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Dublin Bay Boating News and Information

Displaying items by tag: Dublin Bay Sailing Club

Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) has introduced a new cruiser Four Non-Spinnaker Open Class for the 2021 season.

"The new class is In response to the increasing demand for short-handed and non-spinnaker cruiser racing as reported in a number of recent articles in Afloat", according to DBSC Commodore Ann Kirwan.

This new class initiative is for those who want competitive performance racing without the use of Spinnakers, Gennakers and Bloopers. It will suit those who like sailing short-handed or even fully crewed and want the fun of racing without the need to handle spinnakers etc.

Significantly, furling headsails – often a bone of contention in white sails racing – will not be mandatory.

DBSC's existing Cruisers 5 class will continue to be a separate class racing under their White Sails Class rules that mandate furling headsails.

Boats with a valid ECHO handicap cert, and/or a non-spinnaker IRC TCF of .820 or above and who conform to the DBSC Cruisers 4 Non-Spinnaker class rules shall be eligible to apply for entry.

A final decision on entry will be under the direction of the DBSC Committee.

Boats for the new DBSC class four must be monohull, with a minimum of 2 sleeping bunks, internal seating accommodation for 4 persons. In addition, they must have an inboard engine, at least one head and a cooker.Boats for the new DBSC class four must be monohull, with a minimum of 2 sleeping bunks, internal seating accommodation for 4 persons. In addition, they must have an inboard engine, at least one head and a cooker

The rules for the new class are below. 

DBSC Cruisers 4 Non-Spinnaker Open Class:

  • Boats with a valid ECHO handicap cert, and/or a non-spinnaker IRC TCF of .820 or above and who conform to the DBSC Cruisers 4 Non-Spinnaker class rules shall be eligible to apply for entry. The final decision on entry will be under the direction of the DBSC Committee
  • Boats must be monohull, with a minimum of 2 sleeping bunks, internal seating accommodation for 4 persons. In addition, they must have an inboard engine, at least one head and a cooker.
  • Boats shall display the Numeral Pennant “4” on their backstay.
  • Boats who wish to race under ECHO and/or IRC handicap shall have a current valid certificate. New entrants to the class may be given an initial loading of up to 10% on their ECHO handicap.
  • Only a single headsail shall be used while racing.
  • Sail identification number on mainsail is required.
  • Spinnakers, Bloopers, Gennakers, Code Zero or similar sails are not allowed.
  • Whisker or spinnaker poles are allowed for headsails.
Published in DBSC

Dublin Bay Sailing Club Commodore Ann Kirwan says the club aims to start its 2021 summer race series in mid-May despite the lack of clear guidance for the sport following last night's cautious easing of lockdown restrictions by the Government. 

This means the country's largest yacht racing club will start approximately three weeks later than its normal start date at the end of April.

As Afloat previously reported, DBSC has confirmed plans for the 2021 season despite its Winter and Spring racing hiatus and preparations are now well underway.

The club runs year-round racing for up to 300 yachts and dinghies in over 20 different classes.

Kirwan told Afloat, "Despite the lack of clarity in the Government announcement, DBSC is still hopeful that we may begin our season in some form before mid-May". 

Dublin Bay Sailing Club Commodore Ann KirwanDublin Bay Sailing Club Commodore Ann Kirwan

“A lot of work has to be done behind the scenes to provide the standard of racing everyone knows and expects,” Rear Commodore Jacqueline McStay says.

“The racing sub-committee is preparing the courses, whilst committee member Philip Ferguson with the help of Chris Moore is checking and working on the marks so they are ready to be deployed in the bay by mid-April.”

Entries for the country's biggest sailing league are materialising with Cruisers Five fleet receiving the biggest early entry for the AIB-sponsored Summer Series.

The Government has announced the phased easing of some Covid-19 restrictions during the month of April.

They plan to continue this cautious approach, gradually easing restrictions, while a substantial level of the population are vaccinated during April, May and June, after which, it should be safe to reopen society more widely.

The Taoiseach said from April 19 some additional high-performance training will be allowed, including senior inter-county GAA training to facilitate national league competitions starting in May.

He said training for high performing athletes approved by Sport Ireland will also be allowed. 

Mr Martin said from April 26 outdoor sports training for under 18s can begin again.

He said golf and outdoor tennis can be played and there will be a return to 'distanced sport' but it is still unclear as to what interpretation is being given to sailing.

Published in DBSC

Dublin Bay Sailing Club's Cruisers Five fleet has the biggest early entry for 2021’s AIB-sponsored Summer Series due to start next month. 

Entries for the country's biggest sailing league are materialising even though there is no clarity yet on the scheduled April 25th start date due to current lockdown restrictions.

Division Five also known as the 'White Sails' or the 'Non-Spinnaker' category have 12 entries received so far (from a possible 29 of previous years) for summer racing for prizes that include the Burford Trophy for the best performance on IRC on Thursday night racing, typically the biggest DBSC turnout of the week.

Popular J109s race in DBSC Cruisers One division Photo: AfloatPopular J109s race in DBSC Cruisers One division Photo: Afloat

The White Sails have the most entries of the IRC divisions so far with the hotly contested Cruisers One division with nine entries in.

In the one designs, Six Beneteau 211s are entered and five Flying Fifteens

Although it had a massive entry of 65 boats in 2020 and another big entry is expected again, so far there are only three single-handed Laser dinghies signed up.

All the entries can be viewed live on the DBSC site here

Glen keelboats are among DBSC's 20 classes preparing for the 2021 season Photo: AfloatGlen keelboats are among DBSC's 20 classes preparing for the 2021 season Photo: Afloat

DBSC has confirmed plans for the 2021 season despite its Winter and Spring racing hiatus with preparations well underway for April “A lot of work has to be done behind the scenes to provide the standard of racing everyone knows and expects,” Rear Commodore Jacqueline McStay says.

“The racing sub-committee is preparing the courses, whilst committee member Philip Ferguson with the help of Chris Moore is checking and working on the marks so they are ready to be deployed in the bay by mid-April.”

“We are working to ensure we are ready for the off!”, McStay says.

Published in DBSC

Dublin Bay Sailing Club's (DBSC) 18-boat Cruiser Two fleet has elected a new Class Captain for its 2021 season following its online AGM this week.

