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Displaying items by tag: Laser

#laser – Seventeen Laser dinghies braved the cold blustery conditions for the final two races of Howth Yacht Club's Spring Series. It was an interesting preamble to the Round Island race on Saturday 14th March. The racing was incident packed. In the first incident of the day Dave Kirwan broke his mast on his way to the starting area, leaving him watching from the committee boat.

Race 1 started with an offshore breeze over twenty knots, kicking up a short chop. The steep waves made progress upwind difficult and on occasion helped the laser to become a submarine off the wind.

The race management team decided on a triangle sausage course and set a pin end starting line bias. This bias was just enough to allow Daragh Sheridan to pull off a dream port tack start, he even crossed the bow of Dave Cotter.

Ronan Cull led the fleet to the top mark closely followed by the pack headed by Daragh Sheridan, Ronan was to hold the lead to the finish, despite giving the fleet a chance to catch him with an upwind capsize on the second beat during one of his "roll tacks".

Dan O'Connell deviated from his usual silky style and dropped out of the racing with a capsize and a 360 degree rig rotation.

Michael Evans finished second taking advantage of a fearful capsize on the last gybe of the race by McMahon.

Race 1:

1st Ronan Cull

2nd Michael Evans

3rd Paul McMahon

4th Stephen Quinn

5th Daragh Sheridan

1st Radial Aoife Hopkins

1st 4.7 Sarah Gallagher

Race 2

1st Ronan Cull

2nd Paul McMahon

3rd Stephen Quinn

4th Michael Evans

5th Dan O'Connell

1st Radial Aoife Hopkins

1st 4.7 Sarah Gallagher

Race 2 very much a scaled down version of race 1, another pin end bias was set. This time no sailor was gutsy enough to chance a port tack start. Dan made running repairs to his boat and to his credit endured the cold to wait on the second race. and rejoin the fleet. Race two was a tighter affair with Cull piping McMahon to make it 2 wins from two races. These wins topped a great spring series by Ronan who topped the rankings by 19 points from Dan O'Connell, with Daragh Sheridan taking third place overall.

The form book will be thrown out the window for next Saturdays stand alone Round the Island Race, this classic Laser race never fails to throw out a few surprises.

Published in Laser
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#laser –  The invention of a new bolt-on foiling kit means the foiling experience is open to more sailors than ever before. As Afloat.ie previously reported in 2013 after four years of product and design testing, Peter Stephinson and Ian Ward launched the Glide Free Foil kit for Lasers in 2013. 

The key element of the kit is a horizontal lifting foil that's controlled by a surface-sensing wand, which is built into the centerboard. A special insert is fitted into the Laser centrecase, which accepts the foil and locks it in position, with no need for fastenings or any alterations to a standard Laser dinghy at all.

The system is also unique in the sense that it can be rotated for and aft and retracted for ease of launching.

So far, just under 100 units have been sold across the globe since launching in 2013. As YBW report some of the kits have been sold in Manchester and Stokes Bay in the UK but as far as we are aware none yet to Ireland. 

Published in Laser
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#laser – As 40 Laser dinghies enter the last few weeks of typically close racing in the perennial DMYC Frostbite series, dinghy sailors are looking forward to the warmer months, especially after some subtle but significant changes by Dublin Bay Sailing Club writes our Dublin Bay Laser fleet correspondent.

DBSC has been engaged in lengthy discussions with all dinghy classes and there are a few key format tweaks, including two new classes in the shape of the Laser (previously in PY) and the RS 200/400. The idea for Lasers is to focus everybody on Tuesday evenings for club racing, thereby freeing up weekends for other sailing (eg, Laser regattas or other DBSC classes) or indeed for family obligations. Some other DBSC dinghy classes, however, stick with the tried and trusted Saturday plus Tuesday format. Horses for courses and Hats Off to DBSC for a flexible approach.

Download poster below for more details of the new initiative.

But one thing's for sure ; the simple Laser formula is as popular as ever. A perfectly competitive boat is just €2k and the associated costs are very low. The healthy exercise from hiking and working a Laser is catching the Fitness wave too and makes the single-hander a popular lifestyle choice for sailors who also cycle, run or whatever. In anything over 5 knots it's the ultimate full body workout ! In the last 18 months we're also seeing young graduates from the vibrant DL scene for the smaller 4.7 and Radial rigs. How great it is to see them transition into the local racing scene. Many of these younger sailors - like us older types (!) - are inspired by the international exploits of the Waterfront's own Annalise Murphy and Finn Lynch, who can be seen out training on the Bay, using exactly the same equipment as the rest of us.

