Displaying items by tag: Irish
L'Aberwrac'h Light house. Image courtesy of Rush Sailing Club Photo Gallery
Rush Sailing Club was founded in 1954 by a group of local enthusiasts with no facilities and less money. Nonetheless, several of them built their own Dublin Bay Mermaids. Designed in 1933, a fleet of these beautiful clinker-built 17-foot dinghies are still the mainstay of racing in the club over fifty years later.
Since those early days, the club has developed beyond recognition, with a fine clubhouse, yard, private slipway and fenced and serviced boat park.
In addition to the Mermaids, there are now a substantial fleets of cruisers and motor boats moored in the estuary, an active Junior section sailing Optimist, Pico and Feva dinghies, and members involved in a wide range of water sports, from fishing to kayaking and diving. Courses are also organised for adult beginners and for developing more advanced skills.
New members are always welcome. The Club Bar is open to members on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. The clubhouse is also available for private hire for functions. For bookings, contact Marguerite Carthy, 087 253 7860.
Sailforce is a new campaign established by the Irish Disabled Sailing Association (IDSA) to highlight the achievements and activities of their current membership and to introduce members of the general public to the concept of sailing as a viable sport for the disabled.
The IDSA was established in the early 1980s to introduce and encourage people of all ages with physical disability to take up sailing. Funded by the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) and with the assistance of the Irish Naval Service and a select number of yacht clubs, the Association developed to provide centres in Kinsale, Crosshaven, Monkstown, and Howth.
Twenty years later, IDSA members are involved in all levels of the sport, from regular club racing, through international championships, to Paralympic campaigns.
The objectives of Sailforce are initially to provide information on the current activities of the IDSA and to make contact with members of the general public interested in getting involved in the sport. With this feedback, the IDSA intend to accommodate newcomers in Introduction Days whenever practicable.
To encourage other yacht and sailing clubs to take example from the Royal Cork Yacht Club, Kinsale Yacht Club, Howth Yacht Club and Monkstown Bay Sailing Club and provide facilities for disabled sailors to participate in the sport, the Sailforce Burgee will be awarded to clubs showing a positive and tangible commitment towards access for persons with a disability. By expanding the facilities countrywide, the IDSA will be able to accommodate larger number of potential sailors.
The main source of communication for Sailforce is this disabled user friendly website: www.sailforce.ie. This website has a contact us facility for would-be sailors to get in touch. In addition, the IDSA will operate a support telephone Information Request service for those without access to the Internet: 021 438 3228.
If you are interested in becoming involved in Sailforce, either to try out sailing or to help us introduce others to your favourite sport, please do get in touch with us. We look forward to welcoming you to the team.
To quote one disabled sailor: 'Sailing is the only sport I've ever tried which actually makes me feel less, rather than more disabled.'
Irish Disabled Sailing Association (IDSA) – Sailforce
Paul Ryan, tel: 087 230 6352, email: [email protected]
Kevin Downing, tel: 087 254 6880, email: [email protected]
Afloat posts on the IDSA:
There is a space for Irish boating clubs and racing classes to use as their own bulletin board and forum for announcements and discussion. If you want to see a dedicated forum slot for your club or class, click here
Dublin Port Company
Dublin Port, the largest port in Ireland, is situated in the heart of Ireland's vibrant capital city. Dublin Port Company's mission is to facilitate the flow of goods, passengers and information through the port.
Dublin Port, as an organisation, has a long and remarkable history, dating back 300 years from 1707 to 2007. There have been many famous moments and famous visitors in that time Captain William Bligh's (of 'Mutiny on the Bounty' fame) involvement in the Port in 1800 has left a lasting legacy.
Bligh conducted a study of the tidal flows in Dublin Bay, which led to the construction of the Great South Wall. This construction has resulted in the formation of the present Bull Island, which did not exist in 1800.
Another famous person, involved in the development of the Port was the famous Port engineer Bindon Blood Stoney. He designed the diving bell now located on Sir John Rogerson's Quay, which was used in the construction of the North Wall Extension. (Pictured: sugar storage at Custom House Docks).
Dublin Bay Guidance Notes for Leisure Craft
For all recreational craft using Dublin Port and Bay, compiled by Dublin Port Company in consultation with local yacht and boat clubs
Facts to bear in mind:
1. As both the number of large commercial ships and recreational craft using Dublin Port is increasing it is essential that close quarter situations do not arise.
2. Commercial vessels using Dublin Port or Dun Laoghaire Port normally have a qualified pilot or certified master with proven local knowledge on board. They 'listen out' on VHF channel 12 when in Dublin Port’s jurisdiction.
3. Commercial vessels will follow the routes designated in the attached illustration. All recreational craft when obliged to navigate within such areas should do so with extreme caution following the Int. Collisions Regulations.
4. Large conventional commercial craft travel at a manoeuvering speeds of between 8 to 15 knots whilst within the ports jurisdiction. The lower limit varies from ship to ship and is 'as safe navigation permits'.
5. Ships will be traveling faster than you may estimate, even in congested waters.
6. Ships that are light or partially loaded, particularly in windy conditions, will require a higher minimum speed to remain under full control.
7. A large ship visible on the horizon may take no more than 10 minutes to reach you under clear conditions, under hazy conditions this time could be much less. At 10 knots a ship will travel a nautical mile in 6 minutes, at 15 knots it takes only 4 minutes to travel one nautical mile.
8. A large deep draught ship cannot easily avoid small craft in a narrow channel. It is up to leisure craft to keep clear (see Rule 9 Int. Collision Regs excerpt at end of this page).
9. A ship slowing down does not steer very well. It requires the action of its propeller to respond. When the propellor is going 'astern' the ship’s steering will be adversely affected.
