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17th July 2009

Donaghadee Sailing Club

Donaghadee Sailing Club is located in the seaside town of Donaghadee on the east coast of Northern Ireland. Donaghadee comes from the Irish - Domhnach Daoi meaning 'Daoi’s Church'. Donaghadee has a long history with many of it's prominent features dating back as far as Norman times. For a long time the harbour has been the hub of the town and the history of the harbour goes back as far as the 17th century. The modern harbour was constructed in 1821 and has been a haven for local fishermen, sailors and visitors alike. The harbour also acted as a ferrying point between Northern Ireland and the Scottish village of Portpatrick on the Galloway coast.

Donaghadee Sailing Club was formed in 1970 to provide facilities for the local sailing community. The sailing club is housed at 20 Shore Street, on the seafront overlooking the harbour and bay. Donaghadee Sailing Club has gained in popularity over the years and now boasts a strong membership with members of all ages. The sailing club provides sailing opportunities to its members and has developed an extensive training programme, teaching people of varying abilities and all ages to sail. Through the running of this successful training programme we have achieved the status of being an RYA recognised training centre. Furthermore, DSC has achieved RYA championship club status and is also recognised as an RYA Sailability centre. With all this activity and increasing numbers over the years we had out-grown our premises and facilities and with a lot of hard work by our dedicated club members starting in 2005 the club commenced redevelopment plans and subsequently was successful in receiving substantial funding from Sport NI. We have also received funding from other bodies, local businesses, members of the local community and of course our own club members. Construction of the new DSC clubhouse began in October 2008 and completion will be in April 2009.

The new clubhouse has been designed with training in mind and has impressive facilities for the benfit of all.

Wet/Dry training rooms
Large changing facilities including Adult/Junior/Disabled areas
Large multi-function room incorporating bar and catering facilities, with stunning sea views
Multi-function training room with large projection screen
Visitor changing/showering facilities
Donaghadee Sailing Club, 20 Shore Street Donaghadee, Co. Down BT21 0D, N. Ireland. Tel: 02891 884270
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Published in Clubs
17th July 2009

Courtown Sailing Club

cul8r_rounding_mark_l.jpg Courtown Sailing Club is a family orientated and vibrant club where new members are always welcome.

Left: 'Cul8r' rounding mark at the Kilmichael Challenge 2009


Post: Courtown Sailing Club, c/o Aine Stafford, South Pier, Courtown Harbour, Co. Wexford. Tel: 086 80 66 594. Please only call at reasonable hours!

Junior Organiser: John Timmons

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 087 761 4955 between 19:00 and 21:00 weekday evenings and between 12:00 and 18:00 on weekends

(Above information and image courtesy of Courtown Sailing Club)

Courtown Sailing Club, Courtown Harbour, Gorey, Co. Wexford. Website here.

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Published in Clubs
16th July 2009

County Antrim Yacht Club


25 October 1902 – Formation of Club at John Wylie’s residence. Present – Robert Todd, William Craig, Robert Auld Snr, Robert Auld Jnr, John Wylie (1st Captain), H.E. Wylie and A. Wylie. Decision taken to form Whitehead Sailing Club. Decided to call a public meeting on Thursday 30th October to draw up rules and appoint Office Bearers – Members to be enrolled.

30 October 1902 – Meeting held in Victoria Café. Object of the Club – To encourage and promote amateur sailing. Half model of the Waverley on display (now mounted on the current fireplace). No entrance fee, but fees due from 1/1/1903 – 10 shillings
John Wylie - Captain (designed the Waverley); Robert G Todd – Second Officer (presented the Todd Cup). Decision taken to use the amended RNIYC rules

21 November 1902 – First General Meeting to discuss and sanction rules. Burgee to be Red with a White W (copy currently on display in the General Room)

April 1903 – First Sailing Committee formed. Starting House situated to the West of the Cable House (cable ran from Whitehead to Portpatrick – removed in 1951)