So....Get that Laser out of the garden, or don't put it away after the Frostbites ! Join us on Dublin Bay for glorious Tuesday night racing and other events highlighted in the attachment. We want to see all ages and ability levels. We'll even lay on some coaching and we'll definitely meet up for a drink after racing each Tuesday.

Published in Laser

#olympicsailing – Water Rat's article: Is ISAF Alive To Sailing's Survival As An Olympic Sport? has raised the issue about the future viability of the Olympic sailing movement and brought reaction from readers, including Midshipman, who says it begs two interesting questions:

· Is being an Olympic sport good for sailing?

· Why have the amazing advances we have witnessed in technology over the last 15 years not made sailing more accessible and less expensive?

With the exception of the Laser (a manufacturer controlled boat which is not cheap at €7,250), none of the boats used in the Olympics are to be found in mainstream sailing.

The explosion in sailing during the 60's and 70's was fuelled by the development of exciting low cost boats built, mainly by amateurs, in plywood using new adhesive and coating techniques.

The turn of the century has seen vast improvements in the technologies used in boat building, making boats lighter, faster, stronger safer, but certainly not cheaper, as amateur construction can no longer compete with the sophisticated techniques of the boating industry.

That is probably why the most popular dinghy class in the world remains the inexpensive and simple Sunfish while low tech Hobie Beach Cats still dominate the multihull scene.

In years gone by, most young sailors got their start in wooden Optimists, often built by enthusiastic parents at modest cost over a couple of weekends and then typically graduated to a home built Mirror or its equivalent for their first experience of multi crewed sailing with multiple sails.

opty4.jpg

A wooden framework of the early Optimist dinghy

Nothing less than a relatively expensive Glass Fibre Optimist will do now and the Street Cred of young people is dependent on graduating to costly Lasers and 420s. In Ireland this situation is also compounded by the sense of failure youngsters experience if they fail to qualify for one of the Academy or Elite development squads which currently involves over 100 youth sailors of varied abilities.

opty10.jpg

The scene today – charter boats used at Dun Laoghaire for the 2014 Optimist Europeans

Sailing has become so fixated on exciting performance and elite achievement that it has lost sight of the sheer enjoyment of messing about in boats at modest cost which is the principle attraction to the vast majority of people.

We all admire the highly skilled and motivated sailors who aspire to the ultimate Olympic challenge, but let's face it , what they do has virtually no relevance to the activities of most recreational sailors. ISAF uses racing formats and boats which are not reflective of the sport in general, largely on the grounds of needing to excite TV viewers.

With the exception of horse riding, sailing is probably the most equipment dependent (meaning most expensive) sport in the Olympics. I am not sure that this is a message which ultimately helps encourage people to become involved in sailing.

If we want to use the Olympics as a marketing opportunity for sailing, we should use inexpensive boats which are used on a widespread basis by regular sailors and only have 2 events each for men and women whilst eliminating the cost of shipping boats by supplying evenly matched equipment.

Olympic sailing has created a very costly industry which contributes little back to mainstream sailing. The costs are truly horrendous as demonstrated by the recent announcement that the ISA is appointing an additional CEO to head up a funding programme to raise a further €2.75m a year over and above the €1m plus it receives from the Irish Sports Council for Irish Elite sailing activities.

Does the Irish sailing community believe an annual level of expenditure of €3.75m on elite sailing provides the best economic payback to the sport in Ireland? If we could replicate what has been done in New Zealand, maybe there is a business case which can be justified.

However, €15m seems an outrageous amount of money to propose spending over an Olympic cycle, which is equal to something in excess of €800 on behalf of each member of the ISA.

Let's make sailing accessible, less expensive and more engaging and use the Olympics as a shop window to remove the elitist and esoteric imagery created by the current profile of existing Olympic classes.

What we are doing at the moment is deluding ourselves into believing that presenting our sport like NASCAR or Formula 1 motor racing will attract new people to buy Ford Mondeos and Fiat Pandas. – Midshipman

Published in Your Say

#laser – The Howth Yacht Club Laser Frostbiters were treated to a fantastic two races this morning writes Daragh Sheridan.