The DBSC Cruiser 2/Sigma33 AGM was held via ViCo on 04.02.2021. The current Class Captain, Lindsay J. Casey, welcomed all attendees and gave a brief review of the DBSC 2020 Summer Season noting that the class had been fortunate to have Dublin Bay racing in the period July – September 2020.

The DBSC Cruisers Two fleet comprises a mix of popular yacht designs including Sigma 33s, Corby 26s, X99s, and J97s among others. 

Lindsay congratulated DBSC for the expertise and dedication of their volunteers in organising racing in such difficult and uncertain circumstances. Despite the relatively short season, it was enjoyed and appreciated by all who participated. He thanked the Race officers and all the volunteers on Mac Lir.

Windjammer J97The DBSC Cruisers Two (2597) Windjammer (Lindsay J. Casey/ Denis Power) from the RStGYC Photo: Afloat

Lindsay also advised that he was standing down as Class Captain. He welcomed the newly elected Class Captain, Frank Cleere, wishing him every success. Frank is a very keen yachtsman with approximately 20 year's sailing experience since he started sailing when he was 9 years old. He has had considerable experience racing in Cruisers 2 as a member of the J97 Windjammer team since 2017 and previously with Bendemeer from 2009. He also has experience in DBSC Cruisers 1; DBSC Sportboat fleet; 1720 campaigns; three very successful Round Ireland campaigns; and five consecutive years winning ISORA IRC Class 2.

Commenting on his election, Frank said “I am delighted and honoured to be elected the Cruiser 2/Sigma 33 Class Captain. I’d like to thank the outgoing Class Captain for maintaining a firm hand on the tiller. I’m looking forward to what will hopefully be an exciting, enjoyable, competitive and safe DBSC 2021 Summer Season with more time on the water when compared with the 2020 Season. Liaising with DBSC is an important aspect of a class captain’s brief and will continue with what has been a very successful dialogue to date.”

Published in DBSC

Dublin Bay Sailing Club's recognition today as the Mitsubishi Motors "Sailing Club of the Year" 2021 on the strength of achieving a remarkably full programme in 2020 when Pandemic Regulations permitted is well merited. Yet it's only the second time that the unique Dun Laoghaire umbrella organisation has received this supreme accolade. Not surprisingly, the Royal Cork Yacht Club – the world's premier club - has been the holder seven times: in 1987, 1992, 1997, 2000, 2006, 2015 and 2020. But the fact that this is only the second time that DBSC has won does not reflect the reality that the club is almost always on the shortlist. And the circumstance of its previous time as holder in 2007 well illustrate why DBSC has successfully been with us for so long through times good and bad. 

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For in 2006 – the year for which it actually last won the trophy - DBSC had a real problem of success. Sailing numbers in Dublin Bay were expanding at an unprecedented rate with the new Dun Laoghaire marina in place, while the Celtic Tiger was roaring with economic growth. Under Commodore Tim Costello and Honorary Secretary Donal O'Sullivan, DBSC had to upgrade its services while stream-lining its functioning in a massive voluntary effort, and it did so with such success that the "Club of the Year" accolade made for the perfect fit, helped by the fact that the Commodore's Mills 40 Tiamat, with an all-Dun Laoghaire crew including Brendan Foley on the helm, had won the British Open IRC Championship in Cowes.

At the presentation of the Mitsubishi Motors Sailing Club of the Year 2007 award to Dublin Bay Sailing Club in Dublin Port Centre were (left to right, Enda Connellan (CEO Dublin Port, sponsors of the DBSC programme), Tim Costello (Commodore, DBSC), and Frank Keane, Chairman of Mitsubishi MotorsAt the presentation of the Mitsubishi Motors Sailing Club of the Year 2007 award to Dublin Bay Sailing Club in Dublin Port Centre were (left to right, Enda Connellan (CEO Dublin Port, sponsors of the DBSC programme), Tim Costello (Commodore, DBSC), and Frank Keane, Chairman of Mitsubishi Motors

Having dealt successfully with the hazards of the exceptionally good times back in 2006, fourteen years later DBSC has handled exceptionally bad times with the same calm competence. For the Club has had to deal with the circumstances afloat and ashore in 2020 which - in 2006 - would have been laughed out of court if they had been proposed as the nightmare scenario for some sort of very sick future fantasy horror drama.

Yet it has come to pass. But the club has braced itself, re-thought its functioning, and implemented emergency measures such that Dun Laoghaire has come out of 2020 with a sense that, within the inevitable pandemic boundaries, Dublin Bay SC provided its members and service-users with as much sailing as was reasonably possible in pandemic circumstances

The background to the club gives us some idea of how it finds a hidden strength when the need arises. Although DBSC at its foundation 137 years ago in 1884 was undoubtedly what would now be called a disruptor start-up, today it is effectively the quietly powerful sailing government for the vast majority of the competitive sailors in the most numerous fleet based in one place in Ireland.

In an exceptionally difficult year for all sports, the performance of Dublin Bay Sailing Club in providing a viable racing programme in 2020 for a large and varied fleet pf 22 classes drawn from all four of Dun Laoghaire Harbour's bricks-and-mortar Yacht Clubs is a remarkable achievement. DBSC's emergence with a complete set of end-of-season results – albeit after a pandemic-truncated season – was an outstanding performance by any standards, and they are clear ahead in being acclaimed as the 2021 holders of the Mitsubishi Motors "Sailing Club of the Year" trophy.

DBSC's only "premises" consist of the Race Management Hut on the West Pier, but in 2020's special circumstances, it was kept in store and not commissioned……….DBSC's only "premises" consist of the Race Management Hut on the West Pier, but in 2020's special circumstances, it was kept in store and not commissioned……….

……while all racing was started and finished from Committee Boats whose crews had been isolated in pods.  Photo: Afloat.ie……while all racing was started and finished from Committee Boats whose crews had been isolated in pods. Photo: Afloat.ie

Mitsubishi Motors are Irish sailing's most committed longterm sponsors, as they've supported the "Sailing Club of the Year" accolade for 35 years. This unique and informal competition was first inaugurated in 1979 and initially only covered Leinster, but after Mitsubishi Motors had become the enthusiastic sponsors in 1986, it went nationwide and the title of "Irish Sailing Club of the
Year" became one of real prestige, based on a rigorous set of standards.

