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Displaying items by tag: Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta

#dlregatta – In a first for Dun Laoghaire Regatta the first C&C30 design in Europe will compete for the overall title at Ireland's biggest regatta this July.

After dominating their class and being crowned top overall boat at the 2013 Dun Laoghaire Regatta, Checkmate Sailing from the Royal Irish Yacht Club are returning to Dublin Bay to defend the title. Their all conquering Humphreys Half Tonner has been replaced with Checkmate XVI, a new C&C30 from the drawing board of Wicklow based designer Mark Mills.

Skipper Nigel Biggs says "Dun Laoghaire Regatta has always been one of our favourite regattas. We have competed here for many years and having been honoured with the top boat award last time, we were determined to come back and try to retain this prestigious award.

During our last project with Checkmate XV we were fortunate to work with Mark Mills who was instrumental in turning a near 30–year–old IOR racer into a competitive IRC boat. ‎Having sold Checkmate XV to our good friend Dave Cullen we were looking for a successor and Mark suggested the new C&C 30 that he had designed.

The boat ticked every box for us, sailed by a relatively small crew, extremely fast, trailable and with the prospect of competitive one-design racing. Checkmate XVI is the first of the class in Europe and although she has only recently arrived from the US we are already finding her extremely rewarding to sail. We are very much looking forward to bringing her to Dun Laoghaire Regatta and catching up with all our friends again 

Biggs says 'we have always been made to feel incredibly welcome at this event and feel it strikes the perfect balance between competitive racing and fun socialising. I am extremely privileged to have recently been elected as a member of the Royal Irish Yacht Club and am looking forward to racing under their burgee this year'.

The C&C 30 One Design and offshore-capability and fast sailing performance at an affordable price has picked up the 2015 American SAIL MAGAZINE Best Boat award. See vid below.

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Promoter C&C in the USA hopes to develop the boat into a high-performance, offshore-capable one-design class that's both easy to sail and affordable compared to other grand prix boats.

The C&C 30 is loaded with go-fast goodies including a centerline sprit pole, a double-spreader carbon-fiber rig, an open transom, an offset companionway, a flush deck, plumb bow, halyard locks (main and jib) and an expansive cockpit.

The C&C 30 is being built in Bristol, Rhode Island.

Published in Volvo Regatta

#cruiserracing – Can you successfully incorporate a full-blown National Championship into an established neighbourhood regatta? We're going to find out from June 24th to 27th, when the ICRA Nationals and the Sovereigns Cup in Kinsale are combined into one four day event, the result of the joint efforts of two sets of organisers and administrators. W M Nixon takes a look at how this situation has developed and discovers four of the top men in the marine and sailing scene have significantly different views as to how big regattas and the ICRA Nationals should be staged. 

The Irish Cruiser-Racer Association emerged from an attitude of complete realism about the contemporary sailing scene in 2002. Back then, the Irish economy was starting to develop a head of steam, and people were buying potent performance-cruisers which just begged to be raced offshore. Yet changing social attitudes meant that the traditional concept of an offshore racing crew being prepared to spend seven or eight long weekends away every summer campaigning the boat in classic offshore races simply wasn't acceptable in the new world of shared family responsibilities.

But the short-lived ideal of making classic offshore racing more family-friendly was also soon seen as unattainable except for those few extra special family crews – we can all think of one or two examples - whose very uniqueness in their shared enthusiasm for rugged offshore sailing day and night only serves to emphasise that what they like doing is simply not for the majority of sailing families.

For sure, we admire them without reservation. But we know that it won't float our family's boat. For although the totality of Irish "cruiser-racers" in 2002 included several out-and-out racing machines which were vigorously campaigned inshore and offshore, the reality is that most of the fleet were the sailing equivalent of those 4x4 SUVs which block up the parking in many a leafy and affluent suburb.

Usually, the most adventurous outing such vehicles will go on is the daily school run. There's no way their loving owners plan an aggressive demonstration of their pride-and-joys supposed off-road ability. But they do seem to find it reassuring to know that if for some reason they suddenly have to go across rough terrain, the vehicle can manage it even if the driver is scared stiff. And of course, in the unlikely event that a horse-box needs to be towed – well, no problem......

So, thirteen years ago as sailing's equivalent of the SUV began to take over marinas, two leading figures in sailing administration realised that, far from changing the new increasingly family-oriented way of doing things and forcing boats well capable of going offshore to do so even if their crews didn't particularly want to, what was needed instead was a new kind of event to suit the way that most people wanted to sail with their new performance cruisers.

The late Jim Donegan of Cork, Commodore of the South Coast Offshore Racing Association, was ocean racing aristocracy – his grandfather Harry owner-skippered the 18-ton cutter Gull to third place overall in the first Fastnet Race in 1925, and consequently became one of the founder members of the Ocean Racing Club which six years later in 1931 became the RORC, while Jim himself was to go on to win many an offshore contest.

Fintan Cairns of Dun Laoghaire has given generously of his energy and time over the years to sailing both as an active participant, a race officer, and an administrator – he was Commodore of Dublin Bay Sailing Club at a period of its healthiest expansion. Like Jim Donegan, in 2002 he was hugely enthusiastic about racing boats with lids, and he loved the offshore game. Yet in the Autumn of 2002, the two of them convened a national assembly in Kilkenny in order to form an organization whose primary aim would be to create the kind of event that would be attractive to the new generation of cruiser-racer owners, people whose boats could go offshore, but preferred the nice regatta atmosphere and home-to-port-at-the-end-of-the-day format.

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A nice regatta atmosphere, and back to port at the end of the day.....the racing in the ICRA Nationals 2014 at the Royal Irish YC in Dun Laoghaire neatly captures the purpose of the organisation as envisaged by the founders in 2002. Photo: David O'Brien

Thirty-one years earlier in 1971, the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association had been formed by enthusiasts like Hal Sisk of Dun Laoghaire and Dickie Richardson of Holyhead on the assumption that their new organisation should be related to an area of good and extensive racing water, and for a while it worked very well. At its peak, ISORA was attracting a total entry of 107 different boats from all arts and parts into their annual season-long championship in which – if you were intending to be a serious contender – you had to think of racing at least seven events.

That meant seven weekends which, in some cases, inevitably meant leaving your home port on the Thursday and maybe not getting back until Monday morning or even later. Fine and dandy in its day, but its day didn't last too long. Maybe fifteen years in all. By then, new attitudes to family life and a tendency to concentrate one's sailing on a few big events combined with other less time-consuming smaller local events, meant that the ISORA model was no longer valid.

Yet boat numbers in ports kept increasing, so the Irish Cruiser Racing Association came into being at that November meeting in Kilkenny in 2002 to provide Irish-based regattas which, in some cases, would involve trailing the smaller boats to distant venues still on the island of Ireland, instead of sailing them many miles to others ports across the channel.

For old salts, the idea of an offshore racing association based on a land mass, and the notion of road-trailing offshore racers across that land mass to a regatta, seemed absurd. But this was only the beginning of it. For unless there was an unexpected demand for it, the new ICRA programme had no plans to include any overnight sailing except where it involved the training up an Irish Commodore's Cup team, as this was soon within ICRA's ambit.

Basically, what it meant was that ICRA's purpose was to organize an annual national championship regatta of four days at one of Ireland's main sailing centres, chosen on a rotational basis, they would also honour a "Boat of the Year", and every second year they would assemble a Commodore's Cup team.

Far from owners being faced, as they were in the old days, with the challenging demands of preparing a boat for offshore racing and then assembling an experienced crew from a panel in which the ideal number would be twice the number required to crew the boat, instead they were now offered an agreeable pattern of day sailing at some pleasant venue, and much socialising with it, while the results were efficiently calculated by ICRA's travelling road show of race administrators and number crunchers.

Yet for anyone who thought this wasn't really quite rugged enough, there was ruggedness-by-association with the Commodore's Cup campaigns. And all this went particularly well as the Irish economy went stratospheric from 2002 until 2008, so much so that at one stage Ireland actually fielded three different Commodore's Cup teams which even had the luxury of competing against each other. There's posh for you......

But it was too good to last, and ironically the economy had already fallen off a cliff in 2010 when a very serious single team Irish Commodore's Cup campaign, carefully led by Anthony O'Leary, finally won the Commodore's Cup. Also during 2010, the ICRA Nationals in late May were hosted by the Royal St George YC in Dublin Bay, which provided immediate access to the largest fleet of cruiser-racers in Ireland. Thus numbers were easily kept up to a respectable level and in all – the brutal recession notwithstanding – it was a great year for ICRA, with the 2010 Commodore Barry Rose, who had also been the Commodore's Cup Team Manager, deservedly accepting the Mitsubishi Motors "Irish Sailing Club of the Year" award after this great season.

But inevitably, things were more subdued for the next three years as the longterm ill-effects of the recession took hold. So though ICRA Nats were held in Crosshaven in 2011, Howth in 2012, and Fenit on Tralee Bay in 2013, resources were so scarce that the decision was taken not to attempt a defence of the Commodore's Cup in 2012.

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The images which came back from the ICRA Nationals 2013 in Tralee Bay suggested good sailing, but for two days the stormy weather caused a complete shut-down. Photo: Bob Bateman

When one cornerstone is removed, others are examined in more detail. The 2013 ICRA Nationals in Tralee Bay had the misfortune to coincide with a period of very unsettled weather which emphasised the fact that many of the top boats had travelled a long way by both sea and land to this gallant outpost of the Irish offshore racing scene to link up with their WIORA counterparts. But although some spectacularly sunny photos of racing in strong winds and bright sunshine emerged, the reality is that they barely had two days of viable competition as the rest of the programme was blown out in utterly miserable storm conditions.

Coming as it did at a time when the economy was barely faltering back into life, this unlucky outcome led to it being open season for suggestions as to the way ahead. There were those who wondered if people's seemingly ever-decreasing sailing time might be better used if the ICRA Nationals were combined into some established events, pointing out that a natural annual rhythm was already there with the biennial Volvo Cork Week rotating with the biennial Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta to provide easy access for large local fleets.

When set against the all-Ireland idealism of the founders, this was anathema to many, as the stand-alone national event, with the effort made to go anywhere in Ireland where you could find substantial local cruiser-racer fleets, was seen by some as central to the ICRA ethos.

However, things were put on hold during 2014 with a well-supported if locally-emphasised ICRA Nationals hosted by the Royal Irish YC in Dublin Bay in June, and then in July there was a mighty victory in the Commodore's Cup 2014 in a wonderful effort built around quiet background work by team captain Anthony O'Leary.

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ICRA Nats 2014 in Dublin Bay saw a popular win in Class 0 for the Phelan family's Ker 36 Jump Juice from Crosshaven. Photo: David O'Brien

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Jonathan Skerritt's vintage Quarter Tonner Quest of the host club was overall winner of the ICRA Nats 2014 at the RIYC. Photo: David O'Brien

But meanwhile, faced with the reality of the recession in sailing, ICRA's senior number cruncher Denis Kiely had quietly been putting out feelers about the possibility of combining the 2015 ICRA Nationals with Kinsale YC's biennial Sovereigns Cup regatta, which has been trundling along since 1995. By the time the great 2014 season was fully under way, it was no secret that this arrangement for 2015 was already in place, thereby guaranteeing – it was hoped – a substantial increase in numbers in 2015 and better overall value for the sailing community, while at the same time taking the ICRA Nationals to another new venue.

