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The latest update regarding Schools team racing is that the Leinster Schools Team Racing Championships, which took place on Sunday the 12th of March in the National Yacht Club was an outstanding success considering some challenging wind shifts and speed, writes Eunice Kennedy

As Afloat reported previously, 18 teams signed up for the event, but unfortunately, one team had to drop out due to unexpected circumstances.

18 teams signed up for the event making it a Leinster Schools Team Racing Championships record in Dun Laoghaire Photo: Michael Chester18 teams signed up for the event making it a Leinster Schools Team Racing Championships record in Dun Laoghaire Photo: Michael Chester

On Sunday morning, Race Officer David Bolger took to the water at 09.10, where he laid an S-shaped sailing course with his team of excellent mark layers. Wind speed was flickering between 4 to 7 knots and was from the South East. They were some close racing, and Rule 42 came to the fore with a few red flags for breaches of this rule. Mark rounding was also very interesting, with close calls for mark contact. 

At 12 noon, the wind dropped, and we were becalmed, which resulted in a race being abandoned at mark 1 to the delight of the losing team, who had a 4th, 5th and 6th position.

At approximately 12.25, the wind gradually started to fill in from the southwest, and the average wind speed increased to between 12 and 17 knots. It was accompanied by a number of squalls whose wind speed was 22 to 24 knots, right in the wind limit range. Thankfully the boats had been sent out with their storm sails as we carefully watched the weather forecast and were aware that it was due to get gusty from 13.00. True to form, it did so, and no time was lost in sending the boats ashore to swap from full rig to storm rig.

David Bolger, who is exemplary at completing Round Robins for us to go to Knock Outs, considering the wind shifts, accomplished this task. Just as well as there was a 3-way tie on 100% scores by St. Andrews College teams one, two and three, with Holy Child Killiney 1 on 75% race wins in 4th.

A draw took place to determine what teams would race against each other in the semi-finals.

St. Andrews 1 faced off against St. Andrews 3, and Holy Child Killiney1 faced off against St. Andrews 2.

The format was the best of 3 races. St. Andrews 1 and St. Andrews 2 were the victors, with two wins each against their opponents. This left Holy Child Killiney 1 to face off against St. Andrews 3 to determine the 3rd and 4th placed boats. Lo and behold, the wind proceeded to drop, and we were running out of time according to our schedule so the Finals and Petite Finals were a do-or-die race.

St. Andrews 1 was the victor over St. Andrews 2, thereby winning the Leinster Schools Team Racing Championships. St. Andrews 2 was second, and Holy Child Killiney 1 an all-girl team, beat St. Andrews 3 to take 3rd.

The top six teams in the event now go forward to compete in the Irish Schools Team Racing Championships which will take place in the Royal St. George Yacht Club on the 29th and 30th of April.

A huge thanks are attributed to Rebecca Hall and her wonderful team of volunteers for their first time running a Team Racing Event. The Irish Schools Team Racing Association is delighted with the result, as the competitors had a great day of racing and lots of fun ashore between their races. The competitors were exemplary with their good behaviour both on and off the water, and we express our Thanks as it enhanced the running of the event. We wish the six qualifying teams the best of luck at the Irish Schools Team Racing Championships.

Our thanks go to Vincent Delany and Harriet Emerson for their on-the-water umpiring, Declan Traynor and James Traynor, our on water Safety Officers, David Bolger and his team of volunteers on the Start Boat, the Finish Boat Team, Mark Layers, Keith Start the Beach Master and his team of volunteers, Dara Totterdell and Kevin Doyle on Results, Sandra Moore and her Race Office Team, the Change Over Rib volunteers, Hal and Aido for acting as Bosuns, the School Representatives who looked after their teams and assisted with the running of the event.

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18 teams compete this weekend at the Munster Schools Team Racing Championships in Schull Harbour in West Cork.

Racing from the Fastnet Marina Outdoor Education Centre the top six teams will qualify for the National Championships.