10. As well as large cargo ships, a variety of working craft also use the port, tugs, pilot cutters, dredgers, fast ferries, barges under tow etc. In particular a towing line may be partly submerged and therefore potentially dangerous to other craft passing too close.
What should you do?
1. Avoid sailing in the buoyed channel area, avoid sailing within 0.5 nautical mile of the Dublin Bay buoy and in the separation schemes, (see illustration). This is especially critical in periods of reduced visibility. When obliged to cross the fairway, cross at right angles to the traffic flow. Also obey rule 9 of the Collision Regulations by either keeping to the starboard side of the channel or if the water depth allows outside the buoyed channel.
2. Keep a good lookout. Be aware of all ship movements, especially astern of you.
3. Do not underestimate the speed of ships. Allow plenty of time to take effective evasive action in the vicinity of large ships.
4. Be visible. At night make sure your navigation lights can be clearly seen. If you see the navigation lights of a vessel approaching and you think that he has not seen you, get out of the way. Also use a torch or search-light to illuminate the sails (if appropriate). Remember (as indicated in the attached illustration), from the bridge of a loaded container ship or large tanker the captain/pilot may lose sight of you a half a nautical mile ahead, although you can see that ship clearly from your vessel at all times.
5. Keep watch at night. You may have difficulty seeing a large ship approach, even on a clear night. In reduced visibility you may have little warning of its approach. If you see a black shadow against shore lights or as a growing shadow, at that point a close quarter situation is already imminent. Remember you cannot be easily seen at night (particularly in a background of lights) and judging distances at night can prove difficult.
6. Watch the ships navigation lights. If you see both ships sidelights you are dead ahead, follow the Int. Collision Regs. and any alteration of course should be early, substantial and be visible to the approaching ship. Be aware that ships alter course at the Dublin Bay buoy and No.3/No.4 buoys. Be aware of your position and the position of other vessels around you at all times.
7. Know the whistle signals (see illustration). Five or more short and rapid blasts on the ships whistle indicates the ship is in doubt about your action or the lack thereof. Check immediately if this signal was meant for you, if so take immediate and appropriate action. Three short blasts means 'my engines are going astern' one short blast means 'I am altering my course to starboard'. Two short blasts "I am altering my course to port".
8. Keep your VHF tuned to channel 12 the port working frequency, and have the volume high enough to hear above the noise of the engine. Listen for traffic information from Dublin Port V.T.S. Only if you are the controlling vessel in a flotilla of other vessels, and you observe a hazardous situation developing, or in the event of an emergency developing within the ports jurisdiction, you should transmit on VHF channel 12.
Remember CH 12 is Dublin Port’s primary working channel and used to manage port traffic. No private or unneccessary communications to take place on this channel.
Area 1 - from Dublin Bay Buoy to Poolbeg Lighthouse
Small craft shall not navigate inside the fairway and should remain outside the line of buoys. If it is necessary to cross the fairway, crossing should be at right angles.
Area 2 - Poolbeg Lighthouse to No. 14 Buoy
Small craft shall comply with the International Regulations for Prevention of Collisions at Sea and shall keep as near to the outer limit of the channel which lies on her starboard side as is safe and practicable. Rule 9 does not apply outside the channel and craft may pass outside the buoys when and where it is safe to do so. If it is necessary to cross the channel, e.g. to enter area 3, crossing should be at right angles, at a position abeam of the ESB Jetty (Berth 48).
Area 3 - No. 14 Buoy to the west
All small craft should pass along the south side of the channel, remaining as far as is practicable to that side.
All craft shall operate under power when within areas 2 and 3, but may additionally raise their sails outside the channel but not in the channel.
1. No sailing in the channel, craft should only cross at right angles when it is safe to do so.
2. Maintain a listening watch on channel VHF 12 and avoid unnecessary communication.
Keep a sharp lookout and keep clear of all shipping.
Attention of all skippers is drawn to the annual Notice to Mariners No. 7 concerning small craft.
Capt. David T. Dignam, Harbour Master. 31st March 2006
Collision Avoiding Check List
Avoid the busy shipping channels and routes. Cross them at right angles and as quickly as possible after checking that it is safe to do so. Recreational users of the port area are particularly requested to be familiar with the Int. Collision Regulations (particularly Rule 9), Dublin Port Bye Laws, Small Craft (Leisure) Regulations (see chartlet) and Local Notices to Mariners (particularly No.7). Information is also available on the Dublin Port web site, www. dublinport.ie
• Keep a good lookout, particularly at night
• Do not under-estimate the speed of ships
• Be visible
• Watch the lights of other vessels
• Know the whistle signals
• Keep your VHF tuned to channel 12
• Obey any instructions given by Dublin Port VTS. They are also interested in your safety.
International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea
Rule 9 - Narrow Channels (Excerpt)
(a) A vessel proceeding along the course of a narrow channel or fairway shall keep as near to the outer limit of the channel or fairway, which lies on her starboard side as, is safe and practicable
(b) A vessel of less than 20 metres in length or a sailing vessel shall not impede the passage of a vessel which can safely navigate only within a narrow channel or fairway.
(c) A vessel engaged in fishing shall not impede the passage of any other vessel navigating within a narrow channel or fairway.
(d) A vessel shall not cross a narrow channel or fairway if such crossing impedes the passage of a vessel which can safely navigate only within such channel or fairway. The latter vessel may use the sound signal prescribed in Rule 34(d) or in doubt as to the intention of the crossing vessel.
Rule 10 – Traffic Separation Schemes (Excerpt)
(i) A vessel of less than 20 metres in length or a sailing vessel shall not impede the safe passage of a power-driven vessel following a traffic lane.
Dublin Port Company Port Centre, Alexandra Road, Dublin 1
Tel: 353 1 887 6000, Email: [email protected], fax 353 1 855 7400
The IARU is the Governing Body for Rowing in Ireland and represents over 100 Clubs across Ireland. Rowing is one of Ireland's most successful sports, having won multiple World Championships over the last decade.
