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The pandemic could provide an opportunity for sailing. That is an interesting view and comes from Irish Sailing's Regional Development Officer, Gail MacAllister

"There is such a massive interest in being outdoors because of the imposition of the Covid restrictions, that the spin-off can be used to the benefit of sailing as a sport which provides an opportunity for everyone."

I've known Gail for quite some time through the West Cork Sailing and Powerboating Centre which she and Niall established back in 1997 at Adrigole a lovely spot on the West Cork coastline. Irish Sailing is asking members to help "unlock the potential of new opportunities and find a new audience" for the sport. That call will go out this Thursday night at 7 p.m. in Irish Sailing's 'Zoomposium' which is intended to "reconnect, review and reinvigorate".

Jessy of Adrigole, A West Cork Sailing Centre yachtJessy of Adrigole, A West Cork Sailing Centre yacht

Gail, who has organised the association's annual Cruising conference is focussing her attention this week on the 'Zoomposium' which is this year's annual gathering with members, online like so many things, because of the pandemic.

The approach being taken, it seems to me, is to a large extent the organisation's response to the views of members over recent years, looking for more interaction to develop sailing. The 'Zoomposium' session on the topic - 'How can active engagement with the current membership of the national association be increased and how can new membership be obtained?' could be of particular interest. Nikki Curran from Sligo YC and Ciarán Murphy, Irish Sailing's Western Regional representative will be leading this session.

Brian Carlin of the Volvo Race; Jamie Boag, currently Head Coach for the Hong Kong Sailing Federation and Sports Institute; Pamela Lee from Greystones YC,, one of the two women who set the all-female sailing speed record around Ireland in the past few weeks and Vera Quinlan of the Marine Institute, currently working on INFOMAR, Ireland's seabed mapping programme, who completed a 14-month Atlantic circuit sailing adventure with her family, are speakers on the opening panel.

After a year in which the sailing season suffered so much restriction, there should be pent-up feelings about opportunities to develop the sport. So I was interested when Gail MacAllister highlighted what she sees as "the opportunities inherent in the greater numbers of people exercising outdoors." Around Cork Harbour where I live, more people have been expressing appreciation of the riverside and the marine.

Registration for the 'Zoomposium' is free and available on the Irish Sailing website.

Listen to the Podcast here where I started by asking Gail about the interest, or perhaps anxiety, to achieve a widening of public interest in sailing.

Published in Tom MacSweeney

Sailing in Ireland is set to benefit from an “unprecedented” €85 million funding package for the sports sector.

Sport Ireland chairman Kieran Mulvey said the announcement — made today (Monday 2 November) by Sport Minister Catherine Martin and Minute of State for Sport Jack Chambers — represents “the largest ever investment package for sport”.

It follows a €70 million package approved over the summer as the Government aims to address some of the extended challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

John Treacy, chief executive of Sport Ireland, said: “The initial schemes announced in June were designed to support organisations with Covid-19-related losses in 2020.

“However, having engaged with our funded bodies, we understand that the current Level 5 restrictions present additional challenges.

“As such, we are ring-fencing finances to address any immediate needs that may arise in the sector in the coming weeks.”

Among the allocations to national governing bodies, Irish Sailing will receive €650,000, while Rowing Ireland gets €149,000, €70,000 goes to the Irish Underwater Council, €50,000 to the Irish Surfing Association and €48,000 to Canoeing Ireland.

The Olympic Federation of Ireland has welcomed the funding “which will provide much needed support for a wide variety of Olympic sports, many of which have been severely impacted by Covid-19”.

It adds that the package will also “provide some stability to protect performance programmes for those elite athletes currently preparing for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo next year”.

Dublin Bay Sailing Club’s final Saturday race of the truncated summer season remains a possibility if the capital is lifted out of Level 3 coronavirus restrictions on Friday 9 October.

