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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.

Published in ISA
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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

Published in National YC
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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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The National Yacht Club held a  commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Republic of Ireland with a special flag hoisting ceremony at its East Pier clubhouseon Easter Monday.

The commemoration marked the occasion when the Tricolour was raised by Pierce Purcell, then Commodore of the NYC and Commander of the Maritime Inscription (now the Navy Reserve), on Easter Monday 1949.

Current members of the Navy Reserve hoisted the Tricolour at front of house at the event, attended by Pierce Purcell Jr.

As Afloat reported previously, on Easter Monday 1949, the Tricolour was raised by the then Officer in command of the Dun Laoghaire unit of “Maritime Inscription” and Commodore of the National Yacht Club Pierce Purcell. 

Easter Monday NYC 037(from left) Commander Cormac Rynne Commanding Officer of Naval H.Q. based at Halbowline and Commander of the Naval Reserve, with former NYC Commodores Con Murphy and Ronan Beirne and Lieutenant Commander Stephen Murphy of the Naval Service Reserve based at Cathal Bruagh Barracks, Rathmines with Pierce Purcell Jnr, son of the then NYC Commodore who hands the folded Tricolour to the Lieutenant Commander. Photo: Michael Chester

And on Monday, after the hoisting of the Tricolour by Lieutenant Commander Stephen Murphy seventy years later, the important contribution of the “Maritime Inscription” in the “Emergency” 1939 – 1945 was revisited along with the part played by volunteer members of the NYC in that service.

In an event in the clubhouse after the flag hoisting, Commander Cormac Rynne, Commanding Officer of Naval H.Q. base at Halbowline and Commander of the Naval Reserve, presented the historical background to the “Maritime Inscription”, the Naval Service and the Navy Reserve.

Easter Monday NYC 098Commander Cormac Rynne presented the historical background to the “Maritime Inscription Photo: Michael Chester
Former National Yacht Club Commodore Ronan Beirne gave a resume of how the volunteers got involved, their training and duties until discharge in 1945 from conversations with the late Des Beirne & Harry Boyd.

Easter Monday NYC 116 Former NYC Commodore Ronan Beirne, Commander Cormac Rynne Commanding Officer of Naval H.Q. base at Halbowline and Commander of the Naval Reserve, Valerie Brouder, Pierce Purcell (son & daughter of Pierce Purcell) and Pierce Purcell junior. The late Pierce Purcell raised the tricolour on that historic occasion in 1949 and Lieutenant Commander Stephen Murphy of the Naval Service Reserve based at Cathal Brugh Barracks Rathmines  Photo: Michael Chester

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You can now register for the inaugural Irish Sailing Pathfinder Women at the Helm Regatta, taking place on Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th August at the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire writes Gail McAllister

Around the country, women have been racing against each other for decades but this is the first time a regatta will be held at a national level. The Irish Sailing Pathfinder Women at the Helm regatta is an opportunity for women to set a new goal or to simply enjoy the fun of sailing together and encourage a move from shore to boat, crew to helm or club event to regional event. Female helms currently stand out from the crowd, let’s change that and encourage women to take the helm.

All welcome
We aim to include all skill levels and interests with PY Dinghy Racing and ECHO Handicap Keelboat Racing, encourage teenage participation at a time when many young sailors are dropping out of sport, put on some non-racing options through the Cruising Association of Ireland (CAI), whilst all the while keeping a close eye on our environmental impact.

The event is open to all sailors aged 16+ and on into the 60+ ‘Silver Sailors’. But you must have a woman as helm. In order to encourage male helms to swap rolls to crew but keep existing crews together, male crew will be allowed but with all crew at least 50% female (including helm).

In addition, we have a goal of 50% female race officials and organisers. So if you’re not so sure about the competing but would like to get involved with the race officials then please get in touch to talk about training opportunities.

Prizes
Among the prizes is the newly created and highly covetable Irish Sailing Perpetual Club Team Prize, the only Irish Sailing official interclub award, which is open to all members of Irish Sailing Affiliated Clubs that enter a team of three or more boats of any mix of class.

Being environmentally aware
As part of Irish Sailing’s Sustainability drive the event is registered with Sailors for the Sea Club Regattas and will follow strict eco-friendly guidelines with eco signs, no unnecessary printing, no single use plastic, easily accessible hydration and more.

Partners
We are delighted that Pathfinder, specialist change management consultants, have agreed to sponsor the regatta for three years. 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 and the National Yacht Club are proud to support the Irish Federation of Sport #20x20 and Sport Ireland’s Women in Sport campaigns to increase the participation and visibility of women across all areas of sport.

