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Two evenings and one day of racing is the celebratory programme outlined to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire next June. 

As reported by Afloat in its 2020 Preview of the Irish Sailing Season, the Sesquicentennial Regatta will run from June 10th to 14th.

Racing will be in association with DBSC and ISORA and include cruisers, one designs, dinghies & Wags.

As befitting the 150th anniversary, NYC Regatta Director Con Murphy says it will be bigger than the traditional Saturday club regatta by being a multi evening/days event from 10-14th June with racing for keelboats on Thursday and Friday evenings as well as the normal racing on the Saturday.

Dinghies will have racing on Friday evening and Saturday, Waterwags on the Wednesday and Friday evenings and ISORA boats on Thursday and Friday evenings and all day Saturday.

For cruiser and keelboat classes, the races on Thursday evening will be run by DBSC per their standard Thursday courses and be scored in the regatta results.

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Thousands of miles and 10 months of lead time are proving no deterrent for former ISORA Champions Peter Dunlop and Vicky Cox of the National Yacht Club in Ireland but are based in North Wales and who are intent on ensuring their spot for their J109 Mojito in New York in one of the most anticipated sailing championships of 2020.

A second ISORA yacht, Andrew Hall's Jackhammer, a J121, will also be competing in the Big Apple.

In the few short weeks since entries opened as Afloat reported here, nearly 30 entries have registered for the 2020 ORC/IRC World Championships, exceeding organisers' expectations and laying a strong foundation for the regatta's triumphant return to the United States after a two-decade absence.

Click here to see the entry list.

Among the teams making an early commitment to travel to the regatta is the Teamwork crew (above), led by Robin Team from Winston-Salem, N.C.

"We are very excited to have the opportunity to sail in the 2020 ORC/IRC World Championships," said Team. "It is a chance to race against the very best competition in a world-class venue run by the New York Yacht Club. They always run a great regatta, both on the water and shoreside."

The 2020 ORC/IRC World Championship will bring top sailing teams from around the globe to battle on Rhode Island Sound and Narragansett Bay for one of three coveted world titles. The regatta will be scored using a combination of the two most popular rating rules in the sport, ORC and IRC, and racing will be a mix of around-the-buoys racing and longer, offshore courses. The competition will be held out of the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court from September 25 to October 3, 2020.

While the Teamwork crew will put in the miles to get its J/122 to Newport, there are many other teams committing to an even longer journey. Among the 28 entries to date are two each from Italy and Great Britain and one each from Germany, France and Canada. This geographic spread is crucial to the regatta as ORC championship rules state that the number of competitors plus the number of countries represented within the fleet must total 14 or greater for each class to confer a world title to its winner.

With an impressive surge of 12 entries from four countries, including Tilmar Hansen's TP52 Outsider from Kieler Yacht-Club in Germany, Class A has already met this requirement. This boat was brand new to Hansen at the last combined ORC/IRC Worlds in The Hague, Netherlands, in 2018, where he finished as runner-up to Karl Kwok's gold medal-winning TP52 Beau Geste from Hong Kong.

"We are very much looking forward to coming to Newport next summer," said Hansen. "The town is wonderful, the racing is always good, all the infrastructure is there, and we enjoy the great hospitality of the New York Yacht Club. Our plan is to race the RORC's Caribbean 600 in Antigua in February, then ship the boat to race in Newport all summer in preparation for the Worlds."

Outsider will have some strong competition in a brand-new Fox, Victor Wild's Botin 52 currently under construction, and Vesper, a competitive TP52 from Southern California skippered by David Team (no relation to Robin). All three boats should be among the fastest boats, according to rating, in Class A.

Another interesting development is the three IC37s that have entered Class B. This boat, created for one-design racing by the New York Yacht Club, has recently had some success under IRC, including an overall win in the Hamble Winter Series on the Solent. Another full season of one-design racing and, perhaps, some optimization for handicap competition could well make one or more of these IC37s a formidable competitor next fall. So far 10 teams have entered Class B.

And Class C is also shaping up well with six teams from three countries, including Kevin Brown's Farr 30 Notorious from Toronto and the Royal Canadian Yacht Club. His plan includes IRC and ORC racing in Florida in the SORC offshore series this winter, and says his boat "is in top form, getting ready for the Worlds now."