16 May 1903 – First Club House opened. Waverleys to sail at 7pm on Wednesdays and 3.30pm on Saturdays

June 1903 – Concerts to be held in July and August to raise funds for the Club
First Regatta held 22 August 1903

August 1903 – Auld Challenge Cup sailed for at Whitehead Annual Regatta by Whitehead One Design Class – Boat winning cup twice to become the owner

July 1904 – First Ladies Race for the Duff Challenge Cup presented by James Duff of Blackhead

August 1904 – New class – Insect Class were considered. Annual General Meeting held at Victoria Café due to extra room required. Spring and Autumn AGM’s held

June 1906 – Hailcock Rock – proposal to drill a hole 12 inches deep x  2 1⁄2 inches in diameter to erect a post – this was left to the Property Committee and the cost was not to exceed 10 shillings

July 1906 – Morrow Cup presented for the Insect Class and if won twice to be kept by the boat owner

September 1906 – Proposal for first Club Dance to be held in winter 1906. Dances were held over the years at either Royal Hotel, The Royal George Hotel or The Rhinka

October 1906 – Proposal for Club House to be extended.

18 May 1907 – First Opening Day

5 August 1908 – Proposal to investigate scheme for new Club House

28 August 1908 – Special Meeting to formally go ahead with new Club House

November 1908 – Midland Railway Company agreed to give £50 towards groundwork for new Club House

22 December 1908 – The Club’s first Trustees were officially appointed

21 January 1909 – Architects for new Club House to Gregory & Hall (original drawing on wall beside General Room door). Builders were the Dowther Brothers

6 March 1909 – Cost of building Club House - £415 – Dowther Brothers agreed to give £15 for the old Club House (photograph on General Room wall). Opening Day to be 5 June 1909. Proposal to change name of the Club to County Antrim Yacht Club due to large number of people who were members who also lived in Belfast.

15 March 1909 – Proposal to change the burgee to blue pennant with a yellow Irish/Celtic cross

April 1909 – Fireplaces to cost £13 – Billiard Room (iron) and General Room (wood)

May 1909 – Billiard Table purchased for £75 (including fittings). Cost to furnish the Club House - £65.00

June 1909 – ByeLaws – Club open from – 11.15 pm except Sunday 12pm–9pm.
A Member shall not introduce the same visitor more than twice in any one year
Ladies only allowed in Club House until 7pm. Billiard Table – tickets had to be purchased from the steward – no-one to get on the table. No card playing on a Sunday

3 June 1909 – Boatman employed for 18 shillings per week. Steward employed for 15 shillings per week with an extra 2 shillings & sixpence for Sundays

9 June 1909 – Paymaster General could not see his way to putting in a letter box as requested by the General Committee. Club fete – different amusements. Mr Bolton – Waxworks and Shadographs; Mr A. Wylie  – Hat-trimming and Box making;  Mr John Hay – ‘Aunt Sally’; Mr Gamble –  Ariel flight;  Mr McCausland – Hobby Horses. Antrim Artillery Band hired for three days for £15.00. Club tents supplied by Tedfords

1918 – R.J. McKeown MP Vice Commodore presented the Billiards Cup (this is currently played for each Christmas and is the longest running trophy in the Club). First won by H. Magill
1925 – McCalmont Trophy presented by Col. R.C.A. McCalmont DSO who succeeded his father as Commodore (1913-1924)

1926 – Todd Cup presented for Waverley Class by Robert G Todd who was to be Commodore 1925 – 1938. Yachtmen’s Cup presented by Sailing Members for Mid Week Points Races. Landmen’s Cup presented by Non-Sailing Members for Saturday Points Races (At this time the Ulster G P for motor bikes could not be held at the same time as the Whitehead Regatta)

June 1928 – Decided to hold a dance on Regatta Day in the evening and that an orchestra to be engaged for this purpose
February 1930 – The sleepers at the top of the slipway were having to be constantly replaced
April 1934 – Fees – Senior Members £1-11-6; Lady Members £0-5-0

