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Displaying items by tag: Royal St George

#euromed2014 – The Royal St. George's Grace O'Beirne was the top Irish youth sailor at the Malta based Euromed 2014 Optimist championships held immediately before Christmas. Nine races were sailed with two discards In a series sailed largely in winds from five to ten knots that were shifty and gusty. 

Unfortnuately, some of the Maltese series sailed at Mellieha Bay left a lot to be desired with only 13 finishers and 90 plus blackflag disqualifications in one afternoon on the water. 

O'Beirne finished 14th with a seventh in race four as her best result. Next – in a team of 17 Irish sailors – was Michael Carroll in 33rd place. Full results here

The Irish ambassador to Malta, Mr Padraig MacCoscair was at Mellieha Bay to welcome all the Irish sailors off the water at Euromed 2014.



Published in Optimist

#dbsc –The Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) prizegiving is a highlight of the Dun Laoghaire sailing season with an array of magnificent and ancient yachting silverware. This year's event was especially so because it marked the close of DBSC's 130th season.

Prizes were awarded in all of DBSC's 22 classes by Commodore Pat Shannon at a packed Royal St.George YC clubhouse last Friday night.

DBSC historian and Hon Sec Donal O'Sullivan provided insightful commentary to the award winners – and the trophies –  and we reproduce a sample flavour of this with Donal's citations for the club's 'Premier awards' below.

In its 130th season, the club – one of the largest yacht racing clubs of its type in Europe – was acclaimed by Afloat blogger WM Nixon who posed the question: Is Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) The Most Effective Sailing Organisation in the World?

Scroll down for awards photography of the evening by DBSC photographer Joe Fallon plus the full DBSC 2014 awards table.


Dun Laoghaire Harbour Trophy
This is for the best new boat racing in the DBSC fleet. Cruisers I, with its strong contingent of J109s, is a vigorous, competitive fleet. Though a newcomer, the winning boat more than held her own in a very competitive racing environment – Jigamaree, Ronan Harris.

The George Arthur Newsom Cup
An important figure in the Dublin commercial life of his day, a director of Jacobs, of biscuit fame, Newsom was one of the early Dublin Bay pioneers who raced competitively in a number of fleets and contributed much to the development of DBSC. When he died in 1933 his wife presented this cup in his memory.
The owner and skipper of the winning boat in 2015, through her family has deep roots in the Dublin Bay sailing community. Besides racing locally, she has also sailed off-shore, bringing and navigating a boat on one occasion, I recall, to Iceland. The winning boat this year is the Shipman Gusto, Christine Heath.

The Waterhouse Shield
There has been a Waterhouse Shield at this event since the 1890s. Waterhouses were jewellers in Dame St and they used to do the engraving of the club's trophies in its early days. There are great names among the winners of the Waterhouse Shield and this year it's our pleasure to add a very competitive Cruiser 2 to the list- Red Rhum, sailed by the Nicholson brothers, Jonathan and Chris.

The Dr.Alf Delaney Cup
Dr Delaney first joined DBSC in 1932 and raced competitively until a few short years ago.This cup commemorates Alf's achievements as a sailor, both locally and elsewhere- he was one of the Irish team in one of the post-war Olympics. It's for the best boat on the dinghy course and this year it goes to the almost unbeatable Fireball 15061, sailed by Stephen Oram.

The Brendan Ebrill Cup
Brendan was my predecessor as hon secretary and organised this event over many years. The Ebrill trophy commemorates Brendan's' life-long commitment to DBSC. It's awarded to the highest-scoring boat with the highest attendance not winning a major trophy. The owners of the winning boat frequently grace this event, but this year they are without their partner, who died earlier this year. So, the winner of the Brendan Erill trophy in 2015 was Something Else – John and Brian Hall and the late Sue McDonnell.

The Viking Award
This award is for a notable able contribution to sailing. The recipient this year is an occasional DBSC Flying 15 sailor when he has the time but his greatest achievement in sailing was in a Fireball in 1995 when with John Lavery they won the Fireball Worlds. He is mostly known today as a marine journalist and publisher, performing a valuable public service in bringing maritime matters to public attention. He is chairman of the Irish Marine Federation, which inter alia, organises the boat show.
As publisher and editor of Afloat Magazine, despite a daunting publishing environment, he has continued over many years to maintain the magazine's high journalistic, typographical and design standard. Its associated web site is an extraordinary achievement - drawing news, information and comment from a wide range of sources in the maritime world. It's DBSC's pleasure this year to present the Viking Award to David O'Brien



