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Not content to bask in its 140th-anniversary glory, Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) will experiment with using the latest yacht race technology this season to deliver the largest racing programme in Ireland.

DBSC Commodore and Race Officer Ed Totterdell, who has used these marks in the USA and elsewhere, believes that while the technology is new and the logistics need to be examined, DBSC should take the lead and trial what could be a big step forward in mark laying.

The marks were successfully deployed at the weekend for the inaugural Irish Sailing League, also held on Dublin Bay.

“Having met several clubs and ROs during the winter, I set up a meeting where all could come together and discuss the options for events and clubs to consider using robotic marks in 2024. As a result of these meetings, Kenny Rumball has organised a low-cost trial rental for 6-8 weeks, which will involve clubs across Dublin Bay and potentially further afield to see if they would benefit from using them.

 Robotic marks will make adjustments to DBSC start and finish lines possible Photo: Afloat Robotic marks will make adjustments to DBSC start and finish lines possible Photo: Afloat

"In DBSC, forty minutes is an eternity when hoping that the line stays square, given the vagaries of Dublin Bay wind. We also need a 300-metre start line for Cruisers One division, but this is reduced to 150 metres for some smaller classes", Totterdell explains.

"Using our standard marks, making adjustments to the line is not an option once the sequence has started for the first class. Shock waves will now reverberate as the line swiftly moves up/down or in and out!", he says.

"Having used these marks most recently in Kenny Rumball’s hugely successful Irish Sailing League last weekend I am really excited to start the trial, which I intend to do on our first Thursday race of 2024," Totterdell said.

"After the trial, we will be better placed to judge whether the cost and logistics would justify making these marks a permanent feature for future seasons, ” he added.

In addition, DBSC has also unveiled a new chart of marks for 2024, as Afloat reports here.

MarineSevices.ie are Irish agents for the robotic marks and can supply/rent the buoys for use around Ireland.

Published in DBSC

The ever-changing need for compliance has forced Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) to position seven high-tech marks, and some changes in colour requested by members have meant that the familiar old chart of the bay needs a refresh.

To identify the “Guard Marks”, which are easier for shipping to see and have radar reflectors and lights built in, their shape and colours now feature on a new chart published in the 2024 yearbook ahead of this week's first races of the AIB-sponsored 140th DBSC season.

"Delan Curtin, who has the unenviable task of managing the maintenance, deployment and lift out of the marks each year, produced a new chart which better represents the marks in the bay", DBSC Commodore Eddie Totterdell said.

DBSC's Declan Curtin double-checked mark locations on Monday, April  22nd prior to the first races of the 2024 DBSC summer seasonDBSC's Declan Curtin double-checked mark locations on Monday, April  22nd prior to the first races of the 2024 DBSC summer season

“Members suggested that we update the chart and also change the colours used. For example, some black marks were directly in line when approached, making it harder to know which one to aim for", Totterdell said.

For example, Saoirse is now Green to differentiate it from Seapoint, and East, one of the “guard” marks, has a green band to make it easier to identify.

Saoirse is one of seven high-tech marks and is now green in colour to differentiate it from Seapoint for the 2024 DBSC summer season Photo: AfloatSaoirse is one of seven high-tech marks and is now green in colour to differentiate it from Seapoint for the 2024 DBSC summer season Photo: Afloat

DBSC is now also making more use of the West Pier start marks, with black and green appearing on more courses on Thursdays.

"As ever DBSC continues to refine its race documents and make it easier for competitors to understand", Totterdell told Afloat.

Molly (N) is one of seven high-tech marks for the 2024 DBSC summer season Photo: AfloatMolly (N) is one of seven high-tech marks for the 2024 DBSC summer season Photo: Afloat

Published in DBSC

There’s something special about a large organisation which is so attuned to the needs of the many services it quietly provides that it can - naturally and confidently and without fuss - move into action each year in a distinctly low key way.

For although Dublin Bay Sailing Club is into Year 140 this season, far from trying to clutter up the programme with another razzmatazz-laden Saturday anniversary-celebrating regatta, its well-proven race organising machine simply starts to whirr gently next Tuesday evening, April 23rd, when dinghies and smaller keelboats have their weekly evening racing, as it seems they have been doing since time immemorial.

