Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

A Harbour Seal photographed at Dun Laoghaire Marina on Dublin Bay, Ireland. Also known as the common seal, is a true seal found along temperate and Arctic marine coastlines of the Northern Hemisphere. The most widely distributed species of pinnipeds, they are found in coastal waters of the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans, Baltic and North seas. Photo: AfloatA photograph of a Harbour Seal taken at Dun Laoghaire Marina on Dublin Bay, Ireland. Also known as the common seal, this species can be found along temperate and Arctic marine coastlines throughout the Northern Hemisphere. They are the most widely distributed species of pinnipeds and can be found in the coastal waters of the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as the Baltic and North Seas. Photo: Afloat

Displaying items by tag: Dragon

James Matthews, David Good, Harry Lewis and Fergal O’Hanlon of the host club were the overall winners by three points of the O'Leary Life Irish South Coast Dragon Championships sailed at Kinsale Yacht Club from 26th – 28th May.

A fleet of thirteen boats took part, including visitors from the Royal St.George YC, Glandore Harbour YC and Royal Irish YC.

The prevailing high-pressure system resulted in great racing with easterly winds for the three days under the direction of PRO, John Stallard.

Going into the final race, only one point separated Phantom (Neil Hegarty, Peter Bowring & David Williams) from TBD (James Matthews, David Good, Harry Lewis and Fergal O’Hanlon).

TBD (James Matthews, David Good, Harry Lewis and Fergal O’Hanlon) were the overall winners of the Dragon South Coasts at Kinsale Photo: David CullinaneTBD (James Matthews, David Good, Harry Lewis and Fergal O’Hanlon) were the overall winners of the Dragon South Coasts at Kinsale Photo: David Cullinane

Following the start of the final race, Phantom remained on a starboard tack and head inshore, whereas TBD tacked early onto port and headed further out to sea.

The port tack proved to be the winning tack for TBD as the was ahead of Phantom at the weather mark and held her lead for the rest of the race. The final results were TBD in first place (11 points),Phantom in second place (12 points) and Little Fella in third place with 15 points.

Overall results are below

Published in Dragon
Tagged under

Kinsale Yacht Club will host the “O’Leary Life South Coast Dragon Championships” from the 26th – 28th of May. The event, which is the first regional event on the Irish Dragon class calendar, will mark the start of an exciting 16 months for Kinsale Yacht Club, which host the Nationals in August this year and then the Gold Cup in September 2024.

Commodore Matthias Hellstern, who is sailing with long-time Dragon sailor, Anthony O’Neill for the South Coasts, commented, “Firstly, thank you to Brian Goggin and all at O’Leary Life for sponsoring the event; we simply can’t run the event without sponsors. Kinsale Yacht Club has such a fantastic history with this wonderful class, and we are really looking forward to showcasing to all Dragon sailors what Kinsale has to offer over the months ahead”

Brian Goggin of O’Leary Life commented, “This month, O’Leary Life celebrates being 50 years in business. As part of our 50th-year celebrations, for the next 12 months, we will support various community organisations and give back to those who have supported us throughout the years. For the month of May, we are thrilled to sponsor Kinsale Yacht Club for the South Coast Dragon Championships”

Kinsale Yacht Club Commodore Matthias Hellstern (left) with Brian Goggin of O’Leary Life at the South Coast Dragon Championships for the West Cork port later this monthKinsale Yacht Club Commodore Matthias Hellstern (left) with Brian Goggin of O’Leary Life at the South Coast Dragon Championships for the West Cork port later this month

Although the sponsor may be celebrating 50 years in business, they are still some years behind the Dragon Design, who will turn 94 this year, having been conceived in 1929!

The class continues to reinvent itself, with Glandore now home to the largest fleet in Ireland, with many of their youth sailors looking like future dragon champions. Of course, the legendary dragon sailor Don Street has been one of the major backers of youth dragon sailing in Glandore, sharing his knowledge for decades in the West Cork harbour

The event will be an early season indicator of who has “wintered” the best, with stalwarts like Peter Bowring and his team on Phantom and Cameron Good with Little Fella among the early entries. James Matthews, fresh from winning the recent Keelboat regatta in Kinsale, are the early favourites but other local boats such as Whisper and Ghost will also be battling at the sharp end in what is shaping up to be a seriously competitive fleet.

