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#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
Johnston)

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. Venuesworld.com (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

#sb20 – The SB20 fleet were treated to conditions more befitting the Mediterranean on Sunday afternoon as they battled it out on Dublin Bay in 10-15knts of breeze and blistering sunshine. Although some of the fleet regulars were

absent due to the fact that they have already departed for the Italian Nationals on Lake Garda in preparation for the upcoming World Championships, the fleet were delighted to see the welcome return of "Lupi d'Irlanda" (Marco Sorgassi et al) helmed on the day by veteran SB'er Tim Burke and "Mephisto" (John Lyons et al) helmed on the day by team racing legend Sam Hunt. In fact, there were three guest helmsmen in the fleet with regular SB crew Gavin Murphy ably getting to grips with the tiller once more on Seriously Bonkers (Peter Lee et al) as Peter familiarises himself with the role of "middle man" in preparation for the Worlds.

OOD Barry O'Neill and his team set up the windward/leeward course in the vicinity of Merrion mark between the west pier and Dublin Port, the area used to such good effect in the recent Leinster Championships.

With a strong ebbing tide favouring the left hand side of the course and a wind forecast to clock around to the right all day long, this was going to pose a tricky test for the competitors.

After a brief postponement to gather the fleet, Race 1 got off at the first time of asking. By the weather mark , it was clear that the left hand side of the course had paid as the expected right hand shift had yet to materialise. First around the mark was the SB prodigal son Tim Burke and team in Lupi d'Irlanda followed closely by Sam Hunt and team on Mephisto. Clearly nobody had told the newbies that it was just plain rude to give the regulars a spanking in their first race back! The two leaders were hotly pursued by Sin Bin (Michael O'Connor, Owen Laverty and Kevin Johnson) with a small gap to a bunch consisting of Venuesworld.com (Ger Dempsey, Chris Nolan and Rory Groves), Rubadubdub (Nick Doherty, Conor and Rob) and Bango (James Gorman, Ted Laverty and Keith Staunton).

Lupi were the first to gybe off approximately one third of the way down the first run with the remainder of the fleet holding on longer on starboard gybe. At the leeward mark, Lupi's decision to gybe off early was vindicated as they led Mephisto around the leeward mark by a length with Sin Bin rounding on Mephisto's transom. The wind started to oscillate as the boats progressed up the second beat and it was Mephisto that picked out the best path to the weather mark, overtaking Lupi and leading the
fleet at the second weather mark, a lead they were to hold onto to the finish. Bango also made good gains on the second upwind leg picking their way through the fleet and improving up to fourth place. Misfortune struck
Lupi while hoisting their kite at the second weather mark as they tore a sizeable gash in their spinnaker but commendably, they held on to second place to the finish despite the best efforts of Sin Bin and Bango chasing
hard. At the end it was Mephisto followed by Lupi, Sin Bin, Bango, Rubadubdub and Venuesworld.com.

Race 2 saw a return to form of the "regulars" (phew!). Once again, the left hand side of the first beat paid handsomely with Sin Bin and Lupi coming in from the left hand corner while the remainder of the fleet seemed to play the percentages and the shifts closer to the middle of the course. At the weather mark, Sin Bin led by a few lengths from Mephisto, again putting in a solid showing, with Venuesworld.com a few boatlengths further back in third. Unfortunately for Lupi, they had marginally overstood the weather mark and lost ground ducking boats and trying to find a gap to tack onto the starboard layline and get around the mark.

After a lot of shouting, Lupi rounded in fourth overlapped with Rubadubdub in fifth and Seriously Bonkers also overlapped in a very close sixth.

Down the first run, Venuesworld spotted a new line of breeze coming down the left hand side and were first to gybe off, followed by Sin Bin some moments later. The remainder of the fleet continued on starboard towards
the right hand side of the run. The new breeze also came with a significant right hand shift favouring Venuesworld and Sin Bin, allowing these two boats pull out a lead on the chasing pack who by now were struggling to get up to the leeward gate. The significant right hander meant that passing the leaders was going to be difficult for the chasing pack so at the finish it was Sin Bin in first followed by Venuesworld.com in second. Lupi followed them over in a creditable third place and Bango managed to get the upper hand on Mephisto after the pair had rounded the
leeward mark with Mephisto overlapped to weather. In sixth was Probably (Ian Simmington, Billy Riordan and Mark Nolan) after a "Lazarus-style" comeback to get back into the fray.

After a brief delay to allow the Race Officer and his team of rescue crew reset the course, Race 3 also got off at the first time of asking. This time, it was clear that the tide was going to be less of a factor and playing the shifting breeze and finding more pressure was where the
largest gains lay. It seemed that the pressure was better on the right hand side of the course and shortly after the start, Seriously Bonkers and Mephisto were the quickest to peel off onto port tack, ducking transoms in
search of the fresher breeze and expected shift. The move paid off handsomely as by the time the remainder of the fleet had peeled off onto port (only a minute or two later), the pair of early tackers were already in a new breeze and were able to cross the fleet as they came back towards the fleet on starboard.

