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#SAILSPREE – TV personality and keen sailor Kathryn Thomas launched a new initiative to encourage people to get on the water this summer in a special weekend of activites that the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) says will be like 'Culture Night' for sailing and yacht clubs and sailing schools will open their doors to the public to try sailing, windsurfing, power boating or jet skiing.

Many clubs will also provide on shore activities including entertainment, food, drink and music guaranteeing a great day out for all the family on June 23rd/24th the same weekend as Wicklow Sailing Club's Round Ireland race.

Sail Spree as the initiative is called has been developed in acknowledgment of the increased interest in sailing over the past number of years. Events such as the Volvo Ocean Race and the Tall Ships Festivals have brought sailing into the public eye and have undoubtedly sparked intrigue in this thrilling outdoor sport. With the Olympics only two months away and with eight sailors representing Ireland at the Games, sailing will continue to capture the nation's attention.

Probably the biggest event running during Sail Spree will be Seafest 2012, hosted in Rathmullan on Lough Swilly, Donegal. The event will incorporate all forms of sailing, from dinghies to cruisers as well as windsurfing and powerboating. Combined with this festival of the sea will be food festivals and a plethora of on shore activities and entertainment too numerable to mention. The event will offer spectators and participants the opportunity to join in the fun on and off the water.

Travelling south and the islands off the Cork coast will also be providing a host of activities in conjunction with the Sail Spree celebrations. Heir Island Sailing School, in Roaring Water Bay is providing a weekend of sailing, games, food and drink to keep its visitors entertained.

With 14 venues already registered in the Cork county, the public have plenty of options to keep them occupied. Kinsale Yacht Club will be hosting a special event on the Saturday to create awareness of the wonderful opportunities for children and adults with disabilities who would like to try sailing. As the home club for John Twomey, Anthony Hegarty and Ian Costello, the Irish Paralympic Sailors, Kinsale Yacht Club are experienced in the areas of support, advice and information for anyone with a disability hoping to get into sailing.

On the east coast, Wexford Harbour Boat & Tennis Club will be hosting its Sail Spree event to coincide with the John Barry Maritime Festival 2012. The weekend will play host to a number of activities and give attendees the opportunity to try sailing, power boating, windsurfing and jet skiing.

2012 will be a big year for sailing in Ireland. One of the most prestigious events in world ocean racing; the Volvo Ocean Race is returning to Galway Bay and the Tall Ships will be hosted in the Dublin Docklands. Derry city will host the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in June, Cork Week takes place in July and the Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth World Championships will be held in Dublin Bay in July for the first time. There will be no shortage of international level competition on offer for spectators.

The pinnacle of the international season will be Ireland's participation in the London Olympics where eight sailors in five boats will compete.

Published in News Update
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#SAILING – With the Olympic torch burning its way through Ireland in ten days' time and the countdown to London 2012 well under way, the Irish squad for the sailing events in Weymouth has little enough time to adjust to its greatly increased size, with two new crews coming on board through last ditch qualifications.

The lonely selection voyage of Laser sailor James Espey of Ballyholme has finally reached a successful conclusion, and so too has the 470 campaign of Ger Owens of Dun Laoghaire and Scott Flanigan of Malahide. Malahide has always punched above its weight in the Olympic sailing stakes, and Flanigan carries the MYC flag along with Star class sailor David Burrows, while Ballyholme is also well in, as James Espey joins clubmates Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern, who are already on board as Ireland's 49er crew.

For the latest additions, the turnaround from battling for selection to training for representation means that, as ISA Team Manager James O'Callaghan has put it, "there's work to be done between now and Weymouth". But in fact O'Callaghan's remark was primarily prompted by the somewhat erratic showing by the already-qualified Annalise Murphy in the recent Women's Laser Radial Worlds in Germany.

The weather was the most erratic feature of all, yet when the breeze was good Murphy was on top form, taking two wins and two seconds in the 133-boat fleet. But she also had a major upset with a collision, and the final day saw her logging a 33rd and 55th to drop nine places to 25th in fleet, not the sort of placing she's been used to in recent years.

But with a smaller fleet and (so they tell us) steadier breezes anticipated at Weymouth, she's on track for a good showing, as too are the Star class duo of Peter O'Leary and David Burrows, who ended as fourth overall in the recent worlds, very much in the frame.

