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#dlregatta – With the Kinsale ICRA Nats/Sovereigns Trophy 2015 very successfully concluded last weekend, and a classic Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race put stylishly in place before that, the feeling of another sailing summer busily in progress is all-pervasive. But while the image projected may well be one of stately progress by the cruiser-racer fleets along the Irish coast, taking in an offshore race here and a regatta there with much leisurely cruising in between, the reality is usually otherwise. For those boats doing significant segments of the programme, it's a case of fitting chosen events into the usual hectic early summer life of work and family commitments and exams and everything else, with the re-location of boats to the next venue being a hurried task undertaken by delivery crews.

Next week sees the mid-season peak of the sailing summer, with the four day Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2015 in Dublin Bay from Thursday July 9th to Sunday July 12th. In a way it is an amalgamation of all that has has already occurred in this year's season, together with new elements to make it a unique sailfest which celebrates the fact that the citizens of Ireland's capital city and their guests can be conveniently sailing and racing within a very short distance of the heart of town. W M Nixon sets the scene

In the dozen or so years since its inception, the biennial Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta has settled itself firmly into the sailing scene as an exceptionally varied event in terms of the boats and classes taking part. There are five regular cruiser-racer classes, plus an offshore division, fourteen one design keelboat classes, and nine dinghy classes. And although there are contenders from Ireland's north coast and from the Cork area and south coast too, together with one gallant entry from Galway, it is essentially an Irish Sea Sailfest, though with a remarkably strong Scottish presence.

However, it was on the coast of Wales at 8.0pm last night that this sailing celebration began, with an ISORA Race starting in Holyhead and heading for Dun Laoghaire to set this large and complex programme into action towards a culmination on Dublin Bay in eight days time with the conclusion of VDLR2015.

2015 marks the Bicentennial of the Royal Dee YC, which was founded in 1815 on the Cheshire shores of the River Dee estuary where northwest England marches with northeast Wales. Originally the Dee Yacht Club (and founded, it's said, a month or two before the Royal Yacht Squadron came into being in the south of England, making the RDYC the second-oldest Royal yacht club in England after the Royal Thames), the Cheshire club became the Royal Dee YC in 1847.

Although the great prosperity of Liverpool in the 19th century saw the club's fleet of substantial yachts gathered in the Dee and then increasingly in the Mersey, by the late 1900s it was looking to the Menai Straits area as the focus of its keelboat events. As well, the completion of Holyhead breakwater in 1873 added a new and important harbour to its list of possible big boat sailing locations, and there was an increase in the number of cross-channel "matches" which the Royal Dee and the Royal Mersey, in conjunction with the Dublin Bay clubs, had already been running for some years.

A Royal Alfred YC cross-channel match from Dublin Bay to Holyhead gets under way in 1888. Cross-channel links were strong in the latter half of the 19th Century, and with the new breakwater completed at Holyhead in 1873, a new venue was available both for the Irish clubs and those on the other side such as the Royal Dee and the Royal Mersey

The bicentenary logo of the Royal Dee YC. In 1815, this club on the Cheshire coast was founded shortly before the Royal Yacht Squadron in the souh of England, whose Bicentennial is being celebrated at the end of July.

Dun Laoghaire saw its first regatta staged in 1828, and participation by yachts from the northwest of England and North Wales was regularly recorded. This is the Royal St George YC regatta of 1871.

So when we say that the Royal Dee has always been a stalwart of offshore racing in the Irish Sea, we're not referring to a story spanning only the 20th and 21st Centuries. On the contrary, it goes well back into the 1800s. And now, with the revival of keelboat sailing in the Mersey with several of Liverpool's myriad docks being given over to recreational use, we have in a sense come full circle with enthusiastic Dublin Bay support of the Bicentennial celebrations reflecting sailing links which go back almost 200 years

The Lyver Trophy is the Royal Dee's premier offshore challenge, and this year it is special, as it's a fully-accredited RORC event counting for points in the annual championship, and a highlight of the ISORA Programme 2015. It's start scheduled for yesterday evening in Holyhead will see the fleet – mostly regular ISORA contenders – sail a course of at least a hundred miles before finishing in Dun Laoghaire. Then as VDLR 2015 gets under way, races in it, combined with the Lyver Trophy results, will count as part of a series towards finding an overall winner of the RDYC Bicentennial Trophy.

Only entrants in the Lyver Trophy race are eligible, and for that race itself – which can be followed on the Averycrest Yellowbrick Tracker - the favourite has to be the Shanahan family's J/109 Ruth, still buoyed up by her great victory in the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race three weeks ago.