While the Worlds will come at the end of the sailing season in Newport, two other major events earlier in the summer will provide teams from around the world with the opportunity to train, test their equipment and enjoy all that Newport, America's first resort, has to offer. The 166th Annual Regatta—North America's oldest annual sailing competition—and the 12th edition of Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex will provide an invaluable opportunity to preview the racing formats and the scoring system that has been confirmed for the world championship.

Outsider, Teamwork and Notorious all plan to enter one or more of these pre-Worlds events.

"It's really encouraging to see early entries from outside New England and across the Atlantic Ocean," said event chair Patricia Young (Jamestown, R.I.), who will be racing her Tripp 41 Entropy in Class B. "The previous ORC/IRC World Championship, in The Hague in 2018, set a high bar in terms of entries and while we're not sure we can reach that level—Europe remains the epicenter for both of these rating rules—we are that much more confident we'll have a very strong and diverse fleet of yachts for the regatta."

Scoring System Confirmed

While this big boat handicap championship has been a staple of World Sailing's regatta slate for many years, the concept of scoring it with two rules is quite new, having only been done once previously, in 2018 in The Hague. The scoring formula is a little more complex, but the end result is a competition that does a more consistent job of rewarding the best-prepared and most-talented teams regardless of the wind conditions.

"The system we agreed to we think will minimize differences in the two rule systems," says ORC Chief Measurer Zoran Grubisa, who is co-chairing the event's Technical Committee along with Jason Smithwick from IRC. "We believe this will be an improvement on what we did in The Hague two years ago."

The basic mechanics of the scoring scheme are fairly straightforward. ORC Results will be calculated using the Coastal / Long Distance time-on-time scoring model, while inshore races will be scored using Performance Curve Scoring with a constructed course. IRC Results will be calculated using each yacht's IRC time correction coefficient. Corrected times calculated for ORC and IRC will be shown as deltas to the winning boat. The winning boat in each rating system in each class will have a corrected time of 00:00:00, and all others will have a corrected time calculated as the difference in time to the winner.

Finally, a single corrected time to determine the finishing place is calculated by averaging a yacht's corrected times in ORC and IRC. That score alone will go on the team's score card. The official scoring language can be found

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There was an august gathering of Irish 505 sailors at the National Yacht Club on Thursday 7th November to commemorate the second European Championships of the class, which was held in Dun Laoghaire in August 1969.

Former 505 sailors came from far and wide across the island of Ireland to remember the championships, which helped build a young and dynamic group who went on to contribute greatly to Irish Sailing over the following 50 years.

The commemoration was organised magnificently by former DBSC Commodore, Michael O’Rahilly. The attendance included Jackie Patton, Chair of RYA Northern Ireland and a number of Ulster 505 sailors including Simon Haselden, Peter Thompson, Michael Hill, Wyclif McCready and Colin McErvel. Ted and Tom Crosbie along with Neil Hegarty, came from RCYC in Cork while the dynamic Dublin engineers Paddy Barry and Michael Cotter, shared tales for their 505 exploits.

oSean Joan Flood and Tom Crosbie Pic James WoodsSean and Joan Flood and Tom Crosbie Photo: James Woods

Sean Flood came from Howth YC while John Simington, Rory McDonagh, John Bourke and others shared experiences of the 505 – a very fast two-man boat.

In 1969, the race office was run by Carmel Winkelmann, who, while not in attendance sent a lovely note of reminiscences of the event – which was held under the stewardship of Commodore Frank Lemass. Clayton Love, Joe Woodward and Johnny Hooper also shared memories by email while Johnny’s sailing partner Peter Grey, attended.

Harold Cudmore, who finished runner up the 1969 505 World Championships, sent his best wishes to a group that he had inspired.

Gerry Dunleavy Peter Gray Tom Flodd Pic James WoodsGerry Donleavy, Peter Gray and Tom Flood Photo: James Woods

To bring matters up to date, Flying Fifteen legend, Gerry Donleavy, shared his stories of the 505 in the 1980s and recounted his early pairing with Afloat.ie’s David O’ Brien in the 505, before the duo switched to the Flying Fifteen and winning the 1988 UK Nationals.