Irish Amateur Rowing Union Ltd. (IARU)/Rowing Ireland, Sport HQ, Block 13, Joyce Way, Parkwest Business Park, Nangor Road, Dublin 12. Tel: +353 1 625 1130. Also National Rowing Centre, Farran Wood, Ovens, Co. Cork. Tel: +353 21 743 4044.
Dinghies at the Evening Topaz Sailing. Photo: Brian McDowell
Malahide’s Three Clubhouses…
1 The Three Day Wonder!
Although the club was founded in 1958 it did not have a clubhouse until 1959.
Despite planning the club's first Whitsun Open Meeting (on the Broadmeadows) the enthusiastic early members found time to acquire and erect a de-mountable wooden chalet that had been purchased from Barney Herron Prefab Homes in Leixlip. It cost £300.
They started assembling the new clubhouse on a site on the 'Band Gardens' – more or less our current St. James's Terrace site, which the Commodore, Lord Talbot had made available to the club. Work commenced on an April Monday and by Wednesday the roof was in position.
The building served the Lower Estuary sailors well and was used as a starters retreat when Mermaid races were started and finished at a line from the flagpole to a mark off Malahide Point. The building was removed in 1979 to make way for a more substantial premises.
2 The 2nd Clubhouse
In 1962 a site was acquired at Cave's Marsh on the Broadmeadows from the local farmer, Mr Cave. A clubhouse was erected and a dinghy pen fenced off. Starting as a builders hut, it grew over the years then suffered severe fire damage, was re-built, then extended to the solid structure of to-day. See the illustration at the head of this page.
3 Back to the Lower Estuary – The 3rd Clubhouse
The club celebrated its 21st birthday in 1979 and was thriving with high levels of dinghy sailing activity on the Broadmeadows and a growing fleet of small cruiser/racers on the lower estuary.
It was agreed that a more elaborate clubhouse was needed at St. James's Terrace and so a local architect, Mr. Brendan Canning, was engaged to draw up plans. A contract was signed with O'Rourke Builders Ltd. and with the help of bank finance and interest free loans from members a £60,000 clubhouse was constructed. The new facility was officially opened on Friday 30th May, 1980.
In that year the club officers were:
President: Capt. J. C. Kelly-Rogers
Vice President: Len E. Mills
Commodore: Peter Killen
Vice Commodore: Gerry Newman
Rear Commodore: Arthur Slye
Hon. Sec.: C. W. Woodman
Hon. Treasurer: Pat O'Keeffe
Hon. Sailing Sec.: Ashley Cross
Junior Affairs: Christy Sheridan
Committee Members: John Banim, George Long, George McIlhagga, John McInerney, Tom Mythen and Jim Twomey.
Trustees: M.J. Byrne, R.S. Dix, and C.W. Woodman.
In 1980 the membership stood at 99 Family, 70 Ordinary, 35 Cadet, 10 Associate and 11 Life Members
4 And our latest
For almost a decade the Club had hopes of moving from St. James's Terrace to the marina area as it was always felt that it would be in our interests to be close to the boats moored in the marina. However, we were unable to reach an accord with any of the various parties involved over the years with the marina development project. Consequently, a general meeting of members on 17 October, 2001 authorised the Executive Committee proceed with a major refurbishment and extension of the existing premises at St. James's Terrace. The club had accumulated a substantial cash balance in recent years and the balance of expenditure was to be financed by bank borrowings and a small increase in subscriptions over the following three years.
After much drawing and redrawing of plans agreement was reached with Ray Mac Donnell Architects on extending to the East at a higher floor level to provide a large lounge with panoramic windows, extending to the South to allow for a new bar, keg room and kitchen and a complete makeover of the toilet and shower facilities. Lissadell Construction Ltd. were awarded the contract. Eventually, on 22 June 2003 the magnificent new facility was officially opened and is now being much enjoyed and appreciated by members and friends. The works cost just under €600,000 inclusive of VAT.
The Ripple, a 12 ton cutter, was built in Belfast in 1862 for G. Brett by D. Fulton, a building contractor who also built yachts. Fulton was a leading member of the Royal Ulster YC and also a member of the Clyde, Mersey, Western and Prince Alfred yacht clubs.
At Carrickfergus Regatta in 1866 there was a 12 ton cutter Ripple owned by D. Boyd of Royal Mersey Yacht Club.
The vessel was purchased by George Murney, also a Royal Mersey member, probably in 1868 because in that year he commissioned the above picture by W. Abernethy which is now in the possession of the Royal Ulster YC. At this time he also owned an 8 ton cutter Lily. Murney was an original member of the RUYC, number 13 on their list of members and their first treasurer in 1867. He remained a member until the late 1880s. His brother Dr. D. Murney was number 6 on the Royal Ulster original members list and was Rear Commodore from 1875 until 1883. George was a keen yachtsman, not only in Belfast Lough as he and Ripple appeared in Carlingford regattas in 1872, 1877 and 1878, at Malahide in 1870, 1872–1875 and the Royal Irish in 1887. Racing yachts in those days did not carry sail numbers but flew an owner’s distinctive flag at the masthead, blue or red with a white lion rampant in the case of the Ripple as shown on the painting above.
Sailing at Broadmeadows
Malahide Yacht Club has a long tradition of dinghy sailing and we’re very proud of the achievements of our sailors over the years.