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The perfect sailing in the 2013 Sovereign's Cup at Kinsale inspired ICRA officers to seek the link-up for the ICRA Nationals 2015 with the Sovereigns Cup 2015. Photo: Bob Bateman

At first glance, it seemed eminently sensible. But not everyone agreed. It was towards the end of an engaging interview with Commodore's Cup winner Anthony O'Leary at the end of July last summer in his beloved Royal Cork YC, just four days after he and his team had received the trophy on behalf of Ireland on the Royal Yacht Squadron lawns in Cowes, that I witnessed the first significant shot going across the bows of the good ship ICRA/Sovereigns of Kinsale.

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Team Captain Anthony O'Leary's veteran Ker 39 Antix hanging in there to stay ahead of a newer Ker 40 to lead Ireland to victory in the 2014 Commodore's Cup. Photo: Rick Tomlinson

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Someone whose considered opinion has to be taken seriously – Anthony O'Leary in thoughtful mood as he speaks at a reception to welcome the Commodore's Cup back to the Royal Cork YC. Photo: Bob Bateman

Anthony O'Leary was quite clear in his mind as to how the Irish cruiser-racing scene should go forward. And just as you should never get into a row with people who buy ink by the barrel, equally you wouldn't dream of openly disagreeing with someone who has just pulled Irish sailing out of the doldrums, so I just sat still and let this broadside roll over me.

"I think it's a mistake to incorporate the ICRA Nationals in the Sovereigns Cup in Kinsale....." he said bluntly. "The Sovereigns is one of my favourite regattas, but it's a friendly intimate business. While the town may have the infrastructure ashore, the marina is always crowded and I don't see how the kind of fleet they hope to attract will be comfortably accommodated there".

"Then too" he continued, "we already have two major alternating four day regattas in Dun Laoghaire and Cork Harbour. It's time to accept that sailing people are seeking to focus on fewer major events, and to give a more compact annual programme their best shot. So let's see how it would work if the ICRA Nationals simply rotated between Volvo Cork Week and the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta".

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Clean close racing at Volvo Cork Week 2014. There's a line of thought that reckons this regatta could comfortably incorporate the ICRA Nationals. Photo: Bob Bateman

You can see how, in the circumstances, this idea seemed vibrant and immediately attractive. But more recently in an interview with another equally renowned sailor, Tim Goodbody who is Chairman of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Committee 2015 there was something said which gave further pause for thought.

Tim Goodbody was totally clear in his own mind about the thinking behind the successful VDLR concept and its ability to provide viable racing for 31 different classes, and as he has helmed to victory both inshore and offshore to the highest levels, while also proving himself a master at designing courses for Dublin Bay, his views carry every bit as much weight as those of Anthony O'Leary.

"You have to remember it's a regatta, not a championship" said Goodbody. "Enjoyment of sport comes first, and the purity of fierce competition second. But of course we're going to provide the best possible starts. And the intention is to have those starts leading into the best possible courses in the conditions prevailing"

"Yet the way we see it, people should be racing just as soon as possible after leaving the harbour. There's nothing which impairs simple sailing enjoyment so much as having to wait around in a perfectly good but maybe fickle sailing breeze, hanging about in frustration while an overly-pernickety Race Officer dithers over setting the absolutely perfect start line".

In the context of the fun-filled suburban sailfest which is the VDLR, that's a perfectly reasonable approach. But is it a proper approach for something which aspires to call itself a National Championship? I rather doubt it, and there's no way the VDLR claims to be a national championship even if the numerous GP 14 Class are calling their enthusiastic participation in the VDLR 2015 the class's "Leinster Championship".

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Everyone getting in everyone else's way, but that's part of the fun. The laid-back approach of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta as seen at 2013's event. Photo VDLR

For, in terms of boat size, the GP 14s will be among the smaller craft taking part in the VDLR, and they can find their own space. However, if you were campaigning a large cruiser-racer in one of the ten IRC classes which have to share the waters of Dublin Bay with 21 other boat classes during VDLR, would you expect to have your part of the event designated as the ICRA Nationals? On the contrary, if you were seriously concerned about the overall good of Irish sailing, you'd probably rightly think this was a spurious claim for what is essentially a fun event.

We were still mulling over the deeper meaning of Tim Goodbody's words in relation to Anthony O'Leary's opinions when this week another big beast in the sailing sphere, Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney no less, also launched into the choppy waters to be met with by those who would hope to rationalise the sailing programme into fewer but bigger international-standard events.

As he was speaking aboard the Naval Service's LE Eithne in Dublin's River Liffey at a reception to boost this summer's joint ICRA Nationals/Sovereigns event in Kinsale, it will be no surprise to learn that he was strongly in favour of it, so perhaps he reckons – unlike Anthony O'Leary - that Kinsale can cope with a substantial influx of visiting boats.

"Two events like this combined at the same time in one venue give extra strength" he said. "I want to see sailing in Ireland become much more ambitious in combining resources to create events which will have true international standing. This is a sport we should be really good at, both in participation and in staging events of world stature. Combining medium-sized events and regattas into one much bigger event like this one in Kinsale is going to be for the long-term good of Irish sailing in particular, and Ireland in general. The planned event is now expected to generate at least €800,000 extra income for the Kinsale area during the regatta period, while there's continuing beneficial spinoff for this harbour town which has added significance as the southern terminal and start point for the Wild Atlantic Way".

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Norbert Reilly, Commodore of ICRA, with Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney at this week's reception aboard LE Eithne in Dublin to promote the combined ICRA Nats and Sovereigns Cup 2015 at Kinsale from 24th to 27th June. Photo: David Branigan

Doubtless we'll be getting spinoff of a different kind about these Ministerial views from the many people around the coast who work long and hard to keep alive those quirky little local regattas and special neighbourhood sailing and boating events which will never be major happenings of international stature, but are an essential part of the fabric of our many and varied maritime communities, and are deeply attractive for discerning visitor who shun crowds and seek out quiet enjoyment.

But as it is, aboard the Eithne we had yet another viewpoint to put into the cauldron of developing opinion, as the concluding speech was made by Nobby Reilly, current Commodore of ICRA. In a conversation with him before he made his speech, Nobby emphasised that the ICRA Nationals 2016 will be a stand-alone event once more, and he can be fairly certain about that, as the venue will be his own home port of Howth.

In the light of this, it should be remembered that in his blunt no-nonsense way, Nobby has done great work in encouraging newcomers into sailing. Earlier this week, I happened to be with some keen sailing folk from Wicklow including David Ryan – Farmer Ryan - whose remarkable Monster Project campaign of racing a Volvo 70 in Wicklow's Round Ireland Race 2014 had drawn on the efforts of Nobby Reilly and ICRA with their Let's Try Sailing campaign last May. This resulted in four wannabe sailors from remote parts of Ireland getting their first taste of the heavy metal with the Monster, and we'll see a film of it on RTE and other channels in due course, after the heroic task of cutting 147 hours of tape down to one hour has been completed.

But in the meantime, Nobby concluded the shipboard reception for this year's ICRA Nationals-with-the-Sovereigns-in-Kinsale with a spot of unexpected banter. "Maybe" says he, "maybe we should stop being concerned about trying to convince people that sailing is inexpensive. For we all know that, as it's a vehicle sport, there's bound to be basic expenditure over and above what you'd get with straightforward athletics and team sports. So maybe we should encourage people to get their kids to take up sailing on the grounds that if they come to like it, then there's no way they'll have the money to do drugs....."

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ICRA Commodore Nobby Reilly's positive response to the perceived costliness of sailing

Read also: 

Should Irish Cruiser Racing (ICRA) Championships Stand Alone? (July 2013)

The Commodores' Cup – How Ireland Won It & Where It Might Go From Here (August 2014)

Published in W M Nixon

#vdlr – The "suburban sailfest" which is the biennial Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta this year (Thursday July 9th – Sunday 12th July) is marking its tenth anniversary with the sixth edition. It's a classic Irish mix of sailing sport at all levels aboard a wide variety of boats from many and often very distant places, combining to sail with the large home fleet in Dublin Bay in thirty different classes. And on each of the four days, colourful action afloat is followed ashore by a hectic pace of post-sailing celebrations in four waterfront clubs.

Three of these are venerable institutions with their origins in the midst of the 19th Century, and their homes in historic harbourside buildings each of which is, in its own way, an architectural masterpiece. And even the "newest" of the four waterfront clubs, the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club, is this year celebrating its Golden Jubilee.

The VDLR 2015 has much to live up to, but in the spirit of this youthful event in a mature setting, the people running it bring the necessary level of enthusiasm and expertise allied to unrivalled experience to maximize the enjoyment of a unique experience. W M Nixon casts an eye over something special.

"You have to remember that it's a regatta, not a championship. Enjoyment of sport comes first, and the purity of fierce competition second. But of course we're going to provide the best possible starts. And the intention is to have those starts leading into the best possible courses in the conditions prevailing."

"Yet the way we see it, people should be racing just as soon as possible after leaving the harbour. There's nothing which impairs simple sailing enjoyment so much as having to wait around in a perfectly good but maybe slightly fickle sailing breeze, hanging about in frustration while an overly-pernickety Race Officer dithers over setting the absolutely perfect start line".

If these were the words of some club's entertainment officer concerned with creating a good mood at some event no matter what happens in the racing, we'd treat them with some caution. But the speaker is not only a former and very actively sailing Commodore of two of Dun Laoghaire's most august yacht clubs, he's a helmsman/owner who has won championships to the top level in boats like the International Dragon and the International J/24.

He was also, in 1987, the lead helmsman on a 40-footer racing in the Irish Admiral's Cup team with such competence that he out-performed the legendary Lawrie Smith on a sister-ship during a tacking duel in the AC inshore events in the Solent, and then went on to be a lead helm when that boat won the Fastnet Race overall to conclude the series. More recently, he continues at the top level as one of the most successful owner-skippers in his Sigma 33 Offshore OD.

Welcome to the world of Tim Goodbody, sailing enthusiast extraordinaire, and the Chairman of the Organising Committee for Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2015. With all due respects to the three previous incumbents of this demanding post, he is the one with the most comprehensive record of personal sailing achievement in racing. So when he talks of "getting people out and racing just as soon as possible after leaving the harbour", we can be quite sure that the standards of start-line and course setting will be world class, as his stellar and continuing sailing career is allied to a formidable CV of involvement in sailing administration afloat and ashore.

Thus he was instrumental in devising the courses now used by Dublin Bay SC, and when Commodore of the Royal Alfred YC more than thirty years ago he led the way in developing the Superleague which set the standard as a season-long racing series at the time. Then as Commodore of the Royal Irish YC, he deftly combined the necessary roles of curator, committee man, accomplished owner-skipper and a public face of Dun Laoghaire sailing generally and one of Ireland's oldest and most distinguished clubs in particular.

With entries from 55 different clubs from all round the Irish Sea and further afield already in as the boats listed went through the 200 mark yesterday, a surge is expected ahead of the closing of the special early entry discount next Tuesday March 31st, and the VDLR 2015 administrative machine is fully in action to maximise an event which sees the old granite pond which is Dun Laoghaire Harbour embrace 21st century sailing.

It's pretty good going when you think that in two years time this totally artificial harbor will be shaping up to begin celebrating its Bicentenary, which can go on for as long as you wish, as the harbour was started in 1817, but it hadn't been sufficiently completed to stage a regatta until 1828.

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The first regatta at Dun Laoghaire in 1828

Back then, some early yachtsmen staged match races between their often enormous yachts which tended to be based on the designs of the Revenue Cutters which were the fastest sailing vessels of their day. The prizes were appropriately enormous money purses of which a large proportion went to the sailors, so the professional crews raced with real aggression, and all sorts of devilish sabotage on the opposition was par for the course.

