Displaying items by tag: Viking marine
But safety remains paramount — especially at Viking Marine, where staff have gone above and beyond to ensure your visit to the recently revamped showroom at Dun Laoghaire’s Pavilion is a comfortable one.
For those who need or prefer to shop online, options include nationwide next-day delivery, local click and collect — and even prearranged waterfront/marina deliveries by electric scooter.
Either way, Viking Marine shoppers can sign up to the new loyal programme which not only gives a 15% discount on your first order but also advance noice of upcoming sales and promotions, and points to redeem for vouchers towards a wide range of products.
For more, visit the new Viking Marine website HERE.
In early 2019 Dun Laoghaire sailor, Ian O Meara of Viking Marine felt it in his gut that marine leisure was on the rise and so the Dun Laoghaire marine shop and chandlery embarked on a strategy for growth.
This was to involve investment in their omnichannel business resulting in a full shop re-fit, launch of a whole new digital platform and the rebrand of the entire VIKING MARINE brand. While the Covid pandemic was not part of the strategic plan along with its challenges it has presented many opportunities for O'Meara and his experienced team.
Viking Marine has traded in Dun Laoghaire for over 35 years with O'Meara at the helm since 2000 having made the decision to leave the family business, follow his dream to be at the fore of the marine leisure sector in Ireland.
A local man with a lifelong love for the sea he was born and reared in Sandycove and hunted for crabs from the age of 5 on rocks behind the family home. A regular sailor with a very impressive sailing bio both nationally and internationally he is also a daily sea swimmer as Afloat's W M Nixon in his profile last week here.
At the launch this morning O'Meara explained the decision to choose the pavilion as the location for his business.
'As neighbours to all the Dun Laoghaire Yacht clubs, sailing schools, swimming areas and water access we literally are at the epicentre of marine leisure in Dublin. We also play a vital part in linking the waterfront with Dun Laoghaire town. Let's face it Viking Marine are unique. Where else in the world is your local Chandler right on the high street'.
He also added that recent changes in the structure of Dun Laoghaire Harbour will further improve access to the water for everyone. Covid has further highlighted the sea as one of the greatest resources for fun and leisure, competition both individual and team sport, staycation and not to mention personal wellness.
A further endorsement of O'Meara's profile and reputation was his recent appointment by leading Yacht Builder Oyster Yachts as their Irish Representative for Oyster Yachts. (Ian sailed his first Oyster in 1980!)
Whilst many of Viking Marine customers come in search of expertise and advice it was evident in 2018/2019 that more and more customers were visiting the on-line store. And so the strategic decision was made in 2019 to embrace an Omni-channel approach and grow the digital side of the business. Today sees a whole new look shop designed with DDC Shop fit & Design and the launch of the new site created and developed by the young team at Socialify based in Cork.
The changing customer profile saw more and more younger customers coming in search of advice and expertise. Excited by this business opportunity little time was wasted in re-thinking the look and feel of the brand. Brand Central were appointed and the result is a vibrant new logo and brand suite both in-store and on-line. On the criteria for selecting the shop, brand and web design partner's O Meara said 'At the outset, we made the decision to work with small indigenous design and creative companies for this project and we are absolutely thrilled with the outcome'.
So much research showing the positive impact of the sea on our mental health and wellbeing sees more and more people using the water on a more regular basis for sea swimming, paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking etc. Viking Marine have extended their product range to service this growing demand with the added bonus of already being experts in the area of staying safe while having fun on the water.
Viking Marine has successfully built a very strong and loyal customer base with very high levels of repeat business. O'Meara modestly describes this as good ol' fashioned retail - Excellence in customer service, expertise in sourcing and testing the best technical products on the market and a team actively involved in water sport themselves.
'One thing I am especially happy about with our new digital platform he continues 'is that we can recognise and reward our customers in so many ways now through our new and innovative CRP'.
