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Earlier this summer Irish Sailing asked boat owners for their experiences of sailing their boats abroad, registering on the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport’s Part 1 Register, registering with other flag states and more.

Now the governing body for sailing in Ireland is requesting a meeting with the department and would like to ensure that its members’ collective voice is heard.

Irish Sailing says it has been representing the interests of its membership in representations to the department on a number of occasions in the past, campaigning for a statutory small craft register to be established for recreational craft travelling abroad.

“A registration system that is voluntary, appropriate, accessible, affordable and easy to obtain, as exists in many other European states” is what Irish Sailing is advocating for.

The department committed in the Maritime Safety Strategy 2015-2019 to start work on developing such a registration system in 2017 and encourage recreational craft under 24m to register in 2018. However, there is still no sign of it.

Irish Sailing says it has been told firmly that in the interim the current Part 1 register used for commercial shipping is available and fit for purpose for recreational craft, which is contrary to anecdotal feedback it has received to date from boat owners.

To be part of this representation, please share your experience directly by email to [email protected] before next Tuesday 20 November.

Published in ISA

There are three sailing finalists in the 2018 Cara National Inclusion Awards and confirms that sailing really is a “Sport for All”.

Irish Sailing’s incredibly successful Watersports Inclusion Games, hosted in Galway this year, is a finalist for the 2018 Project of the Year.

East coast club, Bray Sailing Club have been shortlisted for 2018 Best Inclusive Club of the Year and Sail Training Ireland for Youth Development in the Adventure category.

In 2015 Irish Sailing was awarded Best Inclusive National Governing Body and in 2017 Donal Hickey of Kinsale Yacht Club and Sailability won Volunteer of the year for his region.

Full 2018 nomination details are here.

Irish Sailing currently awaits formal approval for Watersports Inclusion Games for 2019. The Association plans to build on the success of the past events and their focus for 2019 is making sailing available for all and clubs including supporting volunteers to facilitate sharing the joys of sailing.

If you would like to find out more about inclusion in sailing then you can contact Irish Sailing National Inclusion Officer, Ciarán Murphy, on [email protected]

Published in ISA

#YouthSailing - The Royal Cork Yacht Club will host next year’s Irish Sailing Youth Pathway Championships, it has been announced.

The dates to save are 25-28 April 2019 when Ireland’s largest youth regatta comes to the world’s oldest yacht club.

It is also Irish Sailing’s primary talent-spotting event of the year — so is a must for budding high performance sailors looking to match the performance of Tralee Bay’s Justin Lucas at this year’s championships.

Published in Youth Sailing

Irish Sailing is seeking expression of interest from Irish sailing clubs to host the inaugural Women at the Helm Regatta next summer, as well as subsequent events in 2020 and 2021.

The debut regatta is set for two days in August for women with their own dinghies for PY sailing, as well as a keelboat competition.

More than 100 participants from age 14 up are expected to take part in the inaugural event.

“There has been tremendous interest in attending this event nationally and is set to be a fantastic celebration of women’s sailing and a great opportunity to encourage more women to take the helm,” Irish Sailing says.

Clubs with an interest in hosting the event are invited to contact Gail MacAllister at [email protected]

Published in ISA

Mark the first weekend in November on your calendar for Irish Sailing’s upcoming seminar for prospective race umpires.

The two-day course on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 November at the Royal St George in Dun Laoghaire provides the first step towards gaining an Irish Sailing race umpire qualification.

Guided by instructors Chris Lindsay and Cxema Pico, you will be introduced to the basics of team race umpiring, as well as how to make decisions in real time on the water, and will cover the relevant theory to apply.

Those who feel ready will also have an opportunity to sit the National Umpire exam — while all will be invited to the Irish Team Racing Nationals on 17-18 November to put what they’ve gleaned from the seminar into practice.

No previous experience as an umpire is required or this course, but a powerboat certificate (for piloting RIBs) and VHF licence are required, and experience or knowledge of team racing would be helpful.

More details are available from the Facebook event page HERE.

Published in How To Sail

Irish Sailing’s Cork-based course for senior instructors has been rescheduled for two weekends in Oysterhaven this November.

The course will now run on Friday 2 to Sunday 4 and Friday 9 to Sunday 11 November, with the Friday session each weekend running in the evenings from 5pm to 9pm.

Booking for the Cork senior instructor course is open till Friday 19 October and the fee is €330.

Full details on the course are available from the Irish Sailing website.

Published in How To Sail

#HowToSail - Looking to escape to the sea and learn the ropes of how to crew or be a day skipper offshore?

