Displaying items by tag: National Yacht Club
#NYC - The National Yacht Club’s clubhouse dining events calendar for 2018 begins next Tuesday 9 January with the first ladies’ lunch, with guest speaker and clubhouse restaurant head chef Cormac Healy.
That’s followed later in the month by the first Preston Ball on Friday 19 January, and Peter Caviston’s Games Night on Saturday 20 January.
The popular wine suppers return twice monthly in January, February and March, with the first of these taking place on Wednesday 17h January.
The National Yacht Club of Dun Laoghaire – founded in 1870 – has long been one of Ireland’s leading sailing clubs in sporting competition inshore and offshore, while at the same time retaining a friendly, hospitable and “can-do” attitude to other sailors, and to the broader community with which it interacts ashore writes W M Nixon.
Yet even by its own high standards, the Club is currently on a wave of success, building on member Annalise Murphy’s Olympic Silver Medal of 2016 such that in 2017, under the engaging leadership of Commodore Ronan Beirne, the National has progressed through a golden year.
There is every indication that this encouraging state of affairs is going to continue through and beyond the NYC’s 150th Anniversary – its Sesquicentennial – in 2020, with the Flying Fifteen Worlds lined up for 2019. This is very much in line with the ethos of the “Sailing Club of the Year” contest, with the title being held by the winning club for the year following the one in which success was achieved, as the adjudicators like to feel that the year in consideration at the winning club is part of a steady and continuous progress, rather than a flash in the pan.
Mitsubishi Motors are Irish sailing’s most committed longterm sponsors, as they have supported the “Sailing Club of the Year” accolade for 32 years. This unique and informal competition was first inaugurated in 1979 and initially only covered Leinster, but after Mitsubishi Motors had become the enthusiastic sponsors in 1986, it went nationwide and the title of “Irish Sailing Club of the Year” became one of real prestige, based on a rigorous set of standards.
An underlying purpose of the award is to highlight and honour the voluntary effort which goes into creating and maintaining the unrivalled quality of Ireland's yacht and sailing clubs, and the dedication of their members. In making their assessment, the adjudicators take many factors into consideration. In addition to the obvious one of sailing success at local, national and international levels, considerable attention is also paid to the satisfaction which members in every branch of sailing and boating feel with the way their club is run, and how effectively it meets their specific needs, while also encouraging sailing development and training.
The effort and encouragement put into junior training is naturally a prime consideration, but the adjudicators also seek clear evidence of introducing newcomers from all age groups to sailing, and encouraging them to share the friendly ambience that a healthy club provides.
The successful staging of events, whether local, national or international, is also a factor in making the assessment. The importance of a dynamic and fruitful interaction with the local community is emphasised, and also with the relevant governmental and sporting bodies, both at local and national level.
The adjudicators expect to find a genuine sense of continuity in club life and administration. Over the years, the assessment system has been continually refined in order to be able to make realistic comparisons between clubs of varying types and size. With the competition's expansion in 1993 to include class associations and specialist national watersports bodies, the "Sailing Club of the Year" competition continues to keep pace with developing trends, while at the same time reflecting the fact that Ireland's leading sailing clubs are themselves national and global pace-setters.
While Ireland’s best-known clubs have featured prominently over the years in the winners list, with the Royal Cork Yacht Club at Crosshaven heading the leaderboard with five wins, the Mitsubishi Motors Awards Ceremony has seen the famous ship’s wheel trophy being handed over at convivial gatherings in smaller ogranisations such as Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club in the heart of Dublin, Lough Ree YC on the Shannon, and Wicklow Sailing Club on the East Coast, while “homeless” organisations such as the Shannon One Design Association, the Irish Cruising Club, and the Irish Cruiser Racing Association have also had their Year of Honour.
This year’s winner has been the “Mitsubishi Motors Sailing Club of the Year” four times previously, the most recent being six years ago in 2012. Now, with five wins, they are second only to the Royal Cork on the leaderboard.
The National YC’s pre-eminence during 2017 resulted from a remarkable combination of events and anniversaries which resulted in the club going through the year on top of its game. It was the Golden Jubilee of its Junior Training Programme, which dated back to 1967 when a key figure was Carmel Winkelmann, co-ordinating the efforts of parents encouraged by Olympian Johnny Hooper, with the late Paddy Kirwan playing a leading role to create Ireland’s first fleet of Optimist sailing dinghies.
