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Irish Sailing League Signs Up Ten Teams and Pioneers Robotic Marks for Inaugural April Event

13th April 2024

The Irish Sailing League’s inaugural event is due to kick off next weekend, the 20th and 21st of April, and it's shaping up to be one super kick-off event!

The league now has an entry list of 10 teams signed and paid up, including;

  • Howth Yacht Club
  • Courttown Sailing Club
  • Kinsale Yacht Club
  • Royal Irish Yacht Club (2 teams)
  • Irish National Sailing Club
  • Royal St George Yacht Club
  • Wicklow Sailing Club
  • Royal Cork Yacht Club
  • Irish Sailing Association

Entries are closing on Monday at mid-day. Why? Well, we need time to perfect the last pieces of the jigsaw puzzle; so far, everything is slotting into place. We can run to a maximum of 16 teams, with an ideal number of 14 teams in total. With 14 teams sailing, we will be looking at over 21 races per day. Racing is short and sharp, and lots of changeovers and short, sharp racing.

Irish Sailing League’s inaugural event current entryIrish Sailing League’s inaugural event current entry

The Royal Irish Yacht Club has joined us as event partners. They will provide their committee boat and the club's facilities for post-racing refreshments, food, and, of course, the prizegiving.

Team bibs have been ordered to identify sailors, as there will be team changeovers throughout the day.

For the first time in any sailing event in Ireland, we will use Robotic Marks for our racing in Dun Laoghaire.

Robotic Marks are controlled by an app on a smartphone and have many advantages. Described as a “potential game changer” for regattas by both race officials and competitors, robot racing mark tech is set to change the course of race management forever. RS Sailing deployed battery-powered robotic marks at the RS21 UK Nationals in Lymington in August, and the report back was glowing “the robotic marks performed flawlessly, even after a full day of racing, batteries were still at an impressive.”

Robotic racing marks sit on their GPS coordinates, using a combination of GPS, sensor tech, and innovative software to measure any movement from the original mark. The software auto-corrects the GPS when there’s a deviation in the signal, which is what enables its highly precise movements. This is great for positioning and speedy course adjustments.

With the best will in the world, traditional buoys can get caught on the seabed, damaging vegetation and endangering marine wildlife. With no lines or anchor, the robot racing marks are a cleaner alternative, quieter underwater and their battery power ensures long-lasting, reliable propulsion. With fewer race-assist boats managing the course you can cut down on fuel consumption too.

Sometimes, it can take up to 40 minutes to re-lay the marks for the next race; that’s a lot of waiting around, but with the new technology, you simply adjust the coordinates via the tablet and hey presto – the marks manoeuvre on command.

Reducing set-up time between races will be a big win for televised events where the accuracy of race start times are super-critical.

For a taste of what is to come, have a look at this video

Kenneth Rumball

About The Author

Kenneth Rumball

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Kenny Rumball is the Principal of the Irish National Sailing School in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. He is a multi dinghy champion and offshore sailor. In 2018 he was awarded the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Seamanship Trophy for a Man Overboard Rescue in the Round Ireland Race. In May 2020 he embarked on a mixed offshore doublehanded keelboat campaign with Pamela Lee.

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About the Irish Sailing League

The inaugural Irish Sailing League 2023, under the control of Kenneth Rumball, will be sailed over three weekends, in late June and early July, in Dun Laoghaire, and the plan is to race in Scotsman’s Bay vicinity.

In the first instance, each club is limited to one entry, but this may be increased based on the number of clubs wishing to participate. Worth noting, too, that in future years the plan would be to extend the event to include regional rounds in North, South, East and West.

Each Club must nominate a crew. The maximum crew number is 4, all members of the same club, and one crew must be female. The crew number and lineup cannot be changed later than seven days before the first race without a points penalty.