The club was established in 1958, initially concentrating on dinghy sailing in the Broadmeadows estuary. The fleet comprised mainly Herons for the juniors and Enterprises, with their distinctive blue sails, for the rest. Later Optimists became very popular for the 8-14 year olds. Very large fleets of the latter two classes developed and racing was to a high standard with the club producing Olympic representatives, Irish and British national champions and many others representing Ireland internationally. With the growth of other types of sailing, especially Cruiser Class III, dinghy sailing went into a decline, mirroring a national trend. However, there has been a tremendous resurgence locally with the introduction of the Topaz class and the fleet has gone from scratch to over fifty boats in the course of the last few years with growth continuing apace. Hand-in-hand with this activity has gone a major refurbishment of the shore side facilities at Broadmeadows.
We have a busy club race calendar with races every Thursday and Saturday during the season.
Other events, such as away events where we take some of our fleet to visit other clubs are generally organised by the Dinghy committee and posted on the website.
If you’re not a 'racer' and want to sail for fun make contact as we will also be arranging fun sailing events.
If you’ve never sailed and dinghy before and would like to try, we have club boats that can be rented for a modest fee so members can experience the excitement of dinghy sailing without having their own boat.
Evening Dinghy Racing – On Thursday evenings during season with first gun at 19.30 hrs.
Saturday racing on Broadmeadows – Racing for Lasers, Topaz, Mirrors, Optimists and sundry boats on most Saturdays throughout the season with First Gun at 15.00 hrs.
Dinghy sail training – Details on 'Courses and Tuition' page.
Training courses for Juniors – As in previous years, MYC is running its ever-popular summer training courses for juniors down in the Broadmeadows. ISA Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 (Racing) courses will run concurrently. The first set of courses begins on Monday 3rd July and lasts for 3 weeks and the second on Monday 24th July. Full details and application form on 'Junior Courses' page.
2008-9 Officers & Committee of Malahide Yacht Club and Contacts
Commodore – Colm Fitzpatrick – 086 819 7584
Vice Commodore – Martin Clancy – 087 252 8559
Rear Commodore – Bob Sugrue – 086 804 8048
Hon. Secretary – Eddie Magee – 087 259 1418
Hon. Treasurer – Andy Deegan – 083 303 6731
Sailing Development – Brian McDowell – 087 232 7745
Membership – Deirdre Moore-Somers – 086 196 8553
Cruiser Racing – Brian Stewart – 087 329 8598
Cruising – Dave Farrell– 086 255 7120
Dinghy Sailing – Peter Cunning – 086 805 1783
Junior Affairs – Chris Shackleton – 086 820 6374
Bar – Irene Devitt – 087 699 5855
Clubhouse & Grounds – Michael McCabe – 087 245 2637
MYC 50th – Rose Michael – 087 255 2726
Dinghy Section – Optimist class Sec: Fran Thompson – [email protected]
Topaz class: Diarmuid Marron – [email protected]
Laser class Sec: Garrett Donnelly – [email protected]
Cruiser Section – Cruising: Dave Farrell – As above
Racing: Lee Douglas – As above
Membership Secretary: Deirdre Moore-Somers – As above
Clubhouse: Steward - Pat O'Keeffe – 845 3372/087 243 0646 (St. James's Terrace)
(The above information and image courtesy of Malahide Yacht Club
Below: Union Chandlery Topaz Nationals 2009, Malahide YC
The Topaz Class Association of Ireland has been formed to promote the Topaz Uno and Uno Plus as the one design Sailing dinghy of choice for the modern generation.
Please note: 2009 Events – New Rules This year it has been decided by the Class Association Committee that all of the Class Association events for Unos and Uno Pluses will be scored as one fleet, with NO handicap system.
Changing fleets during an event will only be allowed with the prior approval of the race committee. Boats that are allowed to change fleet during an event will be scored as a new entrant to the event.
Changing of crew during an event will only be allowed with the prior approval of the race committee. Permission will only be given to change crew during an event if they are of similar weight.
Afloat's Graham Smith wrote, in the February/March 2009 issue: "One of the newcomers on the Irish sailing scene, the double-handed Topaz has certainly captured the imagination of members of six clubs. In a relatively short period of time, the class has grown to almost 100 boats, putting it into the top 10 of classes by numbers.
Getting a third of the national fleet to compete at the Irish Championships at Wexford Harbour represents a singular success for the class administrators and young Richard Arthurs from Malahide (which boasts one of the biggest club fleets) will have been happy to take the title ahead of 32 rivals.
Another Malahide helm, Conor Costelloe, won the Easterns on home waters and Wexford’s Ronan Jones took the Western title (curiously held in Dungarvan in the South-East!), both with fleets in the high teens. The biggest event of the Topaz year in numerical terms was the Southerns in Baltimore where local helm Fionn Lyden was the best of 46 entries. National Champion 2009: Richard Arthurs, Malahide YC"
There is a space for Irish boating clubs and racing classes to use as their own bulletin board and forum for announcements and discussion. If you want to see a dedicated forum slot for your club or class, click here
The Wayfarer: 16 feet, with spinnaker, a family day sailer, cruiser and racing dinghy for inland and coastal waters. Stable and easily managed by beginners yet it's PY of 1099 reflects excellent Class and mixed fleet performance. Friendly and social the Class offers three annual championships, group insurance, and helpful websites. Click here for all the latest Wayfarer News.
The United Kingdom Wayfarer Association (UKWA) operate a national class association (NCA) in the UK and Republic of Ireland in accordance with the constitution of the Wayfarer International Class Association.
We are always delighted to welcome new members to the association. Wayfarer boat owners can join as an Individual (Full Member) or as a Family. We have many non-boat owners who may join as an Associate Member.
Why should I become a member of UKWA – the association of Wayfarer owners? We pride ourselves on being a very friendly association and are always delighted to welcome new members. You don't have to own a Wayfarer to be a member, and many people choose to join while looking for a boat so that they can take advantage of membership, espcially our magazine and website, in the meantime. The owner of a Wayfarer has the opportunity to join a large group of sociable and knowledgeable sailors who together know everything there is to know about this amazing dinghy.
