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Many of the club members have attained National Champion status in E Boats, Mermaids, Fireballs, GP14s, IDRA14s and Lasers. Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club has hosted a number of International events without any undue pressure on expertise resources. The club has achieved a reputation for its ability to host National and International events.
At present the club provides house facilities to existing and visiting members, a large capacity launch and full time boatman to provide a ferry service to the boats and moorings. The Boatman is also on radio call to members and visitors, (Ch M37 Callsign 'Tarf Launch'). CY&BC has provided visitor-berthing positions for a number of years.
Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club have hosted the following events over recent years:
E Boat Irish National Championships
Fireball Leinster Championships
Mermaid National Championships
International Match Racing
Over the years the club cruising section has built up a good relationship with a number of clubs on the West Coast of England and Wales and cruisers from these clubs visit Clontarf. Also the club fleet visits Northern Ireland on a regular basis and are always well received and entertained by the host club. The club is twinned with Peel Yacht Club in the Isle of Man.
The Junior Section sail in Optimists, Mirrors, 420s and Lasers. During the whole of the Summer Months qualified instructors are employed to provide a structured learning environment for the juniors. Juniors are aged between 10–18 years of age and courses are ISA (Irish Sailing Association) recognized. The junior section of the club has been used as a model upon junior sailing in Ireland is based.
Adults aged 18+ with no experience – This course is well attended by people who wish to gain experience sailing a range of boats from dinghies to large cruisers. The course usually runs in the early Summer Months (May-June)
Adults aged 18+ with experience – Courses are based on internationally recognized ISA (Irish Sailing Association) courses for 'Competent Crew', 'Day Skipper', 'Yachtmaster', 'Coastal Skipper' and 'Offshore Skipper'. The club also provides courses and examinations on VHF radio handling.
Social Members – Non sailing members together with sailing members can enjoy a full range of all year activities such as Table Quizes, Bands, BBQ's, Music Nights, Snooker, Darts, Bridge or a relaxing drink in the refurbished members' bar or lounge.
(The above information and image courtesy of Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club)
Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club, Belvedere, Clontarf, Dublin 3. Tel: 01 833 2691
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History (to 1984)
Carrickfergus Rowing Club, founded in 1866 by Charles H. Crawford, is the oldest sporting club in Carrickfergus and one of the earliest rowing clubs to be established in Ireland. By early 1867 membership had reached thirty and a four-oared racing gig had been delivered by Matt Taylor, boat builder of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, at a cost of £35. Crews from Carrickfergus competed with great enthusiasm in many northern Regattas, achieving their first win at a local event in 1870.
Prior to the completion, in 1874, of the first Clubhouse boats were stored in premises belonging to the Antrim Artillery, on the site of the present Town Hall, and carried across the rough shingle beach for launching. This Clubhouse, a wooden structure supported on piles, was erected behind the East Pier with the consent of the Carrickfergus Harbour Commissioners. Work was supervised by Paul Rodgers of the shipyard, at that time a member of the Club, and cost approximately £150. The building was replaced in 1888 and again in 1902 following storm damage.
Until the establishment in 1891 of the Carrickfergus Sailing Club the Rowing Club’s Annual Regatta included sailing and swimming events as well as rowing. Judging by the Secretary’s remarks in his Annual Report the introduction, on the occasion of the coronation in 1911, of Ladies Rowing Races was not universally welcomed and it was not until 1921 that ladies were admitted to Club membership. Tennis was then introduced and in 1922 the Rowing and Sailing Clubs amalgamated. The Club, then known as "Carrickfergus Amateur Rowing Club incorporating Carrickfergus Sailing Club", continued to promote rowing, sailing, swimming and tennis. Membership however continued to decline and it was not until 1934 that the Annual Regatta was again held. This year also saw the launching of a new Clinker Four named Fairey II and the beginnings of the Open Eighteen Foot Centre Board Class. Crews from Carrickfergus continued to enjoy considerable success at Regattas until the early fifties when competitive rowing ceased. The last Clinker Four to be purchased arrived in 1950. Named "Castle Dobbs" it was little used and remains in the Club’s possession to this day. Tennis also faded out after the Second World War and Snipes took the place of the old eighteen footers.
The building in 1957 of three flying fifteens by members of the Club introduced a class which is still popular today with up to twenty boats competing. GP Fourteens and Optimists were raced for some years before being superceded by Scorpions and Mirror Dinghys. A strong Mirror fleet still exists but Scorpions are no longer raced as a class.
In 1966, the Club’s Centenary Year, an ambitious project involving the construction of a two storey extension and improvements to the interior layout of the building was completed. The provision of a bar in 1968 was the last major alteration to be carried out on the East Pier site.
Although cruising boats had from time to time been owned by members of the Club it was not until the mid-nineteen seventies that cruisers began to appear in any number in the Club’s handicap series. The cruising fleet has grown rapidly over the past decade both in size and number with upwards of twenty boats now competing in the IOR, SL and Ruffian 8.5 Classes.
Lack of finance, small membership and the frequent need for repairs to the building and supporting structure have caused successive Committees concern since the earliest days of the Club. In 1980 with repairs to the front platform urgently needed and further development on the East Pier site to meet our requirements not possible the Committee again considered the alternatives and at the Annual General Meeting of the Club in March 1981 recommended the acceptance of a 2.2 acre site offered by Carrickfergus Borough Council on reclaimed ground adjacent to the West Pier. The Members unanimously agreed and construction began in early May. Three years later with the Council’s Yacht Harbour taking shape alongside our new premises the future of the Club and of Carrickfergus as a major boating centre seems assured.
