Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Dublin Bay SC is Mitsubishi Motors 'Sailing Club of the Year' 2021

2nd January 2021
Dublin Bay - playground, workspace, living area and complex ecosystem. With Dublin Port to the left and Dun Laoghaire Harbour on right, the sporting challenges of best utilising Dublin Bay's uniquely balanced potential have been successfully met by Dublin Bay Sailing Club Dublin Bay - playground, workspace, living area and complex ecosystem. With Dublin Port to the left and Dun Laoghaire Harbour on right, the sporting challenges of best utilising Dublin Bay's uniquely balanced potential have been successfully met by Dublin Bay Sailing Club

Dublin Bay Sailing Club's recognition today as the Mitsubishi Motors "Sailing Club of the Year" 2021 on the strength of achieving a remarkably full programme in 2020 when Pandemic Regulations permitted is well merited. Yet it's only the second time that the unique Dun Laoghaire umbrella organisation has received this supreme accolade. Not surprisingly, the Royal Cork Yacht Club – the world's premier club - has been the holder seven times: in 1987, 1992, 1997, 2000, 2006, 2015 and 2020. But the fact that this is only the second time that DBSC has won does not reflect the reality that the club is almost always on the shortlist. And the circumstance of its previous time as holder in 2007 well illustrate why DBSC has successfully been with us for so long through times good and bad. 

Outlander PHEV 211 Offer Afloat.ie 847x180px

For in 2006 – the year for which it actually last won the trophy - DBSC had a real problem of success. Sailing numbers in Dublin Bay were expanding at an unprecedented rate with the new Dun Laoghaire marina in place, while the Celtic Tiger was roaring with economic growth. Under Commodore Tim Costello and Honorary Secretary Donal O'Sullivan, DBSC had to upgrade its services while stream-lining its functioning in a massive voluntary effort, and it did so with such success that the "Club of the Year" accolade made for the perfect fit, helped by the fact that the Commodore's Mills 40 Tiamat, with an all-Dun Laoghaire crew including Brendan Foley on the helm, had won the British Open IRC Championship in Cowes.

At the presentation of the Mitsubishi Motors Sailing Club of the Year 2007 award to Dublin Bay Sailing Club in Dublin Port Centre were (left to right, Enda Connellan (CEO Dublin Port, sponsors of the DBSC programme), Tim Costello (Commodore, DBSC), and Frank Keane, Chairman of Mitsubishi MotorsAt the presentation of the Mitsubishi Motors Sailing Club of the Year 2007 award to Dublin Bay Sailing Club in Dublin Port Centre were (left to right, Enda Connellan (CEO Dublin Port, sponsors of the DBSC programme), Tim Costello (Commodore, DBSC), and Frank Keane, Chairman of Mitsubishi Motors

Having dealt successfully with the hazards of the exceptionally good times back in 2006, fourteen years later DBSC has handled exceptionally bad times with the same calm competence. For the Club has had to deal with the circumstances afloat and ashore in 2020 which - in 2006 - would have been laughed out of court if they had been proposed as the nightmare scenario for some sort of very sick future fantasy horror drama.

Yet it has come to pass. But the club has braced itself, re-thought its functioning, and implemented emergency measures such that Dun Laoghaire has come out of 2020 with a sense that, within the inevitable pandemic boundaries, Dublin Bay SC provided its members and service-users with as much sailing as was reasonably possible in pandemic circumstances

The background to the club gives us some idea of how it finds a hidden strength when the need arises. Although DBSC at its foundation 137 years ago in 1884 was undoubtedly what would now be called a disruptor start-up, today it is effectively the quietly powerful sailing government for the vast majority of the competitive sailors in the most numerous fleet based in one place in Ireland.

In an exceptionally difficult year for all sports, the performance of Dublin Bay Sailing Club in providing a viable racing programme in 2020 for a large and varied fleet pf 22 classes drawn from all four of Dun Laoghaire Harbour's bricks-and-mortar Yacht Clubs is a remarkable achievement. DBSC's emergence with a complete set of end-of-season results – albeit after a pandemic-truncated season – was an outstanding performance by any standards, and they are clear ahead in being acclaimed as the 2021 holders of the Mitsubishi Motors "Sailing Club of the Year" trophy.

DBSC's only "premises" consist of the Race Management Hut on the West Pier, but in 2020's special circumstances, it was kept in store and not commissioned……….DBSC's only "premises" consist of the Race Management Hut on the West Pier, but in 2020's special circumstances, it was kept in store and not commissioned……….

……while all racing was started and finished from Committee Boats whose crews had been isolated in pods.  Photo: Afloat.ie……while all racing was started and finished from Committee Boats whose crews had been isolated in pods. Photo: Afloat.ie

Mitsubishi Motors are Irish sailing's most committed longterm sponsors, as they've supported the "Sailing Club of the Year" accolade for 35 years. This unique and informal competition was first inaugurated in 1979 and initially only covered Leinster, but after Mitsubishi Motors had become the enthusiastic sponsors in 1986, it went nationwide and the title of "Irish Sailing Club of the
Year" became one of real prestige, based on a rigorous set of standards.

