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Dun Laoghaire Regatta Crowns IRC Coastal Winner WOW 'Volvo Boat of the Week'

12th July 2015
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Farr 42 Wow
George Sisk's Wow was named Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta's 'Boat of the Week' after an impressive offshore performance

#dlregatta –  Dublin Yacht Club's shared the bulk of the overall prizes at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2015 this afternoon, winning 22 of the 29 classes including the coveted 'Boat of the Week' Trophy. 

Veteran big boat campaigner George Sisk's Farr 42 WOW from the Royal Irish Yacht Club was named top boat after winning three of four challenging IRC Coastal races in a buoyant turnout of 25 boats in the offshore class.

Regatta Chairman Tim Goodbody's reminder that 'Volvo Dun Laoghaire is a fun regatta, not a championship' did little to stem the fierce competition for the coveted Volvo prizes in 29 classes as the last race of the event concluded in the lightest winds of the series.

Three national championship titles were decided as part of the regatta programme for more than 3,000 sailors. Joker II (John Maybury) took the 11-boat J109 Irish title after a series long fight with Pat Kelly's Storm from Rush and a Clyde Cruising Club entry, Leaky Roof 2, (Alan Harper) won the Sigma 33 championships. The Beneteau 21 title went to Séamus Storan's Capilano of the Royal Irish Yacht Club in a 13-boat fleet.

The biennial regatta is being hailed an enormous success both afloat and ashore for a combined fleet of 415 boats, the biggest on the Irish Sea. Over 250 races on five different courses were staged in a range of light to very heavy conditions since racing began last Thursday.

Although 180 visiting boats, made up nearly half the fleet, yachts from outside the bay area took away only seven trophies. The bulk of the silverware – 17 titles – have stayed on Dun Laoghaire's waterfront.

Trophies were awarded in each of the 29 competing classes plus several premier awards at a special National Yacht Club ceremony this afternoon bringing the curtain down on one of the most successful stagings of Ireland's biggest sailing event.

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The massive Volvo prizegiving at the National Yacht Club this afternoon

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The IRC Coastal fleet start race four this morning under race officer David Lovegrove from Howth

In a summer of achievements for George Sisk the boat of the week award follows his IRC National Championship victory in Kinsale last month.The premier award for top visiting boat went to Harper's Leaky Roof 2. The best IRC yacht award went to Paul Colton's quarter tonner Cri-Cri from the Royal Irish. The best one design keelboat award went to the Ruffian 23 Diane II skippered by Chris Helme of the Royal St. George YC.

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Rush Sailing Club's Storm (the Kelly family) held the early lead in the J109 Irish National championships won by John Maybury's Joker II (below) this afternoon

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Scotland's Clyde Cruising Club took a win in the Sigma 33 class and very nearly in the Beneteau 21 class. Howth Yacht Club took wins in IRC three, the Howth 17s, J24s (including the class Leinster Championship title) and the Water Wags but outside of that there was only single wins for Belfast Lough in the RS Elite. Cullaun Sailing Club in County Clare won the Wayfarers.

In Dun Laoghaire, The Royal Irish topped the leaderboard with eight wins across IRC and one design including: IRC One, IRC Four, J109, White Sails Two, Dragon, Beneteau 21 and Mermaid. Royal St. George YC yachts won in seven classes of one designs from Beneteau 31.7 keelboats to GP14 dinghies.The National Yacht Club had five victories; White Sails one, Flying Fifteen, SB20, Shipman and Moth. 

In the IRC divisions although Royal Cork's Jump Juice, Howth's Dux and the Royal Irish's Cri–Cri held their leads in Divisions zero, three and four respectively today's final race brought changes to the leaderboard in both IRC one and two. South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club in Wales looked sure of IRC Two with a fine performance by The J97 Injenious (Mike and Graham Crompton & Hallworth) until a last race comeback by Howth's modified Half–Tonner Harmony.

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The J97 Injenious (Mike and Graham Crompton & Hallworth) from South Caernarvonshire Yacht (above) led Class two for most of the regatta but not everything went to plan on the last day leaving Johnny Swan's modified Harmony (below) to top the leaderboard

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The National Yacht Club's A35 Gringo lost its overall lead of class one to Paul O'Higgin's Corby 33 Rockabill. O'Higgins won by three clear points in a class that had a number of different leaders since Thursday.

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Paul O'Higgins Corby 33 Rockabill V from the Royal Irish Yacht Club won the 16–boat class zero fleet.

In the one designs there were plaudits for many consistent performers including John Masterson's National Yacht Club based Shipman 28, Curraglas. Winners of the GP14 series, Gerard Owens and Melanie Morris were eight points clear at the top with six results from eight in the top three. Likewsie in the Squib keelboats, Vincent Delany took the overall prize with six race wins from nine starts.

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John Masterson's Curraglas (left) from the National Yacht Club was in the running for the boat of the week trophy with five race wins from six in the Shipman class

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A crowded pin end start for the last race of the GP14s

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Femme Fatale (Vincent Delany and Joe O'Byrne) of the Royal St George Yacht Club look up the course prior to today's final start at South Bull. Femme Fatale went on to win the nine race event with six race wins  and 12 points clear

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True Belle (Gerard Owens and Melanie Morris) of the Royal St George YC and East Antrim BC were seven points clear in the 30–boat GP14 fleet

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 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Premier prizewinners 2015

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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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