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Displaying items by tag: Dublin Bay 21

Coming as it does from David Tasker - an Afloat.ie reader from the Isle of Wight - a typically Autumnal query received a day or two ago from this new owner of an interesting and much-loved vintage boat is one of those gems that could well trigger lines of enquiry which will still be trundling along at Christmas, such that before you know it, the days will be getting longer, and it will be time to think of fitting-out, with the Boat History File consigned for the summer to the top shelf - as it should be.

He attaches three photos, and tells us:

"I have just purchased what I believe to be a Dublin Bay 21. I understand she was bought back from Ireland in the 80s and restored around about 1994. I am trying to find her earlier history and wondered if you could help please".

It emerges that a previous owner, an English sailing enthusiast based for a while in Northern Ireland in the 1980s, had spotted the boat in a run-down state in Killyleagh on the shores of Strangford Lough. He fell in love as one does, and in trying to buy her, was assured by the owner that she was a Dublin Bay 21.

A Ballyholme Bay OD in another guise – Iolanthe on the slipway in the Isle of Wight in 2021. Photo courtesy David TaskerA Ballyholme Bay OD in another guise – Iolanthe on the slipway in the Isle of Wight in 2021. Photo courtesy David Tasker

The boat – Iolanthe is her name – was indeed just over 21ft long. And the members of Dublin Bay SC can be rightly proud that their time-honoured reputation for setting the gold standard in One-Designs as visualised by creative legends of the calibre of William Fife and Alfred Mylne is such that the "Dublin Bay" name was invoked as redolent of quality in a place like Killyleagh.

For in normal circumstances, a favourable attitude to Dublin is emphatically not part of the Killyleagh mind-set. This is despite the fact that the little town is indirectly but tangibly linked to William Rowan Hamilton (1805-1865). He's the astronomer and mathematical genius who, during a stroll along the Royal Canal in Dublin in 1843, had such a flash of insight into a solution to the problem of quaternions that he immediately scratched his new formula into the stonework of Broom Bridge in Cabra.

Eureka Killyleagh style….Broom Bridge on the Royal Canal in Dublin, where William Rowan Hamilton inscribed his new theory……Eureka Killyleagh style….Broom Bridge on the Royal Canal in Dublin, where William Rowan Hamilton inscribed his new theory……

…..a piece of inspired graffiti which has now been given retrospective respectability through proper commemoration.…..a piece of inspired graffiti which has now been given retrospective respectability through proper commemoration.

It has to be said that the Killyleagh owner of Iolanthe back in the 1980s had a flash of best Rowan Hamilton-quality inspiration in describing Iolanthe as a Dublin Bay 21. The DB21s – now in process of restoration through Hal Sisk and Fionan de Barra working with Steve Morris of Kilrush Boatyard – are unmistakably an Alfred Mylne design, 21ft on the waterline and 31ft in hull overall length. But Iolanthe is none of these things.

Classic Mylne…..the restored Dublin Bay 21 Garavogue racing in the Royal Irish YC end-of-season Pursuit Race 2021. Photo: Gilly GoodbodyClassic Mylne…..the restored Dublin Bay 21 Garavogue racing in the Royal Irish YC end-of-season Pursuit Race 2021. Photo: Gilly Goodbody

For she, on the other hand, may potentially be a little sit-in weekend cruiser. But at 21.75ft LOA, 15.5ft LWL, 5.75ft beam and 3ft draft, her dimensions are put in perspective when we realise they aren't that much larger than those of a Flying Fifteen, which is a very sit-on sort of boat, but comes with the aura of being an Uffa Fox design.

It was far from the exalted world of Uffa Fox and William Fife and Alfred Mylne that the design of the little Iolanthe emerged, but it's an intriguing story nevertheless. That said, it's told here from memory and inference while we let various researchers do things in their own time.

Thus we're winging it, and not for the first time. But it is a fact that in the latter half of the 1930s the British Royal Family was going through some turmoil, and when a reasonably normal couple saved the dynasty by having their Coronation as King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937, the marine industry celebrated with some boatbuilders describing their broadly standard products as the Coronation Class.

One such was a little Scottish firm in the Firth of Clyde called James Colhoun & Co, who are recalled as being based in Dunoon, but nobody remembers them there, so it may have been Troon. That they existed there's no doubt, for in Lloyds Register of 1964 they're listed as having become Colhoun & Sons, but without an address – they're only in the Register because the greatest success of their own-designed new Coronation OD was as the Ballyholme Bay Class.

