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Sailing on Saturday with WM Nixon

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

Published in National YC

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.

Published in Flying Fifteen

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.

Published in National YC

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

Published in National YC

A sea breeze on Dublin Bay for the Davy Group–sponsored National Yacht Club Regatta produced the goods for the estimated 160–boat fleet for the Club of the Year's Summer highlight at Dun Laoghaire on Saturday.

Read our NYC Regatta preview here. Download results below.

Andrew Algeo's J109 Juggerknot from the Royal Irish Yacht Club continues its unbeaten run Class One IRC this season taking the class win with a one and a two in the two race series. Second in the 18–boat class was Colin Byrne's Xp33 Bon Exemple. A third RIYC boat was in third place, Ronan Harris's J109 Jigamaree. 

Platinum blonde Paul Egan 3320(Above and below) Paul Egan's Platinum Blonde prepares to drop the spinnaker on the Beneteau First 35 in the run into Seapoint Buoy Photo: Afloat.ie

Class one yachts Seapoint buoy 3369

Something Else John Hall 3302The National Yacht Club's J109 Something Else co-skippered by father and son team John and Brian Hall Photo: Afloat.ie

Rockabill VI NYC 3274Paul O'Higgins's Rockabill VI competing in Cruisers Zero Photo: Afloat.ie

Class Two IRC was an all Howth Yacht Club affair with tricked up Half–Tonners taking first, second and third. Dave Cullen's Checkmate XV, the overall winner of June's Wave Regatta at Howth, was to the fore again beating Nigel Biggs' Checkmate XVIII. Mike and Ritchie Evan's The Big Picture was third.

In Class Three, IRC Brendan Foley's Impala Running Wild of the Royal St. George Yacht Club was the winner from Ken Lawless's RIYC Quarter Tonner, Cartoon. Third place went to Peter Richardson's Dubious.

Running wild Impala 3141In Class Three, IRC Brendan Foley's Impala Running Wild was the winner from Ken Lawless's Quarter Tonner Cartoon below Photo: Afloat.ie

Quarter tonner Cartoon 3126

Nationsl Yacht club regatta 3148Peter Richardson's Dubious from the Royal St. George YC was third in Cruisers Three IRC Photo: Afloat.ie

In the one design divisions, the regatta incorporated the 23–boat UK and Irish Sigma 33 National Championships racing on a separate race course under international Race Officer, David Lovegrove. Read our separate report here on how Scottish visitors dominated at the Royal St. Geroge event.

Howth 17 NYCVisiting historic Howth 17s gathered at the NYC pontoon on their annual trip across Dublin Bay Photo: Facebook

As the SB20s prepare for their national championships this weekend at the same club and on the same race track, it was Jerry Dowling's RIYC–based Bad Kilcullen that showed regatta–winning form to win from club mate Ger Dempsey's Venuesworld.com. Third was the NYC's  Black skippered by James Gorman.

Flying Fifteen David Gorman Chris Doorly 3534Former Flying Fifteen champions David Gorman and Chris Doorly Photo: Afloat.ie

A 15-boat Flying Fifteen class was won by the club's own pairing of David Gorman and Chris Doorly (above) who won from Ian Matthews and Keith Poole. Third was Niall Coleman and Susan Halpenny in Flyer. 

Flying Fifteen Ian Matthews Keith Poole 3639NYC Flying Fifteen pairing Ian Matthews and Keith Poole Photo: Afloat.ie

Flying Fiteen Niall coleman 3769Niall Coleman and Susan Halpenny were third in the Flying Fifteens Photo: Afloat.ie

John Chambers Waszp 3402John Chambers was the four–boat Waszp division winner Photo: Afloat.ie

Waszp 3507

In the regatta's Laser division, Ronan Wallace beat Darach Dineen, in the first of the new Laser League initiative for Bay sailors. Ross O'Leary was third in the five–boat fleet.

Laser Clare Gorman 3696Clare Gorman won of the host the five boat Laser Radial division Photo: Afloat.ie

Laser NYC regatta 3420Ronan Wallace (above) was the Laser class winner from Darach Dineen below Photo: Afloat.ie

Laser NYC 3469

IDRA 14 125 3433IDRA 14 125 (Ascoop & Hennig) were second overall in the eight boat PY fleet Photo: Afloat.ie

Download full results below. 