However, yacht racing was still in its infancy and while some owners were keen to do it, others – such as the Marquess of Anglesey who was one of the inspirers of this first event – were happier just to sail around displaying their extraordinary vessels to crowds which had never seen anything quite like it before.

The holding of more regular regattas in what was then Kingstown became part of the annual social season. Though the Royal Irish YC was the first club into being in 1831, it soon languished and it was the establishment of what eventually became the Royal St George in 1838 which made such annual regattas a key part of the annual high society season.

In other words, the events and personal displays ashore and along the waterfront were seen if anything as more important than the racing afloat. Then as now, the true sailing enthusiasts found this an annoying state of affairs, so they took to devising ways of making the sailing more important, rather than just a background to the various dramas and entertainments taking place ashore.

Doubtless the idea had been tried earlier, but in 1860 there was certainly an attempt at an early regatta week. By this time the Royal St George clubhouse had greatly expanded, and the Royal Irish was re-invigorated in its relatively-new1851-built clubhouse. Several days of racing were held with the local large-yacht flotilla enhanced by craft from the south coast. And then, as many of the vessels were headed back to Cork Harbour afterwards, the Admiral of the Royal Cork, Thomas G French, suggested an offshore race between Dublin Bay and Cork Harbour which duly took place, one of the world's very first genuine passage races.

In all, 15 yachts took part, but not all did so with the same urgency. Seven went away promptly as though it was really a race, but the remaining eight crossed the start line at different times within the next hour.

Ironically, the finish times two days later came down to a matter of minutes. The 90-ton schooner Kingfisher was first into Cork Harbour but a beat to the Royal Cork YC finish line at Cobh against the ebb was not at all to her liking, and the 80-ton cutter Peri took the lead. But then in tricky conditions in the harbour the even smaller 39-ton cutter Sybil managed to take the lead under the command of amateur skipper Henry O'Bryen, and hung onto to it to scrape across three minutes ahead of Peri with Kingfisher two minutes later.

Thus all the excitement and interest focused on the in-harbour stages. Back in Dublin Bay, this was proving the case with the new harbour, with one of the stars of Kingstown sailing drama at this period being Belfast linen magnate John Mulholland's legendary 1865-built schooner Egeria, which made a speciality of sweeping up to the finish lines right in close off the clubs with all sails set.

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The successful 1865-built schooner Egeria, owned by John Mulholland from Belfast, was renowned for racing right up to the waterfront in Dun Laoghaire with all sail set

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Classic Dun Laoghaire regatta scene by Richard Bridges Beechey. Courtesy RStGYC

The marine artist Richard Breeches Beechey made a speciality of recording these Dublin Bay dramas, and the enthusiastic owners were there to act their roles, no more so than John Jameson of the eponymous whiskey firm, whose successful cutter Irex was a star contender at major regattas all round the coasts of Britain and Ireland. When Irex was back in Dublin Bay, the crowds gathered, for in those days of much more limited entertainment, big boat racing was a must-see spectacle.

Yet at the same time there was something of a revolution going on in sailing, with the racing sport being codified in a movement largely led by the Royal Alfred YC, while small boat racing came centre stage when the Dublin Bay SC was established in 1884, with the one design concept making its appearance with the 13ft Water Wags in 1887.

This was all well and good for the underlying health of sailing. But for traditional yacht clubs with impressive premises which were ultimately there for the great and good to get involved with high end yachting at the height of the summer season, it was a mixed blessing, as each club's annual regatta tried to be all things to all sailing men and the few sailing women, while at the same time keeping the pavilion members happy.

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In an age of less sophisticated entertainment, robust waterfront sports were an integral part of the Edwardian era regatta at the Royal St George YC. Photo courtesy Theo Harris

With yacht sizes decreasing, the spectacle and style which under-pinned a classic regatta were increasingly lacking, and while each club's stand-alone annual regatta continued as the centrepiece of its summer programme until well into the late 20th century, the increasing length and variety of the sailing season, and the easy accessibility of other sailing events for specific classes, meant that the traditional Dun Laoghaire regatta was becoming a threatened species.

So in the late 1940s when the newly-formed Irish Dinghy Racing Association was finding success with its annual Dinghy Week at popular sailing venues all round the coast, inevitably there began to be talk of a Regatta Week among the clubs in Dun Laoghaire, with the inevitable comparison to the success of Cowes Week being used to encourage the idea.

You will still hear the comparison to Cowes made from time to time, so let's get something off our chest. There is simply nowhere quite like Cowes. It's on an island, at the epicentre of a very interesting stretch of sailing water. And relatively few people live there. So when the annual Cowes Week is staged, almost every participant is a visitor. To a great extent, this is what makes it special.

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The VDLR is ideal for a spot of family racing in all classes including the venerable Water Wags, but this serene mother and daughter crew combination aboard the family Wag is just ever so slightly different. Both are Olympic sailors. That's Cathy McAleavey (470 in 1988) on the spinnaker trim, and her daughter Annalise Murphy (Laser radial in 2012) is on the helm. Photo: VDLR

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The Howth 17s – established 1898 – make the biennial pilgrimage across Dublin Bay to race in VDLR. Photo: VDLR

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The Shipman 28s may be seen as handy little cruisers at other sailing entres, but in Dun Laoghaire they race as a one design class. Photo VDLR

But at many other sailing places in general, and in Dun Laoghaire in particular, you're right at the heart of a large and affluent resident population. The underlying atmosphere is inherently different, and any successful Dublin Bay event with a regatta flavour has to bear this quietly in mind if it's going to be a success.

Be that as it may, by the mid-1950s a Dun Laoghaire Regatta Week had been rather tentatively introduced, but the Irish economy was so depressed throughout that dismal decade that it was never a runaway success, and without any specifically Irish sailing media to record it, we know virtually nothing of what happened, and in any case it didn't last.

Yet boat numbers were increasing, so for a while the traditional annual Club Regatta had something of a heyday with the perfect balance between fleets afloat and the lack of too many distractions by other sports and interests ashore. For a brave new era, the annual regatta with the clubhouses bedecked in bunting was quite the thing.

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You don't absolutely have to go to Lancashire if you want to recruit a tattooed crew, but it helps. This is Scenario Encore from Blackpool & Fleetwood YC at VDLR 2013. Photo: VDLR

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Ever get the feeling that everybody wants to be in the same place at once.......? Photo: VDLR

However, sailing was developing, and there came a new emphasis in the 1970s on offshore racing This in turn led to events like ISORA Week which could be tailored to match the established regatta programme. But then life patterns changed again, offshore racing was seen as almost anti-social, and club officers cast around for a re-shaping of the programme which would provide a compact event which had contemporary appeal for busy people who had many other interests to attend to and obligations to fulfill.

It was three or four years after the turn of the Millennium that the four Dun Laoghaire clubs tasked a working party of their junior flag officers with devising a regatta format which would suit the needs of the 21st Century. Somewhere out there, there has to be an individual original thinker who first proposed the key concept of a four day event evenly spread across all the clubs. We salute him or her, whomsoever they may be. But it went through so many modifications and mutations that the Dun Laoghaire Regatta, as it was first launched some time in late 2004 with the first one scheduled for 2005, had become a completely novel fixture, something carefully tailored to Dun Laoghaire as it has become today, taking into account the way of life of the people who sail from this great and unique port, and the expectations of the people who come to sail with them at their biennial suburban sailfest.

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Perfect racing for the SB20s at VDLR 2013. Photo: VDLR

Even in its earliest forms it was such a novel concept that it clearly required someone very special to head up its nascent organising committee, but that was soon put on the right track with Brian Craig of the Royal St George YC put in charge as Chairman. Craig – the quintessential can-do backroom boy who so doggedly remains a behind-the-scenes figure – realised that careful diplomacy was needed if his new committee was going to avoid treading on established toes in the four existing club administration structures.

So he advertised for an administrative secretary with significant experience in office organisation and sailing, yet without any direct personal links to any of the Dun Laoghaire clubs. You'd have though this an almost impossible order with its very specific and unusual job-spec requirements, but they filled the bill precisely with Ciara Dowling. She'd grown up in the Irish countryside with no connection to boats or sailing, yet on any visit to Dun Laoghaire she'd felt drawn to the sport. However, it was while working in London as an office manager in her mid-twenties that she got involved afloat through a corporate outing for a rough day's sailing in the Solent, and was soon hooked while everyone else was sea-sick.

Working in sailing of any kind became her ambition, but it didn't always work out smoothly, yet she managed to put in a formidable amount of sea time and during a period back in Ireland she got signed up for one of the Irish crews (skippered by Tom McWilliam) in the Teachers Round Britain Challenge. By this stage she was finding sailing berths in Dublin Bay while moving between Ireland and London wherever there was boat-related work to be found, but at the time the notice for the Dun Laoghaire Regatta secretary was posted she was living in Howth and had become a member of Howth YC, but was not a member of any Dun Laoghaire club. That seemingly impossible job-spec outline had been hit on target.

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Ciara Dowling with her gentlemen friends. The VDLR Secretary with the Chairmen who are (left to right) Tim Goodbody (2015), Adam Winkelmann (2011-2013), Phil Smith (2009), and Brian Craig (2005-2007).

Running what is now the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta is not a full-time job, but as it rolls on through its biennial reincarnations, Ciara Dowling's unrivalled experience of the VDLR in particular and event management in general gives Dun Laoghaire sailing a very smooth management team for an event which can be constantly modified to suit changing tastes, while also competently dealing with a rush of last-minute entries if a good weather forecast comes along, as happened in 2013.

With the discount deadline looming next Tuesday, we'll leave fuller consideration of the fleet for a future date, but be sure that there are plenty of hot boats already in, boats of the calibre of Conor Phelan's Ker 36 Jump Juice from Cork which was pace-setting in Dublin Bay at the ICRA Nationals last year, and also already in the listings in what promises to be a very hot J/109 championship is Liam Shanahan's Ruth from the National, ISORA hotshot and oh-so-nearly winner of last year's Round Ireland.

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The VDLR is one of the biggest annual gatherings for the historic IDRA 14 class. Photo: VDLR

And though the mood of the regatta is such that the organisers are very wary of declaring an overall winner, the feeling on the waterfront was that 2013's had been Nigel Biggs' classic Humphreys Half Tonner Checkmate, which has of course recently been sold to Dave Cullen of Howth and is a certain contender this summer.

It takes a while to get your head round the notion of 30 classes (or maybe now it's 31 with the RS Elites throwing their hats into the ring yesterday), and they'll be racing in six different areas under the direction of Race Officers of the quality of Jack Roy and Harry Gallagher.

In all, there are 150 volunteers involved, with a veritable fleet of support RIBs, so every day what mounts to a small navy is going to set out to go to sea to provide what is hoped will be some very special sport.

Tim Goodbody has only been in the chairman's job since the end of last summer, which he feels gives little enough time - he would recommend that any successor gets his feet under the table immediately after the St Patrick's Day holiday in the previous year. In other words, he reckons an absolute minimum of 15 months is required to maximize the success of this unique event.

But as he gets to grips with it, he is effusive in his praise for the support of the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company, while the continued backing of Volvo through their people at Spirit Motors has kept the show on the road. The regatta's founding in 2005 saw it come into being just as the economy was starting to overheat, yet Volvo came aboard in 2007 and has stayed on as a great pillar of support.