That particular Golden Jubilee was properly celebrated at various events at the Club in May 2017, with Carmel Winkelmann still much involved. And meanwhile the Junior Programme itself was more active than ever during the 2017 season, with a record number of participants guided by the Junior Captain role shared by Michelle Halpenny and Fiona Staunton.
In this strongly family-oriented club, having junior sailing as a central pillar of activity has long been the way of things. Though facilities may have been basic back in 1967, the developments since then have somehow managed to retain the character of the NYC’s attractive clubhouse while greatly expanding its boat-use space, and enhancing the utilisation of every corner of the building itself. Yet at the same time, the club complex is kept at a manageable and well-maintained size which makes the entire place attractively busy.
This steady development of amenities meant, for instance, that many years ago when keen NYC juniors wanted to move into trapeze-using 420 dinghies, the club could lead the way and encouraged others to join them. This drew in people like Cathy MacAleavey – who was from a non-sailing background – and another promising young sailor, Jack Roy from Greystones. His home club was promoting a class of Enterprises, but Jack was adventurous and inclined to take the 420 route, and the National YC welcomed him on board.
Down the years, this outward-looking and welcoming approach has greatly enriched a membership talent already strong in keen juniors from families long associated with the club, and through 2017 we saw many successful results of this attitude.
In due course, in addition to a successful sailing career of her own, Cathy MacAleavey and husband Con Murphy had not only established a Round Ireland sailing Record in 1993 which stood for very many years, but they’ve since gone on to make a major impact in many other areas of sailing, while their daughter Annalise Murphy is Ireland’s leading sailing figure today, an Olympic Silver Medallist who is currently contesting the Volvo Ocean Race.
Jack Roy meanwhile was also to become totally immersed in the National YC sailing scene, going on from 420s to several seasons campaigning a Flying Fifteen. But he also proved to have the ideal skills and enthusiasm to become a leading Race Officer, and in 2017 that administrative talent saw him becoming the President of Irish Sailing, while his sailing affiliations are now spread over several clubs.
This input into sailing organisations of national and international significance is exceptionally high in the Natonal YC membership. The current Commodore of Dublin Bay SC - arguably the world’s busiest local yacht racing organisation - is former National YC Commodore Chris Moore, a J/109 owner-skipper, while the longterm DBSC Honorary Secretary Donal O’Sullivan is likewise an NYC stalwart.
In recent years, the remarkable revival of the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association has been - from the Irish side - almost entirely a National YC-guided phenomenon, quietly but very persuasively headed by former NYC Commodore Peter Ryan. Somehow, he finds the time not only to be Chairman and general organiser of ISORA, but is almost invariably a keen participant himself, and when he’s not actually on the winning boat, he’ll be aboard one in close competiton.
This special link between the NYC and ISORA was very effectively demonstrated back in November, with the club hosting the ISORA Annual Dinner and Prize Giving. When the numbers wishing to attend from both sides of the Irish Sea soared above the 200 mark, the club’s renowned professional hospitality staff – manager Tim O’Brien and chef Cormac Healy – rose spectacularly to the challenge, extending the dining room onto the veranda and feeding 234 hearty matelots – all of whom had cleaned up a treat – to a splendid meal, the Guest of Honour being Royal Ocean Racing Club Commodore and 2017 Champion Michael Boyd, who himself started his sailing at the National, as his father was a noted Dublin Bay 21 owner-skipper.
This sense of history linked through the present is part of the NYC story. An awareness of it was much in evidence at a small but significant meeting in the National YC almost exactly a year ago, when ways and means were being explored of making Classic and Traditional boats a central element in the up-coming Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017, in which the golden oldies would be given their place of respect and proper participation in order to mark the Bicentenary of Dun Laoghaire Harbour.
In the friendly atmosphere of a mid-winter bar lunch in the National YC, all things seems possible when discussed by Old Gaffers National President Sean Walsh and Dublin Bay OGA President Dennis Aylmer, together with Regatta Racing Director Con Murphy, and classic boat enthusiasts Cathy MacAleavey of the Water Wags and Shannon One Designs and Ian Malcolm of the Howth 17s and Water Wags.