Published in Dragon
Tagged under

Dublin Bay sailor Jonathan 'Jay' Bourke sailing with crew Conn Harte Bourke and Sam Gillivan, were the first Corinthians - the first crew without any professionals - at last week's HM King Juan Carlos Trophy in Cascais, Portugal.

After three days and a full programme, with seven sailed races, the Australian Yeahnah team took the Trophy with 11 points.

The championship was contested in Clube Naval de Cascais by eight teams, from five different nationalities, which had excellent conditions throughout the championship - there were three days of clear skies and shining sun, and while the first two days had the famous champagne sailing conditions, Sunday there was room for light wind.

Yeahnah, Pete Cooke's team, with Torvar Mirsky and the Portuguese Olympic sailor Frederico Melo in the crew, went on to win the championship, with 2 points of advantage over the Portuguese team Easy, of Michael Zankel with Diogo Pereira and João Matos Rosa, who ended up taking second place, with 13 points.

With 15 points and closing the podium, finished the also Portuguese team of Pedro Mendes Leal, Tanit Cabau, Pedro Rebelo de Andrade and Natali Alexandrova, won the last race of the day, thus winning the Stavros trophy.

This was the 28th edition of the championship, that was established in 1995 when His Majesty King Juan Carlos I of Spain donated a trophy to Clube Naval de Cascais to honour the place and the club where he learned to sail and compete.

Results are here

Published in Dragon
Tagged under

The Royal St. George Yacht Club Dragon Jaguar Sailing Team took third overall at the  Commodore's Cup in Cannes, France on Sunday. 

The keelboat trio of Martin Byrne, Adam Winkelmann and John Simms, who finished on 15 points, were competing in the final weekend event of the winter season.

The team were the First Corinthian crew in the fleet and third overall to the World Champion and European Champion.

Klaus Diederichs, Diego Negri and Jamie Lea took the overall win with ten points, and Grant Gordon, Luke Patience, James Williamson, and Mark Less were second with 14.

A second Irish crew, Denis Bergin, Declan Gordon and Joseph Bergin of the Royal Irish Yacht Club, finished second Corinthian crew in the 23-boat fleet.

There was one race on the last day in which the Jaguar crew were fourth.

The Royal St. George sailors broke the main halyard on the way to the race course in 30+ knots on Saturday.

"It's difficult to repair on the Dragon so we dropped mast overnight and set up a jury main halyard in order to race today", Winkelmann told Afloat.  The 4th place score enabled them to drop an 18th, and we moved from 11th to third overall. 

Results are below

Published in Dragon
Tagged under

It's been a successful winter series for the Royal St. George Yacht Club Dragon Jaguar Sailing Team in France and Italy.

The keelboat trio of Martin Byrne, Adam Winkelmann and John Simms compete in the final weekend of the winter at the Commodore's Cup in Cannes, France.

After six events, they managed three podium results against world-class competition, but they are still a Corinthian Team competing amongst a powerful professional fleet.

Nevertheless, their progress this winter lists this Irish Dragon team as the top Corinthian team competing on the European circuit in very close competition with Swedish, Dutch and Danish teams.

Irish Dragon interests are honing their skills this season in anticipation of the class's Gold Cup being staged in Ireland in Kinsale in 2024. 

Published in Dragon
Tagged under

Torquay’s association with the International Dragon Class is long and illustrious, with the venue hosting the 1948 Olympic Games, at which the Dragon featured, and many national and international events since. The Dragon fleet will return once again to this popular venue in 2023 for the Dragon Gold Cup, which takes place from 7 to 16 September and will attract a strong fleet from around the globe.

In 2024, the Dragon Gold Cup is coming to Ireland and will be staged at Kinsale in County Cork.

Located on the English Riviera, Torquay enjoys a wonderful climate, while Tor Bay provides an open sea race area just a short sail from the club, with the spectacular Devon hills as a backdrop. Hosting the event in association with the International and British Dragon Association will be the Royal Torbay Yacht Club, which was founded in 1863 and has huge experience in organising international championships. The boats will be launched and berthed in the harbour just below the club’s elegant clubhouse, which features stunning views across the bay, an excellent restaurant and bar and an English-terraced garden with perfect sunset views.