However, the fleet did manage to reel in the early leaders and by the weather mark, Mephisto lead by the narrowest of margins from Sin Bin with Seriously Bonkers and the chasing pack near astern. A savage hoist by
Kevin and Owen on Sin Bin allowed them to roll over Mephisto at the spreader mark, forcing Mephisto to gybe onto port immediately.

Sin Bin followed suit a few boatlengths later heading off towards the left hand side of the run with Mephisto. The remainder of the fleet spread out evenly down the run. As the fleet converged in the middle of the run, it was clear that those boats that kept on longer on starboard gybe had fared better and gained ground with both Lupi and Bango coming into contention half way down the run. By now, the wind was quite light and the boats were in low mode, soaking down to the leeward marks at only 5 knots.

By the first leeward, Sin Bin had managed to hold on and led around the mark by five boatlengths from Mephisto and Lupi in a battle for second. Up the second beat, the wind was oscillating by up to 20 degrees so large gains and losses were still to be made and positions changed regularly. By the second weather mark, the wind was in a left hand phase making starboard the favoured gybe initially down the final run of the day. Those
boats that gybed off at the second weather mark were punished severely as the boats that held on made significant gains. At the finish, it was Sin Bin in first followed by Lupi in second with Bango charging through the fleet on the second run into third place. Venuesworld.com came home in fourth followed by Mephisto in fifth and Rubadubdub in sixth.

Congratulations to Barry O'Neill and his team on the committee vessel managing to get off three great races in a tricky shifting breeze.

In other news, the next Sunday races (for those not lucky enough to be in Lake Garda already!) are next Sunday, 21st June followed by the final three races of series two on Sunday 28th June. Mid-July and early August
will see the SB20 class joining the Dragon fleet for some Saturday racing - something to look forward to. Finally, best of luck to the nine-strong Irish contingent preparing to compete in the World Championships in
Torbole, Lake Garda from 4th - 10th July. The Irish sailors will be joined by, amongst others, former Olympians Glenn Bourke and (silver medallist) Rodion Luka. At the time of going to print, there were 86 registered entrants so exciting and tight racing is assured.

Published in SB20
Tagged under

#dbsc – Fifteen DBSC Lasers enjoyed two races last night in a lovely warm, oscillating breeze, again within the confines of our wonderful Dun Laoghaire harbour. Race Officer Ian Matthews was on his game as usual, with square lines, course reconfigurations and no hesitation in bringing out the black flag to put manners on an ultra-eager fleet. Two great races saw a totally different top three in each, with Race 1 going to ISA Youth National Champion Conor O'Beirne (replacing bro Dan who's in Canada) followed by Gary O'Hare, then Paul Keane. Marco Sorgassi had got a peach of a start and led all the way up the first beat. Race 2 saw John Marmelstein, just returning to Lasers, take a great win, holding off Sean Craig and Patrick Cahill. No Radials adjusted into top three this time, but Shirley Gilmore took a creditable 4th in race 2. Possible highlight of this race was Rory McStay attempting to overtake O'Beirne at the downwind finish by rushing forward for a swallow dive off the bow. Interesting interpretation of the following Racing Rule/Definition ; Finish: A boat finishes when any part of her hull, or crew or equipment in normal position, crosses the finishing line from the course side. Another RStGYC instructor, Luke Murphy, also displayed fine seamanship by testing the gap between daggerboard and slot. Funnily enough there's not a lot of space in there for hand plus foil and he duly retired, blood dribbling out behind his transom !

With weather like this and 25 entries on the books so far, we must be quite close to our first 20 boat turnout. Last night followed on from an excellent Royal Alfred Bloomsday Regatta where the 17 Lasers were the largest one design fleet (dinghy or keelboat). We hope for the same or more for VDLR on July 9-12. Entry here Join us even if you can only make the weekend and remember the Thursday is a nice late start at 3.30 pm. There'll also be two discards for those juggling other commitments.

Published in Laser

#dbsc – Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) Results for Thursday, 4 June 2015

BENETEAU 31.7 Echo- 1. Attitude (T Milner J Sugars M Branigan), 2.