The event follows on from last weekend's Leinster championships that attracted a record entry at Dun Laoghaire.

The Irish Schools Team Racing Championships will take place in the Royal St. George Yacht Club on Dublin Bay on the 29th and 30th of April.

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18 teams set an all-time record at the Viking Marine Leinster Schools Team Racing Championships 2023 at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Dublin's St Andrew's College took first and second places, with Holy Child Killiney 1 taking third place.

After many doubts during the week regarding the weather, the event occurred in very mild and manageable conditions.

The top six teams qualified to represent Leinster at the Irish Schools National Team Racing Championships, which will take place on the 29th and 30th of April.

Leinster Schools Team Racing Championships 2023 Results Photo Gallery by Michael Chester 

Leinster Schools Team Racing Championships 2023 Results

1st – St Andrews 1
2nd – St Andrews 2
3rd – Holy Child Killiney 1
4th – St Andrews 3
5th – CBC Monkstown
6th – St Michael’s
7th – Holy Child Killiney 2
8th – Mount Antville
9th – Temple Carrig
10th – Blackrock 2
11th – Willow Park 1
12th – St David’s
13th – St Conleth’s
14th – Gonzaga
15th – Blackrock 1
16th – Willow Park 2
17th – St Gerards
18th – Colaiste Eoin / Alexandra

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This weekend in Dun Laoghaire Harbour will provide two days of colourful team racing as the Leinster Colleges and Schools League kicks off its series from the Royal St. George Yacht Club.

Seven colleges and seven school teams will take to the water to compete in a League run over three Saturdays in March and early April.

"This is a pilot scheme, but with the enthusiasm and eagerness shown by all the teams, we look forward to a brilliant event", organiser Eunice Kennedy told Afloat.

From September, it is planned to run this event from October to April, providing a significant opportunity for schools and colleges to participate in team racing.

Leinster Qualifiers

On Sunday, 18 school teams from different schools in the Leinster Province will take to the water, where ultimately, six teams will qualify to represent Leinster at the Irish Schools National Team Racing Championships, which will take place on the 29th and 30th of April.

"This is the highest list of entries we have ever had for the Leinster qualifiers", Kennedy said.

In previous years, the maximum number of teams to compete was 14, and the National Yacht Club is delighted to host this event for the first time.

Schools Team Racing across all of Ireland is expanding rapidly to the extent that next year we will be looking at increasing the number of teams that can compete.

"If you are walking Dun Laoghaire pier on Saturday or Sunday, it will be a spectacular sight to behold as the flights of boats have a selection of bright coloured sails and are accompanied by the shouts for mark, room, sail your proper course, I'm keeping clear etc., we hope will make this a worthwhile viewing experience", said Kennedy.

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UCD Sailing Club made team racing history at the weekend when it won the Oxford Invitational Top Gun Trophy, the first Irish team to do so.

The top eight university teams from across the UK and Ireland competed at Farmoor Reservoir for a packed weekend of high-quality team racing across two flights of Fireflies.

The winning UCD team in Oxford were Jack Fahy, Emily Riordan, Liam Glynn, Triona Hinkson, Tom Higgins and Cian Lynch

Saturday saw a start at 10 am allowing for 53 races to be completed across the day in a fresh, but shifty 15 knots. Notable results came from UCD, who managed to finish the day having lost only one of the 13 races they competed in.

Overnight a black tie ball was held for the Top Gun Dinner at Oxford's St Edmund's Hall.

Oxford Top Gun Invitational Trophy 2023 Photo: Nigel VickOxford Top Gun Invitational Trophy 2023 Photo: Nigel Vick

Another prompt start on Sunday allowed the teams to get another 12 races in each before we ended the round-robin to head into a best-of-5 final between UCD and Cambridge.

A shifty 12 knots made racing extremely tight, and after two wins each, the final was a winner-takes-it-all final race. Good umpiring decisions saw almost all the boats in the final race spinning; however, UCD pulled through on the final beat and secured a win for an Irish team for the first time in Top Gun history.