All prizegiving photos by Joe Fallon

Centenary Trophy (4) Cruisers 0 Lively Lady Derek Martin Saturday Echo overall    
Knox-Gore Cup (2) Cruisers 0 WOW George Sisk Saturday IRC overall    
Knox-Gore Bowl (1) Cruisers 0 WOW George Sisk Thursday Echo overall    
Martin Cup (3) Cruisers 0 WOW George Sisk Thursday IRC overall    
Tiamat Trophy (6) Cruisers 1 Black Velvet Leslie Parnell Thursday Echo overall    
Weir Cup (8) Cruisers 1 Bon Exemple Colin Byrne Saturday IRC overall    
West Pier Officers cup (7) Cruisers 1 Bon Exemple Colin Byrne Thursday IRC overall    
Osterberg Cup (5) Cruisers 1 Jump the Gun Jn. Kelly & Ml. Monaghan Saturday Echo overall    
Centenary Cup (10) Cruisers 2 Antix Derek Ryan Thursday ECHO overall    
T.P. Early Cup (11) Cruisers 2 Bendemeer L J.Casey & Denis Power Saturday Echo overall    
Briscoe Trophy (9) Cruisers 2 Bendemeer L J.Casey & Denis Power Tuesday Echo overall    
Silver Foam Trophy (77) Cruisers 2 Black Sheep Eoin Healy Most improved boat    
Silver Salver (12) Cruisers 2 Red Rhum Jon.& Chris Nicholson Saturday IRC overall    
Lady Shamrock Trophy (13) Cruisers 2 Red Rhum Jon.& Chris Nicholson Thursday IRC overall    
Smalldridge Cup Cruisers 3 Quest B.Cunningham & Jonathan Skerritt Thursday IRC overall (3a)    
Jack Kennedy Memorial Cup (15) Cruisers 3 Supernova J.McStay, J.Timbs J.Monaghan, J.Costello Saturday IRC overall    
Mercia Cup (16) Cruisers 3 Supernova J.McStay, J.Timbs J.Monaghan, J.Costello Saturday Echo overall    
Viking clock Trophy Cruisers 3 Supernova J.McStay, J.Timbs J.Monaghan, J.Costello Thursday Echo overall    
Whimbrel Rose Bowl (19) Cruisers 3(b) Eezee Tiger Olivier Prouveur Thursday Echo overall    
Sanderling Trophy (14) Cruisers 3(b) Gung Ho Grainne & Sean O'Shea Thursday IRC overall (3b)    
Annette Cup (90) Cruisers 3(b) Papytoo M.Walsh & Frank Guilfoyle Tuesday overall    
White Sail Class Trophy (21) Cruisers 5 Persistance Charles Broadhead, Ian Stuart & Jerry Collins Saturday IRC overall    
Burford Trophy (23) Cruisers 5 Persistance Charles Broadhead, Ian Stuart & Jerry Collins Thursday IRC overall    
Anna Livia Trophy (22) Cruisers 5 Sweet Martini Bruce Carswell Saturday Echo overall    
Gerry Henry Salver (20) Cruisers 5 Warrior David Shanahan Thursday Echo overall    
Rupert Bowl (26) Sigmas 33 Leeuwin Henry & Caroline Leonard Robert Kerr 1st Saturday Series-Trophy    
Bective Lights Crystal Trophy (27) Sigmas 33 White Mischief Timothy Goodbody Saturday overall    
Fireseal Sigma 33 Trophy (24) Sigmas 33 White Mischief Timothy Goodbody Thursdays overall    
J.B. Stephens Trophy (25) Sigmas 33 White Mischief Timothy Goodbody Thursday & Sats combined    
Horrigan Cup (28) 31.7s Fiddly Bits PJTimmons,W.Quigley G.Murray, D.Breen Thursday Overall -Echo    
Feanor Trophy (31) 31.7s Levana Jean Mitton Thursday overall One-Design    
Long John Silver Cup (29) 31.7s Levante Michael Leahy & &John Power Saturday Overall- Echo    
Arandora Trophy (30) 31.7s Magic David Espey Saturday Overall-One Design    
Oxford & Cambridge Cup (33) Dragons Diva Rick Johnson & R.Goodbody Thursday overall    
Old Time Cup (87) Dragons Diva Rick Johnson & R.Goodbody Combined Sunday & Thursday    
RIYC Cup (32) Dragons Phantom David J.H Williams Esq Saturdays Overall    
Torry Cup (88) Dragons Whisper Michael Cotter Esq Special conditions    
Pterodactyl Cup (34) Glens Glendun Brian Denham Thursday overall    
Glen Challenge Trophy (35) Glens Glendun David Houlton Crews races    
Pair of Silver Vases (39) Glens Glendun Alison OBrien Ladies Race    
Hamilton Reid (38) Glens Glendun Brian Denham Dalkey Island Race    
Harry Maguire Memorial Cup (36) Glens Glenluce Donal and Rd O'Connor Saturday overall    
The McMullen Cup (37) Glens Glenluce Donal & Richard O'Connor Sts & Thurs combined + regatta    
Commodore O'Meara Trophy Glens Glenluce Donal and Richard O'Connor Olympic races    
John Donnelly Perpetual Cup (41) Ruffians Alias David Meeke & Martin McCarthy Best Tuesday Boat    
British Airways Trophy (44) Ruffians Bandit A Kirwan, B Cullen C Brown Saturday Overall    
Huet Trophy (43) Ruffians Diane II Chris Helme & Alan Claffey Thursday overall    
J.Lamont Brown Trophy (42) Ruffians Ruffles Michael Cutliffe Sat & Thurs overall    
The Shipman Perpetual Trophy (47) Shipmans Curraglas John Masterson Special conditions    
The Malindi Cup (46) Shipmans Gusto Christine Heath Saturdays overall    
The Midweek Trophy (45) Shipmans Gusto Christine Heath Thursdays overall    
Sunday SB3 Cup (51) SB3 Should be Michael O'Connor Sunday overall    
Bealtaine Trophy (49) SB3 Should be Michael O'Connor Special Conditions    
Equinox Trophy (50) SB3 Should Be Michael O'Connnor Special Conditions- 3rd series)    
Crichton Trophy (52) SB3 Should be.... Michael O'Connor Esq Thursday overall    
Lunasa Trophy (48) SB3 Ger Dempsey Special Conditions (Sunday Series 2 etc)    
G.Pugin Melden Trophy (53) Water Wags Swift Guy Kilroy Wags Series 2    
Goldsmith Cup (54) Water Wags Swift Guy Kilroy Wednesday Overall    
Blue Bird Trophy (55) Water Wags Tortoise William & Linda Prentice Wags Series 1    
Brian S.Ryan Trophy (57) Flying 15's Fflogger Alan Dooley Saturday overall    
Flying Fifteen Gun (56) Flying 15's Frequuent Flyer Chris Doorley & Alan Green Thursday overall    
Fifty Something Cup Flying 15 Thungamabob Tom Galvin First Thursday Series    
Blake Cup (89) Flying 15's Thingamabob Tom Galvin Special Conditions    
Stella Cup (60) Mermaids Aideen Br. Martin & Dan Brennan Thursday;special conditions    
Amy Cup (58) Mermaids Aideen Br. Martin & Dan Brennan Tuesday Overall    
Iolar Cup (59) Mermaids Jill Paul Smith & Patrick Mangan Saturday overall    
J.B.Kearney Shield (61) Mermaids Tijuana David Stedmon Saturday-special conditions    
Shannon Cup (62) Squibs Perfection Jill Fleming Saturday Overall    
Minx Trophy (63) Squibs Perfection Jill Fleming Thursday Overall    
The Saturday Cup (65) Fireballs Licence to Thrill Louis Smyth Saturday Overall    
Nuits St.George Trophy (64) Fireballs 15061 Stephen Oram Tuesday overall    
Melampus Cup (78) IDRA 14's Dart Pierre Long Special conditions    
Crews Challenge Cup (79) IDRA14's Dunmoanin' Therese Clarke Special Conditions    
The Kennedy Cup (66) IDRA 14's Dunmoanin' Frank Hamilton Saturday overall    
Bay Cup (67) IDRA 14's Slipstream Julie Ascoop Tuesday overall    
Half-Way Trophy (80) IDRA 14's Spray Chris Corrigan Special Conditions    
The Windmill Cup (68) PY Laser 192703 Ronan Kenneally Tuesday overall    
Sailcraft Tray (69) PY Laser 192703 Ronan Kenneally Combined Saturday & Midweek    
Early Bird Trophy (71) PY Laser 192703 Ronan Kenneally 1st series Tues, & Sat.combined    
Lanaverre Cup (70) PY 177852 Richard Tate Saturdays overall    
Seapoint Cup (82) Optimists 1475 Clare Gorman Optimist September Series    
Mitchell Cup (83) RS Feva 1588 Laura Coleman RS Fever September Series    
PY Junior Trophy PY 8655 Helen Sheehy PY September Series    
Lawson Cup (84) Toppers 46767 Oscar Gleeson Topper September Series    
Pioneer Trophy (85) Lasers 4.7 170857 Toby Hudson Fowler Laser September Series    
Jimmy Mooney Goblet (86) Laser Radial 180244 Finn Coolican Laser Radial September Series    
Dr Alf Delaney Cup (73)   Fireball 15061 Stephen Oram Best Boat on dinghy course    
Newsom Cup (74)   Gusto Christine Heath Best one -design boat    
Dun Laoghaire Harbour Trophy (72)   Jigamaree Ronan Harris Best new Boat    
Waterhouse Shield (75)   Red Rhum Jon. and Chris Nicholson Best Cruiser on handicap    
Brendan Ebrill Memorial Cup (81)   Something Else John & Brian Hall & Sue McDonanell Special conditions    
Viking Trophy (76)     David O'Brien Notable contribution to sailing    
Published in DBSC

