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Leaders Stay on Course As Dun Laoghaire Regatta Reaches Halfway Stage

7th July 2017
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Class One competitors jostle for position at the favoured pin end of today's coastal race of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Class One competitors jostle for position at the favoured pin end of today's coastal race of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Photo: Afloat.ie

As Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017 reaches its halfway stage, overall leaderboards are shaping up across 35 racing classes. The so far light wind seventh edition of Ireland's biggest sailing event has produced some impressive performances on the water where in some classes leaders are counting straight wins after two days of racing and a full programme so far.

With all classes aiming for either two or three races today, results in the 475–boat fleet were still being computed in some classes at 6pm.

Day two racing started with the bumper 31–boat IRC offshore class and a start close to the Dun Laoghaire shoreline.

The 2015 champion, George Sisk's Farr 42 WOW, made the best of the vagaries of an 18–mile shortened coastal course to win on IRC overall from the Irish National Sailing School (INSS) J109 Jedi skippered by Kenneth Rumball.

The 18–mile course took the fleet south to the Kish Bank but westerly winds proved so fickle for it led to a decision to shorten the race off Bray in County Wicklow.

An hour later, the IRC Zero, One and Two also took the coastal course south for a four and a half hour race.

Dun Laoghaire regatta yachts 2There was some good breeze to get offshore and IRC fleets out of the bay......

Class One start offshore 2....hugging the coast by Sandycove Point, spinnakers pulling well.....

Class One start offshore 1...but even by Bullock Harbour in Dalkey, problems had started with fickle westerlies for the 18–mile race

Swansea yacht Dark Angel (Tony Ackland), that has already enjoyed early season success at both June's ICRA Championships at Royal Cork and the Sovereign's Cup in Kinsale, is now leading Class Zero in Dublin. The Dubois 37 has a three point lead over Royal Cork's Ker 37 Jump Juice, (Conor Phelan).

Dun Laoghaire regatta yachts 2John Maybury managed the light winds well to notch up another counter in today's coastal race to Bray

Dun Laoghaire regatta yachts 2So did Dave Cullen's Checkmate from Howth who has halved the winning margin of the Scottish Class Two leader, Trastada

An impressive second place for Joker II ensures John Maybury's place at the top of 29–boat IRC one, arguably the most competitive IRC fleet of the regatta. The Royal Irish J109 now leads by 12–points from the visiting Scottish First 36.7 Animal skippered by Kevin Aitken.

In IRC two, Scottish half–tonner Trastada from Fairlie Yacht Club continues to lead but Dave Cullen's Checkmate XV Half Tonner now in second has halved Roddy Angus's lead to just two points.

During the course of the coastal race, the three IRC fleets compressed as they reached the line between the Baily in the north and Dalkey in the south. Half tonners in class two caught up with class one back markers and for many the race restarted as the wait for new wind began. Several observers say prevailing westerlies were fighting with a sea breeze from the east which never materialised.  

Dun Laoghaire regatta yachts 2 At one point class zero were drifting in no wind....

Dun Laoghaire regatta yachts 2......while just 300 metres to the north the tightly bunched class one leaders were sailing along in a ten–knot westerly

Dun Laoghaire regatta yachts 2...but not for long.....

Dun Laoghaire regatta yachts 2It left only one option. Liverpool Yacht Club entry Valkerie enjoy a Kish Bank picnic

Although the big IRC boats were out in the Irish Sea, the size of the regatta fleet at over 475 boats meant the bay was still full of sails with action across five race courses from 11am. There was also some flat spots for the inshore courses with by far the best conditions off Seapoint Bay for some of the dinghy classes.

In IRC Three, Richard Colwell's Fusion from Howth Yacht Club continued his winning streak with two more wins and a second this time on the centre course to lead by a full eight points in the eight boat fleet.

Fusion Corby 33Four wins out of five for Richard Colwell's Corby 33 Fusion

In IRC four, Ken Lawless's Quarter Tonner also keeps his early lead but only by half a point. Cartoon, on 8.5 points, leads Jonathan Flood's modified Formula 28 Flash from Bray Sailing Club in the 15-boat fleet. 

Many of Afloat.ie's IRC predictions are ringing true but there's still a long way to go before the fatlady sings at Dun Laoghaire on Sunday.

Ten classes have included the regatta as part of their championship calendar in 2017: GP14s, 420s and Mermaid dinghies are racing for Leinster honours, while SB20s, J24s and Squibs will decide East Coast titles, and the Sigma 33s, Beneteau 21s and the Wayfarers will race for national trophies.

420 National Champions Geoff Power and James McCann from Waterford harbour who were crowned last week at Royal Cork's DinghyFest are on target for the Leisnter title too with three second places to give them a two point margin in the 14–boat fleet.

420 dinghy dublin Bay420 dinghies training in Dun Laoghaire Harbour prior to today's Leinster Championships

In the 20–boat Sigma 33 Irish championships, UK visitors occupy the top three places after four races sailed. Dan Lewis's Neyland Yacht Club entry Partisan leads but is on the same four points as the Clyde's Alan Harper. Third is Toby Claridge's Excelle. The top Irish boat is Ballyholme's Paul Prentice in sixth place.

Gerry Dowling's Bad has a string of four wins from five races in the 18–boat SB20 sportsboat championships. Second is Michael O'Connor's Sin Bin, six points adrift.

sB20 start dublin BayDavid Dwyer's Sunday Brunch (3297), from the Royal St. George YC, takes the pin in an SB20 start

XC weather DLXC weather predicts lighter conditions for Saturday

According to forecasters, it looks like there will be more light westerlies for racing tomorrow and as a result organisers plan for a start one hour later than scheduled. 

Meanwhile, yesterday's first race of the offshore class was put into turmoil right at the end of the race. The VDLR Protest Committee found there was an 'improper action' of the Race committee in writing 'ambiguous sailing instructions' and not signalling correctly the course to be sailed, which created confusion in the finish of yesterday's offshore fleet finish at the harbour.

It directly affected the finishing positions of a majority of the fleet. The misunderstanding of the sailing instructions and course signal was not the fault of the competitors, the jury found. It granted redress so boats were to be scored by the list of times by the GPS tracking company that tracks the offshore fleet.

Harbour finish offshoreThere was finish line confusion (above) and then redress for the offshore fleet yesterday after a protest hearing

Results are provisional and subject to protest Full results in all 35 classes are available here

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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