The upshot of it all was that, for the regatta in July, a long bowsprit-friendly pontoon was moored off the National for the exclusive use of Classics and Traditionals. The word had meanwhile been spread among owners and crews of vintage craft from near and far, and the vintage fleet became the highlight of the most successful Dun Laoghaire regatta ever. The winner of the very special Kingstown Cup was the 1897-built 37ft Myfanwy from Wales, one of whose crew, Max Mason, was the furthest-travelled to be at the regatta – he’d come home from Australia to join his father Rob and shipmates on the supreme classic yacht.
The way in which the National YC hosted the shoreside needs of these special visitors made the Classics aspect such a success that although it was intended as a one-off to mark the Bicentenary, the word is that it will be repeated in future biennial Dun Laoghaire Regattas. Yet in the midst of all this hosting of events and visitors, the club continues to send forth sailors who achieve major prizes, and racing success was the way with the NYC membership right to the end of the year, with Olympic contender Finn Lynch winning silver in the Lasers in the Olympic Classes Championship in the Canaries in mid-December.
But such high-profile success is only the tip of an iceberg of sailing at every level for the club’s membership, which saw a net increase of upwards of 80 members during the year, with a round total of 1,100 members when all sections are included. Family membership is particularly strong, and it’s interesting that either spouse can be the nominated holder of the position. But then, gender equality has long been the National’s strong suit – the club’s first woman Commodore was Ida Kiernan, back in 2002-2005.
In the day-to-day running of the club, the ability to recognize the crucial stage where professional ability has to support and best utilise voluntary enthusiasm is one of the reasons for the National’s current success, and on the waterfront the club has a full-time sailing manager, Olivier Prouveur, who learned his skills in France and has deployed them since 2011 to back up the enormous NYC voluntary input, with Rear Commodore Susan Spain heading the team which encourages adult newcomers – they’ve a flotilla of club-owned Wayfarers to learn with, and 2017 saw 21 of these adult beginners receive their full competency certificates.
The sailing world to which they’re being introduced is all-encompassing, as Susan is the daughter of Cormac McHenry, the veteran of a solo Transatlantic voyage who is a former Commodore Irish Cruising Club, and currently a Trustee of the NYC. Long distance cruising seems to be something of a club administrators tradition – Honorary Treasurer Conor O’Regan successfully completed a three year round the world voyage with his wife Henrietta in their Rival 38 Panima before returning to the everyday life of sailing from Dublin Bay.
Another NYC couple currently setting the cruising pace are Michael and Anne Madsden with their Starlight 35 Gabelle, who have just been awarded the ICC’s Rockabill Trophy for 2017 in recognition of their seamanship and navigation in cruising to Svalbard, which everyone used to know as Spitzbergen, but whichever way you know it, it’s a very long way north and a world away from the considerable comforts of the National YC.
Perhaps it’s to create a contrast with those comforts that the club is so enthusiastic about offshore racing, because in addition to sending forth round Ireland winners such as Eamon Crosbie and also providing much of the impetus behind the ISORA revival, they also run the biennial Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race, which dates from 1993, the brainchild of Peter Cullen and the late Martin Crotty, and now run by Adam Winkelmann.
The sprint to Dingle attracted a record fleet in 2017, but although the NYC’s Shanahan family with their J/109 Ruth dominated it in 2015, in 2017 it was Paul O’Higgins of the RIYC with the JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI who took the honours.
However, the NYC has such a record of success among its members that they know the Dingle trophy will return to them in due course. As it is, two of the club’s most noted offshore performers during 2017 were Tom Dolan, who at sixth overall in a class of 54 boats was the best-placed Irish entrant ever in the Mini-Transat, and 17-year-old Cadet Member Lorcan Tighe. Lorcan may be best known for his links to the INSS’s J/109 Jedi which won Class 3B and the Roger Justice Trophy in the Rolex Fastnet Race 2017, but he started his J/109 experience with the NYC’s Paul Barrington and partners in the J/109 Jalapeno, something which trained him towards his first Round Ireland Race in 2016, aged just 16.
Meanwhile, with a Commodore whose experience ranges from cruising round Ireland and out to St Kilda with a Ruffian 23, campaigning for years with a vintage Mermaid, and currently taking things at the sharp end in the cut and thrust of Flying Fifteen racing where Dave Gorman and Alan Green are pace-setters, Ronan Beirne is someone whose entire life seems to have been a preparation for heading the National Yacht Club with skill and style.