#irishsailingreview – 2014 has been the year in which Irish sailing regained its international confidence afloat by re-capturing the Commodore's Cup. Having won it in 2010, the national economic collapse prevented any defence in 2012, but in July 2014 the stain and shame of 2012's non-appearance was emphatically wiped from memory with a convincing team victory led by Anthony O'Leary.

Ashore meanwhile, it had taken longer in some quarters for the economic realities to become fully evident and accepted. But for the Irish Sailing Association, a grassroots revolution within the national authority and sailing in general in 2014 resulted in a root-and-branch analysis of the workings of the Association, which had been heading towards financial disaster through a combination of over-staffing, grandiose schemes of expansion and empire-building, and an emphasis on activities and programmes which were remote from the needs of ordinary sailors throughout Ireland.

It took six months to turn round the course of the Association. But on November 5th 2014 the new ISA President, David Lovegrove, was able to announce a far-reaching re-structuring which is already resulting in a leaner and fitter body, better able to provide a realistic service for clubs and the huge diversity of recreational activity on Ireland's seas and lakes.

While all this high profile activity and action has been taking place at international and national level, those Irish sailors who had managed to keep up their sport through the financial downturn – albeit in often very reduced circumstances – continued to sail their boats with the attitude that, while the economic situation was disastrous, it mustn't be allowed to become serious, and in some ways the best course out of the recession was to sail through it. W M Nixon casts an eye over the year's main activities.

In the Irish sailing year, Christmas Day is New Year's Eve. Next morning, on December 26th – St Stephen's Day or Boxing Day or whatever you're having yourself – the annual 628-mile Sydney-Hobart Race starts. It may be on the other side of the world, and it may still be in the very last days of the old year. But Irish interest at home and in Irish-Australia is always high, and in the sailing community it's seen as the start of the new season.

December 26th 2013 was in line with this, as we'd ex-Pat superstar Gordon Maguire – a previous Hobart race overall winner – very much in contention with Matt Allen's totally new Carkeek 60 Ichi Ban, we also had Sean McCarter of Lough Swilly YC skippering Derry/Londonderry in the warmly-welcomed Clipper Fleet of 70-footers designed by Tony Castro (formerly of Crosshaven) which were taking in the Hobart race as part of their global circumnavigating race, and we'd Barry Hurley and Kenny Rumball on the First 40 Breakthrough knowing that in the 2010 Hobart race, the new design's race debut, First 40s had taken first and second overall.

In a rugged race in which the wind got up to gale force and more towards the end, it was a much-loved hundred footer, Bob Oatley's continually-modified Wild Oats XI, which stole all the headlines with line honours, a course record, and a class win. Irish hopes were best met by Sean McCarter, who logged a very clear win in the Clippers. As for Ichi Ban, while she was third in IRC Div 1 and 8th overall, it wasn't quite a stellar performance, reinforcing the views of those of us who think the boat may be just a little too plump by today's lean and hungry standards. And aboard Breakthrough, they'd 8th in class and 29th overall, a useful performance perhaps, but Barry Hurley will be back on December 26th 2014, boosted by his first in class and second overall in October's Middle Sea Race.

Matt Allen's Ichi Ban in the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race of 2013, with Gordon Maguire as sailing master. To some observers, the very new Carkeek 60 seemed distinctly plump in her hull form forward compared to her closest competitors

In late January 2014, attention focused on the Quantum Key West Regatta in the Florida Keys, where Irish Olympic sailor Peter O'Leary of Cork was on the strength of New York art dealer Marc Glimcher's completely new and very potent looking Ker 40 Catapult. The boat did the business afloat in Florida, but further business was done ashore, as Anthony O'Leary himself was in Key West to see if he could sign up Catapult to be the secret ingredient in Ireland's Commodore's Cup team, for which at that stage the only certainty was his own older Ker 39 Antix. There seemed to be agreement, but in the volatile world of international trading and snap decisions in which top modern sailing operates, there can be sudden reversals of fortune, and O'Leary later admitted that until Catapult was actually unloaded from a ship in Europe, he hadn't been a hundred per cent certain she'd show.