An underlying purpose of the award is to highlight and honour the voluntary effort which goes into creating and maintaining the unrivalled quality of Ireland's yacht and sailing clubs, and the dedication of their members.

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In making their assessment, the adjudicators take many factors into consideration. In addition to the obvious one of sailing success at local, national and international levels, considerable attention is also paid to the satisfaction which members in every branch of sailing and boating feel with the way their club is run, and how effectively it meets their specific needs, while also encouraging sailing development and training at all ages.

In the four decades through which this informal comparison between sailing clubs has been running, the basic expectations have been continually refined to reflect a changing sailing world in changing national and global circumstances, a developing adjudication situation to which the Commodores of the winning clubs have made a really worthwhile contribution over the years, with thoughtful acceptance speeches in which they've outlined their visions for their clubs, and their role in the local community and in all aspects of sailing.

DBSC's racing programme is so accessible and popular that it attracts regular participation by boats which would be seen elsewhere purely as cruisers, such as the Nich 31 Saki.  Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'BrienDBSC's racing programme is so accessible and popular that it attracts regular participation by boats which would be seen elsewhere purely as cruisers, such as the Nich 31 Saki. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'Brien

Few other clubs have a sense of communal interaction as strong as DBSC. The change from disruptor to central body had come about as early as the mid 1890s, when it was realised that if an impartial unaligned organisation such as DBSC didn't already exist to administer the routine Dublin Bay sailing summer season, then they'd have to go through all the hassle of inventing something very like it.

For sure, with Dun Laoghaire Harbour providing the nautical focal point for a large, generally affluent, and often innovation-providing community, new ideas tend to arise on a regular basis as to how sailing in general, and racing in particular, might be re-configured for the sport's improvement.

But equally, that same south Dublin population is notably settled in its outlook, and for many, the continuation of the proven ways, with only carefully moderated change from time to time, is the only method for maintainable progress.

Thus Dublin Bay and Howth to the northeast provide the boat-minded communities and sailing waters where One-Design classes thrive as active fleets for much longer than anywhere else, so much so that the world's first One-Design class - the Dublin Bay Water Wags of 1887 – now prospers more than ever, with new-built boats regularly joining the fleet.

The Dublin Bay Water Wags were achieving the best One-design turnouts in 2020's shortened season.  Photo: Con MurphyThe Dublin Bay Water Wags were achieving the best local One-design turnouts in 2020’s shortened season. The Lasers were the most numerous class, with 91 entered, of which 53 were Laser Radials. Photo: Con Murphy

In such circumstances, getting a now instinctively conservative behemoth such as DBSC – with its racing for 22 classes - to implement a rapid and significant adjustment to its way of doing things is – as current DBSC Honorary Secretary and former Commodore Chris Moore has remarked – not unlike expecting a sudden change of course in a supertanker, where in normal circumstances any alteration of the rudder setting needs six miles of continued straight line progress before any change of course becomes perceptible.

DBSC Honorary Secretary Chris Moore on his J/109 Powder Monkey. In addition to his current role, he has served as Commodore of DBSC, and also as Commodore of the National YC.DBSC Honorary Secretary Chris Moore on his J/109 Powder Monkey. In addition to his current role, he has served as Commodore of DBSC, and also as Commodore of the National YC.

But like any alert organisation, back in the early days of 2020 while DBSC Commodore Jonathan Nicholson and his team were looking forward to the proper celebration of a new sponsorship deal with AIB, they were also prudently noting that as the pandemic developed, the most switched-on organisations such as the big tech companies in Dublin were talking of limiting office access until the summer of 2021, which was way beyond official predictions. Another factor which reinforced their realisation of the severity of the approaching shutdown was the postponement of the launching of the latest James Bond movie

These may seem off-the-wall indicators in the running of a sailing club, but DBSC's intensely urban location meant that every piece of possible useful information had to be taken into account while working out just when it was possible they might get a realistic programme under way, and how best it might be done.

Jonathan Nicholson, DBSC Commodore 2019-2020, found himself in one of the hottest seats in Irish sailing. Jonathan Nicholson, DBSC Commodore 2019-2020, found himself in one of the hottest seats in Irish sailing.

It was soon realised that the seasonal installation of the Race Officer's hut on the West Pier – used mainly for finishing races – was out of bounds as it's a gregarious focal point, and so the only way forward was the creation of pods to crew the club's Committee Boats, which would now both start and finish all races.

Thus an even greater effort and commitment was required from Committee Boat Volunteers, and in our feature about Ann Kirwan succeeding Jonathan Nicholson as Commodore on December 7th, the names of the leading volunteers who made this possible were listed.

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Yet all the time the developing situation had to be monitored in order to maximize sailing and minimise risk while at the same time instilling an awareness in sailors that when the inevitable second save began to show on the horizon, the sailors would have to accept a sudden stop to their activities with good grace.

Newly-elected DBSC Commodore Ann Kirwan at the helm of the Ruffian 23 bandit, which she shares with Brian Cullen and Ciara BrownNewly-elected DBSC Commodore Ann Kirwan at the helm of the Ruffian 23 bandit, which she shares with Brian Cullen and Ciara Brown

It was good while it lasted, with best turnouts pushing towards the 150 boat mark, while the Water Wags were the best One-Designs with 23 boats, reflecting the fact that although some people were determined to get racing if at all possible, equally they'd to respect those who felt the best way to see the pandemic out was to give sailing a miss for 2020.

Those who did go sailing found their enjoyment enhanced through the DBSC programme, and the mood of it was best captured aboard Jimmy Fischer's Billy Whizz in the Beneteau 211 Class, which swept the board in the trophy department with their haul including the supreme award, the George Arthur Newsom Cup.

