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Residents and sailors in and around Dublin Bay have been asked to give their views on a “noise action plan”.

The draft Dublin Agglomeration Noise Action Plan 2024-2028 has been put together by the capital’s local authorities – as in Dublin City Council, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, Fingal County Council, South Dublin County Council, Wicklow County Council and Kildare County Council.

Noise from shipping and road and rail transport is dealt with in the plan, based on strategic noise maps prepared for the Dublin agglomeration in 2022.

By EU law, Strategic Noise Maps and Noise Action Plans are required to be made or revised every five years.

The final Dublin Agglomeration Noise Action Plan 2024-2028 must be completed and issued to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by July 18th, 2024.

The EPA must submit it to the EU Commission by the end of January 2025.

A period of formal public consultation opened Friday, April 12th and runs till May 24th this year.

The draft Noise Action Plan may be viewed on the Dublin City Council website or the Dublin City Council Consultation Hub at the following links;

Submissions may be made through the consultation hub or alternatively by email [email protected] or in writing to, Air Quality Monitoring and Noise Control Unit, Environment & Transportation Department, Block 3 Floor 1, Civic Offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8.

Published in Dublin Bay
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While the RNLI celebrates its bicentenary, the first lifeboats in Dublin Bay date back to the early 19th century and were run by the Port Corporation.

This is the subject of a talk by maritime historian and researcher Cormac Lowth at lunchtime on Tuesday, March 12th, at the National Maritime Museum, Dun Laoghaire.

Lowth, whose lecture is hosted by the Maritime Institute of Ireland, will talk about the many rescues and some tragedies which also occurred during that time. He will also recall the amalgamation of that service with the RNLI in 1862.

He has rare and interesting photographs, and details of the boats and the courageous people who manned them.

“A History of Lifeboats in Dublin Bay”, an illustrated lecture by Cormac Lowth, takes place in the Maritime Museum, Haigh Terrace, Dun Laoghaire on March 12th at 1.30pm. He advises people to come early to be sure of a seat.

Published in Dublin Bay
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Once upon a time, as Sutton Creek developed in the northerly corner of Dublin Bay, some bright spark councillor suggested the new and very tidal waterway should be called the Blue Lagoon.

The idea of such a name was aired after the sandbank had built up over the years to become the Bull Island, thanks to the re-direction of sediment when the channel walls had been built to protect the Port of Dublin. But the new title never quite took off, yet Sutton Creek is recognised more than ever as an intriguing waterway with a vital role as the feeding ground for thousands of wildfowl.  And it can be whatever colour you like, particularly if you're a canoeist at high water in mid-January, grabbing the opportunity to paddle down the golden path of a winter sunset.

Published in Dublin Bay
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Diver, sailor and coffee distributor David Lawlor is not that mad about oysters – he’ll eat them out of politeness – but he is mad about what they can do as keystone species in stabilising marine habitats.

That’s why he wants to re-introduce them to Dublin Bay as part of a community initiative which will be supported by Green Ocean Coffee, part of Lawlor’s Watermark Coffee brand.

It is two centuries since Dublin Bay had healthy populations of oysters, and his vision is to develop a broodstock which will multiply over time in sufficient numbers to form reefs.

These reefs can then provide a natural alternative to hard engineering defences against coastal erosion, and can also help to restore inshore habitats, including seagrass beds, he says.

"Lawlor is passionate about seeking solutions to mitigate the impact of climate change"

Lawlor is passionate about seeking solutions to mitigate the impact of climate change, and describes oysters as the marine equivalent of the “canary in a mine” in measuring the health of the marine environment.

He is starting out what may be a 15 to 20-year project with a pilot, cultivating a series of “oyster gardens” in several yacht marinas at Poolbeg, Malahide and Dun Laoghaire.

A University College Dublin (UCD) PhD student, Brian Rice, is working with him on the pilot, which has all necessary permissions, and Lawlor says he hopes it will lead to a not-for-profit model if it expands.

Lawlor is funding the pilot from his Green Ocean coffee brand, which is also supporting a project to restore seabed habitats in Clew Bay, Co Mayo.

The project will be looking for volunteers to manage the oyster gardens, and interested participants should email [email protected]

Listen to the podcast below

Published in Wavelength Podcast
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Satellite tracking of “pongy” seaweed and algal build up has been developed by University of Galway scientists.

As The Irish Times reports, local authorities can receive complaints of seaweed accumulation, particularly from Dublin residents who may confuse it with sewage discharge.

Scientists studying the patterns of these “golden tides” – named after the colour of ascophyllum nodosum, one of the most common seaweeds on the Irish coastline - have offered their tracking software to the local authorities to help manage the issue.

The researchers from the School of Natural Sciences and Ryan Institute at the University of Galway have been studying these tides in Dublin over a seven-year period.

Led by Dr Liam Morrison and Dr Sara Harro, the University of Galway team monitored seaweed coverage at Dollymount Strand in Dublin Bay between 2016 and 2022 in relation to tides and weather.

Their BioIntertidal Mapper software analyses images from a European Space Agency satellite to help map habitats along the coastline.

Read more in The Irish Times here

 

Published in Marine Wildlife
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Those intrepid spirits who venture westward on the road from the Most Serene Republic of Howth through Sutton Cross, and on into the wilds of nearby Ireland, always used to look forward to the first glimmering glimpse of Sutton Creek and Dublin Bay on their left.

This comes with the long panorama of the Wicklow Hills blending into the Dublin Mountains beyond, book-ended by the distinctive peak of the Sugarloaf Mountain to the east, while westward the stopper is the double exclamation mark (“screamers” as we call them in the verbiage business) of the two Poolbeg Smokestacks. They smoke no longer, but sentimental Dubs won’t let them go, as they see them as essential to the scene, even if they did make mighty objections when their construction started in 1974

Whither, O splendid ship? Outward bound with all flowers set towards the Poolbeg Smokestacks. The Poolbeg Twins don’t make smoke any more, but Dubliners, having furiously objected when they were built in 1974, now object with equal fury to any plan to demolish them. Photo: W M NixonWhither, O splendid ship? Outward bound with all flowers set towards the Poolbeg Smokestacks. The Poolbeg Twins don’t make smoke any more, but Dubliners, having furiously objected when they were built in 1974, now object with equal fury to any plan to demolish them. Photo: W M Nixon

This up-lifting wide-screen vista appears as you emerge from behind the shoreside line of properties now known as Millionaires’ Row. It wasn’t always thus, as the location close along a southwest-facing shoreline made older properties very sad-looking indeed if maintenance slackened.

But since Rainfall Radar and its various accessories arrived, the Sutton Cross area has emerged as the driest place in all Ireland, something previously unknown when the only statistics came from official mechanical gauges in relatively rain-swept places like the People’s Park in Dun Laoghaire.

THE DRYEST PLACE IN IRELAND

Sutton Cross - the Howth Peninsula’s isthmus or tombolo - is not Ireland’s sunniest place, for that’s still Wexford. But as news spread on the grapevine about scientific recognition of the lack of rain along Sutton’s south shore, the cute ones started buying up the properties, many of which were in the tired state of a house that’s been in one family for several generations.

Renovations and re-buildings got under way, while sensible folk created a wind-break of escallonia up and growing as soon as possible to keep the worst effects of the salty sou’westers at bay. On the road side, meanwhile, the appearance of wide gateways funneling into a solid hardwood automated gate confirmed the up-graded status.

 Vista for a lifetime. Even on a winter’s day of limited visibility, the Sutton-viewed panorama to the southwest of the skyline from the Sugarloaf to the Smokestacks evokes thoughts of “over the hills and far away.” Photo: W M Nixon Vista for a lifetime. Even on a winter’s day of limited visibility, the Sutton-viewed panorama to the southwest of the skyline from the Sugarloaf to the Smokestacks evokes thoughts of “over the hills and far away.” Photo: W M Nixon

As one who feels that the best houses are those that cannot be seen from a public road, I could not demur. But it did mean that the first glimpse of the bay and the mountains beyond as you put Millionare’s Row astern was even better appreciated. Until, that is, a distraction was introduced by some well-meaning souls who felt it needed the ornamentation of a herbaceous plot of brightly-coloured flowers, almost garish, in fact, and they’re all in a tightly packed display.

It’s reasonable enough as an idea. But when a retired GP 14 dinghy is used as the flower-pot, we enter a different word of distracted drivers and confused thinking. We’ve always had mixed thoughts about the widespread habit – not necessary just in coastal area – of using de-commissioned boats as flower beds. However, a GP 14 dinghy is something else altogether, for superficially she seemed in quite good shape, but any traces of a boat name or builder’s plate has been removed to ensure anonymity.

SCRAPPAGE FROM SUTTON DINGHY CLUB?

So everyone will assume that she was taken as scrap from the boat-park at Sutton Dinghy Club a mile or so along the coast. Thus the little boat’s fate seems all the more sad, for as you look nor’east across her, visible in the distance is Sutton DC with its dinghy park alive with masts flashing in the sun, its vibrant if distant presence emphasising the flowerbed boat’s completely de-commissioned state.

Yet what do we do with old boats that have gone past their useful years as seaworthy sailing vehicles? It’s maybe better that decisions such as seeking out a landfall site are postponed over days and weeks. After all, James Dwyer of Royal Cork YC’s wonderful classic 1976 Bruce Farr-designed Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble is now a successful and life-enhancing presence around Crosshaven.

Yet not so many years ago, she was in Greece and destined for an Athens land-fill, but fortunately the owner lacked that vital tool for action, the Round Tuit, and there was time for Swuzzlebubble to be saved by Mordy of Cowes.