Key West had further Irish interest in that veteran skipper Piet Vroon's Ker 46 Tonnere de Breskens – a former Round Ireland Race winner – was another star in the show, but much was to happen in Irish sailing before the Round Ireland 2014 got under way in Wicklow on June 28th.

With March slowly showing signs of Spring, university racing came centre stage, and it was University College Dublin which came through on top to qualify as Ireland's representatives in the Student Yachting Worlds in France in October, the team led by Philip Doran.

Another team was emerging as the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) announced that our Commodore's Cup squad would be Anthony O'Leary's Ker 39 Antix, Marc Glimcher's Catapult, and the Grand Soleil 43 Quokka chartered by Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling, with Anthony O'Leary as team captain. He in turn would be supported by the shore management team, for a very intense week of racing, of Barry Rose and Fintan Cairns, with Mike Broughton in what would prove to be the particularly onerous task of Team Meteorologist.

As 2014 was exactly midway between two Olympiads, top level international dinghy sailing to Olympic standards might have been expected to be on the back burner. But Ireland's Olympians were very much on track on the international scene, and busy with their own programmes which culminated in the ISAF Worlds in Santander where Olympic places in Rio de Janeiro for 2016 were secured by James Espey in the Laser, Ryan Seaton & Matt McGovern in the 49er, and Annalise Murphy in the Women's Laser Radial. All were of course also seen in other boat types from time to time, with Annalise in particular bringing some glamour to the growing class of foiling Moths in Ireland.

Annalise on the foiling Moth

Other top international women sailors had descended on Ireland in early June with the ISAF Women's Match Race Worlds at Crosshaven. It's very much a specialist sailing interest, but aspiring Irish woman sailors attracted to this discipline found that this successful regatta provided some very useful networking contacts and future crewing possibilities, while the racing itself saw Sweden's Anna Kjellberg of the Royal Gothenburg YC become the new champion after defeating Camilla Ulrikkeholm of Denmark in the final.

In an entirely different area of sailing and life afloat, the traditional boat scene had come early to life with the Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival at the end of May. In the Irish climate after a particularly damp Spring, it reflected great credit on those involved that there was such a good turnout, ranging from the Shannon Gandelows from Limerick recently returned from their historic visit to Venice, through the many restored classic yachts of the region, also including the lovely Shannon cutter Sally O'Keeffe from Kilrush, and going on into the restored traditional mackerel and lobster yawls which make West Cork their home.

Shortly after their historic visit to Venice, the Shannon gandelows built by the Ilen School took part in the Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival at the end of May. The gandelow here, rowed by Liam O'Donghue, Anthony Kenny and Robert Samlle, is headed across Baltimore Harbour towards the gaff ketch Sile a Do.

The pride of the Shannon Estuary - Sally O'Keeffe was built in a community effort in Querrin on the Loop Head peninsula.

The traditional lobster boat Saoirse Muireann (left, Cormac Levis) and the mackerel yawl An tiscaire (Uilliam O'Lorcain) are a familiar sight in the waters of West Cork. Photo: Brian Marten

They were to re-appear in even greater numbers at the Ballydehob Gathering of the Boats in early August, a month during which the classic Galway Hookers of the West Coast were at their busiest on their home Atlantic waters, but the East Coast also had its moments with the Riverfest in Dublin's Liffey in early June seeing traditional and classic craft in a lively mix.

Sails in the City – two of the 1898 Howth Seventeens racing in the heart of Dublin in the Liffey Riverfest. Photo: W M Nixon

It could almost be Connemara, were it not for the Puppeteer 22s – the Galway Hooker Naomh Cronan in the new Classics & Traditional Division in Howth's annual Lambay Race, which was marking its 110th anniversary in 2014. Photo: W M Nixon

Indeed, so strong is the growing interest in classics and trads on the East Coast that to celebrate the centenary of the Lynch family's Howth 17 Echo (one of the newest of the class, the most senior ones were built in 1898) Howth YC provided a traditional Lambay Race course – simply up around Lambay and back to Howth Harbour – for the Seventeens and a new Classics Division, with the Howth 17s seeing the first two places taken by 1898 boats – Rita (John Curley & Marcus Lynch) and Aura (Ian Malcolm) – while Old Gaffers Association International president Sean Walsh won the classics with his Heard 28 Tir na nOg from the Clondalkin team's Galway Hooker Naomh Cronan. As for the overall prize among the large fleet of more modern boats sailing their more complex course, that was won by Colm Bermingham's Bite the Bullet.

The countdown to the Commodore's Cup had continued with inspirational performances by Anthony O'Leary in the Easter Challenge in the Solent, where he won his class with Antix, and then in June he did the same again with the British IRC Championship. Back home, ICRA held their Nationals with the Royal Irish YC in Dun Laoghaire in mid-June, and out of a fleet of a hundred plus boats it was the vintage Marcus Hutchinson/Rob Humphreys designed Quarter Tonner Quest (Jonathan Skerritt, RIYC) which was best overall scorer, a notably impressive performance also being put in by the Ker 36 Jump Juice (Denise Phelan) from Crosshaven.

The 27-year-old Quarter Tonner Quest (Jonathan Skerritt) was overall winner in the ICRA Nats at the RIYC in Dun Laoghaire. Photo: David O'Brien

Downhill battle at the ICRA Nats with the Mills 36 Raptor (ex-Aztec) in foreground, while beyond is Peter Dunlop of Pwllheli's J/109 Mojito against the XP33 Bon Exemple (Colin Byrne, RIYC). Photo: Davd O'Brien

The Ker 36 Jump Juice (Denise Phelan) dominated Class 0 at the ICRA Nats. Photo: David O'Brien

The end of June, and it was Round Ireland time. Thirty-six boats started from Wicklow, 33 finished in a race which was mostly on the slow side, with mid-size boats having their day. The winner was Richard Harris's Sydney 36 Tanit from Scotland by just six minutes from the home favourite, Liam Shanahan's J/109 Ruth from the NYC in Dun Laoghaire. The French defending champion, Laurent Gouy's Ker 39 Inis Mor which sails in Ireland under the burgee of Clifden Boat Club, placed third while Frank Doyle of Cork, second generation round Ireland aristocracy as son of Denis of Moonduster fame, was fourth with his A35 Endgame.

