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As Irish sailing waits for guidance that yacht racing can resume under COVID-19 regulations at some point this summer, there can be no doubting the preparations of Dublin Bay Sailing Club in order to get back on the race track just as soon as it is feasible.

The country's biggest yacht racing club surveyed members at the start of the season and found overwhelming support for racing when it was safe to do so but so far the club has had to remain in postponed mode since first races for the 250-boat fleet were originally scheduled on April 25th.

Following the government roadmap announcement on May 1, DBSC says it is 'encouraged [about the prospect of racing] but needs to wait for formal guidance from Irish Sailing'.

The club has an extensive network of marks required to be laid each summer season and despite this year's postponement, DBSC is poised to get going with some of the club's latest illuminated ten foot conical marks already in the water. They're moored in a dedicated berth at Dun Laoghaire Marina and ready for deployment at a moment's notice.

Until then, racers are in holding pattern. And, As Afloat's WM Nixon remarked recently, there needs to be some patience shown. "Key officers in central organisations like Dublin Bay Sailing Club get unduly pestered by people demanding to know when real racing is going to start,when the fact is that to a considerable extent we have to make it up as we go along, for society has never dealt with a pandemic of this scale and aggression".

Published in DBSC

How many other front-line sailing administrators anywhere in the world would have noted the February announcement of the postponement of the new James Bond movie’s global premiere in London from early March 2020 away back until November, and immediately realised that this profoundly affected their own organisation’s sailing plans for 2020?

Yet Jonathan Nicholson, Commodore of the 136-year-old Dublin Bay Sailing Club, was right there.

“The people running the James Bond franchise are producing the most successful longterm film brand in the world. And in addition to the antennae of their huge fan base, their financial muscle is such that they can access research findings and semi-secret scientific and medical information, plus commercial insight, which may even be denied to national governments. Before most organisations, they knew how bad it was going to be, and acted swiftly.

So when the announcement was made, I told the DBSC committee that this suggested a completely game-changing lockdown was on the way, and we needed to start preparing ourselves and talking to other harbour stake-holders about the inevitability of a limited Dublin Bay sailing season in 2020, a truncated season like nothing that has ever been seen before outside wartime.”

2 jonathan nicholson2Jonathan Nicholson, Commodore of Dublin Bay Sailing Club, which is possibly the largest specifically yacht racing club in the world

Jonathan Nicholson was so far ahead of the curve that for a while he was in a different orbit, though the lateral thinking he was displaying was also seen in Howth, where the Organising Committee for the Wave Regatta - scheduled for the end of May - promptly re-set it well into the Autumn on September 11th to 13th.

This was done at a time when most folk thought the basic season – both local, national and international - might yet be saved. And some clung to that optimism for a remarkably long time. Thus for the rest of us, right now is the weekend where we find we really are looking into the black abyss of the major cancellations which have blown away much of the international sailing season of 2020 around Ireland. For although it’s staged annually on the other side of the North Channel, the time-honoured Scottish Series based at Tarbert on Loch Fyne in the final UK Bank Holiday of May has always attracted a significant contingent of hardy Irish cruiser-racers.

3 Scottish series racing3Scottish Series racing in 2019 off Tarbert, when conditions were as varied as they are this weekend with the regatta cancelled. You could be getting sailing like this on bright blue water as the sun glints on the snow still atop the mountains of nearby Arran. Photo: Marc Turner/CCC 

Sometimes they’ve been from very distant parts of Ireland. But wherever the home ports to which they eventually return may be, over the years they’ve returned with more than their fair share of the major Scottish trophies to launch their international and national season. And even for those cruiser-racers in Ireland that don’t take on the sometimes formidable logistical challenge of a campaign on Loch Fyne with its often volatile late Spring weather, the fact of it having taken place is a major marker for the new season being properly under way.

4 andrew craig cup4 Memories, memories – Andrew Craig with the supreme trophy at Tarbert, Monday May 27th 2019. He was to be declared the “Sailor of the Month” for May 2019 on Saturday June 1st – his birthday

Its non-staging this weekend really does bring home to us the level of programme destruction which has been wreaked. For sure, we don’t have to look beyond Ireland’s shores to be aware of major cancellations whose dates have already been passed. But the fact that key fixtures such as the Irish Sailing Youth National Championship in Howth from 16th to 19th April was scrubbed didn’t seem so total, for surely there’lI be other junior events in Ireland which can be given added stature once the season gets under way in some form?

