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Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2019 is Launched at the Maritime Museum

5th April 2019
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The assembled crowd of sailors, sponsors and volunteers attending the official launch of Volvo Dún Laoghaire Regatta 2019 at the National Maritime Museum of Ireland. Scroll down for photo gallery The assembled crowd of sailors, sponsors and volunteers attending the official launch of Volvo Dún Laoghaire Regatta 2019 at the National Maritime Museum of Ireland. Scroll down for photo gallery Photo: Gareth Craig

A crowd of sailors, sponsors and volunteers attended the official launch of Volvo Dún Laoghaire Regatta 2019 at the National Maritime Museum of Ireland last night.

This eighth edition of the regatta event promises to be the second biggest sailing event in Northern Europe this year and is attracting a large visiting entry from around the Irish Sea and further afield. A crowd of sailors, sponsors and volunteers attended the official launch at the National Maritime Museum of Ireland on Thursday 4th April.

The event is previewed by David O'Brien in the Irish Times Sailing Column this morning here and also on Afloat.ie here.

The significance of the event for the town was evident from the gathering of councillors and official representatives.

Mary Mitchell O'Connor T.D., Minister of State for Education, who is a local representative, highlighted the role of volunteers in staging the massive event that relies upon over a 300-strong team. 

Among the guests last night was Irish Sailing President Jack Roy, the event's Chief Race Officer Con Murphy and newly elected National Yacht Club Commodore Martin McCarthy. DBSC Turkey Shoot organiser Fintan Cairns attended along with new DBSC Hon Sec Chris Moore.

The Royal Irish's Pat Shannon and the Royal St. George's Derek Ryan were also part of the 400-strong launch party along with Dun Laoghaire Harbour Master Captain Simon Coate.

The Irish Marine trade was well represented too with, among others, Graham Curran of UK Sailmakers, Antonia O'Rourke of Viking Marine and Joss Walsh and John O'Kane of MGM Boats.

Howth Yacht Club guests included former commodore Brian Turvey and Paddy Judge. Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race organiser Adam Winkelmann also attended along with class reps from 30 different class associations that will participate in July.

Photos of last night's special gathering by Gareth Craig are below with WM Nixon's take on the 2019 VDLR appearing in his Afloat.ie blog tomorrow.

Dun Laoghaire regatta launch1Ann Kirwan, Adam Winkleman and Peter Sherry

Dun Laoghaire regatta launch1Jim Dolan, Derek Ryan (Rear Commodore, Social - Royal St George YC) and David Lovegrove

Dun Laoghaire regatta launch1Chris Moore, Councillor Barry Ward and Pat Shannon

Dun Laoghaire regatta launch1Nigel Craughwell (General Manager, Royal Marine Hotel), Brenda Killeen and Brian Craig

Dun Laoghaire regatta launch1A large group from Collen Construction (l to r - Tommy Drumm, Neil Collen, Pamela Collen, Declan Maguire, Barry King and NYC Commodore Martin McCarthy) meeting An Cathaoirleach Ossian Smyth

Dun Laoghaire regatta launch1Larry Power (National YC), Rosemary O'Connell, Sarah Byrne and Alan Balfe

Dun Laoghaire regatta launch1Steve Hayes, Graham Curran (UK Sailmakers Ireland) and Antonia O'Rourke (Viking Marine)

Dun Laoghaire regatta launch1Don O'Dowd, Chairperson of the Organising Committee

Dun Laoghaire regatta launch1An Cathaoirleach Ossian Smyth, of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council

Dun Laoghaire regatta launch1Mary Mitchell O'Connor T.D., Minister of State for Education

Dun Laoghaire regatta launch1David Thomas, Managing Director of Volvo Cars Ireland

Dun Laoghaire regatta launch1Vincent Delany, Miriam FitzSimons, and An Cathaoirleach Ossian Smyth

Dun Laoghaire regatta launch1Paddy Judge, Brian Turvey and Cathy MacAleavey

Dun Laoghaire regatta launch19Emma O'Carroll (Volvo Cars Ireland), Ciara Dowling (Regatta Secretary), Lynn McNally and Patricia Greene (Volvo Cars Ireland)

Published in Volvo Regatta

 

Dun Laoghaire Regatta Quick Links:

Dun Laoghaire Regatta News here

Dun Laoghaire Regatta Results here

Dun Laoghaire Regatta Preview here

Download Sailing Instructions/Race Schedule here

Download IRC Class Divisions here

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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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