Next up on Dublin Bay is the Royal Irish Yacht Club regatta on Saturday where the Dun Laoghaire club will attempt a remarkable double act

Published in National YC

The Annual Regatta of any yacht or sailing club is the ultimate expression of the club’s identity. The ideal is a very special mixture of the best of sailing sport afloat followed by hospitality and conviviality ashore, with it all done in a style in which the members can take pride. Whatever its duration (for an Irish regatta can be anything from a day to a week), this is a matter of the club going public, putting on its best face to the world in general, and to other clubs in particular. W M Nixon reflects on the current state of our regattas.

Today, it’s the biennial stand-alone Regatta of the Davy Group sponsored National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. Were this an odd-numbered year, we’d be shaping up for the four day Dun Laoghaire Regatta, into which all club regattas are subsumed. Yet even in that massive sailfest, each of the waterfront clubs still manages to maintain its own identity and social programme within the overall format.

So inevitably those who are gearing up for today’s events on Dublin Bay and the subsequent parties in the National (there’s the Regatta Reception itself - strawberries and cream, music and merriment - followed after a civilised interval by the Regatta Dinner) will fondly recall the equivalent day last year during the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017.

peggy bawn myfanwy2The 19th Century lives again in the “Classics Compound” off the National YC in 2017. On the left is Hal Sisk’s G L Watson-designed Peggy Bawn of 1894 vintage, on the right is Rob Mason’s Alexander Richardson-designed Myfanwy of 1897. Photo: W M Nixon
For the National, that would have been the Friday, when the magic summer mood reached its most benevolent height. The races had finished in-harbour within close sight of the clubhouse, and as the classics and traditional craft had their specially allocated berths right off the club, the 19th century was re-born in appearances.

But the actual pace was purest 21st Century hyper-hectic, with Commodore Ronan Beirne somehow manifesting his friendly presence in at least five different major functions under way at one and the same time in or around the well-utilised clubhouse in the sweetest of velvet nights. After a fine day’s sailing, it was a masterpiece of the club spirit which firmly placed the National YC in the frame to become Mitsubishi Motors Sailing Club of the Year 2018.

national yacht club3On a good summer’s evening, it’s amazing how much social activity can be successfully packed into the National Yacht Club’s shoreside space. Photo courtesy Beau Outteridge
Of course, to a large extent, the success of that memorable day and night was largely dependent on the great unmentionable – the weather. The big event of 2017 saw ideal circumstances – enough breeze for good racing, yet shirt-sleeve conditions within the harbour. The way we plan regattas, you’d think such a combination could be almost guaranteed. But it has to be said that when they do occur, we make the most of it.

periwinkle myfanwy4An enduring image. For sure we’ve used this photo before, of the restored Dublin Bay 24 Periwinkle (Chris Craig & David Espey) and the 1897 cutter Myfanwy (Rob Mason) racing for the entrance to Dun Laoghaire Harbour. But it perfectly captures the mood of idyllic regatta sailing in a classic setting. Photo: Afloat.ie

Yet always the powers-that-be are on the lookout for ways to make their annual regatta – whatever its form – even more successful in the following year. As the old saying would have it, things have to change all the time if they’re going to stay the same. Nevertheless, once a successful format has been established, it’s a matter of making small tweaks rather than major changes, and the underlying policy still has to be devoted to making people very well aware that the regatta is taking place, and that its success depends every bit as much on enthusiastic participants as it does on a significant number of volunteers at every level doing their bit to make sure everything runs smoothly.

The most visible side of this is the running of the club’s hospitality machine ashore. But don’t for one nano-second underestimate the importance of the Race Committee getting it right afloat, with efficiently run racing being largely completed around 4 o’clock in the afternoon being the ideal target.

There are endless historical precedents for the importance of competitive sport in the regatta format. Genteel if highly-structured sailing in company in the original style of the Water Club of the Harbour of Cork way back in the 1720s was soon no longer enough, and even the Water Club itself was actively promoting racing events at least by 1765, and probably earlier.

gondola racing venice5Modern racing gondolas in Venice, with fully-crewed boats. The word “regatta” is thought to be of Venetian origin, used since the 1650s for gondola contests

But way beyond that, the very word “Regatta” implied competition. It first emerged in the 1650s in Venice as the name for a race among the gondoliers on the Grand Canal. In the still very-active Venetian dialect (I once raced offshore with a speaker of it, and even for my cloth ears, it was unmistakable), “regatta” boiled down to translating as “contention for mastery” – the competitive element was paramount.