The start of the Round Ireland Race 2014 well illustrates the eclectic nature of the fleet. In right foreground is Richard Harris's Sydney 36 Tanit which was overall winner by just six minutes from the J/109 Ruth (Liam Shanahan), just beyond with the black jib, while the Volvo 70 Monster Project (David Ryan) comes thundering through the fleet at the beginning of a performance whch would see her take line honours win and thd class win in the CK Div.. Photo: Kevin Tracey

The same weekend as the Round Ireland race started, Lough Foyle sent the Clipper Fleet on their way after a week's festivities in Derry/Londonderry, made even more festive by the fact that Sean McCarter and his crew with the home town's boat had crowned their win in the Sydney-Hobart race with victory in the Transatlantic leg to Derry.

Clipper fleet in Derry

Crosshaven fairly leaped to life with Cork Week in July, and after several hitches in various boat-shipping plans, it was notable as the first time the Irish Commodore's Cup Team 2014 were seen together, and mighty impressive they looked too, with Quokka proving best on the Cork Week leaderboard.

Michael Boyd (centre behind cup) and his Quokka crew, a member of Ireland's Commodore's Cup team, were overall winners of Cork week 2014. Photo: Bob Bateman

In the F18 Worlds at Ballyholme, Dutch skipper Gunnar Larssen (crewed by Ferdinand van West) is seen here putting in the smooth performance which saw him winning the worlds at his thirteenth attempt. Photo: W M Nixon

While all this excitement in racing boats with lids was building on the south coast in July, up north on Belfast Lough at Ballyholme the F18 Worlds were held for one of global sailing's most popular catamaran classes. Though the entry of 56 boats didn't match the 150-plus entries they get when the class has its worlds in its Mediterranean heartlands, the sailing was good and a popular winner emerged in longtime F18 sailor Gunnar Larsen, who is Dutch despite his Scandinavian name.

Dinghy attention was also very closely focused on Dublin Bay, with an enormous fleet of Optimists at the Europeans hosted by Royal St George YC from 12th to 20th July, and Dun Laoghaire really showing what it can do in being a major international regatta centre. France's Enzo Balanger was tops from Sweden's Kasper Nordenram, while best of the Irish in the Gold Division was Royal Cork's James McCann in tenth – not surprisingly, he was to go on to win the Nationals at his home club in August.

Nations from across Europe and beyond were at the Optimist Euros at Dun Laoghaire

Finn Lynch racing at Douarnenez in France where be became the new U19 Laser Standard world championPhoto: Trevor Millar/Sail Coach

On the broader international scene, former Opty stars Finn Lynch (National YC) and Seafra Guifoyle (Royal Cork) were to turn in outstanding results during 2014, with Guilfoyle firmly in the frame through the ISAF Youth Worlds in the Laser, eventually coming home from Tavira in Portugal with the Silver, while Finn Lynch was on top form to clinch the Gold in the Under 19 Laser Standard Worlds at Douarnenez in Brittany.

Back aboard the boats with lids, late July had brought the Commodore's Cup in the Solent, and if anyone out there doesn't know who won, we'd like to hear from them, as the state of total seclusion which this implies is surely something which could be packaged and marketed to our hyper-informed and over-crowded world. The comprehensive Irish victory just seems better and better with the passage of time, and for Anthony O'Leary it was the highlight of a fantastic season which in September was to see him win the Helmsman's Championship of Ireland (admittedly by just a whisker) in J/80s in Howth to set up a national double for Royal Cork, as young Harry Durcan of Crosshaven was winner of the Junior Helmsmans. O'Leary meanwhile went on to win the 1720 Nationals in Baltimore later that month, and then in November his beloved Antix was named RORC Yacht of the Year.

Antix in the Commodore's Cup, hanging in well coming to the weather mark to stay ahead of the newer Ker 40 Cutting Edge. Photo: Rick Tomlinson)

Even as Antix and her team mates were racing on towards glory in the Solent, in Clew Bay the West of Ireland Offshore Racing Association (WIORA) were staging their annual championship at hospitable Mayo SC, and it saw a good spread of results, with the overall winner being Galway's Liam Burke with his Corby 25 Tribal, while the runner-up was the McGibneys' Dehler Optimum 101 Dis-a-Ray, which sails under the Foynes YC burgee, but her home port is Tarbert further west along the Shannon Estuary.

August was busy with events for enjoyment. Eighty boats raced in Calves Week in West Cork, which has now been compressed to a four day regatta which means, as one sage family man observed, that you can take a house in Schull for a week's holiday, and then just as the wife and kids are getting fed up with having the ould fella always about the place, doesn't he absolutely have to go off and spend the last four days of the holiday sailing with his mates? That one of the top boats was Colman Garvey's True Penance maybe says it all.

Calves Week 2014 entries were up 25% in 2014. Photo: Bob Bateman

The GP14 Worlds at East Down YC in Strangford Lough launched a hundred boats every day in smooth style. Photo: W M Nixon

The biggest dinghy event of all (other than the Laser Nationals, which as ever are in a league of their own) was the GP 14 Worlds in mid-August at East Down YC in Strangford Lough, which had its excitement in a sudden storm on the Monday, but it all turned out okay. Boats involved were just over the hundred mark, the best boats were built in Northern Ireland by Alistair Duffin, and winners were English crew of Ian Dobson and Andy Tunnicliffe from Burwain, while top Irish were John and Donal McGuinness of Moville in Donegal, they were sixth.

At the other end of the intensity scale, down in Howth they had their first cruiser-racer two-hander for the Aqua Restaurant Challenge. Despite very restrained pre-publicity, it attracted 34 boats for a race round Lambay and the Kish. Stephen O'Flaherty's elegant Spirit 54 Soufriere, fresh from a win in the Panerai Classics in Cowes and co-sailed by David Cagney, took line honours and almost won, but the vintage Humphreys Half Tonner Harmony (Peter Freyne and Jonny Swann) just pipped them at the end.