Fiddly Bits (Timmins/Quigley/Murray/Breen), 3. Prospect (Chris
Johnston)

BENETEAU 31.7 - 1. Prospect (Chris Johnston), 2. Bluefin Two (M & B
Bryson), 3. Levana (Jean Mitton)

CRUISERS 0 Echo - 1. Tsunami (Vincent Farrell), 2. Wow (George Sisk),
3. Lively Lady (Derek Martin)

CRUISERS 0 - 1. Wow (George Sisk), 2. Aurelia (Chris Power Smith), 3.
Tsunami (Vincent Farrell)

CRUISERS 1 Echo - 1. Boomerang (Paul Kirwan), 2. Jigamaree (R Harris),
3. Indecision (Declan Hayes et al)

CRUISERS 1 - 1. Gringo (Tony Fox), 2. Something Else (J.Hall et al),
3. Rockabill V (Paul O'Higgins)

CRUISERS 2 Echo - 1. Antix (D Ryan), 2. Ruthless (Conor Ronan), 3.
Peridot (Jim McCann et al)

CRUISERS 2 - 1. Ruthless (Conor Ronan), 2. Peridot (Jim McCann et al),
3. Graduate (D O'Keeffe)

CRUISERS 3 A Echo - 1. Quest (B Cunningham), 2. Grasshopper 2 (K & J
Glynn), 3. Papytoo (M.Walsh/F.Guilfoyle)

CRUISERS 3 A - 1. Quest (B Cunningham), 2. Cries of Passion (B
Maguire), 3. Yehaa (Whelan/McCabe/Cary/Cramer)

CRUISERS 3 B - 1. Gung Ho (G & S O'Shea), 2. Asterix
(Counihan/Meredith/Bushell), 3. Cacciatore (M Ni Cheallachain)

CRUISERS 3 B Echo - 1. Taiscealai (B Richardson), 2. Chinook (A
Bradley/P Morgan), 3. Jiminy Cricket (M Tyndall)

Combined Classes Echo - 1. Rupert (R & P Lovegrove), 2. Antix (D
Ryan), 3. Popje (Ted McCourt)

Combined Classes - 1. Rupert (R & P Lovegrove), 2. Ruthless (Conor
Ronan), 3. Peridot (Jim McCann et al)

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

FLYING FIFTEEN - 1. Betty (D & S Gorman), 2. Frequent Flyer (C
Doorley/A Green), 3. Rollercoaster (Tom Murphy)

GLEN - 1. Glenluce (D & R O'Connor), 2. Glenmarissa (F.Elmes), 3.
Glenshesk (Walker\Reid\Henderson)

RUFFIAN 23 - 1. Diane ll (A Claffey/C Helme), 2. Ruffles (Michael
Cutliffe), 3. Bandit (Kirwan/Cullen/Brown)

SB20 - 1. AlertPackaging.com (J Burke & D Burke), 2. Venuesworld.com
(Ger Dempsey), 3. Sin Bin (Michael O'Connor)

SHIPMAN - 1. Gusto (Heath, Miles, Crisp, Duggan), 2. Jo Slim (J.Clarke
et al), 3. Viking (Brian Glynn et al)

SIGMA 33 - 1. Rupert (R & P Lovegrove), 2. Popje (Ted McCourt), 3.
Gwili Two (D.Clarke/P.Maguire)

SIGMA 33 - 1. Rupert (R & P Lovegrove), 2. Gwili Two
(D.Clarke/P.Maguire), 3. White Mischief (Timothy Goodbody)

SIGMA 33 Echo - 1. Rupert (R & P Lovegrove), 2. Popje (Ted McCourt),
3. Gwili Two (D.Clarke/P.Maguire)

SQUIB - 1. Little Demon (Sheila Power), 2. Anemos (Pete & Ann Evans),
3. Perfection (Jill Fleming)

WHITE SAIL CRUISERS Echo - 1. Setanta (G Denn), 2. Act Two (Michael
O'Leary et al), 3. Cevantes (Paul Conway)

WHITE SAIL CRUISERS - 1. Persistence (C. Broadhead et al), 2. Act Two
(Michael O'Leary et al), 3. White Lotus (Paul Tully)

Published in DBSC
Tagged under

#sb20 – Strong and gusty north westerlies on Dublin Bay have led to the cancellation of the SB20 DBSC racing today. The Dublin Bay buoy located next to the SB20 race track showed an average wind speed of 
23–kts and gusts of 30kts from 311 °(NW) leading race officer Barry O'Neill to cancel this afternoon's racing. SB20 Class captain James Gorman plans to reschedule the planned three races for later in the season.

