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Perfect Score for Checkmate in Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta

13th July 2013
Paul O'Higgins Corby 33 took wins in races four and five of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta today moving the Rockabill V crew, with tactician Mark Pettitt on board, into the lead in class one IRC. Photo: Aidan Tarbett
Perfect Score for Checkmate in Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta

#VDLR2013 – Light winds brought changes to the leaderboard in the penultimate day of Ireland's biggest sailing event, the Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta on Dublin Bay today.

A contender for tomorrow's (Sunday) top prize of the Volvo Boat of the Regatta trophy is Checkmate XV, the Nigel Biggs skippered vintage half–tonner that has a perfect score–line of five wins from five races in IRC class two.

A promising 6 to 8 knots of winds got racing for all 393 boats in 25 classes off to a solid start this morning and the hope was that the breeze – like the sunshine – would build during the day, but instead the wind had died across most of the eight courses by lunchtime.

Racing in one of the regatta's biggest fleets, Checkmate mastered some of the trickiest conditions of the event so far to take the 26-boat Volvo class 2 title with a race to spare.

'The winds have been light but reasonable steady on the race track. I think race officials have done very well to get races away', said Biggs, who gives the regatta a big thumbs up.

The Class 2 Irish National Champion from the Royal St. George Yacht Club finishes on 4 points with another Humphrey's design, the Welsh three quarter–tonner Scenario Encore (Stuart/Julie Fitton) five points adrift.

Class 2 has one race left to sail tomorrow morning on the Killiney course.

In Class one, one Royal Irish entry replaces another at the top of the leaderboard as Paul O'Higgin's Rockabill V scored two firsts this afternoon to unseat the recently crowned national champion, Bon Exemple, an Xp33, skippered by Colin Byrne. Rockabill goes into the final race tomorrow in Killiney with a two point cushion.

In the J109 class, Rush Sailing Club's Storm II has overhauled John Maybury's Joker II for the first time in the series. With one race left to sail tomorrow and both boats on 11 nett points, the Volvo and Irish title will be decided on Killiney Bay.

Scottish entry Zephyr (Steven Cowie) replaced Crazy Horse as overall leader in class zero, the latter having withdrawn following a collision on Friday afternoon. The First 40.7 Grand Cru II skippered by Jamie McGarry is on one point behind their Clyde club mates. Pre–regatta favourite Impetuous is fourth overall.

In the one design divisions, four wins out of five races is good enough for Tim Goodbody to lift the Sigma 33 cup. Second is Cove Sailing Club's Leaky Roof 2 (A.Harper/E.Robertson).

In what must be an indicator of form for next month's national championships at the same venue, the Royal St. George's Jean Mitton keeps her lead in the Beneteau 31.7s but is still under pressure from Isle of Man entry Eauvation.

In general, winds were lightest on the southside in Scotsman's Bay today and strongest on the Northside on the Sutton and Howth courses.

It meant a big gap between races for some but most classes completed their two race programmes, a notable exception being the SB20s, Dragons, Elites and Beneteau 21s who waited an hour for a second race only for it to be abandoned late in the afternoon.

Others, like the Fireball dinghies in Seapoint Bay, got all three races finished even if it meant a fair amount of course rotation as the wind tracked left. Leading the Fireballs is Brian Byrne and Steven Campion.

Olympic sailor Annalise Murphy together with her coach Rory Fitzpatrick are racing in the fast PY class of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta, the first time the foiling craft have raced in the biennial event.

Selected results only from VDLR Day Three:

IRC CLASS 0 1. Zephyr (S Cowie) 2. Grand Cru II (J McGarry) 3. Dark Angel (A Ackland)
IRC CLASS 1 1. Rockabill V (P O'Higgins) 2. Bon Exemple (X Yachts GB) 3. Now or Never 3 (N Sandford)
IRC CLASS 2 1. Checkmate XV (N Biggs) 2. Scenario Encore (S&J Fitton) 3. Tribal (L Burke)
IRC CLASS 3 1. Kilcullen Euro Car Parks (Howth YC K25 Team) 2. Quest (Cunningham & Skerritt) 3. Nyah (S Hyde)
J109 1. Storm II (P Kelly) 2. Joker II (J Maybury) 3. Jalapeno (Barrington/ Burke/ Phillips)
SIGMA 33 1. White Mischief (T Goodbody) 2. Leaky Roof (A Harper/ E&K Robertson) 3. Rupert (R&P Lovegrove)
BENETEAU 31.7 1. Levanna (J Mitton) 2. Euavation (J&D Corlett) 3. Prospect (C Johnston)
NON- SPINNAKER 2 1. Demelza (S Ennis) 2. Vespucci (S&K O'Regan) 3. Nauti-Gal (J&J Crawford)
SB20 1. Should Be? (M O' Connor) 2. BomChickaWahWah (J O' Driscoll) 3. Seriously Bonkers 3 (M Cuppage/ P Lee)
RS ELITE 1. Storm (J Gunning/ S Polly/ D Kelso) 2. Momentary Laps... (J Patterson) 3. Toucan (G&M Vaughan)
BENETEAU FIRST 21 1. Chinook (A Bradley/ P Morgan) 2. Small Wonder (H Kelly) 3. Yikes! (J Conway)
DRAGON 1. Phantom (P Bowring/ D Williams) 2. Jaguar (M Byrne) 3. Diva (R&R Johnson/ R Goodbody)
GLEN 1. Glenluce (R&D O'Connor) 2. Glendun (B Denham) 3. Glenshesk (G Walker/ L Faulkner/ A Henderson/ M Reid)
HOWTH 17 1. Pauline (S O' Doherty/ E Ryan) 2. Isobel (B&C Turvey) 3. Oona (P Courtney)
MERMAID 1. Tiller Girl (J O'Rourke) 2. Jill (P Smith/ P Mangan) 3. Gentoo (B McNally)
SQUIB 1. Iola (F Whelan) 2. Kerfuffle (J&H Craig) 3. Contender (D Todd)
WATER WAG 1. Swift (G Kilroy) 2. Pansy (V Delany) 3. Mollie (C Mac Aleavey)
PY 1. IRL 171 426 (F Devlin) 2. IRL Return of the Milky Bar Kid (H Sheehy) 3. UG (R O'Leary)

Published in Volvo Regatta


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Dun Laoghaire Regatta –  From the Baily lighthouse to Dalkey island, the bay accommodates eight separate courses for 25 different classes racing every two years for the Dun Laoghaire Regatta.

