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DBSC Turkey Shoot Series Prepares to Race Subject to Lifting of Government Restrictions

25th November 2020
A previous edition of the DBSC Turkey Shoot racing on Dublin Bay A previous edition of the DBSC Turkey Shoot racing on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat

Expectations are raised that winter sailing for cruisers in addition to two-handed dinghies will be possible in December if COVID restrictions are lifted later this week. 

Sailing was part of a joint submission made to Government a fortnight ago that included 24 other non-contact sports that argued for the re-introduction of competition under Level 3 and Level 4 in the mixed households, pod system. There has been no definitive response to the submission and insiders say it is still very much '50:50'. 'A lot rests on what the Taoiseach says this Friday', Afloat was told.

The country's biggest winter race series organiser, Fintan Cairns of Dublin Bay Sailing Club says he is "hopeful our own NGB will retract its prescription re sailing under Level 3 and that this healthy, safe, non-threatening pastime can get going again". 

Winter yacht racing could return to Dublin Bay as soon as December 6th if restrictions are liftedWinter yacht racing could return to Dublin Bay as soon as December 6th if restrictions are lifted Photo: Afloat

"We have to be optimistic that we will get sailing again after December 1st - to sail Sundays 6th, 13th and 20th December," he added.

Cairns says that Turkey Shoot competitors, that regularly attracts entries of up to 60 boats, will need to be prepared to move quickly if racing is reinstated. He has urged skippers to organise boats and crew this week in anticipation. 

He also says DBSC are ready to sail with Sailing Instructions and handicaps ready to go for the cut short series.

Cork Harbour Winter Racing

In Cork Harbour, Royal Cork Yacht Club was in the middle of its Autumn League when restrictions hit, cancelling the rest of the league along with the scheduled annual O'Leary Insurances Winter League from November 1.

When racing was cancelled on October 6th, it was expected RCYC would attempt to salvage some racing pre-Christmas with RCYC Rear Admiral Keelboats Daragh Connolly telling competitors at the time 'the club aims to resume racing when the guidelines allow'. 

However, fast forward two months, the winter league is scheduled to conclude on December 6th and with many boats now hauled out, it is unclear what might now be feasible.

Royal Cork Yacht Club Winter LeagueRacing in a previous edition of Royal Cork Yacht Club's O'Leary Insurances Winter League Photo: Bob Bateman

Published in Turkey Shoot Team

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Dublin Bay Sailing Club Turkey Shoot Winter Series

Dublin Bay Sailing Club's Turkey Shoot Series reached its 20th year in 2020.

The popular yacht series racing provides winter-racing for all the sailing clubs on the southside of Dublin Bay in the run-up to Christmas.

It regularly attracts a fleet of up to 70 boats of different shapes and sizes from all four yachts clubs at Dun Laoghaire: 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 other clubs such as Sailing in Dublin. Typically the event is hosted by each club in rotation.

The series has a short, sharp format for racing that starts at approximately 10 am and concludes around noon. The event was the brainchild of former DBSC Commodore Fintan Cairns to give the club year-round racing on the Bay thanks to the arrival of the marina at Dun Laoghaire in 2001. Cairns, an IRC racer himself, continues to run the series each winter.

Typically, racing features separate starts for different cruiser-racers but in fact, any type of boat is allowed to participate, even those yachts that do not normally race are encouraged to do so.

Turkey Shoot results are calculated under a modified ECHO handicap system and there can be a fun aspect to some of the scoring in keeping with the Christmas spirit of the occasion.

As a result, the Turkey Shoot often receives entries from boats as large as Beneteau 50 footers and one designs as small as 20-foot flying Fifteens, all competing over the same course.

It also has legendary weekly prizegivings in the host waterfront yacht clubs immediately after racing. There are fun prizes and overall prizes based on series results.

Regular updates and DBSC Turkey Shoot Results are published on Afloat each week as the series progresses.


Cruisers, cruising boats, one-designs and boats that do not normally race are very welcome. Boats range in size from ocean-going cruisers at 60 and 60 feet right down to small one-design keelboats such as 20-foot Flying Fifteens. A listing of boats for different starts is announced on Channel 74 before racing each week.

Each winter from the first Sunday in November until the last week before Christmas.

Usually no more than two hours. The racecourse time limit is 12.30 hours.

Between six and eight with one or two discards applied.

Racing is organised by Dublin Bay Sailing Club and the Series is rotated across different waterfront yacht clubs for the popular after race party and prizegiving. The waterfront clubs are National Yacht Club (NYC), Royal Irish Yacht Club (RIYC), Royal St George Yacht Club (RSGYC) and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club (DMYC).

© Afloat 2020

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