Published in SB20

#dbsc – Dublin Bay Sailing Club Results for 28 MAY 2015

BENETEAU 31.7 - 1. Levana (Jean Mitton), 2. Prospect (Chris Johnston),
3. After You Too (Michael Blaney)

BENETEAU 31.7 Echo- 1. Levante (M.Leahy/J.Power), 2. Prospect (Chris
Johnston), 3. Extreme Reality (P.McSwiney/E.O'Rafferty)

CRUISERS 1 Echo - 1. Adrenalin (J McDonald & J Balfe), 2. Boomerang
(Paul Kirwan), 3. Rockabill V (Paul O'Higgins)

CRUISERS 1 - 1. Bon Exemple (C Byrne), 2. Rockabill V (Paul
O'Higgins), 3. Gringo (Tony Fox)

CRUISERS 2 Echo - 1. Peridot (Jim McCann et al), 2. Ruthless (Conor
Ronan), 3. Antix (D Ryan)

CRUISERS 2 - 1. Peridot (Jim McCann et al), 2. Ruthless (Conor Ronan),
3. Bendemeer (L Casey & D Power)

CRUISERS 3 A Echo - 1. Hard on Port (F O'Driscoll), 2. Grasshopper 2
(K & J Glynn), 3. Yehaa (Whelan/McCabe/Cary/Cramer)

CRUISERS 3 A - 1. Hard on Port (F O'Driscoll), 2. Yehaa
(Whelan/McCabe/Cary/Cramer)

CRUISERS 3 B - 1. Gung Ho (G & S O'Shea), 2. Taiscealai (B
Richardson), 3. Asterix (Counihan/Meredith/Bushell)

CRUISERS 3 B Echo - 1. Small Wonder (H Kelly), 2. Taiscealai (B
Richardson), 3. Chinook (A Bradley/P Morgan)

Combined Classes Echo - 1. Rupert (R & P Lovegrove), 2. White Mischief
(Timothy Goodbody), 3. Peridot (Jim McCann et al)

Combined Classes - 1. Rupert (R & P Lovegrove), 2. Peridot (Jim McCann
et al), 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. Glenshane (P Hogan)

RUFFIAN 23 - 1. Diane ll (A Claffey/C Helme), 2. Ruff Diamond (D.Byrne
et al), 3. Bandit (Kirwan/Cullen/Brown)

SB20 - 1. AlertPackaging.com (J Burke & D Burke), 2. Sin Bin (Michael
O'Connor), 3. Venuesworld.com (Ger Dempsey)

SHIPMAN - 1. The Den (A. Costello/G.Millar), 2. Gusto (Heath, Miles,
Crisp, Duggan), 3. Jo Slim (J.Clarke et al)

SIGMA 33 - 1. Rupert (R & P Lovegrove), 2. White Mischief (Timothy
Goodbody), 3. Leeuwin (H&C Leonard & B Kerr)

SIGMA 33 - 1. Rupert (R & P Lovegrove), 2. White Mischief (Timothy
Goodbody), 3. Leeuwin (H&C Leonard & B Kerr)

SIGMA 33 Echo - 1. Rupert (R & P Lovegrove), 2. White Mischief
(Timothy Goodbody), 3. Leeuwin (H&C Leonard & B Kerr)

SQUIB - 1. Perfection (Jill Fleming), 2. Sidewinder (R&R Westrup), 3.
Absolutely Fabulous (M Kennedy/P Reilly)

WHITE SAIL CRUISERS Echo - 1. More Mischief (Eamonn Doyle), 2.
Cevantes (Paul Conway), 3. Menapia (J Sweeney)

WHITE SAIL CRUISERS - 1. White Lotus (Paul Tully), 2. Vespucci (S & K
O'Regan), 3. Cevantes (Paul Conway)

Published in DBSC

#Riverfest - The Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association has timed its annual regatta to take place this weekend during the third Dublin Port Riverfest.

Weather permitting, the DBOGA will race in Dublin Bay for the Leinster Plate Trophy on Saturday 30 May, while on Sunday 31 May they will sail upriver to berth along the north quays and enjoy the festival's atmosphere before parading back to the Poolbeg Boat and Yacht Club.

Then on Bank Holiday Monday 1 June they will join an even bigger parade of sail to salute the departing tall ships – including the square rigger Kaskelot.

More details on the Old Gaffers' weekend plans – and how you can join in the fun – are available HERE.

And don't forget this summer's cruise in company along the 'Fastnet coast' in West Cork.

Published in Maritime Festivals

#dlharbour – Hostile questions were asked in the Dail on Wednesday by local TD Richard Boyd Barrett on the proposed development of Dun Laoghaire Harbour as a cruise liner port. They were deflected in ministerial replies about legislation currently being drafted, and the two possible viable ways forward for the harbour's administration. But the underlying pace is accelerating towards a resolution of the future of this unique example of Victorian design, engineering and construction. W M Nixon finds that, in recent days and weeks, his views on the possible uses of this magnificent artificial harbour have undergone considerable change.

Embarrassment is a powerful stimulant for change. Change of attitude, change in ways in behaving, change in ways of looking at things, change to entrenched ways of thinking. I was hugely embarrassed by something seen in Dun Laoghaire nine days ago. And within seconds, there came a complete epiphany, with the sudden awareness that an entrenched attitude towards the development of Dun Laoghaire as a cruise liner port had turned through about 140 degrees.