 James Dwyer’s classic Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble of 1976 vintage is a life-enhancing presence at the Royal Cork YC in Crosshaven, yet only a few years ago she was saved from a landfill fate in Greece. Photo: Robert Bateman James Dwyer’s classic Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble of 1976 vintage is a life-enhancing presence at the Royal Cork YC in Crosshaven, yet only a few years ago she was saved from a landfill fate in Greece. Photo: Robert Bateman

But the problem with a GP14 is she’s “only a dinghy”. Larger craft lend themselves to more stately ends. Back in 1968 I was returning from Spain on a solo coastal cruise around South Brittany, and called into Camaret, which in those days was very busy traditional fishing port in which cruising yachts were just about tolerated.

These days, the situation is almost exactly reversed, as the fishermen have been removed to a nearby commercial purely fishing port, and Camaret trades for tourists and cruising boats on the charms of the characterful harbour they left behind.

But in 1968, it was the real McCoy, with the solemn tradition that the old Tunnymen – some of them still with much evidence of their sail-driven past – were not broken up, but rather all re-usable gear was removed, and they were given their final resting place in ancient dignity on a foreshore beside the harbour, and there boat anoraks like me could wander reverentially around, savouring the lines of some of the best working sailing hulls ever created.

The End Game. Retired Tunnymen were achieving a certain dignity in 1968 in their final resting place on the foreshore at Camaret harbour. Photo: W M NixonThe End Game. Retired Tunnymen were achieving a certain dignity in 1968 in their final resting place on the foreshore at Camaret harbour. Photo: W M Nixon

We can’t see that happening with an old GP 14, but nevertheless you’d be forgiven for thinking that a new life as a flower-bed is a fate worse than death. GP14 means General Purpose 14ft dinghy. But even that very positively-minded genius Teddy Haylock, the longtime ideas-laden Editor of Yachting World magazine who got Jack Holt to make the GP 14 the corner-stone YW’s growing list of Build-Her-Yourself in 1949, can scarcely have imagined it would become a red-hot racing class with worldwide appeal.

GP? DOES IT MEAN GIANT PLANT-POT?

Thus it’s unlikely that you could persuade the many hundreds – thousands even – who continue to think that the GP14 is the bee’s knees to even think it’s slightly amusing if you suggested that GP can also be the anagram for Giant Plant-pot.

Nevertheless, it would surprise few of us if someone, temporarily traffic-jammed beside the flower-pot GP14 as kids pour out of the local high school, began to bethink to themselves of restoring it to full sailing condition, despite the fact that they wouldn’t have noticed it at all in its deteriorating state in the dinghy park.

Either way, can you imagine a flower-filled Shannon One Design at the roadside to welcome you to Athlone? Or a similarly-arrayed Water Wag in the approaches to Dun Laoghaire?

Published in GP14
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In a week’s time, Sailing on Saturday will resume normal service with a preview on December 23rd of the up-coming Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race on December 26th, both generally and from an Irish angle, for we have some interesting participants with Gordon Maguire heading the charge aboard the all-conquering Caro.

But for now, acutely aware that the placing of Christmas Day on a Monday appears to have resulted in a so-called festive season marathon of potentially three undiluted weeks and more, we realise that some dyed-in-the wool sailing and cruising enthusiasts urgently need a heavy fix of maritime diversion.

So here’s a rambling peregrination through the odd world of cruising clubs and associations to provide holiday-long distraction, which if needs be can be read as you would most easily eat an elephant, in other words one bit at a time.

CRUISING’S INTERNATIONAL LINKS

There’s an easygoing yet quietly dynamic relationship between the leading cruising clubs on both sides of the Atlantic, drawing on the wealth of experience afloat and ashore gained over very many decades and even centuries by the very first clubs and their members.

These ways of doing things have emerged both from the protocols that began with the Water Club of the Harbour of Cork in 1720 with its subsequent re-branding in the 1820s to become the Royal Cork Yacht Club, and from the ambitions for direct cruising organisational development.

The fleet of the 1720-founded Water Club of the Harbour of Cork on manoeuvres in 1738. Individual or group cruising visits by these pioneering boats to West Cork and sometimes further were so frequent that they scarcely merited mention in the club records. Photo: RCYCThe fleet of the 1720-founded Water Club of the Harbour of Cork on manoeuvres in 1738. Individual or group cruising visits by these pioneering boats to West Cork and sometimes further were so frequent that they scarcely merited mention in the club records. Photo: RCYC

This first came to the top of the agenda in 1880 in London with the challenges of developing a new non-premises cruising club in London, a club whose members would share a fascination with cruising under sail and its engendering of friendship, sociability and mutual support of all kinds through flourishing in an organisation in which many of the members, while very much sailing enthusiasts, were avowedly non-racing people.

THE GROWTH OF CRUISING GROUPS

Today, with the Cruising Group within several of our sailing and yacht clubs in Ireland being the single largest sub-section of the membership, it’s difficult to visualize a time when the yachting establishment saw real sailing as only being in racing. But as it happens, it took a while to acknowledge the validity of this bedrock of our sport, and in the Irish context we realise yet again what a giant in our sailing progress was the physically diminutive Harry Donegan (1870-1940) of Cork.

Harry Donegan: his enthusiasm for sailing of all kinds and his generosity of spirit made him a great force for the good in the sport’s development in Ireland and beyondHarry Donegan: his enthusiasm for sailing of all kinds and his generosity of spirit made him a great force for the good in the sport’s development in Ireland and beyond

In Cork Harbour, the Water Club may have started as a non-racing organisation which expressed itself through fleet manoeuvres followed by hugely convivial dinners typical of the time, either on their small ships or at their shoreside focal point of the old castle on Hawlbowline Island. At these mega-feasts, indulgence was such that one of the club’s famous Rules stipulated that “no member to bring more than a bumper of wine to the dinner, except My Lords the Judges be present”.

WATER CLUB OF CORK SOON RACING

Disregarding the hint at a notoriously thirsty judiciary other than wondering how many readers might have been faced with the menu choice of “Dublin Lawyer” in a West of Ireland restaurant (see end of this blog for answer), we know from ancient newspapers of the mid-1700s that Water Club members were already challenging and wagering for races among themselves.

And by the time the club as Royal Cork was going full blast a hundred years later, racing had become so prominent that any RCYC yacht returning to the harbour from other sailing centres conspicuously flying winning flags would be given a nine gun salute as she passed the club battery. This attractive if noisy performance was charmingly resurrected by Admiral Colin Morehead in a lockdown-compliant way, when the Murphy-Fegan team on Niuelargo returned from winning the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race in 2021, as celebrated here  and here 

The Royal Cork YC’s purpose-built 1854 clubhouse at Cobh proved ideal for saluting returning winnersThe Royal Cork YC’s purpose-built 1854 clubhouse at Cobh proved ideal for saluting returning winners

SOUTHWEST IRELAND’S LONG-ESTABLISHED ROLE AS A WORLD-CLASS CRUISING AREA

In cruising back from Dingle to Cork, the crew of Nieulargo would have been sailing along a familiar coastline, as frequent vacation visits to southwest Ireland’s cruising paradise of West Cork and Kerry has been as much a part of Cork Harbour’s sailing heritage as the racing and fleet manoeuvres for one very long time. But as the racing became ever more intense in the latter half of the 1800s, with Dublin Bay leading the international charge in codifying its rules, cruising began to emerge as a distinctly separate discipline.

The keenly-raced Dublin Bay 21 Garavogue under her original rig. While the class is currently being restored by Hal Sisk and Fionan de Barra under a simpler rig, in 1904 the first Commodore of the 1929-founded Irish Cruising Club, Herbert Wright, was to start his cruising with Garavogue’s sister-ship Estelle under this rig, while he also raced Estelle with Dublin Bay SC with determination and successThe keenly-raced Dublin Bay 21 Garavogue under her original rig. While the class is currently being restored by Hal Sisk and Fionan de Barra under a simpler rig, in 1904 the first Commodore of the 1929-founded Irish Cruising Club, Herbert Wright, was to start his cruising with Garavogue’s sister-ship Estelle under this rig, while he also raced Estelle with Dublin Bay SC with determination and success

Its enthusiasts found fulfillment in the simple joy of sailing and voyaging in a competent manner, and the more complex challenge of developing and properly using seagoing boats that really could be comfortably lived aboard. At the same time, they were learning the skills of seamanship, navigation and pilotage that had previously been the often secretive province of the maritime professionals, that secrecy being the natural manifestation of a trade protection attitude.

CITY LIFE FOCUSED CRUISING CLUB DEVELOPMENT

That said, it took the rapidly increasing population of a vibrant city at some distance from the more popular sailing centres to create a specialist cruising club, and that came about in 1880 in London when a young lawyer originally from the West Midlands, Arthur Underhill, quietly but determinedly brought the Cruising Club into being.

Most of its founder membership was made up from his boyhood friends from “messing about in boats” days in suburban Wolverhampton, people who also shared his career decision to make their way in the bigger world of London. They continued their sailing, but now from South Coast havens mostly around the Solent, or sailing centres out in the Thames Estuary.

There is an Irish link to Underhill, as he was a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and did some sailing in Dublin Bay while here. Subsequently, the boat he owned for the longest length of time was the hefty vintage ketch Wulfruna, built in Waterford in 1874 and of such a size and weight that he needed some professional crew.