In this he is very well supported by Vice Commodore Michael McCarthy, another enthusiast steeped in the lore of the club, and by Honorary Secretary Peter Sherry and Honorary Sailing Secretary Peter Murphy, together with the large number of boathouse volunteers with the Meldon family – father Ian, son Killian – at the heart of multiple boat-handling activities in which the commodore himself is likely to be personally involved.
This enthusiasm to get people participating so impressed the powers-that-be that in the most recent round of Sports Capital Grants, the National YC was in receipt of one of the biggest grants to any sailing club, €142,375 to further develop the club’s programme for getting women and teenagers even more involved in sailing.
It all sounds like the functioning of a well-organised machine, but Ronan Beirne realised that the workings of the club may not be so well understood by ordinary members as it is by those directly involved at the coal-face. So a sort of weekly “Members’ Clinic” has been established, whereby any member with an enquiry, complaint or whatever will know that on a Saturday morning between 11am and noon in the clubhouse, there’ll be a member of the General Committee available to take note and answer questions on whatever concerns them.
It may seem a small thing, a matter of administrative detail. But when you think of it, it’s the small thoughtful details which combine to make for a club which work for its members, and they in turn will work devotedly for a club which has made itself such a pleasant place to be that it has a non-sailing House Membership of upwards of 60 locals who reckon that if you want to enjoy the true flavour of classic Dun Laoghaire at comfort with itself, then the National Yacht Club is the place to be.
And all that combined with success at sea makes the National Yacht Club a very worthy Mitsubishi Motors Sailing Club of the Year 2018.
National Yacht Club members braved the chilly waters of Dublin Bay this morning in aid of Simon, the charity that prevents and addresses homelessness.
The Christmas Eve dip that raised over €2,000 was organised by the NYC's John Corcoran who was first into the 7.7 degree Dun Laoghaire Harbour waters. Corcoran was soon joined by Santa Claus and a host of NYC members, young and not so young, the Monkstown CBC Senior Cup Rugby Team plus a few dogs!
The club's festivities continue this afternoon with a packed clubhouse for its Christmas Eve lunch with club Commodore Ronan Beirne.
Irish sailing clubs are among 1,700 sports clubs nationwide receiving €56m in the latest round of sports capital grants, it was confirmed this morning. (Download the full list of grants awarded below).
30 sailing clubs throughout the country will share over a million in funding.
Dun Laoghaire's National Yacht Club on Dublin Bay is one of the biggest sailing club recipients with a grant of €142,375 for Increasing women and teenagers participation in the sport. The east pier club is the home of Rio Olympic silver medalist Annalise Murphy.
Also in Dun Laoghaire, the country's bggest sailing centre, the Irish National Sailing Club (Locaste) got €40,058 for the renewal of sailing equipment and the purchase of new boats.
The Royal St. George Yacht Club (RSGYC) got €31,228 for a Firefly dinghy renewal programme, Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club got €18,515 for the purchase of a 5m RIB and capstan winch. The Royal Irish Yacht Club got €25,000 for its safety and support fleet. Dublin Bay Sailing Club got €11,236
In Cork Harbour, Royal Cork Yacht Club were awarded €13,000 for support craft for teaching water sports
The programme is the primary means of providing Government funding for capital projects to sport and community organisations at local, regional and national level.
'This funding will give make a considerable impact on access to sailing in regional clubs, as well as help develop and improve sailing facilities. The pay back is the physical and mental benefits of sailing to local communities, ' according to an Irish Sailing spokesperson.
The 2017 round for applications closed in February with a record number of 2,320 received.
Around the coast – and on lakes and rivers too – sailing clubs shared in the distribution of the captial funds.
In Limerick, Foynes Yacht Club was awarded €16,500 for Physically Disabled Sailing. Sligo Yacht Club got €8,000 for its 'Try A Sail' and 'Inclusion for All' project.
In Tipperary, Lough Derg Yacht Club was awarded €4,000 for its access for all programme.
In Westmeath, Lough Ree Yacht Club got €12,500 to replace destroyed electrics and to buy two boats.
In West Cork, Glandore Harbour Yacht Club has €16,000 for a new clubhouse roof & canopy.
Minister Shane Ross said at the announcement: "This is a great day for Irish sport. When we originally invited applications under the scheme, we had just €30m to allocate and the record level of applications would have left a large number of good projects unsupported and many clubs disappointed.