It was clear that running championships inspires further endeavour and so many of the attendees have great subsequent sailing records while contributing endlessly to the development of the Sport organisationally and on the water, in Ireland and internationally.

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The National Yacht Club launched its inaugural match racing league over the weekend with 12 teams competing over 2 days. 

Saturday kicked off with light winds which suited the ‘intro to match racing’ participants. RO Alan Daly took full advantage of the conditions to get everyone familiar with the format and the boats. Niall Meagher of the Flying 15 Class showcased well oiled starting tactics to lead the Saturday series going into week 2. James Gorman of the SB20s performed very well in his first match races, only to be edged out by Niall in the final race. Jack Hall’s youth team of Instructors managed 1 win sailing with his father and J109 expert Brian Hall.

The Sunday Series saw glamour conditions prevail. The 6 ‘pro match racing’ teams managed to get a full complement of races away in 10-12 knots of breeze and bright sun. Baltimore SC’s Mark Hassett currently leads with a 100% win rate going into week 2. The league has been getting rave reviews, with Howth YC sailor Scott Flanigan who currently sits in second overall overheard saying “Raging to be missing this Sunday, yesterday was class”. 

As Afloat reported previously, the National Yacht Club recently acquired a fleet of Elliott 6m sportsboats and is hosting a series of match racing events throughout the autumn. Six teams will compete in one series across 6 Saturdays 2nd November – 7th December, with a further six youth teams competing on the corresponding Sundays. The top three teams from each series will then compete in a Grand Final weekend on 14th/15th December.

There is still room for 2 'intro to match racing' teams in the Saturday series. If interested, don’t hesitate to sign up at our new pro-rated and cheaper price here

Race schedules and results can be found below:

Saturday league
Sunday league

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The annual lift-out of yachts and boats in Dun Laoghaire Harbour at the neighbouring Royal St.George and National Yacht Clubs took place in fine weather conditions on Dublin Bay today.

Boats will be stored ashore now on club platforms for the winter period and launched again in advance of the Summer season next April.

It's not the end of Dun Laoghaire sailing, however, as Dublin Bay Sailing Club runs year-round racing for cruisers based at the town marina with its popular winter Turkey Shoot Series before Christmas and its Spring Chicken event in the new year that attracts up to 70 and 50 yachts respectively for each series.

More details of the forthcoming Turkey Shoot here.

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No sooner than it has successfully completed the Flying Fifteen World Championships last month, the National Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay has launched its inaugural Winter Match Racing Series.

The East Pier club has acquired a fleet of four Elliott 6ms sportsboats and, after a period of setting-up and testing that included a 2k Team Racing event in September has unveiled this brand new event format. 

Typically, a match race consists of two identical boats racing against each other. 

The National Yacht Club already has teams of U30s / Ensign Members lined up for the Sunday Round Robin series and are opening up the Saturday Series for all NYC members to constitute and register teams of three people.

NYC Match racing

At the 2k event in September, 30 sailors took to the water in Dun Laoghaire Harbour for that event including teams from The National Yacht Club (U30 and U25 teams), The Royal St George Yacht Club, Royal Cork Yacht Club, and the Sorento Sailing Club from Australia who travelled for the event.

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Only in Ireland could it be like this. We hear that of many things in this curious island of ours. But the varying sailing, location and personal backgrounds of the sixteen helmspersons competing in this weekend’s All-Ireland Helmsmans Championship at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire really does bring it all home. The Irish Sailing community is a very odd and idiosyncratic bunch - there’s no doubt about it – and their interests afloat and ashore are many, with the Select Sixteen reflecting this.

Plus that, we could comfortably devote an entire blog to the stories of the many different classes which have produced their representatives of national standard to compete for the big salver in Dun Laoghaire’s Flying Fifteen this morning, without devoting a single word to what those people are, and how they got to be top of their particular sailing pyramid.

chris doorly dave gorman2They’ve drawn the short straw….crew Chris Doorly (left) and helm Dave Gorman are in the uniquely demanding position of current Irish Champions in the Flying Fifteen Class, the boat of choice for this weekend’s All-Irelands at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. Photo: Afloat

For sailing is first and foremost a vehicle sport, and it’s a distinctly oddball sailor who is not at least slightly fascinated by the boats he or she sails, and their potential for improvement. Yet while being something of an intelligent boat nerd undoubtedly helps, it’s the realisation that sheer sailing talent and having the right mind-set which gives that edge in the heat of competition, and it has been fascinating to see how top helms from other classes have been carefully picking crews to ensure that they’re better armed to take on the established skills of Flying Fifteen National Champions.

