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Much enthusiasm to revive Dun Laoghaire Week

13th December 1997

PLANS to introduce a week long regatta on Dublin Bay to be known as Dun Laoghaire Week - hinge on the readiness of Dun Laoghaire's 500 berth marina promised for the 1997/98 sailing season. The co ordinated plan to host five club regattas in succession was put to a meeting of the waterfront clubs by Richard Hooper two weeks ago. The project is now being handled by Dublin Bay SC's vice commodore Fintan Cairns. Another meeting of the steering group will be held in mid January. Clubs involved are the Royal St George, the Royal Irish, the National, Dun Laoghaire Motor YC, Dublin Bay SC and the Royal Alfred. Dun Laoghaire previously hosted regatta weeks in the 1960s and 1970s but these were eventually phased out. More recently, however, the outstanding success of the Royal Cork YC's Ford Cork Week regatta and the prospect of a harbour marina has spurred Dublin Bay clubs to focus on the huge potential of a Dun Laoghaire week which, it is estimated, could attract over 600 boats for its first proposed staging in 1999.

"I am an unashamed admirer of Cork Week," Richard Hooper, said yesterday. Cork Week benefitted the local Crosshaven community to the tune of £5 million after the successful execution of July's biennial spectacular. With 70 per cent of competitors from overseas, organiser Clayton Love is already preparing the 1998 regatta. Though flattered by the Dun Laoghaire concept, he is also wary of overkill in the market for such events: "We wish Dun Laoghaire well but they need to be more innovative and not just copy what we are doing. Already we are aware of six or seven other areas trying to replicate Cork Week. If we thought there was a market for it every year, we'd do it. Part of the attraction of our event is that it is only every two years." Inside Dun Laoghaire harbour, Ballyholme YC were the first to secure two wins in the national dinghy match racing championships following a re run of the Viking Marine sponsored event, blown out in October. Storm force winds forced an early end to proceedings at that stage and left the race committee to declare Trinity College as joint finalists. But last Saturday, this time in ideal team racing conditions, the two sides did battle again. Competing in a 10-15 knot southerly wind and flat water, the racing in 12 foot Firefly dinghies was scrutineered by six on the water umpires. Trinity came off the line to a better start but an early penalty against the students gave Ballyholme an advantage which, after a further Trinity penalty, was pressed home to give a 1, 2 and 5 and thus first blood to Ballyholme. The second race again saw Trinity off to a good start and the fleet split 3 and 3 up the first beat. Trinity held 1, 2 and 6 on the first round. Up the second beat, Conal Henry showed good speed to bring "Trinity up to 1, 2 and 4. Despite a spirited Ballyholme attack on the final reach and then a split final beat costing Trinity their fourth place, they emerged with a 1, 2 and 6 to force a final race sail off. Trinity again looked strong in the decider, with one Ballyholme boat lagging well behind, but an early penalty again proved costly to Trinity and at the first gybe Ballyholme's Flanagan and Boag exerted great pressure. Another penalty against Trinity at the leeward mark saw the advantage pass firmly to the Northern challengers who then held 1, 2 and 6 to the finish to take the cup. The winning Ballyholme YG side was: Paddy Oliver and Philip Johnston, Jamie Boag and Maureen Miller and Gareth Flanagan and Lynda Eadie. Runners up Trinity comprised: Conor Barry/Elaine, Guinan Conal Henry/Paul Casey and Graham Elmes/Dermot Boylan. Trinity change from Firefly dinghies to Laser IIs tomorrow in order to defend their varsity colours title at the National YC over a best of five series. There will also be racing for the seconds and women's teams, all of which takes place inside the harbour.

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