Back in The Bay – the Shanahan family's J/109 Ruth will be back in her home waters of Dublin Bay after winning the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race and completing the Lyver Trophy Race from Holyhead which started last night. Photo: David O'Brien

At the other end of the size scale, the VDLR2015 Dublin Bay programme includes several dinghy classes, and the biggest fleet will be mustered by the International GP 14s, who have designated the racing in Dublin Bay as their Leinster Championship. In an interview with Sailing on Saturday in March, VDLR Chairman Tim Goodbody emphasised that, overall, the event should be seen as a regatta rather than a championship, and for most boats that's just what it will be. But the GP 14s with their great esprit de corps have always done things their own way, and with their compact boat size – albeit comprising a large fleet of dinghies – they reckon they can get in a proper championship while sharing in the fun of the event.

v6.jpgThe brothers John and Donal McGuinness of Moville Sailing Club in Donegal are expected to be among the pace-setters in the GP 14 class with their superb Alistair Duffin-built boat. Photo: W M Nixon

The GP 14 Ulsters 2015 were recently won on Lough Erne by Shane MacCarthy & Damian Bracken of Greystones

As to who is favourite, the McGuinness brothers – Donal and John - from Moville in Donegal, with their top-of-the-line Duffin boat built in Northern Ireland, have to be in the reckoning after being top Irish at last year's Worlds on Strangford Lough, but there's fresh blood in the fleet with the newest class developing at Youghal, while this year's recent Ulster Championship on Lough Erne was won by the Greystones duo of Shane MacCarthy and Damian Bracken.

The dozen and more boats coming south from Scotland, most of them substantial cruiser-racers, are testimony to a growing trend in sailing on Europe's Atlantic seaboard. Given a choice of venues, your average yachtie on this long coastline will incline to head south if at all possible. Other things being equal, it's reckoned the further south you go the warmer it is likely to be. And from the upper reaches of the Firth of Clyde, there are times when Dublin Bay might seem like the distant and sunny Mediterranean.

Maybe so, but we'd caution that much depends on the moods and location of that all-powerful weather determinant, the northern Polar Jetstream. In July, so long as it's well clear of Ireland -whether to the north or the south - we will have glorious high summer, and that occurred for the previous VDLR back in 2013, where the photos speak for themselves.

So we hope for the best in looking forward to welcoming a fleet of around 415 boats to Dun Laoghaire between July 9th and 12th, with all four of our in-harbour yacht clubs extending the hand of hospitality in a regatta tradition that goes right back to 1828. But while heritage and ceremonial are all very well in their place, it's the prospect of good sport which energises the participants and their sailing, and with several major contests already logged in 2015, what can we expect on the leaderboards next week?

At the top of the tree, Class 0 has formidable competition, including former Scottish champion Jonathan Anderson racing his XP38i Roxstar against the Royal Cork's Conor Phelan with the Ker 37 Jump Juice, which was one of the best performers in last year's ICRA Nationals at the same venue, and this year again became a force to be reckoned with as the breeze sharpened in the four day Kinsale ICRA Nats 2015/Sovereigns Cup a week ago.

v8.jpgFreshly squeezed – her storming finish to last weekend's final race of the ICRA Nats/Sovereigns Cup at Kinsale makes Conor Phelan's Ker 37 Jump Juice one of the top contenders in the VDLR2015. Photo: David O'Brien

With a win in the final race, Jump Juice came in second to seasoned campaigner George Sisk's class overall winning Farr 42 WOW (RIYC), the pair of them in turn displacing the early leader, lightweight flyer Mills 36 Crazy Horse (ICRA Commodore Nobby Reilly & Alan Chambers, HYC) down to third in the final day's racing, so Crazy Horse will be hoping for a return of lighter breezes when racing starts next Thursday on Dublin Bay.

In the previous Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta in 2013, the most successful boat in was Nigel Biggs' much-modified Humphreys Half Tonner Checkmate XV, but this year the Biggs team is racing as Checkmate Sailing with the newest boat in the fleet, the Mark Mills-designed American-built C & C 30 OD Checkmate XVI. She may be only 30ft LOA, but she's such a hot piece of work with so many go-fast bells and whistles that she has a rating of 1.140 to put her in Class 0.

The oldest boat in the cruiser-racer fleets will be found in Class 3, where the 44ft Huff of Arklow is making an historic return to Dublin Bay racing. Originally built in 1951 by Jack Tyrrell of Arklow to a design by dinghy genius Uffa Fox, Huff is so-called because her concept is reckoned three-quarters Uffa Fox and one quarter Douglas Heard. The latter was the founding President of the Irish Dinghy Racing Association in 1946, and he later went onto to become Commodore of the Royal St George YC and a noted cruising and offshore racing enthusiast with this unusual boat, which is like a very enlarged Fying Fifteen with a lid – in fact, with her 30ft-plus waterline, she was described as a Flying Thirty. In recent years she has undergone a total restoration with Cremyll Keelboats near Plymouth in Devon, and Dominic Bridgeman of the Cremyll group will be racing her with trainee crews in her old home waters of Dublin Bay.

The Flying Thirty Huff of Arklow racing off Dublin Bay while under Douglas Heard's ownership in the 1950s. Built by Tyrrell's of Arklow in 1951, the hugely innovative Huff has recently had a major restoration, and will be making her return to Dublin Bay to take part in VDLR2015.