In assembling its record-breaking armada, Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta (VDLR) became, at its second staging, not only the country's biggest sailing event, with 3,500 sailors competing, but also one of its largest participant sporting events.

One of the reasons for this, ironically, is that competitors across Europe have become jaded by well-worn venue claims attempting to replicate Cowes and Cork Week.

'Never mind the quality, feel the width' has been a criticism of modern-day regattas where organisers mistakenly focus on being the biggest to be the best.

Dun Laoghaire, with its local fleet of 300 boats, never set out to be the biggest. Its priority focussed instead on quality racing even after it got off to a spectacularly wrong start when the event was becalmed for four days at its first attempt.

The idea to rekindle a combined Dublin bay event resurfaced after an absence of almost 40 years, mostly because of the persistence of a passionate race officer Brian Craig who believed that Dun Laoghaire could become the Cowes of the Irish Sea if the town and the local clubs worked together.

Although fickle winds conspired against him in 2005, the support of all four Dun Laoghaire waterfront yacht clubs since then (made up of Dun Laoghaire Motor YC, National YC, Royal Irish YC and Royal St GYC), in association with the two racing clubs of Dublin Bay SC and Royal Alfred YC, gave him the momentum to carry on.

There is no doubt that sailors have also responded with their support from all four coasts. Entries closed last Friday with 520 boats in 25 classes, roughly doubling the size of any previous regatta held on the Bay.

Running for four days, the regatta is (after the large mini-marathons) the single most significant participant sports event in the country, requiring the services of 280 volunteers on and off the water, as well as top international race officers and an international jury, to resolve racing disputes representing five countries.

Craig went to some lengths to achieve his aims including the appointment of a Cork man, Alan Crosbie, to run the racing team; a decision that has raised more than an eyebrow along the waterfront.

A flotilla of 25 boats has raced from the Royal Dee near Liverpool to Dublin for the Lyver Trophy to coincide with the event. The race also doubles as a RORC qualifying race for the Fastnet.

Sailors from the Ribble, Mersey, the Menai Straits, Anglesey, Cardigan Bay and the Isle of Man have to travel three times the distance to the Solent as they do to Dublin Bay. This, claims Craig, is one of the major selling points of the Irish event and explains the range of entries from marinas as far away as Yorkshire's Whitby YC and the Isle of Wight.

Until now, no other regatta in the Irish Sea area could claim to have such a reach. Dublin Bay weeks such as this petered out in the 1960s, and it has taken almost four decades for the waterfront clubs to come together to produce a spectacle on and off the water to rival Cowes.

"The fact that we are getting such numbers means it is inevitable that it is compared with Cowes," said Craig. However, there the comparison ends.

"We're doing our own thing here. Dun Laoghaire is unique, and we are making an extraordinary effort to welcome visitors from abroad," he added.

The busiest shipping lane in the country – across the bay to Dublin port – is to close temporarily to facilitate the regatta and the placing of eight separate courses each day.

A fleet total of this size represents something of an unknown quantity on the bay as it is more than double the size of any other regatta ever held there.

The decision to alter the path of ships into the port was taken in 2005 when a Dublin Port control radar image showed an estimated fleet of over 400 yachts sailing across the closed southern shipping channel.

Ships coming into the bay, including the high-speed service to the port, will use the northern lane instead.

With 3,500 people afloat at any one time, a mandatory safety tally system for all skippers to sign in and out will also operate.

The main attraction is undoubtedly the appearance of four Super Zero class yachts, with Dun Laoghaire's Colm Barrington's TP52 'Flash Glove' expected to head the 'big boat' fleet. At the other end of the technology scale, the traditional clinker-built Water Wags will compete just as they did at a similar regatta over 100 years ago.

The arrival of three TP 52s and a Rogers 46 to Dun Laoghaire regatta is a feather in the cap of organisers because it brings Grand Prix racing to Dublin bay and the prospect of future prominent boat fixtures on the East Coast.

With 38 entries, the new Laser SB3s are set to make a significant impact although the White Sail Class five almost rivals them numerically. The Fireball is the biggest dinghy class, with 27 entries, while there are 25 entries for the Ecover Half Ton Classics Cup which began on Monday.

Class 0 is expected to be the most hotly contested, if the recent Saab IRC Nationals, Scottish Series and Sovereign's Cup are any indication. Three Cork boats ­- Jump Juice (Conor and Denise Phelan), Antix Dubh (Anthony O'Leary) and Blondie (Eamonn Rohan) - are expected to lead the fleet.

(First published in 2009)

Who: All four Dun Laoghaire Waterfront Yacht clubs

What: Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta

Why: A combined regatta to make Dun Laoghaire the Cowes of the Irish Sea.

Where: Ashore at Dun Laoghaire and afloat at eight separate race courses on Dublin Bay. Excellent views from both Dun Laoghaire piers, Sandycove and Seapoint.

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Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2021

The 2021 Regatta runs from 8-11 July

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