G.J.E. ALCORN, Hon. Secretary
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Our club is situated in the village of Ballyronan which lies ont he shores of the north western corner of Lough Neagh. We're a small but enthusiastic club and new members are welcome. If you're interested in joining, please contact us. Conor McGuckin, Commodore, 2009–2011
Ballyronan Boat Club, Ballyronan Marina, Shore Road, Ballyronan, Magherafelt BT45
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The Royal Alfred Yacht club is much more than a quaint old Dublin institution. For generations it has been an umbrella organisation, linking yacht racers from the rival harbours of Dun Laoghaire and Howth. It provides an attractive programme of regattas, complementing more local and national events.
The 'Royal' in the title tells us that the club is long established. But without the focus of a clubhouse, even some non-racing Dublin based sailors might find it hard to recognise where it fits in.
"The world's oldest specifically amateur yacht club (founded 1857)"
The 'Alfred', as it's locally known, actually played a seminal role in the evolution and formation of racing in sailboats worldwide. Some older established clubs trumpet their seniority as their main, and maybe their only claim to fame, but the Royal Alfred Yacht Club has a far greater and better deserved list of accomplishments and real contributions to the sport. A short list of its "firsts" clearly places the club as the original model for yacht clubs worldwide, to a much greater extent than most older clubs.
So Dublin's Royal Alfred Yacht Club is quite simply:
The world's oldest specifically amateur yacht club (founded 1857)
The world's first offshore racing club (1868-1922)
The first club to organise single and double handed yacht races
The prime mover behind the formation of the world's first national yacht racing organisation (1872)
And finally, its two flag officers are credited with the authorship of the first national yacht racing rules, which are at the core of today's racing rules worldwide.
What other yacht club or sailing organisation, anywhere in the world, can claim to have given more to the formation of the sport of sailing as our Royal Alfred Yacht Club?
The record shows that taking the lead and giving a practical example, our small club can reasonable be described as the first yacht club of the modern era, in the universal meaning of a club for members who actively sail their own boats.
"The world's first offshore racing club (1868-1922)"
How did a small group of middle class Dubliners make such a difference? When they met in 1857, the objective of the 17 founder members was "to encourage the practise of seamanship and the acquisition of the necessary skill in managing the vessels". Translating these stilted phrases, this meant that as far as practical, the club would cater for those yachtsmen, and later yachtswomen, who were prepare to sail and race their complex and heavy craft themselves.
Today's sailors may say 'so what?' but 141 years ago, this was revolutionary stuff. The average yachtsman of that time would no more think of trimming a sheet or hauling on a halyard, than of digging his vegetable patch, or engaging in other obviously menial tasks. An earlier fashion in the 1830s for establishing yacht clubs had resulted in a rash of "Royal" clubs in most provincial centres around the coasts of Britain and Ireland. Dublin, Belfast and Cork, each followed the trend. However they were mainly social clubs, often meeting only a few times a year, and they organised very few events on the water, in some cases a regatta only every second year. The yachts owned by the members of such clubs were crewed by mere seamen, of a very different social status to the "yachtsmen"!
How very different the men of the "Alfred", or the "Irish Model Yacht Club" as they called their club at first. This was not model as meaning scale models yachts, but "Model" in the other, more Victorian meaning of the word, as something to be emulated. They started by organising day cruises in company, manoeuvring under orders from a flag officer. In this activity, they were following the old custom of the first yachtsmen in Amsterdam, back in the 1600s, and later copied by the gentry of Cork harbour in the early 1700s. But of course the difference in 1857 was that now the owners and their amateur friends were actually sailing themselves.
Very soon it was clear that the practical competence of the Dublin yachtsmen was such that they could race. Any one who races will readily agree with the saying that one learns more about skilful boat handling in a season's racing than in ten seasons "messing about in boats". But racing then was not as easy as today. Press reports of yacht races back in the 1860s routinely mention the "carrying away" of topmasts and bowsprits, and sails splitting. In those days, all the materials were suspect. Hulls, ropes, sailcloth, ironware, everything could and did break, but you were expected to be sufficiently good a seaman as to be able to cope, and without an auxiliary to get you home!
The Club quickly gained recognition, not only for its premier role as the leading amateur club, but also with the prestige of a royal warrant, acquiring the title it still carries: "Royal Alfred Yacht Club". Queen Victoria's third son Prince Alfred, was a naval officer who allowed his name to be used but he apparently had no active connection with our club, or with our sister club, the Prince Alfred Yacht Club of New South Wales.
"The first club to organise single and double handed yacht races"
Throughout the 1860s and 70s, our Club fired off an amazing series of initiatives, which caused our club to be described as the Premier Corinthian club. Indeed it started a new wave of yacht club formations, with "Corinthian" in their name, which appeared in all the major yachting centres around this time. Corinthian is another word for amateur, because it was believed that in ancient Greece, the athletes of Corinth competed for no reward other than a laurel wreath. Yet the Victorian sailors were quite happy to race for large cash and silverware prizes, which they kept! For them, the mortal sin was to be paid to sail or race. At the end of each season, Hunt's Yachting Magazine published a list of racing results for all the yacht races in the British Isles, and also the total value of the prizes awarded by the various clubs. The Royal Alfred Yacht Club regularly featured in the top three of such prestigious clubs, and in 1877 it ranked number one, with £712 in prizes for 11 races, equivalent to about IR£40,000 today!
Three years earlier, the Royal Alfred's circular to all the British yacht clubs, calling for a consistent regulation of handicapping by means of measurement by a professional, and the Club's earlier publication of yacht racing rules and time allowance tables, were the trigger for the founding of the Yacht Racing Association which became the Royal Yachting Association. Again typical of the Royal Alfred's central role in this process is that its two flag officers, Henry Crawford and George Thomson, are credited with the principal authorship of the YRA's Racing Rules.
