This year's Centenary of the wartime sinking of the mailboat RMS Leinster on 10th October 1918 will see a significant Dun Laoghaire and national commemoration on the day itself writes W M Nixon. As part of the buildup to those official events on Wednesday 10th October 2018, this weekend the sailing community is giving special Leinster Centenary emphasis to two major annual events on Sunday - the Dun Laoghaire Motor YC's Kish Race, and the Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association Leinster Plate Race.
Inaugurated in 2013 in memory of the Leinster tragedy, the Leinster Plate was presented by the Post Office Workers Union to the DB Old Gaffers Association to mark the OGA’s Golden Jubilee in that year, and to particularly recall that the numerous death toll on the Leinster included 21 postal workers who had been working in the ship’s sorting room at the time the torpedo struck. Normally the Leinster Plate would be raced for in June. But for 2018, the Race will be held this Sunday, 23rd September, in conjunction with the annual Kish Race organised by the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club. DMYC expects that there will be approximately 70 boats competing in the Kish Race.
The main Kish Race starts just outside Dun Laoghaire harbour at 1030 on Sunday morning and the DBOGA Leinster Plate Race will start on the same line at 1045. As usual, the DBOGA course will either follow or cross the track of the RMS Leinster on that fateful day in 1918. The Leinster Plate will be presented to the winner during the official commemorations in Dun Laoghaire on October 10th. Starting this year, the winner will also be presented with a replica of the Leinster Plate which he or she will retain for the year.
This Saturday 22nd September, DBOGA (most of whom are based at Poolbeg Y & BC) will organise an afternoon race, starting around 1500 hrs near Poolbeg Lighthouse, to take the fleet to Dun Laoghaire. VHF channel 77 will be used for race information on Saturday afternoon. Boats will moor in Dun Laoghaire Marina on Saturday night, and there will be a social evening hosted by DMYC in their clubhouse.
However, in view of the unsettled period of exceptionally stormy weather being currently experienced, DBOGA have stated that they will be making a definitive confirmation of their weekend’s arrangements on Saturday morning. Meanwhile, Neil Colin of DMYC and organiser of the Kish Race has been closely monitoring the weather and a range of prediction sources and agrees that while some forecasts are not favourable, others are more optimistic for Sunday. He told Afloat.ie this morning:
“We plan to stand over our plans to run the Kish race as scheduled but will review the situation on Saturday. Our contingency plan is simply to postpone the race one week, to Sunday 30th September, and in the event, we have to abandon, all entries will be fully refunded.
While we aim to be responsible organisers, the final responsibility rests with the Skippers to consider the safety of their crew and craft, and to make the decision to sail or not, bearing in mind their own abilities and expectations”.