About the Wayfarer (courtesy of the UK Wayfarer Association website)
Did you know the ideal dinghy for beginners could also cruise the rugged West Coast of Scotland, race in a near gale or while away a long summer's afternoon pottering with the family?
With a Wayfarer you can do it all:
* Learn to sail
* Day-sail with the children
* Cruise to adventure (some Wayfarer sailors tackle journeys 'big boat' cruisers would be wary of!)
* Race with spinnakers, at your local club or at open, national and international events with one of the most competitive fleets around
This 16 footer is one boat you won't grow out of.
To get the most from your boat join the United Kingdom Wayfarer Association and enjoy a full programme of racing and cruising events plus all the benefits of membership.
The Wayfarer dinghy was designed by Ian Proctor in 1957 and has since acquired an unrivalled reputation as a tough and seaworthy cruising dinghy, yet at the same time being responsive and rewarding to race.
Probably there is no other centreboard boat in the world which combines these qualities as happily; it is this great versatility that makes her so outstanding as a racing and cruising boat.
Since the Wayfarer was originally designed there have been improvements in materials and production techniques which have lead to a variety of different versions all sharing the same hull shape and sail plan.
Afloat's Graham Smith wrote, in the February/March 2009 issue: "2008 was a big year by Wayfarer standards as Ireland hosted the European Championships in Skerries in mid-September, although it only attracted a fleet of 23 boats, including five from abroad. Michael McNamara from the Norfolk Broads retained his title while Dave Kelly and Bernie Grogan of the host club were the best placed local entry and were awarded the Irish Championship to add to the Eastern regional title earned earlier in the season. The Wayfarer has its hard core of enthusiasts and while their numbers have probably never even reached the half century, there are 40 of them dotted around eight clubs. National Champions: Dave Kelly and Bernie Grogan, Skerries SC"
There is a space for Irish boating clubs and racing classes to use as their own bulletin board and forum for announcements and discussion. If you want to see a dedicated forum slot for your club or class, click here
The Dublin Bay Waterwag lays claim to being the oldest one-design sailing boat in the world. Founded as a class in 1887, the design was modified in 1900 and the rules are essntially unchanged since then.
Afloat's Graham Smith wrote, in the February/March 2009 issue:
You would expect that the venerable Wag would be a class at ease with itself by just trundling along with the same number of boats, year in, year out. If you did, you’d be wrong! Four or five new boats over the previous few years plus a new one this year has brought the fleet to a very respectable 40 in its 121st year of action in the Bay. A number of these are now available to charter or to buy, although the proviso is that they must be sailed in Dun Laoghaire! There was no Wag Worlds in 2008 – it’s every second year so 2009 has the next one – but Frank Guy in Gavotte (Wag no. 24) was the leading light in the Dublin Bay racing scene during the 2008 season.
Royal Ocean Racing Club 1925 – 2005
If the crew of the last boat to cross the finish line of the first ever Fastnet race did hear the cheers from the Royal Western Yacht Club of England, as the new Ocean Racing Club was formed, then the sound must have carried a long way. For the Plymouth club was situated, on that August evening in 1925, in a large Victorian building, up on the Hoe. Anyway it had a fine dining room for the crews of the seven yachts (less one) and at the end of dinner, as well as at the end of a memorable race, the new club was brought into being.
Although large yachts with paid crews (virtually small sailing ships) had raced in the open sea in the previous century, that was for private wagers or special occasions (there was a Round Britain race in 1887, the fiftieth year of the Queen's reign, for eleven yachts of between 40 and 200 tons). At the beginning of the 1920s, yacht racing in Britain meant day racing, the best talent being in the 12, 8 and 6-metre boats of the International Rule of the IYRU (renamed ISAF in 1996).
Now the Cruising Club of America was formed in 1922, along the lines of the Royal Cruising Club (founded 1880) and it held a 600-mile race from New London to Bermuda in 1923 and again in 1924. These races were open to small yachts and amateur crews. Weston Martyr, a British yachting writer, who had taken part, returned to England with enthusiasm for the new sport. There followed enough response from individual owners of seaworthy cruisers for the first Fastnet race to start from Ryde, Isle of Wight, on 15th August 1925. Contrived to be about the same length as the Bermuda race, it did not pass off without much debate in the press on the wisdom of such a venture "open to any yachtsman" over such a course in our unsettled latitudes.
The select gathering at Plymouth appointed its first commodore of the Ocean Racing Club, Lt Cmdr E.G. Martin OBE RNVR, who had already won cruising awards from the RCC and from whose committee he had resigned owing to its disapproval of 'the ocean race'. Owner of the converted Havre pilot cutter, Jolie Brise, he was no stranger to racing having won the One Ton Cup in the 6-metre class in 1912. At 6ft 5in, educated at Eton and New College, Oxford, and a county cricket player, he was evidently the kind of leader to create from scratch modern ocean racing in England. There were thirty-three other founder members, among whom were Robert Somerset DSO, R. Maclean Buckley MC and Major T.P. Rose-Richards, these three later becoming flag officers. The word ‘ocean’ was as used in America, meaning racing in the open sea rather than in confined waters as previously. The object of the club was ‘to provide annually one ocean race not less than 600 miles in length’.
Looking slightly ahead, a second race was first introduced in 1928, on a triangular course in the English Channel of about 250 miles and known as ‘the Channel Race’. As for the name of the club, an application for ‘Royal’ was made in 1929, but rejected by the Home Office. However King George V was an active yachtsman and it was granted in November 1931, when the club assumed its present title. The Fastnet race has remained a central fixture of the club. It was not always secure in the early days. There was a race each year until 1931, but in 1933 it was reduced to six starters, only three of which were British. Weston Martyr wrote in Yachting World, ‘What's the matter with us? We've got the ships, we've got the men and if we haven't got the money, neither have the Americans just now: and yet they had about fifty entries this year for their race to Gibson Island’. Today the Fastnet is still with us and Gibson Island (last race 1937) is long forgotten.