Small boats, big prize haul – the increasingly popular Beneteau 211s saw their champion, Jimmy Fischer's Billy Whizz, take DBSC's supreme prize in 2020.   Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'Brien    Small boats, big prize haul – the increasingly popular Beneteau 211s saw their champion, Jimmy Fischer's Billy Whizz, take DBSC's supreme prize in 2020. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'Brien

The Cup is awarded to the boat which performs best compared to all One Design classes in Dublin Bay, and the way Billy Whizz is organised well illustrates the strong attraction of DBSC sailing, for although most of the participants are from the immediate South Dublin area, there are boats like Billy Whizz which find they can successfully cast the net wider.

Their unrivalled trophy haul included:

  • The George Arthur Newsom Cup - for the most successful boat in one-design racing
  • The Facet Jewellers Cup - for Thursdays scratch overall
  • The Beneteau 21 Tray - for Thursdays ECHO overall
  • The Beneteau Cup - for Saturdays scratch overall

The feat was achieved by Jimmy with two different crews, one on Thursdays comprising Joe Smyth, Annette Ni Murchu and her brother Brian Murphy. Not only did they win Thursdays on scratch, but they managed the rare feat of winning Thursdays on ECHO also. Joe, Annette and Brian are all longterm members of Blessington Sailing Club.

Sailing with Jimmy on Saturdays, Peter Duggan and Les Richards won the series on scratch. Peter is another graduate of Blessington Sailing Club, and has foredeck experience on the J/109 Jalapeño with Paul Barrington et al from the National YC, while Les is a partner in a Trapper 501 in Bray Sailing Club.

In all, a diverse crew lineup which shows that, fourteen years after getting the recipe exactly right to provide the best of sailing in exceptionally good times, Dublin Bay Sailing Club has been equally adept in getting the recipe exactly right to provide the best of sailing in exceptionally bad times, providing us with a worthy new addition to the Mitsubishi Motors Club of the Year listings:

  • 1979 Wicklow SC
  • 1980 Malahide YC
  • 198l National YC
  • 1982 Howth YC
  • 1983 Royal St George YC
  • 1984 Dundalk SC
  • 1985 National YC
  • (Sponsorship by Mitsubishi Motors began in 1985-86)
  • 1986 Howth YC
  • 1987 Royal Cork YC
  • 1988 Dublin University SC
  • 1989 Irish Cr. C
  • 1990 Glenans Irish SC
  • 1991 Galway Bay SC
  • 1992 Royal Cork YC
  • 1993 Cumann Badoiri Naomh Bhreannain (Dingle) & National YC
  • (after 1993, year indicated is one in which trophy is held)
  • 1995 Howth Yacht Club
  • 1996 National Yacht Club
  • 1997 Royal Cork Yacht Club
  • 1998 Kinsale Yacht Club
  • 1999 Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club
  • 2000 Royal Cork Yacht Club
  • (in 2000, competition extended to include class associations and specialist organisations)
  • 2001 Howth Sailing Club Seventeen Footer Association
  • 2002 Galway Bay Sailing Club
  • 2003 Coiste an Asgard
  • 2004 Royal St George Yacht Club
  • 2005 Lough Derg Yacht Club
  • 2006 Royal Cork Yacht Club (Water Club of the Harbour of Cork)
  • 2007 Dublin Bay Sailing Club
  • 2008 Lough Ree YC & Shannon One Design Assoc.
  • 2009 Howth Yacht Club
  • 2010 Royal St George YC
  • 2011 Irish Cruiser Racing Association
  • 2012 National Yacht Club
  • 2013 Royal St George YC
  • 2014 Kinsale YC
  • 2015 Royal Cork Yacht Club
  • 2016 Royal Irish Yacht Club
  • 2017 Wicklow Sailing Club
  • 2018 National Yacht Club
  • 2019 Howth Yacht Club
  • 2020 Royal Cork Yacht Club
  • 2021 Dublin Bay Sailing Club

Click the link to read more on the Mitsubishi Motors 'Sailing Club of the Year' Award on Afloat's dedicated page 

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This week, Ann Kirwan of the National Yacht Club became the 25th Commodore of Dublin Bay Sailing Club at the club's 136th Annual General Meeting, in succession to Jonathan Nicholson of the Royal St George YC. This harmonious change of the watch comes at the conclusion of a truncated season in which, despite the adverse effects of the pandemic, DBSC managed to put through a very complete yet still fully COVID-compliant AIB-sponsored racing programme.

In order to understand how this was possible, we need to look at the origins of the club, and how it comes to be in the unique position it fills today. For if there's another sailing body in the world which can be reasonably ranked with Dublin Bay Sailing Club, then we'd be interested to hear about it for purposes of comparison.

The extraordinary Dun Laoghaire organisation is at the core of a seemingly unique sailing structure which is based on the competitive waterborne needs of a notably affluent, cohesive and compact maritime population in South Dublin, a population which gets to the sea via the one harbour of Dun Laoghaire through four different waterfront clubs in combination with the largest marina in Ireland.

A possibly unique setup. Virtually all of South Dublin's recreational boating activity on Dublin Bay has to be funneled through the entrance to Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and thus the development of the overall co-ordinating body of Dublin Bay Sailing Club became inevitable.  A possibly unique setup. Virtually all of South Dublin's recreational boating activity on Dublin Bay has to be funnelled through the entrance to Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and thus the development of the overall co-ordinating body of Dublin Bay Sailing Club became inevitable.

The only tangible evidence of the existence of Dublin Bay SC is in its Committee Boats and its extraordinary collection of historic annual prizesThe only tangible evidence of the existence of Dublin Bay SC is in its Committee Boats and its extraordinary collection of historic annual prizes. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'Brien

Yet the over-arching DBSC itself has neither a clubhouse nor even the most modest jetty, although it does have three Committee Boats. But the three more stately clubhouses were already in being when Dublin Bay SC was founded in 1884. Yet although those established clubs had substantial fleets – with the Royal St George YC supposedly rivalled only by the Royal Yacht Squadron in the combined tonnage of its affiliated yachts – the number of races which actually took place was surprisingly small.

