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Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2021

Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2021 Announces Format Changes for July Event on Dublin Bay

24th September 2020
VDLR 2021 - A new format will comprise a One Design Championship (2nd – 4th July 2021) followed by an Open Cruiser Championship (8th – 11th July 2021) VDLR 2021 - A new format will comprise a One Design Championship (2nd – 4th July 2021) followed by an Open Cruiser Championship (8th – 11th July 2021)

Dun Laoghaire Harbour's combined waterfront yachts clubs have announced the continued title sponsorship by Volvo Car Ireland of next July's Dun Laoghaire Regatta and a new format for Ireland's top sailing event.

In order to facilitate social distancing and be Covid-19 compliant a new regatta format will comprise a One Design Championship (2nd – 4th July 2021) specifically tailored for sailors in the one-design keelboat and dinghy classes. This to be followed by an Open Cruiser Championship (8th – 11th July 2021) catering for the full range of Cruiser Handicap classes.

'The sponsorship announcement coupled with the significant format changes to VDLR 2021, will give sailors, sponsors, classes and the four waterfront clubs certainty in planning ahead for the 2021 season', says chairman of the organisers, Don O'Dowd.

Volvo Car Ireland has been the title sponsor of Ireland's largest sailing event since 2007 and is again joined by Spirit Motor Group, the premier dealership for Volvo.

Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2021

Background to the event

Growing over the last 16 years, the regatta is now proudly one of Northern Europe's greatest shows on the water, eclipsed only by the UK's Cowes Regatta, one of the longest-running regular regattas in the world.

Since it first set sail in 2005, Dun Laoghaire Regatta has grown biennially and showcases the very best of Irish sailing action on the water. A regatta of this size also brings a lot of shoreside summer colour and significant economic benefit to the town of Dun Laoghaire.

The last edition in 2019 comprised over 300 sailing races across 30 classes, and 2,500 competitors ranging from Olympic and world-class professionals to weekend sailors drawn from both across Ireland and overseas.

Meeting the COVID-19 challenges in 2021

Dun Laoghaire is unique in being able operate in this pandemic because of the extensive area within the harbour site and facilities provided by the waterfront clubs and organisations. The Regatta will utilise the full infrastructure of Dun Laoghaire Harbour venue to the best advantage and bring certainty to a calendar that has been hugely dictated by Covid-19 and the constraints imposed due to social distancing.

Format Changes planned for 2021

The focus of the new format will be to provide Regatta Sailing of the highest standard - taking advantage of the extensive shoreside facilities for the après sail enjoyment of the local and visiting sailors.

The new format Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta will comprise a One Design Championship (2nd – 4th July 2021) specifically tailored for sailors in the one design keelboat and dinghy classes. This to be followed by an Open Cruiser Championship (8th – 11th July 2021) catering for the full range of Cruiser Handicap classes.

The Regatta will provide competitive sailing, fun ashore and offer classes an exciting opportunity around which to plan their championships for 2021.

"Volvo Car Ireland, together with our retail partner, Spirit Motor Group are very proud to continue our relationship with the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta in 2021. Together with Spirit Motor Group we work to support what we see as important events in the community where our customers live, work and engage in sporting activities as an important part of life. Sailing is a sport Volvo support at a community and international level.

The Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta has grown to become the largest sailing regatta in Ireland and we are proud to be part of that team and to continue to be associated with the event", David Thomas, Managing Director, Volvo Car Ireland Ltd

"In these most trying and uncharted times, it is truly wonderful to have Volvo Car Ireland back on board for 2021. The VDLR regatta is now in its 9th edition over 16 years and Volvo's participation has been a key to its success. In light of Covid-19 and the possible constraints it will place on the event, we are currently working on a new format for the regatta which will see one-design classes racing on one weekend (2nd – 4th July) and keelboats the following weekend (8th – 11th July). Dun Laoghaire and its unique four waterfront clubs lends itself to facilitating social distancing and being Covid-19 compliant. It is this uniqueness that allows us plan for, what hopefully will be, another very successful Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta" Don O'Dowd, VDLR Chairman

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

In order to facilitate social distancing and be Covid-19 compliant a new regatta format will comprise a One Design Championship (2nd – 4th July 2021) specifically tailored for sailors in the one-design keelboat and dinghy classes. This to be followed by an Open Cruiser Championship (8th – 11th July 2021) catering for the full range of Cruiser Handicap classes.

 

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