Among the newer boats on the bay, the 2013 champion Checkmate XV is still very much in the picture, but now she's owned by Howth's Dave Cullen, and took second overall in class in the Kinsale series a week ago. In Dun Laoghaire next week, she's with other Half Tonners at the lower end of the Class 2 rating band on 0.944, almost 200 rating points below the new Biggs boat. Class 2 also includes the Division 3 winner at Kinsale, Richard Colwell & Ronan Cobbe's Corby 25 Fusion (HYC) which bested VDLR 205 Chairman's Sigma 33 White Mischief in a real duel after they went into the final day's racing equal on points, while another Kinsale success story in the Class 2 lineup is Paddy Kyne's X302 Maximus from Howth, overall winner of the Portcullis Trophy for top ECHO boat.

Dave Cullen's modified Half Tonner Checkmate XV will be looking to take the top slot on Dublin Bay after being runner-up in Kinsale. Photo: David O'Brien

In between the two Checkmates on ratings, we find most of the cruiser-racer fleet, with Class 1 shaping up some interesting competition between the likes of Paul O'Higgins Corby 33 Rockabill (RIYC), Kenneth Rumball skippering the Irish National Sailing School's Reflex 38 Lynx, and two very sharp First 35s, Prima Luce (Burke, Lemass & Flynn, NYC & RIYC) and another former Scottish Series champion, John Corson (Clyde Cr C) with Salamander XXI.

This year's Scottish Series Champion and the "Sailor of the Month" for May, Rob McConnell of Dunmore East, will certainly be racing in the VDLR 2015, but whether or not it's with his all-conquering A35 Fool's Gold (second in class at Kinsale) or aboard another boat (a Flying Fifteen) remains to be seen. And the Top Sailor Count doesn't end there, as there'll be at least four Olympic sailors involved in four different classes, with Robin Hennessy racing in what has all the marks of a quality International Dragon fleet against the likes of former Edinburgh Cup winner Martin Byrne, Annalise Murphy racing in the Moths which will surely be a change from the Water Wag which she raced with her mother Cathy MacAleavy (also another ex-Olympian) last time round, and Mark Mansfield helming John Maybury's J/109 Joker 2. After Joker 2's class overall win in Kinsale, we can expect a battle royal in the J/109s with boats of the calibre of Ruth for the National title fight.

The Shipman 28s find that the sport and socializing which the VDLR guarantees will provide some of their best racing of the year. Photo: VDLR

The J/109s are the queens of an impressive array of One Design keelboats which includes Sigma 33s (where VDLR 2015 Chairman Tim Goodbody's White Mischief is racing under the command of Paul McCarthy), Beneteau First 31.7s, Shipman 28s having one of their best gatherings of the year, Ruffian 23s with a good turnout, the attractive First 21s which are steadily gaining traction as a Dublin Bay class, and best OD keelboat turnout of all is by the Flying Fifteens, nearly all of them under the NYC flag.

Olympians all – in VDLR2013, Olympic sailors Cathy MacAleavey (1988) and her daughter Annalise Murphy (2012) raced the family Water Wag Mollie. But while Cathy will be sailing Mollie again this year, Annalise will be on her own racing a foiling International Moth.


Newest of the oldest – Adam Winkelmann and Doug Smith's new French built Water Wag No.46, Madameoiselle, has been launched in time for the regatta. Photo: Owen McNally

The Howth 17s of 1898 vintage will be the oldest class racing. Photo: David Branigan

Veteran classes include the IDRA 14s from 1946, the Glens from 1945, the Howth 17s of 1898 which pre-date the 1902 Water Wags, and the 1932 Mermaids, the latter being in the interesting position of no longer having an official division in Dun Laoghaire, yet it's a Dun Laoghaire skipper, Jonathan O'Rourke of the National, who continues to dominate the class both at home and away.

With large fleet numbers afloat guaranteed, the shoreside programme is appropriately busy, with the official side of each day's racing concluded by the evening's daily prize-giving at one of the four waterfront clubs. But with so many sailors involved, there'll be action in all the clubs – and at other establishments in Dun Laoghaire - throughout the week. The scene is set, let the party begin at a venue which has been staging regattas since 1828.

When the summer comes, the après sailing at the VDLR is world class. Photo: VDLR

Further reading:

Download the full entry list for Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2015 class by class below

Download the Sailing Instrcutions for Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2015 HERE


Published in W M Nixon

#dbsc – Dublin Bay Sailing Club Results for 25 JUNE 2015

BENETEAU 31.7 Echo- 1. Fiddly Bits (Timmins/Quigley/Murray/Breen), 2.
Levante (M.Leahy/J.Power), 3. Attitude (T Milner J Sugars M Branigan)

BENETEAU 31.7 - 1. Levante (M.Leahy/J.Power), 2. Levana (Jean Mitton),
3. Bluefin Two (M & B Bryson)

CRUISERS 0 Echo - 1. Lively Lady (Derek Martin), 2. Tsunami (Vincent

CRUISERS 0 - 1. Tsunami (Vincent Farrell), 2. Lively Lady (Derek

CRUISERS 1 Echo - 1. Jigamaree (R Harris), 2. Something Else (J.Hall
et al), 3. Boomerang (Paul Kirwan)