Is this on-water steeple-chasing? The Water Wag ODs have been racing since 1887, with the present class – which has expanded with classic new builds in recent years – sailing the version designed in 1900 by Maimie Doyle. Their long-standing two-race programme at late afternoon and early evening every Wednesday is central to life in Dun Laoghaire HarbourIs this on-water steeple-chasing? The Water Wag ODs have been racing since 1887, with the present class – which has expanded with classic new builds in recent years – sailing the version designed in 1900 by Maimie Doyle. Their long-standing two-race programme at late afternoon and early evening every Wednesday is central to life in Dun Laoghaire Harbour

Then on Wednesday the 1887-founded Water Wags have the first duo of their two time-honoured in-harbour races on 24th April, while on April 25th, it’s time for what is effectively the first weekly regatta, as the regular mid-week Thursday evening turnout of larger cruisers racing their way in Dublin Bay involves boat and crew numbers that many an annual regatta elsewhere would be very proud to match.

PROGRAMME SHAPED TO SUIT WAY WE LIVE TODAY

Finally, the setup is complete with Saturday racing resuming a week hence, on April 27th. And thus with the mutually satisfactory sponsorship of AIB and their friendly CEO Colin Hunt, the DBSC show is on the road for another summer, seeming to stay the same while quietly changing all the time, and usefully reflecting the times we live in.

 The DBSC “cruisers” race in Dublin Bay every Thursday evening, regularly achieving mid-week turnouts that many fully-fledged weekend regattas would be very pleased to reach. Photo: Afloat The DBSC “cruisers” race in Dublin Bay every Thursday evening, regularly achieving mid-week turnouts that many fully-fledged weekend regattas would be very pleased to reach. Photo: Afloat

Thus it is an effect of those changing mores, duly acknowledged, that there are often more boat racing mid-week than on Saturdays, with the Thursdays being something very special to Dublin Bay. It’s a harbinger of the approaching weekend, and is best experienced by going straight from work in town to one of the club changing rooms, then on to the boat to race – possibly with shipmates you only see this one Thursday evening of the week - before finally finding the evening’s sustenance (and maybe celebration) at one of the traditional club Sailing Suppers – you’ve four venues available - as night descends.

DBSC HAS BECOME PART OF THE SCENERY OF DUBLIN BAY

It’s an overall picture of supply meeting demand so neatly that it’s maybe tempting fate to analyse it all too closely. In fact, many sailors find it best to find the reassuring presence of the Dublin Bay SC services as something that is just comfortably present around Dublin Bay, like Dalkey, Killiney Hill, the spires of Dun Laoghaire, the historic awareness of nearby Dublin Port, and the Hill of Howth surprisingly unspoilt to the north.

The familiar setting of Dublin Bay. Dublin Bay Sailing Club’s programme is now so much part of it that some think it goes with the scenery.The familiar setting of Dublin Bay. Dublin Bay Sailing Club’s programme is now so much part of it that some think it goes with the scenery

This attitude of being taken for granted is so much part of DBSC’s “goes with the territory” attitude and modus operandi, that I was tempted to say that the Club’s motto should be “No Fuss” in Latin, but have so far failed to find a satisfactory Latin version – all suggestions welcome, and if you can include the translation to Latin of “Doing Good Work By Stealth”, it would also be much appreciated.

THE ‘CORPS OF VOLUNTEERS’

Yet so accepting is the large but quietly functioning corps of 80 or so volunteers, and so busy getting on with the job, that when I asked current incumbent DBSC Commodore Eddie Totterdell what position he held in the Commodorial listings way back to 1884 and Richard Fry (who seems to have combined the role of first Commodore with Honorary Secretary until clearly made Commodore in 1890), Commodore Totterdell cheerfully said he didn’t know and would have to ask.

Commodore Ed Totterdell with multi-prize-winner Tim Goodbody, a successful former Commodore of the Royal Alfred YC which is now incorporated into Dublin Bay SCCommodore Ed Totterdell with multi-prize-winner Tim Goodbody, a successful former Commodore of the Royal Alfred YC which is now incorporated into Dublin Bay SC

He personally has been much involved with DBSC since 1980 (you do the maths), and actively involved in the race management for the past dozen years. This is while also being a high input member of the National Yacht Club, and additionally the Operations Manager for the RNLI Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat in that very busy southeast corner of Laoghaire Harbour centred around the National Yacht Club, currently MG Motor Club of the Year, whose members are especially generous in donating personnel and effort to the DBSC cause.

CENTENARY REGULARISATION OF COMMODORES’ SERVICE TIME

Typical of this is DBSC Honorary Secretary Rosemary Roy, who was able to come up with the info on the Commodores of times past. In I40 years, there have only been 22 in all, for some served for very long periods. But at the Centenary in 1984 when Michael O’Rahilly – he is The O’Rahilly for those who are deeply into Irish history – was Commodore, it was decided to rationalize it to two year periods, for Dublin Bay sailing was entering a period of mega-expansion, and DBSC was providing such a good service that running it all was increasingly demanding – two years was enough for anyone.