The race committee set a Windward / Leeward course for the first race of the day. A shift shortly before the start made the first beat somewhat one sided with a premium on tacking to port as soon as possible. Ronan Cull led around the Windward mark followed by Dan O'Connell, Mike Evans, Conor Costello and Ian Mc Sweeney. Our fleet captain Ian unfortunately capsized on the downwind much to the delight of those close to him. The race stayed tight with Cull taking yet another bullet followed by O' Connell and Daragh Sheridan taking third after an uncharacteristic mistake by Evans at the final Leeward mark. Eddie Rice had a storming comeback to take fourth after having to do turns earlier in the race. Costello clearly enjoying the breeze took fifth slot.

As the breeze continued to build the race officer decided to hold an Olympic course for race 2. As a result the fleet enjoyed some high speed reaches on the perfectly laid triangle. Once again Cull lead for the majority of the race but a capsize at the final windward mark allowed both Rice and O'Connell to capitalise. O'Connell then took full advantage of a big puff down the second last reach to grab the lead and held off Rice to the finish. Cull took the final podium place with Sheridan 4th and Evans 5th.

Unfortunately there were no Radials out this morning. In the 4.7s Sarah Gallagher took two firsts from Rory McEvoy. Sarah is now tied for the overall lead with Alex Kavanagh.

Overall Positions
Full Rig
1. Ronan Cull
2. Dan O'Connell
3. Daragh Sheridan
4. Eddie Rice
5. Mike Evans

Radial
1. Ewan Mc Mahon
2. Conor Twohig
3. Aoife Hopkins.

4.7
1. Alex Kavanagh
2. Sarah Gallagher
3. Rory McEvoy

Published in Laser

#sailingworldcupmiami – Annalise Murphy sustained a drop of five places overall after a second result in the 30s took its toll on her overall score in Florida yesterday. The Dun Laoghaire Laser Radial sailor moves from second to seventh overall as Miami Olympic classes regatta enters the final day of racing this morning before tomorrrow's medal race finals.

Denmark's Anne-Marie Rindon had the lowest finishes of the top three Radial sailors today, but that didn't knock her off the top of the leaderboard. An 11-14 day means that she is now eating an 11th and discarding the 14th. Previously, a 7th was her discard. The day's results tightened things up, with second and third both in striking range.

It was a sun bathed day at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami with the previous cool northern breeze from the replaced with a shifty, yet warmer, easterly that tested the sailors once again.

Evi Van Acker of Belgium is only five points back. Marit Bouwmeester is only two points behind that. This sets up some interesting running-math problems for the Medals Race on Saturday.

The hard-luck story of the day was Annalise Murphy, who was part of this conversation until she picked up a keeper 35th in race eight. "It was hard to know where you had to be," she said, and left it at that.

Meanwhile, in the mens Laser class, the National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch who leads Irish interest having made the Gold fleet at the first attempt has given an appraisal of his own debut performance in Miami: 'Super happy about making Gold fleet in my first World Cup! I found out today that it is a huuge step up from what I'm used to. Not so happy with my sailling today [53rd from 55] but hopefully tomorrow I can make up for it!

The young Dubliner leads Belfast's James Espey by two places with the two Irish Rio rivals currently placed 42nd and 44th respectively in the 55–boat gold fleet.

Britain's Nick Thompson, who says that his favorite boat is the foiling Moth, is doing nicely here in a Laser, in contact with the surface of the water. The former youth world champion leads the 106-boat fleet with an eight-point margin going into the final day of racing ahead of Saturday's double points Medal Race. In second place, Philipp Buhl of Germany has burned his throw-out race on a 34th, so he has more to lose than Thompson (a 12th to throw out) if the wheels fall off on Friday. Behind them are serious threats still within range, depending, and it remains a difficult racecourse.

Young Andy ("Pain is temporary; glory is forever") Maloney of New Zealand has had his moments of late. He won the Palma version of this event in 2013, and in 2012 was second at Hyeres. As race day five beckons, he is seventh in the standings and found Thursday's conditions not quite as challenging as the races on Wednesday. "They moved the Thursday start into the morning," he said. "By comparison it seems to get a lot more patchy in the afternoon, as things heat up."

