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McCarthy and Green Ahead after Day of Drama on the Water for Flying Fifteens at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta

8th July 2023
Shane McCarthy and Alan Green lead by four points after four races sailed in the 22-boat Flying Fifteen class at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta
Shane McCarthy and Alan Green lead by four points after four races sailed in the 22-boat Flying Fifteen class at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Credit: Bob Bateman

The Flying Fifteens saw a significant increase in their numbers for Day 2 of VLDR 2023, and they were “rewarded” with three races in robust conditions.

“Rewarded” is used judiciously as the fleet gathered in the National Yacht Club to initiate the recovery process! Nobody offered to “get the party going”, such was the physical challenge on the water. As one very experienced Fifteener said, that was like a day at a World Championship, and I should know!

It was a day with a bit of drama, too, as a tiller detached itself from its rudder; though the rudder wasn’t lost, it meant curtains for David Gorman and Chris Doorly (4099) and a long tow home.

The Pied Piper also made an appearance in the first race, with Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (4028) credited with the role, and maybe amazingly, followed by Shane McCarthy & Alan Green (4085). As the fifth fleet to start on the South Bull course, closest to the Liffey mouth, it seems that while the preceding four starts had course 2A, not everyone twigged that the Fifteens were given Course 2B, racing to the inner weather mark rather than the further one.

Lee Statham and Andrew Paul from Waterford Harbour. Statham (right) went overboard in race three but was recovered Photo: Bob Bateman Lee Statham and Andrew Paul from Waterford Harbour. Statham (right) went overboard in race three but was recovered Photo: Bob Bateman 

And finally, we had a man overboard incident at the penultimate mark of the third race, the unfortunate victim being Lee Statham, helm of 4070.

Race Officer David Wilkins set a long beat for the first race though some chose to sail an even longer one. Colin and McCarthy were the most prominent people who went astray, leaving the leaders at the right weather mark as Gorman, Statham, Niall Meagher & Nicki Mathews (3938) and the previous day’s winners, Tom Galvin & Cormac Bradley (3757).

The first two were very close at the finish with a good lead on Meagher, with Galvin following in fourth, with Alan and Lorcan Balfe closing out the top five.

The next two races were sailed to Course 2A, the outer windward mark, and in actual fact, the inner mark seemed to have been lifted altogether. The weather mark was also moved shore-wards, suggesting that the wind had gone a bit further southerly. However, this appeared to mean that it became a “Lake Garda drag race” – head inshore and tack on the layline. That meant that the choice of when to tack became the most tactical element of the race. Colin, in particular, seemed to master the inshore tack the best, and ultimately, he would be rewarded with two third places for his tactical acumen. Statham added another second in the middle race, but McCarthy & Green went one better and took two bullets to head up the leaderboard at the end of the day.

Phil Lawton & Neil O’Hagan (3803) came back from a sixth in the middle race to score a second in the last race of the day, and Galvin had an even better recovery from a poor start and middle race to add another fourth to his tally.

Phil Lawton & Neil O’HaganPhil Lawton and Neil O’Hagan

The nett effect of the day’s endeavours means that McCarthy & Green lead with four points, followed by Statham on eight, Galvin on nine, Lawton on eleven, Meagher on twelve and Colin on fifteen.

An amendment on Saturday evening will see the fleet return to South Bull and the race management of Mr Wilkins rather than a sojourn to the Colleen course and Mr Lovegrove.

Another three races are promised in what at 00:53 are projected to be the lightest of the regatta thus far – low teens to just under the 20knots mark. It is just as well we aren’t scheduled to sail at 07:00 when the gusts are due to get in the high thirties, according to XCWeather.

Scroll down for 2023 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta results class by class

  • Read all the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Race News in one handy link here
  • Click links to read more on VDLR IRC divisions Coastal, IRC Zero, IRC One, IRC Two and IRC Three
  • Listen to Lorna Siggins's interview with Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Race Director Paddy Boyd here
  • Read more on the Coastival Festival here
  • See live Dublin Bay webcams covering here 

Afloat will be posting regular race updates throughout the 2023 Regatta. Send your photos, tips and stories by email to [email protected]

Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2023 Race Results

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Cormac Bradley

About The Author

Cormac Bradley

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Dublin Bay Fireballer Cormac Bradley was appointed Rear Commodore of the International Fireball Class in 2017. He is a regular dinghy and one design correspondent on

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Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta

From the Baily lighthouse to Dalkey island, the bay accommodates six separate courses for 21 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 Ireland's 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. 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. A flotilla of 25 boats regularly races 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.