"The prime mover behind the formation of the world's first national yacht racing organisation (1872)"
Its it tempting to dwell on the Royal Alfred's period in the spotlight, but one has to admit that the Club could not maintain this momentum. Its base was always yacht racing in Dublin Bay, and the Irish Sea, and as Dublin declined in relative terms, deferring to the Clyde and the Solent, and as larger racing yachts demanded professional crew, the Corinthian ideal became less important for the top competitions. So yachting in Dublin settled into a familiar pattern of one design racing, with the beautiful gaff cutter Dublin Bay 25 and 21 footers, and the Howth Seventeens. In this, the Dublin sailors were following the lead of their dinghy sailing friends who, in 1887, had founded the world's first one design class, the Water Wags. The twin harbours of Dun Laoghaire and Howth both continued to provide that great luxury, the facility to be sailing on one's yacht at 6pm, after leaving the office at 5. Few other yachting centres could provide this continuity, and so changes to new venues and new classes were less necessary for the sailors of Dublin.
Eventually, the wheel came full circle and the sailing world rediscovered one design racing in the 1930s, and even more so in the 1950s. By this time, the Royal Alfred's pioneering contributions to the sport were long taken for granted. Even offshore racing had to be reinvented in the late 1920s, even though the "Alfred's" tradition of 60 mile cross channel handicap races had been consistently maintained as part of its annual race programme for 57 years (1867-1924).
"RAYC's two flag officers are credited with the authorship of the first national yacht racing rules, which are at the core of today's racing rules worldwide."
So the Club has played a key role in the formation of our sport, as it is routinely practised around the globe. Throughout its 141 years, the Club has remained true to its founding principles, and as the rest of the world came to follow this example, we may reasonable claim that the Royal Alfred Yacht Club is not just the world's oldest amateur yacht club, but also the oldest yacht club in the modern tradition.
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ICRA National Championships in full swing
The Irish Cruiser Racing Association’s National Cruiser Championships is now just a week away and for the first time ever it’s being hosted on the West Coast by Tralee Bay SC – a club well used to giving a warm welcome to sailors: they’ve hosted events on all levels from Club to World Championships on this beautiful idyllic part of our coast.
Over 70 boats will contest the right to become the Irish National Cruiser Champion in each of the divisions and the spoils will be Irish Sailing Association Medallions and a place at the ISA Helmsman's Championships at the end of the season for their achievement.
Last years Division Zero winner Dave Dwyer's Marinerscove.ie is presently preparing on the Solent for the UK IRC Nationals (6–7 June), but Dave’s commitment to defend his closely-won title at last years National Cruiser Championships in Howth has put his crew on a tight schedule to get the boat back in time for the first gun in Tralee. Eamon Rohan (King 40 Blonde IV) will be Marinerscove.ie’s main competition, finishing a very creditable 3rd at last year’s event. Other strong competition in this division will come from Kieran Twomey’s Corby 38 Gloves Off, Tim Costello’s Mills 43 Tiamat, George Sisk’s Farr 42 WOW, under the burgee of the Royal Irish YC and the host club giving him an advantage over the rest of the fleet outside of Rob Allen’s Corby 36 Mustang Sally from the Royal Western YC.
In Division One Mike McCarthy’s Ker 32 Checkmate will be one to watch but in this division there are plenty of diverse competitive boats: Barry Cunningham’s Corby 33 Contango; two J109 – S. and J. Tyrrell’s Aquelina and Pat Kelly’s Storm; Anthony O’Leary from the Royal Cork has entered a modified 1720 Antix Beag; Denis Hewit is bringing his Mills 30 Raptor from the Royal Irish; and some local boats – Martin Reilly’s Corby 29 Esperanto, Eddie Barry’s 40.7 Caolila and Dan Counihan’s First 36.7 Galileo. X-Yachts are out in force in this division: X332s include Ian Gaughan’s Xena, Thomas and Kieran Whelan’s Chaos, Team Foynes’ Dexterity, and host club boat Donal Brown’s Excuse Me; X362s have David Scott’s Eos, Derry Good’s Exhale, and Donal O’Leary’s X35.
Attracting the greatest number of entries is Division Two and the hot favorite must be Colwell/Murphy’s Corby 25 Kinetic from Howth Yacht Club, winner of this division last year – that’s not to say that they will get it all their own way, one of the boats that will be trying to take their title away is current West Coast Champion Conor Ronan’s Corby 26 Ruthless; then Corby 25s – Vincent O’Shea’s Yanks & ffrancs, Denis Coleman’s Thunderbird, and Denis Ellis’s Corby 27 Kodachi; also Sigma’s 33s – Commodore of the host club Liam Lynch’s Powder Monkey, Peader O’ Laughlin‘s Reconaissance, David Buckley’s Boojum, Finbarr O’Connell’s Treyona, and finally Dehler 34s – Raymond McGibney’s Disaray, David Griffin’s Egalite, and Derrick Dillon’s Big Deal to mention a few.
Division Three is as competitive as ever with Vincent Gaffney’s Albin Express Alliance topping the bill, being a past Division Champion and current West Coast Champion from Howth Yacht Club, but with plenty of competition to make this division very competitive indeed – Paul McGibney’s J24 Virgin will have his first outing at National level, but as we saw at last year’s event the J24s were the ones to beat. Three HB31s are also in this division – John Buckley’s Headhunter, Gary Fort’s K Vector, Mark Prendeville’s Rooster, two Shamrocks – C. MacDonncha’s Sliver Foam from Galway and J.P. Buckley’s Battle, Jackie Ward’s Parker 27 Hallmark, and D. Losty’s very successful Quarter Tonner Woody to name but a few.
Race Officers Alan Crosibe, Rob Lamb and Liam Dinneen with their formidable teams will ensure competitors’ exhilarating sailing over a variety of courses over the three days racing.