This October Bank Holiday weekend, the West Cork Sailing and Powerboating Centre will host five days of clinics from Saturday 27 to Wednesday 31 October, organised by Wild Atlantic Wildlife in tandem with Bantry Bay Sailing Club and sailed on the 37ft Jessy of Adrigole.

The competent crew introductory course is for those looking to experience being at the elm, helping with the sails, dealing with ropes, learning about being safe on the water and generally being a useful hand on deck.

For more advanced sailors with at least five days on a yacht (100 nautical miles and four-plus night hours), the Irish Sailing Day Skipper practical certification course will be more useful — designed to teach you to take charge safely and confidently.

Spaces are limited for these courses, priced at €500 saying or €800 solo in your own private cabin. The cost includes foul weather gear and lifejacket (you’ll have to bring our own footwear, sleeping bag and pillow), mooring and marina fees, fuel, breakfast and lunch, and one evening meal aboard.

For more details see the Wild Atlantic Wildlife website HERE.

Published in How To Sail

The Royal St George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire will host the 2018 All Ireland Junior Sailing Championship over the weekend of 29-30 September.

Irish Sailing has announced that this year’s youth event will be raced in the Firefly dinghy, which celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2016.

Class nominations close at noon today (Tuesday 4 September) ahead of the nominations meeting at 5pm this evening.

Entry forms will go out to successful nominees this Thursday 6 September and are due within a week, with successful entries announced on the evening of Friday 14 September.

The junior event takes place a week before the senior All Irelands on Lough Ree.

Published in Youth Sailing

#Sailability - Galway hosted the second Watersports Inclusion Games last weekend (25-26 August) for 198 participants with all abilities on the physical, sensory, intellectual and learning difficulty spectrums.

First held in Dun Laoghaire in June 2017, the two-day event aims to show both participants and their families, as well as people who organise watersport events, that everyone can get out onto the water.

This year’s games had two elements. The Commercial Boat Club hosted introductory activities for those new to watersports, with an expanded choice including sailing, rowing, canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding and fast-boat rides.

Watersports Games 2018 Canoe Polo

The second element was a competitive sailing event on Galway Bay with more experienced sailors including Kinsale Yacht Club’s Gina Griffin competing in the Hansa Nationals, alongside the President’s Cup which was won by Munster.

Speaking over the weekend, Irish Sailing chief executive Harry Hermon said: “This is the second year of the games, and we were delighted to welcome all of the participants from the four corners of Ireland.

“We are already starting to plan for next year’s games in Cork, when we hope to reach even more people from all abilities and encourage them to take up watersports.”

Published in ISA

When 2018’s rain-free heat-wave of zephyrs and calms was at its peak in July, old salts of every age and gender naturally and inevitably observed in their sagacious way that it would all end with a bang. They reckoned that Nature - having lost the run of herself for so long with what many folks misguidedly thought was good weather – would overcompensate in the opposite direction with what everyone would agree were unsettled conditions at the very least, with disturbed weather in which the inevitable swing of the seasons would feel exaggerated and accelerated. Conditions, in short, in which any sailing would feel more enjoyable if undertaken in the familiar surroundings of home waters, with a sheltered and familiar berth within easy reach. W M Nixon reckons it’s Down Home Sailing Time.

That wise sailor Tom Crosbie of Cork was renowned as the owner-skipper over many years ago of the handsome and able International 8 Metre If. The Norwegian designed-and-built If was an exceptionally large 8 Metre which maximised the comfort potential of this class, of which there were up to half a dozen in Crosshaven in the late 1950s and early ‘60s.

The skipper of If – cognisant of the ways of the weather as only a third generation Cork sailor can be - was wont to observe that any sensible Cork Harbour skipper would always ensure that his summer programme at the West Cork regattas was carefully planned to shape a course for home towards mid-August.

“No prudent Cork yachtsman would have his vessel west of the Old Head of Kinsale after the 15th August” was his mantra. “For that’s when the southwest monsoon sets in, and it stays set in”.

So although the fact that the West Cork ports are now significant sailing centres in their own right with programmes which can extend well into September, those who live in the cities and prefer to have their boats nearer home as Autumn draws in will know exactly what Tom Crosbie meant.

