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There was an august gathering of Irish 505 sailors at the National Yacht Club on Thursday 7th November to commemorate the second European Championships of the class, which was held in Dun Laoghaire in August 1969.

Former 505 sailors came from far and wide across the island of Ireland to remember the championships, which helped build a young and dynamic group who went on to contribute greatly to Irish Sailing over the following 50 years.

The commemoration was organised magnificently by former DBSC Commodore, Michael O’Rahilly. The attendance included Jackie Patton, Chair of RYA Northern Ireland and a number of Ulster 505 sailors including Simon Haselden, Peter Thompson, Michael Hill, Wyclif McCready and Colin McErvel. Ted and Tom Crosbie along with Neil Hegarty, came from RCYC in Cork while the dynamic Dublin engineers Paddy Barry and Michael Cotter, shared tales for their 505 exploits.

oSean Joan Flood and Tom Crosbie Pic James WoodsSean and Joan Flood and Tom Crosbie Photo: James Woods

Sean Flood came from Howth YC while John Simington, Rory McDonagh, John Bourke and others shared experiences of the 505 – a very fast two-man boat.

In 1969, the race office was run by Carmel Winkelmann, who, while not in attendance sent a lovely note of reminiscences of the event – which was held under the stewardship of Commodore Frank Lemass. Clayton Love, Joe Woodward and Johnny Hooper also shared memories by email while Johnny’s sailing partner Peter Grey, attended.

Harold Cudmore, who finished runner up the 1969 505 World Championships, sent his best wishes to a group that he had inspired.

Gerry Dunleavy Peter Gray Tom Flodd Pic James WoodsGerry Donleavy, Peter Gray and Tom Flood Photo: James Woods

To bring matters up to date, Flying Fifteen legend, Gerry Donleavy, shared his stories of the 505 in the 1980s and recounted his early pairing with Afloat.ie’s David O’ Brien in the 505, before the duo switched to the Flying Fifteen and winning the 1988 UK Nationals.

It was clear that running championships inspires further endeavour and so many of the attendees have great subsequent sailing records while contributing endlessly to the development of the Sport organisationally and on the water, in Ireland and internationally.

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The National Yacht Club launched its inaugural match racing league over the weekend with 12 teams competing over 2 days. 

Saturday kicked off with light winds which suited the ‘intro to match racing’ participants. RO Alan Daly took full advantage of the conditions to get everyone familiar with the format and the boats. Niall Meagher of the Flying 15 Class showcased well oiled starting tactics to lead the Saturday series going into week 2. James Gorman of the SB20s performed very well in his first match races, only to be edged out by Niall in the final race. Jack Hall’s youth team of Instructors managed 1 win sailing with his father and J109 expert Brian Hall.

The Sunday Series saw glamour conditions prevail. The 6 ‘pro match racing’ teams managed to get a full complement of races away in 10-12 knots of breeze and bright sun. Baltimore SC’s Mark Hassett currently leads with a 100% win rate going into week 2. The league has been getting rave reviews, with Howth YC sailor Scott Flanigan who currently sits in second overall overheard saying “Raging to be missing this Sunday, yesterday was class”. 

As Afloat reported previously, the National Yacht Club recently acquired a fleet of Elliott 6m sportsboats and is hosting a series of match racing events throughout the autumn. Six teams will compete in one series across 6 Saturdays 2nd November – 7th December, with a further six youth teams competing on the corresponding Sundays. The top three teams from each series will then compete in a Grand Final weekend on 14th/15th December.

There is still room for 2 'intro to match racing' teams in the Saturday series. If interested, don’t hesitate to sign up at our new pro-rated and cheaper price here

Race schedules and results can be found below:

Saturday league
Sunday league

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The annual lift-out of yachts and boats in Dun Laoghaire Harbour at the neighbouring Royal St.George and National Yacht Clubs took place in fine weather conditions on Dublin Bay today.

