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Displaying items by tag: Optimist

Royal Cork's annual Topper and Laser dinghy Frostbite League commenced on November 9 in chilly but bright conditions with fifty five dinghies competing. After seven races sailed, Joe O'Sullivan leads the Topper 4.2 fleet, Jonathan O'Shaughnessy leads a 23–boat 5.3 fleet. Conor Horgan is top of a 13–boat Laser 4.7 fleet.

There was great support from Kinsale Yacht Club who joined the Royal Cork contingent on the water under the watchful eye of Ciaran McSweeney, PRO.

It bodes well for the Munster club that has seen a surge in dinghy sailing.

The has seen the RCYC Laser group finish five days of performance coaching over two weekend's with coaches Michal Gryglewski, Cian Byrne and Tom McGrath. The Topper mid term clinic came to a close after four days with Adam D’Arcy, Eoghan O’Regan and guest coach Alan Ruigrok.

The fleets are looking forward to two more Sundays on the water before the prize giving on Sunday 26th November

Results can be found here

Royal cork yacht sailing dinghies1Royal cork yacht sailing dinghies1Royal cork yacht sailing dinghies1Royal cork yacht sailing dinghies1Royal cork yacht sailing dinghies1Royal cork yacht sailing dinghies1Royal cork yacht sailing dinghies1Royal cork yacht sailing dinghies1Royal cork yacht sailing dinghies1Royal cork yacht sailing dinghies1Royal cork yacht sailing dinghies1

Published in Topper

Last weekend, six Irish Optimist Sailors participated in the The Hague Optimist Cup 2017 in Scheveningen in the Netherlands.

The event was the test event for the 2018 European Optimist Championships, Team Ireland, composed of Leah Rickard, Nathan van Steeberge, Johnny Flynn, Sam Ledoux, Clementine van Steenberge, and Rocco Wright, and coached by Thomas Chaix, joined a field of selected Dutch sailors and teams from Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Latvia, Hungary, Austria, Russia, Greece and Estonia.

The event was impacted by the bad weather pattern over the west of Europe, yet the 81 sailors managed to sail every day. Coach Thomas Chaix secured one solid day of training in light air with a few of the foreign teams before racing started. The event provided 4 competitive races over the 3 blustery days. Day 1 provided a 10 to 15 kts southerly whilst the remaining of the event was in 20kts + varying from West to South. Big waves, exciting downwinds and physical upwinds were the daily menu.

leah rickardLeah Rickard

The Irish sailors were very competitive in the world class field with clear strategies in the very strong currents. Ireland scored two wins courtesy of Johnny Flynn and Leah Rickard and came home with plenty impressive silverware building good confidence towards the Europeans in 8 months time. Four sailors ended their challenge in top 10, The top female was Irish and finally our U11 Clementine and Rocco showed excellent promise for the future.

1st Girl (Champion) and 5th Overall, Leah Rickard, NYC, 16-5-1-3
6th Overall, Nathan Van Steenberge, NYC, 4-8-8-5
7th Overall, Johnny Flynn, HYC, 1-9-2-15
8th Overall, Sam Ledoux, NYC, 14-4-5-9
41st Overall and 3rd U11, Clementine Van Steenberge, NYC, 29-34-12-13
53rd Overall and 7th U11, Rocco Wright, HYC, 30-15-11-UFD

Published in Optimist
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An 'independent external' investigation into Saturday's Irish Sailing Optimist performance squad incident during Storm Brian at Dun Laoghaire is underway.

According to a statement on the association website last night, Irish Sailing President Jack Roy and CEO Harry Hermon have appointed Philip Scallan as independent external lead investigator. Scallan has already mapped out the areas of investigation to the President and requested additional time to investigate and consult with all parties.

It is understood a board meeting of the national governing body was held last night.

Roy commented: “Our priority is always the safety of our sailors and we are determined to establish all the facts relating to this incident. We look forward to receiving Mr Scallan’s report and implementing his recommendations so that we learn as much as we can from what happened and maintain the confidence of sailors and their families in our programmes”.