Sailed in summery weather, the new Howth two-handed was about as different as possible from another two-handed experience in August, that of Liam Coyne (NYC) and Brin Flahive (Wicklow) in the 1800 mile RORC Seven Star Round Britain and Ireland. They didn't have to be two-handed, there were fully crew boats involved including the 70ft–trimaran Musandam in which Ireland's Damian Foxall played a leading role in taking line honours in record time, but aboard the First 36.7 Lula Belle the Irish duo just toughed it out despite sailing the last 500 miles with virtually nothing functional, they simply decided to see it through, and to their amazement found they'd won Classes V & VI.

Lula Belle on her way out of the Solent with 1800 miles to race. Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Brian Flahive & Liam Coyne back in Dun Laoghaire on the morning of their return from the finish of the Round Britain & Ireland Race. Photo: W M Nixon

As for the Laser Nats, they were at the end of August and another Ballyholme event, with Johnny Durcan of Royal Cork winning from Rory Fekkes of the home club, while the radials saw Annalise Murphy keep her hand in with a win from Cork's Cian Byrne.

After some rugged August weather, particularly on Ireland's East Coast, September was utterly blissful and it sweetly rounded out Dublin Bay Sailing Club's 130th season, the birthday being marked by a fairly epic dinner in the National YC. September also saw the conclusion of the slowly but steadily reviving Irish Sea Offshore Racing programme, with the end-of-season race from Pwllheli to Dun Laoghaire seeing Liam Shanahan's J/109 Ruth confirmed as the overall winner of the series. Among locally campaigned dinghies, meanwhile, Dun Laoghaire's keen Fireball Class kept its annual programme in lively shape, and the season drew a close with Barry McCartin and Conor Kinsella winning overall from Noel Butler and Stephen Oram.

ISORA Champion Ruth skippered by Liam Shanahan jnr from the National Yacht Club

Across country in Limerick, the CityOne dinghies and the traditional Shannon gandelows created in projects of the Ilen Boatbuilding School made their debut in the city centre on one of the last days of the Indian summer, and then they were put on display in a Naumachia in St Mary's Cathedral which was officially opened by Michael Noonan TD, and later formally visited by President Higgins.

The hopeful new spirit of Irish sailing in 2014 was evident in St Mary's Cathedral in Limerick, when the CityOne dinghies built by volunteers in an inner city revitalisation project went on display in a Naumachia in the Cathedral on September 26th, after their first regatta on the Shannon in the heart of Ireland's City of Culture 2014. With the boats in the cathedral were (left) Brother Anthony Keane of Glenstal Abbey (Director, the Ilen School), Limerick's senior TD and Ireland's Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, and Gary MacMahon (right) Director of the Ilen School & Network for Wooden Boatbuilding. Photo: Press22

And then more vigorous winds returned in October, with the Freshwater Keelboat event on Lough Derg – originally just an exclusive Dragon thing – finding itself swamped with sixty and more boats from five classes and increasingly rugged conditions, such that only the Dragons and Squibs managed to get in any meaningful racing, with Neil Hegarty (RStGYC) winning the Dragons while James Matthews and Rob Jacob of Kinsale topped the Squibs.

Dragons in Autumn action on Lough Derg – Neil Hegarty (right) was overall winner from runner-up Richard Goodbody (left) Photo: Gareth Craig

Squibs on Lough Derg – it may look like perfect sailing, but the top came off the weather very soon afterwads. Photo: Gareth Craig

The Student Yachting Worlds in La Rochelle in October had some hiccups in UCD's campaign for Ireland, but while they very narrowly missed the podium in a truly international event, they stayed put at fourth overall. And round in the Mediterranean, a record fleet for the Rolex Middle Sea Race from Malta saw entries soar through the 120 mark for the first time, and the 606 mile race had its first half in light breezes, but the second half was in pure Mistral, with people talking of "winds easing to 44 knots....." A Maltese-owned J/122 won, but second overall and first in her class was the Xp44 XpAct (Josef Schultheis) with a strong Irish emphasis in her crew including Barry Hurley, Andy Boyle, Kenny Rumball and Phillip Connor.

Soon afterwards, the Volvo World Race got under way with first stage from the Med to Cape Town, and Ireland's Justin Slattery on the winning boat on Leg 1. Back home, Autumn leagues had seen renewed enthusiasm as though people had suddenly re-discovered their sport, and the great sailing year of 2014 drew towards its close with the Lasers in Howth starting their 40th winter of annual frostbite racing. This means that HYC have now had a continuous sailing programme since April 1974, while across in Dun Laoghaire the DMYC Frostbite Series must be the most senior of all winter events. Winter Leagues attract more aficionados, with the popularity of the Dublin Bay Turkey Shoot in particular providing a forceful reminder that Dun Laoghaire is the principal sea access for a notably affluent and very large population in South Dublin. With the Turkey on its way, soon it's Christmas. And then the new Irish sailing season will begin on the blue waters of Sydney Harbour.

Justin Slattery on Volvo World Race 2014. Photo: Volvo Ocean Race

Published in W M Nixon

#lasermasters – There's a strong contingent of Irish competing in the Laser Masters Worlds taking place from the 4th - 11th October in Hyeres, France this week.

The event has broken records for the number competing which topped out at an eye watering 499.

The logistics and challenges for the event organisers of dealing with a fleet this size both onshore and afloat are daunting but COYCH are managing.

Masters fleets are divided by age brackets. The youngest competitors are 35 in the apprentice fleet. At 45 these "young guns" graduate to Masters and so on as the bands continue up in blocks of 10 years.

The Irish team consists of Worlds stalwart and Great Grand Master Denis O'Sullivan. Chris Arrowsmith from RStGYC is in the Grand Master category. Ed Rice and Nick Walsh from Royal Cork YC along with Colin Galavan from RIYC and Kevin Currier from Ballyholme are in the Masters fleet. The team is rounded out by three Apprentice Masters, Dan O'Connell from RCYC, sailing coach Thomas Chaix and Paul Keane also from RIYC.