Thus although we know there was sailing in and around Dublin Bay from the 1600s onwards, it wasn’t until 1828, when the first regatta was staged in the then-new Kingstown Harbour, that we get any matter-of-fact reference to it. The reporting of sporting events afloat and ashore generated newsprint much more readily than the vague activity of sailing for relaxation, and it provided an image which still talks to us down the years.

kingstown 1828 regatta6The daddy of them all. This basic but informative picture from 1828 is the clearest record of the first Kingstown regatta. Lord Erroll’s 42-ton cutter Liberty (right) is winning from Colonel Madden’s 69-ton cutter Ganymede which is narrowly ahead of the Rev D. George’s 37-ton cutter Thetis. 190 years later, regattas at this historic venue continue to reinvent themselves while somehow managing to seem the same in order to continue a remarkable tradition.

These days, the developing theme seems to be a neat over-lapping of championships, or the inclusion of established events in a style reminiscent of expanding Christianity taking over ancient Pagan festivals such as Easter, and giving them a new meaning

Only three weeks ago, we were looking at the success of the new Wave Regatta at Howth, which successfully included the time-honoured Lambay Race. Today, the National YC Regatta includes a guaranteed increase in boat numbers, thanks to being the first race of the new Laser Regatta Series.

In our era of limited time for people with a variety of leisure interests, this simple idea is a stroke of genius. The Dublin Bay Laser fleet, captained by Ross O’Leary, have just announced a handy new series based on Laser racing in the National YC regatta today and the Royal Irish YC  regatta on June 30th, with the three-part series concluded and the prizes distributed at the Royal St George YC Regatta on July 7th.

Laser Start dublin Bay 2194Perfect sailing conditions for Lasers in Dublin Bay. The simple but imaginative concept of a three regatta series for the class, starting today and concluding with the Royal St George YC Regatta on July 7th, is meeting with wide approval. Photo: Afloat.ie

Meanwhile, from across Dublin Bay, there has been a similar leap of the imagination by the Howth Seventeen class. When you’ve been in existence for 120 years, significant anniversaries come with increasing frequency, and some bright spark has noticed that 2018 marks the 30th anniversary of the resumption of new building in the class. It was in 1988 – something like 74 years since a Seventeen had last been newly built – that the two new Howth Seventeens were built in a shed at Howth Castle.

We still think of those two boats Erica and Isobel as new, even though others have appeared more recently. Be that as it may, today the two-day celebration of their 30th Anniversary is going to get under way with the class racing from Howth to Dun Laoghaire and the National Yacht Club regatta, while back in Howth tomorrow they’ll cram in the Single-Handed race, the Crews’ race and the Ladies’ race rounded out by a barbecue.

howth 17 three generations8When a class is 120 years old, there’ll always be some date worthy of celebration coming along. This Howth Seventeen trio includes (left to right) Oonagh built 1909, Isobel 1988, and Orla 2017. Photo Neil Murphy

The NYC hospitality machine will be able to accommodate them on Day One with style as their 2018 regatta moves the Club towards the big one, its own 150th Anniversary in 2020. As a tester along the way, they host the Flying Fifteen World Championship next year, 2019. And who knows what other special attractions will come up to be staged with the smooth and unfussed style of this friendly club.

But before the conviviality takes over later this afternoon, there’s serious racing business to be done, and all eyes will inevitably be on the hottest class in the bay, the J/109s. In Irish waters at least, the Andrew Algeo-helmed Juggerknot is currently on a hugely successful roll, even if the Kelly family’s Storm did great things in Scotland last month, while the Shanahans in Ruth lodged an ISORA win. Either way, quarter will neither be given nor expected, while a major club’s annual regatta provides the ideal setting for such a battle royal, with jousting afloat while the flags flutter ashore.

tir na nog9Just the job for a spot of nautical jousting……the very full length bowsprit on Sean Walsh’s Heard 28 Tir na nOg, berthed off the National Yacht Club on Regatta Day. Photo: W M Nixon

Published in W M Nixon

The National Yacht Club on Dublin Bay is gearing up for its Open Regatta this weekend. Sponsored by Davy Group, the annual club highlight will have over 160 boats racing across three courses. As part of the fleet, the NYC will again welcome the ever colourful Howth 17 class as well as some other travelling fleets. On Saturday, as previously reported by Afloat.ie, a record Sigma 33 fleet are merging their Irish Championships with the Regatta on that day. 