Published in ISA

One of the most popular figures on the Dun Laoghaire waterfront, National Yacht Club outgoing Commodore Ronan Beirne, completes his two-year term of office this Saturday night with the traditional formal Commodore’s Dinner, which is only held when the role of Commodore is changing hands. During his time in the senior role, Commodore Beirne has become the embodiment of this notably hospitable club, overseeing the running of an impressively smooth administrative machine which deservedly became the Mitsubishi Motors “Sailing Club of the Year 2018” during his watch.

He combines an affable approach with a skilled management talent, which in turn is underpinned by a varied and active sailing career. One of those who played a key role in the establishment of the biennial Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta in 2005, he was before that a noted cruising enthusiast who not only was Honorary Editor of the Irish Cruising Club Annual, but was also personally awarded trophies for round Ireland cruising and a voyage to the remote Hebridean island of St Kilda.

His involvement with popular Dun Laoghaire classes has included a period as owner of a Ruffian 23, while he was also an enthusiast for the classic John B Kearney-designed Dublin Bay Mermaids, and more recently he has been a leading figure in the very active National YC Flying Fifteen fleet. During his period as Commodore, he has given unstintingly of his time to the many and varied needs of this very special club, and Saturday night’s dinner will provide an opportunity for his fellow members to acknowledge the magnificent contribution which Ronan Beirne has made to the wellbeing of the National Yacht Club.

Published in National YC
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The National Yacht Club celebrated another year of great sailing by its members at their annual awards dinner last Saturday night in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

The awards reflected a great horizon of sailing activity and administration by its members.

Commodore Ronan Beirne awarded the "Commodore's Award" to Annalise Murphy for her epic involvement on the Volvo Round the World Race on "Turn the Tide on Plastic". Annalise thanked her club by video link from her training base in Portugal and her parents Cathy McAleavey and Con Murphy accepted the award on behalf of Annalise and also gave a resume of the highs and lows experienced on that epic race. 

Download the NYC Awards booklet below. Prizegiving photos by Michael Chester

Commodore Ronan BeirneCommodore Ronan Beirne

The Boyne Regatta Cup (1870) presented to Victoria Cox and Peter Dublop at The NYC Prizegiving 2019The Boyne Regatta Cup (1870) was won by ISORA's Victoria Cox and Peter Dunlop and presented on the night by NYC archivist Frank Burgess (right) to Tadhg O'Braonsin (left) and Anthony Doyle 

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028Mark Compton accepts the "O'Leary Cup" on behalf of the "Prospect" crew from Frank Burgess club curator

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028Flying Fifteen Champions Dave Gorman and Chris Doorly. David and Chris have been awarded the Edward Yacht Club Trophy for their extraordinary consistent performance in winning 33-boat Flying Fifteen championships of Ireland and finishing 4th at the 50-boat UK national championships

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028Sarah Gorman (centre) has been awarded the John Byrne Memorial Trophy for almost single handily organising and running the Junior Friday night and September series for the past five years providing safe, fun racing for hundreds of Juniors in our club and across the waterfront.

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028Clare Gorman (left) pictured with Carmel Winkelmann. Clare has been awarded the Winkelmann Trophy for a successful first year on the Irish Sailing academy and achieving multiple top three race results in overseas regattas including the under 18 Radial worlds and winning first girl overall under 19 at the Warnermunde Europa cup in Germany

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028Ian Meldon with the "Greystones Regatta Cup" on behalf of club volunteers. L to R: Martin McCarthy Vice Commodore. Frank Burgess Club Curator, Colm Murray, Catherine Byrne, Sandra Moore and Alan Balfe

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028Donal O'Sullivan (centre) has been awarded the Paul Murphy Cup for his 27 years service to the administration and regatta management in Dublin Bay racing and coordinating events with the waterfront clubs. Never allowing the administration impact on his own racing as a regular competitor in the Enterprise, Fireball, Ruffian, Wag & Shipman classes ensured he was in touch with the requirements of the competitors

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028The Township Cup is awarded to the member who achieves the best Cruise of the year. Liam Shanahan (right) has been awarded the Township Cup for his cruise bringing his new boat Ruth ll from London - Dublin - Cork - Spain - Portugal - Mallorca - the Canaries and finishing with the ARC race in November 2018.

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028The Muglins Cup is awarded for the most interesting family cruise of the year. The Madigans, Halls, Floods and Dalys have been awarded the Muglins Cup. As a group of Junior Section parents, they chartered a fleet of yachts for a summer cruise in company in Greece. This innovative flotilla was much enjoyed by all!