But in the end, the success of it all will come down to you - the competitors. Let us hope that what we've outlined as the long and varied story of regattas in Dun Laoghaire will add to the richness of your experience, and the deeper meaning of an event of this type being held in Dublin Bay. It's no exaggeration to assert that racing in VDLR 2015, no matter what boat you may be sailing, is sailing the dream while being an active part of living history with a future dimension.

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It has been described as "Leopardstown-on-Sea", but it's much better than that......Photo: VDLR

The 2015 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Programme (with a full entry list) will be published in late June as a supplement to Summer Afloat magazine

Published in W M Nixon

#dlregatta –The race is on to muster a viable handicap dinghy class after Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta dropped its Portsmouth Yardstick (PY) dinghy class start from July's biennial event on Dublin Bay.

The organisers say they are limited by resources and personnel but hold out hope that the class could be reinstated if they 'receive written entries from eight compatible dinghies (on block) to the regatta secretary'.

Mixed dinghy sailors argue the decision to drop the class for the 2015 is 'a most disappointing outcome'. 

Ireland's biggest regatta is expected to have over 500 entries this year.

Organisers say that 'due to a request from the Laser Standard Rigs to have their own start, the low number of other PY entries during previous regattas, and the large number of other classes to be catered for, it has been decided not to give a PY start in 2015.

'It does seem an odd decision, particularly in a context where sailing is trying to be more inclusive and trying to get people into the sport. Mixed Dinghies is a great way of doing this' PY sailor Hugh Sheehy told Afloat.ie.

Among others, the 'Sailing In Dublin Club' has backed up Sheehy's plea for reinstatement:  'As our members are regular entrants to the Dun Laoghaire Regatta, we would like the PY start to be reinstated. Why not be as inclusive as possible to encourage dinghy sailing in Dun Laoghaire?'

 

 

Published in Volvo Regatta

#sb20 – The Irish SB20 class has announced its 2015 programme that includes an expanded Dublin Bay racing programme with a 'user friendly' combination of ten Sunday races and four Saturday races all over preferred windward–leeward courses on the capital's waters.

Dun Laoghaire will host one SB20 regional event hosted by the Royal St George YC. The SB20 Nationals will sail from the nearby Royal Irish YC.

Download the full SB20 Irish fixtures programme for 2015 below.

Topping this off is the biennial Volvo Dun Laoghaire race week which means a whole summer's racing without ever leaving Dun Laoghaire.

National Yacht Club sailor James Gorman is the new Dun Laoghaire class captain who has overseen the new programme.

Howth YC is hosting the popular Spring Warmer sails and class president Justin Burke says this season starter 'dovetails nicely into the SB20 Easterns the following week'.

Royal Cork YC will host the SB20 Southerns and this will be the final warm up before the SB20 Worlds in Lake Garda where a large fleet is expected.

A new venue for the SB20 class will be in Northern Ireland at Whiterock on Strangford Lough Yacht Club in September.

The final event of 2015 will again be on the midland lakes in October.

Published in SB20

#vdlr – Up to 15 entries have already been received for what is expected to be Ireland's biggest sailing event in 2015. Among the early entries for Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta (VDLR) is a number of Scottish, English and Northern Ireland boats that responded almost immediately to the online publication of the July regatta's Notice of Race.

Among the first was Clyde Cruising Club's Wildebeest V skippered by Craig Latimer. Fairlie Yacht Club's  MAT 1010 Now or Never 3 sailed by Neill Sandford is also in for VDLR 2015.

Class bands have yet to be set for cruiser classes but already expressions of interest received at Dun Laoghaire Race HQ indicate a strong take up from overseas entries for the 2015 biennial, organised by all four Dun Laoghaire waterfront yacht clubs.

Other boats that have expressed interest or already entered are Stuart Cranston's Sigma 35
from Down Cruising Club. The GBR registered Beneteau First 36.7, Animal skippered by Kevin Aiken is coming and so is the Élan 333, Movistar Bleu from Killyleagh under Raymond Killops. Guy Cowper's Stratisfear, a Corby 36, from Royal Dee is also heading west for Dun Laoghaire. 

At this early stage, as Afloat.ie reported earlier, the following events have also been confirmed as part of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta line–up.

• Royal Dee Irish Sea Offshore Challenge

• J109 Irish National
Championship

• RS Elite Irish National
Championship

• Beneteau First 21 Irish
Championship

• Wayfarer Irish National
Championship

• GP 14 Leinster Championship

• J24 Leinster Championship

Published in Volvo Regatta

Irishsailing – After the remarkable across-the-board success of the 2014 Irish sailing season, 2015 will have to be very special indeed to be remembered with such enthusiasm. But it's a special year in any case, as two major sailing Bicentenaries – one in the Irish Sea, the other in the Solent – will have added and poignant meaning, as the Centenaries a hundred years ago could not be celebrated because of the First World War.

As for Irish sailing generally, life moves on, there are new sailors on the water, successful young sailors are graduating to the next stage of their rapidly developing careers, and established stars continue to plan fresh campaigns, for sailing is indeed a sport for life.

Then too, new fixtures successfully introduced in 2014 will require nurturing, tuning and encouragement if they are to fulfil their potential in the coming year, while at the same time there's always extra effort needed to give proper support to established fixtures, which have to live with the reality that they might wilt through being taken for granted. Both new and longer-established boat classes will need continued enthusiastic involvement, and our well-loved classics and traditional craft must be cherished and sailed, for lack of use is the real enemy of boats, whether old or new.

As for the major administrative initiatives introduced in 2014, they will need constant monitoring, but deserve full support from the sailing and boating community at large, for it was in response to a grass-roots initiative that the radical and very necessary reforms of the Irish Sailing Association were undertaken. Those appointed to undertake the root-and-branch reform of the national authority have done so with commendable dispatch, so it is now the duty of the rest of us to support their continuing efforts. And we can best do that by enjoying our boats and our sailing and time afloat in its myriad of interests, while encouraging others to do the same. W M Nixon outlines on what the coming year may bring.

One thing at least is certain for the coming season afloat during 2015 in most of Europe. It will not mark any significant sailing Centenaries. Instead, we are immersed in four years of remembering the Great War of 1914-1918 a hundred years on, with all the added twists of that period's longer historical narrative in Ireland. In such a context, it may seem frivolous to point out that sports like yachting have no great Centenaries to mark at all in 2015. But this minor off-screen fact is a reminder of the all-involving horror and obscenity of total warfare on an industrial scale. It obliterated anything like normal life.

Yet as recreational sailing had been going on in some sort of organised form for hundreds of years – albeit in a fairly rudimentary way in its earliest years in the 16th Century – there may well have been several important dates to be marked during the time of the Great War itself, but they were allowed to pass as there was no sport afloat, while civilian life ashore was very subdued.

And in Ireland, with the Troubles persisting for four years after the end of the Great War until 1922, the Bicentenary of the Royal Cork Yacht Club in 1920 was to be a muted affair – the official History of the Royal Cork Yacht Club (published 2005) tells us: "Plans for a special dinner to celebrate the club's bicentenary in 1920 had to be cancelled, probably because of the disturbed conditions in the country"

So the idea of celebrating the Centenary of the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes in 1915 at the height of the international war - other than in a rather solemn shorebound way - would have been unthinkable. But that in turn fuels the celebrations when the peacefulgood times roll again. Thus the Royal Cork Yacht Club, having been unable to celebrate its Bicentenary in 1920, went on to have a fabulous two-year Quarter Millennium celebration in 1969-70. And as the RYS couldn't have a proper party in 1915, there's no doubt that the up-coming Bicentenary in 2015 will be the nucleus of international sailing's megafest-of-the-year.

There are of course several clubs which pre-dated the Squadron when it was founded in 1815. And there are many whose members outshine the small membership of the RYS in the breadth and energy of their sailing. But for 2015, let's just acknowledge that the prestigious Squadron has been at the heart of sailing history for a very long time, while their clubhouse's location right on the Solent at Cowes is so central that when any great Solent-related events are under way, the Squadron is in the middle of the story.

Thus it was on the Squadron lawn that in July that the Irish team celebrated their epic Commodore's Cup victory at the end of July 2014. And it will be towards the Squadron and its Bicentenary that the fleet will be racing in 2015's west-east Transatlantic Race. And then it will be the firing of the cannons from the historic Squadron battery which will signal the start of the 46th Fastnet Race on 16th August 2015.

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Party time at the Royal Yacht Squadron – the Irish team and their management gather to celebrate victory in the Commodore's Cup at the Squadron Castle in Cowes on August 1st 2014

There'll be many Irish boats involved, and the best-placed of them at the finish will be the winner of the Gull Salver, currently held by Martin Breen's Reflex 38 Lynx from Galway Bay SC, which was skippered to success by Aodhan FitzGerald in 2013's race. It's a coveted trophy, instituted to honour the memory of Harry Donegan of Cork and his famous cutter Gull, which was one of seven boats which inaugurated the Fastnet Race in 1925, and placed third. Since then, Irish Fastneteers have frequently been in the great race's top places, and best of all was in 2007 when Ger O'Rourke's Cookson 50 Chieftain out of Kilrush, sailing under the burgee of the revived Royal Western of Ireland YC, came sweeping in to the finish line at Plymouth to win the Fastnet Race
overall.

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One of the greatest moments in Irish sailing history – Ger O'Rourke's Chieftain sweeps towards the finish line to become the overall winner of the Rolex Fastnet Race 2007. Photo: Rolex

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Just the spot for a great Tricentenary celebration - the very complete sailing facilities provided jointly by the Royal Cork Yacht Club and Crosshaven will become a world focus in 2020 with the Club's 300th anniversary. Photo: Bob Bateman

The realisation that 2015 sees this significant RYS Bicentenary is a timely reminder that the Royal Cork's Tricentenary is only five years down the line. They're five years which will be gone in a flash, and already behind-the-scenes moves are afoot to ensure that the national sailing programme will properly facilitate the extraordinary anniversary being celebrated in Crosshaven in 2020.

But meanwhile other Irish sailing centres have their own regular programmes to operate in the intervening four years, and in terms of numbers and scale there's no doubt the top event in Ireland in 2015 will be the biennial Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta from 9th to 12th July.

Anyone – and there were many - who took part in this unique "suburban sailfest" in 2013 will know that the VDLR has come of age. It's an event which is comfortable with itself while at the same time being always in development and evolution mode. Each staging of this remarkable Dublin Bay happening sees lessons being learnt and implemented even while the multi-class racing is under way on several courses. And in the two year gap before the next staging, the experience gained is closely analysed and the programme refined to further improve the sport in every area.

You get some idea of the sheer depth of racing experience in Dun Laoghaire by noting that the Chairman of the 2015 Committee is Tim Goodbody, with Martin Byrne as Vice Chairman while the Race Director is Con Murphy. And those three sailing megastars are just the peak of a mountain of race administration experience which is being drawn in from all over Ireland to ensure that the fleet of 400-plus boats gets the best sport possible.

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The first regatta in 1828 at the new harbour at Dun Laoghaire, which will be the setting for Ireland's biggest event in 2015, the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta from 9th to 12th July.

While there'll be keenly participating boats from all over Ireland as well as Scotland, England and Wales, the setup of Dublin Bay being right on the city's doorstep means that it's the locals who would pose an administrative problem for a less experienced team. As the dates for the VDLR approached in 2013, the weather forecast steadily improved, and thanks to the Regatta's "extra long weekend" format, the sudden arrival of summer meant that a host of boats from the greater Dublin area came in as last minute entries, their owners and crews managing to scrape the extra day-and-a-half needed off work. It's a scenario which would put an overstretched administration off course, but the VDLR team took it calmly in their stride, and the result was a successful summer festival of sunlit sails and great sport, with maybe two thousand taking part.