We ran the provisional list last week in giving a 72-year history of the event, but this morning’s up-to-date entry lineup shows some fine-tuning of personnel which adds an extra spice to the championship. 

Helm

Class

Club

Crew Name

Cathy MacAleavey

Water Wags

National Yacht Club

Con Murphy

Robert Espey

RS400

Ballyholme Yacht Club

Stephen Milne

David Gorman

Flying Fifteen

National Yacht Club

Chris Doorly

Sean Craig

Laser Radial

Royal St. George Yacht Club

Alan Greene

Peter Kennedy

2018 Champion (SB20)

Strangford Lough Yacht Club

Stephen Kane

Darren Wright

ICRA IRC 2

Howth Yacht Club

Matt Alvarado

Rory Fekkes

ICRA IRC 3

Carrickfergus Sailing Club

Paul Fekkes

Jonathan Horgan

Shannon One Design

Lough Derg Yacht Club

Carden Kent

John Sheehy

Team Racing

Royal St. George Yacht Club

Darragh O'Connor

Ronan Wallace

Laser Standard

Wexford Harbour Boat & Tennis Club

Brendan Wallace

Michael O'Connor

SB20

Royal St. George Yacht Club

Davy Taylor

Gordon Patterson

Squib

Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club

Ross Nolan

Paddy Dillon

Mermaids

Rush Sailing Club

Johnny Dillon

Shane MacCarthy

GP14

Greystones Sailing Club

Stephen Boyle

Colm O'Flaherty

J24

Sligo Yacht Club

Dave O'Connor

Wyatt Orsmond

Multihull IMA

Swords Sailing Club

Patrick Billington


Yet with the boats being raced without the use of spinnakers, an inherent advantage of Flying Fifteen experience is removed at a stroke. And in any case, as pointed out last week, in racing against defending Helmsmans Championship title-holder Peter Kennedy of Strangford Lough with regular crew Stephen Kane, Gorman is up against a top SB 20 sailor who has Flying Fifteen sailing skill in his genes, as Peter’s parents Terence and Bridget were Flying Fifteen British Champions in 1962 (when that was the class’s main title), and his home club of Strangford Lough YC is imbued with a history of Flying Fifteen success, the most memorable being Bill Carson who became a world champion.
It puts extra pressure on National F/F Champion Dave Gorman of the home club with regular crewman Chris Doorly, for in this 50th year of the Flying Fifteen class in Dun Laoghaire - with the F/F Worlds 2019 staged by the club in Dublin Bay in September - the spotlight is on the Gorman/Doorly combo three times over.

peter kennedy3Olympian Peter Kennedy (right) after winning the SB 20 Nationals in Dun Laoghaire in June 2018 which provided his route into the 2018 All-Ireland at Lough Ree (in SB 20s) in October, which he duly won, and now like his parents he’s racing a Flying Fifteen to defend the title

As it happened, Bill was the agent for that curious baked-plastic wood substitute Tufnol. In order to demonstrate its versatility, he built a Flying Fifteen entirely in Tufnol, and sailed the boat (called Ffreek) so well that be won the 1958 trophy. The usual armchair pundits were somewhat sniffy about this promotion of Tufnol as being arguably a professional entry, but the years have passed, and now it’s only remembered that 61 years ago, Bill Carson of Whiterock won the big championship in the Flying Fifteens in a Tufnol boat, while the comparable successes of others have been long forgotten.

Past success is not something which is forgotten with the sole woman contender, Cathy MacAleavey, who is being crewed by her husband Con Murphy. This is a formidable combination, and as they had a period of “very enjoyable” racing with the Dun Laoghaire Flying Fifteen fleet, they bring a special element of boat knowledge to add to their other multiple experience which includes Olympic participation in 1988 by Cathy and a Round Ireland Record together with Steve Fossett on the 60ft trimaran Lakota in 1993 – a superb record which stood for years.