The second race of the day was ripe to be abandoned, and it was. "Between races, we were seeing 40 degree shifts with pressure drops to 5 knots," Maloney said, "and then pressure building to 15 knots and back to 5. They got a start off, and a massive lefty came down with heaps of pressure. It was a lay to the weather mark, so that race was abandoned, and we waited around for a bit. I think they were hoping it would stabilize, but finally they set up at an average angle and got on with it. There were lots of little shifts, but the thing was to be sure you were in phase with the big ones. When it's that tricky, nobody can get everything right."

Maloney won a race on Monday. Today he went 7-11.

Published in Olympic

#foynes – Foynes Yacht Club dinghy fleet has exploded this summer and is going from strength to strength writes Elaine O'Mahoney. It started with a conversation in the club bar in the latter part of the summer amongst a small number of members where it was agreed a revival of dinghies in the club was needed and the Laser One was the preferable choice. Club members scoured the country and within a few weeks the fleet went from one laser to ten.
The yacht club has had a excellent season with take up in the both the Adult Learn to Sail Programme run by Alan Mc Eniff on Wednesday nights throughout the season and the Foynes Yacht Club Sailing Academy helping the younger members of the club get to grip with our beautiful sport using the club owned Topaz & Oppie dinghies. For the first time in many years the academy has travelled to open dinghy events in local clubs in Dingle, Tralee and Cullaun Sailing Clubs. The pathway has also been created for the juniors starting in the academy on the Topaz to move onto either purchase their own dinghy, join the Dublin Bay Mermaid fleet or start sailing with the cruiser class.
Saturday mornings were a busy time for the club with supervised dinghy sailing taking place throughout the season which according to Commodore James McCormack has laid the foundations for the renewed interest in dinghy sailing in particular with the junior members. The Saturday morning sailing concluded with a one day regatta at the end of September in which there were 27 boats taking part, of which, five were lasers owned by club members. By the end of the first Laser Series which was run during October there were ten lasers competing for the top spot.
So while the cruisers lifted out at the end of October the introduction of the Laser dinghy fleet meant that the season was extended for some with the Laser November Series, which concluded last weekend after completing a full race card schedule of 10 races. The club are very grateful for the support of Brian O'Sullivan from O'Sullivan's Marine in Tralee who sponsored the October Series and Peter Clifford from Clifford's Cash and Carry in Tralee, sponsor of the November Series.
Racing will take a break for December and January and return on Saturday mornings in February. The club have appointed their first Laser Class Captain, Cathal McMahon, who will have a busy 2015 given the rate at which lasers are appearing at the club. Currently the fleet is up to an astonishing sixteen boats and rumour has it Santa Clause will be bringing another laser or two to Foynes this Christmas!

Published in Shannon Estuary

#hyc – Ronan Cull continues to dominate the 40th Laser Frostbites at Howth Yacht Club. Cull showed no let up in demonstrating a master class in Laser sailing to the rest of the fleet. Concerns that the forecast of a dropping wind would impact the second race never materialised as the light westerly wind actually increased slightly through the morning.

The strong flood tide meant the race committee were forced in to having black flag starts in order to keep the fleet from being pushed over early after general recalls in both races.

In race 1 the fleet arrived in a tight bunch at the windward mark. The run against the tide proved to be tricky for the entire fleet and resulted in a group of five boats getting a small jump on the rest of the boats ,which they held to the finish line. While Cull had a built a good lead to take the gun, the race for the other podium places saw the next five boats having a great race with Daragh Sheridan taking 2nd, from Dave Quinn, Darrell Reamsbottom and Ian Mc Sweeney.

Race 2 followed the familiar pattern of Cull storming away from everybody once again to take the win. Ronan appeared to really sail the runs well each time to pull away from the chasing bunch. Dan O'Connell showed good pace throughout to take a well deserved 2nd place. He was followed by Daragh Kelleher in third and a very tight finish between Dave Quinn 4th, Daragh Sheridan 5th and Darrell Reamsbottom in 6th.

Unfortunately the Radial fleet was missing the presence of the front runners this Sunday who were away training elsewhere. Carla Fagan and Ben Jennings took full advantage of this to record a race win each.

Daniel Hopkins continues to lead the 4.7 rigs from Alex Kavanagh and S Gallagher.

Hopefully the relatively mild temperatures continue for the two remaining Sundays.