In 1938, Ballyholme YC on Belfast Lough took an option on 12 of the boats, eventually reduced to nine which successful raced as the Ballyholme Bay Class for many years. With understandable pride in their new senior keelboat OD class, they emphatically described them first as the Bay Class, and later as the Ballyholme Bay class.

The Ballyholme Bay ODs shaping up for some club racing – the design origins as the Coronation OD by Colhoun & Co were submerged in local pride. Photo: W M NixonThe Ballyholme Bay ODs shaping up for some club racing – the design origins as the Coronation OD by Colhoun & Co were submerged in local pride. Photo: W M Nixon

Thus when two or three of the Coronation Class (possible originally intended for Balyholme) found their way to Strangford Lough as individual boats, the thriving Ballyholme Class ignored their existence as they put through their own hectic annual programme on Belfast Lough.

A highlight was their annual visit to the Regatta at Carrickergus, where the Bay Class provided some of the strength for an informal but brutal rugby match between Bangor and Carrick sailors on the green between the Anchor Inn and the historic castle, while the social pace in the Inn itself was set by the Bay Class's most heroic toper, a gnarled character of magnificently colourful nasal architecture whose day job was the sacred task of supplying and tuning the finest church organs in Northern Ireland.

It's difficult to say exactly why the Ballyholme Bay class are either defunct or at the very least in mothballs, though some would argue that their surviving rivals of the Waverley Class had deeper local roots, as they were designed by John Wylie of Whitehead, and built at yards on the shores of Belfast Lough.

Yet the 29ft River Class on Strangford Lough are – like the Ballyholme Bays - entirely Scottish in origin, having been designed by Alfred Mylne and all twelve built either at his own yard at Ardmaleish on Bute, or in the boatyard next door. But this has in no way hindered the Rivers' increasing good health in recent years, with all twelve in action for the class's Centenary in 2021.

As for Iolanthe, by 1997 the enchanted owner who had bought her in Killyleagh had brought her home to the Isle of Wight for a very thorough restoration with Will Squibb and Eddie Wade at Bembridge in one of those workshops which are mini-temples to the arts and crafts of the shipwright.

A mini-temple to the arts and crafts of the shipwright – Iolanthe being restored in the Bembridge workshop. Photo courtesy David TaskerA mini-temple to the arts and crafts of the shipwright – Iolanthe being restored in the Bembridge workshop. Photo courtesy David Tasker

And since then, Iolanthe has proven her seaworthy credentials by cruising down channel as far as Dartmouth in Devon, which is rather further and more exposed than the passage to the Narrows Regatta in Strangford Lough occasionally achieved by the Ballyholme Bay Class.

Iolanthe's latest owner may have to accept that he doesn't have a Dublin Bay 21, or a Dublin Bay anything. But in fact, he may have something rather more special, as there's now a charming corner of the Isle of Wight that is forever Ballyholme.

A little corner of the Isle of Wight which is forever Ballyholme – with an enlarged headsail, Iolanthe is providing improved performance. Photo courtesy David TaskerA little corner of the Isle of Wight which is forever Ballyholme – with an enlarged headsail, Iolanthe is providing improved performance. Photo courtesy David Tasker

Published in W M Nixon

The three 1903 Dublin Bay 21s newy-restored for Hal Sisk and Fionan de Barra by Steve Morris and his team in Kilrush Boatyard have been back in Dun Laoghaire for six weeks now. But in the late season’s perverse weather, there have been few if any days when pleasant conditions have combined with a decent sailing breeze to allow them to give of their best. However, a brief weather window on Friday evening for the Royal Irish YC’s traditional end-of-season pursuit race made the re-born DB 21s the Belles of the Ball. And though there at first seemed to be a complete informational blackout as to which boat of the total fleet actually won the pursuit race, everyone immediately knew that Garavogue, helmed by Joe Conway and crewed by Alex Conway and Hal Sisk, was looking absolutely splendid as she came in first of the the Dublin Bay 21s, followed by Naneen helmed by RIYC Commodore Pat Shannon - he and his crew had enjoyed the experience so much that they extended it by adding a couple of extra marks to the prescribed course……….