Then too, ISORA races in the Irish Sea in April and May haven’t taken place, and neither have the regular club early season sailing programmes all round our coast. However, they’re in or near Ireland, and if we can just get sailing going, we can work on substitute events of some sort, so their loss doesn’t seem as total as the Scottish void.

5 youth nationals5Toppers racing in the annual Irish Sailing Youth Nationals. When the 2020 staging at Howth for 16th to 19th April was cancelled, the Covid-19 pandemic was at its height in Ireland, but as the Youth Natinals were an in-Ireland event, it was felt that some of the competition could be subsumed into other junior events later in the year as sailing resumed

But the Scottish Series 2020 is gone, gone utterly, and gone so completely that at this stage it isn’t good for our mindset to become nostalgic about some of the heroically successful Irish campaigns through it in times past. Instead, its complete absence should be quietly noted while we focus on how best to make use of a season whose long-planned international pillar events have been blown away, yet with every passing day it seems to offer some form of a possible racing programme afloat for the home fleet.

But that is only the case provided the virus-combatting programme can continue it current steady success, though it was alarming to note this week that the relevant authorities have only just added the loss of a sense of smell or taste as important possible indicators of Covid-19 infection. The World Health Organisation has been telling us this for months, most reasonably switched-on folk have long since taken it on board, and it does make you wonder what’s going on in Ireland’s corridors of epidemological power if they’ve only just decided to go public with these very useful indicators.

6 annalise murphy wins silver6Annalise Murphy on her way to securing the Silver Medal at the Rio Olympics, August 16th 2016. At times like this, everyone in Ireland is a sailor. But when regulations are being imposed to combat a pandemic, we are seen as a minority sport, and have to defend our corner and come up with our own creative solutions. 

In taking a broader view of this all, we’re reminded yet again that sailing and boat sports are still a minority activity in Ireland, even if public interest perks up no end when an Olympic medal is brought into the picture. That’s as may be, but for people who go afloat, and particularly for those who own boats or are in charge of them, there’s a feeling of square pegs being forced into round holes, of coastal regulations being drafted by officials who are rather more aware of the rules of the road ashore and the regulation of shoreside public places than they are of the realities of getting a boat around the sea, lake, river or canal.

7 howth aerial7The ideal laboratory for testing the return of sailing? With its relatively isolated location in a secured compound in the middle of a harbour at the end of a peninsula, the Howth Yacht Club marina/clubhouse complex provides a versatile controlled facility to monitor the post-pandemic resumption of sailing.

In getting things going again, Howth provides a perfect laboratory setting for the experiment, so much so that perhaps the place would be best run by clinically-qualified personnel in white coats. That’s as may be, but as the Howth Yacht Club marina/clubhouse complex is in a distinct enclosed compound isolated in the middle of a harbour which is in turn on the end of a peninsula connected to nearby Ireland only by a very narrow isthmus, it’s all a very manageable control setup.

HYC Commodore Ian Byrne is enthusiastically leading his members afloat this weekend as they pioneer a return to structured sailing, a return which will be observed by other sailing centres and monitored by the authorities in charge of the Covid-19 Lockdown-easing regulations, some of which are open to several interpretations.

8 ian byrne8The pioneer. Howth Yacht Club Commodore Ian Byrne has played the leading role in his club’s planning to resume sailing this weekend. He is seen here speaking at the ceremony when Howth YC became the Mitsubishi Motors Sailing Club of the Year 2019. Photo: John Deane

The conflicting interpretations could become most acute in Dun Laoghaire, with the largest single concentration of boats in Ireland. Whatever about the Harbour Authorities still struggling to find their way since the running of this magnificent, historic and very useful structure was transferred to Dun Laoghaire and Rathdown County Council, the four waterfront yacht clubs - and their over-arching racing authority in Dublin Bay Sailing Club - have to be exemplary in the efficiency of their administration, for they achieve a very great deal within very limited waterfront spaces.