The Dragon fleet will return once again to Torbay in 2023 for the Dragon Gold CupThe Dragon fleet will return once again to Torbay in 2023 for the Dragon Gold Cup

Registration and measurement will take place on 7 and 8 September, there will be a practice race and Opening Ceremony on 9 September, Championship races are scheduled from 10 to 15 September, with the Prize Giving Ceremony on 15 September and crane out on 16 September. There will also be daily après sailing social events at the clubhouse.

“The Royal Torbay Yacht Club has long been a popular host of Dragon championships, so we’re excited to return there for the Gold Cup, our premier Europe-based event of 2023. With the UK also hosting the Edinburgh Cup, incorporating the British Dragon Grand Prix, from 15 to 18 August in Cowes, a large Dragon fleet is expected for Cowes Week from 29 July to 4 August and the opportunity to nip over to Kinsale to take part in the Irish Open Championship from 24 to 27 August, there’s plenty to make the trip across the English Channel worthwhile for European visitors,” commented IDA Chairman Gerard Blanc.

On behalf of the Royal Torbay YC, Commodore Phil Rumbelow said, “All at the club are delighted to welcome the Dragon Class back to the bay. Our band of experienced event helpers led by our Principal Race Officer, Stuart Childerly, are looking forward to giving the class an excellent championship on the water and our bar and catering teams will ensure they are well fed and watered on their return to shore.”

Published in Dragon
Tagged under

The Irish Jaguar Dragon team from the Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire Harbour took third overall at last weekend's Coupe de l'Amitié in France. 

The keelboat trio of Martin Byrne, John Simms and Adam Winkelmann were in the hunt for an overall win at the Yacht Club de Cannes, but a difficult last day with some shifty and variable wind conditions saw them drop to third in the 19-boat fleet.

Nevertheless, it's still an impressive scoresheet (including an opening race win), given the pro teams from Sweden, Finland and Denmark competing.

Overall winners of the four-race regatta were Sweden's Jesper Stalheim, Leif and Jens Moller. 

As well as Jaguar, two other Irish boats competed as the build-up to the Dragon Gold Cup hosted by Kinsale Yacht Club in 2024 begins in earnest.

Results below

Published in Dragon
Tagged under

Maeve Cotter will act as the regatta director for Kinsale's staging of the Dragon Gold Cup in 2024.

Cotter is a former Commodore of Glandore Harbour Yacht Club and the current Rear Commodore of Kinsale YC. She takes up the role with an experienced committee acting alongside her.

The event will run from 6th to 13th of September 2024.

Matthias Hellstern, Commodore of Kinsale Yacht Club, welcomed Maeve commenting, “I have worked with Maeve on a Management Committee level for over 4 years, and I have seen first-hand her ability and dedication that I have no doubt she will apply to this role. As an experienced Dragon sailor, Maeve also understands the class and what is required to make this an exceptional event.”

Kinsale Yacht Club is a long way into its planning of the 2024 event with Astra Construction already on board as the headline sponsor. The Gold Cup is the pinnacle event of the dragon season, and excitement is already mounting in Kinsale following the disappointment of having to the cancel the event in 2020 due to covid.

Dragon racing at Kinsale Yacht Club Photo: Bob BatemanDragon racing at Kinsale Yacht Club Photo: Bob Bateman

Asked for her thoughts on the role and regatta, Maeve added “I have sailed Dragons since I was a teenager and love the boat and class. My brother Michael campaigned Dragons for many years and my two sons, Daniel and Sean will be racing in the event on our boat “Whisper” so no doubt I will have plenty of suggestions and feedback! We are lucky that Kinsale is such a destination town, with the yacht club located in the heart of it, coupled with the phenomenal race area at the beginning of the wild Atlantic way. It’s really exciting for the Irish class to have such a big event to look forward to ”.

Published in Dragon
Tagged under

Glandore in West Cork is a picturesque international melting pot of folk of all types from many backgrounds, and like all melting pots, it can occasionally boil ever, particularly if you have someone like Don Street stirring the heated mix. American-born Don spent much of his 92 years becoming the acknowledged expert on cruising the Caribbean and the practice of traditional self-reliant seamanship, but having had a base in Glandore for decades, even he admits to the slowing effects of advancing age.