"Happily, following the conclusion of budget discussions, I was delighted to secure the required additional resources to enable me to allocate €56m in total to local sports clubs and organisations throughout the country.
"The net result of this is that we are able to provide financial assistance towards over 1,700 different projects all over the country.
"The benefits of participating in sport are well documented, for both physical and mental health, and these new grants for local clubs will help us in our overall objective of getting as many people participating in sport as possible.
"The grants are also excellent news for our communities both rural and urban, as club sport is a superb way to bolster local pride, affinity and inclusion."
A further €4m has been set aside for regional grants. These allocations are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
|Killaloe Sailing Club||Sail Training Dinghies for Children and Teenagers||€6,000|
|Bantry Bay Sailing Club Bantry Bay Sailing Club||Club Development||€23,000|
|Bere Island Projects Group Ltd||Bringing Sailing back to Bere Island||€11,000|
|Glandore Harbour Yacht Club||New clubhouse roof & canopy over adjacent yard||€16,000|
|Kinsale Yacht Club Company Ltd||Rigid Inflatable boat (RIB) for training & safety||€8,000|
|Monkstown Bay Sailing Club||Changing rooms renovation & engine upgrade||€8,000|
|Royal Cork Yacht Club||Support Craft for teaching water sports||€13,000|
|Schull Harbour sailing Club Ltd S||RIB – Dinghy Sailing & Cruiser Crewing||€18,000|
|Clontarf Yacht & Boat||Club upgrade facilities for equality of access at CYBC||€136,943|
|Dublin Bay Sailing Club||Sports Equipment||€11,236|
|Malahide Yacht Club||Essential Rescue Equipment||€61,200|
|Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club||Dublin City Community Sailing||€150,000|
|Royal Irish Yacht Club||Safety and support fleet||€25,000|
|Rush Sailing Club||Expansion & Refurb of changing & toilet facilities||€130,381|
|Sailing in Dublin Club Ltd||Keelboat for racing and training||€20,000|
|The National Yacht Club||Increasing Women and Teenagers participation||€142,375|
|The Royal St. George Yacht Club RSGYC||Club Firefly Dinghy Renewal||€31,228|
|Galway Bay Sailing Club Ltd||RIB Purchase||€14,000|
|Galway City Sailing Club||Sailing dinghies & Safety Boat for shared sailing||€17,500|
|Foynes Yacht Club||Sailing in Foynes for Physically Disabled||€16,500|
|Oriel Sailing Club||Purchase of sailing equipment||€6,000|
|Mullaghmore Sailing Centre ltd.||Sailing boatsRescue boat engines, Club Refurb.||€11,500|
|Sligo Yacht Club Ltd||‘Try A Sail’ and Inclusion for All, Project||€8,000|
|Lough Derg Yacht Club||School sailing and access4all programme||€4,000|
|Waterford Harbour Sailing Club||New Rescue/Safety RIBs & Dinghies||€34,000|
|Lough Ree Yacht Club||Replace Destroyed Electrics. Buy 2 Boats||€12,500|
|Blessington Sailing Club||Community growth project||€15,000|
|Bray Sailing Club||Growing sailing in the community||€19,591|
|Greystones Sailing Club||Development boats||€10,000|
|Wicklow Sailing Club||Rescue Craft and Storage||€46,000|
On Saturday November 25, the National Yacht Club hosted its annual junior awards dinner for 2017. Over 200 parents and children attended the event to celebrate junior sailing success on the water and to award the junior perpetual trophies.
Trophies were presented to the next generation of talented young sailors by club Commodore Ronan Beirne
Among the highlights was the presentation to Loghlen Rickard of both the Lynch Trophy for being the highest ranked NYC Laser radial sailor and also the Cathy McAleavey Trophy for being the Junior that has made the most remarkable achievements in 2017.
Natasha Hemeryck was presented with the Topper trophy.
The Flying Fifteen Frostbite Series supported by Mitsubishi came to a conclusion at the National Yacht Club weekend with four races in a light west –nw wind and a strong outgoing tide. The new format introduced two weeks ago with multiple short races was introduced for this final day. An impressive 18 boats were entered in the series, going into the last day there were three boats in contention with Green & Doorly leading Niall & Nikki Meagher by three points and Neil Colman & Mick Quinn in third.