Cruising Club founder Arthur Underhill, a Trinity College Dublin graduate, at the helm of his 1874 Waterford-built ketch Wulfruna. While he was in complete charge as Corinthian skipper at sea, when coming into port he allowed his professional skipper to choose where Wulfruna would be anchored, for if a wrong choice was made, the professional crew would have to do the very heavy work of re-anchoringCruising Club founder Arthur Underhill, a Trinity College Dublin graduate, at the helm of his 1874 Waterford-built ketch Wulfruna. While he was in complete charge as Corinthian skipper at sea, when coming into port he allowed his professional skipper to choose where Wulfruna would be anchored, for if a wrong choice was made, the professional crew would have to do the very heavy work of re-anchoring

But he resolved the conflict between that and his Corinthian ambitions by being the skipper at sea. However, when he’d brought the boat to the chosen harbour, he allowed his professional skipper to decide exactly where they’d anchor, “as the crew would have to do all the heavy work of re-anchoring if his first choice was a mistake”.

FIRST CRUISING CHALLENGE CUP INAUGURATED IN 1895

It took about ten years for this novel Cruising Club to gain traction, but by the 1890s it was acquiring recognition, and it really became something comprehensible in the general sailing mindscape when the perpetual Challenge Cup for the log of the best Cruising Club cruise of the year was instituted in 1895.

The first awardee - for you don’t “win” a cruising cup - was Belfast doctor Howard Sinclair for his 1895 Round Ireland Cruise with the notably small cutter Brenda – originally just 23ft overall, she’d been lengthened by John Hilditch of Carrickfergus to 26ft in 1894.

FORMER RACER BECOMES FAST CRUISER

Brenda was typical of the first yacht of many a cruising beginner, as she was originally a cabin-less racing boat designed by the promising young Scottish naval architect W E Paton, and built by T. Norris in Belfast in 1886 for a J Irvine of Holywood on Belfast Lough’s south shore. She was of a reasonably healthy shape suitable for the fitting of a full deck and cruising accommodation for new owner Howard Sinclair by Hilditch in 1891, in a process they continued three years later with the length increase to create a wholesome boat.

Brenda in 1891, flying the RUYC ensign after her conversion from open racer to cruiser, but still with the straight stem as designed by W E Paton in 1886Brenda in 1891, flying the RUYC ensign after her conversion from open racer to cruiser, but still with the straight stem as designed by W E Paton in 1886

But Paton in 1886 was already busy elsewhere, as the trend in the red-hot racing centres of the Solent and Clyde was still towards ever-narrower heavily-ballasted gaff cutters setting an enormous spread of sail. So while the reasonably normal Brenda was getting ready for her first season in Belfast Lough, Paton had gone to extremes with the hyper-narrow Oona, built in the Solent for a demanding Scottish owner.

Officially, under the then widely-used Thames Measurement Rule of the Royal Thames Yacht Club, Oona was only a 5 tonner. But this seemingly small “weight” size was because of the absurdly narrow beam. In profile, she was a lot of boat. With very heavy displacement and a lead ballast keel chiming in at seven tons, she was in fact the ultimate expression of the “plank-on-edge” concept.

Whether Oona would have succeed or not in the 1886 racing is unknown, for as she was built in the south of England, Paton had to get together a crew to get this freakish craft to Scotland round Land’s End in time for the impatient owner’s new season.

Heading north in the Irish Sea, they were caught up in an easterly gale with very poor visibility. Whether or not they thought they were entering Dublin Bay, or whether they were trying to thread the needle of entering Malahide Estuary at high water is unknown, but it was on the Muldowney Bank at Malahide just north of Dublin Bay that Oona met her end.

The remains of the extreme super-heavy “plank-on-edge” cutter Oona on the beach at Malahide, Spring 1886. Underneath that slim deck are not the remains of some super-light skimming dish, but rather all that’s left of an extra-heavy “plank-on-edge” cutter which had a ballast keel of seven tons. Photo courtesy Hal SiskThe remains of the extreme super-heavy “plank-on-edge” cutter Oona on the beach at Malahide, Spring 1886. Underneath that slim deck are not the remains of some super-light skimming dish, but rather all that’s left of an extra-heavy “plank-on-edge” cutter which had a ballast keel of seven tons. Photo courtesy Hal Sisk

Either way, the morning light revealed the intact deck, though not much else, of the extreme boat on the beach inside Malahide’s Muldowney Bank, and there was no sign of the crew of five. The mystery of it all added to the tragedy. However, those who owned and appreciated successful more normal boats designed by Paton not only now had an onus on them to do extra-well afloat, but in Sinclair’s case he had decided to improve on the lost but promising young designer’s work.

SINCLAIR DESIGNS OWN BOATS, AWARDED CUP THREE TIMES IN ALL

Having shown what could be done with his own-designed improvements to a sensible Paton design with the Brenda, he became both a serial yacht designer-owner and a serial cruising trophy awardee. In 1896 and 1897 he was awarded the Challenge Trophy two further times in new boats each year, both built to Sinclair’s own design by James Kelly of Portrush, and both well able for the acclaimed cruises to Orkney and the Outer Hebrides.

In those circumstances, it would have been reasonable to expect Belfast Lough to become a hotbed of local and national cruising club development. But Sinclair faded rapidly from the scene for reasons that are really none of our business, so we’ll delve into them in all their curious detail.

HOWARD SINCLAIR’S COMPLICATED FAMILY LIFE LEADS TO EXILE

He was married to a younger sister of Beatrice Grimshaw (1870-1953), the Belfast writer who could only find the sense of freedom to write and live as she wished by settling very far away from Belfast, in Papua New Guinea. Meanwhile, her sister the first Mrs Sinclair was almost permanently ill, and when she eventually died, Howard Sinclair soon proposed marriage to her feisty younger sister, the lively Nicola.

 Howard Sinclair. Formerly a pillar of society in Belfast where his medical speciality was as a pioneer in tuberculosis treatment, his life took an unexpected turn that resulted in a special ceremony in Papua New Guinea, and lifelong “exile” in Devon in England Howard Sinclair. Formerly a pillar of society in Belfast where his medical speciality was as a pioneer in tuberculosis treatment, his life took an unexpected turn that resulted in a special ceremony in Papua New Guinea, and lifelong “exile” in Devon in England

But in the Presbyterian Belfast of which he was very much a part as an Elder of the Church, his religion forbade him to marry his deceased wife’s sister. However, on hearing of this, Beryl wrote from Papua New Guinea where she could easily arrange their marriage there in the ecumenically-minded Port Moresby, and they took up that offer. But after returning from the Pacific islands, living in Belfast was out of the question, so the newly-wed Dr & Mrs Sinclair went to live in Torquay in Devon on England’s south coast, where he remained a member of the Cruising Club until his death in 1948, but only made modest ventures afloat.

THE REMARKABLE MISS GRIMSHAW

Beatrice Grimshaw had meanwhile lived on in Papua New Guinea for 27 years, and then re-located to Australia where she died at the gallant and still independent age of 83 in 1953. She’s someone who deserves to be better known, and in 2022 Irish Cruising Club member Diana Gleadhill’s book Shadowing Miss Grimshaw was published to illustrate what a remarkable woman she was – as too is her spirited biographer.

BELFAST LOUGH’S HIGH LATITUDES CRUISING PIONEER

Back on Belfast Lough, the centrality of the place as a focal point for the greater development of cruising was further set back by the death in 1902 of Lord Dufferin, the high latitudes cruising pioneer who was Commodore of Sinclair’s now-former club, the Royal Ulster YC at Bangor. Yet in that same year the little Cruising Club in London made a mighty leap – it became the Royal Cruising Club.

This was a powerful recognition which the highly aspirational Dufferin would have rated highly, as he had put much energy into ensuring that the 1866-founded Ulster Yacht Club became the Royal Ulster YC in 1869, the year in which the Church of Ireland became disestablished to leave the way clear for Presbyterianism to be accepted as the main religion in northeast Ireland.

High latitudes cruising pioneer Lord Dufferin in his virtually self-invented role as “Admiral of Ulster”, wearing a uniform he designed himselfHigh latitudes cruising pioneer Lord Dufferin in his virtually self-invented role as “Admiral of Ulster”, wearing a uniform he designed himself

This may all seem remote from sailing. But ours is a sport which does not take place in a vacuum, and extra insight comes into any history and understanding of it in being aware of the changing socio-economic and political and religious background in which it is, in its quiet and peaceful way, trying to develop.

ERSKINE CHILDERS AND ASGARD ENTER THE SCENE

Put bluntly, you won’t get much cruising going on in times of war. Yet the two impinge, for another early member of the Cruising Club, and very active in it at the Royal Warrant’s conferral, was Erskine Childers, whose Asgard was awarded the Challenge Cup in 1913. But the awardee was Childers’ friend Gordon Shephard for his late season - very late season - delivery cruise of Asgard from Norway westward to Scotland, then down the Irish Sea to Dun Laoghaire, and then to a unplanned and hasty laying up – with much damaged gear and a broken bowsprit – with Dickie’s of Bangor in North Wales.

Erskine and Molly Childers, cruising the Baltic in the more peacful times of 1910 aboard AsgardErskine and Molly Childers, cruising the Baltic in the more peacful times of 1910 aboard Asgard

THE IMPATIENT CONOR O’BRIEN

It was unplanned as Childers was still London-based and had hoped that Shephard might get Asgard back to her home port in the Solent despite the ferocious November weather, but in the end all were glad enough to see her safely into the shed at the foot of the mountains of Snowdonia. That said, when the decision was quickly made in the Spring of 1914 to ship the guns for the Irish Volunteers from off the Belgian coast to Howth and Kilcoole on Erskine & Molly Childers’ Asgard and Conor O’Brien’s Kelpie, it meant that getting Asgard ready for sea took longer than expected, and Childers was late in making a rendezvous at Cowes with Kelpie, where the excessively punctual O’Brien had been conspicuously impatient.