No other regatta in the Irish Sea area can 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 – closes temporarily to facilitate the regatta and the placing of six 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.

Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta FAQs

Dun Laoghaire Regatta is Ireland's biggest sailing event. It is held every second Summer at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on Dublin Bay.

Dun Laoghaire Regatta is held every two years, typically in the first weekend of July.

As its name suggests, the event is based at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. Racing is held on Dublin Bay over as many as six different courses with a coastal route that extends out into the Irish Sea. Ashore, the festivities are held across the town but mostly in the four organising yacht clubs.

Dun Laoghaire Regatta is the largest sailing regatta in Ireland and on the Irish Sea and the second largest in the British Isles. It has a fleet of 500 competing boats and up to 3,000 sailors. Scotland's biggest regatta on the Clyde is less than half the size of the Dun Laoghaire event. After the Dublin city marathon, the regatta is one of the most significant single participant sporting events in the country in terms of Irish sporting events.

The modern Dublin Bay Regatta began in 2005, but it owes its roots to earlier combined Dublin Bay Regattas of the 1960s.

Up to 500 boats regularly compete.

Up to 70 different yacht clubs are represented.

The Channel Islands, Isle of Man, England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland countrywide, and Dublin clubs.

Nearly half the sailors, over 1,000, travel to participate from outside of Dun Laoghaire and from overseas to race and socialise in Dun Laoghaire.

21 different classes are competing at Dun Laoghaire Regatta. As well as four IRC Divisions from 50-footers down to 20-foot day boats and White Sails, there are also extensive one-design keelboat and dinghy fleets to include all the fleets that regularly race on the Bay such as Beneteau 31.7s, Ruffian 23s, Sigma 33s as well as Flying Fifteens, Laser SB20s plus some visiting fleets such as the RS Elites from Belfast Lough to name by one.


Some sailing household names are regular competitors at the biennial Dun Laoghaire event including Dun Laoghaire Olympic silver medalist, Annalise Murphy. International sailing stars are competing too such as Mike McIntyre, a British Olympic Gold medalist and a raft of World and European class champions.

There are different entry fees for different size boats. A 40-foot yacht will pay up to €550, but a 14-foot dinghy such as Laser will pay €95. Full entry fee details are contained in the Regatta Notice of Race document.

Spectators can see the boats racing on six courses from any vantage point on the southern shore of Dublin Bay. As well as from the Harbour walls itself, it is also possible to see the boats from Sandycove, Dalkey and Killiney, especially when the boats compete over inshore coastal courses or have in-harbour finishes.

Very favourably. It is often compared to Cowes, Britain's biggest regatta on the Isle of Wight that has 1,000 entries. However, sailors based in the north of England have to travel three times the distance to get to Cowes as they do to Dun Laoghaire.

Dun Laoghaire Regatta is unique because of its compact site offering four different yacht clubs within the harbour and the race tracks' proximity, just a five-minute sail from shore. International sailors also speak of its international travel connections and being so close to Dublin city. The regatta also prides itself on balancing excellent competition with good fun ashore.

The Organising Authority (OA) of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta is Dublin Bay Regattas Ltd, a not-for-profit company, beneficially owned by Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club (DMYC), National Yacht Club (NYC), Royal Irish Yacht Club (RIYC) and Royal St George Yacht Club (RSGYC).

The Irish Marine Federation launched a case study on the 2009 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta's socio-economic significance. Over four days, the study (carried out by Irish Sea Marine Leisure Knowledge Network) found the event was worth nearly €3million to the local economy over the four days of the event. Typically the Royal Marine Hotel and Haddington Hotel and other local providers are fully booked for the event.

©Afloat 2020