Admittedly the racing programme was becoming more busy with the "homeless" Royal Alfred YC - founded 1870 in Dublin Bay - leading the way in codifying the rules in order to establish the Yacht Racing Association and put a fresh emphasis on amateur crewing. But the notion of a season-long regular weekly programme including evening events was still barely in its infancy.

ne hundred and thirty six years down the line, and the DBSC racing goes on – in 2020, Patrick Burke's First 40 Prima Forte was winner of the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Trophy for the best new DBSC yacht.  Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'BrienOne hundred and thirty-six years down the line, and the DBSC racing goes on – in 2020, Patrick Burke's First 40 Prima Forte was the winner of the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Trophy for the best new DBSC yacht. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'Brien

Indeed, it used to be thought quite an achievement to "cram" three races into the mad social whirl which was Cowes Week, something which had been underlined back in 1851 when the race round the Isle of Wight for what was to become the America's Cup was included almost as an after-thought on the Friday, when many liverish aristocratic Cowes Week participants were already thinking of heading home towards their stately piles.

But in 1884, Dublin Bay Sailing Club – nowadays the very heart of the Establishment – was set up to be The Disruptor. At variance with the large yachts which needed numerous crew, DBSC was avowedly in favour of small inexpensive craft sailed by their owners with a crew of amateur friends. Its purpose was to fit in as many races as could reasonably be accommodated during the course of the season, with any heavy social side being a very secondary consideration, if it figured at all.

The new club captured the mood of the moment, which was already being expressed in a lower key by the 1887-established Water Wag Class. But where the Wags were a one-boat-type setup, the new DBSC had a broader outlook. It went well with the new spirit of the last two decades of the 19th century, and was to be perfectly in tune with the desire for sailing innovation and boat-improvement which set the tone of the Golden Age of Yachting from 1890 to 1914.

A new One-Design Class from the early days – the Dublin Bay 25s racing in 1901. Photo courtesy DBSCA new One-Design Class from the early days – the Dublin Bay 25s racing in 1901. Photo courtesy DBSC

21st Century One Design – the Beneteau First 21 is the most recent class to be adopted as a Dublin Bay One Design. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'Brien21st Century One Design – the Beneteau First 21 is the most recent class to be adopted as a Dublin Bay One Design. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'Brien

Thus within a decade of its establishment, even though it was set up seven years after the establishment of the world-pioneering Water Wag class, DBSC had become the "go to" organisation – and was often the originator - for any group of fellow-minded enthusiasts who had a new restricted or One-Design class in mind. Thus by the turn of the Century it was DBSC which was mustering Dublin Bay-based racing fleets of such numbers that it had become the de facto central body for organizing regular weekly racing in the bay, regardless of which shore-based clubs claimed the loyalties of the participants.

All this may have been taking place more than a century ago. But the special spirit of the club has endured. It has developed and become reinforced ever since to such an extent that to be part of the large group of volunteers which keeps DBSC running smoothly – a group who sail all sorts of boats and are drawn from all four waterfront clubs – is to share an active vocation.

In this, the new Commodore sees herself as being representative of a large like-minded grouping of equals. Yet the fact is that being Commodore of Dublin Bay Sailing Club means that you're in one of Irish sailing's most significant individual roles. And while DBSC is run in such a way that the changing of personnel in the key administrative positions is phased to keep the overall machinery functioning smoothly, being Commodore is where the buck stops.

The numerically largest One-Design keelboat class currently racing on the bay is the Flying Fifteen, with former NYC Commodore Ronan Beirne seen here crewing for David Mulvin. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'Brien   The numerically largest One-Design keelboat class currently racing on the bay is the Flying Fifteen, with former NYC Commodore Ronan Beirne seen here crewing for David Mulvin. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'Brien

Time was when the Commodore was more of a figurehead role, and thus it is only relatively recently in DBSC history that the position has been rationed to just two years in office. But this means that while the longer-serving role of Honorary Secretary (currently filled in succession to the wonderfully long-serving Donal O'Sullivan by Chris Moore, himself a former DBSC Commodore) is the conduit through which club communications, directives and notices flow, the Commodore can now have a much more hands-on role.

And when you get an active sailing enthusiast and ideas-person like Ann Kirwan in the top position, their sailing background and their approach to the problems which sailing – like all sports – faces in these pandemic times will directly affect how life afloat develops for Dun Laoghaire's large sailing population in 2021 and 2022.

In Commodore Kirwan, the racing sailors of Dun Laoghaire have a leader who shares their enthusiasm for the best of sport afloat with an energetic capacity for working effectively with other volunteers for the good of their shared interest, and at the same time having professional experience of functioning in a large working organization, while bringing an inspirational zest to everything she does.

Ann Kirwan in action in the crewing department, quite prepared to believe that Dublin Bay can match the RORC Caribbean 600 for a heady mixture of sunshine and strong winds.Ann Kirwan in action in the crewing department, quite prepared to believe that Dublin Bay can match the RORC Caribbean 600 for a heady mixture of sunshine and strong winds.

Although not quite a cradle sailor, among her earliest memories are being afloat aged around seven in the vintage Howth 17 Mimosa which her parents Paddy and Barbara co-owned with Jim and Sheila Higginbotham. Paddy Kirwan was originally from Cork, but service in the Air Corps brought him to Dublin and flying from Baldonnell, while the new family home was south side Dublin, in Mount Merrion.

But a transfer to Aer Lingus where he was to become a Boeing 747 Captain saw connections with the Howth-based Aer Lingus group and their sailing. Yet while his Dublin sailing began in Howth with the Seventeens, the relative proximity of Dun Laoghaire soon saw the family's sailing focus transfer to the National YC, where Ann's mother Barbara's links to the Mermaid Class reinforced a commitment to sailing which was soon manifesting itself in many ways.

Along with Carmel Winkelmann, Johnny Hooper and others in the club, Paddy Kirwan was instrumental in introducing the first Optimist dinghies in Ireland at the National Yacht Club in 1966-67, so much so that the Kirwan children were very much involved in this game-changing addition to the Irish junior sailing scene. Thus in 2017 Ann Kirwan – in her best quietly effective style – was at the heart of organising the Golden Jubilee celebrations of this with special reference to Carmel Winkelann's contribution

For DBSC's future Commodore, the Optimist sailing was soon succeeded by further busy learning experience in Herons, Mirrors, 420s and Lasers, but when Paddy Kirwan – who was later to go on to become a very active President of the Irish Sailing Association – acquired the Ron Holland-designed Club Shamrock Boomerang, cruiser-racer sailing of all kinds became a significant part of family life.