It made for the complete 180 degrees, as the first 40 degrees of the turn had already been achieved a couple of weeks previously, while spending two completely absorbing if mentally exhausting hours with the maverick Alistair Rumball and his team at the Irish National Sailing School beside the inner recesses of Dun Laoghaire's inner harbour, which is still called the Coal Harbour even though it's very many years since anyone offloaded any lumps of the black gold there.

Be that as it may, as we parted we were shooting the breeze about the proposed development of Dun Laoghaire as a cruise liner port, which has been top of the local agenda since the end of March, and handily gave us one of our choicer April Fool's Day stories here on Afloat.ie - it proved so effective we had to add a health warning.

When a story provides you with something like that, you develop a certain affection for it. So while Alistair and I agreed that that the absolute dream solution for Dun Laoghaire Harbour would be a top-of-the-line government-funded National Monument Preservation Scheme, with the entire place given over exclusively to recreation afloat and ashore, and no commercial shipping of any significant size whatsoever allowed about the place, we knew it was pie in the sky.

"How on earth would they really pay for it?" he asked. "This place is huge, it costs a fortune to run and maintain. A cruise liner berth offers the best and most compact method of providing a worthwhile income stream. And as we in our sailing school – being a commercial operation – have to be rigorous in observing harbour regulations and keeping clear of the established in-harbour shipping lanes, we know that you can continue to sail small boats in large areas of the harbour without any undue sense of space restrictions".

Subsequently, I've been spending some time around Cork Harbour, where circumstances are so different from Dublin Bay that, unlikely as it may seem, you end up feeling sorry for the sailors of south Dublin. For while Cork is almost embarrassed by its riches in natural amenities for sailing, and it's all in a large and attractive harbour where marinas can be put down almost anywhere with no more than a floating breakwater to provide the necessary minimum of shelter, Dublin Bay by contrast is a hugely deprived area in terms of natural waterfront facilities for sailing, yet any attempts to provide man-made shoreline amenities for boats and sailors are dogged with local opposition every inch of the way.

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Around Cork Harbour, it only needs a floating breakwater and, hey presto, you've suddenly got a marina - as seen here at Monkstown. Photo: W M Nixon

Thoughts of this struggle, and how things change, emerged again for various reasons in Dun Laoghaire nine days ago, at the reception in Irish Lights HQ to launch the Great Lighthouses Tourism Initiative. Time was when our many fine lighthouses were places of mystery, and permission to visit took quite a bit of arranging if it could be managed at all. But my word, times have changed. In this electronic age, there are those who wonder if we need all our lighthouses. Yet Irish Lights is legally obliged to maintain them, and the built structures around them.

So Yvonne Shields, the CEO of Irish Lights, whom we'd describe as very switched on and extremely bright were we not talking of the top executive in a lights organisation, unveiled this sensible scheme whereby twelve of our greatest lighthouses are being transformed into stations on a tourist trail, while continuing as working lighthouses.

As the greatest and most monumental lighthouses on land tend to be on rugged headlands in remote areas, in the eyes of Brussels they're in peripheral areas deserving special aid. So there's €2 million of Eurodosh going into this project, which sees what had become increasing liabilities being transformed into tourist resources. And if we're going to be sniffy about that, let's face it: the kind of tourist who'll want to visit a remote lighthouse will not be the kind of tourist who would keep you well clear of Temple Bar.

So the old grey matter was churning briskly away on the business of seeing lighthouses in a new way as we headed home past the Coal Harbour, and there it was: The Embarrassment. For this was the evening at the end of the day when the majestic and rather handsome cruise liner Queen Mary 2 was anchored off Dun Laoghaire in a near gale from the southwest which had delayed the morning's arrangements to ferry passengers ashore in the ship's own tenders to the special landing pontoon installed by the Harbour Company in the inner harbour.

By this time, they were trying to return on board, waiting patiently in a queue which ran the length of the inner pier and more as the two ship's tenders bustled the mile and a half plus out to the ship, yet still more buses turned up to disgorge more passengers, such that for a while the long length of the queue seemed to stay persistently the same.

Perhaps it's because we Irish don't do queuing that I found the entire thing acutely embarrassing to behold. And it wasn't even as if it was raining, which it well could have been. Nevertheless it struck me as being a Third World sort of scenario. Yet obviously these people were keen to visit Dun Laoghaire – most of the thousands of passengers on board had elected to go ashore.