Bare-footed and impatient – Conor O’Brien on Kelpie. Photo courtesy Gary Mac MahonBare-footed and impatient – Conor O’Brien on Kelpie. Photo courtesy Gary Mac Mahon

HARRY DONEGAN OF CORK AND FRANK GILLILAND OF DERRY

By this time others had been coming into the Irish cruising story, as RCC member Frank Gilliland of Derry was busily cruising and proselytising for the attractions of Donegal, and in Cork Harry Donegan was a compact Force of Nature. While a member of the Royal Cork at Cobh, his home club was the 1872-founded Royal Munster then at Monkstown, and he raced successfully with his 2.5 rater which he had also made inhabitable for cruising mostly to the southwest.

His curiosity and enthusiasm was such that he was soon compiling notes and harbour plans as sailing directions and cruising guides, but meanwhile as a canny Cork solicitor he’d enough energy and administrative savvy to be recruited by the owners of the new 1895-conceived Fife-designed 31ft Cork Harbour ODs as Class Secretary. He was never personally an owner, but it is said that at various stages he was to helm every one of them to a win.

A Fife-designed (1895) Cork Harbour One Design in full cry. Harry Donegan was the very effective secretary to the new class, but never owned one himself. However, it is said that he won races as helmsman in every one of the seven boats. Photo: Tom BarkerA Fife-designed (1895) Cork Harbour One Design in full cry. Harry Donegan was the very effective secretary to the new class, but never owned one himself. However, it is said that he won races as helmsman in every one of the seven boats. Photo: Tom Barker

DONEGAN’S USEFUL 1909 SAILING HISTORY

In 1909 he found a new outlet for his joy in sailing and his abundant spare energy - he was a lifelong teetotaller - by publishing History of Yachting in the South of Ireland 1720-1908. He was the first to admit that it was something of a cut and paste job, but that is hard work in itself, and it did much for Cork sailing confidence at a time when other centres were equalling or indeed overtaking the great South Coast harbour as a location for sailing development, while it has been a very convenient source of reference ever since.

By 1912 Harry Donegan had first aired his opinion that there should be some form of cruising club for Ireland. But as politics was another interest, and as he was the active Chairman of the Cork Branch of the post-Parnell Redmondite National Party, the increasingly turbulent times for the Home Rule movement was another Donegan pre-occupation in a rapidly developing situation.

POLITICS AND WAR DISTRACT FROM FORMATION OF AN IRISH CRUISING CLUB

This took in World War I from 1914-1918, the Easter Rising in 1916 in Dublin, the Irish War of Independence from January 1919 to July 1921, and the post-treaty Civil War from June 1922 to May 1923. In this rapidly-developing situation alliances were fluid, and by the time the remarkably localized Civil War broke out as the summer of 1922 got going, Donegan found himself in alliance with his former opponent Michael Collins in the latter’s new role as commander of the recently-created National Army of the treaty-recognising Irish Free State.

Gull at the start of the first Fastnet Race, August 1925. War dispatches carrier, first Fastnet Race contender, and cruising yacht of the moving spirit behind the foundation of the Irish Cruising Club – Harry Donegan’s famous Gull set a spread of sail that wasn’t for the faint-heartedGull at the start of the first Fastnet Race, August 1925. War dispatches carrier, first Fastnet Race contender, and cruising yacht of the moving spirit behind the foundation of the Irish Cruising Club – Harry Donegan’s famous Gull set a spread of sail that wasn’t for the faint-hearted

GULL DELIVERS MILITARY DISPATCHES

This reached a high point when Collins’s sister was shipped aboard the 1921-acquired 17-ton Donegan cutter Gull in July 1922 in Crosshaven, in order to begin the process of successfully carrying dispatches from the Free State General Emmet Dalton - who was besieging rebel strongholds in Cork city – safely towards General Collins at HQ in Dublin, while by-passing the mid-country routes where the rebels had destroyed strategic bridges.

In the midst of all this turmoil, more peaceful developments of ultimate significance for Irish cruising were taking place. In the early years of the 1900s, Glasgow was at its height of prosperity as one of the British Empire’s premier heavy engineering power-houses. But not all of its yachtsmen were billionaires with enormous sailing vessels and steamship yachts. Many ran smaller businesses or had salaried roles in the great companies, and their sailing and cruising was done in more modest boats, which each winter were laid up in small affordable boatyards dotted all around the upper Clyde, many of them best accessed by the Firth of Clyde’s impressive steamer service.

CLYDE CRUISING CLUB EMERGES

One such place was Port Bannatyne just west of Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, where like-minded spirits - who had often met while cruising the Hebrides in summer - found themselves together again through many off-season weekends while fitting out their boats on Bute. In the autumn of 1909 while heading back to the mainland at Wemyss Bay (it’s pronounced “Weems”) on the Sunday evening paddle steamer, the idea finally crystallised among some of them to form the Clyde Cruising Club.

Thanks to the large cruising population sailing from that coast, it would turn out to be a uniquely successful synthesis of association and club, and was to include passage racing with its other activities of organising Meets and producing Sailing Directions. It was to have a significant influence in Ireland which was to reach something of a height in 1938, when John B Kearney of Dublin’s marvellous own-designed and built 39ft yawl Mavis was to win CCC’s famous annual Tobermory Race with a young Rory O’Hanlon at the helm at the finish.

John Kearney’s Mavis wins the Clyde Cruising Club Tobermory Race in 1938 with the young Rory O’Hanlon (later ICC Commodore) at the helm. The CCC rules stipulated that cruising yachts in their races should tow their dinghies as normalJohn Kearney’s Mavis wins the Clyde Cruising Club Tobermory Race in 1938 with the young Rory O’Hanlon (later ICC Commodore) at the helm. The CCC rules stipulated that cruising yachts in their races should tow their dinghies as normal

Meanwhile back in Ireland much had been developing on other fronts. Conor O’Brien of Foynes and Kelpie fame, having previously put much into his bare-footed mountaineering, was now moving into almost total devotion to cruising and voyaging – still bare-footed – and he saw as a possible if unusual career as a sailing voyager and writer for which he reckoned that membership of the Royal Cruising Club would provide a useful structure and source of publicity.

To become a member, he pulled off the most unlikely combination of supporters. In 1919 he got the High Sheriff of Derry, Commander Frank Gilliland RN – whom he had met through Royal Naval Reserve service during World War I – to propose him for the RCC, while his seconder was Erskine Childers.

Childers didn’t really like O’Brien personally at all, but in 1919 he was somewhat pre-occupied by his new role as one of the very able Directors of Propaganda for the new parallel Sinn Fein Government of Ireland, operating from the Mansion House in Dublin.

CONTRASTING NATURE OF O’BRIEN’S COMBINED SUPPORT DUO

The unlikeliness of this typically O’Brien unusual combination of people became abundantly clear in June 1923. His new 42ft ketch Saoirse, constructed after Kelpie was lost on a North Channel rock on the Scottish coast in 1921, was built to O’Brien’s own design in 1922 by Tom Moynihan and his skilled team in Baltimore despite the Civil War going on in the neighbourhood, and in 1923 was preparing to go to sea. On June 20th 1923, Saoirse departed from Dun Laoghaire on her ultimately totally successful pioneering global circumnavigation south of the Great Capes.

History in the making. Saoirse gets under way in Dun Laoghaire, June 20th 1923History in the making. Saoirse gets under way in Dun Laoghaire, June 20th 1923

Yet by that time, his RCC Proposer Commander Frank Gilliland was the Aide de Camp to the first Governor of a partitioned Northern Ireland. And he had a uniform to his own design. For like Lord Dufferin some decades earlier in his largely self-invented yet official role as Admiral of Ulster, Gilliland really did very much enjoy dressing up in self-created fancy uniforms.

THE END OF ERSKINE CHILDERS

By contrast, Erskine Childers had been very much a dresser-down. But when Saoirse took her historic departure, he was no longer on the scene as he had been executed in November 1922 in Dublin by the new Free State Government – whose Treaty support he opposed - for being armed with a tiny pistol for personal protection given to him by his former friend Michael Collins.

Be that as it may, the cruel and tragic ironies of the situation were blithely put aside as the untested Saoirse proved herself on her first long passage to Madeira a hundred years ago, replicated this past summer by a 28-boat celebration-filled rally of the Irish Cruising Club in Madeira.

For so long as things went well, Conor O’Brien knew he had access to the high road for international voyaging recognition in the 1920s through his RCC membership, as the continuing adjudicator for the club’s increasingly prestigious Challenge Cup was Claud Worth (1869-1936).

CLAUD WORTH, INTERNATIONAL CRUISING’S LEADING AUTHORITY EARLY IN THE 20TH CENTURY

He may have risen no higher than being Vice Commodore of the RCC, as Arthur Underhill stayed quietly in place at the head of his beloved “little club” until his death at the age of 89 in 1939, by which time Worth had also gone. But Claud Worth was both the real powerhouse in the RCC and in the international and national development of cruising and offshore sailing, as seen in 1908 when he realised that limited membership clubs could only do so much.

