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Sisk's 'Wow' Continues Winning Season at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta

9th July 2015
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The Cruiser class one start the first race of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta this afternoon

#dlregatta – George Sisk's Farr 42 'Wow' that was crowned ICRA Division Zero champion last month has won the opening coastal race of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta this afternoon. The Royal Irish entry took the lead in the impressive 25 boat IRC offshore division in choppy seas and 20–knot winds. Second was the canting keel Cookson 50 Lee Overlay Partners skippered by Adrian Lee. Third was another east coast boat, the J122 Aquelina skippered by James Tyrrell of Arklow. 

Among the fleets participating, Howth Yacht Club's Storm skippered by Pat Kelly took an early lead in the J109 National Championships being sailed as part of the 2015 regatta. 

The Howth entry made the most of a strong sea breeze gusting to 20 knots that delivered championship conditions and got all 29 classes off to a prompt start on Dublin Bay.

3000 sailors are racing in the four day regatta, the biggest sailing event in Ireland this year. Last night no less than 17 protests were heard. There were a number of collisions and a number of rescues inlcuding one for a crew with a reported dislocated shoulder.

Second in the 11–boat J109 fleet was the National Yacht Club's Something Else skippered by John Hall with third place going to recently crowned Irish Cruiser (ICRA) Division One champion, Joker II (John Maybury).

Conditions could not have been more different than the first race this time two years ago when light winds frustrated sailors in the biennial event.IMG_0287.jpg

Pat Kelly's Storm has taken an early lead in the J109 National Championships and (below) neck and neck with Joker II with only yards to a hectic drop-gybe-round leeward mark

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Wildwood, a 2014 Round Ireland Race competitor, sailed by Ian Patterson of East Antrim is racing in the 25-boat IRC coastal class

Today was equally as testing but for completely different reasons as sailors dealt with choppy seas and gusty conditions that led to a number of collisions and gear damage.

Racing is being staged until Sunday over five separate courses for a combined fleet of 415 boats, with over 180 visiting yachts from 69 yacht clubs.

An impressive line up of eight class zero boats has made Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta one of the biggest turnout this year for the near 40–footers. What's even more impressive is the fleet has been drawn entirely from outside the Bay. First blood has gone to Conor Phelan's Ker 37 Jump Juice, just one of four entries from Cork Harbour. Second is returning Scottish entry from the Clyde, Roxstar, the XP38i, skippered by Jonathan Anderson. The 2013 winner of the overall Volvo trophy Nigel Biggs is back and sailing this year in class zero in a new C&C 30 design and placed sixth.

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The new C&C30 designed by Mark Mills of Wicklow debuted in Class Zero - Afloat.ie's photo boat clocked her at 18–knots

Visitors also top class one's 18-boat fleet with the Beneteau First 36.7 Wildfire (DJ O'Malley) from Royal Northern Yacht Club leading from Fairlie Yacht club's MAT 1010 Now or Never. Third is local boat Boomerang, the Kirwan family's Beneteau 36.7, from the Royal St. George Yacht Club.

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The Irish National Sailing School's Reflex 38 was going well in Division one until the jib halyard broke. Team INSS will be back in action on Friday as will these J109s below...

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Yachts are sailing different courses including trapezoid, windward leeward, and triangular course configurations. 

In the one design and dinghy divisions, sailing in the west or the north west of Dublin bay, there were plenty of familiar names at the top of the fleets.

Royal Ulster's Paul Prentice leads an impressive 16-boat Sigma 33 fleet, Ian Mathews the Flying Fifteens, Vincent Delany the Squibs and in an impressive 35–boat turnout for the GP14s, Ballyholme Yacht Club's Ruan O'Tiarnaigh and Niamh McCormick lead.

Unfortunately, a first race collision with a Beneteau 21 on the same course has almost certainly put Flying Fifteen contenders Ben Mulligan and Alan Green out of the regatta.

Sailing in Seapoint Bay, with a 150-160 degree wind, a seven boat Fireball dinghy fleet
sailed two races and Conor Clancy leads with a first and a third.

Racing continues tomorrow (Friday)

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.

Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2021

The 2021 Regatta runs from 8-11 July

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