class winner Ronan O Siochru with Irish Offshore Sailing’s Jeanneau 37 Desert Star, and Kenneth Rumball of Irish National Sailing School with the J/109 Jedi.

The three Mini 650s are Gildas Bechet’s Dingo 1 from Malahide, and two from the west – Yannick Lemonnier and Dan Mill with Port of Galway Green (they’re racing for Aran Sailing Club), and Port of Galway Black (Marcus Ryan & Louis Mulloy of Mayo SC).

dingo1 mini8The Mini 650 Dingo I from Malahide will be one of three Minis racing to Dingle as a separate class

Yannick lemonnier Dan millsDan Mill (right) and Yannick Lemonnier will race together on the Mini 650 Port of Galway Green

With all due respects to the other competitors, most observers will find a special fascination in the two-handed division, which is as motley a selection of boats and people as you could find in any Irish sailing event.

Yet it has real credibility in that it includes former winners of the two handed class in the Round Ireland – that’s father and son crew of Derek and Conor Dillon from Foynes YC with the Dehler 34 Big Deal, which won in the circuit in 2014. And also taking part are the winners of the admittedly then smaller two-handed division in the 2015 Dingle Race, Colm Buckley and Simon Knowles of Howth. In 2015, they raced the Elan 340 Blue Eyes to Dingle with success, this time round they’ve their recently-acquired J/109 Indian, which made an impressive debut by winning the ISORA Dun Laoghaire-Arklow Race three weeks ago.

blue eyes10The Elan 340 Blue Eyes (left) getting clear after the start of the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race 2015, in which she won the two-Handed Division for Colm Buckley and Simon Knowles. This year they’re racing two-handed again, but in the newly-acquired J/109 Indian. Photo: W M Nixon

But for a real track record in racing two-handed in Irish waters, no-one can match Eamonn Crosbie (RIYC/NYC) who has entered this division in the D2D with his impressive Ron Holland-designed Discovery 55 Pamela. Eamonn Crosbie sailed the first round Ireland race ever, a three-stage two-handed event, from Ballyholme in 1975 with the late Jim Poole in a Ruffian 23. Later, he went on to win the Round Ireland overall in a fully-crewed Ker 32. But now his boat style has changed completely, and he should find some comfort in racing a 55-footer to Dingle, as she’s the biggest boat in the race.

discovery 55 crosby.11Profile drawing of the Discovery 55 by Ron Holland. This will be the largest yacht in the Dingle Race, skippered in the two-handed division by Eamonn Crosbie

The second-biggest in terms of overall length is also in the two-handed division, this is Stephen O’Flaherty’s Sprit 54 Soufriere, which may seem a lot of boat to race two-up, but he and his shipmate David Cagney have already achieved a podium place racing Soufriere in the two-handed event at Howth, so they know what they’re taking on.

At other times and events, the two of them are on the crew strength of Stephen Quinn’s successful J/97 Lambay Rules, but for the race to Dingle the little J boat will also be going two-handed, with Stephen Quinn sailing with Dave Cotter in what will inevitably be a uniquely mis-matched needle contest with Soufriere, as Lambay Rules rates 0.971 to the 1.120 of Soufriere

spirit54 soufriere12Stephen O’Flaherty’s Spirit 54 Soufriere is usually very fully crewed, but she’s racing in the two-handed division to Dingle next Wednesday. Photo: W M Nixon

Such personal contests and many others will be found as the fleet makes its way southward from Dublin Bay next Wednesday evening along a fascinating course which has just about everything. It’s a marvellous event, and while the prize giving at the conclusion in Benner’s Hotel in the heart of Dingle will be epic, the pre-race atmosphere at the National YC on Wednesday afternoon and evening will be something very special too.

The location of the hospitable club in its own attractive corner of Dun Laoghaire’s mighty harbour lends itself well to building up the pre-race buzz, but you definitely have to be there to fully appreciate it.