A balmy Autumn breeze on Dublin Bay - Garavogue leading on Friday evening...Photo: Gilly GoodbodyA balmy Autumn breeze on Dublin Bay - Garavogue leading on Friday evening...Photo: Gilly Goodbody 

…..while Naneen so liked the experience of good sailing that she unilaterally extended the course for her personal enjoyment wit a couple of extra marks. Originally constructed in 1905, Naneen was the only DB21 actually built in Dun Laoghaire, with the job done by James Clancy. Photo: Gilly Goodbody…..while Naneen so liked the experience of good sailing that she unilaterally extended the course for her personal enjoyment wit a couple of extra marks. Originally constructed in 1905, Naneen was the only DB21 actually built in Dun Laoghaire, with the job done by James Clancy. Photo: Gilly Goodbody

Garavogue on her launching day at Portrush in 1903 with builder James Kelly, while owner W.R.Richardson is accompanied by many friends up from Dublin up for the day. Photo courtesy Robin RuddockGaravogue on her launching day at Portrush in 1903 with builder James Kelly, while owner W.R.Richardson is accompanied by many friends up from Dublin up for the day. Photo courtesy Robin Ruddock

Garavogue emerging with flawless black topsides from the restoration process in Kilrush Boatyard in 2021. Photo: Steve MorrisGaravogue emerging with flawless black topsides from the restoration process in Kilrush Boatyard in 2021. Photo: Steve Morrs

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In times past before they ceased racing in 1986, the 1903-founded Dublin Bay 21s were regular participants in regattas at Howth. With three of the boats newly-restored under the class revival project inspired by Fionan de Barra and Hal Sisk, it is now possible to revive the tradition, and this Sunday (September 12th) the three boats will be crossing Dublin Bay to re-introduce themselves to their Howth admirers.

It will be a busy day in Howth with the Annual Provident Junior Regatta underway, but the welcome presence and availability of the three DB21 classics will add to the festive buzz of sailing gradually getting back up to speed after the slowdown of the pandemic period.

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When the three newly-restored Dublin Bay 21s fulfilled the dream of Fionan de Barra and Hal Sisk by racing last Tuesday, they did so off a coastline much-changed since they last sailed on the bay in 1986. Admittedly the unmistakable and rather elegant Poolbeg smokestacks had been in existence since the 1970s, but even so the buzz around the bay - despite the pandemic restraints - now has a different feel to the mood of the 1980s. Yet it’s a comparison to our lead photo from the 1950s with this second photo from last Tuesday evening which talks most eloquently of a completely different world.

The Irish economy was almost paralysed in the 1950s, with a nadir being reached in 1956 when some of the best boats in Dun Laoghaire were sold off to dollar-waving Americans. As for those who were getting by with the help of old money or an established and virtually indispensable profession, after a day’s sailing there were few if any televisions to go home to for an evening’s entertainment, and with one or two honourable exceptions, opportunities for exciting dining-out were very limited. Yet for the favoured few, life could be very agreeable indeed in an uncrowded and unhurried country, in which you only needed to apply for a driving licence in order to get one without a test of any kind, it was generally accepted that most car drivers - particularly nervous ones - actually drove much better with some pints of stout on board, and it was of course the case that smoking quality cigarettes was good for preventing lung infections.

Restored Dublin Bay 21s Naneen, Estelle and Garavogue in Dublin Bay, Tuesday August 24th 2021Restored Dublin Bay 21s Naneen, Estelle and Garavogue in Dublin Bay, Tuesday August 24th 2021

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The Dublin Bay 21 Footer Naneen was the winner of the penultimate DBSC Tuesday keelboat race of the 2021 season.

Second of the recently restored three boat fleet was Estelle with Garavogue third.

66 boats enjoyed a light breeze on a sunny Dublin Bay this evening. 