The statement says Scallan is a Safety Officer with many years of experience assessing and implementing safety standards in Irish and international sailing events. He will be assisted in this external investigation by Ger Keeling, a marine engineer and former CEO of the International Marine Rescue Federation who works with both Irish Water Safety and the RNLI.

According to the association, Scallan, who is based in the UK, will be travelling to Dun Laoghaire over the weekend and requests that any parent, sailor, witness, coach or any other party who feels that their contribution is relevant to the investigation, to get in contact with him promptly at [email protected]

Following a review of all the information received, and consultations with all the parties involved, Scallan and Keeling will also review Irish Sailing’s health and safety protocols before presenting their report which is expected to be finalised by mid-November and published.

Published in ISA

W M Nixon on the aftermath of Saturday's Optimist dinghy training incident during Storm Brian.

“A boat, by God, it’s just a gleamin’ beautiful creation. And when you pull the sail up on a boat, you’ve got a little bit of somethin’ God-given. Man, it goes bleetin’ off like a bird wing, you know, and there’s nothin’ else like it.”

The speaker was Clark Mills of Clearwater, Florida, who very rightly was recently inducted posthumously into American Sailing’s Hall of Fame. In 1947, Clark Mills developed the design of the Optimist dinghy for the kids of his community in response to a request from two public-spirited citizens, who reckoned that a hyper-economical little sailing boat would encourage children to interact positively with the warm and wonderful sailing waters of their sun-blessed neighbourhood.

Clark Mills was an ingenious back-street boatbuilder whose seemingly unassuming design was so clever that three Optimists could be built out of four sheets of standard 8ft x 4ft marine plywood. But it remained a localized way of making sailing accessible until a Scandinavian sail training ship was in port, and the captain was very impressed with these little sailing prams.

clark millsClark Mills (1915-2001) designer and first builder of the Optimist Dinghy in 1947, has recently been posthumously inducted into American Sailing’s Hall of Fame

So he took one of them on board his tall ship, and brought her home to Sweden, and that was the end of the Age of Innocence for the Optimist dinghy. Once the Scandinavians had decided that these wonderful little boxes were the future of sailing for their young children despite their own tradition of very elegant sailing craft, the Optimist dinghy went global, and now more than 300,000 have been built.

It’s far indeed from the balmy sandy islands of Clearwater to the old granite pond of Dun Laoghaire on a late October Saturday, when the cream of Irish Optimist sailing – sixteen young helms from all over Ireland and their rather expensive boats - have been assembled on a long-planned, intensive and costly training session with a coach who is renowned for his ability to empathise with the junior sailors, and greatly improve their performance.

The pressure is on for busy instructive sailing, but the pressure meteorologically speaking is through the floor, as the centre of Storm Brian approaches Dublin Bay in textbook style. It’s so pure textbook that a patch of blue sky actually appears. But there’s a nice breeze, and the kids are sent out sailing because, after all, they’re in a harbour which is a giant pond, and if the weather does deteriorate, the pond provides shelter and security.

But within 25 minutes, the weather goes beyond deterioration. It falls off a cliff. Classic style again, the centre of the low has moved to the northeast: “Sharp rise after low, foretells a stronger blow”. The sudden west to northwest wind was over 40 knots, with a highest recorded gust in Dun Laoghaire of 51 knots, and that with dense air to increase the pressure even further.

Close in against the East Pier, the harbour becomes a boiling cauldron of backwash with completely unsailable conditions, and the four Optimists near it are jammed against the wall. But as it’s high water it’s possible to haul their young skippers ashore. The rest of the fleet managed to return to base, and all are well scared, but are soon recovering as kids do.

Or at least that’s how they show it, for these after all are the elite squad, and there’s peer pressure. Either way, it has to be clearly asserted that the outcome of all the continuing deliberations on this incident should place the effect it has had and is having on the kids first, middle, and last.

They’re a remarkably mature bunch of young people for their age, but the organisation of society is such that all responsibility in a situation like this ultimately falls on adults, and we as a sailing community will be judged on how this is worked out in the days, weeks and months ahead.

Inevitably, officialdom will have to move at its own ponderous pace, but meanwhile the kids, the parents and the Optimist sailing world in Ireland are moving at their own different paces to take the experience in board, while getting on with life at the same time.