Clean Coasts

This year the NYC is making a special effort to reduce the amount of plastic it uses during the regatta. Inspired by Annalise Murphy’s efforts on board “Turn The Tide on Plastic” the club wants to make a real difference to the local environment. Already, the club has registered in the Clean Regatta programme, which gives it specific aims for measures to put into effect.

With this in mind the day after the regatta Sunday the 24th June the club has organised marine area clean-up, which will hopefully coincide with “Turn The Tide on Plastic” safe arrival to The Hague on the final leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. All National YC members are being asked to volunteer to come down to the club at 1pm and help collect wayward plastic in the Club environs.

Published in National YC

the National Yacht Club on Dublin Bay – the Mitsubishi Motors Sailing Club of the Year 2018 –  is gearing up for its open Regatta which it hosts every second year. This year it will be held on Saturday 23rd June and and is sponsored by Davy Group. There will be over 160 boats racing across three courses competing for prizes in their category. The NYC will again welcome the ever colourful Howth 17 class and many other travelling fleets.

On the Saturday, they will also be joined by the Sigma 33 fleet who are merging their Irish Championships with the Regatta on that day. The club would especially encourage dinghy sailors to come along and compete in the PY classes.

Clean Coasts

This year the NYC is making a special effort to reduce the amount of plastic it uses with the ultimate aim of being plastic free. Inspired by Annalise Murphy’s efforts on board “Turn The Tide on Plastic” the club wants to make a real difference to the local environment. As part of the process, the club will aim to participate in the wider marine environmental area, and particularly in national and international campaigns such as #cleanseas, Clean Coasts and Sailors for the Sea, which provide guidance on green sailing and event organisation. Already, the club has registered in the latter’s Clean Regatta programme, which gives it specific aims for measures to put into effect.

With this in mind the day after the regatta Sunday the 24th June the club has organised harbour clean-up, which will hopefully coincide with Turn The Tide on Plastic safe arrival to The Hague on the final leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. All members are being asked to volunteer to come down to the club at 1pm and help collect floating plastic and other rubbish from around the harbour – “a tidy towns for the sea”.

Published in National YC

The sailing community in Ireland is a tribe. And our many and various clubhouses are its temples writes W M Nixon. You get a real sense of this of this at the annual presentation of the Mitsubishi Motors “Sailing Cub of the Year” award. For although the winner is announced here on Afloat.ie on the first Saturday morning of the New Year, it all only seems to be for real when the long-serving ship’s wheel trophy is finally and formally handed over to the winning club in its own clubhouse on the cusp of the new season.

The 2018 handover took place this week in the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, winning for the fifth time in the informal competition’s 39 years of existence. The first time was back in 1981, under a previous sponsor. But since 1986, the enthusiastically supportive sponsor has been Mitsubishi Motors Ireland, and the presentation was made by their Managing Director Gerard Rice to NYC Commodore Ronan Beirne.

ronan susan martin2Winning Flag Officers – NYC Commodore Ronan Beirne (left) with Rear Commodore Susan Spain and Vice Commodore Martin McCarthy with the Ship’s Wheel trophy which the National YC has previously won in 1981, 1985, 1996 and 2012. Photo: Frank Burgess

Ronan fills his demanding role with such under-stated skill and charm that you could be forgiven for thinking he has been reared since birth to become the Commodore of the National Yacht Club. But then you have to be someone very special for this role, as the entertaining and eclectic attendance at the ceremony effectively represented a group of people who may share membership of this very special club, yet they are much involved in many other things in national and international sailing as well, in addition to being high achievers on the water.

In his opening remarks, Jack Roy, the President of Irish Sailing, talked of his 44 years of NYC membership. For although he’d started his sailing at Greystones, when his fellow juniors there wanted to move on into the Enterprise class, young Jack – always one to think for himself – reckoned that a boat with a spinnaker was the only way to go, and as there was word of a class of 420s developing up the coast at the National, he got himself involved. Thus the NYC has found a soft spot in his heart ever since, even if – as Irish Sailing President - he is in effect a full member of every recognised club in the country, while in practical terms he is a real member of several.