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This just won't do at all – images of Third World destinations came to mind on seeing the passengers from the Queen Mary 3 queuing in the Coal Harbour in Dun Laoghaire to get back out to their ship anchored in the bay. Photo: W M Nixon

So the epiphany came with the essential flashing great light. If we're going to have cruise liners calling at Dun Laoghaire, boomed this disembodied voice, then let's do it properly and provide them with a proper berth. Otherwise, don't have them about the place at all. But please, please – no more buzzing in and out in little tenders in this Irish climate, and no more queuing on a comfortless pier. It's an affront to our best traditions of hospitality.

This sudden firing-up with all the zeal of the recent convert (for until then, I'd wanted Dun Laoghaire to stay exactly as it is, and damn the expense) resulted in my being right into the dragon's den four days later. It was meant to be a short and businesslike meeting with Gerry Dunne, the CEO of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company, to discuss the Cruise Liner Berth Proposals. But so many ideas were flying around that we ran well over time.

Please be assured, though, that I did my best to represent the needs of the boat-owning and sailing community while accepting that since Stena Sealink withdrew from running a ferry service from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead, something very serious indeed needs to be done to pay for the maintenance of the harbour.

We have to remember that, among Ireland's main sailing centres, Cork and Kinsale are blessed with such good natural harbours that any marinas located in either harbour do not need fixed breakwaters. As for Bangor Marina on Belfast Lough, it may need a very substantial solid breakwater on its north side, but otherwise - thanks to being located in a bay - three of its four sides are naturally sheltered. But Dun Laoghaire is badly done by – it's so totally an artificial harbour in an exposed location that three of its four sides are protected by large man-made breakwaters, and while they are constructed in monumental style, continuous monitoring and maintenance is essential.

This is costly, but it would become even more so were standards allowed to slip for even a year or two. Even with the present high standards, there can be underlying wear and tear which in time needs major capital expenditure, and according to one recent report, hidden erosion on the most exposed section of the East Pier may eventually need up to €5 million for a proper remedial job.

As it is, the current basic running costs of the harbour are between €2 and €2.5 million a year. Were it kept as a purely recreational harbour and general public amenity, this figure could perhaps be slightly reduced. Yet the Dun Laoghaire recreational boating market still could not withstand paying the full amount out of its own resources and expected annual expenditure, so the shortfall would have to be made up by Government subvention.

But would the sailing and boating people of Dun Laoghaire really like to feel that they're beholden to taxpayers throughout Ireland for their continuing enjoyment of this wonderful amenity at affordable prices? There's something unpleasantly artificial about the idea of such an arrangement, whereas a harbour which is providing a modest but genuine profit is something which has a much healthier feel to it.

Surely if a way can be found of generating a worthwhile income stream without unduly distorting the traditional functioning of the harbour, then that idea should at the very least be actively explored, and recreational boating groups should be prepared to reach out towards compromises in the knowledge that, in turn, such arrangements would make the Harbour Company more accountable to all.

However, local representative Richard Boyd Barrett TD of the People Before Profit party, and Chair of Dun Laoghaire Save Our Seafront Group, sees it differently, and he has called for "a major campaign of people power against the planned cruise berth, and to protect the future of the harbour as a public amenity". His three main objections to a cruise berth plan are "(1) That the cost and financing of the project at €18 million means that the Harbour Company will have to borrow using its existing assets, where no proper business case has been produced. This puts the very future of the harbour at risk. (2) The entire plan has been hatched by an unelected board of the Harbour Company, Council Executives, and local business people who ran a sham of a public consultation over the two weeks of the Easter Holidays, and (3) The scale of the luxury liners at 300 metres long and 59 metres high will dwarf the harbour and reduce public access and public enjoyment of the most intact Victorian harbour in Britain and Ireland".

So with a Harbour Company which is government-owned, yet is charged with maximizing the economic benefit and exploiting the commercial opportunities provided by Dun Laoghaire Harbour, clearly there is something of a divide between the two sides. In fact, "light years apart" just about sums it up.

Nevertheless, politics being the art of the possible, it has to be possible to bring people together sufficiently to see that perhaps a proper sympathetically-designed cruise liner berth might indeed be the answer. After all, although it was built between 1817 and 1842 purely as a harbour of refuge for sailing ships with no thought of any interaction between sea and land, it very quickly became a ferry port for cross-channel steamships. At the height of this activity, with frequent roll-on roll-off ferries and their unpleasant shoreside traffic dominating the waterfront, Dun Laoghaire had lost much of its charm.

For the life of me I can't see that the much more limited shoreside traffic generated by the visits of cruise liners in the summer months can be seen as being anything like as obnoxious as the previous waves of road and rail traffic for the ferries, which was readily tolerated, and helped to keep the place going for 180 years.

And in any case, with the end of the ferry services, Dun Laoghaire definitely lacks purpose. In the Irish climate, it is very difficult to maintain a sense of vitality around a harbour which is purely devoted to personal recreation, whether afloat and ashore. It could be argued that, regardless of the economic benefits, it would be good for the mental spirit and communal well-being of Dun Laoghaire to be a cruise liner port of call, as a cruise liner strikes a neat balance between work and play. Like it or not, all work and no play may make Jack a dull boy, but all play and no work makes him mad.

But even if we accept that the shoreside traffic will be much less than it was with the regular ferries even if there is a cruise liner in port every other day, that is only part of the equation. How does the town itself shape up as a desirable cruise liner destination?

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The Harbour Lodge is symbolic of today's Dun Laoghaire, a classical building from an earlier age, but now enclosed by modernity. Photo: W M Nixon

When we get down to the nitty gritty like this, Gerry Dunne is in his element. He's an affable guy, and good company, but I wouldn't like to get into a row with him, as there's steel underneath it all. So in the sedate setting of Harbour Lodge – which he cheerfully admits his opponents and friends have nick-named "Mussolini's Palace" – he's just the man to fight off the brickbats and work his way towards several objectives. But although he actually lives in Dun Laoghaire within walking distance of his office, he's not really into boat and water sports, yet that's no drawback, as personal preferences definitely don't come into it at all as he plans the way ahead.

He makes no bones about admitting that his attitude is strongly commercial. Before taking over the reins at Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company, he was Commercial Director at RTE, a job description which boggles the mind. Before that, he honed his skills in the UK, working for several large Irish food companies. If that gives you a vision of ditzy little artisan cheeses selling in agreeable country shops, then perish the thought – the big Irish food industries provide as tough a business environment as you could imagine.

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The many moods of Gerry Dunne.Toughened by a varied and demanding career in business and marketing, he has brought a fresh mind to the problems of making Dun Laoghaire harbour economically viable. Photos: W M Nixon

He joined the Harbour Company in 2009, when talk of Stena's withdrawal was already in the wind. So he got Dun Laoghaire moving towards the cruise liner market in a small way, with the miniature 53-passenger Quest in 2011. Finding Quest an in-harbour berth was no problem, and she provided invaluable information on what Dun Laoghaire can provide as a USP for discerning cruise liner passengers. For Quest's rather specialist group, it was the easy access to the Wicklow Hills and particularly Mount Ussher Gardens, and they definitely didn't want to have to travel through Dublin City to get there.

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The mini liner Quest – seen here in the Arctic - began the programme of attracting cruise ships to Dun Laoghaire in 2011

So far so good, but Gerry Dunne really struck gold when he started going to the cruise liner fairs in America and Europe. Gradually he built up a useful network, and again he struck gold when he got a report on the potential attractions of Dun Laoghaire from the Vice President (Itineraries) of one of the biggest American cruise liner conglomerates. Asked to sum up in one word the attraction of the Dun Laoghaire for visitors coming in from sea, her answer was: "Serenity".

We've become accustomed to Venice being talked of as The Most Serene Republic - The Serenissima. But it makes you sit up and take notice to hear of Dun Laoghaire being so described by a tough American businesswoman. Yet that's the impression the waterfront area, with its combination of the old yacht clubs, the station, the Town Hall and the Royal Marine Hotel, apparently makes on seaborn visitors from cruise liners, even if their liners are at present anchored outside the harbour and they have to be ferried in to land by ship's tenders. It seems they can blank out the less attractive buildings, and are left with the abiding impression of relaxed elegance with an easygoing way of life.

This takes a bit of getting used to, as it's so much at variance with the perception in Ireland of Dun Laoghaire as a place where they'd argue over anything and everything all the time, while just up the street there's the real problem of the dreary array of boarded-up shops. But like it or lump it, here it is folks – the reality is the yacht clubs and other other historically significant and stylish buildings of the Dun Laoghaire waterfront area – including the pleasantly under-stated Victorian residential terraces - are the town's greatest tourist asset.

Quite what some of the more senior members of the yacht clubs will make of that we can only guess, but the word is that the clubs have indicated that they'll be prepared to welcome some cruiser liner guests to their premises at pre-arranged times. So perhaps we should see the cruise liners as no more than extra-super super yachts......And there's no doubt that many rugged sailing folk from Dun Laoghaire are themselves only too happy to tootle off on a cruise liner when the peak of the sailing season is over.

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The artist's impression was just that – an artist's impression. If the new berth goes ahead, cruise liners will actually have their sterns towards the town.

But what is the reality if the new berth is agreed? Well, you can forget about your artist's impressions showing a liner facing the town. Space will be restricted, so the liners will come in stern first, thereby enabling them to make an elegant departure for the benefit of crowds down the end of the piers, which could become a popular occurrence.