ICRA National Cruiser Championships, Tralee Bay Sailing Club 11 –13 June 2009
Fintan Cairns, Commodore – 087 24 9208, email: [email protected]
Denis Kiely, Secretary, 087 908 6424, email: [email protected]
Afloat posts for ICRA:
Afloat's Graham Smith wrote about the Laser in the March 2009 issue of Afloat:
The Irish Laser Association remains one of the numerically biggest classes in Ireland – over 200 boats on the books – and when you get over 100 boats on average (across the three rig types, of course) at each of the four regionals and Irish Championships, you know you have a very healthy scene. Click here for all the latest up to date Laser Sailing News.
National Champion James Espey of Ballyholme defended his title in Howth to beat clubmate and main rival Ryan Seaton by almost ten points in the 11-race event. It won’t have come as a shock to the rest of the fleet since he wasn’t outside the top four in any of the other Laser events during year and also won the Munsters. Ronan Wallace of Wexford made the most of local knowledge to win the Leinsters while Ryan Seaton and Rory Fitzpatrick took the Ulster and Connaught titles respectively.
In the 4.7 rig division, Diana Kissane of Howth showed she had coped with the transition from the Optimist class she dominated for years by taking the Irish Championship title on home waters. Not a bad feat considering she only sailed in one other major event. The other regionals were won by Howth’s Andrew Tyrrell, Eoghan Cudmore of Kinsale and Philip Doran from Courtown (who also won the Topper Nationals).
Battling for the honours in the Radial rig division were Barry McCartin of Cushendall, Chris Penney of Carrickfergus and Debbie Hanna of East Antrim, with McCartin winning two regionals and the other two taking one each. At the Nationals in Howth, it was UK visitor Alison Young from Stokes Bay who topped the 51-strong fleet with McCartin the best of the Irish in the runner-up spot.
Hanna had the consolation of winning the Ladies’ Nationals at Ballyholme while David Nelson had an impressive win in the Masters event at the same venue.
National Champions (as at March 2009): Standard rig – James Espey, Ballyholme YC; Radial rig – Alison Young, UK, 4.7 rig – Diana Kissane Howth YC.
The September/October 2009 issue of Afloat carried the following story:
Spring Promise Turns into Summer Shine
It has been nothing short of an extraordinary summer for Irish sailing, with plenty of silverware shining in club trophy cabinets around the country.
Above: Annaliese Murphy leads the world. Photo: Gareth Craig
Results in the early spring perhaps were an obvious sign that the summer would deliver something special. Within a month, Peter O’Leary and Tim Goodbody won the Star Spring European Championship, Annaliese Murphy won the Dutch Europa Cup and Matty O’Dowd followed this with a victory in the Danish Europa Cup, both sailing Laser Radials. Preparations for the summer were on track.
These results were impressive, but they turned out to be just a taste of what was to come.
Left and below: More action from the Oppies. Photos: Gareth Craig
The highlight of the summer arrived with Murphy’s eighth place in the World Laser Radial Women’s Championship, which secured her the Under 21 World Title. Murphy is just 19 years of age, and this is her first year on the senior circuit. The current World Champion is 31, putting Murphy’s potential into perspective.
Her result was Ireland’s first top ten finish at an Olympic Class World Championships in six years, and was secured in an 87-boat fleet that included the American Olympic gold medallist Anna Tunnicliffe and the Chinese Olympic bronze medallist, Lijia Xu. The title was won by Finland’s Sari Multala who counted five race wins in her scores, allowing her to sit out the final race.
The National Yacht Club sailor improved throughout the 12-race series, where individual scores included a second placing, moving the UCD mathematics student from fifteenth to tenth in the penultimate days sailing in Karatsu.
The following week at the same venue in Japan, the Laser Radial Youth World Championships were held with 100 sailors from 25 countries competing. Philip Doran and Oliver Loughead finished ninth and 12th respectively in the overall standings but more significantly they picked up the Under 17 World Title and Silver Medal between them.
Doran has shown his true grit as a competitor and has made a remarkable transition from the Laser 4.7 class where he won the Under 16 World Title in 2008. How many Irish sportsmen can say they won a world title two years in a row?
To top it all off, RCYC Optimist Sailor Cian Byrne did the business on the final day of the UK Optimist Junior Nationals in Largs in August. Cian’s three third places on day 6 of the 12-race series were enough to beat USA sailor Jack Johansson, GBR sailor Freddie Grogono and Cork club mate Peter McCann.
Cian’s achievement is reported as a first for Irish Optimists in a British Championship and was richly deserved. Peter was the other hero; having led for much of the championship, he put up a great fight in the final series and ended his event with a very creditable 4th overall.
The junior (Under 12) event had 145 competitors and had a truly international flavour with sailors from France, Holland, Spain, USA and UAE competing against the IRL and GBR contingents. The Irish more than held their own with two other top ten results, Sean Donnelly (7th) and Adam Hyland (10th). Indeed, Team Ireland had seven of the top 20 junior spots, with GBR taking just eight.
More encouraging still is the presence of other sailors ready to challenge those on the podium. At the Topper World Championship, 13-year-old Finn Lynch secured second place, which bodes well for his career. At the 420 World Championships, Jane Butler & Jenny Andreasson finished 11th overall. This duo are both eligible to compete in 2010 for the youth title. Their result comes after great use of their transition year, facilitated by the Royal St George Yacht Club’s Youth Sailing Scheme.
Seafra Guilfoyle finished 50th in the European Optimist Championship, our best at this event for at least eight years and Fiona Daly finished 40th in the equivalent event for girls.
The results are a significant boost for the ISA’s Performance Pathway, spanning from Junior right through to Olympic campaigning. ISA Youth & Development Manager, Rory Fitzpatrick has managed the ISA Academy since 2005 and deserves great credit for the results achieved to date.