Boats will be stored ashore now on club platforms for the winter period and launched again in advance of the Summer season next April.

It's not the end of Dun Laoghaire sailing, however, as Dublin Bay Sailing Club runs year-round racing for cruisers based at the town marina with its popular winter Turkey Shoot Series before Christmas and its Spring Chicken event in the new year that attracts up to 70 and 50 yachts respectively for each series.

More details of the forthcoming Turkey Shoot here.

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No sooner than it has successfully completed the Flying Fifteen World Championships last month, the National Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay has launched its inaugural Winter Match Racing Series.

The East Pier club has acquired a fleet of four Elliott 6ms sportsboats and, after a period of setting-up and testing that included a 2k Team Racing event in September has unveiled this brand new event format. 

Typically, a match race consists of two identical boats racing against each other. 

The National Yacht Club already has teams of U30s / Ensign Members lined up for the Sunday Round Robin series and are opening up the Saturday Series for all NYC members to constitute and register teams of three people.

NYC Match racing

At the 2k event in September, 30 sailors took to the water in Dun Laoghaire Harbour for that event including teams from The National Yacht Club (U30 and U25 teams), The Royal St George Yacht Club, Royal Cork Yacht Club, and the Sorento Sailing Club from Australia who travelled for the event.

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Only in Ireland could it be like this. We hear that of many things in this curious island of ours. But the varying sailing, location and personal backgrounds of the sixteen helmspersons competing in this weekend’s All-Ireland Helmsmans Championship at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire really does bring it all home. The Irish Sailing community is a very odd and idiosyncratic bunch - there’s no doubt about it – and their interests afloat and ashore are many, with the Select Sixteen reflecting this.

Plus that, we could comfortably devote an entire blog to the stories of the many different classes which have produced their representatives of national standard to compete for the big salver in Dun Laoghaire’s Flying Fifteen this morning, without devoting a single word to what those people are, and how they got to be top of their particular sailing pyramid.

chris doorly dave gorman2They’ve drawn the short straw….crew Chris Doorly (left) and helm Dave Gorman are in the uniquely demanding position of current Irish Champions in the Flying Fifteen Class, the boat of choice for this weekend’s All-Irelands at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. Photo: Afloat

For sailing is first and foremost a vehicle sport, and it’s a distinctly oddball sailor who is not at least slightly fascinated by the boats he or she sails, and their potential for improvement. Yet while being something of an intelligent boat nerd undoubtedly helps, it’s the realisation that sheer sailing talent and having the right mind-set which gives that edge in the heat of competition, and it has been fascinating to see how top helms from other classes have been carefully picking crews to ensure that they’re better armed to take on the established skills of Flying Fifteen National Champions.

We ran the provisional list last week in giving a 72-year history of the event, but this morning’s up-to-date entry lineup shows some fine-tuning of personnel which adds an extra spice to the championship. 