And at a later stage when the focus had moved upwards again to the Sigma 38 Errislannan, Ann's experience was further broadened by extensive cruiser-racing which included two Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Races in addition to dedication to the regular DBSC programme.

When you sail in Dublin Bay as often as Ann Kirwan, you're bound to find sunshine…When you sail in Dublin Bay as often as Ann Kirwan, you're bound to find sunshine…

But that was only what happened in the summer. Her winter sport was hockey, where she rose through the ranks and found an additional talent as a coach to such an extent that in time she became President of her hockey club. As for professional life, she made a career in the commercial side of Aer Lingus, retiring as recently as March this year, while at a personal level she married within the maritime community to hydrographic surveyor Brendan Briscoe, and they made their home in Sandymount, that remarkable corner of south Dublin which somehow manages to be a secluded village within walking distance of both open sea and city centre.

While all this was going on, her sailing continued apace, and around twenty years ago in the Ruffian 23 class she found like-minded folk who shared her dedication to One-Design racing, the Dublin Bay programme, and the spirit of Dun Laoghaire sailing. She went into partnership with Brian Cullen and Ciara Brown, at first in the basic boat Ruff'n Reddy. But having an outboard motor as the auxiliary proved tiresome, and when the fully-equipped inboard-engined Bandit came attractively on the market, they snapped her up, and the trio on Bandit have been happily and successfully sailing together ever since.

Dublin Bay SC may have long-established routines - some of which go back to 1884 - but when a window of opportunity for sailing emerged in the pandemic-plagued summer of 2020, the club immediately produced a virtual yearbook in conjunction with sponsors AIB and Afloat.ieDublin Bay SC may have long-established routines - some of which go back to 1884 - but when a window of opportunity for sailing emerged in the pandemic-plagued summer of 2020, the club immediately produced a virtual yearbook in conjunction with sponsors AIB and Afloat.ie

This is typical of the long-lived boat partnerships which the DBSC ambience seems to encourage. In many other places, there's a notion that One-Design classes and boat-owning partnerships have only a limited – sometimes a very limited – time span of successful functioning. But in Dun Laoghaire, they're civilised, they're in for the long haul, and there's a feeling that all the right and proper things for the greater good will come to pass in the long run.

Thus anyone who knew Ann Kirwan will have reckoned that it was only a matter of time - once her hockey club duties had been fulfilled – before she was drawn into a deeper role in sailing administration, where she was already known as a willing volunteer when one was needed.

Certainly, it would have been a real waste if someone so instinctively immersed in the best of Dun Laoghaire sailing administrative traditions and their development was not able to make her contribution in the most effective style. So it was reassuring when she was drawn into the DBSC Committee, and in time succeeded Mermaid and Water Wag ace, Jonathan O'Rourke, as Rear Commodore in 2015.

In her time in the DBSC's officer lineup, the Commodores she has worked with were Pat Shannon (RIYC), Chris Moore (NYC) and Jonathan Nicholson (RStGYC). Her own particular interests and instincts incline her to looking after the needs of the large DBSC volunteer race administration group, and while the Bandit partnership are no strangers to the trophy list at the end of each season, she reckons that maybe the most important trophy the club has is The Viking Award for the volunteer who has contributed most.

Former Irish sailing President Jack Roy – seen here racing the family Squib – is one of many volunteers who have contributed to DBSC's success over the years. Former Irish sailing President Jack Roy – seen here racing the family Squib – is one of many volunteers who have contributed to DBSC's success over the years.

But in 2020 with the demands of COVID-compliance, the extra effort from all volunteers afloat and ashore was such that the Committee reckoned that the right and proper thing to do was to give them all The Viking Award jointly in honouring and celebrating a group effort, and when Ann Kirwan name-checks the senior volunteers, it gives us some idea of the calibre of the people attracted to giving freely of their time to this venerable yet ever-young organization. She writes: 

"The Volunteers: The Viking Award, for a notable contribution to sailing, one of DBSC's premier trophies, was awarded to the DBSC volunteers who truly deserved to be honoured in recognition of their efforts in the 2020 season. The volunteer group includes committee boat drivers, the race management teams, patrol crew organisers, patrol crews, and mark layers. They are a fantastic group of people who give freely of their time to ensure we get great racing

The Race Officers: We are very lucky to have a team of very experienced Race Officers - those who ran our racing in 2020 were: PRO Jack Roy; Ed Totterdell, Suzanne McGarry, Barry O'Neill, Con Murphy, Harry Gallagher, Barbara Conroy, Brian Mathews, Tim Costello, Ian Mathews, Neil Murphy, Jonathan O'Rourke, Ben Mulligan, Mairead Ni Cheallachain, and Michael Tyrrell. I look forward to their continued support in 2021, along with our other regulars who for various reasons were not available this season.

The DBSC Committee members: I am really looking forward to working with fellow DBSC officers Vice Commodore Ed Totterdell, Rear Commodore Jacqueline McStay, Honorary Secretary Chris Moore, Treasurer Peter Fleming, as well as our hard-working, great team of committee members Brian Mathews, Declan Traynor, Philip Ferguson, Gerry Jones, Debbie Horan, Ian Bowring, Suzi Roy, and Louise McKenna."

In addition to the large volunteer corps, for years Dublin Bay computer genius Colin McMullen has been developing his internationally-recognised systems for the electronic analysis of yacht racing through the numerous and varied fleets and extensive data which DBSC provides. Although this is a professional operation to facilitate the smooth running of Dublin Bay's numerous classes and handicap systems, the McMullen readiness to provide info at all hours is a reflection of the DBSC spirit.

That is a notably special spirit for which Ann Kirwan will be providing the very visible leadership – leadership by personal example – during the next two years. While Dublin Bay Sailing Club may have come into being with all the characteristics of a Disruptor, it now has to accept its important position as a major role model not just for sailing, but for Irish society as a whole.

For sure, the Club has to provide just as much sailing as is possible in whatever circumstances we find as the usual time for the 2021 main season gets under way in April. But in what will probably still be a state of national emergency, a measured approach by an organisation of such eminence is essential.

