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What the Sigma 33 Means to Me

14th September 2017
Tom MacSweeney's Scribbler white sail racing in Cork Harbour Tom MacSweeney's Scribbler white sail racing in Cork Harbour Photo: Bob Bateman

Hearing about the open morning on Sunday, the 24th of September at the Royal St.George YC in Dun Laoghaire where Sigma 33 Class Captain Paddy Maguire wants to raise more interest in Sigmas, brought back how I became interested in the Sigma, the design of David Thomas and whom I read about sailing the Sigma with his young grandson, which first attracted my attention to the boat. I bought a Sigma, have sailed her for 17 years and nowadays my 13-year-old grandson has become one of her regular helms and she has been crewed by his 11-year-old brother and their friends, often outnumbering the three adults on the crew…and winning races!

When I first set eyes on her I liked her looks – and still do…. She had a beautiful shape..Unfortunately, inside was different! She seemed to have been abandoned in a hurry and to have been pretty hard raced. I was to learn that racing commitment was not unusual amongst Sigma 33s.

Despite her internal appearance I bought her. She is now 33-years-old - first launched in 1984 and, after 17 years I still feel pleasure and joy when sailing her, even though she is now out of Class because, to the horror of some owners I changed her looks!

Listen to the Podcast to hear what I did and why - and how, despite the changes, this old Sigma is still capable of showing her stern to some more modern, newer and bigger boats and about my worst day with her, but which she and I survived.

Dublin has an active Sigma one-design fleet. In Cork Harbour, where I sail, there are half-a-dozen active Sigma racers, in Class 3 and Whitesail.

Isn’t what matters most – getting use out of your boat?

Good luck to the Sigma Class in Dublin and the open morning on Sunday, September 24 from 9.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. There’s an opportunity to sail one and there’s finger food afterwards….. If you’re interested … Email Class Captain Paddy Maguire on: [email protected]

Listen to the Podcast below

Tom MacSweeney

About The Author

Tom MacSweeney

Email The Author

Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for He also presents the maritime radio programme This Island Nation on community radio stations around Ireland.

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