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Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) is the largest yacht-racing organisation on the Irish east coast
You'll find all the latest Dublin Bay Sailing Club News here.
With sixteen hundred elected members, the Club provides regular weekly racing for upwards of 360 yachts, ranging from ocean-going forty footers to small dinghies for juniors. It prompted the question by Afloat.ie's WM Nixon Is Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) The Most Effective Sailing Organisation in the World?
The most remarkable thing about Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) is not that it is one of Europe's biggest, Ireland's busiest or that 2013 marked the club's 132nd season. It's more the fact, in the current climate, that the club – which has no club house - appears to have escaped the ravages of the 'R' word. In 2016, the club embarked on a new sponsorship deal.
Dublin Bay Sailing Club's Committee Vessel, the Mac Lir. Photo: David O'Brien
In a shot in the arm for bay sailing, there is no reported drop in DBSC entries at a time when individual waterfront clubs are struggling to hold members.
A total of 390 boats across 15 fleets are preparing to come to the line off Dun Laoghaire for the first race of the DBSC summer series on Tuesday week (April 24th).
The biggest DBSC fleet is Cruisers III a mix of 37 types to include quarter tonners, J24s and eight or nine Sonatas.
The SB3 Sports boat maintains its fleet of 34 and therefore its place as the biggest one design class on the bay.
Formed in 1884 with humble ambitions for small boat racing in the area, DBSC has remained true to these roots but grown with the popularity of sailing here and become the de facto club racing organisation for the capital's dinghies and cruisers; organising racing five nights per week from April to October.
Since the marina arrived in 2001 the club has also organised winter fixtures, thereby giving itself a year round remit.
It organises club racing for all four of Dun Laoghaire's waterfront clubs plus an increasing number for those who have opted out of yacht club membership to sail instead from the town's public marina.
The increase in numbers though, particularly on Thursday evenings, led to growing pains and last season an experiment to split the massive fleet removed congestion at certain mark roundings proved successful.
The red fleet and blue fleet divisions remain but there are more improvements for Thursday nights slated for this season with the introduction of a second committee boat on the water.
Inevitably the move means the end of a Dublin Bay institution, for Thursday's nights at least. The West Pier starting hut, in operation since 1968, will disappear except for use in very heavy weather.
The club's own MacLir committee boat will be servicing the Blue Fleet in the northern section of the racing area, The Royal Irish Yacht Club's Spirit of the Irish vessel will service the red fleet in the south-east section.
Other changes afloat have required re-drafting of courses and some re-location of marks. Omega mark has moved from its original position not far from the West Pier to serve as a hub for the Red Fleet marks which, with the addition of a new Bay Mark, form a natural circle. Similarly, Middle mark becomes the hub of the Blue Fleet circle.
Consequently, some shifting of other mark positions has ensued‚ the only radical change is that of Poldy, which was situated too close to the shipping lane for comfort; it will now be stationed roughly between East and Island Marks. Martello Mark is now redundant.
The Club operates from Dun Laoghaire, a major marine recreational centre and ferry port six miles to the south of Dublin. The members are drawn for the most part from the four local yacht clubs but visiting yachts can participate in racing if they complete the Club's temporary yacht entry and membership form and pay a small fee. Visiting yachts may also compete in the Club's Cruiser Challenge, held every year over the third weekend of August.
Apart from a Starter's Hut on Dun Laoghaire West Pier, the Club possesses no premises; moorings – the usual onshore facilities are provided by the local yacht clubs. The new Dun Laoghaire Marina, situated in the north-western side of the Harbour, now accommodates a growing number of racing yachts.
Racing usually starts at the end of April and continues up to the end of September. Mid-week races for keelboats takes place on Thursday evenings, from late April to the end of August. Keelboat crews and dinghy sailors race on Tuesday evenings. On Saturday afternoons (April to September) racing is provided for both keelboats and dinghies. Keelboat races start either on fixed lines on the seaward side of Dun Laoghaire West Pier or from a committee boat stationed not far from the harbour mouth.