A calming presence. DBSC Hon Sec Rosemary Roy has long years of experience, active afloat and ashore on the club’s Race Management Team. Photo: Robert BatemanA calming presence. DBSC Hon Sec Rosemary Roy has long years of experience, active afloat and ashore on the club’s Race Management Team. Photo: Robert Bateman

COMMODORES SINCE 1984

Thus the Commodore List for the past 40 years gives a memory-jerking reminder of those (some alas no longer with us) who gave service way over and above the call of duty to keep Dublin Bay sailing smoothly on course

  • 1985-88 C Denis Kelly
  • 1988-91 Roger O'Meara
  • 1991-93 Richard Hooper
  • 1993-96 Dr Donal Mc Sorley
  • 1996-99 Margaret Woods
  • 1999-02 Fintan Cairns
  • 2002-05 Jim Dolan
  • 2005-09 Tim Costello (DBSC Sailing Cub of year)
  • 2009-12 Anthony Fox
  • 2012-15 Pat Shannon
  • 2015- 18 Chris Moore
  • 2018 -20 Jonathan Nicholson
  • 2020-22 Ann Kirwan (DBSC MG Motor Sailing Club of Year)
  • 2022- Ed Totterdell.

The DBSC Centenary Regatta in Scotsman’s Bay in 1984 had light conditions that allowed members to interpret at leisure the message on Commodore Michael O’Rahilly’s Glen OD, cleverly created so that can be re-used at any future anniversary of significance. Photo: W M NixonThe DBSC Centenary Regatta in Scotsman’s Bay in 1984 had light conditions that allowed members to interpret at leisure the message on Commodore Michael O’Rahilly’s Glen OD, cleverly created so that can be re-used at any future anniversary of significance. Photo: W M Nixon

COMMODORES 1890-1984

Before that, going beyond the Centenary, the previous Commodores (hidden away in the mountain of info which is the online DBSC Yearbook), are listed as:

  • 1890 Richard Fry

  • 1899 Viscount Crichton
  • 1919 Dr.W.M.A. Wright
  • 1941 J.B.Stephens
  • 1944 Prof. J.T. Wigham
  • 1952 S.M. Smalldridge
  • 1960 George D. Craig
  • 1967 F. Derek Martin
  • 1971 John H. Walker
  • 1975 G. Harold Bleakley
  • 1979 Harry Boyd

  • 1981 Michael O’Rahilly

Modest beginnings – the DBSC fleet of 1886 in racing mode.Modest beginnings – the DBSC fleet of 1886 in racing mode

EARLY CLUB EXPANSION

The first period of hectic years of DBSC development came between its foundation in 1884 in order to provide racing for small craft not catered for by the big clubs, and its quietly dominant role – reached within twenty years - as the overall racing authority and racing organiser for all the clubs in Dun Laoghaire, as well as the harbour’s One-Design classes.

My word, haven’t they grown in just 12 years? The new Fife-designed Dublin Bay 25s starting through the harbor mouth in 1898My word, haven’t they grown in just 12 years? The new Fife-designed Dublin Bay 25s starting through the harbor mouth in 1898

The bricks_and_mortar clubs, of course, host their own special events – local, regional, national and international – but it is all done with the support structure of the DBSC in the background. It could be argued that were such a key organisation being created today, it would probably be called an association. But you could equally assert that its key to the spirit of DBSC that it is a club with its own membership and thus its own essential core of volunteers sharing a very special ethos.

DBSC RIGHT UP TO SPEED WITH MINDFULNESS

DBSC is all mindfulness. They live in the present, and if they think beyond that, it’s of the future rather than the past. Thus every so often there’s an attempt to write another history to continue from longtime Honorary Secretary Donal O’Sullivan’s A Century of Sailing published in 1984, copies of which are today so rare that it’s an endangered species.

Keep it under lock and key. Donal O’Sullivan’s history of DBSC at the Centenary in 1984 is now a collector’s item.Keep it under lock and key. Donal O’Sullivan’s history of DBSC at the Centenary in 1984 is now a collector’s item.

Maybe a new history book about DBSC can be created by AI. For so many facts, involving so many classes since 1984, have to be included that an ordinary humanoid brain would surely explode with the effort.

CONTINUOUS CHANGE

Thus changes in 2024 will include a proper programme for the new Melges 15 class, and during the season there’s be a replacement committee boat – currently nearing completion by boatbuilder Gerry Smyth in Kilkeel – arriving on station.

