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The Royal Irish Yacht Club has acquired a Farr-designed one-tonner for sail training and members’ use.

The club has credited the acquisition to the generosity of club member George Sisk, whose own Farr 42 WOW! has made an impact in Irish yacht racing for over 10 years.

The club says the high performance one-tonner, designed for both short course racing and offshore, “will greatly enhance [its] sail training offering for both novice and more experienced sailors”.

And it will also be available for charter by club members participating in club racing and offshore events.

Rear Commodore (Sailing) Jerry Dowling and RIYC member Tim Kane will give a talk about the club’s new acquisition and plans for 2020 on Thursday 14 November.

The talk from 7pm is free to members and their guests, followed by supper at €30 per head. All are welcome. See the RIYC website for booking or email catering for details.

This article was updated to correct that the yacht in question is not a Farr 40 as previously stated but a 40ft one-tonner designed by Bruce Farr.

Published in Royal Irish Yacht Club
Tagged under

The Royal Irish Yacht Club’s Saskia Tidey and her Team GB sailing partner Charlotte Dobson have launched a crowdfunding campaign to support their efforts to qualify for the 49erFX class in next summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The pair, who finished seventh among a strong field of contender at the 49erFX Europeans last month, say they have reached a “hurdle” in their present fundraising efforts.

“The level of financial backing we have needed to maintain podium positions has now exceeded beyond what our campaign budget is capable of.”

But with additional backing, they say, “we absolutely believe we can complete and deliver the training programme we have planned to bring home a medal”.

Saskia and Charlotte have set a £5,000 of which they have raised nearly a quarter in less than a week.

For more on the pair’s campaign, see their GoFundMe page HERE.

Read the pair’s full appeal below:

We are Olympians Saskia Tidey & Charlotte Dobson. Team mates onboard our 49er FX Olympic class skiff dinghy representing Great Britain on the British Sailing team. We need your help!

After the Rio 2016 Olympic games concluded we left with fire in our bellies and our eyes and hearts set on the goal to medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.

For three years we have battled on the International World Sailing circuit to bring home medal winning performances for Great Britain. It has been a honour to fly the flag and and a privilege to be under the pressure of striving for greatness.

Unfortunately we have reached a hurdle in our campaign which we are finding increasingly difficult to jump. The level of financial backing we have needed to maintain podium positions has now exceeded beyond what our campaign budget is capable of. With additional funds we absolutely believe we can complete and deliver the training programme we have planned to bring home a medal.

This summer we will represent Great Britain at the 2019 Olympic Test event in Japan. Please follow our journey and donate before August 2019 to help us reach the gold standard program we need to continue to succeed!

With Tokyo 2020 just around the corner we are seeking help and support from anyone would would like to join our journey and help us keep on the podium for Great Britain in 2020!

Sailing is a sport that can be overlooked and misunderstood but it is an exhilarating sport which is accessible to everyone and we would love to entice more viewers to enjoy it too!

Please help us on on our journey!

Follow our story on Instagram @gbr_44fx

Help Spread the word! 

Charlotte & Saskia xox

Published in Royal Irish Yacht Club

Irish Sailing will hold its Annual General Meeting for 2019 at the Royal Irish Yacht Club from 11am next Saturday 30 March.

The agenda will include minutes of the AGM of 10 March 2018, reception of the president’s report, and consideration of the company’s financial statements and auditors’ reports for last year.

There will also be an election of directors and the president of the board, who is elected annually in accordance with Article 57.

The full notice of Irish Sailing’s 2019 AGM is attached below.

Published in ISA
Tagged under

The Royal Irish Yacht Club looks forward to welcoming Kevin Vickers, the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, as its international guest speaker at a dinner next Friday 9 November.

Ambassador Vickers has served as Ambassador of Canada to Ireland since January 2015. He was previously Sergeant-at-Arms of Canada’s House of Commons and prior to that had a successful 29-year-long career with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

He is a recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, the Canada 125 Medal, and the RCMP Long Service Medal. He has also been recognised by the Community of Burnt Church for his outstanding service to their community, and by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency for his ‘Outstanding Contribution to Drug Enforcement’.

In 2014, Vickers was hailed as a hero by Canada’s parliamentarians and other prominent Canadian and international figures for his actions in stopping the October attack at the Parliament of Canada.

This event is open to all RIYC members and their guests and will cost €40 per person including a glass of Prosecco on arrival. A members’ table will be available. Online booking is available HERE.