Overall Positions

Full Rig

1. Ronan Cull

2. Dave Quinn

3. Daragh Sheridan

4. Daragh Kelleher

5. Darrell Reamsbottom

Radial

1. Aoife Hopkins

2. C. Twohig

3. Ewan McMahon.

4.7

1. Daniel Hopkins

2. Alex Kavanagh

3. S Gallagher

Published in Laser
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#laser – It will be a final day shootout in the Laser and Laser Radial fleets at the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

There is minimal separation in both fleets ahead of Sunday's double points do or die Medal Races following a thrilling penultimate day of racing. With the Medal Race places decided the competitors will be fighting it out for ISAF Sailing World Cup Final glory as well as a share of the USD$200,000 prize money.

Abu Dhabi treated the sailors to another glamorous day with a north westerly wind coming in around 10-13 knots which made for some exciting action.

Laser Radial

Just one point separates Belgium's Evi Van Acker and Denmark's Anne-Marie Rindom in the Laser Radial heading into the final day.

The Belgian, a London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, and Danish racers traded blows on the penultimate day taking a win and a second apiece with minimal separation on the race track. Rindom came out flying in the opening race and took the lead from the start and she never looked back, sealing the deal by over 30 seconds over Van Acker.

Van Acker was dominant in the second race of the day, demonstrating exceptional downwind speed throughout to pull away from the pack.

As it stands Van Acker holds the lead on 11 points with Rindom on 12. Tuula Tenkanen (FIN) and Alison Young (GBR) are in the hunt behind the leading pair on 22 points but will likely fight their own battle on the final day.

"Wow, what a really nice day," beamed Van Acker after racing. "I really wasn't expecting this when coming to Abu Dhabi so yea, wow. It was a really nice day, really fun sailing with really big waves, nice breeze and how it should be every day.

"For me it was a good day. I was second in the first race but it didn't go so well. I was lucky to be really fast on the downwind so that made me some gains. In the second race I was good from the beginning and got the lead and kept on extending it. I am really happy."

Rindom was quick to echo her rivals thoughts on the days racing, "I like the weather, it's so much better than Denmark at this time of year," smiled Rindom, "I actually thought there was going to be no wind here but the conditions are so good.

"It was a brilliant day, I love the conditions and we had two good races which were done really fast by the Race Committee and the wind was perfect."

The level of competition in the Laser Radial fleet has been exceptional. World Champions in their numbers have battled it out over three days and now it all comes down to Sunday's Medal Race.

With double points on offer the game is wide open and Van Acker knows it's going to be tough, "I think I will just sail my own race. It's one point so you can't really do a lot. It's also quite close behind us so it's not like we have a 20 point lead over the rest. It will be really tricky and on the inside course [just off the Corniche] it will be really hard but I'm happy with my day and hoping to continue that tomorrow."

Rindom also remains wary, playing down her chances, "I don't know how I'll go into tomorrow yet, I have to go home and figure out what the points are. I can imagine there are some girls behind going for the win so we will just have to see."

Laser

World #1 Tom Burton and Matt Wearn are flying the Australian flag high in the Laser fleet at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, UAE, occupying the top two spots in the ultra-competitive fleet.

Burton has been the standout performer of the week, recording three victories from six races. He leads on 11 points but his young compatriot, training partner, room-mate and rival Wearn piled on the pressure with an outstanding day on the water to pull within nine points.

Burton secured the opening race victory over Wearn by the narrowest of margins. Although Burton's lead seemed comfortable at the midway point of the race Wearn pushed hard to reduce the margin to two seconds at the final mark. Burton managed to hold on, narrowly, to take a slender victory.

Wearn ramped things up in the final race ahead of Sunday's deciding Medal Race and picked up an emphatic race win, finishing 60 seconds ahead of Jesper Stalheim (SWE). The result pulled the young Australian within reach of Burton and he was a happy sailor at the close of play, "I finally found some form," smiled Wearn. "I definitely needed it to get into that area to try and push for the top three. It's a bit of a shock to be up in second to be honest as the racing has just been so close in the Laser.

"With just 20 boats and one dropped score after six races anything can happen. But that's the way it is."

Burton and Wearn are sharing a room in Abu Dhabi and it will be a case of 'what goes on, on the race track, stays on the race track' on the final day. "I'm sure we'll have a good time tonight," joked Burton. "There will be a bit of banter and stuff like that but it's good to see an Australian one two."

"Matt and I train together a lot. I competed against [Tom] Slingsby in the regatta before he won the Olympic gold and I know how good a feeling it was for me to be just behind him. We train together so this will make for some good memories when we train this Australian summer."

