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Bundoran RNLI’s volunteers were called on Saturday morning (25 May) to assist in a water rescue off Mullaghmore in Co Sligo.

It was reported that a casualty had fallen from a boat and was struggling in the water. The alarm was raised by a passerby who heard calls for help and dialled 999.

The Bundoran RNLI lifeboat — helmed by Brian Gillespie with crew members Richard Gillespie, Oisin Cassidy and Fergal Mullen — launched within four minutes and headed to the scene some six miles away.

Fortunately, passers-by managed to help the casualty out of the water and onto land before the arrival of the emergency services.

The Bundoran RNLI shore crew arrived shortly thereafter, followed by the lifeboat team, who administered first aid to the casualty.

The Irish Coast Guard’s Sligo-based helicopter Rescue 118 was also dispatched to the scene but was stood down once the National Ambulance Service transported the casualty to hospital for further treatment.

Lifeboat helm Brian Gillespie said: “We wish the casualty a speedy recovery and thank our colleagues at Rescue 118 and the National Ambulance Service for their prompt assistance.”

Speaking following the call-out, Daimon Fergus, Bundoran RNLI lifeboat operations manager added: “If you get into difficulty in the water, it’s important to remember not to panic and to utilise the RNLI Float to Live campaign: tilt your head back and submerge your ears, relax and try to control your breathing, move your hands to help you stay afloat. It’s okay if your legs sink, everyone floats differently.”

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Carrybridge RNLI’s volunteers were called by Belfast Coastguard on Saturday afternoon (18 May) to assess a 6m vessel with one person on board which had run aground some two miles upstream from the lifeboat station on Upper Lough Erne in Northern Ireland.

Winds were southerly Force 3 with excellent visibility as the inshore lifeboat Douglas Euan & Kay Richards proceeded to the vessel’s last known location, and on arrival found it holding on its anchor.

The lifeboat crew assessed the wellbeing of the casualty on board and found them to be safe and well.

Upon assessing the casualty vessel, the volunteer crew found that it had lost all means of propulsion.

The helm deemed the safest option would be for the lifeboat and its crew to set up a tow, with the owner’s permission, and bring it back to the safest public jetty at Carrybridge, to avoid other craft going into the shallows to assist.

One crew member from the lifeboat was placed on board the casualty vessel to assist and the casualty vessel was swiftly towed to safety.

Speaking following the call-out, Stephen Scott, lifeboat operations manager at Carrybridge RNLI had advice for all boat users.

“Before setting out on your journey, please plan your route and carry out regular checks of their vessels position throughout your journey,” he said. “Have a means of calling for assistance if you find yourself in trouble, have lifejackets for all on board and plan their journey using the relevant charts.

“If you see someone in trouble on the water or are in difficulties yourself the number to dial is: 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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As the RNLI commemorates the charity’s 200 years of lifesaving this year, Lough Derg RNLI celebrates 20 years of service on the lake.

Last Sunday afternoon (12 May), volunteers past and present at the Lough Derg lifeboat station gathered with their families and RNLI staff members at Lough Derg Yacht Club to celebrate the milestone.

Christine O’Malley, lifeboat operations manager at Lough Derg RNLI and MC for the event welcomed everyone, especially those who’d travelled long distances to join the celebration.

Christine, a retired consultant geriatrician, talked about taking on the role of LOM five years earlier, and the “steep learning curve” as she absorbed the responsibilities involved, met the challenges and celebrated the rewards.

She then introduced Niamh McCutcheon, chair of the Lough Derg fundraising committee and an RNLI vice-president.

Niamh — who had been fundraising locally for the RNLI for decades before the lifeboat was stationed on Lough Derg — praised the tireless work of the fundraising committee who, in tandem with the volunteer crews, have raised awareness of and donations to the RNLI, thus facilitating the charity’s goals to save every one.

She also spoke of her pride in the seeing volunteers from Lough Derg RNLI at the Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey in March.

Christine invited Niamh Stephenson, RNLI communications lead for Ireland, to speak next. Over the years Niamh and her colleague Nuala McAloon, RNLI regional communications manager for Ireland, have made themselves available to offer sage advice and guidance to the station’s lifeboat press officer on all media related matters.

Lough Derg RNLI’s inshore lifeboat Jean Spicer launched from the lifeboat station | Credit: RNLI/Eleanor HookerLough Derg RNLI’s inshore lifeboat Jean Spicer launched from the lifeboat station | Credit: RNLI/Eleanor Hooker

Niamh recalled her first stopover at Lough Derg RNLI — almost 20 year ago — and the warm welcome she received, including the daunting mountain of food volunteers had cooked for her visit.

