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Howth's 'Flashback' Moves Into Offshore Contention at Dun Laoghaire Regatta, Final Races on Sunday Morning

8th July 2017
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Paddy Gregory's Flashback took the Offshore lead at Dun Laoghaire Regatta this afternoon Paddy Gregory's Flashback took the Offshore lead at Dun Laoghaire Regatta this afternoon Photo: Afloat.ie

A sea breeze brought changes to the leader board in several classes in the penultimate day of Ireland's biggest sailing regatta, the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta on Dublin Bay today.

One contender for tomorrow's (Sunday) top prize of the 'Volvo Boat of the Regatta Trophy' is a Howth Yacht Club yacht that took the lead in the biggest class this afternoon. Paddy Gregory's Flashback now tops the IRC offshore division after three coastal races sailed.

A promising eight to 10 knot south–easterly wind got racing for all 475 boats in 35 classes off to a solid start this morning and it held all day to keep the ambitious programme of more than 290 races on target for tomorrow's final round two rounds in most classes.

The Gregory led 31-boat IRC offshore fleet departed Scotsman's Bay bound for North Burford, the turning mark on the 20–mile course.

The north Dublin Beneteau 34.7 is six points clear overall of Chris Power–Smith's much J122 Aurelia in the 31–boat fleet even though Power–Smith was the winner of this afternoon's race.

Dun Laoghaire regatta yachts 18982015 VDLR Champion WOW (George Sisk) heads for the offshore class in–harbour finish line...

Dun Laoghaire regatta yachts 1898...followed on the water by Chris Power Smith's Aurelia, the IRC rating winner

Dun Laoghaire regatta yachts 1898After a 20–mile race, the offshore fleet were tightly bunched as they headed for the finish line at the Royal St. George Yacht Club

A single race tomorrow morning will decide the offshore title and also the Jack Ryan Whiskey Royal Dee Irish Sea Offshore Championship that is being sailed as part of the Dun Laoghaire Championships.

Dun Laoghaire regatta yachts 1898Dun Laoghaire Commodores afloat: Regatta vice chairman Don O'Dowd (third from left) with (from left) Commodores Paul Sherry of the Royal Irish Yacht Club, Ronan Beirne of the National Yacht Club and Michael Pomeroy of the Royal St. George Yacht Club carry out a check of all six race courses 

On the centre course, Classes Zero, One and Two completed three further races over windward–leeward courses under Race Officer Peter Crowley.

Dun Laoghaire regatta yachts 1898Dark Angel was fast off the line this morning in Class Zero

Jay Colville's Forty Licks from East Down Yacht Club has moved into the overall lead of the five–boat Class Zero fleet even though she shares the same eight points as one–time leader Dark Angel (Tony Ackland) from Swansea.

Royal Irish Yacht Club yachts top the leaderboard in 29–boat Class One with John Maybury's J109 Joker II – another top contender for yacht of the regatta – still leading but on a reduced margin of just three points after Richard Goodbody's J109 White Mischief had a stand–out performance to count a 1,2 and 3 today. Goodbody now moves up to second overall on 12 points. J109s complete the podium places with Ronan Harris's Jigarmee 21 points off the lead.

J109 white mischief 0137From this committee boat end start, Royal Irish J109 White Mischief (1245, skippered by Richard Goodbody) took the lead (below) in the 29–boat class one to win race one yesterday morning. The Dublin Bay entry also counted a 2 and a 3 today and is three points off the overall lead held by club mate John Maybury, Joker II. The stage is set for a thrilling conclusion in the final two races on Sunday

J109 white mischief 0426

Dun Laoghaire regatta yachts 1898A crowded committee boat end in this morning's first race of class two eventually got clean away (below)

Dun Laoghaire regatta yachts 1898

In the 17–boat Class two, Howth Yacht Club's Dave Cullen sailing the modified Half–tonner Checkmate has overtaken visiting Scottish Half–Tonner Trastada (skippered by Angus Roddy). Cullen who has six results in the top five and counted two race wins today for an eight point margin over the Clyde vintage yacht that dropped to as low as eighth in this afternoon's race six. In what is looking ery much like a battle of the Half tonners overall, the 2015 Volvo Regatta Class Two Champion Jonny Swan in Harmony is third.

Dun Laoghaire regatta yachts 1898In spite of some good starts, Scotland's Trastada (GBR 6521) lost the overall class two lead today after three windward-leeward races

There is no change at the top of IRC three where another Howth Yacht, Richard Colwell's Fusion continues to dominate with four race wins from seven starts in the eight boat fleet. Howth Yacht Club boats occupy the top four spots with X302s Dux (Anthony Gore–Grimes) and Maximus (Paddy Kyne) second and third respectively.

In IRC four, Jonathan Flood's Modified Formula 28 Flash from Wicklow Sailing Club leads Cartoon (Ken Lawless) by a point and half after eight races sailed in the 15–boat fleet.

Dun Laoghaire regatta yachts 1898Jonathan Flood's Modified Formula 28 leads in Class Four

Dun Laoghaire regatta yachts 1898Ken Lawless's Cartoon is second overall in Class Four

Dun Laoghaire regatta yachts 18982015 Class four VDLR champion Cri Cri (Paul Colton)

In the one design classes, only half a point after eight races separates St Spence's Clyde based Carna and Andrew Bradley's Chinook from the Royal Irish Yacht Club.

Dun Laoghaire regatta yachts 189827 GP14s are contesting the class Leinster Championships as part of VDLR 2017

The GP14 Leinster Championships are being lead by Fergus Barnham from Nantwich, UK with Sutton Dinghy Club's Alan Blay in second after six races sailed. Greystones Sailing Club's GP14 World Champion Shane MacCarthy lies third in the 27–boat fleet.

Dun Laoghaire regatta yachts 1898An immaculate weather spinnaker hoist from Alan Blay

Dun Laoghaire regatta yachts 18982004 470 Olympians Ross Killian and Ger Owens back together in a GP14 on Dublin Bay

Dun Laoghaire regatta yachts 1898A fine fleet of 20 Sigma 33s are contesting the Irish Class Championships as part of the Regatta

Dun Laoghaire regatta yachts 1898The 1720 Heros and Villans (Gary Rhodes) from Royal Cork Yacht Club is third in the mixed sportsboat class

Results are provisional and subject to protest.

Full results in all 35 classes are available here

The 2017 regatta concludes tomorrow with two final races for most classes.

Dun Laoghaire regatta yachts 1898Flying Fifteen (above and below) and Mermaid (bottom) fleets are racing on the Salthill courseDun Laoghaire regatta yachts 1898Dun Laoghaire regatta yachts 1898

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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