With exactly one year to go to Ireland's biggest sailing event, organisers of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2021 are already mapping out plans for next July's 500-boat event.
The regatta is a four-day biennial event that will run from July 8-11 In 2021. 300 races across 30 classes are planned for an expected 2,500 competitors.
At this stage, organisers are keen to accommodate interested classes that want to stage a championship as part of the four-day festival.
"VDLR is offering a special 'championship packages' to class captains who may struggle to find suitable venues due to COVID-19 restrictions," Event chairman Don O'Dowd told Afloat.
The class package is a turn-key regatta solution offering COVID-19 compliant race management teams and a host of extras in order to allow classes plan for early for 2021 and take advantage of the added security that comes with being part of Ireland's well-established regatta team.
Growing over the last 15 years, the regatta is now recognised as one of Northern Europe’s greatest shows on water, eclipsed only by the UK’s Cowes Regatta, one of the longest-running regular regattas in the world.
The regatta site at Dun Laoghaire encompasses the entire harbour across the four clubs and town marina which means social distancing can be maintained ashore too.
O’Dowd says: “The VDLR owes its prominence in European sailing events to a number of factors. One of the core attributes to attracting so many entrants is that it is one of the least expensive sailing events in Europe, thanks to generous sponsorship and support, so providing great value for money for all in the lovely waters of Dublin Bay. Another factor, according to O'Dowd, is the top race management for the racing that ensures a quality event on the water.
Key classes in the line-up for 2021 include the IRC rating classes and ‘one design’ classes that in 2019 included the Beneteau 31.7s, Beneteau 211, Sigma 33, Ruffian 23s, Dragons and the RS Elites, who staged their British Championships as part of the VDLR.
The dinghy classes expected are GP14, Wayfarer, Squib, Mermaid, Flying Fifteen, and single-handed Lasers and Moths.
The biennial fixture is organised jointly by the four Dun Laoghaire waterfront yacht clubs (the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club (DMYC), the National Yacht Club (NYC), the Royal Irish Yacht Club (RIYC) and the Royal St George Yacht Club (RStGYC).
Corporate Cup 2021?
As with Cowes Week, there's no let-up in the pace of innovation at Dun Laoghaire regatta either. Dun Laoghaire 2021 is looking at a number of format changes, and it is understood it is considering a Corporate Cup proposal to be sailed within the Regatta.
More than 70 different sailing clubs were represented in 2019, including the Channel Islands, Isle of Man, UK, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland. While it is unclear at this point if international COVID restrictions will continue into 2021, Dun Laoghaire organisers are already making every effort towards making 2021 another successful edition.
Entries will not open until December to enquire about the special class championship packages contact the Ciara Dowling by email [email protected] or mobile +353 872235148