It’s perfectly natural to want to head west as July comes upon us. But equally, it’s only natural to head for home by the time the swallows start to gather on the telegraph wires for their own long return southward to winter quarters.

int eight metres2The International Eight Metre Class as they are today, restored as classics. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, they made up an enthusiastic group in Crosshaven, and were quite a presence at the West Cork Regattas. Photo: W M Nixon 
And back home in the major sailing centres, whether it be Kinsale or Cork Harbour with its many centres led in boat numbers by Crosshaven, we find that local sailing has been quietly going on. And up in the Dublin area, not only has local sailing been continuing apace, but this weekend seems to have developed into some sort of spontaneous festival of all that sailing can offer within easy reach of the capital.

From Skerries in the north down to Greystones in the south – or even to Wicklow, Arklow and Courtown if you wish to spread the Greater Dublin net as widely as possible – there seem to be more boats about each time you call by, and new talents are emerging on the sailing scene. For there’s no doubt about it, we’re in the numbers game here, and the population growth of Dublin, in particular, is creating its own dynamic whereby local sailing seems to have a new vitality.

It has been observed for some time, for instance, that numbers in the Dublin Bay SC cruiser-racer evening programme every Thursday in high summer hold up surprisingly well despite the fact that everybody who is anybody is supposed to be away.

In fact, there are those discerning crews who reckon the sailing in the bay is most pleasant in August – it’s less crowded, less frantic, and generally more civilised afloat and ashore. As one skipper observed: “We have developed these excellent shoreside facilities over the years in the forecourts. Our clubhouses are havens of civilization, and together we’ve brought them safely through all sorts of economic turmoil. In our crew, we find that August evening racing offers the best opportunity to savour it all.”

waterwag 1 1Water Wags emerging in festive style from Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The class is in better heart than ever, with two new boats under construction

One useful test of the health of local sailing is to take the pulse of the senior local One-Design classes which symbolize each centre. In Dun Laoghaire, it’s the Water Wags. And in Howth, it’s the Howth 17s. Both of them are classes which go back well over a hundred years, and perhaps it’s the knowledge of this which induces a somewhat leisurely attitude in getting the fleets towards optimum strength each season.

Certainly last year, it was the end of August when the Water Wags finally got their act together with sufficient strength to honour their Class Captain, sailing polymath Hal Sisk, with the Water Wags’ first-ever turnout of more than thirty boats. And this year across in Howth, it is only as August has advanced that some boats are finding themselves fully race ready and more than willing to ensure regular turnouts of more than 14 boats, with the Massey family and Mikey Twomey’s 1907-built Deliginis emerging as class champions over their special August weekend.

howth deilginis4The 2018 Howth Seventeen Champion Deilginis, built 1907. Although designed to be raced by two or three, these days they find that an extra bit of performance can be achieved by having four on board. Photo: Neil Murphy

These numbers may sound unspectacular by comparison with the fleet totals that turn out for regional, national and particularly international championships of dinghy classes. But when you’ve something which is at the heart of the local sailing community, quality is more important than mere quantity every time, and it implies a level of dedication which sets a useful example for other much more modern boats to follow.

Despite their great age, both the Water Wags and the Howth 17s are seeing boats either being re-built, or completely newly-constructed. This is something we’ll return to in the future, but for this weekend as the travellers return from their distant regattas, it’s to find that home sailing has been quietly going on, and the facilities and race teams are in place to provide an exceptional range of major events to move the 2018 Dublin sailing season into its Down Home phase.

As ever, there’s Dublin’s north-south divide. In the city, it’s made by the Liffey. And out in Dublin Bay, it extends along the increasingly busy shipping lane. Either way, Dun Laoghaire sailors see the Baily Headland at the north side of the bay as some sort of local Cape Horn which is best avoided, but the relatively new presence of the marina to the south in Greystones makes it an attractive and accessible venue by sea and land.

So this weekend’s Taste of Greystones Regatta at the north County Wicklow port will be a timely reminder that this is Greystones Sailing Club’s Golden Jubilee Year, and the impressive fleet in the dinghy park and the marina – with shoreside development now fully under way – is a reminder that Greystones’ Frank Whelan and his shipmates with the Grand Soleil 44 Eleuthera have been one of Ireland’s most successful boats in 2018, a superb demonstration of inspired inter-generational abilities and a potent display of the power of effective inter-disciplinary action between dinghy racers and keelboat campaigners.

Eleuthera 5 0575Frank Whelan’s Eleuthera and Paul O’Higgins Dingle Race-winning Rockabill VI racing south along the Dublin coastline. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O’Brien

The continuing rise of Greystones in the keelboat and dinghy rankings is acknowledged by the active support of both Dublin Bay SC and the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association for this weekend’s two-race regatta, and with all of Ireland providing a lee as the weather draws from the Atlantic, the advantages of East Coast sailing could well be much in evidence.