The weather has not played ball for the organisers who have been plagued by light airs and blue skies. Nice for the beach, of which there are plenty, but not for sailing. After two days of light racing some fleets have only two results but the Great Grand Masters have yet to finish a race.

After coming second in the Pre Worlds and winning the practice race Thomas Chaix was confident going into the first race but there is no quarter being given in the Apprentice fleet which includes 2 current and a very large percentage of ex Olmypians. The start line and contested mark roundings are not for the faint of heart.

The Masters fleet is around 130 boats so it's further split into Yellow and Red fleets. In the Red fleet Nick Walsh is on the hunt for some good results after a very successful domestic sailing season. Nick's sparring partner from home, Ed Rice is in the Yellow fleet and after a shaky first race put the demons behind him to score a decent result in the 2nd.

Well known RStGYC sailor Chris Arrowsmith had a middle of the road result in the first race but a strange abbreviation "PTSr" appeared beside his and others scores. This seemed to be "Penalty turns, retrospective" i.e. you're not whistled by the jury on the water but they take your number and penalise you after the race. An Australian team sailor was also penalised in this way and took the RC to the protest room where it seems to have been dropped. In the second race Chris scored a very respectable 11th. Onwards and upwards.

The forecast for the next few days is quite mixed. Last night a big rainstorm went through the area and there is a current "Orange" weather alert. Tomorrow the sun is due to come back and the wind is forecast in the 12-18kt range from a stable Easterly direction. This means waves in Hyeres Bay. Sun, Waves and Breeze for a Laser Sailor is better than a lotto win.

There is so much more to say about this event I could go on but I've just heard a gun and the AP is being lowered so I've got to go and get out on the water. For a very well observed flavour of the "internationality" of this event read USA team member Joe Berkeley's piece here 

Event photos are here and results here

Published in Laser

#sailforjack – 22 year old Pharmacy student Jack Kavanagh's life changed completely two years ago when he had an accident which resulted in him being paralysed from the armpits down. Orla Callender supported by Rosemary Dawson organised a pursuit sailing race, hosted by the Royal St. George Yacht Club, on 29th August to raise funds to support the specialised supports and treatments which Jack requires.

On the evening of the race there was quite a lot of weather. At 16.00hrs. it was sunny with a breeze of about 12 knots gusting to 21 knots. By 17.30hrs there was steady drizzle, with only 100m. visibility, and average wind speed of 25 knots with gusts of 27knots. 'Terriblee' the committee boat was stationed by Vincent Delany, officer-of-the-day, off the harbour mouth. First competitor on the course was Margaret Hannan's Squib, 'Free Trader'. She was quickly followed by the Sailing-in-Dublin's 'Vago' who found the conditions challenging. A decision was made immediately to abandon the dinghy element of the race. The dinghies sailed back to the safety of the harbour and 'blemmed' around at high speed. The Glens all decided that the conditions were not appropriate to an enjoyable race, and returned to their moorings. However the race started soon after 18.30hrs. with Squib 'Sidewinder' with special athlete Tomas on board as lead boat. They were followed by a variety of day boats and cruisers. One hour later, having navigated the mist to Middle, New Ross, and East Marks, three boats approached the finish line together. The rain was clearing and a rainbow appeared to the east. The leaders were 'Sidewinder', Rupert Bowen, Rupert Westrup and Tomas, Squib 'Perfection' with Jill Fleming, Conor O'Leary and special athlete Declan, 'Wow' George Sisk's 42 footer which charged through the fleet with fabulous efficiency. 'Sidewinder' finished at 19.28.12hrs followed by 'Wow' at 19.28.30, only 18 seconds later. What a close finish for two boats so different in style!
At the prize giving, Vice-Commodore Justin Mc.Kenna presented many valuable prizes which had been provided by generous sponsors:
1st. Boat- 'Sidewinder' Rupert Bowen, Rupert Westrup and Tomas- A tidal Clock.
1st Special athlete- Tomas in 'Sidewinder'- Theatre tickets for the Pavilion Theatre.
1st. Cruiser- 'Wow' George Sisk and crew- Golfing voucher.
2nd. Cruiser- 'September Song' – Stephanie Burke and family who managed to sail the entire course without putting up their Sigma 33 mainsail.- Voucher for David Lloyd gym.
3rd. Cruiser- 'Sarnia' – A voucher for the Royal Marine Hotel.
4th. Cruiser- 'Bendemeer' Gerry Kinsella and crew- Voucher for The Butler's Pantry.
2nd. Day boat- RIYC 1720- Voucher for Fingal Sailing School.
Special award for bravery despite sailing the wrong course- 'Perfection' Jill Fleming with Conor O'Leary and Declan Johnston- A holistic wellness voucher.
2nd. Special athlete- Declan Johnston- Theatre tickets for the Pavilion Theatre.
Special award for surviving such tough conditions- 'Free Trader' Margaret Hannan and Ray Greene- A hairdresser voucher.

Published in RStGYC

#420sailing – After nine great races on Dublin Bay, Royal Cork Yacht Club's Peter McCann and Arran Walsh claimed the 420 Nationals trophy last weekend writes Clodagh Lyttle. The teenagers sailed to victory in style, winning four races over the three day event hosted by the Royal St. George Yacht Club. 15 boats competed and seven of these were girls pairings. The fleet, aged between 14 and 18 enjoyed the courses set by PRO Richard Kissane. Full results downloadable below as a jpg file.
This result means that there are two homes in Crosshaven who have two National Champions in the family. Last week James McCann, Peter's brother won the Optimist Trophy and earlier this year Nick Walsh, Arran's dad won the Laser Masters Trophy.
McCann and Walsh managed to defeat the ISAF pair Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove who were 20th in the World Championships in Germany. Similarly Cliodhna Ni Shuillebhain and Jill McGinley won the Ladies Title overcoming Lizzie McDowell and Cara McDowell who came 16th in the ISAFs. The standard of sailing in the Irish 420 fleet is extremely high, as another pair Harry Whitaker and Grattan Roberts also had a great result when they came 20th at the Junior Europeans .
After the prizegiving, 420 coach Ross Killian, Arran Walsh and Bill Staunton took the ice bucket challenge, much to everyone's enjoyment. The 420 sailors prepared two huge wheelbarrows of iced water and poured it on their coach.
The next 420 event is the Leinsters in Wexford Harbour on 13th and 14th September.

