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Out of the mist and rain came waterborne Vikings to battle on Dun Laoghaire's East Pier yesterday afternoon. The Irish National Sailing School (INSS) co-ordinated a free and family–friendly event that featured battles, longboats and a Viking village from 12-5pm.

Like a thousand years ago, the marauding did not commence on time. Downpours, however, did not deter an impressive crowd of hundreds, huddled together at the town's bandstand. By battle–time there was a steady stream of people on the pier's top level. Some locals even took it upon themselves to intercourse with invaders. Others were more focussed on the fight.

INSS Vikings crowds 1801Local forces take shelter Photo: Afloat.ie

INSS Vikings 1938Taking time for some Viking selfies before battle commences Photo: Afloat.ie

INSS Vikings 1938The Norsemen soon set up shop Photo: Afloat.ie

INSS Vikings 1938Some were friendly....Photo: Afloat.ieINSS Vikings 1938others maybe not so much...Photo: Afloat.ie

INSS Vikings 1938INSS's Alistair Rumball prepares for battle as Viking longships approach from the harbour mouth Photo: Afloat.ie

INSS's Alistair Rumball, who provides Marine Film Location Services to the hit TV series Vikings, has been blamed for the Norse incursion. 

His unlikely alliance with harbour forces including, King of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Gerry Dunne, led to the pitting of seafarers versus townspeople on the occasion of the harbour's bicentenary.

INSS Vikings 1938The Irish summer was no deterrent to the planned invasion Photo: Afloat.ie

INSS Vikings 1913Not even the local lifeboat could stop it...Photo: Afloat.ie

The onset of bad weather though, meant the Vikings, who approached under oar and sail, arrived early at the harbour mouth (Battle of Clontarf, here we go again) and Chief Rumball decreed battle should commence by 2pm. 

Dun Laoghaire viking battleMaking the press: Dun Laoghaire's Viking battle hit the headlines, including this fine photograph in this morning's Irish Times

The battle was shorter than in Clontarf's sunrise to sunset exaggerated affair, but ended all the same in a rout of the Leinster forces that was witnessed by the High Chief of Leinster, Mary Mitchell O'Connor TD, Minister of State at the Department of Education. 

The Viking contingent led by Sigurd Stena Line of Orkney and Brodir Irish Ferries of Mann were soon back in charge of the Piers – to the relief of many.

Published in INSS

Skipper Kenny Rumball and the INSS crew celebrated a fine second overall in a fleet of 32–boats, the biggest division of the 2017 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta. The J109 crew on Jedi were only five points off the top spot, taken by Howth's Flashback, after a tricky series of four coastal races in which the sailing school students finished second twice.

The INSS scored 12, 2, 2 and a 9 on the final day over courses that saw the impressive offshore fleet race out to the North Burford buoy on Dublin Bay and as far south as Bray, County Wicklow in mainly light winds and some strong tides. 

Offshore success is nothing new for the INSS who are regular offshore competitors in ISORA. Last year, Rumball scored tenth overall in the 63–boat, 2016 Round Ireland race, again with sailing students as crew.

Published in INSS
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#Cruising - Leisurely cruising isn’t all that’s on the agenda when the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School’s Elan 36, Beaufort Venture, sails the South East Coast this July.

INSS cruising instructor Gary Curran will lead each cruise in a series of mile-building passages, giving expert guidance to help you practice the skills you need for your own yachting and cruising programmes.

Places are still available on two of the five cruises (€560 each, travel and meals not included) which promise to include everything you will find in the INSS’s standard Competent Crew or Day Skipper courses.

Cork to Castletownbere to Schull from 6-10 July and the return journey from 12-16 July are both five-day cruises. Book quickly to avoid disappointment via the INSS website HERE.

Published in INSS

The Irish National Sailing School (INSS) welcomed their old friends on the Tall Ship Phoenix back to Dun Laoghaire Harbour today.

The Phoenix, operated by film production facility Square Sail, participated in last weekend's Dublin Port Riverfest on the River Liffey.

The two–masted brig is currently along side at the West Pier in Dun Laoghaire for maintenance work to bottom timbers.

'It's 20 years exactly since INSS and Square Sail worked together on the D–Day beach scenes on the film 'Saving Private Ryan' in Wexford', INSS's Alistair Rumball told Afloat.ie

INSS provide marine production faciliies in Ireland and Rumball is currently working on the TV smash–hit The Vikings, as Afloat.ie previously reported.

Published in Tall Ships
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#TrySailing - Summer sailing courses for children aged 4 to 17 are available to book now at the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School in Dun Laoghaire.