Helm

Class

Club

Crew Name

Cathy MacAleavey

Water Wags

National Yacht Club

Con Murphy

Robert Espey

RS400

Ballyholme Yacht Club

Stephen Milne

David Gorman

Flying Fifteen

National Yacht Club

Chris Doorly

Sean Craig

Laser Radial

Royal St. George Yacht Club

Alan Greene

Peter Kennedy

2018 Champion (SB20)

Strangford Lough Yacht Club

Stephen Kane

Darren Wright

ICRA IRC 2

Howth Yacht Club

Matt Alvarado

Rory Fekkes

ICRA IRC 3

Carrickfergus Sailing Club

Paul Fekkes

Jonathan Horgan

Shannon One Design

Lough Derg Yacht Club

Carden Kent

John Sheehy

Team Racing

Royal St. George Yacht Club

Darragh O'Connor

Ronan Wallace

Laser Standard

Wexford Harbour Boat & Tennis Club

Brendan Wallace

Michael O'Connor

SB20

Royal St. George Yacht Club

Davy Taylor

Gordon Patterson

Squib

Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club

Ross Nolan

Paddy Dillon

Mermaids

Rush Sailing Club

Johnny Dillon

Shane MacCarthy

GP14

Greystones Sailing Club

Stephen Boyle

Colm O'Flaherty

J24

Sligo Yacht Club

Dave O'Connor

Wyatt Orsmond

Multihull IMA

Swords Sailing Club

Patrick Billington


Yet with the boats being raced without the use of spinnakers, an inherent advantage of Flying Fifteen experience is removed at a stroke. And in any case, as pointed out last week, in racing against defending Helmsmans Championship title-holder Peter Kennedy of Strangford Lough with regular crew Stephen Kane, Gorman is up against a top SB 20 sailor who has Flying Fifteen sailing skill in his genes, as Peter’s parents Terence and Bridget were Flying Fifteen British Champions in 1962 (when that was the class’s main title), and his home club of Strangford Lough YC is imbued with a history of Flying Fifteen success, the most memorable being Bill Carson who became a world champion.
It puts extra pressure on National F/F Champion Dave Gorman of the home club with regular crewman Chris Doorly, for in this 50th year of the Flying Fifteen class in Dun Laoghaire - with the F/F Worlds 2019 staged by the club in Dublin Bay in September - the spotlight is on the Gorman/Doorly combo three times over.

peter kennedy3Olympian Peter Kennedy (right) after winning the SB 20 Nationals in Dun Laoghaire in June 2018 which provided his route into the 2018 All-Ireland at Lough Ree (in SB 20s) in October, which he duly won, and now like his parents he’s racing a Flying Fifteen to defend the title

As it happened, Bill was the agent for that curious baked-plastic wood substitute Tufnol. In order to demonstrate its versatility, he built a Flying Fifteen entirely in Tufnol, and sailed the boat (called Ffreek) so well that be won the 1958 trophy. The usual armchair pundits were somewhat sniffy about this promotion of Tufnol as being arguably a professional entry, but the years have passed, and now it’s only remembered that 61 years ago, Bill Carson of Whiterock won the big championship in the Flying Fifteens in a Tufnol boat, while the comparable successes of others have been long forgotten.

Past success is not something which is forgotten with the sole woman contender, Cathy MacAleavey, who is being crewed by her husband Con Murphy. This is a formidable combination, and as they had a period of “very enjoyable” racing with the Dun Laoghaire Flying Fifteen fleet, they bring a special element of boat knowledge to add to their other multiple experience which includes Olympic participation in 1988 by Cathy and a Round Ireland Record together with Steve Fossett on the 60ft trimaran Lakota in 1993 – a superb record which stood for years.

Another family-flavoured entry is drawn from the ICRA ranks with Rory Fekkes of Carrickfergus SC being crewed by his father Paul, who was GP 14 World Champion with Rory’s uncle Mark in 1991 when they sailed for East Antrim Boat Club in Larne.

The Fekkes originally were a Dutch family who provided the crew on one of those characterful little Dutch freight-carrying coasters which were a common sight on the coasts of Europe until containerisation changed the structure of shipping completely. But before that happened, the first Fekkes came into Larne on their little ship the Noah in the 1960s, and simply decided to stay.

classic dutch coaster4Classic Dutch coaster of the 1940s to ’70s – the head of Fekkes family arrived into Larne aboard one called Noah in the 1960s, and decided to stay Photo: Afloat
Now, sixty years later and with a new generation moving centre stage, Paul and his young son Rory bought a bog-standard Beneteau First 8 in Greystones and souped her up to a very high level, even going so far as to paint her black so folk might think she’s carbon fibre throughout….

f n gr8 racing5The Fekkes team on their way to success aboard F’n Gr8, with Rory (left) on helm and father Paul (centre) maintaining a tactical overview. Photo Afloat.ie/David O’Brien

Whatever the colour, the memorably-named F’n Gr8 was always at the sharpest part of the sharp end of IRC 3 in Scotland, Cork and Dublin Bay during the 2019 season, and while the move into Flying Fifteens will be depriving Rory Fekkes of the advantages in racing a boat of which he knows every cubic millimetre, a sage observer of the County Antrim sailing scene tells us that having Paul Fekkes as your crew is always good for an extra percentage of boat speed and an added injection of sound tactics, and the dynamics of the sailing relationship in the Fekkes son-and-father combo is a wonder to behold.