So for some time now, his attention has become largely local, and the Glandore axe he has been grinding is the beating of the drum (now there’s a mix of metaphors for your delectation) to celebrate the versatility of the International Dragon (whether plastic fantastic or classic wooden) for club racing and junior training, in addition to contesting hugely challenging international events.

The summertime demographic of Glandore is such that they have sailors of all ages in abundance, and Don reckons the Dragons can readily accommodate them all provided that Glandore Harbour Yacht Club can become a bit more relaxed about the trend towards Committee Boat starts, and rely instead on the convenient starting platform just below the village’s “veranda square”, where all-seeing but thirsty race officers can be sure of a handy pint from one of the excellent pubs.

Platinum oldies – Don Street at Dragon racing in Glandore. Photo courtesy GHYCPlatinum oldies – Don Street at Dragon racing in Glandore. Photo courtesy GHYC

Don and his mates want races to be easily available at all times and for all ages, and to do that you need to have the starting line which can be put in place with minimum fuss, which is something conspicuously absent when you need to get a fully-crewed safety-compliant committee boat into action

Being firmly of the opinion that there really is nothing more user-friendly than a shore-based starting line with very clearly marked transits, I readily go along with that - as indeed do thousands of people who race at Cowes every year. But whatever your view, there’s no denying that the Dragon class at Glandore is an impressively successful mix of boats and people of all ages, with Don setting the standard, as his youthfully-crewed boat Gypsy is at least 89 years old, which must make him the only owner of an 89-year-old boat who happens to be even older himself………

Published in Dragon
Tagged under

Martin Byrne’s Jaguar Sailing Team dropped to tenth overall after the final day of Dragon class racing at the Régates Royales, in Cannes on Friday.

Byrne’s Jaguar Sailing Team from the Royal St. George, Dun Laoghaire and Daniel Murphy’s Fortitude from Kinsale were fighting it out at the front of the fleet for most of the week, with Byrne crewed by Adam Winkelmann and John Simms as high as fourth overall before the penultimate day.

Murphy finished 13th overall from 32-starters.


Published in Dragon
Page 4 of 28

For all you need on the Marine Environment - covering the latest news and updates on marine science and wildlife, weather and climate, power from the sea and Ireland's coastal regions and communities - the place to be is

Coastal Notes

The Coastal Notes category covers a broad range of stories, events and developments that have an impact on Ireland's coastal regions and communities, whose lives and livelihoods are directly linked with the sea and Ireland's coastal waters.

Topics covered in Coastal Notes can be as varied as the rare finding of sea-life creatures, an historic shipwreck with secrets to tell, or even a trawler's net caught hauling much more than just fish.

Other angles focusing the attention of Coastal Notes are Ireland's maritime museums, which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of our nautical heritage, and those who harvest the sea using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety pose an issue, plying their trade along the rugged wild western seaboard.

Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied as the environment they come from, and which shape people's interaction with the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

Marine Wildlife

One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with Marine Wildlife. It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. And as boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify, even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat. Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse, it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to our location in the North Atlantic, there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe. From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals, the Marine Wildlife category documents the most interesting accounts around our shores. And we're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and video clips, too!

Also valuable is the unique perspective of all those who go afloat, from coastal sailing to sea angling to inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing, as what they encounter can be of great importance to organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). Thanks to their work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. But as impressive as the list is, the experts believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves, keep a sharp look out!


As an island in the North Atlantic, Ireland's fate is decided by Weather more so than many other European countries. When storm-force winds race across the Irish Sea, ferry and shipping services are cut off, disrupting our economy. When swollen waves crash on our shores, communities are flooded and fishermen brace for impact - both to their vessels and to their livelihoods.

Keeping abreast of the weather, therefore, is as important to leisure cruisers and fishing crews alike - for whom a small craft warning can mean the difference between life and death - as it is to the communities lining the coast, where timely weather alerts can help protect homes and lives.

Weather affects us all, and will keep you informed on the hows and the whys.

Marine Science

Perhaps it's the work of the Irish research vessels RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of Marine Science for the future growth of Ireland's emerging 'blue economy'.

From marine research to development and sustainable management, Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. Whether it's Wavebob ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration, the Marine Science category documents the work of Irish marine scientists and researchers and how they have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.