Niamh spoke about the essential role of media and the bridge it forged between the activities of the lifeboat station and the public. She spoke of how media communications inspired support for the charity and attracted new volunteers to the crew and fundraising, as well as amplifying water safety messages for a new generation.

To thank past volunteers for their continued support, Christine invited area lifesaving manager Lisa Hollingum to speak and to present former crew with RNLI200 badges. Lisa commended the volunteers at Lough Derg RNLI for their dedication and commitment to maintaining the RNLIs high standard in all they do, and she looked forward to visiting the station again soon.

Liam Maloney, launching authority and former LOM at Lough Derg RNLI; Dr Peter Hooker, lifeboat medical advisor; and Eleanor Hooker, volunteer helm and lifeboat press officer had asked that Helena Duggan, RNLI assessor/trainer at Lough Derg RNLI from 2003 until 2022, present them with their 20-year Long Service Medals.

Helena recalled her early visits to the new lifeboat station at Lough Derg with her colleagues, the late Michael Carmody and Derek Potter, and the enthusiasm from volunteers as the station became established.

In a philosophical consideration of time, Helena stressed that the RNLI hugely appreciates the hours volunteers put into training, exercises and shouts, and that “every second you give to the RNLI is precious time, your time, and is never taken for granted”.

She made special mention too of the sacrifices and allowances families make so that volunteers may volunteer. Helena described the vast network of people, volunteers and staff, who work as a team to make the RNLI the organisation it is today.

The crew were honoured that current assessor/trainer Seán Ginnelly would travel all the way from Achill to join the celebrations.

Cutting the cake at last Sunday’s celebration at Lough Derg Yacht Club | Credit: RNLICutting the cake at last Sunday’s celebration at Lough Derg Yacht Club | Credit: RNLI

After receiving his medal from Helena, Liam Maloney gave a moving history of the origins of the RNLI lifeboat station on the lake. He acknowledged the successful proposal made to the RNLI by Teddy Knight and Charles Stanley Smith.

Carrig Primary School, where Liam was headmaster, provided a venue for new volunteers to have shore training in the year before the lifeboat went live for service on 24 April 2004. He smiled as he told us he taught many of past and current volunteers in the room. Liam recollected previous callouts, his anxiety for crew out in testing conditions and one in particular on a St Stephen’s Day morning that thankfully had a positive outcome.

Eleanor Hooker thanked Aoife Kennedy, lifeboat station administrator and launching authority and her sister Doireann Kennedy, volunteer crew, for organising the entire event, including having volunteers bake and cook for the reception to follow the speeches.

Eleanor recollected earlier times with former volunteers and the collegiate spirit among all at the station. She spoke of the mutual trust and teamwork — essential ingredients at a lifeboat station.

Eleanor welcomed James Corballis, an RNLI volunteer who has moved to the area from Galway RNLI, to the station. She congratulated Laura Clarke, chair of the Lap the Lake fundraising Committee on the incredible success of the RNLI charity cycle the previous day.

On receiving his Long Service Medal, consultant anaesthesist Dr Peter Hooker joked that “normally people fell asleep after a few minutes of my talking to them”, and so promised he would keep his words brief. He said it was an honour to be a part of the Lough Derg RNLI team and wanted, especially to thank Helena for her years of teaching and care and friendship at the station.

Christine thanked all present and invited the assembly to move upstairs to enjoy an afternoon tea.

“It was lovely to see so many people who have supported the lifeboat station over the years, whether on the water, off the water, through fundraising or the RNLI support team,” she said. “These are the people who helped make the Lifeboat Station into the excellent service we have today.

“It was great to acknowledge the remarkable 20 years of commitment to the station from Liam Maloney, Eleanor Hooker and Peter Hooker with Long Service Awards from the RNLI. A huge thank you to all our volunteers, past and present, and to their families, who have all given so much to create and sustain this lifesaving service on Lough Derg.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Galway RNLI’s volunteer crew were requested to launch by the Irish Coast Guard shortly before 4pm on Friday afternoon (10 May) following a call by a member of the public reporting four people on Hare Island cut off by the tide.

The lifeboat crew who responded to the call were David Badger, Olivia Byrne, Dave McGrath and James Corballis, the latter on his last call-out with Galway RNLI before leaving saltwater behind for the fresh lake water of Lough Derg.

Launching their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat within 10 minutes, the crew made their way from the lifeboat station to Hare Island where they carried out a full search of the island, without finding the four people reported stranded.

The crew then received confirmation from the coastguard that the four people had made it back to the mainland safely, which involved swimming the last stretch to the shore.