Talking to a parent who had two kids rescued from the East Pier, he says their resilience is a wonder to behold. One is already sailing again in a team racing series, and the other is keenly anticipating another Optimist training session this weekend. As for sailing’s real community, the local rather than the official, they have been quietly doing good work by stealth – the only true good work – by lending replacement boats for those whose craft have been damaged or wrecked, in order that the programme can continue with just this one interruption.

On the business side, the parent to whom we talked felt much more sanguine about a satisfactory insurance settlement than he had at the beginning of the week. And even though all the parents are still in something of a state of shock, the needs and expectations of the keen kids are encouraging them to move on and be positive.

For outsiders, all this may sound almost too good to be true. But anyone who has been even on the edge of the Optimist world will know that it’s one very extraordinary place. It’s not for everyone by any means. But for those for whom it clicks, it’s a miraculous and marvellous experience.

So as we see the wheels of officialdom begin to turn, with positions being taken up as various organisations seek to protect their image and their good standing, is it too much to ask that the top people remember to take on board the opinions of the kids involved every bit as much as they take into consideration the storm of criticism which has spread across social media?

Teaching and coaching are very special talents. But just because you’re very good at helping young people to sail even faster, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can make sage judgments about future weather and the organisation of events. In fact, shared enthusiasm across the generations about improved performance can be a potent force for clouding judgment. That seems to have happened here. We’re not trying to make excuses. We’re just trying to explain how something happened.

So as people sound off about the need “to make heads roll”, how about quietly asking the 16 kids involved what they think?

That surely is what Clark Mills would have done.

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Irish Sailing, the national governing body for the sport in Ireland, has issued a statement following the rescue of its 16-boat National Optimist Squad during Storm Brian on Saturday lunchtime in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. In the statement, released yesterday, the association says 'all usual risk assessments were undertaken before launching and the forecast was for a weather window providing reasonable conditions for such activity'. 

Irish Sailing also says it is 'now investigating what protocols and assessments may need to be reviewed and/or revised so that we maintain all safety standards'. Read the full statement below.

The rescue, reported by Afloat.ie here, involved local yacht club RIBs, Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard and RNLI inshore boats. The incident was widely reported in the weekend media and attracted significant social media comment. Joe Mag Raollaigh of RTE News captured video of one of the Oppy dinghies being wrecked against the harbour wall as north-westerly winds reached over 40–knots.

Storm Brian Scenes90379644Big breeze for training in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. Photo: Stephen Collins of Collins Picture Agency

Stephen Collins of Collins Picture Agency captured some dramatic pictures of the training session and the rescue and these appeared on Dublin Live here and the Irish Times. The Irish Independent ran a story here.

The ISA Statement reads:  

UPDATE ON OPTIMISTS IN DUN LAOGHAIRE YESTERDAY
'Sixteen Optimists were launched yesterday morning (Saturday 21 October) inside Dun Laoghaire Harbour as part of a routine high-performance training programme, along with the safety boats which are present at all training events. All usual risk assessments were undertaken before launching and the forecast was for a weather window providing reasonable conditions for such activity. A squall came in and the decision was made to send the sailors to shore immediately. The Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard and RNLI inshore boats were launched as a precaution but at that stage all the sailors were onshore. No sailor was harmed.

In circumstances like this, there are tried and tested protocols that come into effect with all bodies working together for a safe outcome. The safety of the sailors was prioritised over equipment. We are now investigating what protocols and assessments may need to be reviewed and/or revised so that we maintain all safety standards'

Following the rescue a number of the children's dinghies were left abandoned overnight in the harbour then picked up the following morning.

oppy recoverA Royal Cork Optimist dinghy is recovered into a RIB off the East Pier at Dun Laoghaire on Sunday

Published in ISA
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Storm Brian's strong north–westerly winds, gusting over 40–knots, left both a training group of Optimist sailors and at least one moored cruiser on Dun Laoghaire harbour wall this lunch time.

Eyewitness reports say that four Optimist dinghies were 'abandoned' in the squall at the East Pier. The eyewitnesses say the junior sailors involved are safe and accounted for. 

