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Dublin Bay Boating News and Information

Tony Clery of Sutton

6th March 2022
Crew and helm - Ruan O'Tiarnaigh (left) with Tony Cleary in Palma in 2018
Crew and helm - Ruan O'Tiarnaigh (left) with Tony Cleary in Palma in 2018

It was with great sadness that we heard of the passing of Tony Clery, One of Sutton Dinghy Club's most active, progressive and colourful Commodores writes Andy Johnston

As remembered by a close family friend and former Commodore Muriel O'Tiarnaigh, Tony arrived like 'a Thunder Bolt' in Sutton in the late '70s. Obstacles were to be surmounted, no job was ever too big or too small for him to tackle and all done with large dollops of fun. With the full support of his late wife Pauline, Tony organised a range of functions and social gatherings to help Club fundraising that was really quite breathtaking. Dream Auctions, Grand National nights, St Patrick Day parties, Champagne Breakfasts, BBQs and many others, Tony organised them all. Not just happy to organise, he would act as butcher, chef, pour the drinks and even offer his professional services as prizes. As a respected surgeon, specialising as a proctologist in Beaumont Hospital this always drew a laugh.

Originally from Wexford, Tony Clery took up dinghy sailing having moved to Sutton, living right on the water's edge at Sutton Creek not far from Sutton Dinghy Club. Tony became involved in the GP14 fleet, becoming Class captain when the Club fleet included Pat Murphy, Hugh Gill, Riocaird O'Tianaigh and Padraig Boyle to mention a few. Tony competed in both Club and Open events travelling around the country and even to World Championships abroad. His early crews included Gilmore O'Neill and Davy McBride and the stories are legion of the banter and crack had by anyone in Tony's party either in Sutton or indeed at an event. Tony struck up a very close friendship with well known GP14 sailor Riocaird O'Tiarnaigh becoming the best of pals and regularly travelling to events together, however, friendship turned to intense rivalry when the pair hit the water. According to former GP14 sailor and close friend Padraig Boyle, the stories about Tony and Riocaird are such that "you could write a book". Tony was Commodore in Sutton between 1986 and 1988 and played a hugely active role in fundraising and helping improve sailing facilities through his term and beyond into the late 90s. This was a period of significant racing achievement at both senior and youth levels with the Club and its sailors at the forefront of the GP14, IDRA14 and indeed the Mirror fleets.

Tony On Ireland's Eye in the 1990sTony On Ireland's Eye in 1990

One such luminary is former All Ireland Sailing Champions Ruan O'Tiarnaigh who began his GP14 career crewing for Tony in 1981 in Fingal Runner (#12142). Ruan recounted this week, "We club raced and competed on the Irish GP14 circuit, making lifelong friends along the length and breadth of Ireland. We also competed in a number of World Championships, firstly in Mumbles in Wales where the 13m tide required a slipway which Tony christened, 'Cardiac Hill'. Tony encouraged me greatly and allowed me to take over calling tactics on the water. In 1984 Tony couldn't make the Nationals at East Down Yacht Club, but he generously offered me the boat if I could get a crew. This began my sailing with fellow Sutton Dinghy Club member, Stephen Boyle, a partnership that continues to this day. Tony encouraged me to read around the subject of tactics and recommended such titles as 'The Tactics of Small Boat Racing' and 'Advanced Racing Tactics'. Tony was instrumental in me becoming the sailor that I am today and for that, I shall be forever thankful."

Ruan also remembers the commitment to the Club and its members and its visitors. "Tony was a very generous club member and I remember well coming down to an Annual Prize Giving at the club when he was Commodore to find him with a jar of Brasso, polishing the Club Sign before the guests, visitors and members arrived, whatever he did was done as well as possible. But mostly I remember Tony for the fun that was had at Sutton throughout the '80s and '90s. The dinners, the whole roasted venison which Tony shot on one of his hunting trips in the Wicklow mountains which was cooked, it is reputed, in the ovens at Dublin Airport and transported whole to Sutton Dinghy Club by Ambulance. The Irish Coffee Mornings on Easter Monday, Grand National day. The piper piping accompanied by SDC members singing and marching around the clubhouse to 'The Sash' much to the shock, amazement and delight of our Northern visitors on the occasion that the Leinsters were hosted in Sutton on the weekend of 'The Twelfth'. The fact that Tony personally phoned each and every GP14 club in the country twice before that GP14 Leinster Championships, resulting in 78 boats on the startline, is surely a record entry to this day. Tony, with Pauline by his side, were fantastic members and friends. For me Tony was always greeted with 'Hello Helm' and his response was always 'Hello Crew'. 'The Craic' as they say was mighty and they are both very much missed."