Claud Worth, the kindly and conscientious man who was a major force in cruising developmentClaud Worth, the kindly and conscientious man who was a major force in cruising development

CRUISING ASSOCIATION FOUNDED

Thus when he realised the constraints on cruising expansion of a limited membership club like the RCC, he was a moving spirit in the 1908 foundation of the Cruising Association in London, and subsequently an active member. And all this despite the fact that he found the time to design his own boats down to the last detail and to a professional standard, and then went on to project-manage their timber selection and construction while continuing his busy professional life as a pioneering opthalmological surgeon who was particularly noted for his specialist medical service during World War I.

So when he awarded the Challenge Cup to O’Brien three years on the trot in 1923, ’24 and ’25 for Saoirse’s then-remarkable circumnavigation, it was the ultimate voyaging Oscar of its day. And at the same time, Worth’s approval was invoked in the foundation of the Cruising Club of America, which has been celebrating its Centenary in 2023, with Claud Worth’s support having been sought for the idea of this new CCA in 1922.

CRUISING CLUB OF AMERICA ARRIVES WITH A FLOURISH

This 2023 Centenary of the CCA has been celebrated with a mighty book of the key elements in its history, the encyclopaedic Adventurous Use of the Sea. Cleverly edited by former CCA Commodore Sheila McCurdy, who is the daughter of that legendary designer of great boats, the late Jim McCurdy, it has been engagingly written by Tim Murphy, long associated with key roles in the international magazine Cruising World, for which he continues to be an Editor-at-Large.

 Published to celebrate the Cruising Club of America’s Centenary in 2023, Adventurous Use of the Sea by Tim Murphy, edited by Sheila McCurdy and with Dorade featured on the cover, is an eloquent introduction to some of the most outstanding people in offshore sailing Published to celebrate the Cruising Club of America’s Centenary in 2023, Adventurous Use of the Sea by Tim Murphy, edited by Sheila McCurdy and with Dorade featured on the cover, is an eloquent introduction to some of the most outstanding people in offshore sailing

It is no insult to these two creators to say that I find Adventurous Use a challenging and demanding read. It’s not because of a complex structure, because it’s very well put together and reads easily if you only skate through it. But the many superstar sailors highlighted are such utterly exceptional characters of outstanding achievement that if you give the elegantly-assembled words their proper attention, you find yourself totally involved in great lives lived by exceptional people who well embody the true American spirit.

GREAT LIVES LIVED TO THE FULL AFLOAT AND ASHORE

These are great lives lived to the full and beyond, both afloat and ashore, to such an extent that we more ordinary mortals find ourselves being left in a state of vicarious exhaustion after each chapter.

It begins with the definitive story of how a young New York sailing journalist in the early 1920s got together in downtown Manhattan with like-minded spirits to discuss and argue about sailing and the possibility a cruising club in a joint called Beefsteak Johns. It all sounds like something out of a Damon Runyon story, an impression lessened in no way by the journalist being called Bill Nutting. That was nominative determinism gone mad, but his subsequent life story indicated that it was very much for real.

For the only properly paying job that William Washburn Nutting could get in boat writing in New York at the time was as Editor of a magazine called Motor Boat. Yet although he was a square peg in a round hole, his energies were such that he succeeded commercially with Motor Boat to such an extent that the proprietors went along with his idea of a competition to design a motor-boat with auxiliary sails that could carry their Editor across the Atlantic, so that he could then furnish them with on-site reports from the already-legendary Harmsworth Trophy International Powerboat races in the Solent in 1922.

It could be a still from the film of a Damon Runyon story. CCA founding Commdore William Washburn Nutting in the day job as a tough and inventive New York maritime journalist in 1921It could be a still from the film of a Damon Runyon story. CCA founding Commdore William Washburn Nutting in the day job as a tough and inventive New York maritime journalist in 1921

OCEAN SAILING CRUISER DISGUISED AS “A MOTOR SAILER”

Somehow, Nutting slipped past them the fact that the winner, the William Atkin design for the ketch that became the 45ft Typhoon, was this desired motor-boat with auxiliary sails while insead she was actually a classic American characterful gaff ketch whose sailing potential was disguised by having a deceptively low rig.

He did this smoke and mirrors so well that the publishers paid for the building of the boat, and Nutting and his Beefsteak John cronies – eccentrically experienced sailors every one - sailed across to England with just a day and a half to spare before the powerboat contest started, and he kept himself covered by transmitting back sometimes imaginative accounts of the Harmsworth Trophy races.

The plans of the William Atkin-designed 45ft Typhoon were displayed to the publishers of Motor Boat in New York as being those of a motor-boat that needed the small rig to help get their motor-boating editor across the Atlantic to provide on-the-spot coverage of the 1922 Harmsworth Trophy International Powerboat Races in the SolentThe plans of the William Atkin-designed 45ft Typhoon were displayed to the publishers of Motor Boat in New York as being those of a motor-boat that needed the small rig to help get their motor-boating editor across the Atlantic to provide on-the-spot coverage of the 1922 Harmsworth Trophy International Powerboat Races in the Solent

For his mind was elsewhere, as his real purpose in being in Cowes was to meet Claud Worth and seek his ideas and support for creating an American version of the Royal Cruising Club. In this he succeeded, with Typhoon and Worth’s Tern III rafted together, while the two very different seafaring enthusiasts got on very well indeed.

An unlikely pairing – Claud Worth (left) and Bill Nutting (right) were soon friends. Photo: CCAAn unlikely pairing – Claud Worth (left) and Bill Nutting (right) were soon friends. Photo: CCA

Then in the best Nutting style, he also got to know and befriend everybody of else of sailing significance in Cowes, including County Limerick’s own Lord Dunraven of America’s Cup unjust notoriety, the great sailmaker Tom Ratsey who, on learning of a sail wardrobe deficiency in Typhoon, donated his own trysail from his famous ever-re-developing cutter Dolly Varden, while Nutting also began a close friendship with the growing sailing legend who was the rebellious young designer Uffa Fox, though also making his number with the Governor of the Isle of Wight who conveyed formal greetings from King George V the sailor king.

HARMSWORTH TROPHY FIRST RACED IN CORK HARBOUR IN 1903

There may be people who can skillfully work a room, but William Washburn Nutting could work an entire country when he put his mind to it. Meanwhile, somewhere in the margins, the Harmsworth Trophy concluded. And we should be more interested in it, as the first one was staged in Cork Harbour from Cobh to Cork City in 1903 in a waterborne reflection of the Gordon Bennett Motor Car Racebeing held in Wicklow and Kildare in the same year because automobile racing was forbidden in England.

POWERBOAT LEGEND GAR WOOD ENTERS THE STORY

This resulted in Irish hospitality being acknowledged by the visiting cars being painted in what became known as English Racing Green. As for that first Harmsworth Trophy race in Cork Harbour in 1903, the winner was Napier 1 of the UK piloted by Campbell Muir and Dorothy Levitt, while the 1922 races in the Solent – reported in colourful style by a cheerful Bill Nutting with his real purposes for being in the Solent having been fulfilled - was won yet again by the legendary American Gar Wood.

A long way from ocean cruising under sail. Speedster Gar Wood’s champion powerboat was one focus of Bill Nutting’s attention in Cowes in 1922A long way from ocean cruising under sail. Speedster Gar Wood’s champion powerboat was one focus of Bill Nutting’s attention in Cowes in 1922

Such was Nutting’s exuberance as he prepared to sail westward from the Solent that he may well have supplied the famous telegraphic exchanges at the conclusion of the Harmsworth Trophy. An impatient New York newspaper sent a querulous “How old Gar Wood?” enquiry. It can only have been Nutting at the other end who replied: “Old Gar Wood fine, how you?”

UFFA FOX JOINS THE STRENGTH

If he did send that ’gram, his mind was immediately turned elsewhere, as Uffa Fox had accepted an invitation to sail back to New York in Typhoon with the best of the summer already well gone, and Nutting knew that making the right impression with the hugely sociable but highly opinionated young designer could only add to his own reputation if things went well.

Fox did write some insightful material about the voyage, but it was all over-shadowed by the Typhoon being almost completely rolled twice in a Gulf Stream storm in the final few hundred miles to New York. Thanks to having a significant amount of her ballast in an external lead keel thanks to shipmate Casey Baldwin (for Nutting in his hurry to build had been prepared to make do with internal ballast), she eventually brought herself upright, and her motley crew were still with her.

The unique experience (and almost the ending) of a singular lifetime. A very young Uffa Fox (centre back) with his shipmates on Typhoon in the Azores before she was almost completely rolled in a November 1922 storm in the Gulf Stream while nearing New York. Photo: CCAThe unique experience (and almost the ending) of a singular lifetime. A very young Uffa Fox (centre back) with his shipmates on Typhoon in the Azores before she was almost completely rolled in a November 1922 storm in the Gulf Stream while nearing New York. Photo: CCA

FILTHY SETTING FOR MOVES TOWARDS CREATION OF CCA

So though she got safely to New York by November, much of her interior was be-fouled by oily bilge water, and malodorous items that had fallen out of various lockers. Yet it was in this filthy setting, when she finally berthed at night in Manhattan, that Typhoon’s crew and some of the sea-minded guys from Beefsteak John’s got together to celebrate Typhoon’s safe return and make positive moves to bring the CCA into being.

Section through Typhoon during one of the knockdowns, showing how the travel of stowed bits of equipment including the charts indicated the extent of the inversion. Image: CCASection through Typhoon during one of the knockdowns, showing how the travel of stowed bits of equipment including the charts indicated the extent of the inversion. Image: CCA

But nothing ever ran totally smoothly with Bill Nutting, such that nowadays it seems to be reckoned that there may well have been two or three different birth dates for the new club with its ultimately declared aim of “making adventurous use of the sea”.