Over the years Viking Marine have received Government support for business development and most recently for the digital project. This grant was doubly appreciated during the months of shut down as without it the project may well have been put on hold. O 'Meara finished with some encouraging words for other business owners 'Whilst the application process can be daunting it is worth it in the end, not just for the financial support but the thinking behind the application part forces us, business owners, to take ourselves out of the day to day and think blue sky and big picture. And where better to be inspired than on the water'
The only way to face the future is with optimism, energy and enthusiasm. That's the philosophy of Ian O'Meara and the team at Viking Marine in Dun Laoghaire, as they implement the re-shaping of a business which is noted for retaining customer loyalty while being a highly respected element in the development of Dun Laoghaire' commercial, civic and watersports life.
Their ambition is to demonstrate how a fashionably-located and very contemporary marine retail experience - allied to an advanced online marketing service and a range of quality agencies - is in the ideal position to thrive in the changes of the post-pandemic world, while also playing an important role in providing part of the solution to the long-running problem of creating a more meaningful and dynamic relationship between Dun Laoghaire town and its harbour.
Viking Marine has been in Dun Laoghaire as a chandlers and marine suppliers for some time. Yet when - in 1999 - Ian and partners Shane and Leighton Gray (grand-nephews of the highly-regarded local shipwright Skee Gray), took it over and relocated to a brand new shop in the smart Pavilion Quarter in the heart of the waterfront, the process whereby the fashionable retail section of the harbour town was moving steadily from its traditional town-centre location towards the waterfront was still at a relatively early stage.
The township's boat and yacht chandlers had often in times past been hidden up narrow side streets in quaint shops which admittedly had some of the charms of Aladdin's Cave. But it was not a retail model which suited the needs of the 21st Century, with Dun Laoghaire boat numbers increasing rapidly with the availability of the new marina.
Thus Viking Marine was ideally located to harness the spirit of the developing mood. To do this, however, it needed undivided personal attention. Originally, it was part of the Rumball family's Irish National Sailing School conglomerate. But as the INSS's waterborne activities expanded rapidly, trying to find the extra spark of a very different sort of energy to run a topline marine store was becoming a step too far. Thus Ian and Shane were exactly the right people at the right time to step in, take over the business, and provide that vital spark.
As the leading chandlery in Dun Laoghaire, Viking Marine in its new location was already a natural destination along the way for anyone making a journey to get to their boat in the harbour or marina. But underlying the Viking management's decision was their quiet confidence that the town's retail focus was moving steadily harbour-wards as prime sites along the waterfront were re-developed to provide an extensive range of up-market apartment and office blocks, interspersed with smart shops and hospitality outlets.
Each of these residential apartments was vying for a sea view, and many of them were inhabited by sailing and boating enthusiasts who expected the retail choices in their immediate neighbourhood to include a quality marine store where they could find the best of equipment for their boat, together with a comprehensive selection of quality sailing wear with the attractive alternative of a choice of good outdoor and leisurewear generally, and where – most importantly of all – they could find friendly and knowledgeable staff who shared their enthusiasm and fully understood their requirements.
To say that Ian and Shane fitted the role to perfection is something of an understatement. While their personal retail experience was strongest on the active consumer side, they were noted as being people who were clear in their own minds about their priorities. Ian's business experience was mostly in textiles while Shane had put himself through college looking after racing yachts. But the extra special factor they brought to the new challenge was a long and popular position at the heart of the Dun Laoghaire and Irish top-level sailing community – when you get advice and equipment from Viking Marine, you're getting it from a team headed by someone who really knows what he's talking about.
For Ian O'Meara had taken over the sole leadership of the Dun Laoghaire operation in 2010 when the business was re-structured, with Shane standing down from the partnership, while Leighton Gray concentrated on running the firm's workshops at Kilcoole in County Wicklow, where a parts and backup service is provided for Viking Marine's agencies, which include Topper sailing dinghies and Rigiflex Rescue Boats, while they're also main dealers for Mercury RIBs and inflatables, Waveline inflatables, and a very comprehensive range of outboard motors through the Mercury, Mariner and Suzuki ranges.
With this rationalisation of operations clarifying the emphasis on retail services in the Dun Laoghaire premises, Ian O'Meara's role is now even more clearly defined as an able and eloquent spokesman for the town's marine industry. Yet his enthusiasm for the development and positive possibilities of Dun Laoghaire's relationship with its harbour, which is being completely re-focused since management of the harbour passed to Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, is not the enthusiasm of a newcomer who has arrived fresh into the place during the past twenty years, and is filled with extravagant notions of change.