Oxford Invitational Top Gun TrophyOxford Invitational Top Gun Trophy 2023 results

With the IUSA inter-varsities happening this week in Carlingford (organised by Trinity College), UCD looks to be in a strong position.

•The weekend result has earned the UCD team the February Irish Sailors of the Month award

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A University team racing crew was involved in a one-vehicle collision in County Galway on Saturday morning. 

One man went to University Hospital Galway for treatment, according to Gardai.

Afloat sources say the crew were travelling to an IUSA championship in Clifden, Connemara.

A Garda spokesperson told local media: “Gardaí and emergency services attended a one-vehicle traffic collision that occurred at approximately 8:45 am today, Saturday, 18th of February 2023, on the R341 in Co Galway.

“One man was conveyed to University Hospital Galway for treatment of injuries sustained as a result of this collision. This road is closed at this time with diversions in place.”

Galway Beo reports that the incident occurred in the Ballyconneely area of Connemara and Gardai sealed off the scene after the 'serious incident'. 

More from Galway Beo here

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After a three-year pandemic-induced absence, the Shanahan Cup Secondary Schools' Team Racing event is set to take place next Wednesday, the 8th of February.

Jointly hosted by Gonzaga College and the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School racing is organised for second-level schools in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

The event will be sailed in RS Fevas and is supported by Irish RS Sailing supplier

The event is a collaboration between a number of parties; Fiachra Etchingham of Gonzaga College has spearheaded the initiative, with umpire support from the Irish Schools Team Racing Association. The Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School Team provides on-water delivery. Ten teams are entered in Wednesday's event, initially due to run in October but pushed back with poor forecasts.

Speaking about the event, Glyn Williams of the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School emphasises the social aspect. “It’s really important for us to see participants out enjoying the activity and socialising while doing so. To help, we’ll be setting up a base for teams while they wait to compete in the western harbour using the schools' yachts and pontoon – where they can meet and socialise with sailors from other schools”.

The event is billed as an informal team racing event, where getting out and enjoying the activity is the main objective; however, the winning team will be presented with the Shanahan Cup, which currently is in the hands of Gonzaga College sailors, having won the inaugural event in 2019!

Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions are available below and the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School has extended the registration deadline until next Tuesday to give a couple of schools a bit more time to finalise teams.

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The Irish Team Racing Association (ITRA) National Championships 2022 has been 'disappointingly' cancelled due to very strong southerly then westerly winds this weekend.

The forecasted sea state for Baltimore Harbour in West Cork of up to 2m and 40-knot squalls necessitated the cancellation, ITRA Chair Ailbe Millerick told Afloat.

Baltimore Sailing Club had assembled a large team of volunteers and nine RIBs organised by Rob O'Leary to facilitate the eighteen entered teams and an umpiring team of eight led by Ailbe Millerick and Chris Lindsay.

The decision was reluctantly taken after consultation with ITRA and David Harte, who was to come out of retirement and act as PRO & course director.

The fleet of four flights of dinghies comprised Fireflies from the ISA and UCDSC and TRs from FOMEC school in Schull. The entrants consisted of Colleges, Clubs, Alumni teams and an ex-pat Shull team travelling from the UK who are coming over to party anyway.

Thanks are due also to BSC Commodore Graham Coppleton, Mark Hassett and Eunice Kennedy, ITRA Secretary.

The postponed ITRA AGM will be rescheduled by Zoom in the near future.

Next year's ITRA's will be in the RSGYC, and the 2024 event will be back in West Cork at Baltimore SC if accepted, Millerick said.

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More than 250 youngsters took to the water for an action-packed weekend of fun at the Eric Twiname Youth and Junior Team Racing Championships.

The much-loved regatta – which pits junior and youth teams from across the country against one another in a series of short races – was near maximum capacity as it returned to its long-term home of Oxford Sailing Club.