An underlying purpose of the award is to highlight and honour the voluntary effort which goes into creating and maintaining the unrivalled quality of Ireland's yacht and sailing clubs, and the dedication of their members.

Outlander PHEV 211 Offer Afloat.ie 847x180px

In making their assessment, the adjudicators take many factors into consideration. In addition to the obvious one of sailing success at local, national and international levels, considerable attention is also paid to the satisfaction which members in every branch of sailing and boating feel with the way their club is run, and how effectively it meets their specific needs, while also encouraging sailing development and training at all ages.

In the four decades through which this informal comparison between sailing clubs has been running, the basic expectations have been continually refined to reflect a changing sailing world in changing national and global circumstances, a developing adjudication situation to which the Commodores of the winning clubs have made a really worthwhile contribution over the years, with thoughtful acceptance speeches in which they've outlined their visions for their clubs, and their role in the local community and in all aspects of sailing.

DBSC's racing programme is so accessible and popular that it attracts regular participation by boats which would be seen elsewhere purely as cruisers, such as the Nich 31 Saki.  Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'BrienDBSC's racing programme is so accessible and popular that it attracts regular participation by boats which would be seen elsewhere purely as cruisers, such as the Nich 31 Saki. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'Brien

Few other clubs have a sense of communal interaction as strong as DBSC. The change from disruptor to central body had come about as early as the mid 1890s, when it was realised that if an impartial unaligned organisation such as DBSC didn't already exist to administer the routine Dublin Bay sailing summer season, then they'd have to go through all the hassle of inventing something very like it.

For sure, with Dun Laoghaire Harbour providing the nautical focal point for a large, generally affluent, and often innovation-providing community, new ideas tend to arise on a regular basis as to how sailing in general, and racing in particular, might be re-configured for the sport's improvement.

But equally, that same south Dublin population is notably settled in its outlook, and for many, the continuation of the proven ways, with only carefully moderated change from time to time, is the only method for maintainable progress.

Thus Dublin Bay and Howth to the northeast provide the boat-minded communities and sailing waters where One-Design classes thrive as active fleets for much longer than anywhere else, so much so that the world's first One-Design class - the Dublin Bay Water Wags of 1887 – now prospers more than ever, with new-built boats regularly joining the fleet.

The Dublin Bay Water Wags were achieving the best One-design turnouts in 2020's shortened season.  Photo: Con MurphyThe Dublin Bay Water Wags were achieving the best local One-design turnouts in 2020’s shortened season. The Lasers were the most numerous class, with 91 entered, of which 53 were Laser Radials. Photo: Con Murphy

In such circumstances, getting a now instinctively conservative behemoth such as DBSC – with its racing for 22 classes - to implement a rapid and significant adjustment to its way of doing things is – as current DBSC Honorary Secretary and former Commodore Chris Moore has remarked – not unlike expecting a sudden change of course in a supertanker, where in normal circumstances any alteration of the rudder setting needs six miles of continued straight line progress before any change of course becomes perceptible.

DBSC Honorary Secretary Chris Moore on his J/109 Powder Monkey. In addition to his current role, he has served as Commodore of DBSC, and also as Commodore of the National YC.DBSC Honorary Secretary Chris Moore on his J/109 Powder Monkey. In addition to his current role, he has served as Commodore of DBSC, and also as Commodore of the National YC.

But like any alert organisation, back in the early days of 2020 while DBSC Commodore Jonathan Nicholson and his team were looking forward to the proper celebration of a new sponsorship deal with AIB, they were also prudently noting that as the pandemic developed, the most switched-on organisations such as the big tech companies in Dublin were talking of limiting office access until the summer of 2021, which was way beyond official predictions. Another factor which reinforced their realisation of the severity of the approaching shutdown was the postponement of the launching of the latest James Bond movie

These may seem off-the-wall indicators in the running of a sailing club, but DBSC's intensely urban location meant that every piece of possible useful information had to be taken into account while working out just when it was possible they might get a realistic programme under way, and how best it might be done.

Jonathan Nicholson, DBSC Commodore 2019-2020, found himself in one of the hottest seats in Irish sailing. Jonathan Nicholson, DBSC Commodore 2019-2020, found himself in one of the hottest seats in Irish sailing.

It was soon realised that the seasonal installation of the Race Officer's hut on the West Pier – used mainly for finishing races – was out of bounds as it's a gregarious focal point, and so the only way forward was the creation of pods to crew the club's Committee Boats, which would now both start and finish all races.

Thus an even greater effort and commitment was required from Committee Boat Volunteers, and in our feature about Ann Kirwan succeeding Jonathan Nicholson as Commodore on December 7th, the names of the leading volunteers who made this possible were listed.

Outlander PHEV 211 Offer Afloat.ie 847x180px

Yet all the time the developing situation had to be monitored in order to maximize sailing and minimise risk while at the same time instilling an awareness in sailors that when the inevitable second save began to show on the horizon, the sailors would have to accept a sudden stop to their activities with good grace.