On the contrary, he is Dun Laoghaire born and bred, having grown up in Sandycove – where they still live - with his earliest memories being of childhood fishing for crabs "out the back of the house'. Yet his effervescent joy in the place is undimmed, as he and wife Jacquie are among that hardy group who take a refreshing open-sea plunge at the Forty Foot each morning to get them started into the day.
As for sailing, Ian's father Roger moved his focus between the Royal St George YC and the National as his interests shifted between racing Dragons and Glens, while Ian likewise found his early sailing needs depended on what was on offer at each club. So although he was "George" focused, his first serious steps afloat were with an Optimist in the Junior Programme pioneered at the National by Carmel Winkelmann and Paddy Kirwan.
In time he moved on to active Mirror racing with his own boat, and while there were other dinghies to be sailed, and also Sportsboat experience when the 1720s arrived, his affable nature, enthusiasm, under-lying competitiveness and natural ability in a boat meant that he soon found his niche as a sought-after crew member on cruiser-racers, with his early and wide experiences being with Barry O'Donnell and his remarkable family on the keenly-sailed Oyster 37 Sundowner, which gives a long-term symmetry to his sailing career, as Ian is now the Oyster Yachts representative for Ireland.
However, with a growing family – he and Jacquie have three now-grown-up children – there was a need for a family boat purely for cruising and pottering, and they were to solve this neatly by going into partnership in 2004 with two other families in a Harmony 38.
But the call of the racing was always there, and Ian O'Meara's sailing CV at the sharp end of local, national and international offshore racing reads like a Who's Who of the top end of the Irish scene, as his skippers have included Cormac Twomey whose First 44s7 Sarah J was at the front end of the fleet in the late 1990s with a string of successes which included Ian's first Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race win.
He was on most of the "Gloves" programme on both sides of the Atlantic on various hyper-competitive boats with Colm Barrington. while also being with the same enlarged team on the Volvo Jeep Cherokee to set the Round Ireland Race record and overall win. He shipped with Peter Wilson on the all-conquering J/35 Jumpin' Jack Flash, while more recently he has been the man to go for if you want an all-rounder in a J/109. And as of now, he's most closely associated with Paul O'Higgins in a winning progression with the Corby 33 Rockabill V and the much-admired JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI , which was Ireland's top offshore racer in 2019 in all significant categories.
Rockabill VI does her thing
So not surprisingly Viking Marine has fitted well as a sponsor of ISORA Races. But Ian's scope has been further broadened by the addition to the firm's agencies of top international company Oyster Yachts, with recent experiences including racing with Liam Shanahan Jnr on the Oyster 625 Ruth II at the Palma Oyster Regatta. And then, as last Autumn phased into winter, he was with the FitzPatrick family aboard the elegant and successful Beneteau 50 Mermaid VI in the DBSC Turkey Shoot series.
Yet even with all this sailing, he still arrives full of vim into the Viking Marine Pavilion premises with its staff of seven on a Monday morning, fresh from the Forty Foot and brimful of ideas to take the business forward as we move from the time of lockdown into an uncertain future in which – despite all the uncertainties – the Team are excited about new possibilities as they apply modern marketing technology, further develop their social media presence, up-grade their online offer, and yet at same time retain what is best in their existing setup.
In addition to the strategically-located Dun Laoghaire retail operation, this is augmented by the growing RIB and Outboard Engine sales/service business in Kilcoole Industrial Estate in County Wicklow where fellow-founder and business partner Leighton Gray continues as a respected expert at engineering and mechanics in support of the firm's impressive agencies and dealerships.
The Lockdown provided a fast learning curve, as Viking Marine met an entire new cohort of people who wanted to escape the shoreside limitations by going afloat in sheltered location in kayaks and paddleboards – "we sold more paddleboards, kayaks and tenders in two weeks than we did in all of last year".
It has been an experience which has increased Viking Marine's enthusiasm for the potential of what a closer link - with easier access to the harbour and the sea - could do for Dun Laoghaire's general communal vitality. That enthusiasm is expressing itself in a whole new look for Viking Marine – which will be fully unveiled next week – and their appreciation for their remarkably high level of customer loyalty.