Another family-flavoured entry is drawn from the ICRA ranks with Rory Fekkes of Carrickfergus SC being crewed by his father Paul, who was GP 14 World Champion with Rory’s uncle Mark in 1991 when they sailed for East Antrim Boat Club in Larne.

The Fekkes originally were a Dutch family who provided the crew on one of those characterful little Dutch freight-carrying coasters which were a common sight on the coasts of Europe until containerisation changed the structure of shipping completely. But before that happened, the first Fekkes came into Larne on their little ship the Noah in the 1960s, and simply decided to stay.

classic dutch coaster4Classic Dutch coaster of the 1940s to ’70s – the head of Fekkes family arrived into Larne aboard one called Noah in the 1960s, and decided to stay Photo: Afloat
Now, sixty years later and with a new generation moving centre stage, Paul and his young son Rory bought a bog-standard Beneteau First 8 in Greystones and souped her up to a very high level, even going so far as to paint her black so folk might think she’s carbon fibre throughout….

f n gr8 racing5The Fekkes team on their way to success aboard F’n Gr8, with Rory (left) on helm and father Paul (centre) maintaining a tactical overview. Photo Afloat.ie/David O’Brien

Whatever the colour, the memorably-named F’n Gr8 was always at the sharpest part of the sharp end of IRC 3 in Scotland, Cork and Dublin Bay during the 2019 season, and while the move into Flying Fifteens will be depriving Rory Fekkes of the advantages in racing a boat of which he knows every cubic millimetre, a sage observer of the County Antrim sailing scene tells us that having Paul Fekkes as your crew is always good for an extra percentage of boat speed and an added injection of sound tactics, and the dynamics of the sailing relationship in the Fekkes son-and-father combo is a wonder to behold.

Also from Belfast Lough, this time from the south shore, are the Squib Class National Champion (and many other 2019 Squib championships) Gordon Patterson of RNIYC Cultra, who reached the top this past summer sailing the 50-year-old Fagan crewed by Ross Nolan, and they’ll be together again this weekend.

gordon patterson ross nolan6 Gordon Patterson and Ross Nolan, overall Squib champions in the 50-year-old Fagan (RNIYC)

Cultra also saw success for Rob Espey and Stephen Milne of Ballyholme, who raced in the big-fleet RS 400 British & Irish Championships at RNIYC in August, and came second overall and Irish National Champions while they were at it. So after Chris and Olin Bateman won the Junior Championship last weekend in Schull with Chris being in it on the strength of his RS 200 National title, it will be interesting to see how the big brothers from the fast-moving RS 400 transfer to the more sedate yet tactics-and-technique-laden world of Flying Fifteen racing at national and senior level.

rs400 belfast lough7RS 400 in full flight on Belfast Lough, where Rob Espey of Balyholme won the Irish National title at Cultra

For make no mistake about it, the level is very high in this weekend series with the popular GP 14 class making a remarkable input, as there are two former GP 14 World Champions taking part. Paul Fekkes won it in 1991, while Shane MacCarthy of Greystones won it in 2016. McCarthy has added the 2019 Irish GP 14 title to his trophy list racing with Damian Bracken at Skerries, but for this weekend’s racing in Dublin Bay he has recruited Stephen Boyle, who formerly raced Flying Fifteens with success with Sean Craig.

shane mccarthy solo8Shane MacCarthy racing his Solo. In addition to successfully racing GP 14s, Shane McCarthy has also been on the podium in the big-fleet season-long multi-location Solo Series in England, placing third overall.

Shane MacCarthy has another sailing life entirely as a top helm in the attractive Solo single-hander – he has placed third overall in the well-supported season-long Solo series in England this year, and meanwhile Sean Craig – having been champion helm in 1993 at Larne in GP14s – is in the mix this weekend as the Laser Radial representative, and he has brought in F/F ace Alan Greene as crew to give a formidable boost to his chances.

sean craig and 1993 salver9 Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire with the Salver in 1993, when he won it racing in GP 14s at Larne. He’s back this year as Laser Radial champion