This immediately suggests they were taking a slightly different approach to that of the RCC, for back in England the stiff upper lip attitude to cruising and voyaging was that anything that hinted at “an adventure” was thought of as evidence of incompetence.

There was a further parting of the ways as boats from the newly-formed CCA made up much of the fleet in 1923 for the revival of the sporadically sailed Bermuda Race of 1906 origins, and did so with such enthusiasm that by 1926 the CCA and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club were running the fully-established biennial Bermuda Race as a joint venture to successfully make it one of world sailing’s great offshore classics.

BILL NUTTING IS LOST AT SEA

But William Ashburn Nutting, the CAA’s founding Commodore in 1922-23, was already ploughing a different furrow. Having crossed the Atlantic twice along the middle and southern routes, he decided that 1924 required a following of the northern route westward to America pioneered by the Vikings, so he set off from Norway in the impulsively-bought Colin Archer-type (but not Archer-designed) cutter-rigged Liev Eiriksson.

In due course, after working the hospitality scene in the Shetlands, Faroes and Iceland, he and his convivial crew reached Julianehaab in Greenland, where their wide circle of much-socialised new friends included the Governor at Gothaab, A C Rasmussen. It was he who leaves us the last endearing but eventually tragic picture of William Washburn Nutting being very much Bill Nutting, an impression which makes us wonder how he ever met a single deadline in his picaresque journalistic career.

THE GREAT PROCRASTINATOR

It was already into September as Nutting and his shipmates prepared to leave Greenland, and Rasmussen’s account tells us all:

“They had originally intended to start at about nine o’clock in the morning, but their number of friends at Julianehaab was so great and the leave-taking took each one so long, that it was three o’clock in the afternoon before they were ready to leave. Loaded with souvenirs from Greenland and tokens of remembrance from all of us, the vessel put out from the bridge where the Danish colony had gathered to see them off, and the parting was as festive as it could be made under our primitive conditions. The ‘Vikings’ sang their gay songs at the parting. After it got out for some little distance, it (the Liev Eiriksson) made a curve back and they filmed us where we stood on the bridge waving. We then gave them three cheers and they set out on the voyage, which was to be their last”.

“She was an Archer type that out-Archered Colin Archer”. Bill Nutting bought Liev Eiriksson in Norway more or less on impulse in 1923“She was an Archer type that out-Archered Colin Archer”. Bill Nutting bought Liev Eiriksson in Norway more or less on impulse in 1923

The Liev Eiriksson and her crew were never seen again. The Greenland Sea can be vicious at any time, and its dangers in Autumn are exacerbated by ice in all sizes at its most mobile and menacing. Although the daylights is rapidly shortening, the few ships and the over-worked trawlers in the area will only be keeping a perfunctory lookout, and the meagre lights of a small sailing boat are barely visible at the best of times.

So although a US Navy search was instigated, it didn’t happen until November, and by that time most of the members of the new and growing Cruising Club of America accepted that they wouldn’t see their first Commodore again.

LEGENDARY NAMES IN THE MEMBERSHIP

But with the Bermuda Race to provide a focal point, and other members completing impressive cruises, the club under its second Commodore Herbert L Stone (another sailing journalist) was going from strength to strength with many legends of American and international sailing contributing to its vigorous progress. This had been reinforced in 1923 by the inauguration of the CCA Blue Water Medal “for yachtsmen of all nations” making a particularly meritorious seagoing achievement, with the first awardee in 1923 being French sailor Alain Gerbault with his solo Atlantic crossing of the Atlantic with the old-style English cutter Firecrest

As for the CCA’s own more special members, when you think of names like John Alden, Olin & Rod Stephens, Philip Rhodes, Paul Hammond, Carleton Mitchell, Irving Johnson, de Coursey Fayles, Jim McCurdy, Dick Nye, John Bostock, Stan Honey, Jean Socrates, Skip Novak and many others less well known because their achievements were in private voyaging rather than high profile racing, you soon realise that with this CCA narrative by Tim Murphy you’re reading through a powerhouse of sailing and voyaging in which the main actors are in a superleague of their own.

Many of the insights provided are refreshingly personal. For instance, everyone wonders why Olin & Rod Stephens’ all-conquering yawl Dorade of 1930 was so narrow, a feature which caused her to roll rhythmically when running in a seaway, regardless of the skills of the helmsman, and the rigour with which the spinnaker setting had been firmly bowsed down.

While her narrow hull’s profile was not so very dissimilar to the classic schooners she was racing against, Olin Stephens’ Dorade in her first Bermuda Race had the secret weapon of a hyper-efficient Bermudan rig created with his younger brother Rod. Photo: CCAWhile her narrow hull’s profile was not so very dissimilar to the classic schooners she was racing against, Olin Stephens’ Dorade in her first Bermuda Race had the secret weapon of a hyper-efficient Bermudan rig created with his younger brother Rod. Photo: CCA

Well, it seems that before finalising her lines, the young Olin – at that stage a tentative largely self-taught yacht designer – had been much taken by the sections of the elegant William Fife-designed 6 Metres from Scotland which had been brought over for the international racing for Seawanhaka Cup.

Then too, after grabbing a berth in the 1928 Bermuda Race, instead of joining the party at the finish, he spent the time swimming round in the warm waters of Bermuda and diving at each successful boat to assess the secrets of their hull shape.

Thus if you’ve wondered – as I have - just why the hull profile of Dorade and her 1935 successor Stormy Weather is that of a classic American East Coast racing schooner with the greatest depth at the heel , now you know. And as for Dorade’s narrowness, that’s because she has the hull section of a Fife 6 Metre.

But even though the beam was increased with her smoother-running successor Stormy Weather, the still rolling Dorade can give Stormy a good run for her money. But both boats in their time – and all Sparkman & Stephens designs of their golden era - benefitted enormously from the world-leading rigs that Rod Stephens put into them. He was the real hidden strength in the partnership’s success, which saw Dorade win Transatlantic races and two Fastnet races, while Stormy Weather then won the 1935 Fastnet Race.

BERMUDA RACE PARTIAL INSPIRATION FOR FASTNET CONTEST

Regardless of who was responsible for the winners of the increasingly successful Bermuda Race, it was immediately one of the inspirations towards the clarification of a notion towards the fulfillment of an idea that the Royal Cruising Club might run a 600-miles-plus race round the Fastnet Rock and back, starting from the English Channel.

The RCC very quickly made it clear that officially they wanted to have nothing to do with it, though Claud Worth said he’d sail his boat Tern out to Spain to time a finish at Santander, as he felt the suggested Fastnet course involved too many hazards, and anyway he reckoned such a race would be more attractive if it took the fleet south to a warmer climate.

The immortal Jolie Brise. This veteran winner of the first Fastnet Race is in good spirits for the Centenary Fastet Race in 2025The immortal Jolie Brise. This veteran winner of the first Fastnet Race is in good spirits for the Centenary Fastnet Race in 2025

But one of the main proponents of the idea, sometime RCC member George Martin who owned the impressive former Le Havre Pilot Cutter Jolie Brise, was single-minded in his determination that it was the Fastnet or nothing, and as he happened to be Commodore of a little known club called the Royal South-Western YC with a base in Devon, he started pushing the idea further with the RSWYC as the sponsoring club.

However, times were hard for this already small club, and although its Commodore was one of the heirs to the wealth of Martin’s Bank, his few fellow members were keen on amalgamating with the much stronger and more historic Royal Western Yacht Club in Plymouth. So when the first Fastnet Race was finally being promoted for its first staging by several including George Martin and the sailing writer James Weston Martyr who had returned from an American sojourn inspired by Bermuda Race participation, it was the Royal Western Yacht Club which was cited as the sponsoring organization.

With the Fastnet Centenary Year upon us in 12 months and two weeks’ time, it would be salutary to remember the RWYC’s orginal pivotal role in 1925, for in looking at the current Fastnet Race’s configuration with a start at Cowes and a finish in Cherbourg, the only surviving major element of the original Fastnet Race course of 1925 is now our own dear Fastnet Rock.

It is our rock, after all. Ireland’s own Fastnet Rock is the only significant element of the first Fastnet Race that is still a key part of the courseIt is our rock, after all. Ireland’s own Fastnet Rock is the only significant element of the first Fastnet Race that is still a key part of the course

But while success is an orphan, success has many fathers. The race was soon successfully set in place in August 1925 with Jolie Brise the winner from seven competitors including Gull, and immediately there was another father in line with the new Ocean Racing Club being established in Plymouth by all those present, including the ever-visionary and generously-minded Harry Donegan from Cork.

Unlike some fellow sailors in Ireland who felt that any major international race round the Fastnet should finish in an Irish port, he was both a realist and a keen sportsman, so he’d felt that the race as envisaged would provide the frequently-raced Gull with wonderful competition with real seagoing experience, and his podium place in third placed Gull for ever in international offshore racing history.

Powering along. Aboard Gull during the first Fastnet Race, when she was never out of the top three, and was leader during at least one stagePowering along. Aboard Gull during the first Fastnet Race, when she was never out of the top three, and was leader during at least one stage

Not that he’d been on the back pedal in sailing development in Ireland. During a 1922 cruise to West Cork (despite the ongoing but by now very localised Civil War), he’d met up with a like-minded skipper, Billy Mooney from Howth cruising the cleverly converted ship’s lifeboat ketch Lil. Like Donegan, Mooney was a keen club race – he was a successful Howth 17 owner-skipper – but he shared Donegan’s enthusiasm both for the notion of an Irish cruising club, and for the promotion of offshore racing once he personally had moved up to a more performance-oriented cruiser.