They have encouraged this by their range of starter kits, and their ability to give friendly and genuinely useful and experienced advice to young people who may not be cradle sailors, and who - in today's fast-moving and rapidly-changing world - see a user-friendly shop like Viking Marine as being their first point of contact with the strange yet wonderful world of waterborne sport and recreation.
Today's last race of the four-race Viking Marine sponsored ISORA Coastal Series was the only one to have started with any breeze above ten knots, providing a suitable send-off for the 12-boat fleet finale.
Overall leader Rockabill VI (Paul O'Higgins) from the Royal Irish Yacht Club sealed the series with a final race win against competition from Chris Power Smith's J122 Aurelia of the Royal St. George Yacht Club, who finished second overall and John O'Gorman's Sunfast 3600 Hot Cookie from the National Yacht Club who ended the series in third.
The increasing appetite for offshore racing was reflected in the fact that many of today's fleet (including second and third places overall) were racing to Cork a week ago in the inaugural Fastnet 450 Race but had still managed to position back to the Bay for today's final round with a prompt 10 am start provided by National Yacht Club Race Officers Barry MacNeaney and Larry Power.
Of course, today's modest 35-mile coastal course was nothing compared that arduous 270-miler last weekend but nevertheless today's five-hour run along the Wicklow coast presented its fair share of tactical decisions too.
After the usual start off the Dun Laoghaire Harbour outfall buoy, the fleet sailed to a virtual mark before heading for the North Kish cardinal mark and then a long reach to the Breaches Buoy before the beat back up the coast to the Muglins at the Southern Tip of Dublin Bay and a finish at the Harbour Mouth at Dun Laoghaire.
In IRC overall today, the result mirrored the overalls for the series with Rockabill winning from Aurelia and Hot Cookie. In IRC Zero, Keith and Rodney Martin's Lively Lady was third.
In IRC One, Hot Cookie won from Juggerknot 2 (Andrew Alego). Simon Knowles J109 Indian was third.
In IRC Two, Black Velvet (Leslie Parnell) won from More Mischief (Grzegorz Kalinecki). Wardance (Sean Hawkshaw) was third.
The results are here
The dominant form of the 2019 Irish yacht of the year, Paul O'Higgins' JPK10.80 Rockabill VI continues to stalk the ISORA racecourse, picking up another win at 1.30 am this morning off Dun Laoghaire Harbour in the well attended night race, according to provisional results via the ISORA Yellowbrick tracker.
The 25-boat race was the third in the ISORA 2020 Re-Boot series and the third race of the Viking Marine sponsored Coastal Series of four.
The fleet started off Dun Laoghaire outfall buoy at 8 pm (the same as race one and two) and headed south to the Muglins and onto Breeches just north of Wicklow before heading back up the Dublin coast and a finish off Dun Laoghaire Pier heads.
Aurelia was line honours winner
Chris and Patanne Smith's J122 Aurelia from the Royal St George Yacht Club was the line honours winner but dropped to second overall on corrected time over the 32-mile course sailed in light south and south-west winds.
Third overall was the National Yacht Club's First 40.7 Tsunami (Vincent Farrell) in a clean sweep for Class Zero boats.
J99 wins IRC One
In IRC Class One, Andrew Algeo's J/99 took the gun from the J/109 Mojito with Prima Luce, third.
Black Velvet Takes IRC Two win
Leslie Parnell's Beneteau 34.7 Black Velvet from the Royal Irish Yacht Club was the Class Two winner from Greystones Harbour JOD 35 entry Red Alert. Third was Humdinger.
Viking Marine turned the key to open the door of its Dun Laoghaire Harbour store this morning having missed the buzz of daily retailing and the goings-on in the yacht clubs, marina and on the water.
'While sailors are not out on the water just yet, we know how keen people are to get working on their boats and it is with this in mind that we opened this morning' Viking's Managing Director Ian O'Meara told Afloat. ' We are in the shop Monday to Saturday 10 - 5 for hardware and Chandlery and anything you need to get your boat out on the water.
We are directing you to our online shop for clothing, footwear and accessories here
The Viking Marine delivery service for our full range continues to operate as normal.