There'll be a special link to sailing when the Olympic torch arrives at Olympic Council of Ireland HQ in Howth on June 6th, as Howth House, the OCI base, is the former home of the Boyd family of sailing folk, where Herbert Boyd designed the still-extant Howth Seventeen class.

The youthful Boyd utilised the spacious floor of the drawing room (where else?) to finalise the lines of his boat designs, and it was there in 1897 that he created the Howth Seventeen One Designs, which still look today exactly as he envisaged them 115 years ago.

Only a year earlier, the revival of the Olympics in their modern form had been achieved by Pierre de Coubertin. It's doubtful if Boyd ever had Olympic ambitions for his rugged little boats. But they are truly Olympian in their dogged persistence allied to timeless style with 115 years of solid sport, so there's no better place for the Olympic torch in Ireland.

But that's in ten days' time. Right now Howth is jumping with the 127-strong fleet battling it out in the three-day BMW Cruiser-Racer Nationals, and skippers of the calibre of current Sailor of the Year George Kenefick of Crosshaven at the helm of his Quarter Tonner "Tiger of Currabinny" (now there's a name to conjure with) are revelling in glorious early-summer weather.

Out in the Atlantic, however, the chances of mid-ocean calms are slowing arrival time hopes for the Volvo fleet (back on full strength) racing from Miami to Lisbon, with Franck Cammas and Damian Foxall and team on Groupama losing their early lead to Iker Martinez on Telefonica. The Atlantic weather is all over the place, and nerves will be well frayed before they get to Portugal.

W M Nixon's sailing column is in the Irish Independent on Saturdays

Published in W M Nixon
Tagged under

Scott Flanigan, from Malahide Yacht Club has recently qualified for the Olympics in the 470 class with Ger Owens. Ger is a double Olympian has represented Ireland in the 470 class in Athens and Beijing where he had two exciting race wins. Ger was Scott's coach for several years prior to the pair teaming up to campaign for London 2012 last summer, and Scott watched Ger racing in Beijing when he was fifteen. Scott who is now nineteen returned home this weekend for a couple of days rest, before resuming their Olympic campaign in Holland, and visited Malahide Yacht Club. He chatted to the Optimist sailors who were training with their coach David and was impressed with the new facility which opened earlier this year. He spoke encouragingly to the children and gave them some advice.

Colin O'Sullivan, one of the junior sailors interviewed Scott.

How did you get to be so good at sailing?

I started sailing an Optimist, then progressed to a Laser and then a 420, but I actually sailed anything that I got a chance to. I tried Catamarans, Mermaids, Yachts, anything that I could. You learn from every bit of sailing that you do, and learn from other sailors. Fitness and diet are also very important and I have been really lucky in having a great personal trainer, Colin Gaffney, from a young age.

Was it fun?

Yes it was, and I thoroughly enjoyed all the travelling I got to do in Ireland and all over the world. I have made great friends through sailing. I have been both a helm and a crew and have learnt a lot from both experiences.

How did you choose what boat to move into after your Optimist?

I won the Munster Championship in my last year, and that was my last Optimist event. I had already been sailing a Laser a bit, and I liked it. I was good in light winds and did pretty well. Then I moved to the 420 which was great, it was a new experience being part of a team, and I really enjoyed the technical side. Having sailed the 420 I think I would be so much better as an Optimist sailor!

What is your routine like?

When we are away training we sail most days. We start at 7am, head to the gym for a session and head out on the water for some training in the morning. We break for lunch for an hour, then back out again for the afternoon. We have spent most of the year in Palma as we are assured of good conditions and have training partners based there.

Do you have coaching every day?

Unfortunately due to financial constraints, we have not had a full time coach but Ross Killian attends most of the events with us as the support is essential when competing.

What other advice do you have?

My advice would be to keep a journal, it's really important. I have notebooks full of training information and things that I have noticed myself. Every sailor should keep a record of what they've learnt and what they've done. You also need goals, every time you go sailing, every event you compete in, try to have a goal. Sailing is not just about winning an event, it is also about improving. You might decide that you are going to improve your starts at a particular event, and that will be a focus while you're competing. Reading is important too, I have quite a library of sailing books I've picked them up all over the place.

What is your favourite place to sail?

It is hard to pick one venue but when I am at home I love to sail in Howth and Kinsale, and in Europe, Lake Garda and La Rochelle.

What were your best sailing moments?