Earlier today (Thursday 1 October), Irish Sailing provided an update on the current situation for sailing under the new five-level plan, confirming that the sport will have no exemption from the current NPHET advice which has tied up boats in Dublin and Donegal.

Irish Sailing says it made representations to Sport Ireland and the Expert Group in respect of the relatively low risk activities that sailing encompasses.

But the current guidelines remain — despite exceptions being made for high-level rugby and GAA competitions.

Sailing’s governing body in Ireland also moved to clear up confusion of the changing definition of a ‘pod’ in the revised health guidelines.

“Under Level 3, Sport Ireland uses the term ‘non contact pods’ to counteract the risk of people being close contacts, and that people within a pod must not ‘spend more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of someone either indoors or outdoors. Where sports can’t achieve this, they should modify activity appropriately.’

“For sailing this means we can only do single-handed or same-household sailing unless social distancing can be maintained while aboard.”

Irish Sailing added: “Sport Ireland are working with all sporting bodies to clarify any confusion and ensure consistency across the sporting sector is maintained within the Government’s five-level plan.”

Tagged under

The cancellation of the Irish Sailing All-Ireland Junior Championships this weekend is “a big disappointment” for all involved, both those competing and being the scenes, the governing body has said.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the event scheduled for Schull in West Cork was called off in the wake of new coronavirus travel restrictions for Dublin, where more than half of competitors are based.

Sixteen youth sailors and their crew from 10 classes had been looking forward to racing in Schull Harbour in a unique event that sees all nominees compete in the same class of boat — this year would have been the turn of the TR3.6s.

“We were so disappointed to cancel the Junior All Irelands – the level of sailing is excellent and it’s always a fun event,” said Irish Sailing’s chief executive Harry Hermon.

“Personally, I was looking forward to it as I’ve seen so many young people around the country doing a lot of sailing this summer, and I wanted to chat to this group about what they’d experienced.

“I’d like to highlight as well the huge amount of work done behind the scenes right up until the point of cancellation, and I’d like to thank the hosts Fastnet Marine and Outdoor Education Centre, the organising committee and the large number of volunteers who make these events such a pleasure to work on.”

The list of successful nominees was released last week and included five girls, two Irish Sailing Academy sailors, and five Laser sailors.

There was a good mix of club representation but Howth Yacht Club just pipped the lead with three members on the list: Eve McMahon, Johnny Flynn and Luke Turvey.

The list included two family teams (Trevor and Russell Bolger, and Charlie and Lucia Cullen, all RStGYC), one set of twins (Conor and Jack Galligan, Greystones SC), and two siblings on different teams (Clementine and Nathan van Steenberge, National YC).

There were two female-only teams (Chloe Murphy and Abigail Johnston, Lough Ree YC, and Zoe Whitford and Kelly Patterson, East Antrim Boat Club), and Eve McMahon chose her Laser Academy teammate Tom Higgins as crew.

Optimist sailor Ben O’Shaughnessy of the Royal Cork Yacht Club said: “It would have been a great event with great organisation but unfortunately it was cancelled for all the right reasons. I’m looking forward to sailing in the future and getting back to race season.”

Irish Sailing says work has already begun on the 2021 event which will take place on the weekend 25 and 26 September at a venue yet to be confirmed.

Published in ISA

Noted ocean voyager Vera Quinlan has joined the Irish Sailing Board of Directors, where she will head up the Cruising Policy Group.

Vera (of Galway Bay Sailing Club) began sailing at the age of 10 on Lough Derg. She started in a Mirror, then moved to a Laser, and spent many years cruising with her parents in Ireland, France and Scotland. She sailed from Sydney to Hobart in 1988 on board the Sail Training Brigantine Asgard II, and in 2004 fulfilled a lifelong ambition to skipper a yacht across the North Atlantic.