For the second race the start line had been changed from Ryde to Cowes, but the yachts were still sent around the eastern end of the island, which was thought more seamanlike. The 1935 race was unique in that it started from Yarmouth, westward, and then finished at Cowes via the forts before the beginning of Cowes Week, an experiment which was not repeated. Ryde eastward was the start again in 1937, the race being won by Zeearend, thus prompting a famous comment by one of the race's great chroniclers and participants, the American journalist Alf Loomis: ‘For once the race wasn't won by a damned Yankee; no, the winner was a blasted Dutchman’. The 1947 race had a start to the east from the destroyer HMS Zephyr off Portsmouth, but thereafter it has always been westward from the Royal Yacht Squadron line at Cowes.
In 1935 (when the race became biennial), there were 17 starters and thereafter the numbers increased with 29 in 1939, 1947 (first post-war) and 1949. Numbers then rose to 42 in 1957, first year of the Admiral's Cup, 151 in 1965 and an all time maximum of 303 in 1979. The wide international participation meant that winners came from different nations: for instance there was no winner that was both British designed and owned, from 1953 when Sir Michael Newton's Robert Clark designed Favona was first overall, until 1975 when Golden Delicious owned by Peter Nicholson, designed by Camper and Nicholsons and sailed by the Bagnall twins, had best corrected time.
Numbers for the race in later years have steadied down to the middle 200s, which is about right for the organization with, for instance, a few below 250 in 1985, 1991, 1993 and 1995. 1997 saw 260 start in light weather and the course record broken by a multihull. As quantity improved over the years, so did passage times. George Martin's Jolie Brise, which won in 1925, took just six and one half days (4.0 knots); the current course monohull record, set in 1999 is 2 days 5 hours 8 minutes 51 seconds (11.38 knots) being held by RF Yachting (Ross Field, NZL). Multihulls have raced since 1997, resulting in the outright course record also in 1999 of 1 day 16 hours 27 minutes 0 seconds (14.96 knots) by Fujicolor II (Loock Peyron, FRA). More common in the Fastnet course are long beats to windward or patches of calm. However, unlike many of the world's race courses, it is impossible to define Fastnet weather (therefore happily impracticable to design a special kind of boat to win). For instance for 1981 (next after the 1979 storm) there was light weather; 1983 had light weather and some calm, but easterlies on the way home; 1985 was the worst weather since 1979 and resulted in a higher proportion of retirements than in the storm; 1987 was generally light, but with a 200-mile beat on the way home including a short blow; 1993 was a beat to the Fastnet rock and a run home; 1995 was very light with a moderate beat, freshening later, all the way back to Plymouth. 1997 started with fog and light air and ended in calms with moderate breezes in between. 1999 was light for many boats, but the leaders carried a fresh breeze. 2001 featured fast speeds for most of the course, but light air before the finish, and 2003 turned out to be a long race in mainly light airs.
The club began by using various premises for its meetings and dinners in London; by 1935 it had the use of rooms at 3 Old Burlington Street. By February 1936, the membership at about 600 was large enough to open a club house at 2 Pall Mall. In November 1940, the building received a direct hit from a bomb, the steward was killed and the club house destroyed. It was joined incidentally by the Royal Western Yacht Club within the year, burnt down by incendiaries. That club then moved nearer the water, as found at the end of many Fastnets afterwards. In due course a short lease was taken on a house at 20 St James's Place, but it was feared that any London club house might suffer the same fate. It nearly did, as the roof was then bomb damaged. After repair work by the members themselves, 20 St James's Place was opened on 23rd July 1942 by King Haakon of Norway. Of course, the club, thanks to the foresight of those wartime members, is still there, and in 1956 was enlarged by the purchase of number 19.
A major renovation began in 1993 resulting in extensively modernized accommodation for members, with redecorated bedrooms and private bathrooms. A modern telephone system was installed throughout the building for administration and for members' areas. As for the position of the club house at its select cul-de-sac in the West End, this remains beyond price. Those who were in charge in the year 1949 also had the wisdom to buy the freehold of the property. Among wartime activities were considerable hospitality to allied navies and a 32-35ft WL ocean racer design competition for prisoners of war. It was won by an RAF Flight-Lieutenant held in Oflag IVC.
In the few years prior to 1939, the number of races started by the club had expanded considerably. In 1930 there were 4 (Fastnet, Channel, Santander, Dinard); in 1934, 6; 1937, 8; 1938,10. 1937 was fairly typical, with Fastnet, Channel, Dinard, Heligoland, Maas, Southsea to Brixham, Ijmuiden to Solent and Solent to La Baule. In the 1980s, by contrast, the number of events averaged 17 per year, not counting short parts of modern inshore-offshore circuits. As further recounted below, the 1990s were to see even more race starts.
Unfortunately there is no space here to mention all the many members who have contributed so much to the progress of the club; some have reached flag rank and some not and the reader is referred to the pages with lists of previous officers and staff. But there was one giant of ocean racing, who gave a massive push to competitive sailing in Britain: Captain John H. Illingworth RN. He raised the standard of racing; he wrote a classic text book called Offshore; he revolutionized the rating rule and design; he challenged the Americans; he galvanized the French (too effectively some might say!); he started races overseas (Sydney-Hobart, Giraglia, sail training events and others), he showed that small yachts could race as daringly as big ones and he presented, with others, the Admiral's Cup, a private challenge for a three boat team of American yachts which might be visiting for Cowes Week and the Fastnet. He won, in Myth of Malham, (Fastnet overall winner 1947 and 1949), Mouse of Malham, Merle of Malham, Monk of Malham, Oryx and other yachts, simply scores of races.