Sailing in the Youth Worlds with Cian O'Regan in Istanbul, and representing Belvedere College with great success in the school sailing events, and of course qualifying for the Olympics.

What would you tell someone my age?

Sail everything you can. I have sailed Optimists, Fevas, 420s, 470s, Catamarans, and all classes of Yachts. I sailed the Topaz Westerns here in Malahide. Looks can be deceiving in boats but you will always learn something new by being adventurous.

Scott is heading off to Holland to continue his Olympic training programme with Ger Owens. We will be watching them and wish them luck.

Scott and Bob

Scott (right) being congratulated on his achievement by MYC commodore Bob Sugrue

Published in Olympics 2012
Tagged under

#VOR – After a light airs start to Leg 7 yesterday, Damian Foxall's Groupama sailing team have the lead today as northerly winds blowing against the Gulf Stream kick up a choppy sea in the opening stages of the transatlantic leg to Lisbon in Portugal.

The fleet's progress north is being helped by three knots of positive current from the Gulf Stream conveyor belt, but has made for an unpleasant and bumpy start to the 3,590 nautical mile (nm) leg.

"There's nothing like going upwind in the Gulf Stream and slamming into a big swell," said PUMA watch captain Tony Mutter. Already the fleet has made good progress on what all crews expect to be an exhilarating and predominantly downwind ride back to European waters.

At 0700 GMT today Groupama led from Team Telefónica by 1.2 nm as the fleet passed Cape Canaveral on the east coast of the United States.

Meanwhile PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing are tightly bunched, while Team Sanya are positioned two miles to windward of the pack.

Ahead of the fleet to the north lies Tropical Storm Alberto, which will provide a big advantage for the team which finds the strong winds first.

According to Groupama navigator Jean-Luc Nélias, there is a chance the tropical low could propel the fleet east almost as far as the Azores Islands.

"The storm is the source of pressure for us to get north and east on, so it's important to try to feed into that pressure first," explained PUMA navigator Tom Addis.

"You don't want to be on the wrong side of that low, because the current against wind in the Gulf Stream would give quite a heinous sea state."

Leg 7 is expected to take the fleet 11 days to complete with the leaders expected to arrive in Lisbon on or around May 31.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
Tagged under

#OLYMPIC SAILNG – After a busy month of six world Olympic sailing championships Ireland will send a five boat team to the sailing Olympics this July after two more boats were added to the team in the last ten days.

Beyond the qualification celebrations though the heat is on to deliver 'six medal race finishes plus two medals' in pre-Olympic events as a sign that the team is on track to deliver Olympic success in just over eight weeks time. That was the results tab calculation by team manager James O'Callaghan a month ago when he declared the Irish sailing team vision was to 'stand on the podium' in Weymouth in August.

The proclaimation followed the release of ISAF's standings that put both of Ireland's medal contenders in the Laser Radial and Star classes in the top five of the world rankings in January.

So far Peter O'Leary and David Burrows look on target in their keelboat class finishing fourth in the Star Worlds in France this month, one of Ireland's best ever results at an Olympic class world championships and secured when competition is at its hottest in an Olympic year. It follows a sixth in Hyeres Olympic week (even with a broken forestay) and a silver medal (for the third time) at the Star class Bacardi Cup in Miami in March.

Last week Ger Owens and Scott Flanigan finished with a fourth at the 470 world championships in Barcelona and moved up to 24th overall, a result that qualified them for London, Owens' third Olympic regatta and Flanigan's first.

Also through this month to London by virtue of a Gold fleet finish at the Laser worlds in Boltehnagen, Germany is Bangor Laser Sailor James Espey. He is the second Belfast Lough crew on the team joining Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern who race the 49er dinghy.

And at the same venue Annalise Murphy, finished 25th overall yesterday at the Laser Radial Worlds after an event where an inconsistent score sheet shows how the Dun Laoghaire sailor won two races in her 133-boat fleet but also discarded a 64th at the shifty venue.

Meanwhile Peter O'Leary and David Burrows who were narrowly denied a bronze medal at the Star Worlds a week ago have posted an update on the team website describing themselves as 'happy enough' with fourth overall and how the high quality event gave them the chance to test new gear. 'Some areas we were happy with and others we need to work on', they conclude.

Whatever the outcome in August for the Star keelboat it is the end of the Olympic road.