The 2017 summer courses, which begin next Tuesday 6 June, will see students assigned to groups according to their age (4-6 years, 7-10 years, 11-14 years and 15-18 years) and experience.

All essential gear is provided, from boats to buoyancy aids, while wetsuits can be hired by the week.

This year sees two new programmes running alongside the summer sailing courses: sailing through the Irish language for 11-14-year-olds and a keelboat programme providing a different challenge for teens 15 and over.

Click HERE for full details of the INSS summer sailing course programme and how to book.

Published in How To Sail
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#TrySailing - Sunday 14 May is the date for the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School’s 2017 Open Day — where anyone can try sailing, kayaking or paddleboarding at Dun Laoghaire Harbour for only €10.

All ages are welcome on the day, whether families, friends or individuals, for what promises to be an exciting day on the water — coinciding with the annual Sail-a-thon charity event organised by sailors attending the INSS junior club sailing programme.

Whether you’re entirely new to the sport or rekindling an old flame, you’ll be learning how to sail on board one of the school’s fleet of 1720 sportsyachts — waterproof overalls and lifejackets provided!

Those interested in kayaking and paddleboarding, meanwhile, will be guided around the sheltered waters inside Dun Laoghaire Harbour to give a taste of what makes these activities so appealing.

Details on booking a session for the day can be found on the INSS website HERE.

Published in How To Sail

#HowToSail - A new series of short yachting courses at the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School (INSS) begins with a one-day course on various techniques for mooring and handling a yacht under power.

This day-long course (9.30am-5pm) will run three times over the summer, with the first on Sunday 7 May, and covers the following topics:

  • Basic engine checks
  • Throttle and gear controls
  • Rudder, propellers, propwalk and pivot points
  • Going ahead and astern
  • Use of wind and stream to aid manoeuvres
  • Manoeuvring in confined spaces
  • Moving to and from a marina berth under power
  • Use of springs and other berthing techniques

The €99 course is recommended for any sailors heading abroad over the summer months who want to brush up on moving about tighter spaces, or those thinking about doing an ICC assessment.

Full details are available on the INSS website HERE.

Published in How To Sail

Royal Irish's Andrew Alego made an impressive ISORA debut yesterday in a tricky light wind race from Dun Laoghaire to Wicklow. The new–to–the Bay, J109 Juggerknot port–tacked a 24–boat fleet in very light airs off the Dun Laoghaire startline.

In yet another impressve performance for the design, J109s took the top four places in the 25–miler. Second was Tim Goodbody's White Mischief also from the Royal Irish Yacht Club and third the Irish National Sailing School's Jedi skippered by Kenny Rumball. 

Light winds prevailed for much of the morning, so it was a slow race that ultimately meant only two–thirds of the Dun Laoghaire fleet finished off Wicklow Sailing Club yesterday afternoon. Eight boats were recorded as 'Did Not Finish'.

The fine turn out of 24 boats at Dun Laoghaire is a reversal of fortunes for the Dublin offshore sailing scene and follows similar lifts in numbers in 2015 and 16. 

ISORA StartWith under a minute to the start, the 23–boat was shy of the Dun Laoghaire line. Race winner Juggerknot is closest and preparing to flip onto port tack for the Burford buoy Photo: Afloat.ie

Back in 2007, the then ISORA Chairman John Rose gave notice to nine clubs on both sides of the Irish sea that November's agm would be the last citing a "lack of interest".

Juggerknot ISORANew ISORA entrant – Juggerknot from the Royal Irish Yacht Club

A decade later, thanks to efforts to rekindle the offshore fleet on both sides of the Irish Sea, yesterday's first race of the 2017 calendar amassed a buoyant fleet of 37 with 13 boats racing simultaneously from Pwllheli in North Wales. It is a satisfying result that ISORA Chief Peter Ryan says he is determined  to build on. 'This size fleet has not been seen in ISORA for many years' he told Afloat.ie

The first race of the Overall ISORA Avery Crest Offshore Championship 2017 was also the first race in the ISORA Viking Marine Coastal Series 2016 and the Royal Alfred Coastal Series 2016. The weather forecast for the race was for little or no wind leaving a very difficult task for the Sailing Committee to set the course.

This first race saw the appearance of some new boats to ISORA. Tim Goodbody’s J109, “White Mischief”, Jonathan Bourke’s J109, “Dear Prudence”, Larry Power’s First 31.7, “Kalamar”, Brian Hett’s Dufour 40, “Oystercatcher”, Andew Algeo’s J109 “ Juggerknot”, Robert Rendell’s XC45, “ Samaton” and Jim Schofield’s Nicholson 32, “Thisbe”. Paul Egan and Colm Buckley have returned to the ISORA fleet with new boats First 35, “Platinum Blonde” and J109, “Indian”. “Jedi” J109 has changed owners and has returned to ISORA with Kenneth Rumball.