Power From The Sea

The message from the experts is clear: offshore wind and wave energy is the future. And as Ireland looks towards the potential of the renewable energy sector, generating Power From The Sea will become a greater priority in the State's 'blue growth' strategy.

Developments and activities in existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector, and those of the energy exploration industry, point to the future of energy requirements for the whole world, not just in Ireland. And that's not to mention the supplementary industries that sea power projects can support in coastal communities.

Irish ports are already in a good position to capitalise on investments in offshore renewable energy services. And Power From The Sea can even be good for marine wildlife if done properly.

Aside from the green sector, our coastal waters also hold a wealth of oil and gas resources that numerous prospectors are hoping to exploit, even if people in coastal and island areas are as yet unsure of the potential benefits or pitfalls for their communities.

Changing Ocean Climate

Our ocean and climate are inextricably linked - the ocean plays a crucial role in the global climate system in a number of ways. These include absorbing excess heat from the atmosphere and absorbing 30 per cent of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity. But our marine ecosystems are coming under increasing pressure due to climate change.

The Marine Institute, with its national and international partners, works to observe and understand how our ocean is changing and analyses, models and projects the impacts of our changing oceans. Advice and forecasting projections of our changing oceans and climate are essential to create effective policies and management decisions to safeguard our ocean.

Dr Paul Connolly, CEO of the Marine Institute, said, “Our ocean is fundamental to life on earth and affects so many facets of our everyday activities. One of the greatest challenges we face as a society is that of our changing climate. The strong international collaborations that the Marine Institute has built up over decades facilitates a shared focusing on our changing ocean climate and developing new and enhanced ways of monitoring it and tracking changes over time.

“Our knowledge and services help us to observe these patterns of change and identify the steps to safeguard our marine ecosystems for future generations.”

The Marine Institute’s annual ocean climate research survey, which has been running since 2004, facilitates long term monitoring of the deep water environment to the west of Ireland. This repeat survey, which takes place on board RV Celtic Explorer, enables scientists to establish baseline oceanic conditions in Irish waters that can be used as a benchmark for future changes.

Scientists collect data on temperature, salinity, water currents, oxygen and carbon dioxide in the Atlantic Ocean. This high quality oceanographic data contributes to the Atlantic Ocean Observing System. Physical oceanographic data from the survey is submitted to the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) and, in addition, the survey contributes to national research such as the VOCAB ocean acidification and biogeochemistry project, the ‘Clean Atlantic’ project on marine litter and the A4 marine climate change project.

Dr Caroline Cusack, who co-ordinates scientific activities on board the RV Celtic Explorer for the annual survey, said, “The generation of long-term series to monitor ocean climate is vital to allow us understand the likely impact of future changes in ocean climate on ecosystems and other marine resources.”

Other activities during the survey in 2019 included the deployment of oceanographic gliders, two Argo floats (Ireland’s contribution to EuroArgo) and four surface drifters (Interreg Atlantic Area Clean Atlantic project). The new Argo floats have the capacity to measure dissolved ocean and biogeochemical parameters from the ocean surface down to a depth of 2,000 metres continuously for up to four years, providing important information as to the health of our oceans.

During the 2019 survey, the RV Celtic Explorer retrieved a string of oceanographic sensors from the deep ocean at an adjacent subsurface moored station and deployed a replacement M6 weather buoy, as part of the Irish Marine Data Buoy Observation Network (IMDBON).

Funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the IMDBON is managed by the Marine Institute in collaboration with Met Éireann and is designed to improve weather forecasts and safety at sea around Ireland. The data buoys have instruments which collect weather and ocean data including wind speed and direction, pressure, air and sea surface temperature and wave statistics. This data provides vital information for weather forecasts, shipping bulletins, gale and swell warnings as well as data for general public information and research.

“It is only in the last 20 years, meteorologists and climatologists have really began to understood the pivotal role the ocean plays in determining our climate and weather,” said Evelyn Cusack, Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann. “The real-time information provided by the Irish data buoy network is particularly important for our mariners and rescue services. The M6 data buoy in the Atlantic provides vital information on swell waves generated by Atlantic storms. Even though the weather and winds may be calm around our shores, there could be some very high swells coming in from Atlantic storms.”