Hard-worked vessels. Dublin Bay SC will be taking delivery of a new Committee Boat during the 2024 season. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O’BrienHard-worked vessels. Dublin Bay SC will be taking delivery of a new Committee Boat during the 2024 season. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O’Brien

DUBLIN BAY 21s RETURN TO LIFE

But for the more traditional, the real thing to anticipate keenly for Season 2024 is that the restoration of the 1903-vintage Dublin Bay 21 class, by Hal Sisk and Fionan de Barra, has now passed the tipping point to become a viable reality. Work on the seven boats for restoration by Steve Morris of Kilrush has been progressing steadily since 2018, and this year the National YC has seen to it that all seven will have highly visible moorings close along the East Pier, with the first three taking them up in style last Saturday.

Here’s a pictorial history of their story:

The new DB21 Garavogue about to be launched by builder James Kelly at Portrush in 1903. Photo: Courtesy Robin RuddockThe new DB21 Garavogue about to be launched by builder James Kelly at Portrush in 1903. Photo: Courtesy Robin Ruddock

The Dublin Bay 21 class in their prime under their original rig, with Naneen (no 6, built Dun Laoghaire 1905) in the foreground.The Dublin Bay 21 class in their prime under their original rig, with Naneen (no 6, built Dun Laoghaire 1905) in the foreground

Garavogue under her original rig, cutting a dash when races still started and finished in the harbourGaravogue under her original rig, cutting a dash when races still started and finished in the harbour

From 1964 until 1986, the DB21s sailed under Bermudan rig, as seen here on Innisfallen. Photo: FacebookFrom 1964 until 1986, the DB21s sailed under Bermudan rig, as seen here on Innisfallen. Photo: Facebook

After the destruction of Hurricane Charley in 1986, the deteriorating Dublin Bay 21s were stored for many years in a farmyard at Redcross in Wicklow.

Beyond perfect…..the restored Garavogue after a world class paint job in Steve Morris’s boatyard in Kilrush in 2022. Photo: Steve MorrisBeyond perfect…..the restored Garavogue after a world class paint job in Steve Morris’s boatyard in Kilrush in 2022. Photo: Steve Morris

A dream finally fulfilled – Garavogue sails again on Dublin Bay under her third rigA dream finally fulfilled – Garavogue sails again on Dublin Bay under her third rig

Back where they belong. The restored Dublin Bay 21s start to take up their allotted moorings in Dun Laoghaire, Saturday April 14th 2024. Photo: Afloat.ieBack where they belong. The restored Dublin Bay 21s start to take up their allotted moorings in Dun Laoghaire, Saturday April 14th 2024. Photo: Afloat.ie

ANTICIPATING THE SESQUICENTENNIAL

The comprehensive DBSC 2024 YearbookThe comprehensive DBSC 2024 Yearbook

Maybe they’re playing it really cool for the 140th, but perhaps in 2034, the commissariat in Dublin Bay, SC, will let their hair down a bit for a proper celebration of the DBSC Sesquicentennial. Just so long as some of us are allowed to call it the 150th, rather than exhausting ourselves by trying to enunciate that word clearly without requiring everyone nearby to have an umbrella.

Published in W M Nixon

Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) has recently announced the introduction of a new non-spinnaker rating for CR4 and CR5 to promote white sails racing in Dublin Bay.

The move comes following the success of the VPRS rating system in the Sports Boats Class, which has been expanded to other classes. With a certificate costing only €25 and no need to get a boat measured, it means that those who do not need IRC ratings can get certified at a much lower cost.

Commodore Ed Totterdell explained, "For the 2024 season, boats currently competing in CR4 and CR5 will be able to compete in a new VPRS Division. This will promote non-spinnaker racing in DBSC by opening another area of competition and fun for all."

DBSC Commodore Ed Totterdell has launched a special Under 30s discount for Dublin Bay racingDBSC Commodore Ed Totterdell Photo: Michael Chester

Class Captain Catherine Day welcomed the initiative, saying, "I am delighted by the overwhelmingly positive response to trialling the new VPRS rating system for the 2024 season.

This initiative promises to offer a fair opportunity for all our class members, ensuring that boat characteristics, rather than crew performance, are the primary focus in DBSC racing. We will continue to support Echo throughout the class too."

Applying for a VPRS Certificate couldn’t be easier, say the organisers, and DBSC has put a link on their membership form for those who need to obtain one.

Any DBSC Cr4 or CR5 member who needs more information is welcome to contact DBSC by emailing [email protected].