Annaliese Murphy – Profile
Annaliese Murphy is the Irish Independent/Afloat.ie 'Sailor of the Month' for August 2009 after her impressive showing in the Laser Radial Worlds in Japan. Racing in the first week of August, the 19-year-old National Yacht Club sailor was advancing a potential Olympic campaign with competition in an 87-strong fleet which included US Olympic Gold Medallist Anna Tunnicliffe and the Chinese Bronze Medallist Lijia Zu.
In the end, the new champion was Finland’s Sari Multala, but apart from the Finn’s unbeatable scoreline of five wins, one of the most notable achievements was the steadily improving performance into the top ten by the Irish sailor.
Murphy improved from fifteenth to tenth overall on the second-last day, and then with increasing confidence she finished in a convincing eighth overall. We have only to look at the calibre of the sailors in her wake to realize that this was a serious step towards the London Olympics of 2012, and Annaliese Murphy becomes a worthy representative of Olympic and dinghy sailing in our roll-call of sailing stars in 2009.
There is a space for Irish boating clubs and racing classes to use as their own bulletin board and forum for announcements and discussion. If you want to see a dedicated forum slot for your club or class, click here
The International Optimist Dinghy Association in Ireland – or IODAI – represents the Optimist class in Ireland and internationally. IODAI is affiliated to the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) and The International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA). Click here for all the latest Optimist news.
To sail in IODAI events you need to become a member. You can join at Registration at any event but it’s often best to come prepared with a completed application form which you can download here.
The Optimist is, quite simply, the dinghy in which the young people of the world learn to sail.
Some definitions: "A flat-bottomed, hard-chine, pram-bow dinghy with a una sprit- sail" (The Observer's Book of Small Craft); "A bathtub that breeds the best sailors" (Observant sailor at the Club bar)
Specifications and benefits of the Optimist dinghy
2.31m (7'6.1/2") long, 1.13m (3'8") wide. Weight 35kg (77lbs).
Easily transported on top of any car, (where it will drip water over your shiny paint- work!)
Safe and simple enough for an 8-year old; exciting and technical enough for a 15-year old
Sailed in over 110 countries by over 150,000 young people, it is the only dinghy approved by the International Sailing Federation exclusively for sailors under 16 years of age.
Over half of the dinghy skippers at the last Olympic Games were former Optimist sailors.
The boat was designed by Clarke Mills in Florida in 1947. Optimists first came to Europe in 1954 when a fleet started in Denmark.
Most parents find that sailing gives young people a great sense of personal achievement. In addition the skills required to improve sailing performance both on and off the water; it helps young people develop a more organised approach to other non-sailing related activities.
How many Optimists are there in Ireland? More than 1,300 Optimists have been registered in Ireland (2008). At Optimist events in Ireland this year the fleet size varied between 120 at Regional events and 200 at our National Championships. International events can be much larger and at an Easter Regatta on Lake Garda in 2008 there was just short of 1000 boats.
How can i join a sailing club that sails Optimists? Contact the Irish Sailing Association where you can find out which sailing clubs are local to you. The junior or dinghy sailing coordinator in each club should be able to tell you if they have an active Optimist class in that club. Your interest could be the spark that ignites an Optimist interest there and IODAI will endeavour to support clubs who wish to start an Optimist fleet. Alternatively, if you contact the IODAI secretary directly, [email protected] you will be put in touch with an IODAI regional representative who will guide you towards a suitably active Optimist club. IODAI contact every sailing club from time to time to determine their level of interest in the Optimist class and to maintain an open invitation for any sailing club to seek assistance in the forming of an Optimist class at that club.
Which are the more prominent clubs racing Optimists in Ireland?
HYC Howth Co. Dublin
KYC Kinsale Co. Cork
LDYC Dromineer, Co. Tipperary
LRYC Athlone, Co. Westmeath
MYC Malahide Co. Dublin
NYC Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
RCYC Crosshaven, Co. Cork
RNIYC Cultra, Hollywood, Co Down
RStGYC Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
SDC Sutton, Co. Dublin
SSC Skerries, Co. Dublin
TBSC Fenit, Co. Kerry
WBTSC Wexford Co. Wexford
WHSC Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
Are Optimists suitable for girls? The Optimist provides superb one design racing where boys and girls can compete on equal terms. Yearly rankings often produce a 50:50 split between boys and girls. In 2005, 2006 and 2007 the Irish National Championship was won by Diana Kissane, from Howth Yacht Club who set a record by winning the title in three successive years.
Why is Optimist Sailing so popular in Ireland? The first Optimists arrived in Ireland in 1966. The class in Ireland developed relatively slowly until 1978 when a batch of 35 GRP boats was imported and Ireland first sent a team to the World Championships. In 1981 Howth Yacht Club hosted the Worlds and boats sold off in Ireland after the event gave the class a big lift.
– An energetic and proactive class association of volunteer parents (IODAI)
– Unquantifiable support from the parents of all Optimist sailors
What age should a child start sailing Optimists? Some clubs do not provide beginner training under 9 or 10 years of age. However this is changing and you should check with your local club. See if any other experienced parent can suggest how a younger sailor might start. There are plenty who start earlier and eleven or twelve is not too late – even to get to the top in the fleet. Some considerations before beginning:
– Is your child a competent swimmer? (Competent means comfortable in the water when out of depth and capable of swimming say 25 meters in the sea water while dressed in normal clothing).
– Is your child comfortable about the prospect of trying sailing? (The prospect of being alone in charge of a boat is often daunting to a young child and this introduction to the water is the most important step).
– Are there any older brothers, sisters or friends involved in sailing? This is often a great help.