This year there's a more structured cross-channel involvement, as the venerable Royal Dee YC in Cheshire has leapt to life to celebrate its Bicentenary. Founded as the Dee Yacht Club in 1815 with the end of the Napoleonic Wars, it didn't get the Royal seal until 1947, but nevertheless claims to be older than the RYS. With growing fleets in North Wales and the Mersey, it has put together a Bicentennial Royal Dee Irish Sea Offshore Championship linked closely to ISORA, which will bring the fleet across to Ireland to take in four offshore day races sailed as part of VDLR 2015.

Irish National Championships which will be part of the VDLR 2015 programme include the J/109s, the RS Elites, the Beneteau First 21s, and the Wayfarers, while the Leinster GP 14 Championship is also included as an integral part of the Regatta.

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Party time in Dun Laoghaire – the Royal Irish YC during VDLR 2013. Photo: W M Nixon

As for Ireland's classic clinker-built vintage classes, one of the pleasantest surprises in VDLR 2013 was the large turnout of Mermaids, which had superb racing on the course area in the northwest corner of Dublin Bay. Despite having been born as the Dublin Bay SC Mermaid in 1932, this class of 17ft super-dinghies is no longer included in the regular DBSC programme owing to shortage of numbers for weekly turnouts. But it seems that as far as the VDLR is concerned, the Mermaid is now an event boat, and the fleets still thriving at other centres, together with some of the dormant Dublin Bay craft, bestirred themselves for the four days to enjoy good sailing for more than three dozen boats, something which is highly likely to be repeated in 2015.

The even more venerable Water Wags, founded 1887 with the current boats dating from 1903, continue to thrive in Dun Laoghaire, and the word is they expect to have at least twenty boats in action, while another wooden classic, the Mylne-designed 25ft Glen keelboat, is 50 years and more in Dun Laoghaire, and looks forward to having at least twelve boats racing in 2015.

All these specialized and historic classes are in addition to the numerous cruiser-racers which continue to be the backbone of Dublin Bay sailing. And while many of them will see the VDLR 2015 as a highlight of the year, in turning to consider the overall national programme, we find a sport which is shaking off economic recession to get on with an extraordinary plethora of local, national and international sailing events.

The problem is that most events of significance hope to locate themselves in the peak sailing period from late May to early September, so clashes are almost inevitable, and if you're interested in several different kinds of sailing, the overall choices can be bewildering in their complexity and logistical challenges.

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The Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival attracts an eclectic fleet – included here are a Shannon Gandelow, a West Cork Mackerel Yawl, the ketch Sile a Do, and an Heir Island Lobster Yawl (left).

For instance, the variety of events now available for the traditional and classic boats – usually but not necessarily under the Old Gaffer umbrella – would keep anyone busy for most of the summer. It starts with the Baltimore Wooden Boat & Seafood Festival from Friday 22nd May to Sunday 24th May, which you'd think very early
in the season for someone faced with fitting out an old wooden boat in Ireland's climate, but somehow they do it.

Then on the East Coast for the early summer Bank Holiday Weekend from May 29th to June 2nd, there's the Old Gaffer gathering in Dublin Bay at Poolbeg Y&BC with the annual race for the Leinster Trophy in the bay on Saturday May 30th, the event then morphs into the Dublin Port Riverfest in the Liffey on Sunday May 31st, and finally it all concludes with the race for the Asgard Trophy back in the bay on Monday June 1st.

The annual Lambay Race at Howth, a regular fixture since 1904, has seen its course becoming increasingly complex in modern times in order to satisfy the desire of modern racers for competition on every possible point of sailing. But in 2014, to celebrate the Centenary of the Lynch family's Echo, the venerable Howth Seventeens were sent on the traditional course north from Howth Harbour through the sound inside Ireland's Eye, then on round Lambay leaving it to port, and then back south inside Ireland's Eye again to the finish at Howth pierheads.

This was such an attractive proposition for Old Gaffers and Seventeens alike that on the day an extra Classics Division was added to cater for ancient craft, and it hit the spot. This option will be offered again for 2015's Lambay Race (it's on Saturday June 6th), and the word is that Dickie Gomes's 1912-built 36ft yawl Ainmara will be coming down from Strangford Lough to defend her title after 94 years. 94 years? Yes indeed - she won the Lambay Race in spectacular style in 1921 when still under the ownership of her designer-builder John B Kearney.

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After 94 years, Dickie Gomes's 36ft 1912-built yawl Ainmara (seen here on her home waters of Strangford Lough) hopes to return to defend the title in Howth's Lambay Race, which Ainmara won in 1921 while still in the ownership of her designer-builder John B Kearney. Photo: W M Nixon

The Old Gaffers attention then swings north as the Tall Ships are coming to Belfast from Thursday 2nd July to Sunday 5th July. This is going to be a serious biggie with those ships already signed up including a significant turnout of Class A vessels, which are square riggers and others of more than 40 metres in length. Belfast Lough lends itself particularly well to the Parade of Sail which follows a Tall Ships gathering, and in 2009 when they were last in the port they put in in a virtuoso display with the Dutch ship Europa in particular going to the trouble of getting herself over towards Whiteabbey in the northwest corner of the lough to allow her time get every stitch of sail set before proceeding seawards down-lough in colossal style, a much more impressive display than we've become accustomed to in Dublin, where the shape of Dublin Bay is such that it doesn't really provide the space for square riggers to set all cloth before getting out to sea.

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The Tall Ship Europa shows how it should be done in Belfast Lough in 2009, taking time out to set full sail before she starts to gather power to make the proper input into the Parade of Sail.

Like Dublin, Belfast has shown it can be hospitable to Old Gaffers, and it was a very welcoming main port during the OGA Golden Jubilee Cruise-in-Company in 2013, so for 2015 the OGA National President Sean Walsh hopes to up the ante by persuading his members from all round the Irish Sea to gather in Belfast, and to add spice to the mix, he hopes to persuade the Howth 17s to put in an appearance as well, to sail with local one designs like the 1903 Belfast Lough Waverley Class, which have been experiencing a revival in recent years.

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Old Gaffers in Belfast for their Golden Jubilee in 2013. The Irish Sea classic and traditional fleet will return to the same venue for the Tall Ships gathering in July 2015. Photo: W M Nixon

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The Belfast Lough Waverley Class Lilias (built 1903) sailing at the Titanic Centre in Belfast. In 2015, the Waverleys will be joined by some of the 117-year-old Howth 17s to participate in the visit of the Tall Ships. Photo: W M Nixon

The Seventeens have made long treks as a class before – in 1998, five of them were road-trailed to Carrickfergus to mark the class's Centenary, with the first five boats built by Hilditch of Carrickfergus. So though they'd trailed there, they then sailed the 90 miles back to Howth, just as the first boats had done a hundred years earlier. Then in July 2003, fifteen of the Seventeens took part in the Glandore Classics Regatta thanks to a brilliantly organised exercise in logistics using a flotilla of low loaders which could take three boats apiece.

For all of Ireland's classic and traditional boats in 2015, and an international fleet too, Glandore is very much up on the radar again, as a special effort is being made by a GHYC team led by Donal Lynch to encourage increased numbers in the CH Marine Glandore Classic Regatta from Saturday July 18th through Friday July 24th. It's a date which certainly allows Old Gaffers plenty of time to get down from Belfast, indeed some may even consider the option of making the voyage northabout to take in a round Ireland cruise while they're at it. And as that great magnet of the Irish Sea classic and traditional scene, the Peel Traditional Boat Weekend, isn't until Friday 31st July to Sunday 2nd August, it's just about possible to factor that in as well.

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Everything happening at once – the famous Pilot Cutter Jolie Brise was the star of the Glandore Classics in 2013, and as it was her own Centenary she celebrated by sailing round the Fastnet Rock – she has been a successful Fastnet Race participant several times. Photo: Brian Carlin

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The Glandore Classics attracts an international fleet, and 2013's regatta included a class of Fife One Designs from the Menai Straits, all of them keen to party and showing it. 2015's Glandore Classics is from July 18th to 24th. Photo: Cormac O'Carroll

All this is already happening for the oldies with August barely under way, yet for modern cruiser-racers the potential programme for any keenly-sailed Irish boat is equally complex, attractive and challenging. The season starts as usual with the Scottish Series from Friday 23rd May to Monday 26th May – there'll probably still be snow on the mountains of Arran. They've gone back to their roots by starting with a feeder race from Gourock to the main regatta centre at Tarbert on Loch Fyne. "Going back to the roots" is something of a theme for this year's staging of the Clyde Cruising Club's main racing event, as this is the 40th Scottish Series. Come to think of it, there are so many important 40th anniversaries happening in sailing these days that we have the admit that the decade which brought us the full horror of wide lapels and flared trousers also contributed some lasting elements of the international sailing scene, indeed it could be said that the modern era in sailing really began about forty years ago.

Back in Ireland, the ISORA programme will be well under way by June, while the Lambay Race on June 6th can be looked at with more interest by several boats, as the biennial National YC Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race doesn't start until Friday June 12th . Last time round, there was a total fixtures clash between the two events, but in times before that hyper-keen sailors such as the Tyrrells of Arklow with Aquelina have been able to fit in both, indeed one year they did it so well they won both too, and were rightly acclaimed as the Afloat "Sailors of the Month" for their success.

For 2015, defending champion in the Dingle Race is Brian O'Sullivan of Tralee with the veteran Oyster 37 Amazing Grace, which came good in the end in 2013 with a new breeze which knocked pending leader Antix (Anthony O'Leary) off the winning perch. But with the 2015 Dingle Race acting as a useful if rather indirect feeder for the Covestone Asset Management Sovereigns Cup in Kinsale from June 24th to 28th, there could be all sorts of sharp boats lining up to take the prize, for the Sovereigns Cup 2015 includes the all-singing all-dancing ICRA Nats 2015. 

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The welcoming port – Kinsale is one of Ireland's most popular destinations, and in 2015 its hosts the combined Sovereigns /ICRA Nationals from June 24th to 28th.

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Perfect sailing – racing in the Sovereigns at Kinsale in June 2013. Photo: Bob Bateman

Yet the timing of the combined Sovereigns/ICRA Nats is such that there's still plenty of time and space to get back to the Irish Sea for the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2015 from July 9th to 12th, a reminder that much of the cruiser-racer programme for 2015 is in a neatly balanced and user-friendly timescale for everyone except perhaps those who wish to do either the entire ISORA or SCORA programme as well, so the problem mostly is going to be getting time off work.

And for the hyper-keen cruiser-racers, particularly those whose boats are small enough to be conveniently trailerable, further temptation looms in 2015 with the WIORA Championship at Galway Bay Sailing Club from July 22nd to 25th. For the fleets in the Shannon, on Tralee Bay, and in Clew Bay, it's a bit more than a day's sail away, but they'll be there to challenge Liam Byrne of the home club who won it in 2014 with his Corby 25 Tribal at Mayo SC in Clew Bay, while some top boats from more distant centres are expecting to trail to Galway Bay to spice up the competition.

By this stage of the season a more relaxed pace might be welcome, but the lively turnout of 80 boats in 2014 for the new-style four day Cork Dry Gin Calves Week out of Schull in early August (Tuesday 4th to Friday 7th August in 2015) suggests that for racing sailors, the best relaxation is more racing, but in a holiday setting. And yes, it has been noted that a true West Corkian sailing nut could indeed do all of Calves Week 2015, and still be on the Squadron line for the start of the Fasnet Race nine days later.