With the forecast of 3-7 knots NW veering and decreasing 2-3 knots E and veering later to 3-7 knots S, setting a course that would get most boats finished was always going to be difficult. The Race Committee set the course shortly before the start to: Start in Dun laoghaire – South Burford (S) – North and Finish in Wicklow – a course of 22 miles.

The winds at the start were light north-easterly as the fleet of 24 boats headed off towards the first mark in the south going tide. Fluky winds and conditions at the start made it difficult for many of the boats to get fast off the start line. “Juggerknot” and “Lively Lady” led the fleet that turned out to be a beat or tight fetch to the first mark.

Shortly after rounding the first mark, the boats headed in a run down towards the finish with the south going tide. In the decreasing winds and strong tide rounding the South Burford proved to be difficult and split the fleet. The front bunch led by “Lively Lady” drifted towards Wicklow in the fickle winds.

The winds continued to decrease and shift making progress very slow. While the fleet never stopped, at time it was only the south going tide that provided progress for the fleet. The leading buch also included, “Tsunami”, “Platinum Blonde”, “Jedi”, “Aurelia”, White Mischief”, “Dear Prudence” and “Another Adventure”.

As the wind had veered to the south east and increased slightly at the same time as the tide was turning north, “Juggerknot” crossed the finish line first to take 1st in IRC Overall and Class 1 and 2nd in ISORA ECHO Overall and Class1. “Jedi” too 1st in ISORA ECHO while “Albireo” took Silver Class.

16 of the 24 boats finished and made their way into Wicklow harbour for the usual ISORA après sail get together at WSC, some in time to see the “Munster match”!! Crews gathered in the club and planned their next ISORA adventure.
As the race was tracked using the Avery Crest Trackers, the progress of the race can be re-played using the YB app or on the ISORA website.

The next race is the first offshore on the 13th May from Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire. It is hoped that there will be another large combined fleet taking part in preparation of the D2D race in June and the Fastnet race in August.

Full results here 

ISORA INSS JediThe INSS J109 Jedi, the only boat to set a gennaker from the Dun Laoghaire start was third in the race to Wicklow. Photo: Afloat.ie

Published in ISORA
Tagged under

Go north for decent sailing breezes.....that’s the message being brought home by the Galway crew of the Irish National Sailing School’s J/109 Jedi as they continue to benefit from much firmer mainly westerly winds over the north of the country writes W M Nixon.

They are now speeding down the Irish Sea within 50 miles of their start/finish point in Dun Laoghaire, on track and sailing at 6.8 knots in best J/109 style. This should keep them a whole day within their self-imposed target of getting round Ireland in a clockwise direction within a week.

But while they may look like staying within one limit, they’ve already exceeded another in style, as their declared target of raising at least €3,000 towards helping the 85 patients receiving Cystic Fibrosis treatment in Galway University Hospital has been swept aside.

They went through the €3,500 mark while breezing along the north coast last night. And as the fund-raising stays open until mid-August, who knows what stratospheric total might be possible for this effort led by Mossy Reilly & Paddy Shryane, with full support from their crew of Dave O’Connor, Louis Cronan, Sophie Skinner, and Jonathan Curran.

Not only has it all been in a very good cause, but they return to Dublin Bay inspired by the magnificence of our coastline and the hugely varied life of sea creatures of all types and sizes to be seen and admired when making the incomparable circuit of Ireland.

Published in Cruising

After a winter which included training with Irish National Sailing School in Dun Laoghaire, Galway’s Mossie O’Reilly and Paddy Shryane are well into a clockwise Easter circumnavigation of Ireland to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis writes W M Nixon.

Spurred on by the death from CF last summer of their friend Eva Davin aged just 32, the Galway duo are sailing fully-crewed on the INSS’s J/109 Jedi. They aren’t trying to break any sailing records, but instead are doing the classic Round Ireland circuit in a way with which most sailors will identify. This in turn will, they hope, draw attention to the remarkable work being done in Galway University Hospital, where 85 children and adults are receiving treatment for CF.

Even before their venture got under way from Dun Laoghaire in the first minute of Holy Saturday, April 15th, they and their team had already raised €2,545 towards a modest target of €3,000 which we hope will be significantly exceeded by the time fund-raising ends of August 15th 2017. Because the voyage target is simply to get round Ireland, when total calm descended off Kinsale they dropped into port for a few hours until the wind returned.

Published in INSS
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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

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