CRUISERS 1 - 1. Jigamaree (R Harris), 2. Something Else (J.Hall et
al), 3. Boomerang (Paul Kirwan)

CRUISERS 2 Echo - 1. Peridot (Jim McCann et al), 2. Jester (Declan
Curtin), 3. Bendemeer (L Casey & D Power)

CRUISERS 2 - 1. Peridot (Jim McCann et al), 2. Jester (Declan Curtin),
3. Red Rhum (J Nicholson & C Nicholson)

CRUISERS 3 A - 1. Cri-Cri (P Colton), 2. Cries of Passion (B Maguire),
3. Huggy Bear (Doyle & Byrne)

CRUISERS 3 A Echo - 1. Grasshopper 2 (K & J Glynn), 2. Yehaa
(Whelan/McCabe/Cary/Cramer), 3. Papytoo (M.Walsh/F.Guilfoyle)

CRUISERS 3 B - 1. Asterix (Counihan/Meredith/Bushell), 2. Taiscealai
(B Richardson), 3. Maranda (Myles Kelly)

CRUISERS 3 B Echo - 1. Isolde (B Mulkeen & J Martin), 2. Yikes (J
Conway), 3. Saki (Paget McCormack et al)

Combined Classes - 1. Peridot (Jim McCann et al), 2. Rupert (R & P
Lovegrove), 3. Leeuwin (H&C Leonard & B Kerr)

Combined Classes Echo - 1. Popje (Ted McCourt), 2. Rupert (R & P
Lovegrove), 3. Enchantress (Larkin/Bonner/Nicholl)

DRAGON - 1. Zinzan (Daniel O'Connor et al), 2. DCision
(J.Mason/G.Purcell/D.Hayes), 3. Diva (R.Johnson/R.Goodbody)

FLYING FIFTEEN - 1. Frequent Flyer (C Doorley/A Green), 2. Flyer
(Niall Coleman), 3. Ffling (Brian O'Neill)

GLEN - 1. Pterodactyl (R & D McCaffrey), 2. Glenroan (T O'Sullivan),
3. Glendun (B.Denham et al)

RUFFIAN 23 - 1. Diane ll (A Claffey/C Helme), 2. Ruff Nuff (D & C
Mitchell), 3. Ruffles (Michael Cutliffe)

SB20 - 1. Sin Bin (Michael O'Connor), 2. (Ger
Dempsey), 3. Bango (J Gorman)

SHIPMAN - 1. Gusto (Heath, Miles, Crisp, Duggan), 2. Invader (Gerard
Glynn), 3. Euphanzel lll (M Muldoon)

SIGMA 33 Echo - 1. Popje (Ted McCourt), 2. Rupert (R & P Lovegrove),
3. Enchantress (Larkin/Bonner/Nicholl)

SIGMA 33 - 1. Rupert (R & P Lovegrove), 2. Leeuwin (H&C Leonard & B
Kerr), 3. Enchantress (Larkin/Bonner/Nicholl)

SIGMA 33 - 1. Rupert (R & P Lovegrove), 2. Popje (Ted McCourt), 3.
Leeuwin (H&C Leonard & B Kerr)

SQUIB - 1. Why Not (Derek & Jean Jago), 2. Anemos (Pete & Ann Evans),
3. Sidewinder (R&R Westrup)

WHITE SAIL CRUISERS Echo - 1. Nauti-Gal (J & J Crawford), 2. Act Two
(Michael O'Leary et al), 3. Aurora (Ray Conway)

WHITE SAIL CRUISERS - 1. Act Two (Michael O'Leary et al), 2.
Persistence (C. Broadhead et al), 3. Nauti-Gal (J & J Crawford)

Published in DBSC
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#DublinBay - Dun Laoghaire Marina brings our attention to some great news for Dublin Bay, which has been designated as a UNESCO biosphere reserve.

As RTÉ News reports, the biosphere status has been expanded from Bull Island to cover the entire 300 sq km of Dublin Bay, the city and county – becoming the only such reserve in the world encompassing a major urban area.

The designation also coincides with the the new Dublin Bay Biosphere Partnership, which seeks to promote greater "balance between people and nature" and future sustainability in an area that's home to many protected species of marine wildlife.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Dublin Bay

#fireball – It would appear that the price the racing fleet pay for a day of sunshine, like yesterday, is a fickle evening of breeze. Not unexpected really! Yesterday was warm enough to warrant the generation of a sea-breeze but as the warmth fades so too does the strength of the breeze. And so it was to prove last night!

Five Fireballs answered the starter's call and were rewarded with two races.........well one race and a dramatically shortened second race.