Full entry list here:

Class Boat Name Boat Manufacturer - Model Sail Number IRC TCF Skipper Sailing Club

2-handed AJ Wanderlust Jeanneau 45.2 Sun Odyssey IOM 8931 R 0.990 Charlene Howard Douglas Bay Yacht Club

2-handed Big Deal Dehler 34 IRL3492 0.922 Derek Dillon Foynes Yacht Club

2-handed Indian J109 1543 1.011 Colm Buckley Howth Yacht Club

2-handed Lambay Rules J 97 IRL 9970 0.971 Stephen Quinn Howth Yacht Club

2-handed LOBSTER Two Ton Dubois IRL 7077 1.101 Gary Horgan Kinsale Yacht Club

2-handed Pamela Discovery 55 IRL5503 1.082 Eamon Crosbie RIYC/NYC

2-handed Prima Luce Beneteau First 35 IRL 3504 1.017 Sean Lemass, and Patrick Burke National Yacht Club, and Royal Irish Yacht Club

2-handed Soufriere Spirit 54 IRL 1974 1.120 Stephen O'Flaherty Howth

Cruiser ACT Two DuFour 425 IRL4250 1.004 Tom Michael David Roche O'Leary Andrews RIYC

Cruiser Birmayne Bruce Roberts IRL 756 0.000 Justin McKenna RSGYC

Cruiser Fulmar Fever Westerly Fulmar FR 14 0.869 Robert Marchant W.H.S.C.

Cruiser Golden Fleece Sigma 41 IRL51215 0.800 Barry Cunningham RIYC

Cruiser Harriet Marwood Farrow & Chambers, Collins 40 Tandem Keel GBR3556L 0.984 Bryan Mullarkey Holyhead Sailing Club

Cruiser Lady Rowena Sadler IRL34218 0.905 David Bolger Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Cruiser Maybird Shepherd design built by Jack Terrell in 1937 GBR 644R 0.910 Darryl Hughes Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club

Cruiser Oystercatcher Dufour IRL 1177 0.932 Brian Hett Greystones

Cruiser Pipedreamer VI Dufour 40 GBR 2271L 1.020 Paul Sutton Holyhead Sailing Club

Cruiser Thisbe Nicholson 32 IRL 1530 0.849 Jim Schofield Poolbeg Boat Club

Mini 6.50 Gemo Mini 650 Dingo 1 FR 699 1.000 Gildas BECHET Malahide Marina

Mini 6.50 Port of Galway Black Mini 6.50/ Proto 303 1.000 Marcus Ryan Louis Mulloy Mayo Sailing Clu

Mini 6.50 Port of Galway Green Mini Transat 6.5 Proto IRL78 1.000 Yannick Lemonnier / Dan Mill Aran Sailing Club

Racing aquelina J-112E IRL 1507 1.054 Sheila/James Tyrrell arklow sailing clab

Racing Aurelia J Boats IRL35950 1.077 Chris & Patanne Power Smith RSGYC RORC

Racing Cavatina Granada 38 IRL3861 0.930 Ian Hickey Royal Cork YC

Racing Elandra SIgma 33 IRL 4536 0.914 Joe Conway RIYC

Racing EOS X 362 SPORT IRL 6695 1.018 CIAN MC CARTHY KINSALE YACHT CLUB

Racing IOS Desert Star Jeanneau irl 1397 0.970 Ronan O Siochru Royal St. George Yacht Club

Racing Jedi J109 IRL 8088 1.008 Kenneth Rumball Irish National Sailing Club

Racing Juggerknot J/109 IRL 3660 1.016 Andrew Algeo RIYC / Baltimore SC

Racing Kalamar Beneteau 31.7 IRL3171 0.948 Roberto Sastre NYC

Racing Lively Lady Beneteau First 44.7 IRL1644 1.105 Derek Martin RIYC

Racing Lula Belle Beneteau 36.7 IRL 3607 0.991 Liam Coyne Wicklow

Racing Mojito J/109 GBR0947R 1.010 Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox Pwllheli SC

Racing Platinum Blonde Beneteau 35 First IRL 3516 1.019 Pau Egan RSGYC

Racing Red Alert Jeanneau---JOD35 IRL6036 1.001 Rupert Barry Greystone Sailing Club

Racing Rockabill VI JPK 10.80IRL IRL 10800 1.051 Paul O'Higgins RIYC

Racing Ruth J/109 IRL 1383 1.015 Shanahan Family National Yacht Club

Racing Sgrech J109 GBR9319R 1.011 Stephen Tudor Pwllheli Sailing Club - Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club

Racing Spirit of Jacana J133 IRL1335 1.103 Alan, Bruce and James Douglas Carrickfergus Sailing Club

Racing Springer Sigma 33 (Marine Projects) IRL 4464 0.914 Ian Bowring RStGYC

Racing Thalia Sigma 400 IRL733 1.035 Mick Flynn NYC

Racing Wakey Wakey J109 GBR5909R 1.014 Roger Smith Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club