Newly-elected DBSC Commodore Ann Kirwan at the helm of the Ruffian 23 bandit, which she shares with Brian Cullen and Ciara BrownNewly-elected DBSC Commodore Ann Kirwan at the helm of the Ruffian 23 bandit, which she shares with Brian Cullen and Ciara Brown

It was good while it lasted, with best turnouts pushing towards the 150 boat mark, while the Water Wags were the best One-Designs with 23 boats, reflecting the fact that although some people were determined to get racing if at all possible, equally they'd to respect those who felt the best way to see the pandemic out was to give sailing a miss for 2020.

Those who did go sailing found their enjoyment enhanced through the DBSC programme, and the mood of it was best captured aboard Jimmy Fischer's Billy Whizz in the Beneteau 211 Class, which swept the board in the trophy department with their haul including the supreme award, the George Arthur Newsom Cup.

Small boats, big prize haul – the increasingly popular Beneteau 211s saw their champion, Jimmy Fischer's Billy Whizz, take DBSC's supreme prize in 2020.   Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'Brien    Small boats, big prize haul – the increasingly popular Beneteau 211s saw their champion, Jimmy Fischer's Billy Whizz, take DBSC's supreme prize in 2020. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'Brien

The Cup is awarded to the boat which performs best compared to all One Design classes in Dublin Bay, and the way Billy Whizz is organised well illustrates the strong attraction of DBSC sailing, for although most of the participants are from the immediate South Dublin area, there are boats like Billy Whizz which find they can successfully cast the net wider.

Their unrivalled trophy haul included:

  • The George Arthur Newsom Cup - for the most successful boat in one-design racing
  • The Facet Jewellers Cup - for Thursdays scratch overall
  • The Beneteau 21 Tray - for Thursdays ECHO overall
  • The Beneteau Cup - for Saturdays scratch overall

The feat was achieved by Jimmy with two different crews, one on Thursdays comprising Joe Smyth, Annette Ni Murchu and her brother Brian Murphy. Not only did they win Thursdays on scratch, but they managed the rare feat of winning Thursdays on ECHO also. Joe, Annette and Brian are all longterm members of Blessington Sailing Club.

Sailing with Jimmy on Saturdays, Peter Duggan and Les Richards won the series on scratch. Peter is another graduate of Blessington Sailing Club, and has foredeck experience on the J/109 Jalapeño with Paul Barrington et al from the National YC, while Les is a partner in a Trapper 501 in Bray Sailing Club.

In all, a diverse crew lineup which shows that, fourteen years after getting the recipe exactly right to provide the best of sailing in exceptionally good times, Dublin Bay Sailing Club has been equally adept in getting the recipe exactly right to provide the best of sailing in exceptionally bad times, providing us with a worthy new addition to the Mitsubishi Motors Club of the Year listings:

  • 1979 Wicklow SC
  • 1980 Malahide YC
  • 198l National YC
  • 1982 Howth YC
  • 1983 Royal St George YC
  • 1984 Dundalk SC
  • 1985 National YC
  • (Sponsorship by Mitsubishi Motors began in 1985-86)
  • 1986 Howth YC
  • 1987 Royal Cork YC
  • 1988 Dublin University SC
  • 1989 Irish Cr. C
  • 1990 Glenans Irish SC
  • 1991 Galway Bay SC
  • 1992 Royal Cork YC
  • 1993 Cumann Badoiri Naomh Bhreannain (Dingle) & National YC
  • (after 1993, year indicated is one in which trophy is held)
  • 1995 Howth Yacht Club
  • 1996 National Yacht Club
  • 1997 Royal Cork Yacht Club
  • 1998 Kinsale Yacht Club
  • 1999 Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club
  • 2000 Royal Cork Yacht Club
  • (in 2000, competition extended to include class associations and specialist organisations)
  • 2001 Howth Sailing Club Seventeen Footer Association
  • 2002 Galway Bay Sailing Club
  • 2003 Coiste an Asgard
  • 2004 Royal St George Yacht Club
  • 2005 Lough Derg Yacht Club
  • 2006 Royal Cork Yacht Club (Water Club of the Harbour of Cork)
  • 2007 Dublin Bay Sailing Club
  • 2008 Lough Ree YC & Shannon One Design Assoc.
  • 2009 Howth Yacht Club
  • 2010 Royal St George YC
  • 2011 Irish Cruiser Racing Association
  • 2012 National Yacht Club
  • 2013 Royal St George YC
  • 2014 Kinsale YC
  • 2015 Royal Cork Yacht Club
  • 2016 Royal Irish Yacht Club
  • 2017 Wicklow Sailing Club
  • 2018 National Yacht Club
  • 2019 Howth Yacht Club
  • 2020 Royal Cork Yacht Club
  • 2021 Dublin Bay Sailing Club

Click the link to read more on the Mitsubishi Motors 'Sailing Club of the Year' Award on Afloat's dedicated page 

Outlander PHEV 211 Offer Afloat.ie 847x180px

WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

Email The Author

William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

Who is Your Sailor of the Year 2020?
Total Votes:
First Vote:
Last Vote:

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton dob
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating