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Although a few countries are still to ease their lockdowns, sailing is restarting around the world, including Ireland where a Coastguard advisory was lifted this morning and boating with social distancing made its debut as Irish clubs and marinas reopened to boat owners.

Sailing with a crew made up from the same household is now possible subject to the constraints of taking leisure pursuits within five km from a person’s home and returning to the harbour of departure.

As we see a return to the water, sailing clubs are looking at the next stages and the restarting of yacht racing.

With aggressive social distancing measures in place, running yacht races with a traditional race management set-up and lots of people crammed onto a committee boat is going to be difficult and so is conventional crewed racing. 

The UK based RestartSailing Group have been exploring simpler race formats and a number of GPS tracking apps are emerging that allows Simple Racing to be run automatically. It's a virtual format that has been tried with success by leading offshore body ISORA who have been using virtual courses for its offshore league racing since 2012

There is certainly a demand for racing with Dublin Bay Sailing Club members voting overwhelmingly for a return late last month.

Olympic sailor Mark Mansfield has already offered suggestions on how racing can restart by reducing crew numbers in a bid to comply with two-metre social distancing rules. 

As Afloat's WM Nixon said last Saturday, Irish sailors need flexible thinking and tolerance in their emergence from Covid-19 if we are to get the scene going again otherwise the 2020 sailing season will look like a desert.

A poll on the UK based RestartSailing Facebook Group indicated that 41% of clubs have opened, with 45% in the planning stages of opening shortly and 14% unable to open due to external factors.

The pressure group have set up a Simple Racing Group to consider this new format if you are interested in getting involved you can join here

Tagged under

There has been overwhelming support from a Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) survey to going racing this season despite the problems posed by COVID-19.

The anonymous survey got a response from over half of DBSC's 1,200 members There showed 'huge support for extending the season and reformatted Tuesday racing for the keelboat and cruiser fleets'.

Following the government roadmap announcement last Friday (1st of May), DBSC says it is 'encouraged but needs to wait for formal guidance from Irish Sailing'.

White sails option

Club Commodore Jonathan Nicholson says the survey also showed a white sails option to reduce crew numbers was popular. 

'This and other options need further consideration along with a dialogue with the DBSC class captains' Nicholson says, for the massive 250-boat fleet.

Support for running two DBSC races on Saturdays was less clear cut but maybe considered based on the season start date.

Adapting the DBSC format

There was near-unanimous support for adapting the race formats given the new constraints that DBSC will be operating under.

The responses are summarised below by DBSC on its website as follows: 

Intentions to race this season?

This question was posed a number of times, albeit with a different perspective. Of particular note is the response to the question “Having spent time thinking about this and looking at some of the options DBSC is thinking about how likely are you now to join this season”. 75% of responses were either likely or very likely to join. There is also considerable support for entering regardless of the start date of the season.

What facilities are needed to race?

There is a need for changing rooms etc. to be addressed especially for dinghy and smaller keelboat classes, whilst access to food and bar was considered a nice to have, this was not deemed a deterrent to racing.

Given the nature of this season what revisions to the programme would be welcome?

There was huge support for extending the season and reformatted Tuesday racing for the keelboat and cruiser fleets. Support for running two races on Saturdays was less clear cut but maybe considered based on the season start date. The white sails option to reduce crew numbers was popular. This and other options need further consideration along with a dialogue with the class captains. There was near-unanimous support for adapting the race formats given the new constraints that we will be operating under.

Interpreting the comments is more complex. While many people identified themselves, the survey remains anonymous. All feedback, which was overwhelmingly positive, was considered.

We absolutely recognise there is a concern about personal safety and we will only run racing when the government and Irish Sailing have given their approval and the waterfront clubs are ready to support this activity in a safe and responsible manner. Moreover, rest assured that DBSC will prioritise the safety of all the volunteers who make our racing possible. We acknowledge we may have a reduced number of entries this year as unfortunately, it will not be possible for all members of our club and community to race this summer.

In summary, there is a very clear appetite to go racing.

In a week when Ireland's biggest yacht racing club was due to start its summer schedule, Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) is instead surveying members in lockdown for their thoughts on the prospect of racing on the Bay later this summer as the COVID-19 emergency greatly affects 2020 Irish sailing fixtures.

The survey is being conducted as the club sees a delayed start to the season and 'potentially reduced budgets and resources'.

In the online poll, Commodore Jonathan Nicholson urges as many skippers and crew to complete the three short questions to help the club decide what can be offered. 

The club is the umbrella organisation that runs year-round racing for members from all Dun Laoghaire Harbour's waterfront yacht clubs; the National Yacht Club, the Royal St. George Yacht Club, the Royal Irish Yacht Club and the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as sailors based at the town marina.

"We want to try and plan for this as best we can in order to deliver our members the best possible racing, as soon as it is safe to do so," Nicholson tells members.

SB20 dbsc2020 1230The Dublin Bay SB20 sportsboat fleet Photo: Afloat

The 2020 DBSC season was due to start on the capital's waters this Saturday for over 250 boats in 20 classes and some estimated 1,500 sailors.

As Afloat previously reported, the timing of the questionnaire is in line with Sport Ireland's own bid to frame protocols for a return to sport with social distancing. Protocols for sailing are being drawn up by Irish Sailing, according to its CEO Harry Hermon yesterday.

"How likely are you to race should your club bar, restaurant and changing rooms remain closed?" 

The DBSC survey says 'We would like to know your initial thoughts before you think too deeply about this season. Please answer this question without thinking too hard! We will ask it again when we have outlined some options.

The multiple-choice survey's first question probes 'Given the current situation with COVID 19 if all rules were relaxed and we could go sailing from the 1st of June how likely are you to join DBSC this year? Answer options range from Very likely to Very Unlikely.