Thus a visitor to a Dun Laoghaire club – particularly in winter – can sometimes be surprised to find that all the space around the club is filled with boats. For in addition to providing all the traditional amenities of a yacht club, the waterfront of Dun Laoghaire is so unevenly organised and lacking in standard yacht harbour commercial facilities in any profusion – for instance, MGM Boats have the harbour’s only Travelhoist – that the yacht clubs have had to develop themselves as boat storage and maintenance units in addition to providing everything else you expect in a classic yacht club from billiard championship tables through hospitable bars and well-stocked libraries and modern and extensive changing facilities to fine dining rooms.

9 riyc aerial9The Royal Irish Yacht Club in summer, with dry-sailed keelboats at the east end of the extensive hard-standing area. In winter, this entire space is filled with member’s boats. Under the current Covi-19 delay, the annual lift-in scheduled for 29th March was changed to a phased process from 18th May, and normality will have resumed by the end of June.

It is all done so well that most sailors wouldn’t wish it any other way, even if the Dun Laoghaire club boat storage arrangement is akin to the sacred lawns beside the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes being filled with the members boats during the off-season. Yet in order to function smoothly, it all has to be run with almost military precision, and the successful implementation of annual lift-in day at each club is key to it all.

10 rys aerial10The Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes. Were it based in Dun Laoghaire, the hallowed lawn on the right in the photo would be used for members’ boat storage during the winter. Photo Rolex.

But once this massive exercise in logistics and combined effort is completed, there will be a significant fleet of boats in Dun Laoghaire ready and keen to go sailing in mid-June, with their owners expecting that sailing to be administered with the same efficiency as their shoreside arrangements, and this is where Dublin Bay Sailing Club comes in, still thinking nimbly on its feet despite having been founded way back in 1884.

But as Commodore Jonathan Nicholson ruefully admits, with such a large organisation having to work in co-ordination with so many other clubs and bodies while keeping its own membership happy, “there may be times when we can alter course as quickly as a rally car making a handbrake turn, but at other time you’d be reminded of the supertanker which continues in the same heading for six miles after the rudder has been put across”.

He combines the wide experience of an active cruiser-racing enthusiast –he recently traded up from a vintage 34ft Dehler DB to a Frers-designed Puma 42 – with the busy mind of an innovative thinker, and no sooner had the enormity of the coming closedown become apparent than he was thinking: “This is a crisis which we mustn’t allow to go to waste”. 

11 red rhum family11Jonathan Nicholson with the Dehler DB Red Rhum demonstrating the kind of “family & household” crewing arrangements which are required under the regulations. Photo: O’Brien

So where in a normal year all DBSC administrative energy would have been poured into being ready for racing in a programme instantly into its full-powered multi-course activity on 22nd April, Jonathan Nicholson and DBSC Honorary Secretary Chris Moore and other key officers were using the unexpected opportunity to develop much more positive relations with other harbour users, such that when some semblance of normality returns to sailing and harbour user’s generally, there’ll be a more active structure available among the “consumer” bodies to advise about what the market really needs.

As to the reality of dates, while everyone emphasises that we have to be prepared to accept that it may all change from day to day as the latest Covid-19 figures are analysed and the experience from Howth is dissected, at the moment in Dun Laoghaire the semi-official view is that there’ll be informal short-handed and household sailing in mid-June and possibly earlier, things will accelerate by 28th June at the latest, and the realistic (or should that be the most pessimistic) opinion is that full sailing will be on from July 20th.

DBSC FreebirdFreebird, one of the DBSC Committee Boats, which will be healthily isolated from shore gatherings, and managed by a regulation-compatible crew. Photo:

That’s what should be possible on the water, where another aspect is that health-certified crews in ISORA events may be able to complete their offshore events based on entirely on race trackers. But it’s when there’s a significant shoreside element to it all that completely new factors of maintaining social distance from relative strangers from outside your safety bubble comes into the equation, so much so that Jonathan Nicholson can chuckle as he contemplates a scenario whereby Dublin Bay Sailing Club can complete a reasonably comprehensive season afloat while complying with regulations, yet when his time to stand down after his period as Commodore comes at the AGM in November, it mightn’t be a crowded and busy AGM in the classic and time-honoured DBSC style, but rather we’ll see an austere though technically-complex Zoom-facilitated gathering of virtual communication.

Whatever develops, we can be sure that as June moves on, the impressive DBSC programme will gradually come on stream as the fluid situation develops, such that by July there’ll be those impressive DBSC Thursday turnouts of cruiser-racers on such a scale that if there’s a demand for a pop-up or flash-mob regatta to fill the void of cancelled established events, it’s not unreasonable to point out that, in effect, Dublin Bay Sailing Club stages a big fleet Twilight Regatta every Thursday evening.

13 dublin bay sailing13On the edge of the city, under the hills and mountains….Dublin Bay sailing is at such a level that, in effect, a complete Twilight Regatta is sailed every Thursday evening between April and September. Photo: O’Brien

The magic ingredient is that almost everyone taking part lives in the South Dublin area. Extensive travel and the shoreside mixing of strangers is not a significant factor. Yet while Dun Laoghaire can contemplate all this taking shape before the end of June, down in Kinsale they’ve had to cancel the Dragon Gold Cup scheduled for September, as it would involve global travel and much shoreside socialising, and there’ll be parts of the world where Covid-19 is still rampant, while in other parts the much-mentioned Autumnal Second Wave might already be under way by that time.

As it is now, the fact that we’re all very much in this together – and rightly so – does mean that at times it’s as though the entire population is like a wartime Transatlantic convoy, obliged to travel at the speed of the slowest ship. Thus although there are reasonably fit and healthy cohorts of society - such as the more active members of the sailing community - who are surely less at risk than many other groups, the official policy on phased easing of the Lockdown restrictions is definitely skewed towards the recovery speeds of the more vulnerable groups.

The care of the most vulnerable members of a society is a good indicator of its civilization. But after more than two months of economically-debilitating lockdown, there’s a danger that the conscientiously civilised society will find itself in a situation where destitution is inevitable, and far from continuing to be civilised, the Law of the Jungle will start to take over unless a balanced and timely relaxation of Lockdown takes place.

In times of emergency, the provision of essential services may be seen as paramount. But where does the line get drawn between essential services and popular activities with a positive economic input?

14 mgm boats aerial14A significant income generator in a modern industry – the MGM Boats boatyard in Dun Laoghaire at the centre of this photo may not have been part of the original plan for the Harbour 200 years ago, but it is now one of several economically-important units functioning in today’s recreationally-oriented port. Photo: Barrow Coakley/Simon Coate

It’s not so long ago that the sports and hospitality industries would not have been regarded as serious economic activities, yet nowadays their contribution to GDP is much greater than that of many of the brutal old heavy industries, and in crudely measureable financial terms, they’re right up there with our beloved agriculture, however much that agriculture may have in greater socioeconomic significance.

So however much the powers-that-be are engrossed in their pandemic-dealing manoeuvrings with at least one eye always on the popular vote, it’s reassuring to know that in our main sailing centres, there are efficient and imaginative club officers who take the situation as they find it, and devise feasible programmes which benefit their members and the sport in general.

Published in DBSC

Although a few countries are still to ease their lockdowns, sailing is restarting around the world, including Ireland where a Coastguard advisory was lifted this morning and boating with social distancing made its debut as Irish clubs and marinas reopened to boat owners.

Sailing with a crew made up from the same household is now possible subject to the constraints of taking leisure pursuits within five km from a person’s home and returning to the harbour of departure.

As we see a return to the water, sailing clubs are looking at the next stages and the restarting of yacht racing.

With aggressive social distancing measures in place, running yacht races with a traditional race management set-up and lots of people crammed onto a committee boat is going to be difficult and so is conventional crewed racing. 

The UK based RestartSailing Group have been exploring simpler race formats and a number of GPS tracking apps are emerging that allows Simple Racing to be run automatically. It's a virtual format that has been tried with success by leading offshore body ISORA who have been using virtual courses for its offshore league racing since 2012

There is certainly a demand for racing with Dublin Bay Sailing Club members voting overwhelmingly for a return late last month.

Olympic sailor Mark Mansfield has already offered suggestions on how racing can restart by reducing crew numbers in a bid to comply with two-metre social distancing rules. 

As Afloat's WM Nixon said last Saturday, Irish sailors need flexible thinking and tolerance in their emergence from Covid-19 if we are to get the scene going again otherwise the 2020 sailing season will look like a desert.

A poll on the UK based RestartSailing Facebook Group indicated that 41% of clubs have opened, with 45% in the planning stages of opening shortly and 14% unable to open due to external factors.

The pressure group have set up a Simple Racing Group to consider this new format if you are interested in getting involved you can join here

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There has been overwhelming support from a Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) survey to going racing this season despite the problems posed by COVID-19.