Race 1 was a Windward/Leeward and by the time I got to my observation post on the seafront at Scotsman's Bay, the lead was being disputed by Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (14775) and Noel Butler & Crew (15061), Stephen being away. Noel led around the weather mark but Neil wasn't that far behind him. The sequence behind these two was Team Clancy, Conor and James, (15113), Cariosa Power & Marie Barry (14854) and Louis Smyth & Crew (15007). At this stage the race was at the second windward rounding. Noel eked out a short lead by the time they reached the leeward mark. Neil took a short hitch out to sea after rounding the leeward mark before reverting to a port tack approach to the weather mark. This modest deviation from the others paid dividends as he and Margaret rounded the last weather mark in first place. However, Noel & Crew weren't too far behind and both boats took a more seaward approach to the downwind finish. Initially Butler passed out Colin to weather but when they approached each other again, Butler having gybed that bit earlier but outside Colin, Colin had regained the lead. In the meantime, Team Clancy had taken a more direct approach to the downwind finish and as the lead pair worked their way back inshore, it was apparent that the direct line taken by Team Clancy had allowed them to close the gap significantly. All three boats crossed the finish line overlapped with the finishing order being Butler, Clancy and Colin.

The weather forecast had suggested SSW winds of 8 – 11 knots for 19:00, and at 19:30 at the end of the first race, the Race Team were obviously encouraged by what they saw on the water as they indicated a second race would be started with three triangles on the menu! At this stage the surface of the racing area had a distinctly different appearance to further out to sea. On a line drawn between the harbour mouth and Sandycove, the outer area had a darker appearance, suggesting wind on the water, whereas inshore wind seemed to be less evident.

For the second start Team Clancy won the pin with Smyth & Crew astern of them and Colin & Casey to leeward. Power & Barry and Butler & Crew were further inshore and Butler was the first to peel away to pursue an inshore course. That proved to be a fatal error! The other four boats worked the left-hand side of the course with Colin, Clancy & Power each taking little nibbles to sea every so often to clear wind. At one stage an over-sized blanket would have covered all four boats. Smyth & Crew were steadfast in their singular approach to the weather mark, taking a long port tack hitch for which they were rewarded with first place at the weather mark. Power & Barry rounded second, followed by Team Clancy. One hitch to sea too many cooked Colin & Casey's goose and they rounded in a poor fourth. Butler was wallowing inshore of the weather mark at this stage. Rather than bear off towards the gybe mark, Colin went high, possibly trying to get into the breeze that was outside the line of harbour to Sandycove. It didn't materialise and he ended up having to gybe back to set a course to the gybe mark.

Meanwhile Smyth and Power played pass the parcel with the lead in what were now very light conditions – spinnakers were "hanging" rather than filling! However, the lead two were "hanging" better than Team Clancy as they both sailed away from the brothers. Power led into the gybe mark, and as she rounded the shortened course signal was flown. Smyth & Crew sailing a line outside that of Power & Barry, seemed to get into better "wind" and eased away to a comfortable win.

DMYC Tuesday Nights: Series 2; 23rd June 2015.

Race 1.


Noel Butler & Crew




Conor & James Clancy




Neil Colin & Margaret Casey



Race 2.


Louis Smyth & Crew


Coal Harb.


Cariosa Power & Marie Barry




Conor & James Clancy




DBSC Tuesday Nights

Series 2: Overall (with 1 Discard)


Noel Butler & Stephen Oram





Louis Smyth & Crew


Coal Harbour



Conor & James Clancy








DBSC results here



Published in Fireball
Tagged under

#laser – Eighteen of our regular fleet plus another few guests (who sportingly ducked out at the finish) from the ISA Laser Academy made for a busy start line and top notch racing in Scotsman's Bay last night. Plaudits also to DBSC yet again. RO Suzanne McGarry set great courses, switching from W/L to Olympic triangle for the second race and calling it just right with a shortened course late on. How fantastic it is to see these young sailors engaging with the local racing infrastructure. It just goes to show that if the product and format is right at a local level, young racers will join in with the older sailors and get valuable race practice to supplement their hours of dedicated training.

To the racing and Kinsale Radial hotshot Ross O'Sullivan took Cian Cahill's full rig and pretty much controlled Race 1 in a challenging Force 2-3, working the left side of the beat where pressure was best and holding the pack off with good speed downwind. Behind him came Patrick Cahill and Luke Murphy, followed by Liam Glynn in a Radial in fact. With a triangle set up for Race 2, the Lasers looked forward to catching a few waves down the reaches but, ultimately the clock caught up with us and Flag S went up after just one lap as the breeze turned off. Luke Murphy took the gun and with it the "Boat of the Night" accolade, followed by RCYC's Cian Byrne sailing the O'Beirne Laser tonight. Older lads Coakley and Craig were next in line, putting a few of the young pups in their place at least, which is kinda important for senior morale !

Some head off for the Westerns at Galway next week and also worth noting is that Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta closes entries next Tuesday, June 30. Both Radials and Full rigs will compete at VDLR.

Results here.