From the first RORC race after the war, the Cowes to Dinard in September 1945 (with a destroyer escort to ensure yachts kept clear of the minefields) and for twenty years after that, came the club's greatest expansion. For one reason or another, yachtsmen decided that what, for want of a better name, are called cruiser-racers were the thing for racing. The old metre boat dominance disappeared and clubs around the coast began offering races for habitable handicap boats. The apex of these events was the annual programme of the RORC. Further, both in Britain and abroad, the challenging offshore courses improved vastly the design and construction of ocean racers. For a time it appeared that they were able to keep the sea in almost any weather. Owners and crews had, for what some see as this idyllic period, an ocean racer, a cruiser, somewhere to sleep in harbour, and an inshore racing boat, all in the same yacht. Such a vessel was manned by amateurs, probably members of the club, with the galley and chart table aft and of moderate displacement, so that the sail area could be reasonably handled.
As mentioned, the Admiral's Cup began as a private challenge in 1957, but in 1959 the club was asked to run the series and although the Americans did not return that year, Holland and France took part. The story was then one of continual expansion of the number of teams, which reached a maximum of 19 (57 boats) between 1977 and 1979. After 1985, in terms of the number of three boat teams, there was a decline as the kind of yacht needed to compete both offshore and in additional specified inshore courses (even Olympic or Olympic style layouts), became progressively more unusual and expensive, as did the paid crew. Commercial sponsorship of the series by a French company, Champagne Mumm, began in 1983, while the first British boat to be sponsored, rather than privately owned, appeared in 1991. The Admiral's Cup had become at its origin almost by accident (because the allotted courses were already in existence) a novel kind of yacht racing which combined inshore and offshore racing. It steadily became a model of its kind, spawning welcome imitators including the Southern Cross (Australia), the Onion Patch (NE USA), Hawaii (Kenwood) Cup, Sardinia Cup, the RORC/IOR Ton Cups and a range of regional and local competitions.
Back in 1945, following the death of George Martin, his partner in ownership of a gaff rig yacht called Griffin, H.E. West, had presented her to the club, so that provisional members and others without berths could gain ready access to races. In 1957, Owen Aisher and his co-owners made a free replacement with Yeoman, which had won the 1951 Fastnet. She was renamed Griffin II. Since then a number of yachts, each named Griffin has been acquired in turn by the club for training purposes. Again specialization and costs meant that times changed, so that the last Griffins were run for training by the then National Sailing Centre in association with the RORC. When the Centre converted to a private trust, the system was changed to supporting training with a fund rather than a specific yacht.
In 1970 the commodore and two advisers decided to start up a substantial publication for members with the title, Seahorse. It was first a quarterly, then a monthly. It has had two changes of ownership and copies have always been for sale to non-members. Established now for more than twenty-five years, it has evolved into an organ of first class yacht racing, not merely offshore.
From the earliest days the club has found it necessary to have some form of established and practical time allowance system to enable boats to join in the races. For the first Fastnet races with their elderly cruisers built to no rules, Malden Heckstall-Smith, brother of the famous 'Bookstall', who virtually ran British inshore yacht racing single-handed, was appointed 'club measurer'. He recommended a version of the old Boat Racing Association formula of 1912. It had in fact been derived by combining two earlier American rating rules, the Seawanhaka and the Universal. As the 'RORC rule' it was developed for the club's races through the thirties. From the beginning, Martin, Somerset and others were determined to have a measurement rule of some sort and not to depend upon observed performance. One description by Somerset stated that measurement was 'a very simple matter which can be done afloat in a few minutes'.
In 1928 the CCA began using this rule for the Bermuda race, but in 1932 split away to use an entirely different form of handicapping. The RORC was then on its own and such an efficient job did it do, that from 1945 other British clubs began to specify the RORC rule for their races and insisted that boats arrived with a certificate of measurement issued by the RORC. In those more modest days, the club was at first reluctant to allow other organizations to use its rule, but by the late fifties the club's rating rule and its equipment standards were widely used in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere, though not in North and South America where US systems were bound to prevail. In 1957 there were major changes to the RORC rule, including the abandonment of the necessity to be able to take all measurements when afloat (on a mooring, for there were then no marinas in Britain). These changes involved the remeasurement of some 1200 boats. Since the mid-thirties there had also been quite different methods of time allowances in America and Britain. Since 1935 the RORC (followed ten years later by all other British clubs) deduced a time-on-time system (minutes per hour) for each yacht from her rating, while throughout the USA, time-on-distance (seconds-per-mile) remained read off from nationally agreed tables.
A number of reasons in the sixties led to initiatives to try and combine the RORC and American rules. Among these were continental pressures (particularly the 'Bremen meeting') against having to choose between two rules, talk of an ocean racing class in the Olympic games, which was thought to need a rating rule and the example of the IYRU, which had in 1952, after forty-five years, at last been joined by the USA. Successful American designs were beginning to appear to the RORC rule and US designers rather liked the way it was run.
London and the club house were a main focus of this international activity and it was there in November 1968 that a new combined rule, the International Offshore Rule, was announced. RORC members taking a leading role were E.P.De Guingand, a RORC flag officer and chairman of the co-ordinating committee, David Fayle and Robin Glover, RORC chief measurers, of whom there were no equivalents in the USA, Olin J. Stephens II and Dick Carter, American designers whose yachts were winning under both the RORC and American rules and David Edwards, commodore of the club at that vital period.
From 1971, the club used the IOR for all its races. Such a 'world rule' caused for a number of years an immense expansion in offshore racing and offshore boats. A major influence on the whole process was the One Ton Cup, an award owned by the Cercle de la Voile de Paris, used previously for the IYRU 6-metre class. The CVP had transferred it in 1965 to a fixed rating under the RORC rule with a few extras such as headroom and equipment to be carried; with the arrival of IOR, it was agreed to move it under the same concept to within IOR. Under the latter rule it provided intense annual international competition from 1971 until 1994. In 1998 the famous and remarkably handsome cup was allocated to a 45ft one-design class.