June 1936 – Mr James Glover (Captain) indicated his intention to present a perpetual Rose Bowl for the Ladies Race – to be known as Empire Furnishing Company Rose Bowl

June 1937 – Boatman’s wages increased to £2 per week

1944 – Sailing Committee requisites £5.00 purchase of material and gear required for launching of yachts. One bottle of whiskey only to be issued from the bar for consumption nightly

March 1945 – Caretaker/Steward appointed at 30 shillings per week. £350 to pay for slip – Wm. Logan & Sons Ltd

August 1945 – No Member of the Club is to receive more than 1 glass of whiskey between 9pm–10pm, after 10pm the whiskey to be given out until it is finished. Permission given to purchase 1 dozen whiskey glasses

November 1945 – No visitors entitled to play in the card games

12 April 1946 – James Magee proposed as a new Member

May 1946 – Sea Hawks admitted to the Club as a Class

June 1946 – Advert for the Club Punt in Belfast Telegraph – under £20.00
November 1946 – Purchase of 4 bats and 1 dozen balls for new diversion for the Ladies  -  Table Tennis

April 1949 – Public phone discussed, but deemed to be unwanted at this time

29 May 1950 – Special Meeting held due to loss of ‘Fair Maid’ and crew. Sailing and social activities cancelled for 1 week.

1952 – John Wylie – founder Member died

July 1952 – Admiralty Chart of Belfast Lough displayed. Snooker Table recovered, re-cushioned and new pockets £64-19-6; 6d per person per 1⁄2 hour

October 1952 – Hugh Kennedy purchased plans of GP 14 Class

July 1953 – Prompt closing of the bar at 11.30pm was emphasized while all singing and noise was to be stopped at midnight

April 1954 – Upper part of slip completed in concrete - £130

1955 – Calwell Cup presented for GP 14 Class

1956 – Auld Cup presented for Juniors

1959 – Beach Road premises acquired, £300 to extend slip – shelved

1960 – Plans to fix balcony at a cost of £2346.00

October 1961 – Gates acquired for Beach Road - £15; Fencing acquired for Beach Road - £15

April 1963 – Royalty of 2 guineas to CAYC for plans of the Waverley

15 August 1963 – Sara Annett joined the Club

September 1963 – Wooden steps at side of Club House replaced by concrete at a cost of £150.00

October 1963 – First Junior Committee to be formed

November 1963 – Table Tennis Table made for £5-12-6

December 1963 – 1914-18 War Memorial Plaque moved to left hand side of fireplace; 1939-45 War Memorial Plaque (new) moved to right hand side of the fireplace. Presented by Mr John McKendry. Wood carving presented by Mr John Henshaw

February 1964 – McCalmont Trophy was deemed to be irreplaceable. No valuation could be given and decision taken to keep it in the Bank all year round except for Captain’s Night. (The trophy has now been valued at approx. £25,000)

April 1964 – Rails on slip to cost £39

May 1964 – Waterproof cover for the snooker table cost £9-10-0

September 1964 – Framing of architects’ original drawing completed

May 1965 – Installation of pay phone

March 1966 – First Aid kit purchased

February 1970 – Moveable bar purchased for £90.00 (still used every Regatta Day as an outside bar facility)

January 1972 – Request made for Double Diamond draught beer at bar was made although there was some opposition from the Guinness drinkers

April 1972 – Klaxon horn presented to Club by Mr Gerry Easton (still used for Points Racing)

August 1972 – First inflatable Rescue Boat purchased; New slip completed

September 1972 – Workman Trophy presented to the Club by J R Workman from RNIYC for the Lake Class which were now being sailed at CAYC

May 1973 – Electric winch finally in position

June 1973 – George Thomas joined the Club

September 1973 – Cable Hut sold to the Club for £500

May 1974 – Purchase of 4 Olympic Marks £21.92 each with the moorings extra

June 1974 – Proposal that a Commodore’s Board be put in place pending verification of valid information. (This was subsequently completed in January 1991)

January 1975 – Increase in membership subscription to £7.50 for Ordinary Members

August 1975  – Proposal for snooker team to join the Larne & District Snooker League

June 1976 – Proposal for building changing rooms passed.