Published in Laser
Tagged under

#dbsc – CRUISERS 2 - 1. Bendemeer (L Casey & D Power), 2. Black Sheep (E Healy), 3. Utopia (J Healy)

CRUISERS 3 Tuesday - 1. Grasshopper II (K & J Glynn), 2. Yeehaa (McCabe Cramer Carey Whelan), 3. Asterix (Boushel/Meredith/Counihan)

Ensign - 1. NYC1 (A Dooley), 2. INSS 2 (G Williams), 3. NYC2 (B Mathews)

FIREBALL - 1. Licence to Thrill (Louis Smyth), 2. Incubus (C Power/M Barry), 3. Clandog Millionaire (J & C Clancy)

FIREBALL - 1. No Name (S Oram), 2. Clandog Millionaire (J & C Clancy), 3. Elevation (N.Colin/M.Casey)

GLEN - 1. Glendun (B.Denham et al), 2. Glenmiller (P Cusack), 3. Glencoe (Rose Mary Craig et al)

IDRA 14 FOOT Race 2- 1. Dart (Pierre Long), 2. Dunmoanin (Frank Hamilton), 3. Doody (J.Fitzgerald/J.Byrne)

IDRA 14 FOOT Race 1- 1. Dunmoanin (Frank Hamilton), 2. Dart (Pierre Long), 3. Doody (J.Fitzgerald/J.Byrne)

Laser Race 1- 1. Cian Cahill (RSGYC), 2. Rob Cahill (RSGYC), 3. Luke Murphy (RSGYC)

Laser Race 2- 1. Luke Murphy (RSGYC), 2. Dan O'Beirne (RSGYC), 3. Marc Coakley (RSGYC)

PY CLASS Race 1- 1. Noel Colclough (), 2. W Zyszczynsk (Laser Vago), 3. Conor Duffy (RS400)

PY CLASS Race 2- 1. Noel Colclough (), 2. W Zyszczynsk (Laser Vago), 3. Conor Duffy (RS400)

RUFFIAN 23 - 1. Different Drummer (D Tonge), 2. Cresendo (L Balfe), 3. Ruff Diamond (D.Byrne et al)

SQUIB - 1. Tais (Michael O'Connell), 2. Sidewinder (R&R Westrup)

Published in DBSC
Tagged under

#dragonsailing –After a weekend of intense Dragon keelboat action on Dublin Bay, Class Captain Conor Grimley writes that after eight decades in the making, the Dragon class is breathing new fire into the Irish sailing scene – and it’s much more accessible than it appears

The Dragon class has never been so strong in international waters as it is today. At over 80 years old, the classic design has endured – and its popularity has ensured that build quality is second to none.

True enough, the class has been somewhat elusive on the domestic scene, with international competitions tending to take precedence over regional events and club racing.

Still, the Irish Dragon fleet has a strong core spread between Dublin Bay, Kinsale and Glandore, where Corinthian sailors mix it with professionals, providing for exciting racing.

Into the bargain is the fact that newer boats don't have it all their own way, such is the quality of older models. And now momentum is coming back to the domestic scene as well.

Take the eighth and final race of the 2014 season at Kinsale, where Lawrie Smith, the Whitbread Round the World legend and current Irish champion, pipped the all-amateur Dublin Bay crew of Phantom – a 10-year-old boat – in a virtual photo-finish. You can't get better than that for club sport.

Sleek design
There are few better sights in yacht racing than the sleek lines of a fleet of Dragons, with their beautiful hull shape and timeless sail plan.

To sail one is just as great a pleasure. Surprisingly responsive at the helm, the Dragon moves beautifully upwind and downwind in all conditions. If a little over-canvassed in heavier conditions, simply drop the main sheet down the track, crank on more running backstay, and you'll find its performance is very reassuring indeed.

Crew weight is a consideration, but it's not the whole story – and over time Dragon sailors develop a strong body core. Sail trim is aided by fine-tuning on the main and genoa sheets.

Contemporary designs are brilliantly thought-out overall, with modern-specification rigging systems that are second to none.

Running costs
Appropriately enough, the basic running cost of the Dragon sits midway between that of dinghy keelboats and cruiser-class yachts.

At eight metres, it is bigger than the average six-meter dinghy keelboat but a tad smaller than the nine-meter cruisers. The Dragon is dry-sailed, and club parking, like marina berths, tends to be priced on a per-metre basis, so size really counts here.

A new suit of sails for the average Dragon costs up to 5,500 for genoa, spinnaker and main. The difference? That’s about 30 per cent up from the keelboat dinghy, but 30 per cent less than what you’d pay for cruiser racer sails. Again, there’s nothing unfair in any of that. In fact, these figures may come as something of a surprise. Dragon sailors, however, bemoan the common observation that it’s a beautiful boat but unduly expensive.


So where’s the catch? Well, a new Dragon, complete with its wonderful German-made trailer, will set the buyer back a cool £82,500 but like any boat there is great value to be had in the second–hand market where a race ready competitive boat could be found for as little 18000.

So yes, a brand new Dragon is not a giveaway, but endure they most certainly do. The level of build quality is truly a testament to the strong professional interest globally that’s driven innovation in the class, particularly over the past 10 to 15 years.

The future

Corinthian sailor Tim Pearson of the Royal St George Yacht Club takes over as international class secretary in 2015, a measure of the esteem in which the Irish fleet is held.

He takes up his role at a time when the class is having much debate about the balance between the amateur side and the professional, where there is no shortage of worldwide participation.

Both sides are expected to mix it up in the busy 2015 season that awaits. Moreover, the endorsement of Kinsale for the 2019 Gold Cup raises the incentive for one of the international fleet's great events to return to Irish waters.