– Is the child and are the parents prepared to make the commitment? There is a lot of time involved in junior sailing. Parents, remember, they can’t drive themselves to training or events and they need lots of help ashore especially in the early days.
My child has done some sailing courses at our local club, can they start sailing Optimists at events? Of course. The Optimist dinghy is a simple and safe; designed specifically for young sailors. So, no matter what other boat they have used on their courses, they should be able to handle an Optimist.
When do they start racing? As a Junior Class we have knowledge of helping sailors make the transition from 'messing about in boats' to actual racing. This is where our innovative Regatta Fleet comes in.
What is the Regatta Fleet? Regatta Fleet Racing is for beginners and unranked sailors – usually from age 8 upwards. The focus of the Regatta Fleet is on having fun. There is a Regatta Fleet element at most major Optimist events except 'The Trials' (for information on 'The Trials' see the New Parents and Sailors section of our FAQ’s on the website).
The Regatta Fleet will could be your sailors first experience of racing. They can enter the Regatta Fleet once they have learnt to sail to windward and can negotiate a simple triangular course. A typical Regatta Fleet day is usually shorter that the main fleet. With some coaching in the morning, a break ashore for lunch and then some simple races in the afternoons, the aim is to make the introduction as easy as possible. It’s not taken too seriously and coaches are allowed to give advice during racing. If a sailor is towards the front, advice may not be necessary and the coaches will tend to concentrate on those near the back. And yes, there are prizes, and it often proves to be the most charming part of the prize giving ceremony where we see very young children collect their first sailing trophy. Regatta Fleet Racing at events gives the younger sailor the experience of doing circuit events without the pressures of racing way out to sea over long courses. There are often around 50 boats racing and it’s their first introduction to the wonderful circle of friends that sailing produces for all of us. While the Optimist calendar is a full one and parents/sailors may find the implication of a serious Optimist programme just a little bit daunting - the truth is that most young children (and parents!) find the experience lots of fun. The combination of the training, regional events, and regattas, gives young sailors lots of opportunity to make new friends from all over Ireland (and indeed abroad in the case of sailors attending international events). Lots of sailors make friendships on the Optimist circuit which endure well after the age limit has been passed.
And the parents? You will meet literally dozens of new friends. All are not sailors. Some are; some aren’t. Like your children, you will form friendships that will endure long after your sailing hopefuls have progressed out of Oppies and are old enough to travel to sailing events without you. It’s not just all about the children!! We need some fun as well.
(The above information courtesy of the International Optimist Dinghy Association of Ireland)
In March 2009, Afloat's Graham Smith wrote: "Officially, and not altogether surprisingly, the Optimist ranks as Ireland’s biggest one-design class with 275 boats registered with the IODAI. It remains the boat of choice for beginners in clubs across the country and it still encourages highly active racing fleets in 18 venues.
Numbers are up by over 12% on the previous year and with fleets at regional events averaging 100 and almost 160 at the Nationals in Tralee, there doesn’t seem to be any slowing up at all, although its popularity north of the border has apparently slipped in a number of locations.
In the Junior fleet, it was a memorable season from Seafra Guilfoyle of RCYC who won Easterns, Westerns and Northerns before taking the national title in a 90-strong junior fleet. Seafra was also the highest placed Irish helm in the British Nationals Junior fleet, finishing eighth overall out of 170 boats.
The senior division was more evenly balanced, with Colm O’Regan (KYC), Jamie Aplin (RStGYC) and Killian O’Keeffe (RCYC) winning the regionals (O’Keeffe winning two) before Cork’s Richard Harrington won the Irish Championships in Tralee ahead of 67 others to make the nationals a Cork double success. National Champion: Senior – Richard Harrington, Royal Cork YC; Junior – Seafra Guilfoyle, Royal Cork YC"
There is a space for Irish boating clubs and racing classes to use as their own bulletin board and forum for announcements and discussion. If you want to see a dedicated forum slot for your club or class, click here
Situated on the west shore of Strangford Lough, the Club has a good landing pontoon which gives easy access to all local facilities. However, there is no overnight berthing at the pontoon. Members cruisers are moored in 2–4 metres SSW of Town Rock. Visitors are welcome to anchor outside the moorings. Club members race Cruisers, Flying Fifteens, Lightnings and dinghies. KYC is the most centrally positioned Yacht Club.
Commodore: Dr David Bain
Hon Secretary: Gordon Galloway, tel: 028 925 87200
Sailing Secretary: David Thompson, tel: 028 926 79710
Membership Secretary: Raymond Beattie, tel: 028 448 31187
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Glin Castle, 2009, courtesy of the RWYCI website
The Western Yacht Club has a very interesting and checkered history. The following article by Adrian O'Connell traces its origins as the 'Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland' up to the present day.
The ingenious ideas of Sir William Petty in the mid-1600s in Dublin, when he constructed a catamaran to prove that he would be able to transport the Royal Mail across the Irish Sea to Anglesey at over twice the speed of the then Mail Boat, fell on deaf ears, though nearly four centuries later high speed catamarans ply the same routes providing the same service. Patty’s ideas established Dublin as an area of maritime experimentation for many years to come, when yacht and sailing clubs developed all around the coast of Ireland in the 19th Century.
In 1720 or thereabouts the Water Club of Cork Harbour was established by local gentlemen who had suitable seagoing vessels. The organisers drew up a set of rules to keep the membership in line and developing in the right direction. At first the membership was limited to six and then enlarged to 25; however exclusivity was the rule, keeping out the unruly elements (possibly still to be found around the waters of Ireland today…). The Club had a rule where if the Club Secretary allowed a non-member into the Club House he would be instantly dismissed. Fortnightly sailing excursions and dinner parties were arranged to correspond with the Spring tides. The members neither cruised or raced but manoeuvred under the command of an Admiral and carried out fleet manoeuvres in Naval fashion. The sailing discipline had to be adhered to at all times and the fleet was controlled by flag signals hoisted by the flagship. The Club went into decline around 1765 but re-established itself in 1806.
