Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Dun Laoghaire to Dingle

This morning Paul O’Higgin’s JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI has finally begun to see a more confortable gap between her overall lead position in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race 2017 and the chasing trio of J/109s Mojito (Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox), Juggerknot (Andrew Algeo), and Ruth (Shanahan family) writes W M Nixon.

Mojito DingleWelsh J109 Mojito (Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox) is miles-plus behind race leader Rockabill Photo: Afloat.ie

Off west Cork and approaching Baltimore, the fleet leader is sailing in 15mph of southwest breeze with 7 miles-plus between her and Mojito. Rockabill VI is leader on the water, in IRC overall, and in Racing 1. The strong headwinds eased during the night, but having been slightly north of west to favour those who stayed along the coast, it has now backed southwest, though in generally gentler conditions with nothing too unpleasant expected in the weather department today as the underlying barometric tendency is to rise.

Ruth J109 Ben shanahanThe Shanahan Family J109 Ruth, the defending D2D champion, is battling towards Dingle Photo: Afloat.ie

This backing to the southwest had been predicted, and Stephen O’Flaherty and David Cagney decided to take a punt on it by laying well offshore through the night on starboard tack in the Spirit 54 Soufriere, which is racing in the two-handed division. They’re now back on port tack currently laying a course which will comfortably take them to seaward past the Fastnet and the great headlands and massive sea rocks beyond along the West Cork and Kerry coasts.

Andrew_Algeo_J109_juggerknotAndrew Algeo's J109 Juggerknot Photo: Afloat.ie

At the moment, however, it is not paying immediate dividends as they’ve slipped to fourth in Two-Handed, where the lead continues to be held by Derek and Conor Dillon in the Dehler 34 Big Deal from Foynes, while Christine Howard in the Jenneau 45 A J Wanderlust is second. But they are both well to the east and close together, currently 11 miles east-by-south of the Old Head of Kinsale. So as today rolls along, it will be intriguing to see if the Soufriere move pays off.

Lead positions overnight have remained unchanged, with the Tyrrells in the J/112E Aquelina currently off Clonakilty to maintain a position which has them in front of many out-and-out racers in addition to continuing to hold the lead in the Cruising Class, while Ian Hickey’s Granada 38 Cavatina continues to lead Racing 2. At the time of writing (0800 Friday) she’s close off Kinsale which has proven too much of a temptation for a couple battered crews and boats, but Cavatina has resolutely tacked seaward towards the Old head of Kinsale.

Lively Lady Rodney MartinThe Martin Brothers on Royal Irish Yacht Lively Lady have retired into Kinsale after a spirited run that saw them as high as fifth overall at one point on IRC Photo: Afloat.ie

However, Derek Martin’s First 44.4 Lively Lady has retired into Kinsale, and it rather looks as though Liam Coyne’s Beneteau 36.7 Lula Belle – formerly a class winner in the stormiest Round Britain & Ireland Race - is doing the same.

But ahead and astern, others continue to race on, and though the Mini 650 Port of Galway Green (Yannick Lemonnier & Dan Mill) has a lead of six miles on fellow-mini Port of Galway Black (Marcus Ryan) in the Ballycotton area, both continue to compete with full-on enthusiasm.

Published in Dun Laoghaire Dingle

“Anybody who finishes this race deserves a prize......” So said one battered yet usually successful old salt after retreating into Dunmore East writes W M Nixon. And for a while early this afternoon, retirals were coming so thick and fast that it looked like there’d be enough official prizes for everyone - maybe even with some to spare - in Dingle at Saturday night’s prize-giving.