The anonymous survey got a response from over half of DBSC's 1,200 members There showed 'huge support for extending the season and reformatted Tuesday racing for the keelboat and cruiser fleets'.

Following the government roadmap announcement last Friday (1st of May), DBSC says it is 'encouraged but needs to wait for formal guidance from Irish Sailing'.

White sails option

Club Commodore Jonathan Nicholson says the survey also showed a white sails option to reduce crew numbers was popular. 

'This and other options need further consideration along with a dialogue with the DBSC class captains' Nicholson says, for the massive 250-boat fleet.

Support for running two DBSC races on Saturdays was less clear cut but maybe considered based on the season start date.

Adapting the DBSC format

There was near-unanimous support for adapting the race formats given the new constraints that DBSC will be operating under.

The responses are summarised below by DBSC on its website as follows: 

Intentions to race this season?

This question was posed a number of times, albeit with a different perspective. Of particular note is the response to the question “Having spent time thinking about this and looking at some of the options DBSC is thinking about how likely are you now to join this season”. 75% of responses were either likely or very likely to join. There is also considerable support for entering regardless of the start date of the season.

What facilities are needed to race?

There is a need for changing rooms etc. to be addressed especially for dinghy and smaller keelboat classes, whilst access to food and bar was considered a nice to have, this was not deemed a deterrent to racing.

Given the nature of this season what revisions to the programme would be welcome?

There was huge support for extending the season and reformatted Tuesday racing for the keelboat and cruiser fleets. Support for running two races on Saturdays was less clear cut but maybe considered based on the season start date. The white sails option to reduce crew numbers was popular. This and other options need further consideration along with a dialogue with the class captains. There was near-unanimous support for adapting the race formats given the new constraints that we will be operating under.

Interpreting the comments is more complex. While many people identified themselves, the survey remains anonymous. All feedback, which was overwhelmingly positive, was considered.

We absolutely recognise there is a concern about personal safety and we will only run racing when the government and Irish Sailing have given their approval and the waterfront clubs are ready to support this activity in a safe and responsible manner. Moreover, rest assured that DBSC will prioritise the safety of all the volunteers who make our racing possible. We acknowledge we may have a reduced number of entries this year as unfortunately, it will not be possible for all members of our club and community to race this summer.

In summary, there is a very clear appetite to go racing.

In a week when Ireland's biggest yacht racing club was due to start its summer schedule, Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) is instead surveying members in lockdown for their thoughts on the prospect of racing on the Bay later this summer as the COVID-19 emergency greatly affects 2020 Irish sailing fixtures.

The survey is being conducted as the club sees a delayed start to the season and 'potentially reduced budgets and resources'.

In the online poll, Commodore Jonathan Nicholson urges as many skippers and crew to complete the three short questions to help the club decide what can be offered. 

The club is the umbrella organisation that runs year-round racing for members from all Dun Laoghaire Harbour's waterfront yacht clubs; the National Yacht Club, the Royal St. George Yacht Club, the Royal Irish Yacht Club and the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as sailors based at the town marina.

"We want to try and plan for this as best we can in order to deliver our members the best possible racing, as soon as it is safe to do so," Nicholson tells members.

SB20 dbsc2020 1230The Dublin Bay SB20 sportsboat fleet Photo: Afloat

The 2020 DBSC season was due to start on the capital's waters this Saturday for over 250 boats in 20 classes and some estimated 1,500 sailors.

As Afloat previously reported, the timing of the questionnaire is in line with Sport Ireland's own bid to frame protocols for a return to sport with social distancing. Protocols for sailing are being drawn up by Irish Sailing, according to its CEO Harry Hermon yesterday.

"How likely are you to race should your club bar, restaurant and changing rooms remain closed?" 

The DBSC survey says 'We would like to know your initial thoughts before you think too deeply about this season. Please answer this question without thinking too hard! We will ask it again when we have outlined some options.

The multiple-choice survey's first question probes 'Given the current situation with COVID 19 if all rules were relaxed and we could go sailing from the 1st of June how likely are you to join DBSC this year? Answer options range from Very likely to Very Unlikely.

The second question is "How important to your decision to go racing is the Apres Sail at your club? How likely are you to race should your club bar, restaurant and changing rooms remain closed?" 