Courses are designed around fixed marks in Dublin Bay, in an area of nearly 40 square miles, extending from Salthill and Seapoint on the western side of Bay to the Burford Bank on the east. All races finish at the Club's fixed lines at the West Pier but may be be shortened at the committee boat if necessary.
On Saturdays afternoons, two classes (Dragons and J24s) race on Olympic-style courses, joined occasionally by the Ruffian and Glen classes.
Dinghy racing takes place on Olympic-type courses on Saturdays in Seapoint Bay, on the northwest side of the West Pier and, on Tuesday evenings in Scotsman's Bay, on the seaward side of Dun Laoghaire East Pier. On certain Saturdays in June and July, the Club makes way for the annual one-day regattas of the the four local yacht clubs.
Correspondence to: Hon. Secretary, DBSC, 72 Clonkeen Drive, Foxrock, Dublin 18. Tel: 01 289 8565
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For all the latest news from the National Yacht Club click HERE
Founded on loyal membership, the NYC enjoys a family ethos and a strong fellowship which binds our members in a relaxed atmosphere of support and friendship.
Bathing in the gentle waterfront ambience of Dun Laoghaire on the edge of South County Dublin, the National Yacht Club has graced the waters of the Irish Sea and far beyond for more than a century.
Our famous burgee is a familiar sight in the sailing waters of Ireland, and the proud victory roll of our individual members and our Club is second to none.
A slipway directly accessing Dun Laoghaire Harbour, over eighty club moorings, platform parking, fuelling, watering and crane-lifting ensure that we are excellently equipped to cater for all the needs of the contemporary sailor.
Although there are references to an active ‘club’ prior to 1870, history records that the present clubhouse was erected in 1870 at a cost of £4,000 to a design by William Sterling and the Kingstown Royal Harbour Boat Club was registered with Lloyds in the same year. By 1872 the name had been changed to the Kingston Harbour Boat Club and this change was registered at Lloyds.
In 1881 the premises were purchased by a Captain Peacocke and others who formed a proprietary club called the Kingstown Harbour Yacht Club again registered at Lloyds. Some six years later in 1877 the building again changed hands being bought by a Mr Charles Barrington. and between 1877 and 1901 the club was very active and operated for a while as the 'Absolute Club' although this change of name was never registered. In 1901 the lease was purchased by three trustees who registered it as the Edward Yacht Club.
In 1930 at a time when the Edward Yacht Club was relatively inactive, a committee including The Earl of Granard approached the trustees with a proposition to form the National Yacht Club. The Earl of Granard had been Commodore of the North Shannon YC and was a senator in the W.T. Cosgrave government. An agreement was reached, the National Yacht Club was registered at Lloyds, and The Earl of Granard became the first Commodore.
Sterling’s design for the exterior of the club was a hybrid French Chateau and eighteenth century Garden Pavilion and today as a Class A restricted building it continues to provide elegant dining and bar facilities. An early drawing of the building shows viewing balconies on the roof and the waterfront façade.
Subsequent additions of platforms and a new slip to the seaward side and most recently the construction of new changing rooms, offices and boathouse provide state of the art facilities, capable of coping with major international and world championship events. The club provides a wide range of sailing facilities, from Junior training to family cruising, dinghy sailing to offshore racing and caters for most major classes of dinghies, one design keelboats, sports boats and cruiser racers. It provides training facilities within the ISA Youth Sailing Scheme and National Power Boat Schemes.
The club is particularly active in dinghy and keelboat one design racing and has hosted two World Championships in recent years including the Flying Fifteen Worlds in 2003.
Berths with diesel, water, power and overnight facilities are available to cruising yachtsmen with shopping facilities being a short walk away. The club is active throughout the year with full dining and bar facilities and winter activities include bridge, snooker, quiz nights, wine tasting and special events.