But in fact there are still 25 boats out there racing into the night in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race 2017, and they’re a bizarre mixture. For instance, the battle for the two-handed Division is now between Derek & Conor Dillon, Father and Son from Foynes with the Dehler 34 Big Deal, and Stephen O’Flaherty and David Cagney, the Odd Couple from Howth with the stately Spirit 54 Soufriere.

big deal1With the two front runners beaten by the early afternoon’s rough weather, the lead in the Two-Handed Division was taken by Derek and Conor Dillon from Foynes on the Dehler 34 Big Deal from Foynes, and they still hold it going into the second night. Photo: W M Nixon

Former leaders Indian (J/109) and Lambay Rules (J/92) have both given it best, with one retired to Dunmore East and the other shaping a course back towards Arklow. But down off the South Coast, Soufriere and Big Deal are still doing the business, and with the headwinds at last showing signs of slackening, they’re likely to stay doing it.

Up at the front of the fleet, Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI still leads on the water, overall and in Racing I as she nears Ballycotton. But she’s having the devil’s own job in putting any truly significant distance between herself and the pesky trio of J/109s Mojito (Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox), Juggerknot (Andrew Algeo), and Ruth (Shanahan family), while in the midst of this bunch of leaders, the powerful First 44.7 Lively Lady (Derek Martin) is clearly having a fine old time, and going well enough to have the potential to move into second on the water.

Port of Galway Mini Yacht(Above and below) Life ain't a bed of roses onboard a Mini in the 2017 D2D

IMG 0707

In such conditions, size really does matter, so spare a thought for the two little Mini 650s which are still battling along, with Port of Galway Green (Yannick Lemonnier & Dan Mill) leading from Port of Galway Black (Marcus Ryan). They’re certainly punching way above their weight, and their ability to do so should result in more Mini 650s next time round.

Meanwhile for now, other successes include the Tyrrell family’s very attractive J112E Aquelina leading the Cruiser Division, while the tough team from Cork on Ian Hickey’s Cavatina continue to lead in Racing 2.

CavatinaThe vintage Granada 38 Cavatina, a double Round Ireland winner

After today’s blood-letting, we’d expect at least two dozen boats to make it to Dingle. It’s more than enough to form a quorum. But as for now, in searching every source for news of any imminent improvement in the weather, we note that Met Eireann have alerted the farming community to be ready for hay-making next week.

Quite. Could we suggest that, in 2019, the date of the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race is placed in a fortnight-long time slot, but the actual date isn’t finally set until that very welcome alert is given?

Published in Dun Laoghaire Dingle

If you want to choose an especially rugged piece of water in which to make to windward into a southwesterly which is a solid Force 6-7 plus, then the southeast corner of Ireland would come up tops on all search engines writes W M Nixon.

Tide-riven with an uneven seabed, it can produce its own uniquely obnoxious sea state. And if it isn’t knocking the stuffing out of even the most experienced crews, chances are its breaking boats and gear. So although the likely improvement in the weather tonight is helping the toughest teams to keep plugging on regardless, those who were lulled into the expected summer sailing joys of the biennial Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race have had their hopes dashed as a brooding spell of rough weather hangs on well past its supposed expiry date.

Lambay Rules J97Stephen Quinn's Lambay Rules J97 retired and heading home to Howth Photo: Afloat.ie

The new visitor pontoon at Dunmore East has proven an attraction, while the simple release of upping helm and going back the way you came has appealed to others. Either way, we’re now looking at a total retirement list of fourteen boats out of 43 starters, and as it includes seasoned veterans like George Sisk and his crew on the Farr 42 WOW, and proven round Ireland racers like Stephen Quinn and Dave Cotter in the two-handed division in the little J/97 Lambay Rules, clearly retirement is a decision which has not been taken lightly.

INSS JediINSS Jedi – a pitstop in Dunmore East for Kenny Rumball and the sailing school crew Photo: Afloat.ie

There have been other reasons for diverting towards Dunmore. The Irish National Sailing School’s J/109 Jedi has headed there with a crewman with an injured back, but skipper Kenneth Rumball hopes to continue with the race.

Meanwhile up ahead, the astonishing JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI (Paul O’Higgins) continues now leading both on the water and on IRC with 154 miles to race, coming past Mine Head outside Dungarvan with a very nice slant of breeze off the land, and making 7.2 knots. But she still has a race on her hands as the zippy J/109 Mojito (Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox) may be six miles astern, but she’s racing hard and Rockabill gives her time.