In a separate incident, in what appears to be case of broken ground tackle, a sailing cruiser ended up on the West Pier earlier this morning.

cruiser on pierA launch attends to a sailing cruiser lying up against the West Pier wall at Dun Laoghaire

The incidents have prompted a statement regarding today's on the water activities from the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School Chief Instructor & Director, Kenneth Rumball:

'The Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School cancelled most of it on the water activities due to the adverse weather forecast for Saturday the 21st October 2017.

We had a small number of our brightly colored craft on the water for a very short period of time on Saturday morning.

A small number of powerboat clients were operating in a very well sheltered area of the inner harbour for a time also this morning.

Knowing the weather was due to hit later that morning, all clients, staff and personnel were off the water once the worst of the westerly winds started to hit.

None of the craft in the videos and pictures circulating the internet from Dun Laoghaire Harbour are craft belonging to the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School'.

Update here.

Sailing instructor Kerri-Ann Boylan was out coaching kids in Optimist sailing dinghies at the weekend when she spotted a fin in the water in Skerries Harbour in North County Dublin.

'As I brought the kids into land and about to let them jump out of my boat we spotted a fin', she wrote on social media on October 10th. 

'It's a very rare sight of a 'shark' being in that close to land and in the Irish Sea,' she added.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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It was a clean sweep for Royal Cork Yacht Club junior sailors at the Optimist Leinster Dinghy Championships at the National Yacht Club last weekend. 

Justin Lucas won the Merrion Private sponsored event where 139–sailors registered including 29 from the host club.

Lucas's clubmates Harry Twomey and Harry Pritchard finished second and third respectively.

There were very challenging windy conditions, as Afloat.ie reported here, over the entire weekend and despite this five races took place over both days.

Race Officer for the main fleet was Con Murphy and Paddy Judge officiated for the regatta fleet.

Results are here

Published in Optimist
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Recently crowned Irish Optimist champion Rian Geraghty-McDonnell (14) of the National Yacht Club leads a blustery Leinster Championships hosted by his own club on Dublin Bay.

Four points behind, Royal Cork's Harry Twomey is second on seven, with Geraghty–McDonnell's club mate Nathan van Steenberge third on eight points in the 42–boat senior fleet. 

Two races have been sailed in the relative shelter of Scotsman's Bay in blustery, north-westerly breezes reaching 20–knots and more at times but a third race was bandoned due to building winds in the late afternoon.

Racing continues tomorrow.

Full results for all three divisions are here

Published in Optimist
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Rian Geraghty-McDonnell has won the Irish Optimist National and Open Senior Championship and Luke Turvey the Junior Optimist National and Open Championship at the IODAI championships hosted by the Royal Irish Yacht Club.

With a full series of 10 races sailed over the four–day event on Dublin Bay, everything came down to the last race to decide who was going to win the titles. Geraghty-McDonnell got a black flag in the second last race but showed real depth of character to come back in the last race and take the title with Justin Lucan of Royal Cork Yacht Club finishing one point behind.

The following results concluded the top ten senior sailors, Leah Rickard 3rd, Rory O’Sullivan 4th, Harry Twomey 5th, Emily Riordan 6th, Harry Prtichard 7th, Hugh Turvey 8th, Moss Simington 9th and Conor Gorman 10th.

Luke Turvey of HYC/NYC won the Irish Optimist National and Open Junior Championship. The Junior series mirrored the seniors and also came down to the wire with the last race deciding the title. Luke Turvey beat HYC club mate Johnny Flynn by one point to take the Junior title.

Oisin Kelly won the title in Regatta fleet, followed by Tristan Farrer from GBR in second place and in third place was Harvey Matthews from KYC.

The IODAI say it was one of the most competitive Irish Nationals ever with an amazing display of sailing talent by Ireland's young and up and coming sailors. 

Next year's National Championships are heading for Kinsale in County Cork.

Published in Optimist
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Page 6 of 26

Dublin Bay

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

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

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

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

Dublin Bay FAQs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dollymount, Burrow and Seapoint beaches

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

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

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

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