The President took the opportunity to highlight again the extraordinary contribution for more than fifty years made to sailing – and particularly sail training and the encouragement of young sailors – by Carmel Winkelmann, whose presence at the reception this week was as ever the making of the party.

carmel and friends3Carmel Winkelmann and friends – front row Georgina Campbell, Carmel Winkelmann and Michelle Halpenny, back row Sandra Moore, Helen Cooney, Fiona Staunton and Kerri Cullen. Photo: Frank Burgess

Mitsubishi Motors MD Gerard Rice spoke particularly of the way that the adjudicators seek much more than a club which has certain star members who ratchet up national and international sailing success. As it happens, the National does that in style, with Olympic Silver Medallist Annalise Murphy currently the peak achiever in a formidable array of successful sailors. But the key to a properly balanced club is one which provides thoughtfully and effectively for members at every level of sailing, in addition to interacting dynamically with the community in which it is set, and that is something the National YC does particularly well.

rice and harvey4Gerard Rice, MD of Mitsubishi Motors Ireland (left) with Joe Harvey of Grace & Harvey, Mitsubishi Motors agents for Dublin. Photo: Frank Burgess

Commodore Ronan Beirne’s acceptance speech – delivered off the cuff in a smooth flow of informative eloquence – said everything about the club and why this experienced sailor fills his key role in such a reassuringly comfortable style. He interwove anecdotes from the fascinating history of the club – which will be celebrating its 150th Anniversary in 2020 – with a realistic appraisal of the club’s special and harmonious position within the community immediately about it in the southeast corner of Dun Laoghaire Harbour, coupled with its role as a player of national and international significance in the sailing scene. All of this makes it so busy in the clubhouse, on the waterfront, and out on the sea, that it provides employment for 45 people, many of them fulltime.

The Commodore gave us a fresh insight into why the National Yacht Club thrives as an oasis of tranquility in its special location. When Dun Laoghaire Marina officially opened on St Patrick’s Day 2001, many thought that the National YC – being the furthest from the entrance to this new world-standard facility – would inevitably suffer. But the Cub’s officers refused to see a problem – instead, they saw an opportunity to establish themselves as a welcoming place which is slightly apart, a complete facility which has extra shelter through being in its own corner of the harbour, and is able to provide all waterfront facilities right on site for its own members and visitors.

dun laoghaire air corps5This recent aerial photo of Dun Laoghaire Harbour with the National YC right foreground shows how the Club’s distance from the Marine Entrance can be used to emphasise its individual character. Photo courtesy Air Corps

Ever since, the club has developed these previously hidden strengths, and our header photo shows very well how every square inch of waterfront space, and the surrounds of the clubhouse, have been utilised to provide a comprehensive service to meet the needs of members and visitors alike, such that the National – with its hospitality team headed by the very effective manager Tim O’Brien – is often the destination for which visiting boats in the ISORA fleet will head directly after finishing a cross-channel race.

ronan and billy6Commodore Ronan Beirne and Billy Riordan, Chairman of Mitsubishi Motors. Photo: Frank Burgess

One of the reasons the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association’s boats from across channel head for the National at race’s end is that ISORA has been revived to its current healthy state largely through the determination and enthusiasm of its Chairman Peter Ryan, one of many former NYC Commodores who has gone on to ably fill other significant roles in sailing. His energy in re-developing ISORA has been such that many of the Welsh crews have become NYC members, and it was remarked at this week’s reception that Peter Ryan could teach international negotiators a thing or two, as he has ensured that any border down the middle of the Irish Sea is entirely frictionless……

Another former NYC Commodore who has been lured into a new administrative job is Chris Moore, current Commodore of the ultimate umbrella body, Dublin Bay Sailing Club, whose Honorary Secretary Donal O’Sullivan is likewise very NYC - in fact, he is celebrating the Golden Jubilee of his membership of the National this year, having joined in 1968, and at the party he was planning to mark the big Five-O by having his first race of the season on Thursday.

jack roy donal osullivan7Irish Sailing President Jack Roy and Dublin Bay SC Honorary Secretary Donal O’Sullivan – their combined membership of the National Yacht Club totals 94 years. Photo: Frank Burgess

martin roseita kelly8NYC Vice Commodore Martin McCarthy with Roseita Burke and Kelly Berkeley of Mitsubishi Motors. Photo: Frank Burgess

Chris Moore meanwhile is Commissioner for the Round Ireland record, which meant he was a very busy man in 2016 when new mono-hull and multi-hulls records were established. But it remains to be seen whether they stand as long as the 1993 record set by someone who later became NYC Commodore, Con Murphy and his wife Cathy Mac Aleavey, as their record stood until 2016.