James Corballis, who was on his last shout with Galway RNLI on Friday 10 May before moving to Lough Derg RNLI | Credit: RNLI/Aoife MorrissyJames Corballis, who was on his last shout with Galway RNLI on Friday 10 May before moving to Lough Derg RNLI | Credit: RNLI/Aoife Morrissy

Lifeboat helm David Badger said: “In the event that you find yourself cut off by an incoming tide on Hare Island or any other coastal walk, our advice is to stay put and stay high and dry and not to attempt to make it to shore. Call 112 or 999 and ask for the coastguard.

“Conditions today were good with flat calm water and good visibility, but things can change very quickly by the water. If you are heading out on the water or planning a walk by the sea, always take a means to call for help and check the tides before you set off. Tide times and heights vary throughout the month and can easily catch you out if you haven’t checked them.

“There was a good outcome today and that is the main thing. And it was a fine afternoon for the last shout for our crew mate James who is leaving Galway RNLI and moving inland to join the Lough Derg RNLI crew. Hopefully his lasting memory of Galway will be in the warm sunshine to make up for the years of cold, rainy days and nights at sea.”

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A three-month-old baby was among a family of six rescued by Clifden RNLI in western Connemara on Thursday evening (9 May).

The volunteer crew were tasked by the Irish Coast Guard at 6.15pm to assist a group who were cut off by the tide on Omey Island.

Clifden’s Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat was launched by volunteer helm Kenny Flaherty with Daniel Whelan, David O’Reilly and Shane Conneely as crew.

Weather conditions were good with calm seas, and the lifeboat crew had no difficulty locating the walkers on the island.

The family — which included grandparents, a baby, two young children and their dog — were found to be well and did not require medical assistance.

They were returned to the shore at Claddaghduff where Cleggan Coast Guard and additional lifeboat crew provided further assistance and ensured the family got back to their accommodation safely.

Speaking after the shout, Clifden RNLI helm Kenny Flaherty said: “We would remind locals and visitors to always check tide times and heights before venturing out to Omey and to always make sure you have enough time to return safely.

“If you do get cut off by the tide, it is important to stay where you are and not attempt a return to shore on your own as that may be when the danger presents and you get into difficulty.

“Always carry a means of communication and should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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Enniskillen RNLI came to aid of two people on Tuesday (7 May) after their boat ran aground near Belleek, Co Fermanagh in Northern Ireland.

The volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat, the John and Jean Lewis, at 2.30pm following a request from Belfast Coastguard to go to the aid of those onboard a 21ft vessel.

Winds were southerly, Force 2 at the time and visibility was good.

Helmed by Paul Keown and with three crew onboard, the lifeboat made way to the vicinity of Rough Island before locating the vessel.

The lifeboat crew assessed the situation before assisting those onboard the casualty boat to get their vessel afloat again, ensuring all onboard were safe before returning to station.

Speaking following the call-out, Keown said: “We were glad to be of assistance. We would always advise all boat users to plan their route and carry out regular checks of their vessels prior to going afloat.

“Always remember, if you get into difficulties on the water, the number to call is 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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RNLI trustee and Red Bay lifeboat coxswain Paddy McLaughlin has been presented with the Lifesaving Foundation’s Ireland Medal in recognition of his outstanding work in saving lives from drowning.

The medal was presented by Commodore Micheal Malone, Flag Officer Commanding the Naval Service, during a ceremony held at South-East Technological University in Waterford city, which was attended by major figures in the field of drowning prevention study.

The Ireland Medal is awarded each year to an individual or organisation that has made a significant contribution to saving lives from drowning.

This specially commissioned medal was introduced in 2003 and past awardees include the Naval Service, Professor Michael Tipton and Dr Paddy Morgan. The award was made to an RNLI representative during the charity’s bicentenary year.

Paddy McLaughlin has been a volunteer with the charity since 1981, when he joined his local lifeboat station in Cushendal, Co Antrim in Northern Ireland.

A coxswain on the station’s Trent class lifeboat, he has also served as both a helm and crew on the station’s inshore lifeboats, which have included the D-class, C-class, Atlantic 21, Atlantic 75 and the present-day Atlantic 85.

Paddy became a member of the RNLI’s Ireland Council in 2012 and the RNLI’s Council in 2014. He is currently the deputy chair of the Irish Council and has been a member of the RNLI’s People Committee since 2019. In 2020, Paddy joined the charity’s Board of Trustees.