Andrew Algeo’s JuggerknotAndrew Algeo’s Juggerknot Photo: Afloat.ie

Mojito in turn has to keep an eye on two more J/109s close with her, Andrew Algeo’s Juggerknot and the Shanahan family’s Ruth, The latter represents an extraordinary commitment to this event, as skipper Ben Shanahan is a third generation Dingle racer, his father and grandfather – both Liam – having been there before, with Liam Jnr of course winning in 2015.

Ruth J109The Shanahan family’s Ruth, with Ben Shanahan on the wheel Photo: Afloat.ie

With the best of the afternoon already past, it’s likely enough that the prospect of another rough night and the welcoming embrace of Dunmore East and Waterford nearby will see some more retirals. There may be every prospect of summer by the weekend, but we’ve another night of winter to get through before it arrives, and some crews are simply getting too tired for their own safety in continuing at sea.

Published in Dun Laoghaire Dingle

Welsh offshore champion yacht Sgrech skippered by Stephen Tudor is the lastest retiral from the Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race

The former ISORA champion retired last night just hours in to the race as a precautionary measure after discovering a 'hull fitting was delaminating'.

The yacht, a J109, was a pre-race favourite and was vying for the lead in fifth place on IRC and possibly higher when the decision was made to pull into Rosslare Port in County Wexford.

ISORA chairman Peter Ryan, one of nine crew onboard the Pwllheli–based entry, told Afloat.ie that while there was a leak onboard, circumstances were 'all very manageable'.

Big seas gave the 43–boat fleet a pounding as they headed for the Tuskar Rock. The fleet are expecting more upwind sailing for the duration of the race along the south coast too.

Up to six boats – and possibly more – from a record entry of 45 are now out of the 275–mile race due to finish late tomorrow. 

Lobster_yacht_kinsale_gary_horganLobster (Gary Horgan) returns to Dun Laoghaire Harbour after a problem with a headsail shortly after the start of the D2D. Photo: Afloat.ie

Aurelia and Spirit of Jacana both withdrew before last night's 'vigorous start' on Dublin Bay.

Shortly after the gun, Kinsale Yacht Club two handed entry Lobster (Gary Horgan) returned to Dun Laoghaire Harbour after a problem with a headsail. White Tiger, a Beneteau First 44.7 skippered by Tony O'Brien, also of Kinsale Yacht Club pulled out with a reported torn mainsail.

prima luce Dingle

Another double–hander, the Dun Laoghaire based Prima Luce (pictured above), a First 35, skippered by Sean Lemass, has also retired.

French Mini entry Gemo is also back in Dun Laoghaire harbour and is also officially retired, citing concerns for south coast weather forecast.

The vintage gaff cutter Maybird has returned to Dun Laoghaire harbour due to a thumb injury sustained, according to the National Yacht Club organisers. Skipper Darryl Hughes damaged thumb as a result of door below slamming shut when he was checking things off Bray Head, County Wicklow.

The tracker shows the yacht Thisbe has pulled into Arklow but organisers have no further information on her status. 

Published in Dun Laoghaire Dingle

Although a fairly consistent southwest breeze gave the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race fleet a useful slant from Arklow southwards through the night, they’re currently rounding the Tuskar with the expectation of a dead beat most of the way to the Fastnet being confirmed writes W M Nixon

Paul O’Higgins JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI (RIYC) has taken the lead on the water and IRC from clubmate George Sisk’s Farr 42 WOW in the open division, while Colm Buckley and Simon Knowles (Howth YC) lead the two-hander in the J/109 Indian, and Ian Hickey’s Granada 38 Cavatina (Royal Cork YC) is right there in the lead in Racing 2.

But the way that the ferocious tides of the southeast have taken their toll on overall handicap placings is fascinating to observe. The reality is that if your boat was of such a size that she arrived at a headland while the tide was still adverse, you were losing no matter what you did, and the pattern seems to have suited the J/109s better than anyone else.