One of the Water Club members was Col. John Bateman Fitzgerald Knight of Glin. When he built Glin Castle on the south shore of the Shannon Estuary, he had the yacht Farmer, a large 18 gun brig, built in 1780 to enjoy sailing and cruising all along the west coast. Five years previously the Royal Thames Yacht Club of London was established when the Cumberland Fleet was formed. Apathy and acrimony destroyed the original club, the present club was established with a Royal Warrant being issued in 1830.
Down in Cork a rash of new royal yacht clubs were being formed. In 1872 the Munster Model Yacht Club was founded as a Corinthian or Amateur Yacht Club to provide the basis of amateur racing without monetary rewards, as against the professionally crewed racing fleets of wealthy owners who raced for wagers. This club was eventually named the Royal Munster Yacht Club and though clubless for many years, it settled in the Clubhouse of the Cork Harbour Motor Yacht Club at Crosshaven in the 1930s. The Royal Munster merged with the dormant Royal Cork Yacht Club of Cobh which claimed its decendancy from the original Cork Water Club of 1720. In fact, the Royal writ establishing the Royal Cork was given in 1831 and it subsequently established itself where it is today in Crosshaven.
On the Shannon Estuary, with the Knight of Glin’s encouragement, the numbers of commercial local sailing trading vessels was growing apace with the establishment of towns and sea-going trade along the estuary. It soon became an established fact of life during the summer months that interested groups organised regattas for all the types of craft at each small port to be found on the estuary. The types of vessels comprised trading brigs and cutters, some as large as 250 tons and others as small as 6tons, turf boats, hookers, gleoitoigs, canoes/canvas currachs, gondolas, briccawnes, etc.
On the 6th February 1828 at a meeting held in the town of Kilrush, the Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland was established, the Committee being as follows:
President: The Right Hon. The Earl of Dunraven
Commodore: George Courtney
Vice-Commodore: Stafford O’Brien
Secretary: Thomas O’Connell
Treasurer: Thomas Jervis
Committee Members: Crofton M. Vandeleur, Col. John Vandeleur, Maurice O’Connell (a son of the Liberator), The Knight of Glin, William Piercy, John Bindon Scott, John Hamilton, Poole Hickman, Hon. J.P. Verecker, Richard Quin Sleeman, Francis Spaight, Robert S. Unthank, Richard Russell, Daniel C. Hartnett, Thomas Barclay, Jonas Studdert, Stephen Creagh, Thomas Browne, William Monsell, John O’Connell (2nd son of the Liberator) and David P. Thomson.
The Club membership in 1837 stood at 201 with a total of 82 sailing vessels, though not all the membership or vessels were based on the Shannon Estuary.
On the 16th January 1832 their Lordships at the Admiralty gave permission for the Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland members to fly a White Ensign with a Red Cross, a crown in the centre with a wreath of shamrocks surrounding it and the Union Flag at the head of the ensign. In 1832 the Club produced a very comprehensive Book of Signal Codes and all members were given their own specific Code Flag for ease of recognition at sea. The Code Book was produced in colour and was very advanced for its time, as it allowed members on meeting another member at sea or at anchor to inquire as to their health, whether they had drink, food or women on board, etc., as well as many less important requirements.
The Royal Western held Regattas at Galway, Sligo, Westport and Belfast which encouraged the establishment of the Royal Northern Yacht Club which subsequently moved across to the Clyde. The Rinvella Plate which resides on the Dining Room Sideboard at Glin Castle today was won by the then Knight of Glin at the Galway Regatta.
The Royal Western’s material resources were considerable in the mid 1850s as they had a Club House at 113 Grafton Street, Dublin, and a floating Club House – the 123 ton Cutter Owen Glendower based in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, for social functions afloat away from the prying eyes of the law.
In 1858 the right to fly the defaced White Ensign was withdrawn by the Admiralty as their Lordships had decided in 1842 that only Naval Vessels and members of the Royal Yacht Squadron would be allowed to fly the White. As a result the leave to fly the Ensign was withdrawn from all Yacht Clubs: however, the defaced White Ensign as issued to the Royal Western of Ireland was overlooked and after complaints made by the members of the Royal Yacht Squadron to the Admiralty about the matter, their Lordships at the Admiralty decided that for the present the Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland could continue, especially as being mainly based on the West Coast of Ireland and with a small membership, their continuation might go unnoticed. The membership of the Royal Yacht Squadron continued to object, on the basis that there was a major distinction between their membership and the lowly Irish, who needless to say had a considerable number of titled gentlemen on their membership list. However the yearly subscription was only 1 Guinea be a member of the Royal Western – and one didn’t have to own a yacht! – as against the many hundreds of Guineas required for membership of the Royal Yacht Squadron, plus having to personally associate with the English Monarch.
After the Great Famine of 1844/46 the population of Ireland had been more than halved, the West Coast had suffered the most, many boats lay rotting in the small harbours all around the coast with nobody to sail them. Their owners mainly Irish or Anglo-Irish gentry had bankrupted themselves as a result of the loss of tenant revenue and in a lot of cases as a result of their attempts to help, feed and nurture their tenants. They lost their estates under the Encumber Estates Act losing their yachts/sailing trading vessels as well, their properties being taken over by often absentee Landlords from the more wealthy areas of the UK who used their Irish residences as summer holiday homes rather than permanent bases. Many of these new landed gentry were products of the industrial revolution in England, an example being the Burtons of Carraigaholt who had a 50ft+ yawl which they sailed out of Carraigaholt.