Also from Belfast Lough, this time from the south shore, are the Squib Class National Champion (and many other 2019 Squib championships) Gordon Patterson of RNIYC Cultra, who reached the top this past summer sailing the 50-year-old Fagan crewed by Ross Nolan, and they’ll be together again this weekend.

gordon patterson ross nolan6 Gordon Patterson and Ross Nolan, overall Squib champions in the 50-year-old Fagan (RNIYC)

Cultra also saw success for Rob Espey and Stephen Milne of Ballyholme, who raced in the big-fleet RS 400 British & Irish Championships at RNIYC in August, and came second overall and Irish National Champions while they were at it. So after Chris and Olin Bateman won the Junior Championship last weekend in Schull with Chris being in it on the strength of his RS 200 National title, it will be interesting to see how the big brothers from the fast-moving RS 400 transfer to the more sedate yet tactics-and-technique-laden world of Flying Fifteen racing at national and senior level.

rs400 belfast lough7RS 400 in full flight on Belfast Lough, where Rob Espey of Balyholme won the Irish National title at Cultra

For make no mistake about it, the level is very high in this weekend series with the popular GP 14 class making a remarkable input, as there are two former GP 14 World Champions taking part. Paul Fekkes won it in 1991, while Shane MacCarthy of Greystones won it in 2016. McCarthy has added the 2019 Irish GP 14 title to his trophy list racing with Damian Bracken at Skerries, but for this weekend’s racing in Dublin Bay he has recruited Stephen Boyle, who formerly raced Flying Fifteens with success with Sean Craig.

shane mccarthy solo8Shane MacCarthy racing his Solo. In addition to successfully racing GP 14s, Shane McCarthy has also been on the podium in the big-fleet season-long multi-location Solo Series in England, placing third overall.

Shane MacCarthy has another sailing life entirely as a top helm in the attractive Solo single-hander – he has placed third overall in the well-supported season-long Solo series in England this year, and meanwhile Sean Craig – having been champion helm in 1993 at Larne in GP14s – is in the mix this weekend as the Laser Radial representative, and he has brought in F/F ace Alan Greene as crew to give a formidable boost to his chances.

sean craig and 1993 salver9 Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire with the Salver in 1993, when he won it racing in GP 14s at Larne. He’s back this year as Laser Radial champion

Also busy on the rockstar recruitment trail has been the IRC 4 and Irish Half-Ton Champion Darren Wright from Howth, who has professional form in this rockstar lineup business, as anyone who saw the nightly shows he laid on at the Howth Wave regatta event in 2018 will readily attest. For this weekend, he has hit the bullseye by hauling in Matt Alvarado – Bronze Medallist at the F/F Worlds last month – to operate the front end of the boat and help with calling the shots.

mata crew10Helmsman Darren Wright of Howth (left) with the crew of Mata after winning the Irish Half-Ton Championship in Kinsale in June. For the Helmsman's Championship in Flying Fifteens, he has recruited Matt Alvarado (Bronze Medallist in F/F Worlds 2019) as crew
As defending champion Peter Kennedy emerged from the SB 20s last year, this growing class – with the effervescent John Malone from Lough Ree YC as new top honcho – should never be underestimated, particularly as their representative Michael O’Connor of Royal St George can include the SB20 World Corinthian Champion in his CV.