Results summary below in all classes below

DBSC Results for 24/08/2021

Cruiser 3 Tuesday Echo: 1. Krypton, 2. Papytoo, 3. Starlet

Flying 15: 1. Rhubarb, 2. Perfect Ten

Sportsboat VPRS: 1. Jeorge V, 2. Joyride, 3. Jay Z

Sportsboat: 1. Jeorge V, 2. Joyride, 3. Jay Z

Ruffian: 1. Alias, 2. Carmen, 3. Bandit

Shipman: 1. Poppy, 2. Bluefin

B211 One Design: 1. Billy Whizz, 2. Beeswing, 3. Isolde

B211 Echo: 1. Beeswing, 2. Billy Whizz, 3. Isolde

PY Class: 1. Noel Butler, 2. Roy Van Maanen, 3. Brendan Foley

IDRA 14: 1. Dart, 2. Doody

Fireball: 1. Louise McKenna, 2. Frank Miller, 3. Paul ter H

Laser Standard: 1. Gary O'Hare, 2. Damian Maloney, 3. Theo Lyttle

Laser Radial: 1. Conor Clancy, 2. John Sisk, 3. Alison Pigot

Combined Cruisers Echo: 1. Jalapeno, 2. Ruth, 3. Hot Cookie

DBSC 21 Footer: 1. Naneen, 2. Estelle, 3. Garavogue

Dublin Bay 21 footers by Dublin Bay 21 footers by Brendan Briscoe

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Former National Yacht Club Commodore Ronan Beirne, who welcomed three restored Dublin Bay 21s back to Dun Laoghaire Harbour last Friday, accepted an invitation to join a DB21 crew for the first DBSC race in 35 years last Tuesday evening.

I was delighted to join my fellow crew on Tuesday evening, all of whom I have known for many years but I never had the pleasure of sailing with before – the magic of the 21's restoration bringing Dublin Bay sailors together.

Skipper and helmsman Fionán de Barra. Sailing master Jim Foley with 21's in his blood as the son of the late Albert Foley who owned the Twenty-one Estelle. Michael Rothschild, a former 21 sailor, long term crew on the Dublin Bay 24 Fenestra and now part of a 31.7 crew. Dean McAlree, a former crew on Harmony the Dublin Bay 24 and now on a 31.7 and myself a Flying Fifteen crew.

The other DB21 on the evening, Estelle had a similar gathering of various Dublin Bay sailors. And so we boarded the launch and out to Garavogue on her moorings on the East pier where Jim was already on board and had her racing flag aloft, the first sign of how different these yachts are as most modern yachts don't carry a racing flag as there is so much instrument kit on top of the mast.

On approaching the Garavogue, I recalled the only time I had ever been on board Garavogue was probably over fifty years ago when her late owner George Williams brought her alongside the quay in Bulloch Harbour on a high tide and invited us, locals, onboard for a viewing. The 21 seemed massive as we were sailing out of Bulloch in a National 12 at the time. So here I am, over fifty years later climbing on board to go racing. On boarding, there are no guard rails to hang onto.

Dublin Bay 21 Estelle Number 3 Photo: Michael ChesterDublin Bay 21 Estelle Number 3 Photo: Michael Chester

The first task was a discussion on how best to sail off the mooring – no engine, so once the plan decided on up with the main. I was hauling the throat and Dean the peak with Jim coordinating our haul.

It reminded me of the drill onboard Asgard with Captain Eric Healy in command "up throat – not so fast o the peak" then belaying off the halyard tails on the pins on the mast – no clutches on this ship. Then up with the jib, and we are ready to sail off the mooring, which Fionán did as if he does so every week and without the gap of some thirty-five years. Onboard the sails are synthetic fibre butter in colour and have a fabric feel to them.

Dublin Bay 21 Garavogue Number 4 Photo: Michael ChesterDublin Bay 21 Garavogue Number 4 Photo: Michael Chester

The standing rigging and runners are Dyneema, and there are no winches. The runners are lines onto the cleat, with no Highfield levers or rolling drums. There are no electronic instruments to distract from the sails and the working of the yacht. Once sailing, the 21 assumes a lovely powerful motion, and when we got out to the starting area, fellow Dublin Bay sailors gave us a wave in the various cruiser-racer classes. There was circa 9 knots from the S.W. with a considerable wind shadow near the Dublin Bay Sailing Club Box and the last of the flood tide. The Box - I can't remember when I last raced from the Box we have got so used to the flag boats in recent years. Tacking, we had runners, jib sheets and main sheet to attend to, and we soon got into a routine. Michael commented on how roomy the cockpit is in the renovated boat as compared to the former boats.

Dublin Bay 21 Naneen Number 6 Photo: Michael ChesterDublin Bay 21 Naneen Number 6 Photo: Michael Chester

Fionán commented on how easy she was to handle on the helm, and with the new sail plan, the helmsman can see, whereas, with the former Bermudan sloop rig, the big genoa obscured vision. As we were so busy hauling sheets in the cockpit with Dean at the mast and Jim on the counter, advised on slacking off or hardening. The only "modern" piece of kit on board was a handheld VHF to hear the Race Officers instructions. Jim Dolan, Race Officer, welcomed the arrival of the 21s for their first race.