Membership – enquiries may be addressed to: The Membership Secretary, The National Yacht Club – email: [email protected]
Reciprocal Clubs – The National Yacht Club has formal reciprocal membership arrangements with other clubs in Ireland and overseas. National Yacht Club members are welcome to visit our partner clubs and on introduction with the National Yacht Club membership card, our members may use the facilities of the host club subject to that club’s house rules. Likewise members of our reciprocal clubs are most welcome to visit the National Yacht Club where they may enjoy our facilities in the company of like-minded members.
Courses Offered – DINGHY: Up to Improving Skills, Advanced Boat Handling, Racing 1, Kites & Wires 1, and Adventure 1. POWERBOAT: 1, 2, and Safety Boat. KEELBOAT: Up to Improving Skills, Advanced Boat Handling, Racing 1, Kites & Wires 1, and Adventure 1.
(Details and photograph courtesy of the National Yacht Club)
The Kingstown Boat Club, from which the Royal St. George Yacht Club evolved, was founded in 1838 by a small group of boating enthusiasts who had decided that ‘the (River) Liffey was every year becoming fouler and less agreeable for aquatic pursuits’.
They applied to the Commissioner for Public Works, and were granted a piece of ground near Dun Laoghaire Harbour on which to build a clubhouse – the first privately owned building to stand on publicly owned space. Initially, the members’ main interest was in rowing, but membership grew rapidly, and amongst them were many well-known yachtsmen of the day.
One of these was the Marquis Conyngham, who used his influence with Queen Victoria to have the privileges of a Royal Yacht Club conferred in 1845. The Club flag was to be 'the Red Ensign with a crown in the centre of the Jack' and the Burgee was red with a white cross with a crown at the centre. This, of course, is the St. George’s Cross, and is quite possibly the reason why, in 1847, the Club became The Royal St. George’s Yacht Club, although this has never been established. It subsequently became the Royal St George Yacht Club; it is referred to by all who know it, as simply ‘the George’.
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The clubhouse was designed by Mulvany, a follower of Gandon, designer of the Custom House in Dublin, and he produced a beautiful miniature Palladian villa in the neo-classical style.
The builder was Masterson, who built many other beautiful houses in the neighbourhood, including Sorrento Terrace, Dalkey. Work was completed in 1843, but, incredibly, such was the growth in membership, that the clubhouse was already too small. Permission was granted by the Harbour Commissioners in 1845 for an extension of the original façade, which involved clever duplication of the existing Ionic portico with the erection of a linking colonnade between. The symmetry and classical grace of the clubhouse was thus preserved in the new building.
The George has a long tradition of racing and cruising, and members have, from the start, made their mark in home and international waters. In 1851, the Marquis Conyngham, Commodore, competed in his 218 ton yacht Constance in the Royal Yacht Squadron Regatta. An American yacht called America won the race! In 1893 William Jameson, of the eponymous distilling family, was asked by Edward, Prince of Wales, to be sailing master on his new yacht Britannia. He won 33 out of 43 starts in her first season.
In 1963 a major restoration project was undertaken to repair and update the Club’s facilities, and this attracted a large number of new members who were ultimately to pave the way for the later developments, including a much-envied multi-purpose club room, a state-of-the-art forecourt extension for dinghies and keelboats, and a fully-equipped dock.
2008 saw the culmination of five years of planning and building when the new sailing wing was opened for use. Consisting of a new junior room, racing office, committee room and administration office this area is joined to the older builing with a lovely light-filled atrium. Stylish and functional changing facilities for the ladies and upgraded male changerooms have increased the club’s capacity to accommodate larger numbers of sailors for world-class events. A refurbishment of the Clubroom further complimented this full-service sailing section and has elevated the Club’s status resulting in it being chosen to host the 2012 ISAF Youth World Championships.
(Details and image courtesy of the Royal St. George Yacht Club)
Royal St. George Yacht Club, Harbour Road, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, tel: +353 1 280 1811, fax: +353 1 280 9359
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