Racing White Tiger Beneteau First 44.7 IRL4470 1.112 Tony O'Brien Kinsale Yacht Club

Racing Windshift Sunfast 37 37737 0.985 Brendan Coghlan Royal St George

Racing WOW Austral Yachts IRL4208 1.123 George Sisk RIYC

Click for all the latest Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race News

Published in W M Nixon

On a cloudy grey evening there was again a good turnout of 17 Flying Fifteens in the DBSC Series but all was not as it seemed as we sailed out in a force 4 westerly breeze writes our Flying Fifteen Correspondent. PRO Jack Roy was as confused as the rest of us and warned the fleet that anything could happen as the forecasted wind was from the south.

The fleet set of with just a individual recall and Balfe and Colin were quickest off the line, the fleet split with a group heading to the shore out of the tide, or so they thought, and the rest going to the right where there was a little more breeze. Balfe led at the weather mark from Colin, the first seven boats had a good lead with Mitchel, Doyle, Dooley and Green amongst them. Colin had the lead by the third mark Poldy but it was nip and tuck with Balfe on the challenging beat into Bay mark.

Meanwhile Doyle and Green who went closest to the shore out of the tide were in third and fourth spot with Mitchel fifth. On the way to East and the finish it all got a bit messy with the wind not knowing what it was doing. Balfe perservered and was looking good to finish first as Colin had disappeared, but Doyle and Green were more to ‘weather’ and were drifting faster, Green took the lead briefly but had to tack but Doyle continued to take the gun, apparently his first ever gun in a Flying Fifteen Dublin Bay race! Green finished second with Balfe third as they neared the 9pm time limit.

Most boats had gone home retired but those who hadn’t were now timed out. Thanks to Jack Roy and his team for an interesting evening on the Bay!

Published in Flying Fifteen

National Yacht Club Member John Chambers is the Waszp foiling boat agent for Ireland. Chambers, a pioneering Irish Moth sailor at the Dun Laoghaire club is to organise demo and clinic days for  NYC members.

The Waszp project was conceived in 2010 by Andrew McDougall, designer of the world beating Mach 2 foiling Moth.

The Moth is a racing boat with very few rules and therefore has developed into a boat that is beautiful to sail on the water, but not the answer to everyone’s requirements for a sailing dinghy.

The concept was for a foiler similar to a Moth, but answered all the sticking points that stop people buying a Moth.

 

 

 

Published in Moth

Fifty years of enthusiastic service to Irish and international sailing were celebrated in the National Yacht Club at the weekend with a two day event to mark the Golden Jubilee of the Junior Sailing Section in the club writes W M Nixon.

In fact, Carmel Winkelmann, the star of the show, has given much more than fifty years of service to our sport. But it just so happens that when Olympic sailor Johnny Hooper persuaded his fellow NYC members in the Autumn of 1966 that they needed to build a class of Optimist dinghies to cater more directly for the encouragement of their junior sailors, it was abundantly clear that the person to steer the new Junior Section through its formative years from 1967 onwards was the forthright, determined and ever-energetic Carmel Winkelmann, who was already a significant presence – and then some – in the club.

oppie golden2Oppies for ever! Ann Kirwan (left) and Dean McElree racing boats of a type they hadn’t been in for quite some time off the National YC on Sunday

oppie golden3Are the old choppers still up to it? Paddy Boyd re-learning the technique of holding the mainsheet in your teeth.

oppie golden3Gordon Douglas (left) and Ann Kirwan settling into some quite serious racing.

The result was a programme from which the Junior Sailing Syllabus for the entire country developed and evolved. But time has passed so quickly since, with the National YC and many other clubs seeing their rising young stars encouraged to fresh levels of international success, that there was a danger that the Golden Jubilee of it all at the NYC in May 2017 might simply slip by unnoticed.

oppie golden3Paul Kirwan (left) and Paddy Boyd (right), with the latter giving every sign of getting the trim just right

oppie golden3Gordon Douglas left) and Dean McElree

Happily, however, those who benefitted most fully from their time in the programme over the years as it has been reeled out season after season, people such as Ann Kirwan and Paddy Boyd, were keen that the Golden Jubilee should be given total turbo-power, with the Person of Honour (for you can’t be a Guest of Honour in your own beloved club) being Carmel Winkelmann herself.