After starting the various classes, the 21's were given a shorter course of Pier (as the other fleets 1st mark) then Merrion, Turning mark and finish, and so we were off. As we were a little early, Naneen got away and to the first mark Pier and just ahead. At Pier mark, we gybed around and off to Merrion. Our courses diverged as Naneen headed out into the Bay as we went straight for Merrion Mark and arrived there ahead of Naneen, and here we rounded up for the return to Turning mark and to the finish. On finishing, we were in company with some white GRP boats who put on their motors to head for the marina. We were sailing into the Harbour in the traditional way and discussed how best to approach our mooring in the East bight and thought perhaps a preliminary practice run might be in order. Not necessary as Fionán sailed Garavogue right up to the mooring buoy as we dropped the mainsail and came to a stop at the mooring buoy - perfection.

We had completed the first race in some thirty-five years in a 34' 9" (10.6 metres, including bowsprit) long keel gaff-rigged yacht without winches, wire rigging (except forestay), engine and electronic navigation or wind instruments. Perhaps these are not necessary for a happy crew to thoroughly enjoy the experience of traditional sailing in these magnificent renovated Dublin Bay Twenty One's – the oldest cruiser-racer class in the world.

Published in Dublin Bay 21
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Photographer Michael Chester documented the arrival home of the first three restored Dublin Bay 21’s Number 3 Estelle, 4 Garavogue and 6 Naneen that sailed from Arklow yesterday (Friday 30th) July arriving at Dun Laoghaire at 17.00 where they were met by the Dublin Bay Sailing Club flag-ship Mac Lir to a gun salute.

The arrival was viewed from The East Pier Dun Laoghaire Harbour and the returned DB21s lead a small flotilla of classics into Dun Laoghaire harbour for an official reception at the National Yacht Club

The class was at the heart of the harbour sailing for 83 years and sailed under the original gaff rig, which was used from 1903 until 1964. The class then sailed under Bemuda rig until 1986, and will resume Dublin Bay activities in 2021 with reversion to a modified gaff rig.

Afloat's WM Nixon takes up the story of their arrival home into Dun Laoghaire Harbour in his Saturday blog here.

Dublin Bay 21 Arrival into Dublin Bay Photo Gallery By Michael Chester

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Despite a brief gale and much rain in the night, Ireland’s east coast has been a bit lifeless as regards wind this morning as the three restored Dublin Bay 21s make their way from Arklow to their appointment with destiny at Dun Laoghaire late this afternoon.

The mother-ship Molly Ban has had them in tow in line ahead, and like our photo shows, their progress is being regularly monitored from beachside houses all along this holiday coast.

The word now is that the programme late this afternoon may even include a race for the three boats - with old DB 21 hands in the delivery lineup, winning that would indeed be an historic feather in someone’s cap.

The restored DB21s Estelle, Naneen and Garavogue in Arklow early this morningThe restored DB21s Estelle, Naneen and Garavogue in Arklow early this morning. Photo: David Espey

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The Dublin Bay 21 Footers are the oldest class of racing yachts of their kind in the world - the World’s Oldest Cruiser Racer Class. Designed in 1902 by the leading yacht designer, Alfred Mylne of Glasgow, for Dublin Bay Sailing Club, seven were built between 1903 and 1908 and all seven still survive.

Originally gaff-rigged with large topsails, the boats were converted to a Bermudan rig in 1964 and continued to race in Dublin Bay until 1986, by which time major structural restoration work was required. The owners agreed to have the boats restored to their original gaff rig by Tyrrells of Arklow. Five boats were transported to Arklow by road while Garavogue and Geraldine made their way under sail. Following the death of Jack Tyrrell in 1988 and the subsequent closure of the famous Shipyard, the fleet was laid up in a farmyard near Arklow until the present project began in 2017 with the formation of the Dublin Bay 21 Footer Class Association and the transfer of ownership of all boats to the Association.

The Association is committed to the revival of the class and now for the first time since 1986, the Class will participate in the DBSC racing programme of 2021. The boats will sail under the modified gaff rig designed by Alfred Mylne in 1918. For a generation born in the digital age, beguiled by novelty and speed, the Dublin Bay Twentyones are a reminder of how beautiful a true sailing boat can be. The boats will provide an opportunity for present day sailors to experience the sailing characteristics of a truly authentic classic yacht. The boats will carry a crew of 5 or 6.