Alan Green with Ben Mulligan crewing had an impressive day winning three of the four races and had a third in race three, a race won by David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne with Stuart Harrison visiting from Lough Neagh in second place.
With the short races there was no room for error and Alan and Ben got it right each time to win the day and the Series. Ken Dumpleton also had a good day recording two seconds. Alan of course is more known for his crewing exploits so to win as a helm was particularly satisfying, with a few crew changes along the way he managed the series well and was a deserving winner.
Niall & Nikki Meagher were second with Niall Colman & Mick Quinn third overall. The Silver fleet was won by Alan Dooley & Joe Hickey.
Thanks to Ian Mathews and all his assistants over the weeks on the committee boat, in particular John Gorman the boat owner, also to all in the ribs, we couldn’t race without them! Thanks also to those who sponsored and contributed towards the prizes.
That’s the end of an exciting summer, special thanks also to Dun Laoghaire Class Captain John O’Sulllivan who put in a lot of work behind the scenes to make things happen. Next week see’s the annual Class dinner and prize giving which will have a twist to it as there will be a special edition of Mr &Mrs (helm & crew) to spice up the evening’s entertainment!
ISORA chairman Peter Ryan kept the evening on track, with awards of both the perpetual trophies and crystal glassware to the top three placed boats in all three fleets, plus prizes the individual results for all competitors in the 14 races series which started in April, and culminated in the season defining “James Eadie” 75 mile race from Pwllheli to Dún Laoghaire which this year decided the ISORA overall champion.
It was a great pleasure to see Peter Dunlop and Vicky Cox (J109 Mojito) receive the prestigious “Wolfs Head” Trophy from Peter and Anne-Marie Ryan crowning them 2017 champions
Sailors and guests were treated to a champagne reception, followed by an outstanding four course meal devised and cooked by head chef Cormac Healy, served with fine wines and Jack Ryan 'Beggars Bush' whiskey to finish.
Michael Boyd RORC Commodore and ISORA guest delivered a humorous story of how the Lyver Race medallions managed to stay at his house, and generously bought Champagne for all the Lyver race competitors present.
Other notable awards during the evening were the 2017 Spirit of ISORA “Penmaen Plate” awarded to Charlene Howard who raced “AJ Wanderlust” very consistently all year, often two handed and being based in the Isle of Man faced the greatest number of deliveries. Indeed Charlene and her crew even sailed over for the awards Dinner!
The Silver fleet and IRC class 2 was won by Joe Conway in Elandra, and the Victoria Cup team award, was presented to Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club for the highest aggregate club scores in the race series, by Mojito/Sgrech/Jackknife and Aquaplane
Full results are attached below in a PDF of the menu for the ISORA awards night. It was a memorable evening with the spirit of ISORA in full flow with great plans being made for a bigger and better 2018.
Prior to the dinner, ISORA held its AGM where the 2018 rules amendments and racing programme were discussed, and a draft schedule published for consideration.
Closing the AGM, Peter Ryan, ISORA Chairman, paid tribute to retiring Vice Chairman Gerry Williams for his tireless efforts in promoting ISORA both as a competitor and committee member spanning 27 years.
Officially he was Captain Patrick Kirwan, a retired Senior Pilot with Aer Lingus. But for his many friends and shipmates in sailing at home and abroad, he was always Paddy Kirwan, whose death at the age of 88 has taken from us an energetic devotee of our sport, and one who contributed greatly to its development, while at the same time being lively company afloat and ashore.
Central to his contribution to sailing was his tenure as President of what was then the Irish Yachting Association from 1977 to 1982. When he succeeded Johnny Walker in Irish sailing’s premier role, he stated that his policy was under-pinned by the need to consolidate and expand.
From some administrators, this might have sounded like an intention so broad in its interpretation as to lack focus. But in the case of Paddy Kirwan it was very precise, based on his busy years as Chairman of the IYA’s Training & Junior Committee during the key growth years of the 1960s and 70s, when junior training became a central plank of the IYA platform.
Although he was from Cork, he spent most of his adult life in Dublin. In boyhood, he sailed, but aviation was his passion, and he acquired his Pilot’s Licence with the Air Corps, in which he served for several years. His increasing focus on life in Dublin was then finalised with a career change when became an Aer Lingus pilot in 1956 aged 27, and he stayed with the prestigious National Carrier for the rest of his working life, rising to the rank of Senior Captain.