In 2019/20 Vera fulfilled another ambition: an Atlantic-circuit sailing adventure with her family. On board their yacht Danú, a 43 ft Bruce Roberts Mauritius, she and her husband Peter Owens and children Lilian (11) and Ruairi (9) spent fourteen months travelling. Highlights included climbing and hiking in the Pico de Europa, crossing the Atlas Mountains on foot with mules, riding camels in the Sahara, sailing transatlantic in the Trade Winds, exploring the Amazon rivers of French Guiana, and spending ‘lockdown’ in Barbuda exploring its pristine reefs before returning via the Azores and on to Ireland, where she and her family became the Afloat.ie "Sailors of the Month" for July 2020 in recognition of their successful and very complete voyage.

Vera is an active member of Galway Bay Sailing Club and previously held the position of Rear Commodore Training. She is involved in all aspects of cruising through both the Irish Cruising Club and the Ocean Cruising Club. She studied a BSc in Marine Science and Hydrography at Liverpool John Moores University and followed a career in deep water 3D seismic exploration. In 2006 she began work at the Marine Institute of Ireland in Galway and concurrently was awarded an MSc in Coastal Zone management.  She is currently working as a marine scientist on INFOMAR, Ireland’s seabed mapping programme.

Vera is delighted to be able to support Irish Sailing as a board member, and commented: “As a fan of Jacques Cousteau the sea has certainly cast its spell on me…. at sea, I truly feel alive."

Published in ISA

The latest Irish Sailing eSailing National Championship leaderboard reveals the top 10 qualifiers for the Nations Cup playoffs — and the challengers nipping at their heels for the coveted national title.

Irish Sailing’s first eChampionships were launched in early April, and since then 960 Irish players have signed up.

The top 10 ranked Irish sailors on 1 September 2020 will automatically represent Ireland at the eSailing World Championship Finals Playoff which will take place later this month.

Colin Kavanagh of Howth Yacht Club topped the board with Cillian Dickson in second (Howth and Lough Ree).

In third is Olympic sailor Finn Lynch (National YC), who just pipped Roisín McCormack (Foynes YC), president of the Mermaid Sailing Association, for the place.

Making up the rest of the top 10 are Mick Farrell, Paul McLaughlin, Graeme Grant, Andrew Baker, Tom Fox and Ronan Downing.

But it’s the top 20 who will now fight for the position of Irish eSailing National Champion.

The rest of the table in hunt for the national title comprises Ryan Seaton, Colin O’Sullivan, Chris Raymond, Shane Hughes, Max Tipp-McKnight, Cian Mollen, Atlee Kohl, James O’Connor, Michael Lynch and Daniel Raymond.

Playoffs for the domestic championship will be held on Tuesdays 3 and 10 November, with three races each, organised by Emmett Dalton of Howth Yacht Club. The first night will be raced in virtual J70s, followed by 49ers.

Irish Sailing says it wants to encourage as many people as possible to get sailing — with eSailing just one more aspect of this.

“We hope that by engaging with a brand new audience of eSailors, we’ll be able to convert them to real life sailors in the future,” the governing body added.

Irish Sailing teamed up with World Sailing and Virtual Regatta to launch the Irish eSailing National Championship in the middle of the coronavirus restrictions.

The game is free to play online or via app — and with the launch of the Irish version, local players can register as Irish and aim for the top of a new national leaderboard.

Published in ISA
Tagged under

Irish Sailing has welcomed its newest affiliate in the shape of the Galway Hooker Sailing Club.

The club was formed in 2017 when a group of friends came together to revive and retain the Galway Hooker tradition in Galway.

The Galway Hooker is a traditional fishing vessel, built and designed in Galway, and originally dates from the mid 19th century. Their typical red sails are widely seen in logos and brands around the city.

Current club commodore Ciaran Oliver is one of the founding members and together with a current crew of about 100 people has built a steadily growing club with strong links to the local community — particularly through teaching people the skills to sail these iconic vessels.