A whopping 845 fast-paced races were held under clear blue skies over the course of the weekend as 29 junior teams and 28 youth teams battled it out for a sought-after top spot.

The junior fleet hit the water in teams of two, racing in RS Fevas, kindly supplied by RS Sailing. The youth competition took place in Fireflies, with teams of three going up against each other.

Lighter winds on an opening day saw some excellent tactical racing on display, while a fresh Sunday breeze allowed the teams to showcase their skills when fully powered up.

The junior title went to Royal Lymington Yacht Club’s team Danger Bear, who defeated North Toppers 2-1 in the final. TeraTastic took third.

The Eric Twiname Junior Team Racing Championships title went to Royal Lymington Yacht Club’s team Danger BearThe Eric Twiname Junior Team Racing Championships title went to Royal Lymington Yacht Club’s team Danger Bear

The youth fleet was won by Rutland Raiders from Rutland Sailing Club after they saw off Royal Hospital Blue 2-0 in their final.

Event director Niall McLeod, the RYA’s Racing Services Manager, said: “It was fantastic to see so many youngsters out on the water enjoying team racing. It's always my favourite event of the year to deliver as the volunteers and sailors are always so enthusiastic. Team racing is such a good advert for sailing – it’s fun, fast-paced and sociable. We’re already looking forward to next year.”

The regatta is named after famous sailor, author and journalist Eric Twiname, who made his name in sailing, winning numerous national titles in a range of dinghy classes, as well as in team racing, where he captained the British Universities Sailing Association.

He was also greatly influential in shaping the Racing Rules, which govern racing, sitting on the RYA’s Racing Rules Committee and working as the Racing Rules Advisor to the British Olympic Association.

Entries are subsidised by the Eric Twiname Trust, which was set up in Twiname's name following his untimely death in 1980.

The 2023 Eric Twiname Youth and Junior Team Racing Championships will take place at Oxford Sailing Club on October 7 and 8 next year. More info here

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Established in 1944, the Sutton Book Trophy (‘the book’) is arguably the oldest team racing event in Ireland which has seen Royal Cork dinghy sailors do battle with Sutton Dinghy Club sailors on Dublin Bay in order to establish which club gets to win and retain ‘the book’ year on year.

Last weekend, Sutton Dinghy Club played host to the 2022 iteration, and as is always the case with Sutton Dinghy Club, the Royal Cork sailors were warmly received over breakfast prepared in the clubhouse prior to the race briefing.

Competing for the Junior Sutton Book, the Royal Cork Junior team were first to hit the race course in a light warm northerly breeze and the sun shining. The team was made up of a cross-section of our many talented junior dinghy sailors from the RCYC Laser, Optimist, 29er and Topper club fleets.

Isabel McCarthy, Megan O Sullivan, Fionn Daly, Oisin Pierce, Liam Duggan and Jonathan O Shaughnessy (Captain) all worked in a cohesive manner and sailed very well as a team to secure the overall win and retain the Junior Sutton book trophy for the second year in a row.

the rcyc Junior Sutton Book Winning TeamThe RCYC Junior Sutton Book Winning Team

Sutton DC commodore Ciara O‘ Tiarnaigh presenting the Sutton Junior bookSutton DC commodore Ciara O‘ Tiarnaigh (right) presenting the Sutton Junior Book

Next up were the senior teams, and by the time they were ready to compete, all the signs were that the breeze would fade as the afternoon wore on. Nonetheless, the race officer did very well to get three races completed, with Sutton winning by two races to one and deserved winners in the conditions.

The prize giving was conducted over dinner hosted by Sutton Dinghy club members for all competitors and their wider entourage. The Junior Sutton book was presented to the team and will remain in the Royal Cork clubhouse for another 12 months. The Senior Sutton Book will remain in Dublin for now but the Royal Cork sailors are already looking forward to try and wrestle the book back to Cork in 2023.

Special thanks to Royal Cork club member Richard McGlade for organising the 2022 team and great to see the competition is still very much alive 78 years on.

Published in Team Racing
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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