But they put the idea on the back burner for a while as the times were restless, people had absorbed just about as many new ideas and situations as they could, and anyway Conor O’Brien and Saoirse were in the process of carrying the torch for Irish cruising very successfully indeed.

Instead, in 1926 when the Fastnet was still in its initial yearly schedule, Harry Dinegan went back to race it again, and at the last minute heeded the entreaties to do the race from a newly-arrived young American enthusiast called Warwick Tompkins, later known to everyone as the multi-voyaging Commodore Tompkins and a CCA stalwart with his 1932-bought world-girdling former pilot schooner Wander Bird.

Five years after his Fastnet experience with Harry Donegan, “Commodore” Warwick Tompkins bought this former pilot schooner which became Wander Bird to be his world-girdling family homeFive years after his Fastnet experience with Harry Donegan, “Commodore” Warwick Tompkins bought this former pilot schooner which became Wander Bird to be his world-girdling family home

Although Gull failed to complete the race as her part of the fleet was caught in a damaging sou’easterly gale off the Irish coast, Tompkins has left us a vivid account of what it was like to race aboard Gull. And though they’d to retire into Cork Harbour, Domegan made it his business to take the young American by ferry and train to Pymouth in time for the post-Fastnet Dinner, when new Ocean racing Cub members would be signed in from among those who had completed the second Fastnet. Thanks to an entertaining and persuasive speech by Harry Donegan at the dinner, Warwick Tompkins was added to their number.

Warwick Tompkins’ recollection of being with Harry Donegan on Gull. He’s a bit unfair in describing Gull as “a plank-on-edge cutter of ancient vintage” when she was an unextreme reasonable Charles E Nicholson hull design of 1896 to provide a fast cruiser. And she was just 29 years old at the Fastnet Race 1925, though Harry Donegan did drive her so hard she spewed her bow caulking. Also, the wind Tompkins describes as Nor’easter was actually a Sou’easter. But he certainly gets the flavour of the great man, and “flying a kite” has multiple meanings.Warwick Tompkins’ recollection of being with Harry Donegan on Gull. He’s a bit unfair in describing Gull as “a plank-on-edge cutter of ancient vintage” when she was an unextreme reasonable Charles E Nicholson hull design of 1896 to provide a fast cruiser. And she was just 29 years old at the Fastnet Race 1925, though Harry Donegan did drive her so hard she spewed her bow caulking. Also, the wind Tompkins describes as Nor’easter was actually a Sou’easter. But he certainly gets the flavour of the great man, and “flying a kite” has multiple meanings.

A further direct link to the CCA was established by purest serendipity in July 1929, when the Irish Cruising Club was finally brought into being with a five boat cruise-in-company culminating in the foundation of the ICC on the balmy summer’s evening of July 13th 1929 in Glengarriff.

The perfect place to bring the new Irish Cruising Club into being – Glengarriff in West Cork at the head of Bantry BayThe perfect place to bring the new Irish Cruising Club into being – Glengarriff in West Cork at the head of Bantry Bay

Neither Harry Donegan nor Billy Mooney was personally ambitious in promoting the new club, as they wanted the leading RCC member in Dublin Bay to take on the role of Commodore. This was Herbert Wright of the RIYC who - having started his cruising with his new Ringsend-built Dublin Bay 21 Estelle in 1904 – had since moved up to the handsome 12-ton gaff cutter Espanola, which proved an admirable Commodore’s yacht while Herb Wright provided proper Commodorial gravitas allied to a nice line in acerbic wit in his elegantly-written cruising logs.

A proper serious sailing man. Herbert Wright of Dun Laoghaire became the first Irish Cruising Club Commodore in July 1929A proper serious sailing man. Herbert Wright of Dun Laoghaire became the first Irish Cruising Club Commodore in July 1929

HARRY DONEGAN’S INGENUITY

Thanks mainly to Harry Donegan’s remarkable ingenuity in bringing people together in a pleasing setting, the ICC came into being in a much more suitable way than the other cruising clubs, through this purposeful and highly entertaining Cruise-in-Company which was almost immediately blessed with the accompanying presence of a leading Cruising Club of America boat.

This was the much-loved ketch Seven Bells (Tom Cooke) which was on an Atlantic circuit cruise with a largely family crew which in time won the Blue Water Medal for 1929, bringing the beginning of a long-standing ICC relationship with that supreme trophy. For by the 21st Century, the ICC had a remarkable four Blue Water Medallists on its membership list in the form of Bill King of Oranmore in Galway, John Gore-Grimes of Howth, Paddy Barry of Dun Laoghaire and Connemara, and Jarlath Cunnane of Mayo.

Tom Cooke’s Blue Water Medal-awarded ketch Seven Bells CCA became part of the ICC founding cruise in 1929 by pure serendipity after a Transatlantic passageTom Cooke’s Blue Water Medal-awarded ketch Seven Bells CCA became part of the ICC founding cruise in 1929 by pure serendipity after a Transatlantic passage

As for links to other clubs, at the end of 2025 Conor O’Brien had received his third RCC Challenge Cup award on the completion of Saoirse’s circumnavigation in Dun Laoghaire, and in celebration of the success of his very special book on the voyage, Across Three Oceans, he crossed the path of the Ocean Racing Club with Saoirse’s sporting participation in the 1927 Fastnet Race, before which Uffa Fox had entered the picture again by taking off Saoirse’s lines in Cowes. This resulted in a precise set of lines which showed that O’Brien’s own almost-freehand original set of lines was pretty well spot-on, which suggests considerable skill on the part of Conor O’Brien and Tom Moynihan in 1922.

The ingenious increase in Saoirse’s sailplan which Conor O’Brien created with her existing main and mizzen masts for the 1927 Fastnet RaceThe ingenious increase in Saoirse’s sailplan which Conor O’Brien created with her existing main and mizzen masts for the 1927 Fastnet Race

CONOR O’BRIEN ON THE STRENGTH

One of the first acts of the new Irish Cruising Club was to make Conor O’Brien the first Honorary Member, and occasionally when he’d returned to live in the cottage of Barneen on Foynes Island, he’d go “into Ireland” to attend the club’s annual dinner. As for dining guests from other clubs, as the ICC still had passage and offshore racing as part of its activities until 1980, and it even organised Ireland’s early Admiral’s Cup teams.

So back in the 1930s, it maintained links with what had become the RORC, together with the RCC and the CCA, by having leading offshore sailor Bobby Somerset at the dinner, as he’d become the owner of Jolie Brise with which he won a Fastnet, and then when he went across the pond to do the Bermuda Race, his remarkable gaff-rigged boat showed she was no slouch against the CCA’s slick-looking Bermuda-rigged racer, but his race to Bermuda ended when a nearby schooner went on fire and he made a brilliant rescue of her crew under sail, bringing him the Blue Water Medal for 1932 and Honorary Membership of the CCA.

After the success of his round the world voyage, Conor O’Brien became the ICC’s first Honorary Member in 1929After the success of his round the world voyage, Conor O’Brien became the ICC’s first Honorary Member in 1929

Thus although world wars and other disturbances at times hampered progress, as the 20th Century drew towards its close the leading cruising clubs on both sides of the North Atlantic had developed a comfortable understanding of each other, and a readiness to function together in shared enterprises such as cruises-in-company at select venues, or joint meets to mark major anniversaries.

For Ireland and the Irish Cruising Club, this meant that in 1969-70 there had been a massive gathering from both sides of the ocean in Cork and along the coast westward to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the Royal Cork Yacht Club and the 40th Anniversary of the Irish Cruising Club. And then in 1979, there was a big-fleet multi-club Cruise-in-Company from Cork to Glengarriff to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the ICC.

In 1975, there had been a significant Irish presence in the Golden Jubilee Fastnet Race with Hugh Sherrard’s 1904-vintage former Clyde 30 Brynoth – for years a boat associated with the ICC, the RORC, and the RCYC – winning the Iolaire Block for the best-placed pre-1905 classic in the fleet.

The late Hugh Sherrard at the age of 75, hard-driving aboard the 1904-built Brynoth, winner of the Iolaire Block in the Golden Jubilee Fastnet Race of 1975The late Hugh Sherrard at the age of 75, hard-driving aboard the 1904-built Brynoth, winner of the Iolaire Block in the Golden Jubilee Fastnet Race of 1975

And nowadays, there is so much interaction between the clubs for exchanged information, social events and shared cruises to such places as the ICC’s Galician outpost in northwest Spain that it is wellnigh impossible to keep close track of them all. But it is made possible by a mutual level of understanding which was neatly demonstrated by current CCA Commodore Chris Otorowski, who is from the American club’s Pacific Northwest Station, well illustrating just how far the now 1,400 membership of the CCA has spread and expanded from those eccentric New York gatherings in Beefsteak John’s more than a hundred years ago.

Commodore Otorewski decided to give the ICC a special piece of silverware at the ICC’s annual dinner in Sligo in March 2023 to mark the CCA’s Centenary and the international goodwill between the cruising clubs. But then he bethought himself that as Dublin is the home of some of the very best antique silverware in the world, it made sense to buy the appropriate piece in silversmiths Weir’s of Grafton Street in Dublin when he got here on his way to Sligo.

So he and the ICC’s Vice Commodore Alan Markey made it a morning of proper retail therapy to head into Weir’s in best purposeful vacation mode, and in time emerged with a remarkably lovely Dublin silver friendship cup which drew a suitable breath-taken response of approval when it was unveiled in Sligo.