Published in Olympics 2012

#TRY BOATING – As well as the Round the World Racers on show at the Volvo Ocean Race 2011- 2012 Grand Finale in Galway (30th June to 8th July 2012) there's also a chance to get on the water have a try at Sailing, Windsurfing, Paddle Boarding, Sea kayaking and Water Polo.

Get on board a Galway Hooker, Donegal Drondheim, Achill Yawl and Arab Dhow. See what it's like on board a modern racer cruiser. Accessible sailing for those with restricted mobility are also catered for.

Volvo Youth Academy

• Try Sailing on a Ludic 18 foot sailing dinghy with an experienced local sailor in a safe environment. Just visit the Race village any day 1100 to 1700 and book a place. Free age 10+.

• Website www.volvooceanracegalway.com

Ocean Youth Trust 

• Try Sailing on a RS Elite 18 foot sailing keel boat with an experienced local sailor in a safe environment. Just visit the Race village from Wednesday 4th July 1100 to 1900 and book a place. Free age 12+.

• More information from Bronagh Cappa-Campbell email [email protected] telephone 00442890453062. Website www.oyti.org

Galway Bay Sailing Club

• Try Sailing on a Vision 16 foot sailing dinghy with an experienced local sailor in a safe environment. Just visit the Race village any day 1100 to 1700 and book a place. Free Age 10+.

• Tried the sailing want to take the helm then the Taste of Sailing is for you. Then book a place on the half day Taste of Sailing Course and get your Irish Sailing Association certificate.

• Morning and Afternoon Sessions aged 10+.

• Multiple half days can be booked to make up a longer course.

• Take the helm and learn to sail on the 12 foot RS Feva double handed dinghy either on the waters of Lough Atalia or off the beach at the Galway Ocean Sports Club.

• Cost €10 per half day session booking in advanced from Thomas Mills 087 7754514.

• Email [email protected] website www.gbsc.ie or at the Race Village.

Bow Waves

• Try Sailing on a Laser 16 foot sailing dinghy with an experienced local sailor in a safe environment. Just visit the Race village any day 1100 to 1700 and book a place. Free Age 10+.

• Tried the sailing want to take the helm then the Taste of Sailing is for you. The book a place on the half day Taste of Sailing Course and get your Irish Sailing Association (ISA) certificate.

o Morning and Afternoon Sessions aged 10+.

o Multiple half days can be booked to make up a longer course.

o Take the helm and learn to sail on the 12 foot Topper Topaz double handed dinghy either on the waters of Lough Atalia or off the beach at the Galway Ocean Sports Club.

o Cost €10 per half day session booking in advanced by telephone 091560560 or 0878077177.

o Email [email protected] website www.bowwaves.com or at the Race Village

Accessible Sailing

• Sailing session for people with disabilities.

• The Irish Disabled Sailing Association, ISA, GBSC and Even Keel have teamed up to bring a fleet of 7 boats which will cater for different needs.

• Morning and Afternoon Sessions. Free aged 8+.

• Booking in advance by Email [email protected] by telephone 0878800744. Websites www.sailforce.ie, www.sailing.ie, www.gbsc.ie and www.theevenkeel.com

Galway Hooker Association

• Get on board a traditional Galway Hooker to get to know the ropes from the sheets and the canvas from the blocs.

• On the Quay side all week.

• More information from Padraic de Bhaldraithe email [email protected] or telephone 0876591904. Website www.galwayhookerassociation.ie

Rusheen Bay Windsurfing

You prefer to do some sailing standing up the Taste of Windsurfing is for you. Then book a place on the half day Taste of Windsurfing and get your Irish Sailing Association certificate RBW.

o Afternoon sessions weekends and evening Sessions all week.

o Multiple half days can be booked to make up a longer course.

o Stand up and sail on safe waters of Rusheen bay aged 12+.

o Cost €20 per half day session booking in advanced from Danny Mulryan 0862605702.

o Email [email protected] website www.rusheenbay.com or at the Race Village.

Try Sea Kayaking with Burren Outdoor Education Centre and Kayakmor

If you prefer going for a paddle then explore the shore line from the docks to Hare Island in a sea Kayak.

• Morning and Afternoon Sessions with Burren Outdoor Education Centre

o Fee €5 aged 10+ at the Race Village.

o More information from Joanna McInerney 087 2229459

o Email [email protected] website www.burrenoec.com

• Evening Sessions

o Fee €5 aged 10+ at the Race Village.

o More information from Jim Morryissey 087 7565578

o Email [email protected] website www.kayakmor.com

Puma Stand Up Paddle Boarding

You can now go padding standing up Puma are bringing their latest carbon fibre boards for you to try.