For dinghies in 2015, the big story is the debut of the newest version of the National 18, and just how popular will the Bray-bult foiling Moths become, while established classes will frame their programmes to accommodate sailors whose time is limited, also having to fit in with a national scene where the number of Race Officers with the necessary skills is inevitably a finite amount.

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The big stories in Irish dinghy racing in 2015 will be the arrival of the new National 18s at Crosshaven, and the revival of Dinghy Week there in late August. Here, in the Autumn of 2013, To Dwyer and Nin O'Leary test sail the prototype of the new 18 on Cork Harbour. Photo: Bob Bateman

The new Third Generation (or maybe it's fourth or fifth generation) National 18 may have been designed in England by Phil Morrison, and is being built there too. But it was the very active Crosshaven fleet with the Royal Cork Yacht Club which led the charge towards a new boat, and when it came to stepping up to the plate to pay twelve substantial new boat deposits to move it all along after the prototype had been rigorously tested in Cork harbour last Autumn, it was the Crosshaven fleet that provided eight out of those twelve cheques.

So it's entirely appropriate that in August 2015, the dinghy focus will swing big time towards Crosshaven and a short form "Dinghy Week" from August 21st to 23rd. The old style Irish Dinghy Weeks – the last one was in 1970 – became victims of their own success, they just got too large. But the different classes became over-optimistic about their continuing individual growth prospects. Then the pendulum swung too far the other way, and dinghy classes were alone and their events shrinking. But a resurgence of club and championship dinghy sailing in Crosshaven during 2014, and a growing realization that over-reliance on single-handed dinghy classes does not necessarily produce a socially-adjusted national squad of junior sailors, resulted in some clear and creative thinking about developing two-handed boats, and reviving some old classes such as the Mirrors.

The form of this new Dinghy Week is still in the melting pot, but at least eight classes have responded with enthusiasm. Meanwhile, the National 18s in Crosshaven will be such a focus of interest during 2015 with the first of the new boats making their debut that we'll have a season-long dinghy narrative developing on Cork Harbour, and the revived Dinghy Week will be just part of it.

As for inshore keelboats, the big one in terms of number is the combined British and Irish Championship Squib Championship at Howth from 27th June to 3rd July. The handy little Squibs are something of an oddity, as they serve so well as a cherished local class in so many Irish sailing centres that many owners see them as that, and nothing more – handy little club sailors to be raced on home waters a couple of times a week.

This means that when a major regional or national event is held, the number taking part will often only be a fraction of the total Irish Squib fleet. But for those who do make the trek, the competition is fierce and the racing great – in Howth, the high point was in 1996, when this "Nationals" event attracted a fleet of exactly a hundred boats, and on one never-to-be-forgotten morning, there they were, every last one of them on the starting line.

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A hundred Squibs all in a row at Howth on Tuesday July 25th 1996. Photo: Mandy Murnane

The most recent Squib event of national stature was the Freshwater Keelboat Regatta at Dromineer on Lough Derg on the weekend of October 18th-19th, and the battle for the top places was between the Kinsale and Belfast Lough fleets, with James Matthews and Rob Jacob of Kinsale rounding out their year in style with a good win.

But with the Squibs in England undergoing a revival – they were the second-biggest One Design fleet in Cowes Week 2014, bested only by the legendary XODs – there's no doubt there's a strong challenge coming across channel, and any Irish boat getting into the top ten will be doing well.

As for that annual Autumn Freshwater Keelboat Regatta at Dromineer, while it may have been much hampered by the spinoff from some ferocious weather out in the Atlantic with frustration for some of the sixty boats hoping to take part, it's an event of enormous potential, and the many who wish it well and have enjoyed it in the past will be ready and willing to do their part to make 2015's regatta a success.

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The Squibs enjoying a lull in the strong winds during the Lough Derg Freshwater Regatta 2014. Overall winner was Mucky Duck (no 51, James Matthews & Rob Jacob, Kinsale YC). Photo: Gareth Craig

All these specialised and localized events planned for 2015 will be the continuing background music to the usual events of national sailing focus, everything from the selection of the Irish team for the Student Yachting Worlds to the Helmsmans Championships to the steady increase in pace while 2015 develops as the pre-Olympic year. As the year rolls along, other stories will develop too. So perhaps it's appropriate that we exit this review as we entered it. Just pause to remember now and again that, a hundred years ago, you simply couldn't have gone freely afloat like this for sport and recreation at all.

But we can't close on such a solemn note. Seasoned Solent sailors may have noted our header photo from Guido Cantini at the Panerai Classics Regatta was looking just slightly odd, for some reason difficult to pin down. Well, as it happens, the photo was sent to us back in September just as we were contemplating the excellent cleanup up done by Jason Hurley of Jason Hurley Design on the Mercedes-sponsored billboard photo of Howth 17s on the end wall of Howth Yacht Club. As with many photos taken over the RYS starting cannons, the Cantini pic included an obtrusive part of the Fawley Oil Refinery across on what Isle of Wight people call "the north island". Though Fawley has been there for yonks, it still has the look of a temporary structure. So we got Jason to treat as just that. But here for your edification is the true picture. You could get a taste for this sort of thing. What about brushing out Whitegate, lads? And as for Milford Haven.........

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The unvarnished truth. In real life, the view from the RYS battery at Cowes can be slightly marred by the clutter of Fawley Refinery across the Solent on "the north island". Photo: Guido Cantini/Panerai

Read also: 2015 Irish Sailing Fixtures List (provisional)

Published in W M Nixon

#cruiserracing – The three day ICRA Nationals begin next Friday (June 13th) at the Royal Irish YC in Dun Laoghaire. The entry of one hundred and eleven boats from all parts of Ireland will inevitably see the numbers emphasis on the large home fleet, but W M Nixon reckons this will make the visiting rock stars try even harder.

The Spirit 54 Soufriere would attract admiring attention in any fleet. And under Stephen O'Flaherty's enthusiastic ownership, she has frequently made the scene - often with racing success – in classic yacht events. Nevertheless, to take this long and shapely beauty into the cut and thrust of Ireland's top national cruiser-racer championship is a truly sporting gesture. But as a star in a James Bond movie, Soufriere is accustomed to mixing the rough with the smooth.

It was in Casino Royale (2006) that Soufriere made her debut on the Tinseltown stage, sailing serenely into Venice with Daniel Craig as 007 taking the helm from co-star Eva Green. But it's far from the sheltered waters of the Serenissima that Soufriere will be competing in six day's time, yet her crew and the hundreds of other sailors who are shaping up for the ICRA Nationals 2014 on Dublin Bay will be hoping for a happy mix of good weather and decent sailing breezes to put away some high quality sport.

With six days to go, forecasters are reluctant to firm up their opinions on the expected state of the fickle Irish weather, particularly as it operates in the peculiar climatic laboratory which is Dublin Bay. But the folk who put their faith in anticipated Polar Jetstream movements are encouraged by fairly clearcut suggestions that this indicator and activator of our meteorology may finally be moving northwards towards its proper summer position by next weekend. But whether or not it does so in time to significantly benefit the ICRA Nationals is currently a moot point.

Whatever, the most recent charts we've seen have been showing a marked tendency towards southwest to northwest winds six days hence. You might well think that would provide a steady breeze coming down the Liffey Valley and out across the bay for splendid sailing on relatively smooth water. But as dear old Dublin town heats up with the summer temperatures building towards Bloomsday on June 16th, all sorts of quirks can be introduced into the weather, with afternoon sea breezes with varying touches of east in them playing havoc across the underlying gradient.

As for the Jetstream, the least we can hope for is that it won't be lying across Ireland. Ideally, its underlying path will be swirling away northwards. But if it has settled down unseasonably far south to make life disagreeable in northwest Spain or even across France, then we might just get lucky, as Scotland was in 2012, when they'd superb weather while Ireland had an unpleasant summer with the Jetstream like a nasty girdle across Munster.

Either way, we can do nothing about it. But as last summer's late-forecast arrival of good weather in time for the four day Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta showed, "Here Comes Summer!" is sailing's greatest recruiting slogan. Fleet numbers soared in a last minute rush, and boats which had spent the early part of the season with a shortage of hands found themselves almost embarassed by the arrival on board of willing crewpersons seeking any escape from the heat of the city.

ICRA boats being an altogether more serious proposition than casual local classes, it's likely that the total is pretty well fixed at this stage. But for those who batter around the high seas in weather good and bad from season's start in April, they surely deserve a reward in good sailing after a mix of 2014 weather which, so far, could most kindly be described as "interesting".

The ICRA Nationals 2014 are being hosted by the Royal Irish YC from their wellnigh perfect location within Dun Laoghaire marina, where their fine neo-classical building of 1851 vintage (it's the world's oldest complete purpose-designed yacht club premises) is conveniently positioned beside totally sheltered modern waterfront facilities, yet within easy reach of the open sailing waters of Dublin Bay.

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The Royal Irish YC's prime location and historic clubhouse within Dun Laoghaire Marina's sheltered water provides a perfect location for hosting major keelboat events. Photo: W M Nixon

The club in turn have brought in sponsorship for the ICRA Nats from Teng Tools, a company whose management have been long involved in offshore racing success, with Alan Crosbie of TT sailing in this event aboard the vintage Mills-designed Quarter Tonner Quest, a boat of contemporary relevance whose history includes association with such luminaries of Irish sailing as Marcus Hutchinson and Gordon Maguire.

Thanks to Dublin Bay's time-honoured tradition of enthusiastically racing boats which in most other sailing areas would be seen only as cruisers, the entry list includes the usual mix of modern performance craft from builders such as X Yachts of Denmark, J Boats of America, Elan of Slovenia, Beneteau and Jeanneau of France, and Hanse and Bavaria of Germany, and they'll be lining up with venerable cruisers such as the vintage Nich 31 Saki and others such as Soufriere for whom success is a bonus to be treasured in the simple pleasure of sailing a comfortable much-loved boat.

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The Nich 31 Saki is regularly raced in Dublin Bay, and for the ICRA Nationals she'll be competing in Class 4 against the likes of First 211s and a Hunter Sonata. Photo: David O'Brien

For those who are looking for razor-sharp virtually boat-for-boat racing, Class 1 is surely the place to be, where the active fleet of Dublin Bay J/109s, rating around the 1.015 to 1.017 mark, find themselves head to head with last year's ICRA Nats star performer, Philip Byrne's XP 33 Bon Exemple from the host club, whose helming lineup includes current Irish Champion Ben Duncan.

However, inter-area rivalry is a great spur to success, and the pride of Fingal, Pat Kelly's J/109 Storm from Rush SC, has several years of ICRA success under her belt, including the Boat of the Year title. Another 'out of Bay' challenger in the J/109s is Ian Nagle's Jelly Baby from the Royal Cork, so it will be wall-to-wall J/109s in Division 1, a formidable prospect for one of the smallest boat in the class, Denis Hewitt and partners' Mills 30CR Raptor, whose personnel includes top ICRA mover and shaker Fintan Cairns.