Certainly during 2020 before the full enormity of the pandemic was apparent, we wrote here about the possibilities of pushing the sailing envelope to the limit despite coronavirus boundaries, and there were certainly some exceptional pop-up events which kept the sailing spirit alive while being on the edge of possibilities.

But a prominent, highly respected and centrally-located organisation like DBSC simply cannot include "guerilla sailing" in its activities. As it is, its members are in a naturally healthier position in terms of lifestyle than the vast majority of the population, and a keen mind like Ann Kirwan's is well aware of the responsibilities this carries as she outlines her hope for the next two years, with improved communication with members a priority in what will continue to be a fluid situation, albeit with useful input from the many lessons learned in 2020.

Looking at the broader picture, she was particularly encouraged by the increase in dinghy numbers during 2020's season, and while recognizing that to some extent this may have been a lockdown effect, she's getting enough feedback to suggest that it could be a more permanent trend.

Lasers shaping up for a DBSC start. Dinghy numbers were up in 2020, despite the racing being confined to the harbourLasers shaping up for a DBSC start. Dinghy numbers were up in 2020, despite the racing being confined to the harbour. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'Brien

Equally, she's aware that while she and her fellow sailors of Bandit enjoy the cut-and-thrust of a starting sequence, for many more senior crews just one start sequence per day can be quite enough, so she and her committee are looking at the possibility of including longer coastal races as an option when some sort of normality returns.

And with a keen eye to the remarkable history of the organisation she now heads, the new Commodore is keenly anticipating the return of at least three of the restored Dublin Bay 21s under the regeneration project headed by Hal Sisk and Fionan de Barra, for it was in 1903 that Dublin Bay SC first introduced the DB21s, and their re-appearance in 2021 has a symbolic rightness about it.

The restored 1905 Dun Laoghaire-built Dublin Bay 21 Naneen is expected back in her birthplace in 2021The restored 1905 Dun Laoghaire-built Dublin Bay 21 Naneen is expected back in her birthplace in 2021

Then too, with the lifestyle changes becoming evident before the pandemic, she realises that location commitment is being replaced - for some people at least – by double-focused lives, and therefore a Super League within the annual DBSC programme will free those no longer available to be on Dublin Bay week after week.

Certainly, in her case, she and Brendan have always expected to spend the August fortnight in Schull, where they now have a second home and a spare Ruffian 23 which has yet to be commissioned for local cruising purposes. But so devoted is she to Dublin Bay racing that she'll readily interrupt her time in West Cork to get to that Dun Laoghaire starting line in mid-holiday.

Her energy and buzz of ideas is prodigious. Some time ago in Schull, she was particularly struck by the wastefulness of the variety of torn oldish sails being dumped in the harbour skip. So Schull being Schull, she was able to buy a classic sewing machine in the village, and set at it to see if she could make a useful holdall cum super-large handbag from abandoned sails.

Ann Kirwan's reaction to discarded sails has been to make a range of bags and hold-alls out of the best of the surviving cloth. This is the useful and cherished AK Sail Bag of Sandra Moore, wife of DBSC Hon. Sec. and former Commodore Chris MooreLady Bracknell, eat your heart out……Ann Kirwan's reaction to discarded sails has been to make a range of bags and hold-alls out of the best of the surviving cloth. This is the useful and cherished AK Sail Bag of Sandra Moore, wife of DBSC Hon. Sec. and former Commodore Chris Moore. Photo: Chris Moore

The result is the AK Sailbag range, which has become quite the thing for those in the know. And it further demonstrates that Dublin Bay SC's new Commodore is a turbo-powered dynamo at whatever she turns her hand to. They say that if you want anything done, then ask a busy man to do it. But you can forget that. First choice should always be: Ask a busy woman.

Outgoing Dublin Bay Sailing Club Commodore Jonathan Nicholson handed over the tiller to Ruffian 23 helmswoman Ann Kirwan by Zoom last night at DBSC's virtual AGM. 

Kirwan takes over the role for the next two years, becoming the second only female DBSC Commodore in the 136-year history of the club, the first being Margaret Woods in 1997.

Eddie Totterdell was voted in as Vice Commodore and Jacqueline McStay as Rear Commodore. 

Chris Moore stays on as Honorary  Secretary, with Peter Fleming remaining as Honorary Treasurer.

Nicholson was presented with a Sterling Silver lapel pin, and DBSC burgee.

In his closing report, Nicholson paraphrased the Tanaiste when he said: "this year has been like no other". 

It's no understatement and regular Afloat readers will know how DBSC navigated with Style over COVID-19's challenging seas as W M Nixon reported here.

Huge changes were implemented in order to run and manage DBSC racing that caters for as many s 150 boats on a typical Thursday evening. Many of these changes have proven to be positive and may be retained for the coming season.

A number of other changes were also planned but were not relevant under the current circumstance. These include a re-imagined Super League, the reappearance of the Dublin Bay 21s which hopefully will re-emerge in the coming years.

DBSC Boat Fees and subscriptions

Although at a high-level, boat entry numbers were broadly similar to 2019, their composition was quite different. This year the Laser class and to a lesser extent, the PY class were far more popular, with almost twice as many Lasers entering. On average, entries across the other classes entries were down by around 25%.

A notable exception is Cruisers 0 which saw a 30% increase.

Published in DBSC

Lindsay Casey's Royal St. George Yacht Club J97 Windjammer that has performed on both inshore and offshore circuits this season was the winner of the best yacht on handicap and has lifted Dublin Bay Sailing Club's premier Waterhouse Shield award.

The overall results were announced recently by DBSC but unfortunately without the usual end of season prizegiving. 

In Cruisers Two division, the premier award winner also won both the Lady Shamrock Trophy for Thursdays IRC racing and the Silver Salver for Saturdays IRC competition. On top of these inshore results, the Royal St. George J-boat also competing in some of this season's ISORA coastal races from Dun Laoghaire Harbour. There were other Royal St. George Yacht Club victories in Class Two too. Among them was Dick Lovegrove's Sigma 33 Rupert that won the JB Stephens Trophy for the combined Thursday and Saturday performance. 

Royal St. George J97 WindjammerRoyal St. George J97 Windjammer

In the Cruisers Three division, Kevin Byrne's Starlet (pictured top) was the winner of Tuesday's Thursdays and Saturday's IRC picking up the Whimbrel Rose Bowl, Smalldridge Cup and Jack Kennedy Memorial Cup respectively.