Master boatbuilder Stephen Morris and his team in Kilrush in County Clare have produced an outstanding example of authentic wooden boat restoration. Using Alfred Mylne’s original drawings, supplemented by construction details provided by Naval Architect, Paul Spooner, the traditional skills of the shipwright have been combined with the latest technical knowledge in timber conservation and construction methods. The use of laminated beams and frames and epoxy resins has resulted in stiff, water tight, low maintenance, monocoque hulls, without nails or screws, which allows the application of durable two-pack polyurethane finishes. The original lead keels. iron tillers and fittings have been reused together, with some of the original greenheart and pitch pine timbers.

Hal Sisk gives a a pre-departure briefing on the quayside at Arklow on Friday morning, July 30 at 0800 hoursHal Sisk gives a a pre-departure briefing on the quayside at Arklow on Friday morning, July 30 at 0800 hours

The Twenty Ones underway and heading back to Dun Laoghaire Harbour The Dublin Bay Twenty One Naneen underway and heading back to Dun Laoghaire Harbour

The first three restored 21’s Number 3 Estelle, 4 Garavogue and 6 Naneen will sail from Arklow tomorrow (Friday 30th) July to arrive at Dun Laoghaire at 17.00 where they will be met by the Dublin Bay Sailing Club flag-ship Mac Lir to a gun salute. The arrival may be viewed from The East Pier Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and if conditions suit, the returned DB21s will lead a flotilla of classics on a circuit of Scotsman's Bay before entering Dun Laoghaire harbour for an official reception at the National Yacht Club

Naneen restored - she was the first of the Dublin Bay 21s to be brought back to life as part of the new project.Naneen restored - she was the first of the Dublin Bay 21s to be brought back to life as part of the new project.

Published in Dublin Bay 21
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The start of the Sailing Olympics tomorrow (Sunday) at Enoshima, fifty kilometres from central Tokyo, may seem to be the beginning of a boat event about as different as humanly possible from the staging next Friday (July 30th) of an informal classics regatta at Dun Laoghaire to welcome home the first three restored Dublin Bay 21s.

The DB21s last raced in Dun Laoghaire in August 1986, and their re-birth - thanks to Fionan de Barra and Hal Sisk, using the brilliant skills of Steve Morris of Kilrush Boatyard – is beyond miraculous. It's something that will be joyously celebrated as they sail into Scotsmans Bay next Friday afternoon, welcomed by a remarkable assembly of classic Water Wags, Howth 17s, and Glens, with the possibility of other boats also involved.

The restored Naneen sailing off Kilrush. She was built in 1905 by James Clancy of Dun Laoghaire for Cosby Burrowes (1856-1925) of Crossdoney, Co Cavan, who was a serial Dublin Bay One Design owner. He had at least one Water Wag, he also owned one of the original Mermaids of 1891, in 1892 he had a One Rater (also built by Clancy), and in 1899 he commissioned the Dublin Bay 25 Nance, the only DB25 built in the boatyard of the designer William Fife III. Like Naneen, Nance still sails, but now in Dutch ownership under the name of Iona.The restored Naneen sailing off Kilrush. She was built in 1905 by James Clancy of Dun Laoghaire for Cosby Burrowes (1856-1925) of Crossdoney, Co Cavan, who was a serial Dublin Bay One Design owner. He had at least one Water Wag, he also owned one of the original Mermaids of 1891, in 1892 he had a One Rater (also built by Clancy), and in 1899 he commissioned the Dublin Bay 25 Nance, the only DB25 built in the boatyard of the designer William Fife III. Like Naneen, Nance still sails, but now in Dutch ownership under the name of Iona.

Departure lounge? Not quite, but for years things didn't look too hopeful for Naneen in this Wicklow farmyard.Departure lounge? Not quite, but for years things didn't look too hopeful for Naneen in this Wicklow farmyard.

Steve Morris and Fionan de Barra in Naneen's restored interior. Despite the sparse comfort and limited headroom, several of the boats were used for cruising in the early years of the class. Photo John Kelly/Clare ChampionSteve Morris and Fionan de Barra in Naneen's restored interior. Despite the sparse comfort and limited headroom, several of the boats were used for cruising in the early years of the class. Photo John Kelly/Clare Champion

Some will be classic or traditional and some not. But either way, they'll demonstrate that, in order to fully savour the Irish sailing experience, you have to be broad-minded in your interests and enthusiasms - you have to see there's a bigger picture involved with inter-connections every which way.