Beneteau_44.7_Lively_lady_Dingle_raceDerek Martin's Lively Lady, co-skippered by sons Rodney and Keith, is a Beneteau 44.7 from the RIYC Photo: Afloat.ie

Thus Mojito (Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox) has shunted up into 3rd in IRC at the 0800 Thursday placing, while J/109 sister-ship and Pwllheli clubmate Sgrech (Stephen Tudor) is showing fifth, with Derek Martin’s First 44.7 Lively Lady between them.

On this first morning of the race with the underlying trend to towards more summery weather being maintained, the hectic pace Paul O’Higgins set himself in campaigning Rockabill VI in the ICRA Nats last weekend in Crosshaven, then getting her home to Dublin Bay simply to start this race back to the southwest, is being amply justified. But those J/09s will take some watching. As will the race results system. It’s still seems to be in process of settling down to give us a true picture of the placings.

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

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

Time was when the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race was promoted as a handy way to position your little old cruiser in West Kerry to be nicely placed to make her way in gentle hops back to her home port on the south or east coast, ambling in leisurely stages along one of the finest cruising grounds in the world writes W M Nixon.

It was envisaged primarily as a sort of enlarged club race, the club setting the tone being the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. There, enthusiastic members and Dingle race plotters Martin Crotty, Peter Cullen and Brian Barry added a further attraction when promoting the first race, as it drew nearer in 1993, by suggesting that real dyed-in-the wool cruising types might find the race of interest if they were thinking of continuing with a clockwise cruise on round Ireland.

dingle harbour 2Dingle Harbour makes for an attractive destination...

dingle marina3…while its marina is enticing for cruisers and racers alike

Lovely idea. But so far as I know – though it’s very much hoped that I’ll be rapidly informed otherwise – it is this goggle-eyed wordsmith focused on his ancient computer screen who is still the only cruiser-racer skipper who has completed the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race, and then cruised on round Ireland.

We did it in handy stages, leaving the boat in Dingle for ten days after the race was completed to return home to the word-production coalface, then going on to leave her on a mooring we’d laid at Arbear at the head of Clifden Bay after we’d cruised the Aran Islands and Connemara in detail, followed by another return home for the manufacture of merchandisable verbiage. Then the third stage was home to Howth round the top, with Donegal doing its best to rival Kerry for dramatic scenery.

However, that was all a very long time ago. In fact, it was so long ago it was the first time I’d sailed with a proper pair of Dubarry Shamrock Goretex boots. I’d previously had an experimental leaky pair from a different manufacturer with which I’d persisted for years, so I can still remember the sheer joy of dry warm feet whatever the weather after the genuine Dubarrys had been deployed.

But enough of such ramblings - even if it does serve to remind us of the way the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race has become a much-loved part of our sailing world. And as for the reason for people not cruising on round Ireland when being in Dingle leaves them so handily placed for continuing the circuit - the answer is simple. The fact is that the course of almost 300 miles has taken them as swiftly as possible past some of the most glorious cruising places in Ireland, and the only way the skipper can keep his shipmates plugging on is by swearing on all that is holy that they’ll cruise gently back the same way in a much more civilised style.

In such circumstances, you’re whistling against the wind in trying to sell the coast of Connacht as the more interesting way to get home. Yet from an early stage, even the notion of the Dingle dash as having a strong cruising orientation hasn’t really held up for a significant part of the entry. People go into it with every intention of winning, and the talk of conveniently positioning the boat for a spot of cruising in Kerry and West Cork has only been smoke and mirrors.

dingle yacht tracker4The Yellowbrick record of the Dun Laoghaire-Dingle Race in 2015. Sometimes the fleet has been even more widely spread than this

The pace was set from the off in 1993, when the winner was Richard Burrows’ Sigma 36 Black Pepper. In subsequent years, she was cruised to Greenland and other Godforsaken spots in the ownership of fellow Malahide sailor Peter Killen, so Black Pepper has a boat history which must make her the best-used Sigma 36 ever. Certainly for the Dingle dash of 1993, skipper Burrows shipped aboard the formidable talents of Peter Wilson and Robert Dix as the main occupants of the driving seat, and Black Pepper had a wellnigh perfect race.