Commodore Micheal Malone of the Naval Service (front row, second from left) and Paddy McLaughlin (first from right) with other guests and dignitaries at the Lifesaving Foundation’s awards ceremony at SETU recently | Credit: George Goulding/SETUCommodore Micheal Malone of the Naval Service (front row, second from left) and Paddy McLaughlin (first from right) with other guests and dignitaries at the Lifesaving Foundation’s awards ceremony at SETU recently | Credit: George Goulding/SETU

As an active member of his local community, Paddy is an advocate for partnerships and local enterprise. He was the architect of the RNLI’s hugely successful partnership with the GAA, one of Ireland’s largest sports organisations, which for the last seven years has seen both organisations working alongside each other across Ireland and the UK, with the shared goal of saving lives from drowning.

On receiving his award, Paddy paid tribute to the many people who have volunteered for the charity over the last 200 years and made a plea for organisations to continue to work together to end drowning.

“This award is a huge honour for me and I am humbled to receive it on behalf of the thousands of RNLI volunteers who have given their time, their commitment and their passion, to saving lives and preventing drowning over the last two centuries,” Paddy said.

“Whether through my lifeboat role at my station in Co Antrim on the North Coast of Ireland, as a trustee for the charity or being involved in incredible partnerships, I am grateful to have had so many opportunities to work alongside the best people and to see the difference the charity has made and continues to make in so many people’s lives.

“I hope the RNLI will continue to work through partnerships and engagement with the many groups and organisations who seek to end drowning at home and globally.”

Also attending the ceremony was RNLI’s head of water safety Gareth Morrison, who added: “I have worked with Paddy on many projects for the RNLI, including the GAA partnership, and it is fitting that he has been recognised for his many years of service and outstanding work.

“This prestigious award, which has been given to so many leaders and organisations in the field of drowning prevention, is an acknowledgement of the power of our people to bring about significant change and help others. To receive this award in the charity’s 200th year is a great honour and Paddy is a worthy recipient.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Applications are now open to become one of the RNLI’s face-to-face fundraisers along the Causeway Coast in Antrim, and in counties Down and Dublin.

This vital role helps the lifesaving charity reach thousands of people every year, sharing safety messages and encouraging new supporters to sign up and donate.

A role within the RNLI’s face-to-face fundraising team offers flexible working in some great locations. Fundraisers receive full, high-quality training and competitive rates of pay while also developing valuable professional and personal skills.

One person who knows very well the impact that funds raised can have is Gill McIlmoyle from Portstewart. A former bank manager, she joined the RNLI’s face-to-face fundraising team in 2021.

“There are a variety of reasons why people choose to work for the charity but for me,” Gill says, “I was at a stage in my life where I wanted to do something that really mattered to me, something that was worthwhile and having grown up alongside the coast, I was always aware of the lifesaving work of the RNLI.

“I enjoy meeting and interacting with different people everyday. You get the opportunity to work in lots of different areas, very often the most beautiful parts of the country and you get to enjoy the outdoors.”

For Gill, a real highlight of the job is when she has the privilege to hear and listen to the personal stories of those who have been touched by the RNLI.

“I have met so many people whose lives have been impacted in different ways by the work of the RNLI,” she says. “The stories I have heard from people I have met along the way are personal — from those who have been rescued or who know someone who has been rescued to those who may have lost a loved one but who are grateful to the RNLI for bringing their loved one home.

“It gives me a great sense of pride and satisfaction to be part of a team which is responsible for successfully raising funds that make a difference in this way. The fact that you know your contribution helps to keep volunteer crews safe and equipped with essential lifesaving kit and training and that it helps to keep lifeboats fuelled and maintained, is rewarding. This is turn helps our crew to continue their work in saving lives at sea.”

The funds raised by Gill and her colleagues are vital in supporting the RNLI’s lifesaving service. The charity, which recently celebrated its 200th anniversary, operates 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland and operates a lifeguard service along the Causeway Coast and in Co Down in Northern Ireland.

Neal Somerville, face-to-face fundraising manager at the RNLI, said: “Our face-to-face fundraiser roles are the perfect fit for anyone who is friendly, energetic and able to talk to anyone. It really is a vital role in supporting the RNLI’s lifesaving work, sharing safety advice with thousands of beach visitors every summer, as well as inspiring them to support our lifesavers with a donation.

“This year is a particularly exciting time to be considering becoming part of the RNLI family, as the charity marks two hundred years of saving lives at sea. I’d encourage anyone, no matter what career you are considering, to take up the challenge and apply for a face-to-face fundraising role.”

To apply or find out more, visit rnli.org/FundraiserJobs.

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Youghal RNLI’s lifeboat volunteers in East Cork launched twice over the May Bank Holiday weekend, to join the rescue efforts for a boat aground on rocks and a kayaker in difficulty.