The short passage south to Greystones is also a useful reminder that our capital city is set in some extraordinarily beautiful coastal scenery, and County Wicklow is simply sublime. But even in Dublin Bay itself the background which we take for granted suddenly reveals itself in photos to be quite something (you’re too busy when racing to notice, you need to study the photos later), and this weekend the Bay is the setting for the First 31.7 Annual Championship, hosted by the Royal Irish YC with Jean Mitton of RStGYC defending champion.

This is another indicator of the underlying stability and community cohesion of Dublin’s social setup, for it takes a certain level of communal stability to maintain such a varied selection of One-Design Classes, each one requiring its own level of mutual agreement to thrive.

Thus while the glamour boats may have headed for Volvo Cork Week and Calves Week, back home in Dun Laoghaire the more workaday Sigma 33s, First 31.7s, Shipman 28s and Ruffian 23s know they have only to sail out of the harbour mouth to find a fleet ready and willing for congenial racing with competition at a civilised yet competent level.

ruffian 23 dublinbay6Ruffian 23s in One-Design racing on Dublin Bay. The class has associate divisions in Carrickfergus and Hong Kong. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O’Brien

This can have attractions beyond the home fleet, with the Ruffian 23s, for instance, having sister-fleets at Carrickfergus and Hong Kong. It was in fact Terry Kirkpatrick of Carrickfergus fleet who won the Championship in Dublin Bay this month, while in July the Hong Kong fleet came visiting with the news that despite the noted affluence of the Hong Kong sailing community, there’s a quiet undercurrent of enthusiasm for the gallant little Portaferry-built Ruffian 23s, with boat restorations under way.

Across in Howth, it’s another northern-orginating One-Design boat, the Puppeteer 22, which supports the Howth 17s in providing that backbone of a dedicated local class which keeps local life going while the high-flyers head off to the glamour events. To say that the Puppeteers – with regular turnouts on the 20 mark – live in a world of their own is to understate the case. It’s more a sort of parallel universe. But lines of communication are sufficient to reveal that the Annual Championship at the end of July was won by Blue Velvet (C & K Kavanagh).

puppeteer 22 champs7In a parallel universe…..the Puppeteer 22s may have originated in Northern Ireland, but these days their only class – and it’s in very good health – is in Howth. Photo HYC/Puppeteers

The Howth Peninsula may find itself in a position of some isolation this weekend with the traffic restrictions of the Papal Visit imposing a psychological barrier, even if it will be perfectly possible to get in or our by road. But as an insular outlook is Howth’s default position in any case, the peninsula’s sailors are revelling in their situation and are celebrating it by having the Dinghy Regatta at the tidal Sutton Dinghy Club today, and the MGM Boats-sponsored Dinghy Regatta at Howth YC tomorrow.

The two clubs regularly complement each other, with Sutton people become HYC people when they’re sailing out of Howth, while Howth people revert to their youth when they descend upon SDC, for that’s where many of them learnt their sailing (and lots of other useful things besides).

rs fevas sutton8RS Fevas racing at Sutton Dinghy Club, where the annual Dinghy Regatta is staged today. Photo SDC

So that’s how it is this weekend between Fingal and north Wicklow – it’s Down Home time, dedicated to celebration of the bustling sailing communities and attractive sailing opportunities right on our doorsteps in the Dublin area.

But don’t think for a moment that we’re sliding into a down-scaling of activities. On the contrary, this weekend may have its cosy theme, but come Monday we’re swinging into the serious part of the SB20 European Championship at the Royal Irish Yacht Club, which continues until Saturday September 1st with national stars such as 2018 Irish champion Peter Kennedy of Strangford Lough and his team having to fend off competition from top crews from Australia, Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia and the Ukraine.

sb20 speed9An SB20 comfortably at speed – the design arguably has its ancestry in the National 18s at Cosshaven

And then a week hence it’s Laser mega-time in Dublin Bay. It’s almost impossible to grasp the scale of the International Laser Masters Worlds to be hosted by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council in concert with the Royal St George YC and the National YC. Let’s just say it’s going to be enormous with an entry of 304 boats from 25 countries. But fortunately, we have this Down Home weekend to allow us a pause for breath in the meantime.

laser euro masters10There’s 304 of them coming to a harbour near you……the Laser Euro Masters 2018 gives us a glimpse of what the Worlds will be like in Dublin Bay in a week’s time

Published in W M Nixon
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