With the encouragement of NYC Commodore Ronan Beirne, they set up a fun-filled celebratory dinner last Saturday night which attracted an impressive range of “graduates” from over the years. Most heartening of all, the gathering included some keen young people who had emerged from some of the most recent batches, which was inter-generational enthusiasm of a high order.

oppie golden3Paddy Boyd and Michael Horgan Jnr with a bit of bite to the breeze

Carmel herself made a marvellous no-holds-barred speech to set the tone of the evening and night. And then on Sunday, an eclectic collection of graduates – some from a very long time ago indeed – gathered to race in a brisk enough breeze in trainee Optimists (quite a tight fit in some cases) generously provided by Alistair Rumball of the Irish National Sailing School.

And the result? Everybody won. It’s as simple as that.

oppie golden3Ann Kirwan comes to the weather mark, well settled back into Optimist racing by this stage

Published in National YC

The interest and resulting entry for the Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle D2D Race has exceeded all our expectations, writes race organiser Adam Winkelmann.

We now have 39 confirmed entries and expect to have close to 45 boats on the start line on Wednesday June 14th. Janet Grosvenor from RORC will be here to observe the start on June 14th and race management procedures with a view to our ambition to be a RORC endorsed race in 2019. I think with these numbers we are on a good path to that. There is no doubt that the resurgence in ISORA has been a significant factor in the growth and composition of the racing class. By adding RORC in the future we can expect other boats to enter to qualify their crew for the Fastnet Race later in the same year.

We have had a very positive reaction from sailors to our revised schedule of a Wednesday evening start and a Prizegiving Party in Benners Hotel in Dingle on Saturday June 17th. We have included a time limit of 18.00hrs on Saturday in the Sailing Instructions to ensure that we can proceed with prizes later that evening. This facilitates the sailors crew planning for a return to Sovereigns Cup or to work on Monday! We will be giving each boat a crate of Crean’s Beer on arrival in Dingle. Many boats have also booked accommodation with our long term partner the Dingle Skelligs Hotel and no doubt much of the post race analysis will take place in the bar there.

We are looking forward greatly to the start from the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire on June 14th at 19.00hrs (starting area in Scotsmans Bay) and encourage as many as want to come out either on the pier or in boats to wave the fleet off on its journey. Yellow Brick tracking of the race will be available so families and supporters can follow the race from start to finish. If the crews bring the trackers to the pub with them as happened last time you will even be able to locate them there!

UPDATE: Comment From Sgrech skipper Stephen Tudor:

Sgrech is committed to the 'D2D' classic offshore race and will be on the starting line on June 14th.
The race provides offshore challenges at 270 miles but also some of the most spectacular scenery from the start in Dublin Bay, southwards down the banks along the east coast of Ireland, Tuskar Rock Light with her South Hen and Chickens. Along the south coast to Fastnet and onwards into the Atlantic.
The next corner the Bull, The Cow and The Calf - spectacular and it does look like a bull.
Next the Great Skellig - truly magnificent but watch out for the Washerwoman Rock - she is vicious!
Then north east to Dingle, the welcome from Fungie the resident dolphin.
Then there is Dingle - a fantastic destination and the high street pubs worth a visit before a party and a gentle cruise home! - Classic join us.

ISORA Chairman Peter Ryan adds: After the Round Ireland Race, it is one of the best offshore races in these waters. After the race, nothing matches the craic in Dingle.

Class divisions breakdown as follows: 

