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Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Offers Class Championship Package for 2021 Event

8th July 2020
Summer Sails - Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2021 is planning an exciting four days of racing in Dublin Bay with 500 boats and almost 2,500 sailors competing starting this day next year Summer Sails - Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2021 is planning an exciting four days of racing in Dublin Bay with 500 boats and almost 2,500 sailors competing starting this day next year Photo: Afloat

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 GP14 Leinster Championships were staged as part of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta in 2019 Photo: Afloat The GP14 Leinster Championships were staged as part of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta in 2019 Photo: 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 Flying Fifteens enjoyed a strong turnout at the 2019 event with David Gorman and Chris Doorly (above) winning the prized 'Boat of the Week' award Photo: AfloatThe Flying Fifteens enjoyed a strong turnout at the 2019 event with David Gorman and Chris Doorly (above) winning the prized 'Boat of the Week' award Photo: Afloat

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.

Laser dinghy racing at the 2019 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Photo: AfloatLaser dinghy racing at the 2019 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Photo: Afloat

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.

The VDLR Class Three champion was the First 8 'F’n Gr8' from CarrickfergusThe VDLR Class Three champion was the First 8 'F’n Gr8' from Carrickfergus

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.

Frank Whelan’s Grand Soleil 44 Eleuthera from Greystones was the Class Zero winnerFrank Whelan’s Grand Soleil 44 Eleuthera from Greystones was the Class Zero winner

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

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 dates for the 2021 edition of Ireland's biggest sailing event on Dublin Bay is: 8-11 July 2021

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