To learn more, follow the Galway Hooker Sailing Club on Facebook and Instagram or visit their website at GalwayHooker2020.org

Published in Historic Boats

This year’s Watersports Inclusion Games, which had been set for 5-6 September at Lough Derg Yacht Club, have been cancelled over continued coronavirus concerns.

In a statement, Irish Sailing said that “the current trajectory of the virus spread, coupled with the logistics, people involved and format of the event brought us to this decision”.

Ireland’s national governing body for sailing expressed its thanks to all “who worked so hard in trying to bring this year’s Inclusion Games to fruition”.

Lough Derg YC will instead host next year’s games, being planned for 18-29 June 2021.

The news follows the cancellation of the Women at the Helm Regatta later this month over similar concerns.

It is with great reluctance that Irish Sailing have decided, along with hosts the National Yacht Club, to cancel the Women at the Helm regatta that had been set to take place later this month, writes Gail McAllister.

Despite the tremendous energy behind the event, the health and safety of sailors is our number one priority, and in the light of the ongoing Covid-19 situation and the complexities arising from this it became clear that the event could not go ahead.

Irish Sailing are extremely disappointed for yet another event to be lost to Covid this year, but now look forward to next year and the Women at the Helm in Royal Cork Yacht Club on the weekend of Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th September 2021.

On a personal note, I would like to thank everyone for their incredible support and enthusiasm for Women at the Helm as an event and the Take the Helm campaign to encourage more women to move into positions of leadership. The campaign goes beyond the race course and creates leaders on committees, instructor teams and management.

A group of volunteer race officials have worked together to create a guidance document to help in planning and implementing safe and happy sailing events for the season ahead.

Irish Sailing has now published these guidelines, with details on planning, timelines, risk assessment and other considerations and controls for running both major national and smaller local events during the coronavirus pandemic.

This is an active working document and will be updated as Government guidelines changes throughout this pandemic. See the current full guidance document (as of 8 July 2020) attached below.

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About Dublin Port 

Dublin Port Company is currently investing about €277 million on its Alexandra Basin Redevelopment (ABR), which is due to be complete by 2021. The redevelopment will improve the port's capacity for large ships by deepening and lengthening 3km of its 7km of berths. The ABR is part of a €1bn capital programme up to 2028, which will also include initial work on the Dublin Port’s MP2 Project - a major capital development project proposal for works within the existing port lands in the northeastern part of the port.

Dublin Port has also recently secured planning approval for the development of the next phase of its inland port near Dublin Airport. The latest stage of the inland port will include a site with the capacity to store more than 2,000 shipping containers and infrastructures such as an ESB substation, an office building and gantry crane.

Dublin Port Company recently submitted a planning application for a €320 million project that aims to provide significant additional capacity at the facility within the port in order to cope with increases in trade up to 2040. The scheme will see a new roll-on/roll-off jetty built to handle ferries of up to 240 metres in length, as well as the redevelopment of an oil berth into a deep-water container berth.

Dublin Port FAQ

Dublin was little more than a monastic settlement until the Norse invasion in the 8th and 9th centuries when they selected the Liffey Estuary as their point of entry to the country as it provided relatively easy access to the central plains of Ireland. Trading with England and Europe followed which required port facilities, so the development of Dublin Port is inextricably linked to the development of Dublin City, so it is fair to say the origins of the Port go back over one thousand years. As a result, the modern organisation Dublin Port has a long and remarkable history, dating back over 300 years from 1707.

The original Port of Dublin was situated upriver, a few miles from its current location near the modern Civic Offices at Wood Quay and close to Christchurch Cathedral. The Port remained close to that area until the new Custom House opened in the 1790s. In medieval times Dublin shipped cattle hides to Britain and the continent, and the returning ships carried wine, pottery and other goods.

510 acres. The modern Dublin Port is located either side of the River Liffey, out to its mouth. On the north side of the river, the central part (205 hectares or 510 acres) of the Port lies at the end of East Wall and North Wall, from Alexandra Quay.