That said, at the riotous prize-giving afterwards – the Dingle prize-giving is always riotous, just relax and enjoy it – Black Pepper’s skipper gave a wildly funny speech which he rounded out by presenting Robert Dix with the Golden Blanket Award. As to what was meant by that I haven’t a clue, so you’ll have to ask Dixie himself. But as he has been winning major awards of every kind since 1970 when he became the youngest ever Helmsmans Champion, the Golden Blanket goes well in his trophy cabinet.

With the first race off to such a humdinger inauguration, the vision of the founders had been justified. Well, perhaps “vision” is overstating it. At this week’s launching of the 2017 staging, which will be on June 14th, longtime organiser Martin Crotty revealed that the idea of the Dingle Race came about almost by misadventure.

martin crotty5The founding Dingle Race organiser Martin Crotty reminiscing about the early days in 1993 at this week’s reception in the National Yacht Club. Photo Michael Chester

peter cullen6Peter Cullen was another of the inspired group who first thought of the race in 1992. Photo: W M Nixon

He and fellow owner Peter Cullen had been doing the 1992 Round Ireland Race with their hefty Sigma 41 Koala, and in slugging up the west coast into a particularly unpleasant northerly (I remember that one too), their mainsail went into several pieces on the latitude of Loop Head, so they retired and ran back to Dingle, a place they didn’t know at all.

They got to know it very well indeed over the next day or two, and the hospitality the little West Kerry port meted out to them – with the Dingle Skellig Hotel more or less providing open house – soon got them thinking that a race there rather than sailing all the way round the Emerald Isle would be an interesting alternative in the years when the biennial Round Ireland Race from Wicklow was not being staged.

Such ideas seem marvellous over a pint or three as midnight draws on, then fade from the memory. But there was some special chemistry already at work between the can-do Dun Laoghaire sailors and the maritime-minded folk of Dingle. Perhaps it’s because both ports think they’re the hub of the universe…… Whatever the secret ingredient, by 1993 in Dingle Harbour, Master Brian Farrell was ready to welcome the fleet, a new marina was in the making, and Dingle was on the cusp of an entirely new era.

dingle town7Dingle in the far west of Kerry has formed strong links with Dun Laoghaire in Dublin Bay, yet the two places could not be more different.

As for the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race, we knew it was fully part of the scheme of things by 1995, as Denis Doyle turned up to compete with Moonduster. Once that happens, you know your race has arrived, and “The Doyler and The Duster” were honoured participants for many years, encouraging some very substantial boats to subsequently take part, with new heights being reached in 2009 when Michael Cotter’s handsome 78ft Whisper brought a touch of global glamour and a new record, though she missed the magic 24 hours by 43 minutes and 45 seconds.

As each race succeeded its predecessor, a bonus emerged when it was acknowledged that the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle would count as a qualifier for the Fastnet Race, which would as usual be staged about eight weeks later. By this stage the race had so much going for it that it seemed impervious to setback, but like everything else in Irish life, it went through diminished times during the recessionary years.

denis doyle8When “The Doyler and The Duster” (Denis Doyle and Moonduster) became involved from 1995 onwards, the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race was made. This is a page from the August 199 Afloat magazine, with Moonduster much in evidence in the race report. The winner that year was Donal Morrissey’s GK34 Joggernaut from Galway, and in those days the start was in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

But then came 2015, and the numbers were back up, and then some. Having seen his pet project through times good and bad, Martin Crotty had indicated that this 12th Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race would be the last he would personally administer, but already a strong successor was being briefed in the person of Adam Winkelmann. And in the 2015 race he had a vintage familiarisation to observe how it all worked, though as his mother Carmel was for many years one of the time-keepers, he started from a position of inside knowledge.

