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Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

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Sailing in Ireland. Sailors, Yachting, Clubs, Regattas
Traditional boats at this time of the year when tradition takes centre stage. Galway hookers moored in the Claddagh Basin across the River Corrib from the famous Spanish Arch are (left to right) the Naomh Cronan, the Manuela, and the Croi an Cladaigh
Although the much-anticipated Galway 2020 Festival was one of the many aspects of 2020 which has been severely curtailed by the pandemic, the spirit of the great western city and its maritime traditions lives vibrantly on. A recent ceremony in…
Two Weekends, One Great Regatta: 2021 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Notice of Race is Published
The Notice of Race (NOR) for next July's Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta has been published this morning. The NOR is downloadable below as a PDF document. As regular Afloat readers will know, what is Ireland's largest regatta will now be…
HMS Enterprise (also below) as spotted in Kilkeel Harbour recently
Afloat.ie reader Lee Maginnis has sent us images of the old minesweeper HMS Enterprise looking worse for wear in Kilkeel Harbour. The former Royal Navy minesweeper was previously anchored in Carlingford Lough, and made the news nine years ago when…
Paul Barrington at the helm of the National Yacht Club J109, Jalapeno
National Yacht Club members were on award-winning boats in the Dublin Bay Sailing Club's list of prizewinners for the cut-short 2020 summer season. In Cruisers One IRC racing, Paul Barrington's J109 Jalapeno was the Saturday race champion while John O’Gorman's Sunfast…
Kevin Escoffier, left, was rescued by Jean Le Cam and the pair appeared via video link from Le Cam’s yacht
After being rescued from his liferaft by fellow Vendée Globe competitor Jean Le Cam in big seas and strong winds the early hours of this morning some 840 nautical miles South West of Cape Town, South Africa, Kevin Escoffier has…
Marcus Spillane – keen sailor afloat, efficient administrator ashore
The election of Marcus Spillane – originally of Cork – to a Vice Presidency of World Sailing in November is the latest step in an extraordinary involvement in sailing which has seen him compete in many world championships – most…
Donal O'Sullivan – his personal sailing experience and breadth of general knowledge bring an extra dimension to his sailing histories
Anyone who writes the history at the Centenary of one of his long-affiliated sailing clubs in 1984, and then writes the history of his other club at its 150th (Sesquicentennial) some 36 years later in 2020, is clearly someone profoundly…
Squib racing returns to Kinsale next July
The Irish Squib keelboat class will kick off its 2021 season at the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on Belfast Lough on May 29th, according to the provisional 2021 fixtures calendar released this week. Next on the 2021 list is…
Pyewacket winner - Ben O’Shaughnessy
The highlight of Royal Cork Yacht Club's junior sailing laying up supper conducted by Zoom at the weekend was the presentation of the Club's Pyewacket Trophy to the junior sailor who best represented the RCYC in 2020. Ben O’Shaughnessy was awarded…
Black Jack blasting south after the 2019 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race start
Ever wonder how much work goes into preparing a yacht for the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race – never mind a big boat that has just returned from Europe amid the COVID-19 pandemic? Peter Harburg…
A festive maritime scene at Arklow Harbour
Boats lit up for Christmas at Arklow Marina are certainly proving a popular draw at the County Wicklow Harbour. In COVID-19 lockdown, boat owners have responded to the need to brighten up peoples lives by decorating their boats for the…
A screen shot of video from onboard Jean Le Cam's yacht showing the two sailors safe after the rescue mission
A successful rescue operation has been carried out between some of the leading boats in the Vendee Globe race with the retrieval of skipper Kevin Escoffier (PRB) from his liferaft by Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!). At 0118hrs UTC the…
 RS Aeros race in the DBSC Tuesday night series in Dun Laoghaire Harbour
Brendan Foley, Chairperson of the Irish Aero class outlines developments in the new lightweight single-hander from RS If you were to pick a year to get a class going, 2020 would not be the year that you would pick, where…
Kevin Escoffier was racing in third place in the Vendée Globe
Jean Le Cam, the nearest competitor to stricken Vendee Globe skipper Kevin Escoffier, has seen Escoffier in his life raft and, according to unconfirmed reports on social media, Le Cam is going to start his engine in order to rescue his…
A yacht with both a sprit and a pole of the same length
IRC specialist and Olympic helmsman Mark Mansfield analyses the rating rule changes agreed for next season. Following the IRC Congress earlier this month, chaired by Ireland's Michael Boyd, changes were agreed for the 2021 season. The two main areas of change deal…
Team New Zealand's new AC75
If there's one hard fact in a sea of uncertainty, this is identifying the team that needs to be beaten to win the America's Cup, the current Defender representatives, Emirates Team New Zealand. Their new second boat took many by…

How to sail, sailing clubs and sailing boats plus news on the wide range of sailing events on Irish waters forms the backbone of Afloat's sailing coverage.

We aim to encompass the widest range of activities undertaken on Irish lakes, rivers and coastal waters. This page describes those sailing activites in more detail and provides links and breakdowns of what you can expect from our sailing pages. We aim to bring jargon free reports separated in to popular categories to promote the sport of sailing in Ireland.