Another date for your calendar is Thursday 22 November, when the RIYC Military History Annual Lecture is delivered by keynote guest Professor Saul David, well-known British academic military historian, author and broadcaster.

Prof David will deliver his lecture ‘The Force: The First Special Service Force and the Capture of Monte la Difensa’, telling the incredible true story of the assault on Hitler’s Winter Line in southern Italy in December 1943 – one of the greatest military feats of the Second World War – and the small group of elite US and Canadian soldiers who carried it out.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the RIYC’s Christmas brochure details events planned at the Dun Laoghaire waterfront clubhouse throughout the upcoming festive season.

Published in Royal Irish Yacht Club
Tagged under

The Royal Irish Yacht Club has released its 2018 Christmas brochure, detailing events planned for the upcoming festive season.

Clubhouse dining options begin on Saturday 1 December and include a family lunch on Sunday 9, and a special seven-course ‘Taste of Christmas’ menu on Saturday 15.

Members can also enjoy an evening of carol singing with the Ryan family on Monday 10 December, with mulled wine and mincepies before supper in the dining room.

And for the younger members, Santa Claus himself will be visiting the club — but be sure to book your spot at the Wet Bar.

Published in Royal Irish Yacht Club
Tagged under

#RIYC - The women of the Royal Irish Yacht Club filled four 1720s for two great races on Dublin Bay as part of the club’s Ladies Race last Friday 27 July.

Conditions were challenging with gusts of up to 25 knots, but that’s nothing these women can’t handle — particularly Gill O’Connor, who did a top-notch job organising the day having just had a baby three weeks ago.

Michael Tyrrell also served as race officer for the day, which is hoped to become an annual fixture on the Royal Irish calendar.

Published in Royal Irish Yacht Club
Tagged under

#Sailability - Dun Laoghaire’s waterfront clubs have launched their 2017 sailability programme for children ages 8-17 with physical and/or sensorial disabilities.

The programme kicks off with a try sailing event on Sunday 11 June at the Royal Irish Yacht Club, with morning sailing proper commencing at the Royal St George on Sunday 18 June, continuing each week (except 9 July and 6 August) till 20 August in conjunction with the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club.

There will also be two week-long sailing courses, provided by the National Yacht Club (12-16 June) and the Royal Irish YC (8-11 August).

No sailing experience is necessary to take part in the sailability programme, sponsored in 2017 by the Spirit Motor Group Volvo Ireland and the Water Wag sailing class, among others.

For general enquiries and further details, contact Ian French (087 245 6834 or [email protected]) or
Ruth Shanahan (086 237 4801 or [email protected]).

Published in Dublin Bay

Saskia Tidey’s enthusiasm for racing the 49erFX to Olympic level is such that after she’d exhausted every possibility of finding a sailing partner towards Tokyo 2020 within Ireland, she had to cast the net towards the UK, and linked up with Charlotte Dobson.

Dobson had finished 8th in the 2016 Rio Olympiad sailing with Sophie Ainsworth. Ironically, Charlotte Dobson is also an “outsider”, as she’s from Helensburgh on Scotland’s Firth of Clyde, and went to university in Edinburgh. But whatever their background, and whatever the national colours they’re now sailing under, their first major international debut at the Hyeres championship – after just four months training together – was an immediate breathrough, as they took the Bronze Medal.

By any standards it was a remarkable achievement, after just four months of shared training it was phenomenal, and Saskia Tidey of the Royal Irish Yacht Club is clear winner of our “Sailor of the Month (Olympic)” Award for April 2017.

Published in Sailor of the Month

27 classes competed in today's Teng Tools sponsored Royal Irish Yacht Club Regatta on Dublin Bay. Having just finished the Round Ireland Race on Thursday, the club's own JPK1080 Rockabill VI (Paul O'Higgins) was back on the water again, winning the 18–boat IRC one division. Full results in each class are downloadable below. 

Published in Dublin Bay

We’re into the last weekend in which the popular figure of James Horan will be making regular appearances on the Dun Laoghaire waterfront, and at national sailing occasions, as Commodore of the Royal Irish Yacht Club. Next week at the RIYC Annual general Meeting, he stands down from the top post after two hugely productive years in which he has guided and inspired one of Ireland’s – and indeed the world’s – premier clubs through an accelerating programme of development and success, afloat and ashore, writes W M Nixon

Commodore Horan will hand over to his successor a thriving club which is emerging from an outstanding year which resulted in it being acclaimed as the Mitsubishi Motors “Sailing Club of the Year” 2016 at the National Sailing Awards in Dublin in February. And the RIYC faces confidently into this new season of 2016 - which will see it celebrate its 185th Anniversary – with the staging of several special events in addition to being well represented afloat, both nationally and internationally, at all levels right up to the Rio Olympics themselves.