For sure, there won't be anyone present who isn't be accessing the latest Olympic sailing news from Japan now and again. But with the classics, you can take the long view. After all, the Water Wags as a class had already been in being for nine years when the modern Olympics were introduced in in 1896. The Howth 17s had started racing just two years later. And the Dublin Bay 21s were racing five years after that.

The Water Wags shaping up for a start on Wednesday evening this week. In foreground is one of the latest additions to the class, No 50 (Mandy Chambers), which was constructed in the Albeola Boat-Building School in San Sebastian in Spain. Photo by Ann Kirwan (Commodore, DBSC)The Water Wags shaping up for a start on Wednesday evening this week. In the foreground is one of the latest additions to the class, No 50 (Mandy Chambers), which was constructed in the Albeola Boat-Building School in San Sebastian in Spain. Photo by Ann Kirwan (Commodore, DBSC)

With such a vigorous history, all Ireland's local sailing inevitably made an input into our Olympic sailing teams. Of course, the sailors involved had re-configured their skills with training in the relevant Olympic boat. But our first Olympic squad in 1948 was made up of the two-man Swallow sailed by Alf Delany (Dublin Bay Water Wags and Shannon One Designs) and Hugh Allen (IDRA 14), while the Firefly used for the singlehanded contest was sailed by Jimmy Mooney. He'd had a short time to train up with Fireflies in Dun Laoghaire, but before that he'd acquired a formidable reputation racing the classic clinker-built International 12s when the Mooney family lived and sailed in Howth, where his father Billy had been a noted helm in the Howth 17s.

This reliance on skilled potential Olympians emerging from local classes such as the Dublin Bay 21s is a fact of life, because the only two long-term Olympic boats which have achieved significant numbers at Irish clubs are the now Olympically-discontinued International Dragon keelboat, and - since 1996 – the Laser, hugely popular and still seeming as fresh as a daisy after more than fifty years on the scene, a remarkable score underlined by that the fact that the boat's characterful designer, the great Bruce Kirby, died much-mourned this week at the fine age of 92.

A recent photo of the late Bruce Kirby. His inspired design for the Laser created a unique boat which met Olympic requirements while acquiring universal popularity   A recent photo of the late Bruce Kirby. His inspired design for the Laser created a unique boat which met Olympic requirements while acquiring universal popularity   

World-wide, it is the Laser's universality of appeal which gives its Olympic role a special cachet, something intensified in Ireland as our only recent Olympic sailing medal – the Silver in the 2016 Rio Games – was taken by Annalise Murphy in the Women's Laser Radials, and she's defending in Japan.

She's from a family immersed in many aspects of Irish sailing – her mother Cathy Mac Aleavey campaigned the Womens 470 in the Seoul Games in 1988. Yet in current Dun Laoghaire sailing, Cathy and husband Con Murphy, an International Race Officer, are currently best known as stalwarts of the Water Wag Class.

Thus as she's sailing alone, it is Annalise who will most acutely feel the high level of isolation in Japan, with her usually highly-supportive family forced to stay pandemic-separated on the other side of the world. But as this photo taken in the car on the way to the airport to send Annalise on her way to Japan a while back reveals, they're all determined to put a cheerful face on it.

Poignant moment. Cathy MacAleavey, Con Murphy and Annalise Murphy on their way to Dublin Airport and Annalise's departure alone for the OlympicsPoignant moment. Cathy MacAleavey, Con Murphy and Annalise Murphy on their way to Dublin Airport and Annalise's departure alone for the Olympics

Our other hopes closest to home are Sean Waddilove of Skerries and Rob Dickson of Howth in the International 49er skiff. Sometimes known as the Fingal Flyers, they're a reminder that Fingal has had one of Ireland's fastest-growing populations for quite some time now, and with its long coastline and several sailing centres, eventually completely new talent was going to emerge, and that was what happened when Sean Waddilove came out of a Learn to Sail initiative at Skerries Sailing Club.

Rob Dickson by contrast is a cradle sailor from the Howth peninsula, and a grandson of the late great Roy Dickson, thus he and Sean call their Boat of the Moment "Cracklin' Rosie". Rob is well rooted in Sutton and Howth dinghy racing, with the occasional Lough Ree flavouring, so he and Sean – when set into the total Irish Olympic Sailing Squad for Enoshima with Annalise Murphy – provide a truly representative lineup of classic and modern Irish sailing.