Also busy on the rockstar recruitment trail has been the IRC 4 and Irish Half-Ton Champion Darren Wright from Howth, who has professional form in this rockstar lineup business, as anyone who saw the nightly shows he laid on at the Howth Wave regatta event in 2018 will readily attest. For this weekend, he has hit the bullseye by hauling in Matt Alvarado – Bronze Medallist at the F/F Worlds last month – to operate the front end of the boat and help with calling the shots.

mata crew10Helmsman Darren Wright of Howth (left) with the crew of Mata after winning the Irish Half-Ton Championship in Kinsale in June. For the Helmsman's Championship in Flying Fifteens, he has recruited Matt Alvarado (Bronze Medallist in F/F Worlds 2019) as crew
As defending champion Peter Kennedy emerged from the SB 20s last year, this growing class – with the effervescent John Malone from Lough Ree YC as new top honcho – should never be underestimated, particularly as their representative Michael O’Connor of Royal St George can include the SB20 World Corinthian Champion in his CV.

All these and most of the other contenders come from the familiar world of mono-hulls, but the Irish Multihull Association is making its pitch in the interesting person of Wyatt Orsmond, who is another life is Mr Eva Orsmond, consort of the TV personality. But despite living in Greystones, he does his main multi-hull racing to championship title level with Swords Sailing Club on the Broadmeadow Water in Fingal, and his crew this weekend in Dun Laoghaire will be Patrick Billington from Wicklow, which seems to suggest that multiple locations are an integral part of multihull racing.

wyatt orsmond11Wyatt Orsmond, helm for the Irish Multihull Association
So in all it’s a lineup well reflective of modern Irish sailing life, and half a dozen helms and maybe more are certainly in there with a shout. As to the expected weather, what can we say in the aftermath of Storm Lorenzo?

When he was a Fisheries Inspector for the unofficial Provisional Government set up by Sinn Fein in Dublin’s Mansion House in 1919, global circumnavigator O’Brien patrolled the west coast of Connacht in his ketch Kelpie, and he was wont to observe of the utterly barren north end of the Mullet Peninsula in northwest Mayo that it was so devoid of any distinguishing features that it scarcely constituted a coastline at all, and left any observers in a very bewildered frame of mind.

So although Lorenzo was going fine until he got off that north end of Mullet, the very place seemed to cause him to collapse in on himself. Seldom can a post-tropical storm have evaporated so quickly. Maybe his strength was sucked away somehow by the nearby presence of the Corrib Gas Field.

Whatever, weather prediction is a doubly-cautious business at the moment, but with any luck the 2019 Irish Sailing All-Ireland Helmsman’s Championship at Dun Laoghaire will enjoy a southerly breeze today (Saturday), albeit with a spot of rain, and a clearer nor’westerly wind tomorrow which may fade as the day goes on, but we’ve no doubt the Dun Laoghaire machine will function efficiently to put through what promises to be a fascinating programme.

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Women are being encouraged to get involved in sailing and develop skills that will help them in all walks of life at a unique regatta where all of the boats must have female captains.

As Afloat previously reported here, hosted by Irish Sailing, the inaugural Pathfinder Women at the Helm Regatta takes place on 17th and 18th August at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin.

Sailing is almost unique amongst Irish sports in that from a very young age boys and girls compete in similar numbers against each other on the water. Like many sports, however, sailing suffers with significant reduction in female participation when women start to focus on career or family. Women at the Helm is designed to encourage women back to sailing, and by focussing on them helming (captaining) the boat, simultaneously encourage them into positions of leadership.

Event organiser, Gail MacAllister, of Irish Sailing, said: “Women and men have been sailing against each other for decades, but this is the first time a regatta will be held at a national level where there will be women only captains. While there is already equality in the sport, this regatta is about encouraging women to step into positions of leadership and give them the confidence to come back.

“Like the 20x20 campaign says, this is about seeing it and being it – if women see other women helming and leading, the path is trodden and easier to follow.”

Women at the Helm will feature two days of racing across a range of boat classes. Angela Heath, who 30 years ago was part of the first all-female team to sail around the world, will helm the boat ‘Crazy Horse’ in the regatta. The Dun Laoghaire sailor was the only Irish crew member on the ‘Maiden’ when it competed in the challenging Whitbread Round the World race in 1989-1990.