“Another challenge everywhere,” says Pearson, “is to encourage more owners in the 37-year-old age bracket.”

Undoubtedly, changing lifestyles and a proliferation of yacht designs are challenges in themselves to all yacht racing, the Dragon included. But the issue of cost may be particularly misrepresented for this class.

Peter Bowring, co-owner of Phantom, concurs. “The Dragon fleet has possibilities for all comers,” he says. “We just have to fly the ‘D’.”


Close competition during the 2015 Dragon East Coasts  – Photo: Michael Keogh

Irish Dragon fleets

Dublin Bay: The Dublin Bay Dragon fleet had 15 active boats in 2014. Not all boats opt to register for club sailing, although the National Championships in Dublin and the Dun Laoghaire Regatta looks set to change that in 2015.

Kinsale: The Kinsale Dragon fleet has a long-standing tradition of competition, and the popularity of the Cork town saw an influx of Abersoch-based Dragons for the 2014 Irish Nationals. In 2012, Kinsale hosted the prestigious Dragon Gold Cup, and the success of that event looks set to win the endorsement of the International Dragon Association for the 2019 event.

Glandore: The Dragon and Glandore are a long-standing family tradition. The fleet celebrates its Corinthian legacy, and the annual Rose Bowl Trophy is often an all-Cork affair between the Kinsale and Glandore fleets. Before the establishment of the Glandore Harbour Yacht Club, the South Coast Championships, which moves by rotation with Kinsale, was hosted by the local hotel.

 DRAGON KEELBOAT SPECIFICATIONSdragon_international_drawing.jpg

Hull Type: Fin Keel

Rig Type: Fractional Sloop

LOA: 29.17' / 8.89m

LWL:19.00' / 5.79m

Beam: 6.42' / 1.96m

Listed Sail Area: 286 ft2 / 26.57 m2

Draft (max.) 3.92' / 1.19m

Disp. 3740 lbs./ 1696 kgs.

Ballast: 2200 lbs. / 998 kgs.

Designer: Johann Anker

Construction: Wood or FG

First Built: 1928

This article also appears in Summer Afloat magazine 2015

Published in Dragon

#dbsc – Going into the last race of the First Series in the Flying Fifteen class four boats were in contention, Frequent Flyer sailed by Chris Doorly & Alan Green won on the night to tie the Series with Dave Gorman's Betty who didn't sail. Neil Colman & Mick Quinn in Flyer were one point behind in third overall with Mulvin & Beirne another point behind.

On what looked like a perfect evening for sailing it turned out to be a frustrating one for most fleets as the winds on the bay came from different directions with a big hole with no wind in the middle where most of the boats were! Initially the wind was from the NW and the tide was ebbing, there were a number of boats over the line, some went back including Colman and a few didn't go back. Doorly had a bad start and at the Harbour mark Mulvin led from Balfe, O'Sullivan and Balfe with the O'Neills not far behind. On the run most boats seemed to head out left, Doorly went right in a more direct line to the mark, half way down those on the left stopped with no wind.
There was a lot of flapping around and at this stage the tide was flooding. Doorly stayed on the right following a few SB3's and Mulvin did likewise, meanwhile Colman and Doyle were looking good over on the left where there appeared to be wind. It didn't last, on the right Doorly got a zepher of wind and kept it going to get around the East mark with a comfortable lead, second was Mulvin followed by Colman and Doyle but the fleet was well spread out at this stage. This was how it finished as PRO Jack Roy shortened the course at Battery to the relief of all.

The First Series was a great success for the class with great numbers out every week providing close competitive racing.

This Saturday the DBSC series continues.

Published in Flying Fifteen

#dbsc – BENETEAU 31.7 - 1. Levana (Jean Mitton), 2. Bluefin Two (M & B

Bryson), 3. Levante (M.Leahy/J.Power)

BENETEAU 31.7 Echo- 1. Levante (M.Leahy/J.Power), 2. Prospect (Chris

CRUISERS 0 Echo - 1. Tsunami (Vincent Farrell)

CRUISERS 0 - 1. Tsunami (Vincent Farrell)

CRUISERS 1 Echo - 1. Boomerang (Paul Kirwan), 2. Jigamaree (R Harris),
3. Raptor (D.Hewitt et al)

CRUISERS 1 - 1. Jigamaree (R Harris), 2. Something Else (J.Hall et al)

CRUISERS 2 Echo - 1. Black Sheep (E Healy), 2. Jester (Declan Curtin),
3. Bendemeer (L Casey & D Power)

CRUISERS 2 - 1. Black Sheep (E Healy), 2. Jester (Declan Curtin), 3.
Bendemeer (L Casey & D Power)

CRUISERS 3 A Echo - 1. Cries of Passion (B Maguire), 2. Supernova
(McStay/Timbs/Monaghan/Costello), 3. Cartoon (McCormack/Brady/Lawless)

CRUISERS 3 A - 1. Cries of Passion (B Maguire), 2. Supernova
(McStay/Timbs/Monaghan/Costello), 3. Cartoon (McCormack/Brady/Lawless)