• All day sessions aged 12+ free.

• Off the prom at Palmers Rock Salthill.

• More information from Mark Paaluhi of Puma on 00- 310-927-1288

• Email [email protected] website www.puma.com

Corrib Water Polo and Swim Club Try Water Polo

I f you really want to play ball and get up to your neck in water have a go at the try water polo session.

• Wednesday 4th July 1730, aged 15 and under free.

• Must be able to swim a width.

• Kingfisher Club NUIG

• More information from Andy Flanagan

• Email [email protected]

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

#OFFSHORE – 18 boats are expected on the line tomorrow morning for the start of the first ISORA offshore sailing race of the 2012 programme.

A split for Class 1 and Class 2 will be made but not until the morning and is subject to final entries.

15-20 knots of wind from the north east is expected and the above course is proposed.

The tide will be flooding for most of the race and as the fleet will most liklely avoid Wicklow Head in such circumstances the plan is to round North India instead of North Arklow buoy.

The course is 47 miles long, a route that should give two beats and loads of reaching and runs and return most boats to ISORA HQ at the National YC for results and a 'dry sherry' for 6pm.

Confirmation of the course will be given at the briefing on Saturday at 08.45 at Dun Laoghaire marina. It will also be broadcast on VHF Ch72 soon after. Boats are expected to return to Dun Laoghaire by 6pm.

Published in ISORA
Tagged under

#OLYMPIC SAILING – A 4, 10 and 11 gives Ireland's Star sailors Peter O'Leary and David Burrows fifth overall, six points behind Germany's Johannes Polgar and Markus Koy after three races sailed at the Semaine Olympique Française - Hyères yesterday.

It was a breeze lovers day in Hyères and a long second day on the water for 13 competing Olympic classes.

A point behind The Irish pair in the 25-boat class is Frederick Loof and Max Salminen of Sweden who although counting a 1 and 2 are relegated to sixth with a black flag penalty in the opening race.

Race management issues yesterday forced long delays before the Star's second race yesterday and when it finally did get underway it had to be abandoned due to a drifting windward mark.

Another Irish sailor Dun Laoghaire's Anthony Shanks who is sailing with Britian's John Gimson lie 12th overall.

O'Leary and Burrows, the Irish Olympic pairing who qualified for the London Olympics last December in Perth reiterated their medal aims for Weymouth this summer at a pre-Hyeres interview.

Meanwhile, in the 49er class yesterday Ireland's Ryan Seaton and MattMcGovern, who are also Olympic qualified, counted 14,13,7 in 16-18-knots of breeze and lie 20th from 50 starters.

Ireland's other Olympic qualified sailor Annalise Murphy is not sailing in Hyeres in spite of the presence of some of her arch rivals for Weymouth Evi Van Acker of Belgium and Marit Boumeester of Holland lying third and fourth. Britain's Alison Young is leading the 80-boat fleet.

There are under 100 days to go and nine regattas before the Olympic regatta in July. Irish team officials say they are expecting six medal race finishes and two medals in the run-up to July as a sign that the team is on track to deliver its Weymouth promise of a place on the podium.

Published in Olympics 2012

#DINGHY SAILING – It is a common complaint that dinghy sailing is in decline. Veteran keel-boat sailors wax nostalgic about those long-gone days when huge fleets turned out for the major dinghy class championships writes our correspondent Magheramore.

Yet there were 292 entries for the recent Mitsubishi Youth National Championships, the winter Laser racing in Howth is flourishing as are the DMYC Frostbites.

However, a closer look at the dinghy park at the Youth Nationals did indicate where a problem may lie. All the boats were recent, the sails were new, many competitors were professionally coached or accompanied by their parents in a comfortable RIB. One would expect this, the young sailors (and their parents) want to do well. The impression given is that dinghy sailing is an expensive pastime requiring dedication, athletic prowess and intensive training. This perception may erect a psychological barrier to entry to the sport. Apprentice sailors, young in years or young of heart, may decide that other forms of messing about in boats are more accessible: crewing on big boats, angling, kayaking or rowing.