Over the years, the Dingle Skellig Hotel, which showed such generosity to the sea-battered crew of Koala way back in 1992 – leading to the inception of the race – has stayed on board as co-sponsor, and everyone’s longterm faith in the event was born out in 2015’s race, which was a classic. Before it, the atmosphere around the National Yacht Club was pure carnival, and while the start may have been slow, the winds soon filled in from the north and the fleet scampered down the east coast.

Out in front, the line honours battle was between Adrian Lee’s Cookson 50 Lee Overlay Partners from Dun Laoghaire and Anthony O’Leary’s Ker 40 Antix from Cork, and they went so well that for a while it looked like Antix might get the corrected time win. But holes in the wind at the Fastnet and beyond shook up the order, and by the finish it was glory day for J Boats, with the Shanahan family’s J/109 Ruth (NYC) winning by 20 minutes from her Pwllheli-based sister-ship Mojito (Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox), the first foursome being very complete for the Johnstone brothers as the J/122 Aurelia was third and the J/109 Dear Prudence was fourth.

Antix dingle 2015Anthony O’Leary’s Ker 40 Antix crossing the finish line at Dingle in 2015

liam shanahan10Overall 2015 winner Liam Shanahan at the helm of his J/109 Ruth with Skellig Michael put astern, and crewman Kevin Daly trimming the main for the final stage up Dingle Bay to the finish.

dingle party llAfter a rugged race, there’s nothing like an al fresco party at Dingle

But in a fascinating contest, almost every boat was having her day at one stage or another, and for those who were doing the race as a Fastnet qualifier, it came up trumps. Irish Offshore Sailing’s 36ft Jeanneau Desert Star may have only been in the middle of the fleet in the Dingle results, but her crew were on a learning curve and on top form by the time they did the Fastnet Race, so much so that they won overall in the 33-boat fleet making up the Sailing Schools Division, a well-earned dream result for skipper Ronan O Siochru.

So Martin Crotty handed over a prestigious event in really good order to Adam Winkelmann after all the D2D business was done and dusted in 2015, and this week’s launching reception in the National Yacht Club for what is now the Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race was one of those gatherings which ticked so many boxes that we could get a month’s worth of Sailing on Saturdays out of it.

The heartwarming sense of continuity was palpable. Not only was Adam Winkelmann taking over the D2D from Martin Crotty, but in the host club, Ronan Beirne had been barely a wet week as the new Commodore in succession to Larry Power. To say that the speeches were in tune with the mood of the evening barely gets the flavour of it. It was a time for nostalgia, a time for relishing the present, and a time for keenly anticipating the future, with all aspects covered.

adam winkelmann12Adam Winkelmann, chair of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Dingle race Committee, reveals his hopes for 2017’s race and the races beyond. Photo: Michael Chester

It was Adam Winkelmann who summed it all up in a friendly presentation – he does it so painlessly that the word “speech” is way too pompous – effortlessly telling us about the new dynamic with the lineup with Volvo, the continued support from Dingle with the Dingle Skelligs Hotel joined by Crean Brewery – and the growing interest from the RORC with that club’s Janet Grosvenor – a very good friend to Irish offshore racing – planning to monitor the Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race 2017 with a view to giving it greater recognition in the RORC’s 2019 programme.

dingle volvo adam13Graham Fitzgerald of the Dingle Skellig Hotel, Patricia Greene of Volvo Car Ireland, Adam Winkelmann, and Jerry O’Sullivan of Crean Brewery, Dingle. Photo Michael Chester

As it is, the 2017 race will start on the evening of Wednesday June 14th, which research among competitors has show is reckoned as the most user-friendly time for those fitting the race into work breaks, as it means you can definitely do a three day week, yet have every chance of making the clock-in at the workplace first thing Monday morning.

Thus the prize-giving will be on Saturday night, and it is being moved beck to the Dingle Skelligs’ sister establishment, Benners Hotel in the heart of town. As for the bigger picture, the timing also allows a useful gap before the Sovereigns Cup series starts at Kinsale on June 21sr, but while the start time will be tight for anyone who also plans to also do the ICRA Nationals at Crosshaven from Friday June 9th to Sunday June 11th, in times past we’d have reckoned that’s it a logistical challenge which is do-able, you just draw lots for the three guys who are going to take the boat to Dun Laoghaire as soon as the last race at Crosser is over.