October 1976 – Proposal to purchase Dory for £1340 + Vat @ 12 1⁄2 % less 12 1⁄2% discount including engine

November 1976 – First Gaming Machine installed

June 1978 – Glass washer purchased for the bar

October 1978 – Harry McKee joined the Club

February 1980 – Neville Hack Trophy presented to the Club by Mrs Hack

August 1980 – Laser Rose Bowl presented to Irish Laser Association (Ulster Branch)

July 1982 – Consideration for extension of bar area

March 1983 – Purchase of new Rescue Boat - £900 to fix old one. Cost of Sea Rider £1500

May 1984 – Harry McKee to arrange for extension of bar store

July 1984 – D J Elwood joined the Club

September 1985 – New cash register - £550 less allowance for old register of £50.00

January 1987 – Letter received from D J Elwood re. Break in to the Club. Lost all his tapes – Committee decided that he should be totally reimbursed.

August 1988 – Successful European Scorpion Championships held at the Club

October 1988 – General Room finally refurbished

January 1989 – Voluntary bar staff took control of bar for a period of 1 year to improve financial position of the Club

April 1989 – Six ‘Optimists’ were purchased via a Sports Council grant. These small craft have been a tremendous success in encouraging young sailors in the Club to ‘have a go’. The Optimist Class are single handers ideal for juniors in the 5-15 year old bracket though in reality most move into the Mirror or Topper Classes by the age of 12/13.

August 1990 – John Lewis and Roger Kernaghan sailing Roobarb won the Irish Scorpion Championships after an intensive two year campaign. A major accolade for the Club.

1991 – Club receives Royal Patronage: HRH Duke of York

May 1991 – The Flying Fifteen Class began to develop when Sheela Lewis purchased Charley Brown. This was subsequently followed by Jim Rankin in ‘Blue Moon and Shane Haveron in Bonnie. Laser class consists of at least 20 boats.

June 1991 – A very successful Ulster Laser Championship attracted 70 boats and this was sponsored by Northern Bank. Brian Erskine, North East Regional Manager at the time and former Club member, presented the prizes and recollected some memorable times at the Club re-establishing many old friendships.

July 1993 – The Club hosted the Ulster Laser Championships which had an entry of 94 boats. This stands as a record for any provincial championship ever held for the Laser Class in Ireland.

August 1993 – The Flying 15 fleet had increased to six and was continuing to attract new interest. The RYA courses continue to be successful with growing numbers of Juniors.

June 1994 – The Topper Class began to develop with five boats actively racing and attending regattas. Junior members have included Chris Moore, Sarah Moore, Graeme McKenzie, Deborah-Ann Perry and Patrick Smyth. The juniors are seen as the life blood of the Club in the years ahead.

July 1995 – The Commodore, Mr Harry Carse and three guests are invited to a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.

June 1996 – Fourteen Flying 15s were registered at the Club. The sight of many masts in the bay and a huge turnout during points racing on Monday and Wednesday nights was very encouraging. Peter Waugh, Des McKendry, Tim Taylor, and Stephen Canning in addition to those mentioned above have had extremely close racing in this very competitive class. In order to keep costs under control and provide fair sailing only old boats under sail number 2660 are allowed to compete.

July 1996 – A number of the juniors entered the Irish Topper Championships with a reasonable degree of success.

August 1996 – Many of the senior members with young families are clearly determined to provide boats for their children to encompass the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) training courses which have been held at the Club during the last 4/5 years. This commitment will ensure the survival of CAYC. The Club is now a recognised training centre under the RYA scheme.