All these and most of the other contenders come from the familiar world of mono-hulls, but the Irish Multihull Association is making its pitch in the interesting person of Wyatt Orsmond, who is another life is Mr Eva Orsmond, consort of the TV personality. But despite living in Greystones, he does his main multi-hull racing to championship title level with Swords Sailing Club on the Broadmeadow Water in Fingal, and his crew this weekend in Dun Laoghaire will be Patrick Billington from Wicklow, which seems to suggest that multiple locations are an integral part of multihull racing.

wyatt orsmond11Wyatt Orsmond, helm for the Irish Multihull Association
So in all it’s a lineup well reflective of modern Irish sailing life, and half a dozen helms and maybe more are certainly in there with a shout. As to the expected weather, what can we say in the aftermath of Storm Lorenzo?

When he was a Fisheries Inspector for the unofficial Provisional Government set up by Sinn Fein in Dublin’s Mansion House in 1919, global circumnavigator O’Brien patrolled the west coast of Connacht in his ketch Kelpie, and he was wont to observe of the utterly barren north end of the Mullet Peninsula in northwest Mayo that it was so devoid of any distinguishing features that it scarcely constituted a coastline at all, and left any observers in a very bewildered frame of mind.

So although Lorenzo was going fine until he got off that north end of Mullet, the very place seemed to cause him to collapse in on himself. Seldom can a post-tropical storm have evaporated so quickly. Maybe his strength was sucked away somehow by the nearby presence of the Corrib Gas Field.

Whatever, weather prediction is a doubly-cautious business at the moment, but with any luck the 2019 Irish Sailing All-Ireland Helmsman’s Championship at Dun Laoghaire will enjoy a southerly breeze today (Saturday), albeit with a spot of rain, and a clearer nor’westerly wind tomorrow which may fade as the day goes on, but we’ve no doubt the Dun Laoghaire machine will function efficiently to put through what promises to be a fascinating programme.

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Women are being encouraged to get involved in sailing and develop skills that will help them in all walks of life at a unique regatta where all of the boats must have female captains.

As Afloat previously reported here, hosted by Irish Sailing, the inaugural Pathfinder Women at the Helm Regatta takes place on 17th and 18th August at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin.

Sailing is almost unique amongst Irish sports in that from a very young age boys and girls compete in similar numbers against each other on the water. Like many sports, however, sailing suffers with significant reduction in female participation when women start to focus on career or family. Women at the Helm is designed to encourage women back to sailing, and by focussing on them helming (captaining) the boat, simultaneously encourage them into positions of leadership.

Event organiser, Gail MacAllister, of Irish Sailing, said: “Women and men have been sailing against each other for decades, but this is the first time a regatta will be held at a national level where there will be women only captains. While there is already equality in the sport, this regatta is about encouraging women to step into positions of leadership and give them the confidence to come back.

“Like the 20x20 campaign says, this is about seeing it and being it – if women see other women helming and leading, the path is trodden and easier to follow.”

Women at the Helm will feature two days of racing across a range of boat classes. Angela Heath, who 30 years ago was part of the first all-female team to sail around the world, will helm the boat ‘Crazy Horse’ in the regatta. The Dun Laoghaire sailor was the only Irish crew member on the ‘Maiden’ when it competed in the challenging Whitbread Round the World race in 1989-1990.

Speaking about the event, the pioneering sailor said: “I’m excited about the Women at the Helm regatta. I want to encourage as many girls and women into sailing – it’s such a fantastic sport and I’ve learned so much from sailing over the years”.

Women at the Helm is open to both male and female sailors, although women must make up at least 50% of all crews and every boast must be helmed by women. To date, more than 40 boats have been entered into the regatta, ranging from small one-woman dinghies (Lasers) to larger keelboats with crews of seven, and everything in between.

Organisers say that sailing and taking leadership roles, such as helming, within a crew has far reaching effects and benefits for all involved.