The move is expected to promote non-spinnaker racing in Dublin Bay, offering a fair opportunity for all class members.

The new rating system will ensure that boat characteristics, rather than crew performance, are the primary focus in DBSC racing.

The initiative is expected to be welcomed by racing enthusiasts and could lead to more participants joining the races in the future.

Published in DBSC

Strong easterly winds and big seas may have prevented the final race of the AIB-sponsored DBSC Spring Chicken Series from sailing on Sunday morning (March 10) – the first cancellation of the six-race mixed cruiser and one design league – but there was still plenty of fun ashore at a well-attended National Yacht Club-hosted prizegiving at Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

AIB DBSC Spring Chicken Champions 2024 - The crew of the J80 Jambon collect their prizes at the National Yacht Club on Sunday, March 10thAIB DBSC Spring Chicken Champions 2024 - The crew of the J80 Jambon collect their prizes at the National Yacht Club on Sunday, March 10th

As regular Afloat readers know, sportsboats occupied the podium places after the penultimate race with fourth-placed J80 Jambon moving to the front of the mixed cruisers handicap fleet (the second time she has topped the scoreboard in this six race series) after her seventh-placed finish last Sunday.

After five races sailed and one discard, the 1720 No Show is second by two points on 36 with the one-time leader, another 1720 sportsboat, Long Island Legend in third.

Results are downloadable here.

Published in DBSC
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A new overall leader goes into this Sunday's final race of the AIB DBSC Spring Chicken Series on Dublin Bay as sportsboats occupy the podium places.

The fourth-placed J80 Jambon has moved to the front of the mixed cruisers handicap fleet (the second time she has topped the scoreboard in this six race series) after her seventh placed finish last Sunday.

After five races sailed and one discard, the 1720 No Show is second by two points on 36 with one-time leader, another 1720 sportsboat, Long Island Legend in third.

Download the latest results below as a PDF file

Published in DBSC

After four races sailed in the AIB DBSC Spring Chicken Series on Dublin Bay, the 1720 sportsboat Long Island Legend replaces the J80 Jambon at the top of the scoresheet.

With two races to go in the series, only ten points separate the top ten boats overall after organisers applied a discard. 

The third race of the six-race series saw sunny conditions accompanied by a good breeze, providing an ideal setting for the competitors. The 40-boat fleet was safely home before gale-force winds swept the bay on Sunday afternoon.

Overall, Long Island Legend leads by a point from the J109 Joker II on 27. In third place is another J80, Derry Girls on 30 points, with one-time leader Jambon dropping to fourth overall on 31.

Download the latest results below as a PDF file

 

Published in DBSC

A third race win last Sunday means the J80 'Jambon' moves into the  AIB DBSC Spring Chicken Series lead on Dublin Bay.

The Dun Laoghaire Harbour sportsboat crew are five points ahead of second-placed Just Jasmin, a Bavaria Match 35, on 32 points.

Derry Girls, another J80 entrant, lies third on 38 points in the 40-boat fleet.

The fleet sailed in moderate westerly winds for its third race. 

From February 4 to March 10 (first gun 10:10), six races will be run using a progressive handicap on a case-by-case basis.

Racing continues in the National Yacht Club hosted series this Sunday at 10.10 am off Dun Laoghaire.

Download the results below as a pdf file.

Published in DBSC

The AIB DBSC Spring Chicken Series fleet is expecting moderate westerly winds for their third race this Sunday on Dublin Bay.

ECHO Handicaps and start times for the 40 boat have been published and are downloadable below

As Afloat reported earlier, the racing came to an exciting conclusion last Sunday as 'No Show', the 1720 sportsboat, clinched the top spot. The second race of the six-race series saw sunny conditions accompanied by a good breeze, providing an ideal setting for the competitors.

The third race starts at 10.10 am off Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

 

 

Published in DBSC

The AIB DBSC Spring Chicken Series on Dublin Bay came to an exciting conclusion last Sunday as 'No Show', the 1720 sportsboat, clinched the top spot. The second race of the six-race series saw sunny conditions accompanied by a good breeze, providing an ideal setting for the competitors.

However, the day didn't go without incident. During the race, the crew of J109 'Joker' had to deal with a man overboard situation. Fortunately, their practised procedures paid off, and the crew quickly recovered with no damage, albeit a bit wet, according to organisers.

The final results for the second race of the series are available for downloadable below, and organisers have announced that the Katanca result will be corrected to 'retired' in the overalls next week, ensuring fairness and accuracy in the final standings.

 

Published in DBSC
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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