He settled with his family in south Dublin, firstly at Mount Merrion and then at Blackrock. But with time and resources now available for a renewed interest in sailing, he was encouraged by fellow Aer Lingus sailors to join Howth, where many of them lived, and for a while he was much involved in the Howth sailing scene. He became a part-owner with Jim Higginbotham in the classic Howth Seventeen Mimosa in 1962, and they enjoyed a measure of racing success.
But he was soon also a member of the more conveniently located National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, and with a growing family his interest in junior training came to the fore. He played a central role in the development of the Optimist dinghy class at the NYC, and though his achievements with the club’s junior committee run by Carmel Winkelmann saw him becoming the NYC Rear Commodore, the national authority had soon identified him to get involved on their behalf at a countrywide level, and he gave total commitment. His contribution to the development of the IYA was wide-ranging and effective, first in Junior Training, then also taking on the IYA Vice Presidency for Leinster, and finally in all areas on his election as President.
He had a sixth sense for discerning emerging sailing talent, and he persuaded a neighbour, Seamus Lyttle, that his son Mark and daughter Denise deserved every encouragement. He was right in both cases, and in 1981 a new height was reached when Denise became top girl in the Optimist Worlds, staged that year with an enormous global fleet at Howth, from which she went on to eventual Olympic participation.
Yet despite the time and energy Paddy Kirwan gave to junior training and the IYA, his own sailing career blossomed in Dun Laoghaire, and he was successful for several years in campaigning the Flying Fifteen Scooby Doo. With his navigational and tactical skills, he was also a useful crew-member in offshore racing, and was one of that elite band who have won an RORC race.
In his case, it was through the Howth links that he was invited to sail on Johnny Pearson’s International 8 Metre Cruiser/Racer Orana in the RORC Beaumaris-Cork Race of 1966. This was thought a decidedly sporting entry, as Orana had an unreasonably high RORC rating, and the opposition included some very serious heavy metal from the RORC heartlands in the Solent.
But the race took place over a weekend of total summer weather with calms at night. Yet while most of the fleet were becalmed far offshore while trying to get directly to the Tuskar Rock, with many kedged against the foul tide, Orana was right in along the beach in County Wexford, using the light but very real hay-scented night breeze off the land, dodging through sandy channels such as The Ram and The Sluice, and then at dawn carrying her breeze out to The Tuskar with a lead over the entire fleet of many miles, a line honours and overall corrected time lead she carried all the way to the finish at Cork Harbour.
Subsequently he did a Fastnet Race on Orana, getting a class place, and then in due course, Paddy Kirwan had his own cruiser-racer, moving on in 1978 from the Flying Fifteen to the Ron Holland-designed Club Shamrock Boomerang. He campaigned inshore and offshore for many years, with his son Paul becoming increasingly involved, particularly after they’d moved in 1997 to the Sigma 38 Errislannan.
His enthusiasm for sailing and club life remained undimmed well into his eighties, and in his later years the Royal St George YC was added to his club list. But after he and Paul had changed from Errislannan to the new First 36.7 Boomerang in 2012, the illness which dominated his final two years began to assert itself, and his active role on board was inevitably diminished. Yet when he finally stepped ashore, it was after a long life around boats lived to the full, and many years of positive contribution to the development of our sport.
Our thoughts are with Paddy Kirwan’s children Paul, Ann, Garrett, Katy and Patrick, his wider family and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and his many friends at this sad time.
The National Yacht Club's David Mulvin and Ronan Beirne lifted the Flying Fifteen Western Championships after four races sailed on Lough Derg yesterday as part of the Lough Derg Yacht Club's Freshwater Keelboat Regatta writes our special correspondent.
The annual Freshwater Regatta incorporated the Flying Fifteen West Coast Championships and was deservedly won by the National Yacht Clubs David Mulvin and the clubs Commodore Ronan Beirne with Rory & Andy Martin (SLSC) one point behind in second place. Despite Storm Brian’s best efforts the regatta was not all lost as four races were raced on Sunday after Saturday's cancellation. As forecasted the winds had moderated in this area for Sunday.