In its first decade, the IOR did look very much more like the old RORC rule than that of the CCA. In a kind of repeat of 1932, senior members of the latter club set up a project to create a new rating rule in America. Known as MHS, it came into use there in 1976 and was used for the 1980 Bermuda race, which was therefore once again on a different system from the Fastnet. Even under IOR, America had used time-on-distance and the British used time-on-time, which resulted in different perceptions of the IOR itself. A committee, which sat for several years attempting to reach a single compromise on time allowances, duly dissolved itself without finding a solution.
From about 1978, there were calls for the RORC to adopt a one-design, for those who did not wish to struggle with rating rules. The club preferred to welcome classes into its races and give prizes, but leave them in the hands of their owners' associations. One-designs to have competed regularly offshore in all lengths of race have included the Contessa 32, the OOD 34, the Sigma 33 and the Sigma 38, all built in England. In 1993 the club took its own one-design initiative with a 36ft flat out racer, designed and built in the USA, and nominated it as a compulsory team boat for the Admiral's Cups from 1995 to 1999. Sponsorship was involved and the class was named the Mumm 36. Expectations that the class would have wider use in the club's races were not realized.
In 1984 the club offered a second rating alongside the IOR, run from its own rating office following a suggestion from, and in partnership with, France's Union National du Course au Large. Known as the Channel Handicap System, it had the effect over several years of increasing race entries, especially in Fastnet races from 1989 onwards. It steadily grew until some 5400 were using the Rule world wide of which over 3000 are issued in England (for UK, Ireland and some other countries), far exceeding those that were measured in the most numerous days of IOR (about 1850 in UK and Ireland). For various reasons IOR fell into disuse; it was in practice unused by the club after 1993. For some it was a pity to see it go, for it had still included in its basic formulae the elements of the old RORC rule and earlier rules within that. From 1990 until 1999 the International Measurement System, previously the American MHS was also used for rating boats in the club's races. At the end of 1997, the club, in conjunction with UNCL, announced a revised rating system to be known as IR2000. As a result CHS was simply renamed IRC, but an additional published rule called IRM, intended for flat out racers, became effective from the 2000 season. However this initiative did not seem to appeal beyond a minority of racing yachts based in the central Solent. In 2003 IRC was accorded International status by ISAF, and continues to flourish. In 2004 some 6000 boats in 31 were racing under IRC. In 2004 the adoption of IRC by a number of US Clubs has seen the expansion of this popular Rule into the USA.
After eighty years of races, memorable and otherwise, campaigns at home and abroad, club life and activities, it would be strange if there had not been unwanted incidents and occurrences. Fatalities while racing have been few, but in ocean racing everywhere casualties happen from time to time. A man was lost overboard in the 1931 Fastnet and French sailors were lost in a Biscay race in the fifties. In 1956 many yachts were in serious difficulties in the "Channel race storm". Other individual cases did occur in the club's races, though it was in the 1979 Fastnet, in which five boats were abandoned and subsequently lost in extreme conditions, that there were fifteen fatalities. Many lessons were learned, which were enumerated in a formal inquiry instituted by the club and the national authority. Linked recommendations were to have a major effect on safety and equipment rules and some aspects of the conduct of racing.
The club racing is now on a two-year cycle with the Fastnet and the qualifiers necessary for it in each odd numbered year. For a typical 'even year' such as 2004 there was a revival of a race from the Solent to Cascais in Portugal, and a series in the Solent and offshore for three boat teams from around Britain and abroad for the Rolex Commodores' Cup. Some 20 events appeared on the annual programme, climaxed by the RORC racing division of the ARC race from Las Palmas, Canary Islands, to Rodney Bay, St Lucia. In the Mediterranean there was the Middle Sea race of 630 miles from Malta, the China Sea race of 650 miles was from Hong Kong to Manila and there was a non-stop 700-mile round Ireland event. Continental ports which marked the finish of races of various lengths included St Malo, Ostend, Scheveningen, Cherbourg, Le Havre, Dieppe and St Quay Portrieux. Multihulls, having been given a class briefly in the 1960s, were re-admitted in 1997 and then seemed set to continue.
It is a strange fact that the RORC has no equivalent in any other country (except possible the Nippon Ocean Racing Club, which with 6000 members and many outstations is more of an association for racing throughout Japan). Many clubs all over the world run a limited number of ocean races from their own bases, combined with other sailing activities. There is nothing with quite the appearance of the present day RORC race programme. By contrast various events spring up or are grafted on to race programmes, some being totally organized by a sponsor. When the great event is over, competitors disperse and no physical trace remains.
After eighty years, the message of the Royal Ocean Racing Club still carries a long way. With its bricks and mortar existence, its elected membership and its permanent professional staff, the club stands as a sentinel for the ideals of racing under sail at sea.
Sir Peter Johnson (d. 2004) wrote this history which has been amended up to date
RORC Race Headquarters Cowes, 82 High Street, Cowes, Isle of Wight PO31 7AJ. Tel: +44 (0) 1983 295144, fax: +44 (0) 20 7493 5252. Information: The Race Office in Cowes is only manned during races. Please try the numbers given for the London office outside otherwise.
RORC Rating Office (Seahorse Rating Ltd.), Seahorse Building, Bath Road, Lymington, Hampshire SO41 3SE, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 1590 677030, fax: +44 (0) 1590 679478
Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), 20 St. James’s Place, London SW1A 1NN, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 20 7493 2248, fax: +44 (0) 20 7493 5252
(Details courtesy of the Royal Ocean Racing Club)
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