Dublin Port Company is a State-owned commercial company responsible for operating and developing Dublin Port.

Dublin Port Company is a self-financing, and profitable private limited company wholly-owned by the State, whose business is to manage Dublin Port, Ireland's premier Port. Established as a corporate entity in 1997, Dublin Port Company is responsible for the management, control, operation and development of the Port.

Captain William Bligh (of Mutiny of the Bounty fame) was a visitor to Dublin in 1800, and his visit to the capital had a lasting effect on the Port. Bligh's study of the currents in Dublin Bay provided the basis for the construction of the North Wall. This undertaking led to the growth of Bull Island to its present size.

Yes. Dublin Port is the largest freight and passenger port in Ireland. It handles almost 50% of all trade in the Republic of Ireland.

All cargo handling activities being carried out by private sector companies operating in intensely competitive markets within the Port. Dublin Port Company provides world-class facilities, services, accommodation and lands in the harbour for ships, goods and passengers.

Eamonn O'Reilly is the Dublin Port Chief Executive.

Capt. Michael McKenna is the Dublin Port Harbour Master

In 2019, 1,949,229 people came through the Port.

In 2019, there were 158 cruise liner visits.

In 2019, 9.4 million gross tonnes of exports were handled by Dublin Port.

In 2019, there were 7,898 ship arrivals.

In 2019, there was a gross tonnage of 38.1 million.

In 2019, there were 559,506 tourist vehicles.

There were 98,897 lorries in 2019

Boats can navigate the River Liffey into Dublin by using the navigational guidelines. Find the guidelines on this page here.

VHF channel 12. Commercial vessels using Dublin Port or Dun Laoghaire Port typically have a qualified pilot or certified master with proven local knowledge on board. They "listen out" on VHF channel 12 when in Dublin Port's jurisdiction.

A Dublin Bay webcam showing the south of the Bay at Dun Laoghaire and a distant view of Dublin Port Shipping is here
Dublin Port is creating a distributed museum on its lands in Dublin City.
 A Liffey Tolka Project cycle and pedestrian way is the key to link the elements of this distributed museum together.  The distributed museum starts at the Diving Bell and, over the course of 6.3km, will give Dubliners a real sense of the City, the Port and the Bay.  For visitors, it will be a unique eye-opening stroll and vista through and alongside one of Europe’s busiest ports:  Diving Bell along Sir John Rogerson’s Quay over the Samuel Beckett Bridge, past the Scherzer Bridge and down the North Wall Quay campshire to Berth 18 - 1.2 km.   Liffey Tolka Project - Tree-lined pedestrian and cycle route between the River Liffey and the Tolka Estuary - 1.4 km with a 300-metre spur along Alexandra Road to The Pumphouse (to be completed by Q1 2021) and another 200 metres to The Flour Mill.   Tolka Estuary Greenway - Construction of Phase 1 (1.9 km) starts in December 2020 and will be completed by Spring 2022.  Phase 2 (1.3 km) will be delivered within the following five years.  The Pumphouse is a heritage zone being created as part of the Alexandra Basin Redevelopment Project.  The first phase of 1.6 acres will be completed in early 2021 and will include historical port equipment and buildings and a large open space for exhibitions and performances.  It will be expanded in a subsequent phase to incorporate the Victorian Graving Dock No. 1 which will be excavated and revealed. 
 The largest component of the distributed museum will be The Flour Mill.  This involves the redevelopment of the former Odlums Flour Mill on Alexandra Road based on a masterplan completed by Grafton Architects to provide a mix of port operational uses, a National Maritime Archive, two 300 seat performance venues, working and studio spaces for artists and exhibition spaces.   The Flour Mill will be developed in stages over the remaining twenty years of Masterplan 2040 alongside major port infrastructure projects.

Source: Dublin Port Company ©Afloat 2020. 

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