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The J/109 has proven an ideal size for Dublin Bay and Irish Sea racing. Photo: David O'Brien

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Father and son team of Neil and George Kenefick from Crosshaven will be campaigning their Quarter Tonner Tiger as Nathan Kirwan Trust during the ICRA Nats. Photo: Bob Bateman

The Dun Laoghaire emphasis in the fleet is an added peformance incentive for any visitors, and great things are expected in Division 3 from the Kenefick family's hot Quarter Tonner Tiger from Cork, which races this series as Nathan Kirwan Trust with former champion helm George Kenefick on the helm. Another visitor which has been making waves in the Irish Sea this year is the Shannon Estuary-based Dehler 34 Big Deal (Derek Dillon, Foynes YC), which has been scoring success in ISORA racing as part of the buildup to participation in the Round Ireland Race in three weeks time. The Dehler 34 has been around since 1980 or so, but this well-engineered cruiser-racer has deservedly proven an enduring success in Irish waters.

Further down the size scale, there's an impressive turnout of Corby 25s racing against Big Deal in Division 2 where winning will be an impressive notch in the bedpost as the lineup includes Anthony Gore-Grimes' regularly successful X 302 Dux from Howth, while Division 3 sees the continuing friendly (well, fairly friendly) war between vintage Quarter Tonners and J/24s such as Flor O'Driscoll's Hard on Port.

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Anthony Gore-Grimes' X 302 Dux has been a regular and successful participant in ICRA events for many years. Photo: Bob Bateman

As for the Corinthians sailing non-spinnaker in Divisions 5 & 6, Eastsiders are pinning their hopes on the two extra-keen Howth boats. David Sargent's Elan 33 Indulgence, and the veteran Club Shamrock Demelza aboard which Windsor Laudan and Steffi Ennis have turned white-sail racing into an art, and a very successful one at that.

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Transparency is all. George Sisk and his seasoned crew aboard the Farr 42 WOW will be racing with the second-highest rating in the fleet. Photo: W M Nixon

Up among the biggies in Division 0, Soufriere at 54ft is longest of all, and the highest rated at 1.135, but close astern is George Sisk's Farr 42 WOW, which rates 1.124. This provides a challenge for her senior crew, though we're assured that WOW doesn't stand for "We Ould Wans". Quite. There's a good outside challenge here with Denise Phelan's potent Mills 36 Jump Juice from Cork, the XP38i Roxstar (Findlay & Anderson) from the Clyde, the Corby 40 Converting Machine (Dave Cummaford) from Pwllheli, the pride of Arklow which is the Tyrell family's J/122 Aquelina, ICRA Commodore Nobby Reilly's Mills 36 Crazy Horse from Howth, and Lynx, Martin Breen's Reflex 38 which sails thousands of sea miles, many of them with racing success, for the honour of Galway Bay SC.

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The Tyrrell family's J/122 Aquelina from Artklow is an active contender throughout the season. Photo: W M Nixon

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The main man. Nobby Reilly of Howth, Commodore of ICRA, at the helm of his Mills 36 Crazy Horse. Photo: Bob Bateman

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Martin Breen's Reflex 38 Lynx from Galway, seen here racing round Ireland, will be hoping to add ICRA success to her established offshore achievements.

Thus the lineup is what you'd expect of a sailing community emerging from several years of economic recession. There are few if any brand new boats, only a small group are travelling any significant distance to take part, and within the local fleet, as with the visitors, there's a marked emphasis on well-loved boats which have been with their owners for quite some time, but are continuing to give excellent value and great sport for the day that's in it.

And finally, if you don't believe a word about Soufriere being in a James Bond movie, here's the clip from Casino Royale. Soufriere was already being built when the request for her use in the film came through. But who could decline such a thing? It's even better than having a genuine Beken photograph of your boat.

Once upon a time, back in 1990, I sailed into Venice and motored right up the crowded Grand Canal as far as the Rialto Bridge with the late great Brian Hegarty on the Hallberg Rassy 42 ketch Safari of Howth. We'd a better time of it than poor old James Bond. We didn't have to waste time with the distraction of writing resignation letters on the laptop. For we were on our holliers, and believe me, arriving in Venice in the morning sunshine on a fine cruising yacht merits your full attention. It is one of life's great and magical experiences.

Meanwhile, back in Dublin Bay, first gun in ICRA Nats 2014 is at 1055hrs Friday June 13th, racing continues through Sunday May 15th, right hand side of the boat continues to be starboard, and the wind being on it usually confers right of way.

ICRA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP 2014, 13th to 15th June 2014 ENTRIES (AS AT 6/6/14)

Division Sail No Boat Type of Boat Club IRC
0 IRL9852 Crazy Horse Mills 36 HYC 1.084
0 IRL5718 Loose Change IMX 40 RIYC 1.073
0 IRL1974 Soufriere Spirit RIYC 1.135
0 IRL4208 WOW Farr 42 RIYC 1.124
0 IRL1644 Lively Lady First 44.7 RIYC 1.107
0 IRL2007 Jump Juice Ker 37 RCYC 1.103
0 GBR6940R Converting Machine Corby 40 Pwllheli SC 1.095
0 IRL1281 Aquelina J-122 Arklow SC 1.083
0 GBR4041R First Forty licks First 40 East Down YC 1.080
0 GBR8038R Roxstar XP 38i Clyde CC 1.077
0 IRL4007 Tsunami First 40.7 NYC 1.055
0 IRL7386 Lynx Reflex 38 GBSC 1.051
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1 EI1906 ZURI Hanse 37 Carlingford SC #N/A
1 IRL3511 Adventure A35 GSC #N/A
1 IRL638 State O’ Chassis Sigma 38 RIYC #N/A
1 IRL3307 Rockabill V Corby 33 RIYC 1.041
1 IRL3709 Axiom X 37 RIYC 1.035
1 IRL3061 Fools Gold A35 WHSC 1.028
1 IRL9609 Jelly Baby J109 RCYC 1.027
1 IRL28898 Powder Monkey J109 NYC 1.025
1 IRL7778 Gringo A 35 NYC 1.024
1 IRL811 Raptor Mills 30CR RIYC 1.020
1 IRL1141 Storm J109 HYC/Rush SC 1.017
1 IRL8088 Jedi J109 RIYC 1.017
1 IRL1206 Joker II J109 RIYC 1.017
1 GBR8933R Bon Exemple XP 33 RIYC 1.016
1 IRL1383 Ruth J109 NYC 1.015
1 GBR9047R Mojito J109 Pwllheli SC 1.015
1 IRL1129 Jump The Gun J109 RIYC 1.014
1 IRL9898 Indecision J109 RIYC 1.013
1 IRL29213 Something Else J109 NYC 1.013
1 IRL7991 Jigamaree J109 RIYC 1.011
1 GBR8609R Jetstream J109 NYC 1.009
1 GBR2620L Fox in Sox X 34 RIYC 1.003
1 IRL3471 Black Velvet First 34.7 RIYC 1.001
1 IRL1367 Boomerang First 36.7 RStGYC 1.000
1 IRL3470 Flashback First 34.7 HYC 0.989
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2 IRL1310 After You Too Beneteau 31.7 RStGYC #N/A
2 IRL3438 Albireo Swan 371 RIYC #N/A
2 IRL7317 Attitude First 31.7 RIYC #N/A
2 GBR8747T Movistar Bleu Elan 333 Killyleagh YC 0.967
2 IRL7284 Red Rhum Dehler DB1 RStGYC 0.967
2 IRL8750 Jester J 80 NYC 0.957
2 IRL1188 Utopia X 3/4 Ton DL Marina 0.956
2 IRL8094 King One Half Tonner HYC 0.953
2 IRL6909 Extreme Reality Beneteau 31.7 RIYC 0.952
2 FRA079 Graduate J 80 RIYC 0.952
2 IRL993 Prima Nocte Beneteau 31.7 RIYC 0.950
2 IRL4170 SLACK ALICE GK Westerly 34 WHSC 0.949
2 GBR66R Checkmate XV Humphreys Half Tonner RStGYC 0.943
2 IRL5522 The Big Picture Mg30 HYC 0.942
2 IRL8223 Kamikaze Sunfast 32 RStGYC 0.941
2 IRL2552 Fusion Corby 25 HYC 0.935
2 IRL2506 Alpaca3 Corby 25 RCYC 0.931
2 IRL2507 Impetuous Corby 25 HYC 0.930
2 IRL3492 Big Deal Dehler 34 Foynes YC 0.929
2 IRL2525 Tribal Corby 25 GBSC 0.929
2 IRL25007 Smile Corby 25 GBSC 0.929
2 IRL988 DUX X-302 HYC 0.929
2 IRL7495 Maximus X-302 HYC/WHSC 0.925
2 IRL521 Bendemeer Beneteau First 325 RStGYC 0.925
2 IRL1103 Solgari Viking X-302 HYC 0.923
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3 GBR8148 Squawk Sigma 33 ood BYC/RUYC #N/A
3 I8709 Cri-Cri Quarter Tonner RIYC #N/A
3 ITA10767 Don Giovanni Ceccarelli HYC #N/A
3 IRL9311 Borraine Aphrodite 101 RIYC #N/A
3 IRL4384 Django J24 Lough Ree YC #N/A
3 IRL5795 Black Sheep Mustang 30 NYC 0.919
3 GBR5507T Peridot Mustang 30 RIYC 0.916
3 IRL4464 Springer Sigma 33 ood RStGYC 0.912
3 IRL4536 Elandra Sigma 33 DL Marina 0.912
3 IRL4633 White Mischief Sigma 33 ood RIYC 0.911
3 IRL34218 Lady Rowena Sadler 34 RStGYC 0.911
3 IRL999999 Nathan Kirwan Trust 1/4 ton RCYC 0.907
3 IRL508 Quest 1/4 ton RIYC 0.905
3 FRA9186 Cartoon Quarter Tonner RIYC 0.902
3 IRL8188 Alliance II Laser 28 HYC 0.896
3 IRL4533 Crazy Horse J24 Sligo SC 0.887
3 IRL680 Euro Car Parks Kilcullen J24 HYC 0.887
3 IRL4794 Hard on Port J24 RStGYC 0.887
3 IRL9508 Huggy Bear Impala 28ood NYC 0.884
3 IRL728 Maximus J24 Foynes YC 0.884
3 IRL851 Taiscealai Club Shamrock RIYC 0.876
3 IRL7500 Supernova Quarter Tonner RIYC 0.870
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4 IRL1208 Capilano Beneteau First 211 RIYC #N/A
4 IRL2121 Chinook Beneteau First 211 RIYC #N/A
4 IRL2111 Syzrgy Beneteau First 211 RStGYC #N/A
4 307 Wynward Beneteau First RIYC #N/A
4 IRL246 Saki Nicholson 31 RIYC #N/A
4 IRL6556 Challenger Challenger Europe HYC #N/A
4 IRL1689 Chouskikou First 28 DL Marina 0.870
4 8245N Asterix Hunter Sonata DL Marina 0.823
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Non-spinnaker Corinthian Cup
5 IRL37747 Windshift Sunfast 37 RStGYC #N/A
5 IRL607 Effex II First 35 RIYC #N/A
5 IRL532 Orna Grand Soleil 40 NYC 1.021
5 IRL3506 Just Jasmin Bavaria Match 35 RIYC/DMYC 0.995
5 IRL8478 Warrior Beneteau 34.7 ISA-DBSC 0.984
5 IRL1357 Humdinger Sunfast 37 Carlingford SC 0.972
5 IRL3339 Indulgence Elan 333 HYC 0.958
5 IRL1333 White Lotus Elan 333 DL Marina 0.957
5 IRL3400 Brazen Hussy Dufour 34 HYC 0.950
5 IRL5687 To Infinity and Beyond Dehler 37 CR RStGYC 0.949
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6 IRL1217 The Great Escape Bavaria 33 RIYC #N/A
6 IRL1309 Syledis in blue Beneteau oceanis clipper 323 LK Bray SC #N/A
6 IRL5013 Sweet Martini She 31 RStGYC #N/A
6 IRL966 More Mischief Beneteau First 310 DL Marina #N/A
6 IRL2860 Pure Magic Feeling 286 Special Bray SC #N/A
6 IRL1166 Edenpark Jeanneau Sun Odyssey RIYC 0.977
6 IRL5643 Calypso Beneteau Oceanis 361 RStGYC 0.928
6 IRL1502 Vespucci Dehler 31 RIYC 0.876
6 IRL100 Demelza Club Shamrock HYC 0.875

A PDF version of this entry list (with owners names) is available to download below

Published in W M Nixon

#VDLR2013 – Dun Laoghaire regatta prizewinners proudly showed off their just desserts at the Royal Irish Yacht Club yesterday evening following the conclusion of Ireland's biggest sailing event, the Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta on Dublin Bay.