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028Patrick Hassett (right) has been awarded the Martin Crotty Cup for his commitment and enthusiasm in sailing the International 2.4m in the Access Sailing programmes this summer and competing in the DMYC Frostbite seriesNYC Prizgiving 2019 028Laser Grand Masters World Champion Mark Lyttle (left) with Carmel Winkelmann and Ronan Beirne. Mark has been awarded the Wild Geese Trophy for winning the Laser Master Worlds Championships 2018

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028Claudine Murphy (left) is commended for finishing second overall in The Water Wags DBSC series and being the best of the NYC Water Wags

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028Nell Staunton was commended for finishing 8th at the ISAF Youth Worlds

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028Chris Moore, outgoing Commodore and now Hon Sec of DBSC is commended for his sterling work over a decade in DBSC

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028Clodagh O'Connor accepts a commendation award on behalf of her son Hugh

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028Marcus Higgins is commended for his amazing cruise around the Med on board his 27ft boat ‘Phta’

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028Commodore Ronan Beirne with Annalise Murphy's parents Con Murphy and Cathy MacAleavey

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The Flying Fifteen class Mitsubishi Frostbite series continued over the weekend after a break for the bank holiday weekend at the National Yacht Club. With nineteen boats entered and with PRO Ian Mathews running the show this event never fails to deliver. Despite the stormy weather on Saturday ten boats braved the elements to have three challenging and exciting races inside the harbour.

Overall the series is warming up nicely and with two weekends left a number of boats are still in contention for overall honours. The series is currently lead by Stuart Harrison and Tim Sheard from Lough Neagh followed by Alan Dooley & Joe Hickey in second and Ken Dumpleton & John McAree in third place. Others are lurking in the wings waiting for the next discard to kick in and hopefully move up.

The nature of short races in the harbour with gusts and shifts meant that positions changed frequently. On the first beat, in particular, the ability to tack off was paramount and impossible for 9 out of the 10 boats and just when you thought you were in a good position the wind gods decided otherwise- frustrating but challenging! Race 1 Green was first to the weather mark but momentarily forgot about the wing mark, downwind the Meaghers and Green gybed to the left but Alan Dooley on the right came from behind on the run to establish a lead he kept, Dumpleton was second with Green & Doorly third. Race 2 was up and down but Harrison got ahead and stayed there for a comfortable win, Green did a Lazarus job in the shifts to get second with Dooley third. The race officer threw in a third race, Green managed to get the lead at the weather mark, not only did he keep it but extended it well. Colman & Quinn were second with Peter Murphy third.

It was a busy day on the committee boat and the RIBs with the quick turnaround so special thanks to Ian and his crew who worked hard to make it a great days sailing for the competitors.

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37 yachts or various classes and types assembled at the start last night for the National Yacht Club members “End of Summer Race”.

The fleet was allocated to four starts – from Moths to Cruiser Zero from the bandstand under race officer Larry Power ably assisted by Sandra and Chris Moore, Ian Meldon, Olivier Prouveur and fresh from the SB20 European Championships, Justin Burke.

A good NW of c18-20 knots had the fleet reaching out the harbour in the direction of Harbour Mark followed by different courses for the four fleets taking them around the bay and back into the finish at the bandstand.

Neil O’Toole took the Moth prize. The Flying Fifteen fleet was won by David Mulvin in 3612.

Levante won the 31.7’s. Anne Kirwan and crew on Bandit was the Ruffian winner. Jalapeno the J109 class winner, Helen Cooney in the club’s 1720 was helm for the “Women on Water” crew.

Tsunami won the Cruiser Zero prize and Dave Morley the multihull winner in his Hobie Cat. Cruiser III winner was Sean Doyle in Huggy Bear and Jimini Cricket the Cruiser IV with Alison Blake.

Members enjoyed a full house sailing supper with prize giving and a lively evening was enjoyed by all and a collection for the RNLI raised over €600.

Thanks to our prize sponsors: Solas Marine, Viking Marine, CH Marine, PinBax and for Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company for facilities extended.

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The National Yacht Club Women on the Water team continues to grow in numbers with up to 30 female sailors now sailing weekly at the Dun Laoghaire harbour–based club. 

This enthusiastic group entered two 1720 Sportsboats in last weekend's club regatta last weekend with an all ladies crew. It was a glorious day of sunshine with two windward/leeward races providing lots of challenging sailing.

The NYC awarded a Women's Boat prize (below) in recognition of the many new and returning ladies to sailing in the club. This was jointly won by one of our 1720s helmed by Fiona Staunton and an SB20 sailed by Sarah Byrne from Greystones.

NYC Women sailing

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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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