Rob Dickson, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Sean Waddilove in Howth Yacht Club after Rob and Sean had won the 49er U23 Worlds in September 2018.Rob Dickson, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Sean Waddilove in Howth Yacht Club after Rob and Sean had won the 49er U23 Worlds in September 2018.

Olympic sailing has now become so highly specialised that, regardless of the diversity of boat backgrounds from which potential Irish Olympians might emerge, when it's one of the two-people boats involved it can be extremely difficult, in a small population like ours, to find a matching talent with the requisite enthusiasm and complete dedication.

This was the problem faced by Saskia Tidey of Dun Laoghaire after she and Andrea Brewster came 14th for Ireland in the 49erfx in 2016. Tidey was keen to go on towards Tokyo, but there was no-one available to match her total ambition in the small pool of Irish performance sailing. So she teamed up with Charlotte Dobson of Scotland and they'll be sailing for GB in Enoshima, and much and all as we'd prefer it if she was sailing for Ireland, it would be a very mean-spirited soul who didn't wish her well.

By the time the first three restored DB 21s are making their way into Dun Laoghaire next Friday evening, the Olympic picture will be clearer despite the intensifying heat haze in Japan, where the good news for sailors is that while the main venues in Tokyo are experiencing temperatures of 35 with a humidity count of 95, down the coast at Enoshima it's all a bit fresher, but nevertheless everyone now knows why the 1964 Summer games – which introduced the Olympics to Japan – were staged in October.

Walking the course……classics enthusiasts Guy Kilroy (left) and Hal Sisk testing the waters of Scotsman's Bay on Thursday of this week on board the former's 24ft 1896-built Boyd gaff sloop Marguerite, restored by Larry Archer. Photo: Ian MalcolmWalking the course……classics enthusiasts Guy Kilroy (left) and Hal Sisk testing the waters of Scotsman's Bay on Thursday of this week on board the former's 24ft 1896-built Boyd gaff sloop Marguerite, restored by Larry Archer. Photo: Ian Malcolm

Meanwhile, in Dublin Bay the re-born DB 21s are arriving in on Friday not to suit some global TV schedule, but because the time was right, the tide to bring them up from Arklow suited, and the good work can go on. For one of the trailers which was used to bring the finished boats from Kilrush returned to County Clare with the very tired hull of the DB21 Geraldine – for years associated with the Johnston family – in order for Restoration 4 to begin.

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boot Düsseldorf, the International Boat Show

With almost 250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair and every year in January the “meeting place" for the entire industry. Around 2,000 exhibitors present their interesting new products, attractive further developments and maritime equipment. This means that the complete market will be on site in Düsseldorf and will be inviting visitors on nine days of the fair to an exciting journey through the entire world of water sports in 17 exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology, equipment and accessories, services, canoes, kayaks, kitesurfing, rowing, diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, SUP, fishing, maritime art, marinas, water sports facilities as well as beach resorts and charter, there is something for every water sports enthusiast.

boot Düsseldorf FAQs

boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair. Seventeen exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology.

The Fairground Düsseldorf. This massive Dusseldorf Exhibition Centre is strategically located between the River Rhine and the airport. It's about 20 minutes from the airport and 20 minutes from the city centre.

250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair.

The 2018 show was the golden jubilee of the show, so 2021 will be the 51st show.

Every year in January. In 2021 it will be 23-31 January.

Messe Düsseldorf GmbH Messeplatz 40474 Düsseldorf Tel: +49 211 4560-01 Fax: +49 211 4560-668

The Irish marine trade has witnessed increasing numbers of Irish attendees at boot over the last few years as the 17-Hall show becomes more and more dominant in the European market and direct flights from Dublin offer the possibility of day trips to the river Rhine venue.

Boats & Yachts Engines, Engine parts Yacht Equipment Watersports Services Canoes, Kayaks, Rowing Waterski, Wakeboard, Kneeboard & Skimboard Jetski + Equipment & Services Diving, Surfing, Windsurfing, Kite Surfing & SUP Angling Maritime Art & Crafts Marinas & Watersports Infrastructure Beach Resorts Organisations, Authorities & Clubs

Over 1000 boats are on display.

©Afloat 2020

At A Glance – Boot Dusseldorf 

Organiser
Messe Düsseldorf GmbH
Messeplatz
40474 Düsseldorf
Tel: +49 211 4560-01
Fax: +49 211 4560-668
Web: https://www.boot.com/

The first boats and yachts will once again be arriving in December via the Rhine.

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