Meanwhile, from the club’s elegant and well-equipped waterfront complex, the RIYC Training Division – current holder of the ISA’s Eastern Region Best Training Establishment Award – will continue to provide willing recruits to a fine sailing tradition in line with a club history which few comparable organisations anywhere in the world can match.

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The evening sunshine helps to match the neo-classic style of the Royal Irish YC’s 165-year-old clubhouse with the new Mitsubishi Outlander

But before next week’s significant change of the watch, there was one final and very appropriate celebratory event with which to mark the end of the James Horan Years. For many years now, it has been a tradition that although the Sailing Club of the Year Award is nationally announced early in the year, the process is not completed until a reception is held in the winning clubhouse for a final formal handover of the famous ship‘s wheel trophy “on site”, a tradition which facilitates all members of the club to share in its success in their home clubhouse, while also allowing the Commodore to highlight those who have made special effort or achieved great results to bring about the win.

As the RIYC’s beautiful building is the world’s oldest purpose-built sailing clubhouse still precisely intact as originally designed – for it was completed in 1851 to the plans of John Skipton Mulvany – there’s no denying the sense of history kept alive with its elegant interior and impressive exterior. But while respecting its heritage in every way, the RIYC can live lightly enough with its ever-present history, operating on the principle that it respects and cherishes the past, lives keenly and efficiently in the present, and looks enthusiastically, with vision and planning, towards the future.

So although you find yourself in what might seem to some to be a museum – albeit a stylish and very much living museum - this past Tuesday, when the ship’s wheel trophy was finally lodged in its new home for the next twelve months, it was definitely party time. Even the weather obliged with a hint of a spring evening, and with the clocks put forward (albeit by barely a wet week) there was just enough of the day left to have the club flagpole fully dressed in celebratory bunting without infringing on flag etiquette for the lowering of colours at sunset.

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A flash of sunshine highlighted the dressing of the club flagpole, while still allowing for proper regard of flag etiquette at sunset. Photo: W M Nixon

Within, the mood was warm, friendly and relaxed. And when we consider the RIYC record in 2015, being warm friendly and relaxed was the only option. Where to begin with a year’s sailing which successfully encompassed every aspect of our sport?

In fact, it’s scarcely fair to begin with just one year, as in recent decades the Royal Irish YC has been very much at the heart of Irish sailing, but in the past season one of its most dedicated owner-skippers, George Sisk, campaigned his 42–ft sloop WOW to become the Irish Cruiser-Racer AssociationBoat of the Year” after victories at national championships on the east and south coasts.

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George Sisk and Fintan Cairns

The longterm devotion of the club to its own and national sailing development was reflected in the fact that ICRA was co-founded in 2002 by another leading RIYC member, Fintan Cairns. He has also given distinguished service to Dublin Bay SC, and he was there on Tuesday with many of WOW’s decidedly senior crew (they say the acronym stands for “We Ould Wans”) to celebrate their own superb year, and a great year for their club.

club year5

Michael Boyd, Commodore Royal Ocean Racing Club, puts the world to rights with Tom Power, who skippered the boat which won the 1987 Fastnet overall, and is now one of WOW’s crew with George Sisk

Another leading member, Michael Boyd, serves as Commodore of the global offshore racing organisation, the Royal Ocean Racing Club, and his boat Quokka was top-placed Irish boat in the Fastnet Race 2015 to win the Gull Salver, and on Tuesday night he entertained us with awesome stories about the extreme conditions experienced during the RORC’s recent Easter Challenge Series in the Solent, when the fleet was frequently hit by huge 40 knots-plus mini-storms of the blackest hue, yet the harder it blew, the better the Irish boats seemed to do.

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Tim Goodbody, a former RIYC Commodore and Fastnet Race winner in 1987, who chaired the Dun Laoghaire Regatta Committee in 2015 and also won many prizes afloat during the past year, with Jacqueline McStay (Rear Commodore RIYC)

Back home in Dublin Bay, longtime RIYC member Tim Goodbody had served as Chairman of the Organising Committee for the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta in July, Ireland’s biggest event in 2015. But he also continued to win trophies when racing his own boat, and emerged as a top performer at the ICRA Championship in Kinsale, and as overall top scorer in Dublin Bay Sailing Club’s season-long championship. And all this from a sailor who in times past was a winning helmsman in the Fastnet Race, way back in 1987.