In spite of an influx of over 120 visiting boats, key trophies are staying in the waterfront clubs.

  1. Royal St. George YC had success in seven classes, Royal Irish sailors won six, including IRC classes 1 and 3, and the National YC won four one design divisions. Howth picked up two wins in IRC non–spinnaker divisions.

Trophies were awarded in each of the 25 competing classes plus several premier awards.

The top overall prize, for the Volvo Trophy, went to the Class II IRC winner Checkmate XV, a 1985 vintage half tonner that has been extensively refitted. 

Photos of VDLR 2013 prizewinners by Gareth Craig below and class results below: 

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A breakdown of overall results is below:

VDLR 2013 – OVERALL 

IRC CLASS 0 1. Grand Cru II (J McGarry) 2. Zephyr (S Cowie) 3. Dark Angel (A Ackland)
IRC CLASS 1 Bon Exemple (X Yachts GB) 2. Now or Never 3 (N Sandford) 3. Rockabill V (P O'Higgins)
IRC CLASS 2 1. Checkmate XV (N Biggs) 2. Scenario Encore (S&J Fitton) 3. Tribal (L Burke)
IRC CLASS 3 1. Quest (Cunningham & Skerritt) 2. Kilcullen Euro Car Parks (Howth YC K25 Team) 3. Nyah (S Hyde)
J109 1. Joker II (J Maybury) 2. Storm II (P Kelly) 3. Jalapeno (Barrington/ Burke/ Phillips)
SIGMA 33 1. White Mischief (T Goodbody) 2. Leaky Roof (A Harper/ E&K Robertson) 3. Rupert (R&P Lovegrove)
BENETEAU 31.7 1. Levana (J Mitton) 2. Prospect (C Johnston) 3. Levante (M Leahy/ J Power)
IRC Coastal 1. Aquelina (S&J Tyrell) 2. Wow (G Sisk) 3. Mermaid IV (S Fitzpatrick)
NON-SPINNAKER 1 1. Bite the Bullet ( C Bermingham) 2. White Lotus (P Tully) 3. Orna (P Dilworth)
NON- SPINNAKER 2 1. Demelza (S Ennis) 2. Vespucci (S&K O'Regan) 3. Nauti-Gal (J&J Crawford)
Ruffian 23 1. Diane 2 (A Claffey/ C Helme) 2. Ruff Nuff (D Mitchell) 3. Bandit (Kirwan/ Cullen/ Brown)
Shipman 1. Curaglas (J Masterson) 2. Gusto (C Heath/ G Mills) 3. Whiterock (H Robinson)
SB20 1. Should Be? (M O'Connor) 2. BomChickaWahWah (J O' Driscoll) 3. Seriously Bonkers 3 (M Cuppage/ P Lee)
RS ELITE 1. Storm (J Gunning/ S Polly/ D Kelso) 2. Momentary Laps... (J Patterson) 3. Toucan (G&M Vaughan)
BENETEAU FIRST 21 1. Chinook (A Bradley/ P Morgan) 2. Yikes (J Conway) 3. Carna (S Spence)
DRAGON 1. Phantom (P Bowring/ D Williams) 2. Jaguar (M Byrne) 3. Diva (R&R Johnson/ R Goodbody)
Flying Fifteen 1. The Gruffalo (I Matthews) 2. Melliffluence (B Mulligan) 3. The Big Bow Wow (N Meagher/ N Matthews)
GLEN 1. Glenluce (R&D O'Connor) 2. Glendun (B Denham) 3. Glenariff (A Lee)
HOWTH 17 1. Isobel (B&C Turvey) 2. Oona (P Courtney) 3. Pauline (S O' Doherty/ E Ryan)
Fireball 1. Let's Get Messy (B Byrne) 2. Tipsey McStagger (C&J Clancy) 3. Goodness Gracious (L McKenna/ F Rowan)
IDRA 14 1. Starfish (A Carr/ D Kilroy) 2. Delos ii (P O'Neill) 3. Slipstream (J Ascoop/ H Keenan)
MERMAID 1. Tiller Girl (J O'Rourke) 2. Jill (P Smith/ P Mangan) 3. Endeavour (R Bannon)
SQUIB 1. Why not (D Jago) 2. Iola (F Whelan) 3. Perfection (J Fleming)
WATER WAG 1. Mollie (C MacAleavey) 2. Swift (G Kilroy) 3. Pansy (V Delaney)
Sail Fleet J80 Bay Challenge 1. More Mischief (E Doyle) 2. Katie (T Dunne/ F Fahy/ C McGuinness/ D Grace) 3. Xerxes (D O'Neill)
PY 1. IRL 171 426 (F Devlin) 2. IRL Return of the Milky Bar Kid (H Sheehy) 3. UG (R O'Leary)

Published in Volvo Regatta

#VDLR2013 – Light winds brought changes to the leaderboard in the penultimate day of Ireland's biggest sailing event, the Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta on Dublin Bay today.

A contender for tomorrow's (Sunday) top prize of the Volvo Boat of the Regatta trophy is Checkmate XV, the Nigel Biggs skippered vintage half–tonner that has a perfect score–line of five wins from five races in IRC class two.

A promising 6 to 8 knots of winds got racing for all 393 boats in 25 classes off to a solid start this morning and the hope was that the breeze – like the sunshine – would build during the day, but instead the wind had died across most of the eight courses by lunchtime.

Racing in one of the regatta's biggest fleets, Checkmate mastered some of the trickiest conditions of the event so far to take the 26-boat Volvo class 2 title with a race to spare.

'The winds have been light but reasonable steady on the race track. I think race officials have done very well to get races away', said Biggs, who gives the regatta a big thumbs up.

The Class 2 Irish National Champion from the Royal St. George Yacht Club finishes on 4 points with another Humphrey's design, the Welsh three quarter–tonner Scenario Encore (Stuart/Julie Fitton) five points adrift.

Class 2 has one race left to sail tomorrow morning on the Killiney course.

In Class one, one Royal Irish entry replaces another at the top of the leaderboard as Paul O'Higgin's Rockabill V scored two firsts this afternoon to unseat the recently crowned national champion, Bon Exemple, an Xp33, skippered by Colin Byrne. Rockabill goes into the final race tomorrow in Killiney with a two point cushion.

In the J109 class, Rush Sailing Club's Storm II has overhauled John Maybury's Joker II for the first time in the series. With one race left to sail tomorrow and both boats on 11 nett points, the Volvo and Irish title will be decided on Killiney Bay.

Scottish entry Zephyr (Steven Cowie) replaced Crazy Horse as overall leader in class zero, the latter having withdrawn following a collision on Friday afternoon. The First 40.7 Grand Cru II skippered by Jamie McGarry is on one point behind their Clyde club mates. Pre–regatta favourite Impetuous is fourth overall.

In the one design divisions, four wins out of five races is good enough for Tim Goodbody to lift the Sigma 33 cup. Second is Cove Sailing Club's Leaky Roof 2 (A.Harper/E.Robertson).

In what must be an indicator of form for next month's national championships at the same venue, the Royal St. George's Jean Mitton keeps her lead in the Beneteau 31.7s but is still under pressure from Isle of Man entry Eauvation.

In general, winds were lightest on the southside in Scotsman's Bay today and strongest on the Northside on the Sutton and Howth courses.

It meant a big gap between races for some but most classes completed their two race programmes, a notable exception being the SB20s, Dragons, Elites and Beneteau 21s who waited an hour for a second race only for it to be abandoned late in the afternoon.

Others, like the Fireball dinghies in Seapoint Bay, got all three races finished even if it meant a fair amount of course rotation as the wind tracked left. Leading the Fireballs is Brian Byrne and Steven Campion.

Olympic sailor Annalise Murphy together with her coach Rory Fitzpatrick are racing in the fast PY class of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta, the first time the foiling craft have raced in the biennial event.

Selected results only from VDLR Day Three:

IRC CLASS 0 1. Zephyr (S Cowie) 2. Grand Cru II (J McGarry) 3. Dark Angel (A Ackland)
IRC CLASS 1 1. Rockabill V (P O'Higgins) 2. Bon Exemple (X Yachts GB) 3. Now or Never 3 (N Sandford)
IRC CLASS 2 1. Checkmate XV (N Biggs) 2. Scenario Encore (S&J Fitton) 3. Tribal (L Burke)
IRC CLASS 3 1. Kilcullen Euro Car Parks (Howth YC K25 Team) 2. Quest (Cunningham & Skerritt) 3. Nyah (S Hyde)
J109 1. Storm II (P Kelly) 2. Joker II (J Maybury) 3. Jalapeno (Barrington/ Burke/ Phillips)
SIGMA 33 1. White Mischief (T Goodbody) 2. Leaky Roof (A Harper/ E&K Robertson) 3. Rupert (R&P Lovegrove)
BENETEAU 31.7 1. Levanna (J Mitton) 2. Euavation (J&D Corlett) 3. Prospect (C Johnston)
NON- SPINNAKER 2 1. Demelza (S Ennis) 2. Vespucci (S&K O'Regan) 3. Nauti-Gal (J&J Crawford)
SB20 1. Should Be? (M O' Connor) 2. BomChickaWahWah (J O' Driscoll) 3. Seriously Bonkers 3 (M Cuppage/ P Lee)
RS ELITE 1. Storm (J Gunning/ S Polly/ D Kelso) 2. Momentary Laps... (J Patterson) 3. Toucan (G&M Vaughan)
BENETEAU FIRST 21 1. Chinook (A Bradley/ P Morgan) 2. Small Wonder (H Kelly) 3. Yikes! (J Conway)
DRAGON 1. Phantom (P Bowring/ D Williams) 2. Jaguar (M Byrne) 3. Diva (R&R Johnson/ R Goodbody)
GLEN 1. Glenluce (R&D O'Connor) 2. Glendun (B Denham) 3. Glenshesk (G Walker/ L Faulkner/ A Henderson/ M Reid)
HOWTH 17 1. Pauline (S O' Doherty/ E Ryan) 2. Isobel (B&C Turvey) 3. Oona (P Courtney)
MERMAID 1. Tiller Girl (J O'Rourke) 2. Jill (P Smith/ P Mangan) 3. Gentoo (B McNally)
SQUIB 1. Iola (F Whelan) 2. Kerfuffle (J&H Craig) 3. Contender (D Todd)
WATER WAG 1. Swift (G Kilroy) 2. Pansy (V Delany) 3. Mollie (C Mac Aleavey)
PY 1. IRL 171 426 (F Devlin) 2. IRL Return of the Milky Bar Kid (H Sheehy) 3. UG (R O'Leary)

Published in Volvo Regatta
Page 8 of 11

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