The second question is "How important to your decision to go racing is the Apres Sail at your club? How likely are you to race should your club bar, restaurant and changing rooms remain closed?" 

Published in DBSC

The Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) buoyant Cruiser Two fleet has an A31-type yacht added to its number this season. 

The French-built Archambault A31 is arguably one of the most competitive IRC boats of its size. The new arrival is a National Yacht Club campaign that will be moored at Dun Laoghaire Marina. A sistership La Republique from Liverpool competes on the Irish Sea in ISORA racing but this new arrival is the only A31 in Ireland.

The A31 is a 31’4” (9.55m) cruiser-racer sailboat designed by Joubert Nivelt Design (France). She was built between 2009 and 2017 by Archambault (France) and BG Race (France).

The A31 design comes straight off the back of the successful larger Archambault A35 of which there are several in Ireland including the Sovereign's Cup winner Fools Gold from Waterford. Another A35, Gringo, is a club mate of this Bay new arrival at the NYC and another A35 Endgame campaigns from Royal Cork.

Starlight for DBSC Cruiser Five

In Cruiser Division Five, the white sails division, a Starlight 35 has also joined the fleet. The new addition comes from the Hamble to Ireland.

DBSC Cruiser Zero fleet expands

As Afloat reported previously, the DBSC Cruiser Zero fleet was also boosted for this season when El Pocko, a German Frers Puma 42, arrived at the  Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. It is the second new addition for the Bay's big boat class. 

In January the First 40 La Response, formerly known as Courier Zen and a veteran of several Commodore's Cup teams joined the fleet. The RIYC boat is a fillip to a now eight-boat (or more) DBSC Cruiser Zero class racing that itself was in question only a couple of years ago.

ElPocko SternThe angular stern of the Frers design

Racing in Dublin Bay Sailing Club has been postponed this year but the hope is for the season to get underway at some point.

Published in DBSC

The opening of Dublin Bay Sailing Club's summer season scheduled for the last week in April has been postponed due to Government Covid-19 measures. The revised start date is so far unknown. 

The club, one of the largest yacht racing clubs in Europe, is the umbrella organisation for weekly yacht racing on Dublin Bay for all the waterfront yacht clubs in Dun Laoghaire.

The first races for a combined fleet of up to 250 boats were scheduled to get underway on Tuesday, April 25.

It was inevitable, however, when waterfront clubs lift-ins were postponed at the weekend that it would impact on DBSC arrangements. 

"Even before the latest measures were introduced it was almost inconceivable that our sailing season would start on time. As such DBSC is following the waterfront clubs and postponing the start of the season until the current situation improves, " DBSC Commodore Jonathan Nicholson said in a statement on the club website.

Significantly, however, Nicholson, also added: "DBSC is still working on the premise that there will be racing this year and are preparing accordingly". 

Published in DBSC

Next week's final race of the Dublin Bay Sailing Club's Citroen South Spring Chicken Series and prizegiving have been postponed until September and it will be 'reviewed' at that time.

The decision for the National Yacht Club hosted event comes in the wake of this weekend's Coronavirus emergency measures.

DBSC's Summer season is scheduled for this April. First Race dates as follows: Saturday, April 25; Tuesday, April 28; Wednesday, April 29 and Thursday, April 30.

Published in Dublin Bay

After four races sailed of the DBSC Spring Chicken Series, the 1720 sportsboat Ricochet leads overall with one race of the series left to sail on March 22nd. 

Second overall in the Citroen South sponsored fixture is the Sigma 38 State O'Chassis with third place overall taken by the J109 Dear Prudence.

As Afloat reported earlier, the fourth race on Sunday morning featured a southerly downwind course to Dalkey from Dublin Bay.

Download overall results below.

Published in DBSC

There was good news for DBSC Spring Chicken Series sailors who successfully completed their fourth race of the series in strong westerly winds this morning on Dublin Bay. The gusty conditions, however, proved too much for the DMYC Dinghy Frostbites this afternoon and unfortunately, that fixture was cancelled.

The 50-boat Citroen South sponsored Spring Chicken fleet sailed south to Dalkey Island passing a turning mark in the middle of Scotsman's Bay with some of the competitors –  especially the sportsboats – hoisting spinnakers for the relatively tight downwind leg.

Spring Chicken Racing forty foot 0459A tight downwind leg for J109s off the Forty Foot on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat

The final race of the DBSC series (the added extra race) will take place on March 22nd.

Published in DBSC
Tagged under

Overall leader Mermaid IV will be in the first start of next Sunday's forecasted breeze fourth race of the DBSC Spring Chicken Series on Dublin Bay. 

As Afloat reported, the Beneteau 50-footer has a slender lead in the weather hit series that concludes on March 22.

Download latest starts and handicaps below.

Published in DBSC
Tagged under

The Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) Cruiser Zero fleet got a further boost this week when another addition to the rekindled fleet appeared under the crane at the Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

The 2004 41-footer yacht (for a senior yacht racing administrator in the Bay) is El Pocko, a German Frers Puma 42.

Previously based in the Netherlands, she is currently keelless following transportation to the RStGYC forecourt from Flevoland.

ElPocko SternThe angular stern of the Frers design

It is the second new addition for the bay's big boat class.  In January the First 40 La Response, formerly known as Courier Zen and a veteran of several Commodore's Cup teams joined the fleet.

El Pocko will be on the line for the first of DBSC's first summer races in April and is understood to be optimised for the ORCi rule with a carbon mast and a new keel in 2014.

The RStGYC boat is a fillip to a now eight-boat (or more) DBSC Cruiser Zero class racing that itself was in question only a couple of years ago.

Published in DBSC
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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.

FAQs

While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset

 

While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

© Afloat 2020

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