As a result of the ravages of the famine and the post famine era, the main centres of population continued to maintain and develop sailing and yacht clubs, though there had been considerable re-arrangement and amalgamation of clubs. The Dublin membership of the Royal Western had run very successful regattas in Dublin in 1854 and 1856, which were very popular and well reported. These regattas were run under the Corinthian principles: amateur and handicaps as today rather than for the then traditional wager or bets akin to horse racing with paid professional hands on deck, in fact a yacht competing had to leave all paid hands ashore and this is today portrayed by the Jockey Rule. With the demise of the Royal Western the membership reformed under the guise of the Kingstown Model Yacht Club in 1857 which was subsequently changed to the Prince Alfred Yacht Club in 1864 and later in 1870 to the Royal Alfred Yacht Club which today though the membership possess no Club House, organises and runs all Yacht Racing in Dun Laoghaire, except for club regattas, all of this under the Corinthian traditions long established by the Royal Western and in fact traditionalists in the Alfred maintain through their Royal Western links, to be the oldest amateur yacht racing organization in the world.
Meanwhile, in Cobh in Cork, the remaining Royal Western membership there had, in 1862, obtained an Admiralty Warrant to fly the Blue Ensign under the title Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland, based at the Queenstown Yacht Club, formed in 1860 and subsequently disbanded and replaced by its new title and distinctions. The new Royal Western obtained the following year the Queens Cup for yacht racing from Queen Victoria and, as previously mentioned, all the Cork yacht clubs were subsequently amalgamated into the present Royal Cork.
In early September of 1984 the Club was re-established as the Western Yacht Club at Inrush, its founding base, and this was headed by such people as Brendan McMahon, Hugh McKiernan, Dan Beazley, Fintan Keating, Paudie Eustace, Richard Glynn and Gerald Griffin and many others interested in supporting the development of sailing. Kilrush Marina was constructed in 1991 by Shannon Development to provide the infrastructure for the development of yachting on the west coast.
This new development provided the secure walk-on/walk-off mooring facilities so badly needed which, over a period of time, resulted in a major increase in the numbers of locally-owned and based yachts, which in turn further developed the Club and increased its membership: the result being a very active Club in the traditions of the Royal Western of Ireland with many good yacht racing events taking place and organised by the Club, such as the yearly October series.
So from Kilrush big oaks have grown from little acorns and we all may be extremely proud of the great traditions established so many years ago by sailors who were just as enthusiastic as we are today but hadn't got the modern systems available to us today to communicate, but who nevertheless succeeded in running some amazing sailing events.
The Shannon Estuary and its sailors had an input into the Americas Cup in that Lt. Penn, the son of the then Chief Justice of Ireland who lived at Paradise House on the Fergus Estuary, competed against the New York Yacht Club entry in his yacht which was reputed to be maintained on a mooring in the pool opposite to Paradise. Likewise the Earl of Dunraven instituted a challenge for the Americas Cup with his yacht Valkerie – this ended in court as a result of the rules being changed on the race course!
In closing I would like to mention that much effort should be made to obtain the original Club Warrants and Establishment Writs, as much as to re-establish the present Clubs true identity as well as making the Club more attractive for visiting yachtsmen to join, so as to allow them obtain a Royal identity as such through the back door: a very attractive proposition for Americans as well as UK yachtsmen who might not be able to afford the luxury at their home port.
Another interesting point is that the Crown depicted on the Royal Western Flags is the Prince of Wales’s Crown and not the Monarchs Crown with the Orbs and Cross as Ruler of the Empire and Defender of the Faith. The membership of the Royal Western were being extremely democratic in selecting this emblem in that they were not accepting total allegiance to the Crown or the then established Religion. Thus the Royal Western established a Royal Club in name which encompassed all people of all religions and political persuasions in Ireland and all over the world where people went on sea in small vessels to enjoy the freedom of the sea.
The often spoke of adage ‘the Land divides us and the Sea brings us together as one’ is still important today as it was so many years ago.
Adrian W. O’Connell 27th November, 2001
Western Yacht Club is located in Kilrush on the Shannon Estuary. Kilrush Marina provides a 120 berth marina which has excellent facilities available to all visitors. The town of Kilrush is only a five minute walk and offers many pubs, resturants and shops. During the summer months we have racing on wednesday evenings and we also hold annual October Series with racing in IRC and Echo.
(Above details and image courtesy of the Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland)here to get involved
The Irish Marine Federation (IMF) is the national organisation representing both commercial and leisure sectors of the marine industry in Ireland.
The IMF is affiliated to the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC) which provides the Secretariat from its Dublin office.
IBEC has regional offices in Cork, Donegal, Galway, Limerick and Waterford and an office in Brussels, the Irish Business Bureau.
The primary aims of the Federation are:
To promote the interests of all sectors of the marine industry in Ireland and to encourage its growth and development.
To represent the interests of the industry to Government, State Agencies and European institutions, thereby influencing public policies.
To promote the image of the industry through quality awareness, public statements and the organisation of Boat Shows.
To provide advice, information and services to members in order to assist in achieving these objectives.
Membership of the Federation also gives full membership of the Small Firms Association (www.sfa.ie) who represent small firms trans-sectorally by coverage in the national press, television and radio and through the many regional meetings and seminars which take place throughout the country.
The association conducts regular surveys of business trends and publishes a bi-monthly magazine Running Your Business along with many reports on the needs of Irish business. They also provide advice and assistance on all aspects of personnel and industrial relations and specially designed training programmes aimed at small firms.
Membership of the IMF is open to all firms operating in the marine industry in Ireland, subject to the approval of the Council of the Federation.
Irish Marine Federation (IMF), Confederation House, 84/86 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: 01 605 1652, Fax: 01 638 1652, Email: [email protected]