Irish silver at its best – the Friendship Cup presented by the CCA to the ICC in March 2023Irish silver at its best – the Friendship Cup presented by the CCA to the ICC in March 2023

And then Commodore Otorowski put it all firmly in place with his declaration on behalf of the CCA:

“By All Presents Known:

The Cruising Club of America and the Irish Cruising Club have a long standing and close relationship founded in their shared love of challenging the elements, cruising the world’s oceans and sharing seafaring experiences. A foundation of both clubs is the mutual respect, friendship and camaraderie of their shipmates.

In recognition of the relationship of both clubs, the “Friendship Cup” is hereby deeded, in perpetuity, to the Irish Cruising Club to be awarded annually by the ICC, in its sole discretion, to members or their spouses, who best exemplify the highest values of the ICC”

OFF TO MADEIRA

After that, it was with buoyant spirits that ICC Commodore David Beattie and Southern Rear Commodore Seamus O’Connor set to with fresh energy to bring together the Conor O’Brien Saoirse Centenary cruise to Madeira for July 3rd, which despite the very mixed weather of the summer of 2023, went very well indeed.

DUBLIN LAWYERS - THE REAL STORY

And if you’re still wondering about “Dublin Lawyer”, it’s the classic lobster in vast quantities with rich cream sauce, but with brandy instead of whiskey, as that latter variation is what only m’learned friends down from Dublin on circuit could possibly have afforded in the olden days.

Published in W M Nixon

Are you in search of an exhilarating aquatic adventure this October? Look no further! The Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School are thrilled to introduce an exclusive offer that promises to make your weekend unforgettable.

October Exclusive Season Finale: Boat Trip Excursions

Embark on an exciting boat ride along the enchanting Dublin Bay for just €20 per adult and €5 per child.

These captivating excursions take place on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. throughout October. It's the perfect opportunity to gather your family and friends for a memorable outing.

Embark on an exciting boat ride along the enchanting Dublin Bay for just €20 per adult and €5 per child.Embark on an exciting boat ride along the enchanting Dublin Bay for just €20 per adult and €5 per child.

Why Choose an Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School?

Their boat trips are designed to accommodate adventurers of all ages, with commercially licensed skippers and vessels meeting the Department of the Marine's MSO requirements.

Dalkey Island:  A site of ancient and historic remains on Dublin BayDalkey Island:  A site of ancient and historic remains on Dublin Bay

What's on the Itinerary?

Commence your adventure by meeting at their West Pier headquarters, where you'll be provided with the latest waterproof overalls (just in case of a splash!) and equipped with life jackets. Then, you depart from the heart of Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Begin your INSS adventure on Dublin Bay with waterproof overalls (just in case of a splash!) and equipped with life jackets. Then, you depart from the heart of Dun Laoghaire HarbourBegin your INSS adventure on Dublin Bay with waterproof overalls (just in case of a splash!) and equipped with life jackets. Then, you depart from the heart of Dun Laoghaire Harbour

This journey offers a fresh perspective on the West and East Piers, guiding you to Dun Laoghaire Baths, Sandycove, where you'll see the iconic 40 Foot, Coliemore Harbour, Dalkey Island, and Killiney Beach, where you may spot the Sugarloaf Mountain and Bono's house! This enchanting voyage unveils a unique view of some of Ireland's most breathtaking coastal vistas.

Wildlife Encounters:

Keep an eye out for the chance to witness dolphins, seals, and seagulls in their natural habitat. You are bound to come across these animals throughout the voyage so don't forget to have the cameras at the ready!

A Touch of History:

Dun Laoghaire Baths:  Recently reopened after an €18 million refurbishment, featuring a new 35-metre-long jetty and a statue of Roger Casement.

Sandycove 40ft:  Wave to the swimmers! -This iconic location has been a year-round swimming spot for over 250 years.

Dalkey Island:  A site of ancient and historic remains, with artefacts dating back to the Mesolithic era!

Killiney Beach:  Located about 10 miles south of Dublin city, easily accessible via the nearby Dart line, which you will be able to spot from the boat!

Wicklow Sugar Loaf:  A distinctive conical-shaped mountain dominating the Wicklow skyline, viewable from afar!

Whether you're a seasoned sailor or someone who's never set foot on a boat before, these boat trips are the ideal introduction to the world of water adventures, ensuring that everyone can participate and enjoy. To secure your spot on one of the highly sought-after boat trips, please click here. Don't delay; seats are limited, and this exclusive October offer won't last forever!

Published in INSS
Tagged under

A yacht that had been moored in Dublin Bay was discovered on the inside of the Great South Wall on Saturday after it had broken its moorings.

The sinking of the vessel has been confirmed by Afloat, however, no further details about the incident have been provided as of yet.

The maritime community has been advised to exercise caution while sailing in the River Liffey area. The crew of the yacht, as well as the reason for the yacht breaking its moorings, remain unknown at this time.

Published in Dublin Bay
Tagged under

A group of swimmers were rescued by Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI this morning near Dalkey Island on Dublin Bay.

The crew was on a training exercise in the station’s inshore lifeboat when they were alerted to an incident unfolding at Dalkey Island. The swimmers had become separated from their main group, and upon reaching shore, became concerned for their friends who had not returned.

A passing Dive Support RIB was flagged down and alerted the Coast Guard, who promptly tasked Dun Laoghaire’s inshore lifeboat. All swimmers were accounted for, and the remaining swimmers were brought safely ashore and assessed by ambulance crews.

This was the first callout for volunteer crew member Andrew Sykes, who had recently passed out as a Helm at Dun Laoghaire RNLI for the station’s Inshore lifeboat. Andrew joined the station at the age of 18 and has worked his way up to the senior position of lifeboat Helm after six years on the lifeboat crew.

Dun Laoghaire RNLI Deputy Launch Authority Dara Totterdell urged all swimmers to keep safety in mind, advising them to know the area they are swimming in, watch the tides and the sea state, have an agreed plan, and know their limits. The RNLI’s Float to Live campaign recommends anyone in difficulty to float on their back if in trouble and never hesitate to call for help.

“We would encourage anyone planning a water-based activity to be wary of sea temperatures and to wear a wetsuit as hypothermia can set in within minutes,” Totterdell said. “If you see someone who may be in trouble in the water, raise the alarm immediately and call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard. Time is always of the essence in these situations.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Round Ireland Yacht Race Information

The Round Ireland Yacht Race is Ireland's classic offshore yacht race starts from Wicklow Sailing Club (WSC) and is organised jointly with the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and the Royal Irish Yacht Club (RIYC). This page details the very latest updates from the 2008 race onwards including the race schedule, yacht entries and the all-important race updates from around the 704-mile course. Keep up to date with the Round Ireland Yacht Race here on this one handy reference page.

2020 Round Ireland Race

The 2020 race, the 21st edition, was the first race to be rescheduled then cancelled.

Following Government restrictions over COVID-19, a decision on the whether or not the 2020 race can be held was made on April 9 2020 to reschedule the race to Saturday, August 22nd. On July 27th, the race was regrettably cancelled due to ongoing concerns about COVID-19.

Because of COVID-19, the race had to have a virtual launch party at the Royal Irish Yacht Club for its 21st edition

In spite of the pandemic, however, a record entry was in prospect for 2020 with 50 boats entered with four weeks to go to the race start. The race was also going big on size and variety to make good on a pre-race prediction that the fleet could reach 60. An Irish offshore selection trial also looked set to be a component part of the 2020 race.

The rescheduling of the race to a news date emphasises the race's national significance, according to Afloat here

FAQs

704 nautical miles, 810 miles or 1304 kilometres

3171 kilometres is the estimate of Ireland's coastline by the Ordnance Survey of Ireland.

SSE Renewables are the sponsors of the 2020 Round Ireland Race.

Wicklow Sailing Club in association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club in London and The Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dublin.

Off Wicklow Harbour on Saturday, August 22nd 2020

Monohulls 1300 hrs and Multihulls 13.10 hrs

Leave Ireland and all its islands (excluding Rockall) to starboard.

It depends on the boat. The elapsed record time for the race is under 40 hours but most boats take five or six days to complete the course.

The Race Tracker is https://afloat.ie/sail/events/round-ireland/item/25789-round-ireland-yacht-race-tracker-2016-here.

The idea of a race around Ireland began in 1975 with a double-handed race starting and finishing in Bangor organised by Ballyholme Yacht Club with stopovers in Crosshaven and Killybegs. That race only had four entries. In 1980 Michael Jones put forward the idea of a non-stop race and was held in that year from Wicklow Sailing Club. Sixteen pioneers entered that race with Brian Coad’s Raasay of Melfort returning home after six days at sea to win the inaugural race. Read the first Round Ireland Yacht Race 1980 Sailing Instructions here

 

The Round Ireland race record of 38 h 37 min 7 s is held by MOD-70 trimaran Musandam-Oman Sail and was set in June 2016.

George David’s Rambler 88 (USA) holds the fastest monohull race time of two days two hours 24 minutes and 9 seconds set in the 2016 race.

William Power's 45ft Olivia undertook a round Ireland cruise in September 1860

 

Richard Hayes completed his solo epic round Ireland voyage in September 2018 in a 14-foot Laser dinghy. The voyage had seen him log a total of 1,324 sea miles (2,452 kilometres) in 54 sailing days. in 1961, the Belfast Lough Waverly Durward crewed by Kevin and Colm MacLaverty and Mick Clarke went around Ireland in three-and-a-half weeks becoming the smallest keelboat ever to go round. While neither of these achievements occurred as part of the race they are part of Round Ireland sailing history

© Afloat 2020