Published in DBSC

The Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) buoyant Cruiser Two fleet has an A31-type yacht added to its number this season. 

The French-built Archambault A31 is arguably one of the most competitive IRC boats of its size. The new arrival is a National Yacht Club campaign that will be moored at Dun Laoghaire Marina. A sistership La Republique from Liverpool competes on the Irish Sea in ISORA racing but this new arrival is the only A31 in Ireland.

The A31 is a 31’4” (9.55m) cruiser-racer sailboat designed by Joubert Nivelt Design (France). She was built between 2009 and 2017 by Archambault (France) and BG Race (France).

The A31 design comes straight off the back of the successful larger Archambault A35 of which there are several in Ireland including the Sovereign's Cup winner Fools Gold from Waterford. Another A35, Gringo, is a club mate of this Bay new arrival at the NYC and another A35 Endgame campaigns from Royal Cork.

Starlight for DBSC Cruiser Five

In Cruiser Division Five, the white sails division, a Starlight 35 has also joined the fleet. The new addition comes from the Hamble to Ireland.

DBSC Cruiser Zero fleet expands

As Afloat reported previously, the DBSC Cruiser Zero fleet was also boosted for this season when El Pocko, a German Frers Puma 42, arrived at the  Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. It is the second new addition for the Bay's big boat class. 

In January the First 40 La Response, formerly known as Courier Zen and a veteran of several Commodore's Cup teams joined the fleet. The RIYC boat is a fillip to a now eight-boat (or more) DBSC Cruiser Zero class racing that itself was in question only a couple of years ago.

ElPocko SternThe angular stern of the Frers design

Racing in Dublin Bay Sailing Club has been postponed this year but the hope is for the season to get underway at some point.

Published in DBSC

The opening of Dublin Bay Sailing Club's summer season scheduled for the last week in April has been postponed due to Government Covid-19 measures. The revised start date is so far unknown. 

The club, one of the largest yacht racing clubs in Europe, is the umbrella organisation for weekly yacht racing on Dublin Bay for all the waterfront yacht clubs in Dun Laoghaire.

The first races for a combined fleet of up to 250 boats were scheduled to get underway on Tuesday, April 25.

It was inevitable, however, when waterfront clubs lift-ins were postponed at the weekend that it would impact on DBSC arrangements. 

"Even before the latest measures were introduced it was almost inconceivable that our sailing season would start on time. As such DBSC is following the waterfront clubs and postponing the start of the season until the current situation improves, " DBSC Commodore Jonathan Nicholson said in a statement on the club website.

Significantly, however, Nicholson, also added: "DBSC is still working on the premise that there will be racing this year and are preparing accordingly". 

Published in DBSC

Next week's final race of the Dublin Bay Sailing Club's Citroen South Spring Chicken Series and prizegiving have been postponed until September and it will be 'reviewed' at that time.

The decision for the National Yacht Club hosted event comes in the wake of this weekend's Coronavirus emergency measures.

DBSC's Summer season is scheduled for this April. First Race dates as follows: Saturday, April 25; Tuesday, April 28; Wednesday, April 29 and Thursday, April 30.

Published in Dublin Bay

After four races sailed of the DBSC Spring Chicken Series, the 1720 sportsboat Ricochet leads overall with one race of the series left to sail on March 22nd. 

Second overall in the Citroen South sponsored fixture is the Sigma 38 State O'Chassis with third place overall taken by the J109 Dear Prudence.

As Afloat reported earlier, the fourth race on Sunday morning featured a southerly downwind course to Dalkey from Dublin Bay.

Download overall results below.

Published in DBSC

There was good news for DBSC Spring Chicken Series sailors who successfully completed their fourth race of the series in strong westerly winds this morning on Dublin Bay. The gusty conditions, however, proved too much for the DMYC Dinghy Frostbites this afternoon and unfortunately, that fixture was cancelled.

The 50-boat Citroen South sponsored Spring Chicken fleet sailed south to Dalkey Island passing a turning mark in the middle of Scotsman's Bay with some of the competitors –  especially the sportsboats – hoisting spinnakers for the relatively tight downwind leg.

Spring Chicken Racing forty foot 0459A tight downwind leg for J109s off the Forty Foot on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat

The final race of the DBSC series (the added extra race) will take place on March 22nd.

Published in DBSC
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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.

© Afloat 2020