February 2000 – Keith Black ends his two years as Commodore, one of the longest standing members to have sat on Committee. (One short break off Committee and he is still doing it... Bar Convener 2000 and in 2001 Sailing Secretary). Sheela Lewis is voted onto Committee as First ‘Madam’ Commodore

April 2000 – ‘New Slip’ has major renovation work carried out, £12,000. Club members are levied and many offer an additional donation. Also £1,000 donation received from a "Business contact" No loan was required.

July and August 2001 – Record number of RYA courses run at the Club. Another successful Raft Race, £1000 donated to the RNLI

March 2002 – Snooker Team win 3rd Division Larne & District League

August 2002 – Centenary Regatta, well attended approx 70 yachts. A beautiful morning of sailing, followed by a fog bound afternoon with racing abandoned. Fortunately there were results from the first round of all classes participating.

October 2002 – Centenary Formal Dinner Dance. Quality Hotel, Carrickfergus : 25th October 2002 the  Club is 100 years old to the Day!

Country Antrim Yacht Club, Whitehead, Co. Antrim, N. Ireland. Established 1902. Patron: HRH Duke of York

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Published in Clubs


The club, founded in 1960 by a small group of people with an interest in boats, provides a service to people boating, with changing and toilet facilities, a secure boat storage park, social areas and a bar, also by organising events based in the club and on the water.

The club draws support from all sides of the political divide, from all socio-economic levels (we pride ourselves in providing training and boats for young people who would otherwise been unable to participate). We have active disabled sailors and women are active equal members. The club has links with other clubs in Northern Ireland, Scotland and in the South of Ireland.


CSBC’s main activity is sailing. The club organises races for both cruising yachts and sailing dinghies, adults and juniors, assists in the organisation of cruises in company, holds events with other sailing clubs and plays host to class provincial and national championships.

The club’s own Sailing School provides a wide and extensive range of training for young and old, beginner and expert, with courses running from Easter to Halloween. Emphasis is with Junior and Youth sailors from the introduction of the sport to young people, to the preparation of sailors for provincial, national and international competition. Over the past few years the club has benefitted from several grants from the Foundation of Sports and the Arts and National Lottery Sports Fund through the RYA and the Northern Ireland Sports Council, all for the promotion and development of junior and youth sailing. These grants provided both training and support facilities and boats.


An elite squad of juniors was formed in 1996 and are provided with training, coaching, and support. The squad focus is on the Topper and Laser sailing dinghies as recommended by the RYA. Since 1998 sailors from the club have competed at provincial and national Topper and Laser class competitions as well as other open events. Club sailors proved to be very successful, winning the Northern Ireland Youth Championships, the Irish Topper championship and Irish team titles. In line with the development strategy the club, sent a squad to the World Championship, held at Carnac, France. Sailors have been selected for the RYA / NIC Youth Development squad every year since, joining Northern Ireland teams for the Nations Cup and Laser Youth World event. In 2001 a girl was selected to represent Ireland at the European Youth Olympic event.

CSBC specialised in holding junior competitions, having held Optimist and Topper regional championships in 1998 hosted the Irish Topper Championships and in 2000 the Skydome Topper World Championships.

Other classes of boats sail at the club, there is a very active adult laser class and a large flying fifteen fleet, there are also classes of pico, buzz and recently laser 2000 dinghies.

In addition to sailing activities the club has also active sections in rowing, sea angling and motorboating while keeping up an active social programme. This diversity into other aspects of water sports and social events has proved a great strength and has helped position the club within the local community. The club plays an active role in community affairs and takes part in events such as the ‘Heart of the Glens’ Festival. The clubhouse also hosts social functions such as weddings.