11 Cruiser Class
3 Mini 650 Class
5 2 Handed Class
19 Racing Class

39 D2D entries to date are below: 

ACT Two

DuFour 425

IRL4250

Cruiser

AJ Wanderlust

Jeanneau 45.2 Sun Odyssey

IOM 8931 R

2-handed

aquelina

J-112E

IRL 1507

Racing

Aurelia

J Boats

IRL35950

Racing

Birmayne

Bruce Roberts

IRL 756

Cruiser

Cavatina

Granada 38

IRL3861

Racing

Elandra

SIgma 33

IRL 4536

Racing

EOS

X 362 SPORT

IRL 6695

Racing

Fulmar Fever

Westerly Fulmar

FR 14

Cruiser

Gemo

Mini 650 Dingo 1

FR 699

2-handed

Golden Fleece

Sigma 41

IRL51215

Cruiser

Harriet Marwood

Farrow & Chambers,   Collins 40 Tandem Keel

GBR3556L

Cruiser

Indian

J109

1543

2-handed

IOS Desert Star

Jeanneau

irl 1397

Racing

Jedi

J109

IRL 8088

Racing

Juggerknot

J/109

IRL 3660

Racing

Lady Rowena

Sadler

IRL34218

Cruiser

Lively Lady

Beneteau First 44.7

IRL1644

Racing

LOBSTER

Two Ton Dubois

IRL 7077

2-handed

Maybird

Shepherd design built by Jack Terrell in 1937

GBR 644R

Cruiser

Mojito

J/109

GBR0947R

Racing

Oystercatcher

Dufour

IRL 1177

Cruiser

Pamela

Discovery 55

IRL5503

Cruiser

Pipedreamer VI

Dufour 40

GBR 2271L

Cruiser

Platinum Blonde

Beneteau 35 First

IRL 3516

Racing

Port of Galway Black

Mini 6.50/ Proto

303

2-handed

Port of Galway Green

Mini Transat 6.5 Proto

IRL78

2-handed

Prima Luce

Beneteau First 35

IRL 3504

2-handed

Rockabill VI

JPK 10.80IRL

IRL 10800

Racing

Ruth

J/109

IRL 1383

Racing

Soufriere

Spirit 54

IRL 1974

2-handed

Spirit of Jacana

J133

IRL1335

Racing

Thalia

Sigma 400

IRL733

Racing

Thisbe

Nicholson 32

IRL 1530

Cruiser

Wakey Wakey

J109

GBR5909R

Racing

White Tiger

Beneteau First 44.7

IRL4470

Racing

Windshift

Sunfast 37

37737

Racing

WOW

Austral Yachts

IRL4208

Racing

 

Published in Dun Laoghaire Dingle

As Annalise Murphy prepares her campaign for Gold at Tokyo 2020, the National Yacht Club Olympic Silver Medalist has shared a 'day in her life video' training around Dublin Bay.

Three hours on the water with boat handling, speed testing and race practice and video analysis, she follows it with a 63–km endurance bike ride in the afternoon. See video below.

Published in Annalise Murphy

After the accelerating build-up to Olympic Medal success throughout the summer of 2016, there was hope in some sections of the Irish sailing community that the mood of 2017 might be different in pace. Tokyo 2020 still seemed very far away to everyone except the most dedicated Olympians. There appeared to be a feeling that 2017 should be the year for everyone else, and particularly for those who yearned for a less competitive enjoyment of boats and sailing. W M Nixon takes stock.

Once upon a time, we had seasons. Sailing wasn’t 12 months of the year, let alone 24/7. On the contrary, there were the rare old times of Opening Days and Closing Days (we’re talking annual sailing programmes here, not pubs), and Launching Suppers and Hauling Up Suppers and whatever, and not a sail to be seen at Christmas except for the rare oddball whose very rarity underlined the unusual nature of such a sight in the dead of winter.

But now we have wetsuits, and the effectively year-round programme at many sailing centres – in my own club at Howth, for instance, it has been continuous since April 1974 thanks to that Autumn’s introduction of the Frostbite series for the then new-fangled Lasers. And if you’re not actually out sailing yourself, there’s the means of keeping up with those who are, a classic case being the following of the tracker for this past week’s 500-mile Mini-en-Mai race by Tom Dolan, which had certain goggle-eyed adherents clicking-in at ungodly hours of the night to see how our man was doing.

It was a race being sailed at a flat-out pace and a level of concentration - despite a sleep-deprived physical and mental state – beyond the comprehension of most of the rest of us. Good luck to those who feel drawn to it personally, and can do it. But today, there’s an ISORA race from Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire under way that is catering for all levels of involvement and commitment, and it has attracted a worthwhile starting line-up of 31 boats, encouraged by the welcoming efforts of ISORA Commodore Peter Ryan and his team.

holyhead harbour2Holyhead Harbour as sailing people know it – not as a utilitarian ferry port, but as a pleasant corner called Porth-y-Fellyn where there’s a sailing club, marina and boatyard

The word on the waterfront is that hyper-racers – people who expect three or four windward/leeward races per day at an intensely-run regatta – tend to dismiss this growing contemporary trend back towards classic Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association courses as sailing for people who can’t hack it in the frequent cut-and-thrust of artificial courses. But that’s to take a “one size fits all” attitude to sailing. If there’s one indisputable feature about our sometimes very odd sport, it’s the variety of the people involved in it – and that’s before you even consider the different type of boats.