CRUISERS 3 B Echo - 1. Billy Whizz (P Shannon & D Shannon), 2. Syzrgy
(R Fogarty), 3. Jiminy Cricket (M Tyndall)

CRUISERS 3 B - 1. Cacciatore (M Ni Cheallachain), 2. Maranda (Myles
Kelly), 3. Asterix (Counihan/Meredith/Bushell)

Combined Classes Echo - 1. Black Sheep (E Healy), 2. Jester (Declan
Curtin), 3. Bendemeer (L Casey & D Power)

Combined Classes - 1. Black Sheep (E Healy), 2. Jester (Declan
Curtin), 3. White Mischief (Timothy Goodbody)

FLYING FIFTEEN - 1. Frequent Flyer (C Doorley/A Green), 2. Ignis Caput
(David Mulvey), 3. Flyer (Niall Coleman)

GLEN - 1. Glenmarissa (F.Elmes), 2. Glencoe (Rose Mary Craig et al),
3. Pterodactyl (R & D McCaffrey)

RUFFIAN 23 - 1. Diane ll (A Claffey/C Helme), 2. Shannagh
(S.Gill/P.MacDiarmada), 3. Cresendo (L Balfe)

SB20 - 1. Probably (B Riordan), 2. (Ger Dempsey), 3.
Tiger Lite (N O Carroll)

SHIPMAN - 1. Jo Slim (J.Clarke et al), 2. Curraglas (John Masterson),
3. The Den (A. Costello/G.Millar)

SIGMA 33 - 1. White Mischief (Timothy Goodbody), 2. Popje (Ted
McCourt), 3. Enchantress (Larkin/Bonner/Nicholl)

SIGMA 33 - 1. White Mischief (Timothy Goodbody), 2. Rupert (R & P
Lovegrove), 3. Enchantress (Larkin/Bonner/Nicholl)

SIGMA 33 - 1. White Mischief (Timothy Goodbody), 2. Popje (Ted
McCourt), 3. Rupert (R & P Lovegrove)

SQUIB - 1. Perfection (Jill Fleming), 2. Anemos (Pete & Ann Evans), 3.
Why Not (Derek & Jean Jago)

WHITE SAIL CRUISERS Echo - 1. Effex 11 (Alan Rountree), 2. Afternoon
Delight (Michael Bennett et al), 3. Nirvana (Bernard Neeson)

WHITE SAIL CRUISERS - 1. Menapia (J Sweeney), 2. Cevantes (Paul
Conway), 3. Vespucci (S & K O'Regan)

Published in DBSC
Tagged under

Pleasant evening, modest turnout!

After the respective exploits of those who travelled to the north coast for the Ulster Championships and those who sailed south and west in larger boats from Dun Laoghaire to Dingle, it may have been expected that there would be a modest turnout last night for the DBSC Tuesday Series.

#fireball – The weather forecast for 19:00 suggested winds from WSW of 9 knots with gusts to 14 knots writes Cormac Bradley. I'm not convinced that the three boat Fireball fleet that I was able to watch from the pier inside the harbour, as racing was inside the harbour last night, enjoyed such vigorous breeze, but with a pleasant airtime temperature and a "sunny-ish" outlook, I can think of much worse ways to spend an evening.

From my limited observation of the first of two windward-leeward races set inside the harbour, not too much energy was being expended either upwind or downwind in genteel conditions. The committee boat was located in the middle of the harbour and for the first race the windward mark was located just shy of the channel into DL's marina. The leeward mark was located a short distance upwind of the committee boat and there was a completely separate start/finish line slightly to leeward of the committee boat. For the second race the windward mark was moved closer to the gantry of the HSS.

When I took up my station, Messrs Butler & Oram (15061) were leading by a modest distance with Louise McKenna & Hermine O'Keefe (14691) on the same side of the course as the leaders. Louis Smyth & crew (15007) worked the inshore side of the beat but did not get to the mark before the ladies. However, on the subsequent downwind leg, he was able to pass them out. On the next beat, Butler & Oram stayed on the starboard side of the beat before applying a loose cover on Smyth who took the initiative of going inshore first. He thus found himself sailing a parallel but upwind course to the ladies. Halfway up the beat, an errant spinnaker popped out of the bag and went trawling. The consequent slow-down allowed the girls to pass him out and this remained the position to the finish.

My parenting obligations required me to abandon the second race, so all I can report is that Noel & Stephen won again, while the positions of second and third were reversed with Smyth and crew claiming second place.

Looking at the official results on the DBSC website this afternoon, I think there is information missing, so I am going to list my interpretation of the overall situation, at risk of being shot down for getting it wrong!

DBSC Tuesday Nights: Series 2[1]
1 Noel Butler & Stephen Oram 15061 National Yacht Club 4pts
2 Louise McKenna & Hermine O'Keeffe 14691 Royal St. George Yacht Club 8pts
3 Louis Smyth & crew 15007 Coal Harbour 13pts

Published in Fireball
Tagged under
Page 12 of 89
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