As if that’s not enough of a challenge, Ric Morris has lately been airing a suggestion that it’s time to think seriously about an Irish National Offshore Championship based around the many events already in existence. He reckons that with the Round Ireland and the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle races alternating at the peak of this annual season-long series, we’d have an intriguing setup which has the potential to involve many boats – and he means many big time.

Certainly the imprimatur of the RORC on the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race would give it turbo power, making it a serious points accumulator apart from being a superb race in its own right. Truly it has moved on a long way from being a handy little club-oriented event best used to position your boat in Ireland’s finest cruising ground. But we shouldn’t be surprised, when we remember that the Fastnet Race itself started in a very modest way in 1925. It was so shunned by the sailing establishment that it couldn’t get a starting line at Cowes, and had to be sent eastward out of the Solent from the start line of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club at Ryde.

ronan beirne14Brian Farrell, Harbour Master of Dingle when the Dun Laoghaire-Dingle race was inaugurated in 1993, Ronan Beirne the newly-elected Commodore of the National Yacht Club, and Yannick Lemonnier, who will be racing a Minitransat 650 to Dingle. Photo Michael Chester

Presumably the RORC still sends the RVYC an annual Christmas card as a token of their appreciation of that display of faith way back in 1925, now that the hugely popular Fastnet Race is started from all the glory of the Royal Yacht Squadron line at Cowes.

And as for the Dun Laoghaire-Dingle Race in all its manifestations, while it has always been comfortably under the imprimatur of the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, the developing positive attitude towards sailing at official levels in Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown was underlined by the official presence at Tuesday’s gathering of Councillor Cormac Devlin, Cathaoirleach of Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council.

But while the new turbo power of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race was quietly in evidence at the party in the National YC this week, it was good to meet up with old friends from Dingle from the earliest days, particularly the former Harbour Master Brian Farrell whose enthusiasm for his job always went way beyond the call of duty.

There too were Brian Barry and Peter Cullen, both of whom did so much to put the show on the road and keep it there through times good and bad. But it was appropriate that also present was the one and only Yannick Lemonnier, who did the race in the two-handed division in 2015 (he was second to Howth’s Colm Buckley and Simon Knowles) but in 2017 will be doing it in a new special division which has been encouraged into the fray by the National’s Sailing Manager Olivier Prouveur.

Yes indeed – the Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race will be providing a start for Mini 650 boats, and Yannick Lemonnier will be right in the thick of it all. They’ll get a separate prize and won’t be in the IRC Division, but it’s a new twist in a race which, in 2017, will also have a new old twist.

david thomas15David Thomas, MD of Volvo Car Ireland, with Emma O’Carroll, also of Volvo Car Ireland, and Darryl Hughes, owner-skipper of Maybird, the first gaff-rigged entrant in the Dingle Race. Photo Michael Chester

For no-one has any recollection of the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race ever having a gaff-rigged entry in its 24 years. Yet the madly enthusiastic Darryl Hughes has entered his beautifully-restored 1937 Tyrrell-built 43ft gaff ketch Maybird. He knows he’ll be doing quite well to make it to Dingle in time for the prize giving. And then he’ll have to think of further schedules, as he is also entered for the Classics Division in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta from July 9th to 12th. But in the National this week this week he was able to assure everyone that Maybird is already well n the way to being race ready. Sure hadn’t he and his mates scrubbed her and anti-fouled her – including a fresh boot-top – all on the one Spring tide at Poolbeg a couple of weeks ago? So the count-down is already well under way for the turbo-powered Volvo Dun Laoghaire-Dingle Race 2017.

maybird scrub16Race preparation. Maybird gets completely re-antifouled and with a fresh boot-top a fortnight ago, all in one tide at Poolbeg

Published in W M Nixon
Page 3 of 7

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

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 Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

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