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UCD Sailors Launch New Boats

5th December 2008

UCD Sailing Club is marking a double this year, celebratin the arrival of a new fleet of boats and 60 years in existence. Although the college colours are blue, the varsity sailing spirit is entirely positive in Belfield as the season gets into full swing.

The new boats arrived in Dublin last week, and took to the water for the first time on the Belfield campus lake for a quick photo shoot. The six new arrivals brings the UCD total to a dozen Rondar fireflies, the weapon of choice for Irish team racers ever since the Team Racing Worlds in Dun Laoghaire ten years ago.

UCD and Trinity started the global shift in college team racing back in 2002 when both colleges splashed out on new boats, and now both have added to their fleets, with UCD keeping the older boats, which still have plenty of team racing life in them.

Across the country college teams have invested in Fireflies, transforming the caliber of sailing at varsity events in the space of two years. Although the equipment in Belfield was much improved, UCD have failed to win a intervarsities title since before the boats arrived, watching old rivals Trinity and top sides from Cork take the honours since their last win in 2002, followed by a nascent force in the guise of Dublin Institute of Technology, the current intervarsity champions. However, UCD can boast some fine pedigree. Captain of the winning team that year was Phil Lawton, who joined fellow UCD graduate, Ger Owens, to win two races at the Olympics this year.

Lawton, now a member of the UCD research staff, was on hand to launch the new boats, along with UCD vice president for students, Dr Martin Butler, and long-serving director of sport at the college, Brian Mullins. UCD Club captain, Nick Harger, a Schull native and second year Animal Science student, hopes that 2008 could see UCD emerge once again as one of the team racing superpowers, with a membership of 190 sailors swelling its ranks this year.

The boats, which cost upwards of €40,000, were funded completely by UCD’s Student Forum Capital Grant Fund, freeing the club from burdensome loans that have eaten into their funds in the past.

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