In Cruisers Five, the Gerry Henry Salver for Thursdays ECHO Overall Div A  went to Thomas Dunne's Katienua. 

In the Mixed Sportsboats, a cut-glass tumbler went to Jonathan Craig for his Tuesday performance in the J80 'George 5'.

Royal St. George One Designs

In the SB20s Michael O'Connor, Davy Taylor and Ed Cook celebrated their double win of The Crichton Cup for Thursday Racing and the 
SB Cup for Saturday racing.

Royal St. George Dinghies

In the PY dinghy class, Brendan Foley's RS Aero Minty was the Early Bird Trophy Saturdays overall winner.

In the Lasers, Sanderling Trophy for Saturdays Overall in the Standard division went to Finn Walker. 

And in the Radial division, Sean Craig won the Jimmy Mooney Trophy for Tuesday and Saturday racing combined plus a cut-glass tumbler for Tuesday racing overall.

See the full DBSC prizewinners list here.

Published in DBSC

The Royal Irish Yacht Club (RIYC) took the lion’s share of IRC prizes at the recent Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) prizegiving for the 2020 AIB sponsored season with wins in Cruisers Zero, One divisions and two of the club's premier awards.

DBSC broke with long-established tradition this year due to COVID-19 and its popular and long-established prizegiving for 300 boats in 22 different classes was not held, but that did not stop the award of the usual glittering array of trophies as Afloat reported here

On top of the DBSC premier award of the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Trophy for the best new yacht in 2020 won by the club's Prima Forte (Patrick Burke) there were RIYC class wins for the JPK10.80 Rockabill VI (Paul O'Higgins) who won the Martin Cup for Thursday IRC racing in IRC Zero big boat class. The Club's XP44 Wow (George Sisk) won the ECHO trophy for Saturday racing in this class and Burke's Prima Forte took the Centenary Cup for Saturday ECHO racing.

DBSC Dun Laoghaire Harbour Trophy winner, Prima ForteDBSC Dun Laoghaire Harbour Trophy winner, Prima Forte

The Royal Irish J109 father and son team of Tim and Richard Goodbody were Thursday IRC winners in Cruisers One, winning the West Pier Officer's Cup for Thursday racing and in Saturday ECHO racing, Paul Bradley and Fintan Cairns lifted the Osterburg Cup sailing the Mills 31 Raptor. 

In Class Two, Jim McCann's Peridot, was Thursday's champion on ECHO winning the Centenary Cup and in another ECHO victory for the club, Paget McCormack's Saki won the Cruisers Three Mercia Cup for Thursday racing.

In Class Five, Charles Broadhead's Persistence was the winner of the Burford Trophy for his win in Thursdays IRC Overall Div A while Grainne O'Shea's Gung-Ho was the victor in Sats A and B IRC Overall winning the White Sail Class Trophy.

DBSC Osterburg Cup winner, RaptorDBSC Osterburg Cup winner, Raptor

RIYC One Designs & Dinghies

It didn't stop there for the RIYC fleet as there were some top results in the one-design divisions too. As Afloat reported previously, Jimmy Conboy Fischer sailing Billy Whizz was awarded the club's Geroge Arthur Newsom Trophy for the best result in the one-design divisions. It was the first time the top prize had been awarded to the B211s.

In the SB20s, the Lunasa Trophy for Saturday Div B was won by the club's Ger Dempsey and Chris Nolan sailing Venuesworld. Dragon racing victory on Thursday's went to Zin Zan, skippered by Adrian Masterson. In the Mixed Sports boats class, the Saturday Sportsboat Cup went to Martin Ryan's J80, Jambiya.

In the dinghy classes, Guy Kilroy's Swift was the Goldsmith Cup winner for Wednesday Racing in the Water Wag class.

Full DBSC winners here.

Published in Royal Irish Yacht Club

Dun Laoghaire's Beneteau 211 class has won Dublin Bay Sailing Club's (DBSC) Premier George Arthur Newsom Cup for the first time.

The Cup is awarded to the boat which performs best compared to all One Design classes in Dublin Bay.

It was a clean sweep for Jimmy Fischer on his boat Billy Whizz, with two different crews taking the following trophy haul that, regrettably, the club did not get the chance to present as the annual prize-giving had to be deferred due to the Covid-19 restrictions.

  • The George Arthur Newsom Cup - for the most successful boat in one-design racing
  • The Facet Jewellers Cup - for Thursdays scratch overall
  • The Beneteau 21 Tray - for Thursdays ECHO overall
  • The Beneteau Cup - for Saturdays scratch overall

The feat was achieved by Jimmy with two different crews, one on Thursdays comprising Joe Smyth, Annette Ni Murchu and her brother Brian Murphy. Not only did they win Thursdays on scratch, but they managed the rare feat of winning Thursdays on ECHO also. Joe, Annette and Brian are all longterm members of Blessington Sailing Club.

Sailing with Jimmy on Saturdays, Peter Duggan and Les Richards won the series on scratch. Peter is another graduate of Blessington Sailing Club and has foredeck experience on J109 Jalapeño, with Paul Barrington et al. Les is a partner in a Trapper 501 in Bray Sailing club..

Jimmy says Afloat magazine's David O'Brien is the direct reason why he joined the B21s when he came back into sailing after a twenty-year absence while Catherine and Jimmy raised their two daughters. David and Jimmy know each other from way back in their IDRA 14 sailing days.

When Jimmy suggested he might take up sailing again, David recommended the B21s as he knows Jimmy's first love has always been one-design sailing. He also suggested there was good camaraderie and a helpful bunch in the class.

Jimmy crewed with current RIYC Commodore Pat Shannon in 2017 and bought Pat's boat, Billy Whizz, at the end of that season.

Seasons 2018 and 2019 were spent getting back in the groove, leading to success in 2020. Jimmy commented that the North Sails mainsail and jib that Prof O'Connell supplied proved to be both powerful and fast, adding to Billy Whizz's results on the water.

Watch this fleet, the B21s are growing fast and there's great fun and competition throughout the fleet.

Read more on the Beneteau 211 here

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