So with all retail displays removed Viking Marine have created great space in the middle of the shop to allow everyone stay safe and to provide counter service for hardware and chandlery.
"We Look forward to welcoming you all back into the shop and getting us all back out on the water over the coming weeks", Ian says.
And it’s also maintaining a limited delivery service, both locally and nationally via courier where available, as well as pre-arranged collections for essential items from its premises at The Pavilion — all while adhering to the protocols for workplace and customer safety.
Managing director Ian O’Meara says trade has been busy as people stick to social distancing and carry out boat repairs — and turn the same expertise to garden furniture and other household needs — in the safety and comfort of their own homes.
“Never before has the term uncharted waters being so true as we are surely in them now,” O’Meara wrote in a recent blog post on VikingMarine.ie.
“Whilst the sailing season has been disrupted, we in Viking Marine support the importance of essential mental health and our boats and our ocean have a big part to play in this.
“So if you are working on your boat and in need of supplies to get boat-ready, we are here for you.”
He added: “To our colleagues in essential retail, we say thank you for keeping your doors open, you have our appreciation and our respect.
“To you, our loyal and valued customers, we look forward to welcoming you all back during the summer months and getting you all out on the water again.”
Contact Viking Marine at 01 280 6654 and direct all email enquiries to [email protected]
In response to yesterday’s Government Covid-19 announcement, Viking Marine has made further changes to ensure the safety of our customers and team writes Ian O'Meara.
While staying at home and working on boats we wish to ensure you have the parts and equipment you need and for anyone going on the water where social distancing is achievable, they have all the safety kit they need.
As of today, we will close our shop in Dun Laoghaire and we continue to operate online. We will operate a collection service from the shop and local delivery service to the yacht clubs. (Details below)
Never before has the term 'uncharted waters' been so true as we are surely in them now. While the sailing season has been disrupted we in Viking Marine support the importance of essential mental health and our boats and our ocean have a big part to play in this. So if you are working on your boat and in need of supplies to get your boat ready we are here for you.
Let us help keep our young sailors on the water where social distancing is achievable. So for any parts, especially safety equipment, don’t hesitate to give us a call.
If it is a rope to make a swing in the garden or to make up a new dog lead we will put the pack together for you.
For the creative ones who want to make friendship bracelets or rope plant pot hangers we have the supplies and be sure to send us pictures of your creativity.
I wish to extend an enormous 'Thank You' to Dean and all the team here in Viking Marine for their loyalty positivity and determination to ride through this storm, and that is exactly what we plan to do.
To our colleagues in essential retail, we say 'Thank You' for keeping your doors open, you have our appreciation and our respect.
To you our loyal and valued customers we look forward to welcoming you all back during the summer months and getting you all out on the water again.
Ian O’ Meara
Collection and Delivery Service:
Collections are at Viking Marine in Dun Laoghaire. To ensure social distancing we will provide a collection time on placement of order. Collection can be made from the shop or placed in the boot of your car.
Delivery is to the Yacht Clubs in Dun Laoghaire. To ensure social distancing we will arrange a delivery time and location for drop off at the Yacht Club.
Telephone and Email:
We are on the phone on 01 – 2806654
Email is to Ian directly at [email protected]
Viking Marine is happy to deliver primer, paint, varnish and supplies to any of the local clubs as work starts on boats over the weekend in anticipation of next month's Summer sailing season.
To avail of this service simply contact Viking Marine in the shop and we will have your order delivered to your club in Dun Laoghaire, Viking's Ian O' Meara told Afloat.
Click here for paint range and phone 01 280 6654
For deliveries outside of Dun Laoghaire contact us at the shop and we can arrange next day delivery anywhere in Ireland.
Viking Marine is Open St Patrick's Day 1 pm - 5 pm
In light of the spread of the Covid-19 virus, Viking Marine at Dun Laoghaire Harbour would like to reassure our customers as to the steps we have taken to provide a safe retail environment.
We continue to maintain the highest possible standards of cleanliness, in line with the advice and guidelines from the HSE.
All staff have been briefed on how best to prevent the virus from spreading and are implementing enhanced hygiene practices.
We reassure you that we are doing everything we can to provide our customer and staff with the safest retail environment we possibly can in the circumstances.