The new liner pier will be as short as possible, though it will have an underpass for small craft, while the bows of the ships themselves will be held in place by dolphins, as was the HSS ferry. If you think that getting into this berth will involve impossibly ticklish manoeuvring, consider this recent photo of the three Cunard Queens up close and friendly in Southampton, and note that there's no lack of small craft nipping about among them.

dl10.jpgThe three Cunarders can manoeuvre unaided at close quarters even with several small craft nipping about their heels, as seen here in Southampton

One of the other drawbacks about the current setup, with the ships anchoring off and people disembarking in the Coal Harbour, is that there's very little space for buses to move about, but the present waterfront marshalling yard left behind by the exit of Sealink will greatly relieve that problem if the new berth is built. At the moment, it is planned that passengers will walk the short length of the pier to reach their buses, but my own feeling is that the pier should be made a bit wider with a turning circle in order that passengers may board their buses almost directly from the ship, for we're not talking long distance athletes here.

That said, those who are fitter can come and go as they please, with the town within easy reach, whereas being anchored off can cause cabin fever. In other words, if Dun Laoghaire is going to have a cruise liner berth, let it be done properly – half measures involving long walks to buses just won't do, but equally for those who do walk, the town must feel accessible and welcoming.

As to the amount of space the ship will take up in the harbour, that will vary from ship to ship, but some are indeed enormous. And their wind-deflecting presence will certainly add an extra interest to in-harbour dinghy racing. As for the interest of the in-harbour racing for the visitors on the ship, that in turn will all be part of Dun Laoghaire's colourful charm, for which their ship will provide a grandstand view.

In line with that, we should remember that the leading in-harbour class, the historic Water Wags, have only just returned from showing themselves off at Morbihan Sailing week in France. Thus they'll scarcely be unduly bothered about providing a source of fascination for passengers on cruise liners, some of whom will probably be former dinghy racers themselves.

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The Water Wags find it easy to sail freely within Dun Laoghaire Marina on their way out to race in the main harbour, so their only problem with a cruise liner berthed in mid-harbour will be the effect it has on wind flow. Photo: W M Nixon

But what the in-harbour dinghy racers are already becoming happily accustomed to is the newly-emptied eastern half of the harbour, with space now provided where boats used to moor. And this area will not be at risk from maneuvering cruise liners – there's not the depth for them. Finally, as to the height or otherwise of the ships in relation to other structures in Dun Laoghaire, I think we've been righteously indignant about this on a mistaken premise – since the new library was pushed into place, all bets about skyline heights and an elegant relationship with other waterfront buildings are clearly off.

So if the sailing and boating community can be more accepting of the cruise liners which will ultimately provide a real source of income to maintain the harbour which makes their activities possible, what can they expect in return?

They're in a strong negotiating position. After all, the Harbour Company's research has shown it is the comfortable presence of the yacht clubs which underpins this vision of serenity which is Dun Laoghaire's most appealing attraction for the kind of people who enjoy the cruise liner experience. So it's very much in the Harbour Company's interest to keep the clubs in good health.

By today's standards, the Royal Irish YC is thriving, thanks in no small part to its location within the marina against whose creation, ironically, the club fought tooth and nail. But the other three clubs – the Royal St George, the National, and the Dun Laoghaire MYC – are blighted by the limited and relatively unsheltered pontoon berthing at their clubhouses.

It may well be – and I'm only guessing – that the Marina Company's agreement with the Harbour Company includes a clause that these three clubs are not allowed to have their own adjacent marinas. But if such a clause exists, then it should be deleted for the greater good of the harbour and the vitality of the waterfront in general, and the three clubs should be facilitated in providing 150-boat marinas – with proper breakwaters for the George and National - in front of each clubhouse.

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Dun Laoghaire from the southeast. If the new cruise liner berth is installed at mid-harbour, a longterm plan could be the installation of breakwaters in front of the Royal St George YC and the National YC in the foreground to shelter two new 150-boat marinas, as the location of the Royal Irish YC within the main marina gives it an unfair advantage in providing facilities for its members.

As to how Dun Laoghaire town can benefit, that's another matter altogether. The much stronger income and improved employment going through the Harbour Company will undoubtedly be a tangible good, though how seasonal it will be – with liners expected only between April and October – remains to be seen.

But personal expenditure by cruise liner passengers in the town is an imponderable. In fact, some cruise liners in the popular sunshine destinations are notorious for disembarking guests who feel that they made their total investment with the purchase of the ticket back home, so they don't plan to spend any more.

The historic little Venetian city-port of Dubrovnik on the Adriatic – which doesn't have a proper liner port – recently banned cruise liners from coming anywhere near the place, as their thousands of passengers made the narrow streets very uncomfortably crammed at peak times, yet the average expenditure ashore in Dubrovnik by each cruise liner passenger was precisely €6. There's food for thought. But we will of course get a better class of cruise liner passenger in Dun Laoghaire...

Published in W M Nixon
Page 13 of 89

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