On top of that, not only are there people who can get all their sailing enjoyment without needing to race at all, but there are grades of dedication in competition in sailing. This was particularly apparent a couple of years ago down at Dromineer on Lough Derg, when classes of Dragons, Flying Fifteens and Squibs descended on the place for the annual end-of-season Freshwater Challenge in October.

squibs dromineer3
Top Squibs from all over Ireland gearing themselves up for two days of intensive racing at Dromineer. But it emerged that for many of the local fleet, they weren’t into this sort of thing at all. Photo: Gareth Craig

There was an impressive fleet of top Squibs from all over Ireland out racing like fury on the lake. But there was also a substantial number of local Squibs that stayed in their berths. And it emerged that they hadn’t even entered the event in the first place. It seems that the Dromineer Squibs had been bought by people who saw them as handy and surprisingly comfortable little boats in which you could take the children, or more likely the grandchildren, out for a fun sail. And maybe you and a friend could do the occasional gentle summer’s evening club race for a bit of sociability. But the idea of committing to a frantic weekend of top competition was anathema.

Now while we’re not suggesting that the 31 boats which will be starting this morning in the ISORA Holyhead to Howth Race include a significant sector which are anti-competition, nevertheless there’s a distinctly relaxed atmosphere in some of the fleet in the knowledge that their abilities will be recognized by the use of Progressive ECHO handicap in tandem with the ruthless calculations of IRC.

The Number-Cruncher-in-Chief, Denis Kiely of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association, set to during the winter in his lair in Kinsale and ran the figures from all last year’s ISORA racing through his mincer to come up with an ECHO handicap (which is performance based) for boats of all kinds, and these figures were available to get things going this year.

inss cruiser racers4The Irish National Sailing School’s keelboat fleet includes (left to right) the Reflex 38 Lynx, the Elan Beaufort, and the J/109 Jedi which is doing today’s cross-channel race.
Thus we find that a boat like the Kenneth Rumball-skippered J/109 Jedi from the Irish National Sailing School in Dun Laoghaire is racing today on an IRC of 1.010 while her ECHO is 1.075, but against that the majestic Nicholson 58 Rebellion (John Hughes) has an IRC of 1.056, but her ECHO is only 0.999.

With Progressive ECHO, it’s a flexible figure which encourages regular participation, for if you’ve had a bad day at the races, next time out you’ll find your Progressive ECHO has progressed even further southwards.

It all seems too gentle to be worth even thinking about by those whose every thought is competitive. But for those who enjoy settling down for a long haul at sea, with the opportunity to test boat and crew in the gentlest possible manner against other craft, it all has a certain appeal.

ISORA Race3 Entrants5The fleet in today’s race shows interesting comparisons between IRC and Progressive ECHO handicaps. Some have not made the line, including the veteran ketch Maybird, but a late addition not listed is the Sunfast 3600 Bam (Conor Fogerty)
And it will be interesting on several levels, for not only have we boats of a definite cruiser-orientation whose crews are going along because ISORA has gone out of its way to offer the alternative of a developing handicap system which might reward their efforts, but up at the sharp end of the fleet there’ll be some very interesting performance comparisons to be made between hot boats as they race in what looks likely to be quite brisk conditions.

forty shades6Given a chance, she’ll fly – Neal Eatough’s Forty Shades is an M-Tec Open 40.

The expectation is of a fresh to strong sou’westerly which mercifully will back during the day to free the fleet up to lay the course to Dublin Bay, in fact it might free them so much that one of the more interesting newcomers, Neal Eatough’s Open 40 M-Tec Forty Shades, could be across in half a day.

Another boat which will revel in a freeing breeze is Conor Fogerty’s Sunfast 3600 Bam – the Howth skipper is doing it two-handed with clubmate Robert Slator, and he sees the forecast weather pattern as providing them with a real chance.

sunfast3600 bam7Conor Fogerty’s successful Sunfast 3600 Bam! – a class winner in the RORC Caribbean 600 2016 – is a late entry, and he’ll be doing the race two-handed with Robert Slator

Inevitably the smart money will be on Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI, but with no less than six J/109s in the mix, there’ll always be at least one potent representative of this hot class ready to pounce if there’s the slightest let-up in the pace on the JPK 10.80.

