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Corks pop for Volvo Dun Laoghaire

21st February 2009

Dun Laoghaire's emergence as an Irish sea yacht racing venue continued last night when Minister for Social and Family Affairs, Mary Hanafin TD, launched the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta (VDLR) 2009 at the Allianz Boat Show, running at the RDS Simmonscourt until Sunday. Billed as one of the the biggest participant sporting event in the country, after the city marathons, July's VDLR event is also the country's largest sailing regatta where organisers remain bullish that numbers will exceed 500, making it bigger than the Irish sea's Scottish series or Wales's Celtic race week.

"We've kept entry fees low, and have great new courses planned including coastal passages," says Regatta chairman Phil Smith.  Of course, Smith also knows he has something of a captive audience given at least 50% of the fleet will be mustered from the capital's biggest sailing centres at Dun Laoghaire and Howth.

Since the four Dun Laoghaire Yacht Clubs joined forces to launch the first regatta in 2005, the event has grown in size each year. This year, the regatta takes place on Thursday, July 9 to Sunday, July 12. More than 3,000 sailors from Ireland and 13 other nations are expected to compete across 25 classes. Over the course of four days, Dublin Bay, one of Ireland’s busiest commercial shipping lanes, will also see more than a thousand races take place.

Minister for Social and Family Affairs, Mary Hanafin, T.D., today officially announced the launch of the Regatta, saying, “The Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta is Ireland’s largest sailing event and the biggest participant sporting event in the country, after the city marathons. The Volvo Regatta continues to grow and build upon Ireland's international reputation as a quality sports and sailing destination and cements Ireland's reputation as a location for a major international regatta. In addition, local area businesses will benefit considerably from the influx of visitors as they enjoy the superb sailing action in Dublin Bay and a fantastic array of family oriented activities that have been set up on shore.”
 
Both professional and amateurs sailors will race in boats that cost as little as €3,000 to as much as €1million for the ‘super zero’ class. This year’s Volvo Regatta will include a new simplified course format, including eight well designed race courses from Dun Laoghaire to Killiney Bay to Howth. Race committee organisers have also provided greater flexibility for the Regatta race officers, who, along with a small army of volunteers, held extensive practices on the water over the winter period to design and test the race courses.  Those participating will also have access to a five Gold Star 850 berth Marina in DunLaoighre.
 
For those who prefer to keep their feet dry, there are a number of waterfront activities scheduled, including an appearance by The Jeanie Johnston, the replica 19th century vessel and famine history museum. Other activities include a farmers market, street entertainment including a carnival with face painters and balloon men, numerous ladies fashion events, a vintage car rally, live music from jazz to traditional Irish to marching bands, local area restaurant and pub events, an evening of Irish culture, music, food and dancing and a scheduled RNLI Air Sea Rescue demonstration.
 
Phil Smith, Chairman of the Organising Committee, said, “The Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta owes its prominence in European sailing events to a number of factors. One of the core attributes to attracting so many entrants is that it is one of the least expensive sailing events in Europe, providing great value for money. Volvo’s sponsorship has also added prestige and an international feeling to the event, especially after the recent public interest in their other sponsored sailing event, the Volvo Ocean Race. We have more than 300 volunteers who give their time and energy to ensure the regatta runs smoothly, as well as the active cooperation of local area businesses and the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.  And of course the support from the thousands of visitors who come to watch the spectacle and take part in all the family oriented activities in and around Dun Laoghaire.”
 
Sponsors of this year’s Volvo Regatta include Dublin Port Company, Failte Ireland, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council,  Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company and the Royal Marine Hotel Dun Laoghaire.
 
For more information on the Volvo Regatta, click here

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