Medal racing in a highlight competitive fleet is nothing new to Burton who has made the cut in all events he's competed at throughout 2014, picking up an abundance of medals along the way. For Wearn he has not faced off against all of the best Laser sailors in the world but goes in with no fear, "Tom's got a bit more experience than me in Medal Race situations but I think I'll go out there and just go for it. If I can win the race then anything can happen.

"It would be pretty big to finish on the podium. I had a bad regatta at the worlds so to get the confidence back up and get back into the groove of the Laser class would be really good."

An Australian one two is certainly on the cards but Tonci Stipanovic (CRO), Francesco Marrai (ITA) and Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) are all within touching distance. Nonetheless the ever confident Burton remains upbeat, "Depending on what the conditions are we will see what we can do. I'll see what the conditions are like tomorrow. I think that maybe there will be some more breeze and inside here [just off of the Corniche] it should be interesting."

Racing is scheduled to commence at 10:00 local time on Sunday 30 November.

Published in Olympic
Tagged under

#laserfrostbite – Overall Ronan Cull has a safe lead with five firsts at Howth Yacht Club's Laser frostbites series, followed by Dave Quinn and Darragh Kelleher while it's a family affair in the other fleets; Aoife Hopkins leads the radial fleet, with brother Daniel leading the 4.7's.

Yesterday's fourth day of the winter series started in 12 knots of wind from the west, brilliant sunshine with a sharp chill in the air and a strong ebb tide. Twenty-six Lasers competed on Sunday with the welcome return of the handsome Dan O'Connell and the brave but injury plagued Dave Mulligan.

A slight starboard bias at the start of race 1 favoured Darrell Reamsbottom, Dan O'Connell and Ian McSweeney, but it wasn't long before Ronan Cull and Dave Quinn emerged to be likely leaders at mark 1. The fleet split, but those on the middle left, playing the shifts, got out ahead, with Cull, Quinn, Mike Evans, Ian McSweeney, and Darrell Reamsbottom rounding first. While Cull and Quinn were safely away, there was a good fight for the next slots between McSweeney, Evans, Reamsbottom, Darragh Sherdan, and O'Connell. McSweeney was able to defend 3rd until O'Connell took advantage of a left hand shift at the top of the last full beat. McSweeney got back at him by beating toward the finish line, but a poorly timed tack allowed O'Connell to squeeze in at the pin taking 3rd. Darragh Sheridan finished 5th.

Date: 23/11/2014

Wind: SW, 12-14 knots

Races sailed: 7 & 8, Olympic triangle followed by Windward/Leeward,

Race length: 40 min each

Leader, standard: Ronan Cull

Leader, radial: Aoife Hopkins

Leader, 4.7: Daniel Hopkins

Race 1 - Standard fleet:

1. Ronan Cull

2. Dave Quinn

3. Dan O'Connell

4. Ian McSweeney

5. Darragh Sheridan

Approximately 1 second elapsed between the last finisher of race 7, and the warning signal of race 8 – PRO Liam Dineen opting for a windward/leeward course, making for challenging and competitve downwind legs. Dan O'Connell was on the money at the pin with a slight port bias, and at one point it looked like he was going to cross the fleet. He tacked and led the fleet toward the left, in a strengthening ebb. There was plenty of jostling for position off the line, and the majority of the fleet hit the left layline early. Dave Quinn, Darrell Reamsbottom, and Ian McSweeney led around mark 1, having played it more safely up the middle left. The second round saw Cull taking a convincing lead (from 4th around the leeward), not missing a shift, or any extra breeze on offer as the wind abated. Dave Quinn fell back to fourth and to a battle with Stephen Quinn, leaving McSweeney and Reamsbottom to fight for 2nd. McSweeney got ahead on the last full beat, Reamsottom having gone too far left, and a closely fought run ended with Reamsbottom establishing an inside overlap in the zone at the last leeward mark. McSweeney got a lucky jump ahead at the critical moment and was able to sneak around ahead and in 2nd place. Cull was well ahead at this stage and a worthy winner once more. 4th was also hotly contested by the two Quinns. They had split up the final beat and coming to the line Stephen - on starboard coming from the right – forced Dave to duck, and be postally pipped.

Race 2 - Standard fleet

1. Ronan Cull

2. Ian McSweeney

3. Darrell Reamsbottom

4. Stephen Quinn

5. Dave Quinn

Published in Laser
Page 34 of 49

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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