Published in 420

#SailForJack - This Friday 29 August the Royal St George Yacht Club will host a special 'Sail for Jack' charity pursuit race in aid of local man Jack Kavanagh, who was paralysed in a freak accident on the water.

The now 21-year-old was an avid sailor, windsurfer, rugby player, lifeguard and pharmacy student at Trinity College when, while holidaying with friends in Portugal, his life changed utterly after diving into a wave and breaking his neck.

Jack is now paralysed from the neck down, with limited arm movement, and will need 24-hour care for the rest of his life. However, his remarkable attitude and progress is defying his doctors, and he believes one day there will be a cure for his condition.

Incredibly, Jack has also managed to go back to Trinity to finish his pharmacy degree, albeit over an extended period. But it’s not easy – he needs special assistance around the clock and a full-time carer.

He needs to travel to Cambridge every week for special bionic suit physiotherapy help him stand upright for a few minutes (you may have seen him on RTÉ News in recent weeks).

Significant funds are needed to maintain Jack’s 24-hour care and treatment to enhance his mobility. And that's where the Sail for Jack race comes in.

For just €5 per crew member (register online at you can take part in the Sail for Jack charity pursuit from 6.30pm this Friday at the Royal St George in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, close to the harbour mouth.

The race will be followed by a BBQ with a DJ and prize giveaways at the clubhouse at 8pm so bring along your friends and family even if you aren’t sailing.

If you are not free to sail but would like to make a donation, you can contribute at

Published in RStGYC

#optiEuros2014 – Royal Cork's James McCann & Dublin Girls Clare Gorman, Alix Buckley & Gemma McDowell have made the gold fleet cut after a full opening series of the Optimist dinghy Europeans was completed off Dun Laoghaire this afternoon.

The big Irish success today  is that James McCann from Royal Cork Yacht Club bounced back magnificently after yesterday's disappointment to make the gold fleet cut tomorrow. With 11th and 5th in today's races, together with discarding his 28th place, the Munster youth sits on a total of 41 points and placed 13th.

James was the only Irish boy to qualify for the Gold fleet but four of his teammates qualified for the Silver: Jamie McMahon, Loghlen Rickard and Peter Fagan all from Dublin as well as Harry Bell from Co. Down.

In the overall standings French sailor Enzo Balanger from Guadeloupe tops the leader board with results of 1, 1, 3, 3, 1 totalling 9 points. Fourteen points behind at this early stage is Pablo Lujan of C.N. Javea, Spain while Swedish lake sailor Kasper Nordenram of Rörviks Sailing Club lies third.

The Irish girls fared much better in making the cut for the Gold fleet. Clare Gorman from Dun Laoghaire gained eight places today to rank 24th. Also qualifying are two fellow Dubliners; Alix Buckley of Skerries and Gemma McDowell of Malahide.

After another first place today Iset Segura from the Catalan club of Arenys de Mar remains at the head of the fleet followed by Ebru Bolat of Romania and Brazilian Olivia Belda.

Published in Optimist

#rsgyc – Today's Frank Keane BMW Royal St. George Regatta will enjoy their biggest entry on record in the 176–year history of the event, according to the Dun Laoghaire club. Almost 180 competitors have registered already and more entries are expected today.

This is some achievement with many more possible entries committed to the Round Ireland Race and /or Cork Week. Nevertheless this number of entries shows there is a commitment to Club Regattas in Dublin Bay and the tradition of sailing in the Dun Laoghaire Club Regatta is alive and well, says RSt\GYC, the country's biggest yacht club with 1,200 members.

Event Chairman, Martin Byrne reported that the perceived 'congestion' of events has not effected the traditional & historic events like the Dublin Bay Club Regattas where Club sailors and boat owners just want to participate and enjoy the occasion. "Our Regatta Day represents everything that we are as a Club - sailing first then family & community next", Byrne said.

Published in RStGYC

#rsgyc – As part of this weekend's Frank Keane BMW Royal St. George Yacht Club regatta, the club is staging a White Sails & Non-Spinnaker team challenge event. 

The reasons behind the initiative is to encourage a sociable, time friendly, event with a mixture of competitive and fun sailing. As previously reported by The emphasis, say organisers, is as much on the activities ashore as well as those on the water.

Dun Laoghaire could be described as the home of White sails racing in Ireland. Trevor Wood a member of the RSGYC and, then Beneteau Oceanis 411 owner, had in 2002, come up with the concept of regular fleet racing in Dublin Bay within the DBSC series. The idea was not just to provide racing for boats that could be more properly described as cruising or family boats than racers, but to enjoy meeting and eating in the Clubs afterwards.
The Dublin Bay White sails fleet rapidly grew into one of the strongest classes in the Bay with consistent Thursday evening turnouts of over twenty boats, though with numbers dropping off a little as thoughts turn to cruising. The White Sails fleet also makes up about a quarter of the DBSC Turkey Shoot and Spring Chicken fleets.
For Regattas and other open events the White sail Class races as a separate division within the Non-Spinnaker fleet, thus giving the, essentially cruising boats a chance to collect some silverware.
Over the years the Class has run a number of non-racing events, trips to Greystones etc. and this year approached the RSGYC to put into place a new event running over three days of very varied racing and socialising linked in with the Club Regatta. This event would be more than one for local boats but an opportunity to sail and enjoy the company of Non-Spinnaker sailors from elsewhere as well.
The Royal St. George YC took on the event with enthusiasm. It fits well within the active programme there of broadening sailing opportunities in Dun Laoghaire and has proposed running the Challenge alongside future Club regattas.
In order to make the challenge more fun and "different" it will be based on a club team basis with the best scores of the top three boats representing each Club counting towards the prize. Over the years inter-Club rivalry is expected to become more intense and with it, a strong growth of White sail and non-Spinnaker racing.
More details on the event from Howard Knott on +353 86 810 3025.

Published in RStGYC
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