CSBC has a new clubhouse, completed in 1997 and opened with special guest Tony Bulimore. The clubhouse was completely rebuilt with the help of grants from the Foundation of Sports and the Arts and National Lottery Sports Fund. The design is to the highest standards of modern sports clubs, incorporating, fitness and training areas, large changing and toilet facilities, a junior members room, a high quality commercial kitchen and comfortable social area. Outside there is a large patio and lawn with excellent barbeque facilities.

CSBC has approximately 300 members, some from the Cushendall area, others from Ballymena and Belfast.

The club is situated just outside Cushendall village on the Coast Road. The site is shared with the Red Bay, RNLI station and the Moyle District Council Caravan Site. The Moyle District Council provide and maintain public toilets, 2 large carparks and the slipway. CSBC clubhouse sits in its own grounds to the side of the RNLI station.

Cushendall Sailing & Boating Club, Coast Road, Cushendall, Co Antrim BT44 0QW, N. Ireland

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Published in Clubs


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

   IDRA14 Open

   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.


Sail Training

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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Published in Clubs

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

Carrickfergus Sailing Club, Rodger's Quay, Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim BT38 8BE. Tel: +44 28 93351402, fax: +44 44 870 7066157, email: [email protected]

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Published in Clubs
16th July 2009

Ballyronan Boat Club

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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Published in Clubs
16th July 2009

Royal Alfred Yacht Club


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.

Royal Alfred Yacht Club

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Published in Clubs

 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 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’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] 

Irish Cruiser Racing Association  

Afloat posts for ICRA: 

White Sail Report 


Published in Organisations

Our History

meteireannhq.jpg Operational Meteorology might be said to have begun in Ireland on 8 October 1860, when the first 'real time' weather observation was transmitted from Valentia Island in Co. Kerry. Valentia Observatory, as it came to be known, was one of a network of weather stations established around the Irish and British coastlines, by the naval authorities in London, to enable storm warnings to be provided for ships at sea.

For many years after Independence Ireland's needs, as far as weather matters were concerned, continued to be met by the British Meteorological Office. By the mid-1930's, however, it was clear that a new and exciting customer was on the way. It was the requirement to provide accurate weather information for transatlantic aviation that led to the formal establishment of an Irish Meteorological Service in 1936.

The first Director, Austen H. Nagle, was appointed in December of that year, and installed himself in the small offices in St. Andrew's Street in Dublin, which became the first Headquarters of the new Service. In April 1937, the administration of the existing observing network was taken over from the British Authorities; it comprised 4 telegraphic stations (at Malin Head, Blacksod Point, Roches Point and Birr), 18 climatological stations, 172 rainfall stations, and Valentia Observatory, which was the only station at the time to be manned by official personnel.

In its early stages, the new Service received continuing help from the British Authorities. This assistance was in the form of staff seconded from London to work at Foynes, in Co. Limerick, from where flying boats had just begun to operate. Included in their number were several who were later to become well known internationally; notably Hubert Lamb, the climatologist and Arthur Davies, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organisation for nearly 30 years. By 1941, however, the Service's own recruits had been fully trained, and the organisation was able to begin satisfying the increasing demands for weather information from its own resources.

Forecasting for aviation, first at Foynes and later at Shannon and Dublin Airports, was the major preoccupation of the early years. By the late 1940's, however, the Service had broadened its activities. In 1948, for the first time, it assumed responsibility for the weather forecasts broadcast by Radio Éireann, which had been provided from London in the interim. In 1952 it began to supply forecasts to the daily newspapers and 1961 saw the opening of the new Central Analysis and Forecast Office in the Headquarters premises, now housed at 44 Upper O'Connell Street, Dublin. Live presentation by Met Éireann forecasters of the weather on Teilifis Eireann commenced in early 1962.

valoldbuildc1900.jpg Radar Antenna at Shannon AirportThe late 1940's and the 1950's were a time of rapid expansion for the Service. This period saw the establishment of a balanced nation-wide network of observing stations, manned on a full-time basis by Meteorological Service personnel. The climatological and rainfall observing networks were greatly enhanced, thanks largely to the willing co-operation of the Garda authorities around the country and the assistance of other Government Departments and State-sponsored bodies. At Valentia Observatory, which had moved to a mainland site near Cahirciveen in 1892, upper air radiosonde measurements began and a wide range of geophysical measurements and environmental monitoring activities was introduced.

