It’s an interesting thought that some of the individual wooden classic boats which will be making a feature of their vintage origins in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Harbour Bicentenary regatta from July 6th to 9th will actually be quite a bit younger than some of the local glassfibre one design classes such as the Ruffian 23s and Shipman 28s writes W M Nixon.
Both of these date from the 1970s and 1980s, and in the case of the Shipman 28 – most of which were built in Limerick – the total number worldwide is believed to be around 1500. The Shipman 28 provides excellent good-value one-design racing in the bay, but she really is a proper cruiser-racer, and some have logged remarkable voyages too.
However, a class which is only holding steady is always within inches of going onto the back foot, and Shipman Commodore Brendan Finucane and the class’s energetic Honorary Secretary Neil McSherry feel that the current regular turnout of 9 to 12 boats isn’t remotely fulfilling the Shipman 28’s potential.
Dublin Bay sailing being the competitive battleground it is, they’re also always mindful that if numbers start falling towards the dreaded lower limit of just five boats on the line, then the privilege of having their own separate starting signal comes under threat.
They’re a very long way from that, but nevertheless they rightly reckon that expansion is the best way forward, and they’re spreading the word to make the Shipman 28s a lively class using many ideas – including some taken from the healthy Flying Fifteens in the National Yacht Club – but also with this crazy promo which Neil McSherry – a bright lad - put together in 40 minutes on his iPhone. Contact him at [email protected], mobile 086 855 6266.