Late on Saturday afternoon (4 May) the crew were requested to launch their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat to take part in a multi-agency response following reports of two people aboard a 5m pleasure craft with engine failure that ended up on rocks near Goat Island beach in the Youghal Bay area.

Helmed by Jason Ansbro alongside crew members Jason Innes, Joe O’Connor and Ivan Bryan, the lifeboat arrived on scene shortly before 6pm in favourable weather conditions and a falling tide.

Two lifeboat crew members entered the water and swam ashore to the boat, which was high and dry on the rocks. They observed that the two men onboard, who were both wearing lifejackets, were safe and well and did not require any medial assistance.

It was decided that, due to the position of the boat, the casualties should be airlifted to safety by the Waterford-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 and handed over to Ardmore Coast Guard, who were waiting close by.

Before leaving the scene, the lifeboat crew secured the casualty boat, which had to be left at the scene.

Youghal RNLI’s inshore lifeboat approaches the casualty kayaker on the rocks, with another kayaker nearby in the shadow of Sampson Crane in Ardmore Bay on Monday 6 May | Credit: RNLI/Mel MullaneYoughal RNLI’s inshore lifeboat approaches the casualty kayaker on the rocks, with another kayaker nearby in the shadow of Sampson Crane in Ardmore Bay on Monday 6 May | Credit: RNLI/Mel Mullane

As the long weekend drew to a close on Monday (6 May), the lifeboat was called out at 3.55pm to reports of kayakers in difficulty at Sampson Crane in Ardmore Bay.

The inshore lifeboat, again helmed by Jason Ansbro with crew members Jack Nolan, Jason Innes and John McCarthy, arrived within 10 minutes of launching and one crew member was put into the water to swim to the rocks to assess the casualty, who was standing waiting for assistance.

He did not require any medical attention and was escorted to the lifeboat along with his kayak that had filled with water and capsized.

Weather conditions at the time were fair with a calm sea state and light breeze. Rescue 117 was also in attendance and proceeded to do a sweep of the area to confirm there were no other casualties.

The crew that remained in the lifeboat approached another kayaker who was close by but did not require any assistance. They proceeded to follow the lifeboat to Ardmore Pier where they were handed over to Ardmore Coast Guard awaiting their arrival.

Speaking after the Monday call-out, Youghal RNLI helm Jason Ansbro said: “This was a straightforward shout with a great outcome. With the weather becoming finer it is so important to always have a means of communication within reach at all times.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Lough Derg RNLI launched on Sunday afternoon (5 May) to assist a family of four on board a 28ft cruiser reported to be on fire.

Following the request by Valentia Coast Guard just before noon, the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier was under way by 12.16pm with helm Eleanor Hooke and crew Doireann Kennedy, Joe O’Donoghue and Tom Hayes on board. The wind was westerly Force 2 and visibility was very good.

As the lifeboat was launching, the coastguard informed the volunteers that the family — two adults and two infants — had been taken off the casualty vessel and that Killaloe Coast Guard had also launched to assist.

At 12.26am the lifeboat crew could see the casualty vessel just south of Lough Derg Navigation Mark E. The family had transferred onto a 18ft fishing boat which was standing off close by.

A few minutes later the lifeboat came alongside the fishing vessel and found the casualties to be safe, unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.

The skipper of the casualty vessel informed the lifeboat crew that when he noticed smoke and an acrid smell coming from the engine housing, he immediately shut down the engine and with that, the smoke ceased. They were unable to deploy their anchor as it required the engine to be running to operate.

Once satisfied that sufficient time had elapsed and the engine had cooled, the RNLI helm permitted the skipper and an RNLI volunteer to board the casualty vessel.

The skipper found that a piece of cloth was in contact with the engine’s exhaust system, and identified it as the source of the smoke and smell. The cloth was removed and the casualty vessel’s engine started immediately when tried.

The lifeboat informed the coastguard of their findings and of the decision to take one adult and the children onto the lifeboat from the fishing vessel, and to accompany the casualty vessel to Dromineer Harbour with the skipper and an RNLI volunteer on board.

However, at 12.45pm the engine on the casualty vessel failed. As Killaloe Coast Guard were now on scene, the RNLI helm requested that the mother and two infants be transferred to the coastguard lifeboat and be taken ahead to Dromineer.

Given the remote location and the inability to secure the cruiser, the helm made the decision to take the casualty vessel under tow to the closest safe harbour in Dromineer, where it was safely tied alongside at 1.44pm.

Christine O’Malley, lifeboat operations Manager at Lough Derg RNLI, advises boat users: “As we are now heading into the summer season, remember to have your vessel fully serviced before embarking on your journey. If you find yourself in difficulty, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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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