Tony was also a member of Howth Yacht Club and shared a cruiser-racer with friends and fellow GP14 sailors Pat Murphy and Declan Gray.

As mentioned, Tony had a tremendous sense of humour and one of the best stories was recounted to me during the week by Curly Morris, the current President of the GP14 International Class. The pair became very good friends through sailing and regularly stayed in each other’s houses. Curly remembers that Tony would tell everybody that his house on Sutton Creek was built on piles. Architecturally and financially correct as much of the money came from operations on haemorrhoids!

In later years, with Pauline's illness, Tony was a more infrequent visitor but still made the time to drop in to support significant events such as when the Club held the GP14 Championship of Ireland back in 2013 and when after a gap of 16 years Sutton held and re-captured the Book Trophy from our rivals Royal Cork Yacht Club in 2014. Tony attended our annual dinner in the company of Pat Murphy and friends a number of years ago.

Tony Clery was a one-off and his time in Sutton Dinghy Club and within the GP14 Ireland fleet is fondly remembered by all those who knew and met him. The Sutton Dinghy Club Committee would like to extend its thoughts and condolences to his son Tony, his daughter Elizabeth, his brothers and sisters and extended family and friends.

Finally, in the words of Ruan, "Goodbye Helm"

AJ

Published in Dublin Bay, GP14, Howth YC
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Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland stretches over seven kilometres, from Howth Head on its northern tip to Dalkey Island in the south. It's a place most Dubliners simply take for granted, and one of the capital's least visited places. But there's more going on out there than you'd imagine.

The biggest boating centre is at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Bay's south shore that is home to over 1,500 pleasure craft, four waterfront yacht clubs and Ireland's largest marina.

The bay is rather shallow with many sandbanks and rocky outcrops, and was notorious in the past for shipwrecks, especially when the wind was from the east. Until modern times, many ships and their passengers were lost along the treacherous coastline from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, less than a kilometre from shore.

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south. North Bull Island is situated in the northwest part of the bay, where one of two major inshore sandbanks lie, and features a 5 km long sandy beach, Dollymount Strand, fronting an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve. Many of the rivers of Dublin reach the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay: the River Liffey, with the River Dodder flow received less than 1 km inland, River Tolka, and various smaller rivers and streams.

Dublin Bay FAQs

There are approximately ten beaches and bathing spots around Dublin Bay: Dollymount Strand; Forty Foot Bathing Place; Half Moon bathing spot; Merrion Strand; Bull Wall; Sandycove Beach; Sandymount Strand; Seapoint; Shelley Banks; Sutton, Burrow Beach

There are slipways on the north side of Dublin Bay at Clontarf, Sutton and on the southside at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and in Dalkey at Coliemore and Bulloch Harbours.

Dublin Bay is administered by a number of Government Departments, three local authorities and several statutory agencies. Dublin Port Company is in charge of navigation on the Bay.

Dublin Bay is approximately 70 sq kilometres or 7,000 hectares. The Bay is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and seven km in length east-west to its peak at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the southside of the Bay has an East and West Pier, each one kilometre long; this is one of the largest human-made harbours in the world. There also piers or walls at the entrance to the River Liffey at Dublin city known as the Great North and South Walls. Other harbours on the Bay include Bulloch Harbour and Coliemore Harbours both at Dalkey.

There are two marinas on Dublin Bay. Ireland's largest marina with over 800 berths is on the southern shore at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The other is at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey close to Dublin City.

Car and passenger Ferries operate from Dublin Port to the UK, Isle of Man and France. A passenger ferry operates from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Howth as well as providing tourist voyages around the bay.

Dublin Bay has two Islands. Bull Island at Clontarf and Dalkey Island on the southern shore of the Bay.

The River Liffey flows through Dublin city and into the Bay. Its tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac.

Dollymount, Burrow and Seapoint beaches

Approximately 1,500 boats from small dinghies to motorboats to ocean-going yachts. The vast majority, over 1,000, are moored at Dun Laoghaire Harbour which is Ireland's boating capital.

In 1981, UNESCO recognised the importance of Dublin Bay by designating North Bull Island as a Biosphere because of its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife. To support sustainable development, UNESCO’s concept of a Biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity. To fulfil these broader management aims for the ecosystem, the Biosphere was expanded in 2015. The Biosphere now covers Dublin Bay, reflecting its significant environmental, economic, cultural and tourism importance, and extends to over 300km² to include the bay, the shore and nearby residential areas.

On the Southside at Dun Laoghaire, there is the National Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as Dublin Bay Sailing Club. In the city centre, there is Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. On the Northside of Dublin, there is Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club and Sutton Dinghy Club. While not on Dublin Bay, Howth Yacht Club is the major north Dublin Sailing centre.

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