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Dun Laoghaire Regatta Champions Crowned, Royal Irish's Joker II Named 'Boat of the Week'

9th July 2017
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VDLR 2017 Boat of the Week is won by Joker II from the Royal Irish Yacht Club. The J109 skipper, John Maybury, is joined onstage by all other trophy winners VDLR 2017 Boat of the Week is won by Joker II from the Royal Irish Yacht Club. The J109 skipper, John Maybury, is joined onstage by all other trophy winners Photo: VDLR

Ireland’s biggest sailing event, the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, came to a gentle close this afternoon after an exciting four days of racing in Dublin Bay with over 475 boats and almost 2,500 sailors competing.

A light sea breeze of six knots allowed organisers to complete nearly all 290 scheduled races with many class titles hanging on the outcome of today's final race.

In a fitting tribute to the harbour's bicentenary year, racing for the coastal classes finished inside the harbour, a nod to a long-standing Dun Laoghaire yachting tradition.

VDLR Sunday Yacht Race 0247For a time this morning, it looked like there might be no wind for sailing but after a short delay all six courses – catering for 475 yachts – raced in a six–knot sea breeze

Dublin Yacht Club's shared the bulk of the overall prizes, awarded this afternoon at the official prize giving at the Royal St. George Yacht Club, winning 23 of the 35 classes including the coveted 'Boat of the Week' Trophy.

VDLR Sunday Yacht Race 0247CLASS ONE – John Maybury's Joker II on the way to overall victory this afternoon. Maybury had a 13 – point win margin in a very competitive class one 28–boat fleet. In a remarkable performance for the J109 campaign, Joker II has now won three ICRA nationals in a row and today's class one win (see race start photo below) represents four VDLR wins in succession; 2011, 2013, 2015 and now 2017.   

VDLR Sunday Yacht Race 0247

John Maybury's J109 Joker II from the Royal Irish Yacht Club was named top boat after leading an extremely competitive IRC class one 28–boat fleet from start to finish.

Maybury's lead, however, was cut to three points overnight by club–mate Richard Goodbody's White Mischief but a final challenge to Maybury on the South Course today did not materialise in the single race sailed. Instead the RIYC sailor ended the series on a 13.5–point cushion.

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 35 classes as the last race of the event concluded in the lightest sea–breezes of the series.

In a summer of achievements for John Maybury, his Volvo Trophy follows the first ever hat-trick of IRC National Championship victories achieved in Crosshaven last month. Today's victory was Maybury's fourth VDLR class win in a row winning first in 2011.

The premier award for top visiting boat went to Fergus Burnham and Andy Hunter in the GP14 Class.

The best one design keelboat award went to David Gorman and Chris Doorly in the flying Fifteen class.

Flashback VDLR offshore 1884Paddy Gregory's Flashback from Howth is the VDLR offshore champion. The Beneteau 34.7 is also the winner of the Jack Ryan Whiskey Royal Dee Offshore Championships

The 31-boat offshore prize was won by Howth's Beneteau 34.7, Flashback skippered by Paddy Gregory. Gregory also lifted the Royal Dee Offshore Championship Trophy that was raced as part of the regatta.

The Classic Division shared the coastal course start line today in Scotsman's Bay. The restored Dublin Bay 24 Periwinkle (below) finished tp of the 18–boat classics keelboat division

VDLR Sunday Yacht Race 0247CLASSICS –Dublin Bay 24 Periwinkle skippered by David Espey

VDLR Sunday Yacht Race 0247CLASSICS – (Above and below) the Gaff Cutter Myfanwy from Neyland Yacht Club was the winner of the Kingstown 200 Trophy

VDLR Sunday Yacht Race 0247

Dark Angel VDLR 0295CLASS ZERO – After wins at the ICRA Nationals and the Sovereigns Cup, Swansea's Dark Angel always looked on target for another Irish win at VDLR in the five boat class  (below)

VDLR Sunday Yacht Race 0247

Checkmate VDLR 0235CLASS TWO – After a tightly bunched start (below), Howth's Checkmate XV (Dave Cullen) outwitted Scottish entry Trastada for the overall win. Angus Roddy's Clyde half tonner was third while Cullen's club mate Jonny Swan was third in Harmony