These days, in addition to being parents of Olympic Medallist Annalise, they’re into many other aspects of sailing with Con being a leading promoter of the International Moth, and they’re into classic boats too, particularly the Dublin Bay Water Wags which Cathy was telling me are planning other exotic outings in addition to their regular Wednesday night racing in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, with an expedition up the River Boyne in prospect during June.

cathy annalise con9Magic moment. Annalise Murphy with her parents Cathy and Con and that Olympic Medal

Another area of Irish sailing in which the National is prominent is cruising, and former ICC Commodore Cormac McHenry was among those present this week, as he is in a key role in the National, being one of the Trustees. And for those who would think only of Ronan Beirne as being a leading figure in the NYC’s administration, let it be recalled that quite some time ago Ronan was probably the youngest-ever Honorary Editor of the Irish Cruising Club Annual – not a task for the faint-hearted.

Before cruising and serious racing, there’s the matter of learning to sail, and it was a special pleasure to meet Fiona Staunton, the NYC’s enthusiastic Junior Training Officer, who oversees what is arguably the most important section in the club. With the news that the NYC’s Ferguson sisters had just won the 420 Leinsters, clearly the throughput of new talent continues unabated to follow in the path set by the likes of Annalise Murphy, Finn Lynch, and many other before them.

flying fifteens dublin bay10The National YC’s Flying Fifteen fleet is the biggest keelboat group in Dublin Bay SC – in fact, it’s one of the biggest classes of all, and the NYC will be hosting its Worlds in 2019. Photo: Afloat.ie

Yet while stars need to shine, the organisation of attractive events and classes is key to the success of a winning club, and the National Yacht Club has several jewels in its crown, jewels which will shine with extra lustre in the coming years. The thriving Flying Fifteen class at the NYC is one of the biggest in Dublin Bay, and it will have a numbers boost with the Flying Fifteen 2019 Worlds being hosted by the club.

cavatina 2017d2d11Close start. Ian Hickey’s veteran Cavatina from Cork – a former Round Ireland Race overall winner – getting the best of the start in the NYC’s Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race 2017. Photo: W M Nixon

And as for the wonderful biennial Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race, founded in 1993 by the late Martin Crotty and by Peter Cullen who was very happily with us in splendid form this week, administration of that has passed on to Adam Winkelmann – sailing administration runs in families – and this week he was confident that 2019’s staging of this popular classic will see a bigger fleet than ever.

The pace is hectic. The National Yacht Club thrives afloat and ashore. It is a very worthy Mitsubishi Motors Sailing Club of the Year 2018.

wmn brian keane ronan12W M Nixon (adjudicators), Brian Keane (Mitsubishi Motors director) and Commodore Ronan Beirne. Photo: Frank Burgess

Published in W M Nixon

A 'blessing of the boat' ceremony for Dublin yachtsman Liam Shanahan's new Oyster 625 Ruth II took place this afternoon at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire.  

Family and friends gathered onboard the new Rob Humphries design that recently arrived in to Dun Laoghaire on her maiden sail from Ipswich in the UK.

The magnificent 65–foot cutter–rigged vessel was moored off the East Pier during the short ceremony. 

The Shanahans, who regularly sail together as a family crew, have some long term ambitions for the boat that include transatlantic voyages.

Ruth IIRuth II's 'blessing of the boat' ceremony off the NYC in Dun Laoghaire this afternoon 

As Afloat.ie previously reported, the sailing plan for Ruth II's first season, however, is to sail initially from Cork to Galicia, according to Shanahan, a former Irish Sailor of the Year. Once the Leaving Certificate exams are finished, the rest of the Shanahan family will join the boat in Spain for a week or two.

The intention then is to sail down the Iberian peninsula, stopping in Cascais and then possibly around to near Barcelona, and on to the Balearics by September for a 'very relaxed regatta' and some island exploration.

Published in National YC
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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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