Speaking about the event, the pioneering sailor said: “I’m excited about the Women at the Helm regatta. I want to encourage as many girls and women into sailing – it’s such a fantastic sport and I’ve learned so much from sailing over the years”.

Women at the Helm is open to both male and female sailors, although women must make up at least 50% of all crews and every boast must be helmed by women. To date, more than 40 boats have been entered into the regatta, ranging from small one-woman dinghies (Lasers) to larger keelboats with crews of seven, and everything in between.

Organisers say that sailing and taking leadership roles, such as helming, within a crew has far reaching effects and benefits for all involved.

Gail MacAllister said: “Aside from the obvious health benefits sailing offers, participants in an event like this must learn to work not only as individuals with roles and responsibilities but also as part of a team. They have to analysis situations, work solutions, form opinions and ultimately, for the helm, make decisions. Most sailors will tell you that these communication and decision-making skills developed on the water translate into both their personal and work lives. In fact, some will claim that these attributes have has a very positive effect on their careers.”

The event is supported by Pathfinder, specialist change management consultants. Sara Davidson, Marketing Director of Pathfinder, said: “Pathfinder are proud to be advocates of diversity and high performing teams, and in partnering with Irish Sailing, we are helping to bring these beliefs from our work to the water”.

Irish Sailing are proud to support the 20x20 campaign, and this regatta is part of the movement to change the perception of girls and women in sport through increased visibility and participation. We hope that this event will go some way to highlight this.

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The first Irish Sailing Pathfinder Women at the Helm regatta takes place next week 17 & 18 August at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire writes Treasa Cox of Irish Sailing.

Women have been sailing against each other for decades, but this is the first time a regatta will be held at a national level. In addition, this is the first event to actively encourage women to step up to leadership roles by only allowing women helms.

40 boats entered and all welcome

There are 40 boats entered so far for the regatta - from Lasers to Beneteau 31.7s and everything in between. Men are welcome, but women must make up 50% of the crew, and all boats must be helmed by women. There is a non-racing option through the Cruising Association of Ireland (CAI) and the event is open to all sailors aged 16+ and on into the 60+ ‘Silver Sailors’. In addition, we have a goal of 50% female race officials and organisers.

Ireland’s first club perpetual prize

Among the prizes is the new Roy Family Trophy, given by Irish Sailing President Jack Roy. This Perpetual Trophy is the first Irish Sailing official interclub award and is open to all members of Irish Sailing Affiliated Clubs that enter a team of three or more boats of any mix of class. “I grew up in a family of sailors” says Jack Roy. “Both my parents were a big influence in my sailing life. My mother crewed for me in my early years in Mirrors helping me to win the Club Championships in Greystones Sailing Club where my father was one of the founding members. And both our daughters are keen sailors. Gender balance is important in all walks of life and sailing is no different. I am delighted to present this trophy as part of the first Irish Sailing Pathfinder Women at the Helm Regatta and I hope the event will prove to be successful in contributing to the growth in numbers of women entering our sport”.

Roy Family prizeThe new Roy Family prize

Friday night showing of “Maiden” film

On Friday evening, 16 August there will be a showing of the film “Maiden” – the story of Tracy Edward’s record-breaking Whitbread Round the World boat with the first all-women crew. Angela Heath, the only Irish crew member on the boat will be joining for a Q&A session afterwards.

Our Partners

We are delighted that Pathfinder, specialist change management consultants, have agreed to sponsor the regatta for three years. Sara Davidson, Marketing Director commented “Pathfinder are proud to be advocates of diversity and high performing teams, and in partnering with Irish Sailing, we are helping to bring these beliefs from our work to the water”.

To register for the Irish Sailing Pathfinder Women at the Helm here

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Dun Laoghaire's National Yacht Club will be hosting an open evening this Friday to showcase what they have on offer for sailors under the age of 30 writes Will Byrne.

With the clubs fleet now including three J80s, four Elliott 6 metres and six Fireflies, the club will be running a host of programs over the season. These are to range from the formation of an Under 25 keelboat team to a Match Racing and Team Racing series to social sailing outings and cruises.

This is an open event so please come down, bring your friends and join the NYC team at 7 pm in the clubhouse and learn more about how we can get you on the water!

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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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W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
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