VDLR Sunday Yacht Race 0247

Fusion Corby 33 VDLR 0974CLASS THREE –There were no surprises on the final day where Richard Colwell's Fusion made sure of overall victory in an eight–boat fleet

Cartoon quarter tonner VDLR 1371CLASS FOUR – Two wins in the final two races this morning clinched the title for Ken Lawless's Quarter Tonner Cartoon. The Royal Irish Yacht leap–frogged overnight leader, Flash, Jonathan Flood's Formula 28 from Wicklow Sailing Club by a margin of 5.5 points. Third in the 15–boat fleet was another Royal Irish Quarter Tonner, Paul Coulton's Cri Cri. Ten races were sailed with two discards.

GP14 Burnham VDLR 1194Top UK visitors Fergus Burnham and Andy Hunter from Nantwich were GP14 Leinster Championship winners

Ten classes included the regatta as part of their championship calendar in 2017: GP14s, 420s and Mermaid dinghies raced for Leinster honours. The J24s, SB20s and Squibs decided regional titles and the Sigma 33s, Beneteau 21s and the Wayfarers raced for national trophies.

The biennial event is being hailed an enormous success both afloat and ashore for a combined fleet of 475 boats, the biggest on the Irish Sea. Over 290 races on five different courses were staged in a range of light to medium 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 have stayed on Dun Laoghaire's waterfront.

Trophies were awarded in each of the 35 competing classes this afternoon, bringing the curtain down on one of the most successful staging’s of Ireland's biggest sailing event.

VDLR Sunday Yacht Race 0247Alan Harper's Clyde–based Mayrise beat an excellent turnout of 20 Sigma 33s

Scotland's Clyde Cruising Club took a win in the Sigma 33 Irish open Championships. Howth Yacht Club had six wins in IRC two and three, the Howth 17s, J24s and non–spinnaer divisions but outside of that there was only single wins for Belfast Lough in the RS Elite, Rush Sailing Club in the Laser Radial, Sutton Dinghy Club in the IDRA 14s and Greystones Sailing Club won the Wayfarers.

In Dun Laoghaire, the Royal Irish Yacht Club topped the leaderboard winning six classes from IRC keelboats to Water Wag dinghies.The Royal St. George had five wins in one design classes. The National Yacht Club had three victories and the DMYC had two.

VDLR SPECIAL TROPHY WINNERS 2017

Special Trophies Boat Name First Surname Other Club
At End          
Best Overall ECHO Platinum Blonde Paul Egan   Royal St George YC
Most Successful Royal St George YC Boat Glen Luce Richard O'Connor Donal O'Connor Royal St George YC
Best Visiting Boat   Fergus  Barnham Andy Hunter Snettisham Beach&Nantwich
Best Dinghy/Small Keelboat Betty David Gorman   National Yacht Club
Best One Design/Keelboat Mayrise Alan Harper A Harper/E & K Robertson Cove SC,Argull & Bute, Clyde CC
Best Overall IRC Joker 2 John Maybury   Royal Irish Yacht Club
Boat of the Week Joker 2 John Maybury   Royal Irish Yacht Club
           
Best Overall Flying 15 Betty David Gorman   National Yacht Club
Best Overall Ruffian 23 Diane 2 Chris Helme Alan Claffey Royal St George Yacht Club
Best Overall IDRA 14 Dubious Simon Revill   Sutton Dinghy Club
Royal Dee Irish Sea Offshore Championship TBC        
IRC Offshore Class Challenge Trophy Flashback Paddy Gregory Don Breen Howth Yacht Club
Best DBSC Non Spinnaker Not Awarded        
Most successful Water Wag   Guy Kilroy Jackie Kilroy Royal Irish Yacht Club
Best Classic Boat & 100 Guinea Purse Myfanwy Robert Mason   Neyland Yacht Club

The next Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta will be held from 11th –14th July 2019

Full results for the 2017 Regatta here

Read all of Afloat's 2017 VDLR coverage in this one handy link 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.

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