As for ocean cruising, Ireland’s premier national trophy - the Faulkner Cup which dates back to 1931 - has been awarded to Alan Rountree of the RIYC for his skill and determination in dealing with a severe storm in 2015 while returning single-handed from a voyage to the Azores in his 34ft yacht Tallulah, which he built himself. But then, when an RIYC member builds himself his dreamship at his remote house and workshop in the Wicklow Hills, you can be sure that the results will be a vessel superior to many professionally-finished craft.

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Rio qualified Olympic sailor Saskia Tidey, Brendan Farrell, and RIYC Marine Manager (and Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat cox’n) Mark McGibney

The news that Alan Rountree was the latest recipient of the Faulkner Cup only came towards the end of the year, but this sense of the Royal Irish Yacht Club being on a continuous and active journey which lasts for twelve months of every year was reinforced in the days leading up to this week’s ceremony, with the news that the club’s Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey had qualified for a place in the Rio Olympics 2016 in the Women’s Skiff. Saskia herself was there to join a celebration which was further enhanced by the latest news, that young Tim Norwood of the RIYC had qualified over the weekend in some challenging weather for the ISA Junior Pathway.

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Commodore Jim Horan, classic boat pace-setter Chris Craig, and Vice Commodore Paul Sherry

So Tuesday night provided a welcome and congenial breathing space in which to reflect on great achievements afloat in all sorts of condition, at all ages, and in all sorts of boats, while at the same time permitting refection on what makes one of Ireland’s many remarkable sailing clubs just that extra bit special in any particular year.

Billy Riordan of Mitsubishi Motors Ireland – himself a keen sailor, he’s an Oppie dad and an SB20 campaigner – outlined his company’s long association with the basically informal “Club of the Year” contest. It was actually first staged in 1979, but Mitsubishi Motors came aboard in 1986 - “We’ve been together since before the Berlin Wall fell” he quipped – so this year we’ll be celebrating a thirty year connection. While becoming Club of the Year may seem a light-hearted business with the fun of the hand-over ceremony, underneath it all there is serious thinking about what ensures a club is successful through providing the services required by its members while maintaining its traditions and updating them to modern needs.

At the same time, the club has to interact dynamically and successfully within the community – both the local community, at national level, and in the sailing community in general – and all this before it can devote its main energies to sailing, its promotion, its encouragement of newcomers, its training of juniors at whatever level, and ultimately all of it leading on the to the skilled and competent staging of major events, while on top of that there’s the quest for success and satisfaction by members in their own sailing and racing.

So running a major club is not for the faint-hearted, but in his thoughtful acceptance speech, Commodore Horan gave us much to reflect on about how he had sought to build on the sense of community of interest within the club at all levels both afloat and ashore, with a genuine interaction between the two, among members and staff alike. In achieving this, he had been greatly assisted by the RIYC’s Marine Manager Mark McGibney who – as the Commodore remarked – has succeeded in removing the mental barriers between sea and land within the RIYC complex. “The club no longer ends at the quayside, and the marina no longer ends at the quayside – the two now interact in the most healthy way, and we are all part of each other’.

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A Commodore relaxes – Jim Horan with Jill Gibson Holman and Hugh Cunniam

Quite how Mark McGibney manages all this with such seemingly effortless success is a matter of wonder, as he is also the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat cox’n. But he does, and the contribution he and the staff have made to the success and hospitable reputation which the RIYC has built up in the sailing community, while still functioning as a club whose ultimate responsibility is to its own members, is a wonder to behold.

All this is taking place in and around a 165-year-old building which is immaculately maintained in authentic style, for after all the Commodore – who has his own very quiet but extremely effective way of getting things done – is one of Ireland’s leading conservation architects. But he’s a keen sailor too, so he knows the needs of those who sail the sea, and as someone who appreciates the finer things in life, he is supported by a very keen house staff who ensure that the hospitality provided by the RIYC is in keeping with its great traditions and current prestige.

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That end of term feeling. Shortly to retire RIYC Commodore James Horan (right) who stands down next week, is congratulated by ISA President David Lovegrove (left) whose AGM is today (Saturday) but he still has another year to serve

With the formal business out of the way, the official party could then mingle with the members, many of whom had already taken up that evening’s mainbrace and begun splicing it with considerable vigour. With a gathering of that calibre, the range of boat and topics, plans and techniques, and news and gossip being covered was mind-boggling, while at the same time hugely informative. Just as you’d expect, in fact, when the Club of the Year is contentedly and convivialy at home.

Published in W M Nixon
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