Meanwhile, the Service offered an expanding range of forecast and climatological information to the public and to specialised interests. A notable development was the inauguration of tape recorded telephone forecasts during the 1960's, the precursor of today's Weatherdial. The reception of satellite images began in the late 1960's at Shannon Airport and in the 1970's, the Meteorological Service might be said to have come of age by entering the computer era. Initially, the new machines were employed for communication purposes, but shortly afterwards the computers were used for the relatively new technique of numerical weather prediction.

Throughout its history, the Meteorological Service and its staff played an active role in the development of meteorology on the international scene. Ireland became a full member of the World Meteorological Organisation shortly after its establishment in the early 1950's and was later a founder member of both the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts and the European Meteorological Satellite Organisation, EUMETSAT. More recently, the Service has been active in the formation of other co-operative agencies like EUMETNET and ECOMET. Particularly beneficial to the organisation has been its membership since 1989 of HIRLAM, a co-operative venture between the Scandinavian countries and several other European Meteorological Services for the development of a numerical model for short-range forecasting.

Met eireann Headquarters ImageThe modern era of the Meteorological Service might be said to date from its occupation of the new Headquarters Building in Glasnevin in 1979, a development which for the first time allowed all the Dublin based Divisions to be housed under the same roof. It was around this time too, that the Service reached its peak in terms of staffing, with a total of 342 in 1980. The intervening years have seen a gradual reduction in staff numbers to the present level of 230, a development brought about mainly by the introduction of automated methods for many repetitive tasks, and by on-going review of our priorities with regard to weather observations.

Since the 1990s, in common with its sister organisations in most other European countries, the service has adopted a more commercial approach to the provision of services to its customers,in an effort to try to increase revenue and thus lighten the financial burden on the tax-payer. This spirit of commercial awareness, however, has been combined with an enhancement of the Service's public service role in areas where this has seemed desirable, most notably perhaps by the introduction of Severe Weather Alerts and by co-operation in the monitoring of stratospheric and tropospheric ozone

In March of 1996, its 60th year of operation, the Meteorological Service adopted the new title Met Éireann, with the aim of establishing a well-focused corporate identity in the public mind. Proud of its record of public service, its development of the national meteorological infrastructure and its contribution to the science of meteorology, Met Éireann looks forward with confident optimism to the challenges that lie ahead.

Directors of Met Éireann, 1936-present
1936-1948 Austen H. Nagle
1948-1964 Mariano Doporto
1965-1978 P.M. Austin Bourke
1978-1981 P. Kilian Rohan
1981-1988 Donal L. Linehan
1989-present Declan J. Murphy

Met Éireann Headquarters, Glasnevin Hill, Dublin 9

Tel: +353-1-8064200
Fax: +353-1-8064247
General Forecasting Division
Tel: +353-1- 8064255
Fax: +353-1- 8064275
Note: Provision of forecasts is subject to a fee.
Climate Enquiries Office
Tel: +353-1- 8064260
Fax: +353-1- 8064216
Note: Provision of services is subject to a fee.
Commercial Division
Tel: +353-1-8064244
Fax: +353-1-8064247
Freedom of Information Officer
Tel: +353-1-8064295
Fax: +353-1-8064275

Met Éireann Aviation Services, Shannon Airport Co. Clare
Tel: +353-61-712958
Fax: +353-61-712960
Met Éireann Valentia Observatory, Cahirciveen Co. Kerry
Tel: +353-66-9473460
Fax: +353-67-9472242


Met Eireann: Irish Meteorological Service, Glasnevin Hill, Dublin 9

Published in Organisations
Page 11 of 15

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