One of these J/109s is of course Stephen Tudor’s defending ISORA Overall Champion Sgrech from Pwllheli, a boat which is the very personification of ISORA’s cross-channel community, as her regular crew includes ISORA Commodore Peter Ryan, who is also a former Commodore of the National YC.

Rockabill VI JPK10808Paul O'Higgins JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI is one of the favourites for IRC success. Photo Afloat.ie

As anyone who has ever sailed on one of the Pwllheli boats will know, there’s always a smattering of Welsh spoken among the crew. Aboard Sgrech, says Peter, they speak little else except when they want to curse and swear, when they’ll tell you – with solemn faces – that there are no swear words in Welsh.

“Somehow we understand each other,” says Peter, “but Welsh is so different – not just from English, but from Irish too – that you could sail regularly with them for 45 years and still know very little of this strange tongue that they talk away in all the time”.

Perhaps it’s the underlying camaraderie of the sea which enables the communicational oddity which is Sgrech to be so effective, but then too, the shared enthusiasm of Stephen Tudor and Peter Ryan is infectious, and sometimes it spreads to the entire fleet.

j109 sgrech9Sgrech at full chat. When you’re sailing like this and something goes wrong, then you really do know if there are no swear words in Welsh....

Thus the Commodore of ISORA expected a bit of a party in Holyhead Sailing Club last night notwithstanding the prospect of a windward slug first thing this morning (start was at 0800hrs today, there’s a tracker) and equally, with everyone energised by the day’s freeing wind (DV), he confidently anticipates an even more boisterous gathering in the National tonight.

national yacht club10Welcome home. The National Yacht Club will be the venue for tonight’s post-race party.

The ghost of the great John Illingworth, who did so much for the development of offshore racing in the 1940s, ’50s ’60s and ’70s, would approve, as he thought an offshore race without a good party beforehand and an even better one afterwards was not really a proper offshore race at all. That said, Illingworth’s most famous boat, Myth of Malham, was notorious for her paucity of cleats. When a newcomer to the crew demanded to know where he should cleat the headsails, an old hand told him they didn’t cleat the headsail sheets in the masthead cutter rig, as they trimmed the sails all the time....

myth of malham11Myth of Malham. John Illingworth’s double Fastnet Race overall winner was renowned for her shortage of cleats.

In today’s cross-channel dash, I’ve no doubt there’ll be many boats where sheets are cleated while crews settle down to enjoy the satisfaction of the boat trimmed reasonably well and making progress without the prospect of having to make a lot of irritating tacks before the finish. It’s different strokes for different folks.

Earlier this week I found myself studying a boat which is about as different from what your average ISORA racer expects in a boat as is humanly possible. This is Ian Lipinski’s 8.65 metres Griffon which took overall line honours in the 500-mile Mini-en-Mai at La Trinite at 0508hrs Irish time yesterday morning.

mini griffon12It would be a day’s work for a crew of five to race her- yet Ian Lipinski sails his odd-looking and demanding Proto, the 8.65 metres Griffon, single-handed and he wins too.

Griffon is the current pace-setter in the Proto section (prototypes in other words), and she’s a veritable floating laboratory for every development imaginable, including being at the forefront in the testing of foils. Obviously she’s also showing an aversion to that traditional notion of sweetly hollow waterlines forward, as exemplified by the schooner America. And if you dismiss her forward hull shape as being like a Dutch barge, next time you’re near an International Dragon, take a look at her forward waterlines – you might be surprised.

But the thing that really strikes me about Griffon is the number of tasks that the lone skipper has to perform all on his own to keep this machine at optimum performance. The sailplan alone is a 24/7 challenge, and rig optimization is part of it. Add in two daggerboards whose deployment offers multiple choices. Then you must never forget the ideal positioning of the canting keel in ever-changing circumstances. All that done, you still have to sail and navigate the boat. And if on top of all that you can find time to fire off visual and verbal communications with shore and sponsors, joy is unconfined....

Contrast that with the mood that might prevail aboard one of the heftier and more luxurious contenders in today’s Holyhead-Dun Laoghaire. The boat is nicely in trim, and it’s up to the helmsman to keep her there, and if it’s the autohelm as is now permitted, so be it. Alert as ever, the crew noticed a useful backing of the wind a while back, and sheets were adjusted accordingly and then cleated home. My word, but we’re racing keenly. And can that clock really be right? If so, it’s time for Nooners...

Published in W M Nixon
Page 1 of 21