Gail MacAllister said: “Aside from the obvious health benefits sailing offers, participants in an event like this must learn to work not only as individuals with roles and responsibilities but also as part of a team. They have to analysis situations, work solutions, form opinions and ultimately, for the helm, make decisions. Most sailors will tell you that these communication and decision-making skills developed on the water translate into both their personal and work lives. In fact, some will claim that these attributes have has a very positive effect on their careers.”

The event is supported by Pathfinder, specialist change management consultants. Sara Davidson, Marketing Director of Pathfinder, said: “Pathfinder are proud to be advocates of diversity and high performing teams, and in partnering with Irish Sailing, we are helping to bring these beliefs from our work to the water”.

Irish Sailing are proud to support the 20x20 campaign, and this regatta is part of the movement to change the perception of girls and women in sport through increased visibility and participation. We hope that this event will go some way to highlight this.

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The first Irish Sailing Pathfinder Women at the Helm regatta takes place next week 17 & 18 August at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire writes Treasa Cox of Irish Sailing.

Women have been sailing against each other for decades, but this is the first time a regatta will be held at a national level. In addition, this is the first event to actively encourage women to step up to leadership roles by only allowing women helms.

40 boats entered and all welcome

There are 40 boats entered so far for the regatta - from Lasers to Beneteau 31.7s and everything in between. Men are welcome, but women must make up 50% of the crew, and all boats must be helmed by women. There is a non-racing option through the Cruising Association of Ireland (CAI) and the event is open to all sailors aged 16+ and on into the 60+ ‘Silver Sailors’. In addition, we have a goal of 50% female race officials and organisers.

Ireland’s first club perpetual prize

Among the prizes is the new Roy Family Trophy, given by Irish Sailing President Jack Roy. This Perpetual Trophy is the first Irish Sailing official interclub award and is open to all members of Irish Sailing Affiliated Clubs that enter a team of three or more boats of any mix of class. “I grew up in a family of sailors” says Jack Roy. “Both my parents were a big influence in my sailing life. My mother crewed for me in my early years in Mirrors helping me to win the Club Championships in Greystones Sailing Club where my father was one of the founding members. And both our daughters are keen sailors. Gender balance is important in all walks of life and sailing is no different. I am delighted to present this trophy as part of the first Irish Sailing Pathfinder Women at the Helm Regatta and I hope the event will prove to be successful in contributing to the growth in numbers of women entering our sport”.

Roy Family prizeThe new Roy Family prize

Friday night showing of “Maiden” film

On Friday evening, 16 August there will be a showing of the film “Maiden” – the story of Tracy Edward’s record-breaking Whitbread Round the World boat with the first all-women crew. Angela Heath, the only Irish crew member on the boat will be joining for a Q&A session afterwards.

Our Partners

We are delighted that Pathfinder, specialist change management consultants, have agreed to sponsor the regatta for three years. Sara Davidson, Marketing Director commented “Pathfinder are proud to be advocates of diversity and high performing teams, and in partnering with Irish Sailing, we are helping to bring these beliefs from our work to the water”.

To register for the Irish Sailing Pathfinder Women at the Helm here

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Dun Laoghaire's National Yacht Club will be hosting an open evening this Friday to showcase what they have on offer for sailors under the age of 30 writes Will Byrne.

With the clubs fleet now including three J80s, four Elliott 6 metres and six Fireflies, the club will be running a host of programs over the season. These are to range from the formation of an Under 25 keelboat team to a Match Racing and Team Racing series to social sailing outings and cruises.

This is an open event so please come down, bring your friends and join the NYC team at 7 pm in the clubhouse and learn more about how we can get you on the water!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Partners
We are delighted that Pathfinder, specialist change management consultants, have agreed to sponsor the regatta for three years. Pathfinder are proud to be advocates of diversity and high performing teams, and in partnering with Irish Sailing, we are helping to bring these beliefs from our work to the water.

Irish Sailing and the National Yacht Club are proud to support the Irish Federation of Sport #20x20 and Sport Ireland’s Women in Sport campaigns to increase the participation and visibility of women across all areas of sport.

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