Racing is only one aspect of dinghy sailing. If racing is compared to track athletics, how about a nautical stroll in the park or some nautical hill walking! Dinghy cruising has been defined as sailing a dinghy for any other reason than racing. That may be too sweeping a generalisation. Perhaps a better way of putting it would be that dinghy cruising is all about going somewhere in a small boat.

There is an extreme branch of the sport: the late Frank Dye's Wayfarer crossings to Norway and to Iceland; Webb Chiles circumnavigation in a Drascombe Lugger or the two Royal Marine officer's expedition through the North West Passage 17.5ft Norseboat. Oceanic openboat sailing has it's founding fathers: Shackleton and Crean, Captain Bligh and our own St. Brendan.

But just as not all hill walkers attempt to scale Everest, or even Carrantuohill, there are many who enjoy a more gentle sail. I have often admired a venerable Mirror, usually sailing without a jib, cruising round Dun Laoghaire harbour. If you look carefully there are Wayfarers, Drascombes and others tucked away at the top of many a sheltered beach or creek, waiting a family picnic, an evening sail or a trip out to catch a mackerel or two for breakfast. In parts of Donegal, and possibly elsewhere, the humble Mirror seems to have replaced the more traditional curragh. Used as a tender, a fishing boat, a swimming platform or for short sail the Mirror can be bought cheaply, launched and recovered single-handed and can be sailed (with one or two sails), rowed, paddled, sculled or even (shudder) motored.

dinghycruise2

A UK dinghy visitor Jady Lane moored in Athlone. Photo: Aidan de la Mare

Successful dinghy cruising does not depend on a new boat. Indeed one might be happier when beaching on a stony beach if the gel coat already has a scratch or two. Boats for such sailing are a personal and often somewhat idiosyncratic choice. Who would have thought that a Finn could be converted into practical cruising yawl? Or that a Mirror dinghy could cruise from the Severn to the Black Sea, with the skipper sleeping "comfortably" aboard. Stability is the one essential design feature, indeed some dinghy cruisers maintain that the Wayfarer is far too tippy a boat.

Many dinghy cruising sailors never progress beyond pottering or day sailing. A lifetime is too short to explore the nooks and crannies of the Irish coast line, not too mention the many loughs. When camping or self-catering beside the water, having a dinghy ready to launch greatly enriches the holiday. Yet, inevitably, there comes a day when the the skipper wants to sail out to that distant island, or around the point, too far to return the same day. At this point the huge advantage of exploring in a dinghy rather than on foot becomes obvious. Even in the smallest dinghy room can be found for a tent, foam mattress, sleeping bag, stove, provisions and, luxury, a bottle of wine and a corkscrew! The boat does the carrying rather than your back. There are many places round the coast where a tent can be pitched discreetly. The sea-kayaking fraternity have been doing this for years.

Most cruising sailors then realise that it is in fact more convenient to sleep on board. This is no less comfortable than sleeping in the kind of bivouac tents used by back-packers and cyclists. There is also one great advantage, by choosing an appropriate anchorage one can escape the midges!

Dinghy cruising is not a structured activity. Most cruising sailors are fiercely independent, and most stay well away from yacht clubs. Yet the Dinghy Cruising Association in the UK has 468 paying members (some of them in Ireland), with a further 29 joining in the last 3 months. Races are not part of their programme. Rallies can be low key – meet for lunch, or an overnight stay at specified spot (often conveniently situated within strolling distance of a welcoming pub). There is a developing trend to organise Raids – cruises in company, sometimes with an element of competition. An annual Raid is organised through the Great Glen in Scotland. Others are held in the Baltic. Above all, the traditional boat revival in France has been accompanied by explosion in events for "voile-aviron" (sail and oar). Especially if you have a wooden boat, you will be welcome at the big traditional boat festivals such as those held in Brest and Douarnenez. Perhaps one day there will be a Raid Ireland?

In short, pottering or cruising in small open boats is an exciting adventure open to all. The seamanship skills learnt taking a boat from Bray up to Dalkey Island, or from Dromineer to Mountshannon can be of much use to a budding sailor as learning to roll tack a Laser. In fact, dinghy cruising, probably renamed "adventure sailing", opens a whole new world for sailing schools and club training. Transition year groups or the local Scout troop would certainly be interested. As more extreme outdoor pursuits, from fell-running to bog-snorkelling, gain new participants, there is surely room for dinghy cruising – Magheramore

 Wtih thanks to the Dinghy Cruising Association for photography in this article

Published in Your Say
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