A few boats didn’t make it down for the weekend but it was their loss as the racing was close, exciting and very competitive in a shifty W-SW wind. The race team with PRO (and Commodore) John Leech did a great job with short courses and quick turnarounds. Because of the short course there was plenty of drama and excitement with plenty of close calls and near misses but the fleet showed great seamanship in the varied conditions. One of the most exciting moments came after Race 2 when Green & Doorly were not happy with their downwind angles as their winddex was damaged so Alan decided to climb up the mast, capsize the boat, fix it, swim back and pop into the boat as it righted itself- no bother to him but read on to see if it made a difference!
Back to the racing, despite the short races it was amazing that places changes so regularly, just when you thought you were in a good position the wind gods decided to come in from the other side, in the last race when Mulvin need to finish ahead he was last on lap 1 with Roy and Andy leading and by the finish he had steered the boat into second place with Rory behind him, enough to take the title!
Race one was won by David & Ronan, they set off on the pin and were always going to be in a good position due to the bias. Willis & McPeake made a great recovery downwind and moved into second ahead of Green & Doorly, this is how it finished but Willis nearly pinched the win in the shifty last beat.
Race 2 was nearly the opposite, Rory & Andy led all the way while Mulvin was sixth. Willis was looking good with his consistency getting a second 2nd position just ahead of Gavin Doyle & Dave Sweeney..
Race 3 there was a shift and an increase in the wind, the course was adjusted. On the first downwind leg Mulvin broke away to the left showing great speed and went on to win, the Meaghers were sailing extremely well and were second with Rory & Andy third but it was all very close and you could throw a blanket over the boats as they finished.
The wind died a bit during the final race, Race 4- there were no discards (rightly so) so it was all to play for between the Martins and Mulvin- winner takes all! Everyone was eager to win a race, Coughlin & Poole and the Murphy father and son looked like upsetting the pecking order as they stormed up the right side to lead at the first mark, The Martins were in the mix while Mulvin was watching his chances of winning slip away as he held up the rear. On the last weather mark Green & Doorly led from Doyle but Doyle got inside at the gate to go on and win the race, Greens winddex clearly working now!. In a shifty phase between the gate and the finish a lot changed, Mulvin rounded everyone to get second, Martin were third with Green fourth.
Despite Storm Brian it was a great weekend and Sundays racing was fantastic with short snappy races. Huge thanks to John Leech and his team on and off the water. The meal on saturday evening was great and it is always good to share events with other classes, in this case the Dragons, SB20’s and the Squibs. The club are so welcoming and the FF's look forward to returning . . . without Brian!
Download results below
Niall and Nikki Meagher in Ffantastic Mr Fox had two great race wins in very difficult shifty conditions in the National Yacht Club Flying fifteen Frostbite Series on Sunday. The strong winds of the morning had abated and by the start it was only about 10-12knots in a flat sea.
The large turnout of 15 boats were a bit too keen and there was a general recall. On the first beat there was very little difference between those went hard left and those who went right. David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne led from Adrian & Alex Cooper, behind it was very bunched with O’Sullivan, Green and Coughlan well in the mix. Downwind the Coopers took the lead and held it till the last beat on lap three where the wind gods decided to play with the fleet. Eventually after a calm shifty period those out on the left came good, The Meaghers and Ken Dumpleton & Paul Nolan had got well ahead followed by Mulvin, Coleman and Green fairly spread out behind them. It wasn’t a sure thing on the downwind leg towards the finish as the wind flicked around as far as the NE at one stage but the Meaghers got the gun followed by Dumpleton with Mulvin third, it was bad luck on the Coopers who had sailed a great race.
For Race 2 the wind flicked to the west and just as we were in the sequence it flick back to the south west and PRO Ian Mathews had to reset the course as the fleet waited. Off they went up the beat, Colman out on the left came in to the weather mark first just ahead of the Meaghers and Mulvin, but it was very close behind with Dooley and Coughlan going well. The winds had got lighter on the second beat and as Colman led around the weather mark he came to a standstill in the now strong incoming tide at the wing mark allowing the Meaghers to overtake and go into the lead. Behind Dooley, Mulvin and Green were all chasing. There was another lap to go .. or was there? The blue flag went up much to the delight of the Meaghers and the race was shortened as the winds flicked back to the west.
Thanks to Ian Mathews and all his assistants on the committee boat and in the ribs, we couldn’t race without them! The fleet take a break next week as they head off to the Freshwater Regatta in Lough Derg, Dromineer for their West Coast Championships.