The packed 2013 sailing season sees the usual regular summer leagues and there are regular weekly race reports from Dublin Bay Sailing Club, Howth and Cork Harbour on Afloat.ie. This season and last also featured an array of top class events coming to these shores. Each year there is ICRA's Cruiser Nationals starts and every other year the Round Ireland Yacht Race starts and ends in Wicklow and all this action before July. Crosshaven's Cork Week kicks off on in early July every other year. in 2012 Ireland hosted some big international events too,  the ISAF Youth Worlds in Dun Laoghaire and in August the Tall Ships Race sailed into Dublin on its final leg. In that year the Dragon Gold Cup set sail in Kinsale in too.

2013 is also packed with Kinsale hosting the IFDS diabled world sailing championships in Kinsale and the same port is also hosting the Sovereign's Cup. The action moves to the east coast in July with the staging of the country's biggest regatta, the Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta from July 11.

Our coverage though is not restricted to the Republic of Ireland but encompasses Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Irish Sea area too. In this section you'll find information on the Irish Sailing Association and Irish sailors. There's sailing reports on regattas, racing, training, cruising, dinghies and keelboat classes, windsurfers, disabled sailing, sailing cruisers, Olympic sailing and Tall Ships sections plus youth sailing, match racing and team racing coverage too.

Sailing Club News

There is a network of over 70 sailing clubs in Ireland and we invite all clubs to submit details of their activities for inclusion in our daily website updates. There are dedicated sections given over to the big Irish clubs such as  the waterfront clubs in Dun Laoghaire; Dublin Bay Sailing Club, the Royal Saint George Yacht Club,  the Royal Irish Yacht Club and the National Yacht Club. In Munster we regularly feature the work of Kinsale Yacht Club and Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven.  Abroad Irish sailors compete in Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) racing in the UK and this club is covered too. Click here for Afloat's full list of sailing club information. We are keen to increase our coverage on the network of clubs from around the coast so if you would like to send us news and views of a local interest please let us have it by sending an email to [email protected]

Sailing Boats and Classes

Over 20 active dinghy and one design classes race in Irish waters and fleet sizes range from just a dozen or so right up to over 100 boats in the case of some of the biggest classes such as the Laser or Optimist dinghies for national and regional championships. Afloat has dedicated pages for each class: Dragons, Etchells, Fireball, Flying Fifteen, GP14, J24's, J80's, Laser, Sigma 33, RS Sailing, Star, Squibs, TopperMirror, Mermaids, National 18, Optimist, Puppeteers, SB3's, and Wayfarers. For more resources on Irish classes go to our dedicated sailing classes page.

The big boat scene represents up to 60% of the sail boat racing in these waters and Afloat carries updates from the Irish Cruiser Racer Association (ICRA), the body responsible for administering cruiser racing in Ireland and the popular annual ICRA National Championships. In 2010 an Irish team won the RORC Commodore's Cup putting Irish cruiser racing at an all time high. Popular cruiser fleets in Ireland are raced right around the coast but naturally the biggest fleets are in the biggest sailing centres in Cork Harbour and Dublin Bay. Cruisers race from a modest 20 feet or so right up to 50'. Racing is typically divided in to Cruisers Zero, Cruisers One, Cruisers Two, Cruisers Three and Cruisers Four. A current trend over the past few seasons has been the introduction of a White Sail division that is attracting big fleets.

Traditionally sailing in northern Europe and Ireland used to occur only in some months but now thanks to the advent of a network of marinas around the coast (and some would say milder winters) there are a number of popular winter leagues running right over the Christmas and winter periods.

Sailing Events

Punching well above its weight Irish sailing has staged some of the world's top events including the Volvo Ocean Race Galway Stopover, Tall Ships visits as well as dozens of class world and European Championships including the Laser Worlds, the Fireball Worlds in both Dun Laoghaire and Sligo.

Some of these events are no longer pure sailing regattas and have become major public maritime festivals some are the biggest of all public staged events. In the past few seasons Ireland has hosted events such as La Solitaire du Figaro and the ISAF Dublin Bay 2012 Youth Worlds.

There is a lively domestic racing scene for both inshore and offshore sailing. A national sailing calendar of summer fixtures is published annually and it includes old favorites such as Sovereign's Cup, Calves Week, Dun Laoghaire to Dingle, All Ireland Sailing Championships as well as new events with international appeal such as the Round Britain and Ireland Race and the Clipper Round the World Race, both of which have visited Ireland.

The bulk of the work on running events though is carried out by the network of sailing clubs around the coast and this is mostly a voluntary effort by people committed to the sport of sailing. For example Wicklow Sailing Club's Round Ireland yacht race run in association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club has been operating for over 30 years. Similarly the international Cork Week regatta has attracted over 500 boats in past editions and has also been running for over 30 years.  In recent years Dublin Bay has revived its own regatta called Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta and can claim to be the country's biggest event with over 550 boats entered in 2009.

On the international stage Afloat carries news of Irish and UK interest on Olympics 2012, Sydney to Hobart, Volvo Ocean Race, Cowes Week and the Fastnet Race.

We're always aiming to build on our sailing content. We're keen to build on areas such as online guides on learning to sail in Irish sailing schools, navigation and sailing holidays. If you have ideas for our pages we'd love to hear from you. Please email us at [email protected]

Featured Sailing School

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Featured Clubs

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Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
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Featured Events 2021

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