Displaying items by tag: RStGYC
#rsgyc – The word on the grapevine is that the Royal St George Yacht Club, currently the Mitsubishi Motors "Sailing Club of the Year", is planning a special festive event to celebrate its 175th birthday. The whisper is that it will be a gathering to honour those members who have won major events and titles right up to and including Olympic medals.
We've been allowed a glimpse of the list, and it's very impressive. Which is what you'd expect from a club which has shown an extraordinary ability to adapt successfully to changing circumstances, while displaying a special talent for recruiting promising sailors from all round the country when they come to Dublin, either to go to college or to work.
Yet even as they keep a weather eye open for potential members who will give as much to the club as it will give to them, the club's administrators never lose sight of their past. And what a past it has been. Like many great clubs, it started modestly enough around 1838 as the Pembroke Rowing Club in south Dublin. But the oarsmen of the Dodder soon reckoned that the cleaner waters of the new harbour out on Dublin Bay, where Dunleary had recently been re-named Kingstown, would provide more pleasant conditions than the fetid Liffey.
As for their sport, several key members were thinking of moving into slightly larger craft, driven by sail. Suddenly, the new club took off. Boat sizes and numbers increased exponentially, the membership became rather grand and extremely wealthy, and by the 1850s the little rowing club had morphed into the Royal St George Yacht Club, with handsome and frequently extended premises on the waterfront, and a membership list which seemed to include just about every great landowner in Ireland who had the slightest interest in the rapidly growing sport of yachting.
In looking back from the present day, we tend to think that the modern emphasis on active participation is just that – a modern thing. Indeed, it's said that it was a member of the George, when it was at the height of its affluence, who occasioned the apocryphal story which captures the sprit of certain yacht owners at a time when most wealth was concentrated in very few hands. Cue to stately home somewhere in Ireland:
The Butler waits upon his lordship, and clears his throat in a meaningful manner.
His Lordship: "Yes, James".
Butler: "My Lord, I have just been in conversation with our land agent".
Butler: "And he tells me that we are living in financially stringent times".
HL: "Is that so?"
Butler: "Such seems to be the case, my Lord. In fact, the agent tells me that we may have to implement some cutbacks in the usual expenditure".
HL: "Nothing too severe, I trust".
Butler: "Well, my lord, I'm afraid the agent thinks that we may have to sell the yacht"
HL: "Sell the yacht?"
Butler: "Regrettably so, my Lord".
HL " Good heavens. D'you know what, James? I didn't know we had a yacht. Well, I do declare. Isn't life just full of surprises? I'll need to think about this".
But while there were George members who shaded towards this approach to yachting, there were others who really did sail the seas. One of the original Pembroke men, William Potts, had moved up from rowing to serious seagoing with the substantial new cutter Caprice, and in 1850 he cruised to Iceland.
The cutter Caprice in which William Potts, a founder member of the Royal St George YC in 1838, cruised to Iceland in 1850.
As for the racing side of things, we have to remember that this was still in its infancy in terms of organisation even if Lough Erne YC had been formed in Fermanagh as long ago as 1820 specifically to run yacht races, and thus records of early sailing events are often incomplete and inconclusive. After all, the George had already been in existence for a dozen years when the schooner America won that famous race round the Isle of Wight in 1851, but the fact that it was a scratch event which took no account whatever of different yacht sizes in collating results shows indicates the relatively primitive site of the sport of yacht racing at the time.
But the rapid increase in wealth in the latter half of the 19th century meant that the development of yachting, and its regulation, accelerated markedly. In Ireland, it was in Belfast that economic growth became most rapid, and the new wealth accumulators from the north were keen to get involved. The Ulster Yacht Club did not get founded until 1866, and it became the Royal Ulster YC in 1869. But meanwhile one of the richest and most energetic of the new Belfast linen magnates, John Mulholland who later became Lord Dunleath in 1892, had been spreading his sailing wings as a member of the Royal St George.
By the 1860s, schooner racing was the apex of the sport, and in 1865 Mulholland commissioned the 153-ton schooner Egeria from the top designer-builder of the time, Wanhill of Poole. At just under 100ft LOA, the beautiful new vessel soon became known as "the wonderful Egeria", and for more than a decade she was the winner par excellence with more than sixty major trophies to her credit, while her owner was so fond of the boat that he kept her for many years after she had been out-classed as a racer.
In Egeria's competitive years, Mulholland was no absentee yacht owner. On the contrary, he seems to have been the Denis Doyle, the Piet Vroon, of his day, enthusiastically racing his lovely ship with a crew of 12 wherever there was good competition to be had. He embodied the best of the sporting instincts among the active yacht owners in the George, which had been a leading club in supporting the idea of "flying starts".
This marked a change from the early days of yacht racing, where the starting gun was fired with all competitors lying to their anchors. A flying start under full sail across an imaginary line was much more fun, and in Dun Laoghaire harbour it could be extremely sporty when the big yachts got crowded. As for the finishes, they were recorded by the naval officer/marine artist Richard Brydges Beechey, so we have a fair idea of what they could be like, but the image is augmented by an account of "the famous Egeria" making an in-harbour finish under full sail to win: "....what a fright the Egeria gave the multitude of yachts lying at their moorings when, on returning to Kingstown harbour she, on rounding the buoy, had so much way on that she absolutely ran through the crowd of yachts. The escape of many craft was little short of marvellous...."
A cutter finishing in the harbour at the Royal St George Regatta, 1871, as recorded by Richard Brydges Beechey. The larger schooner at anchor on left may be Egeria
By the time Beechey was recording the scene, cutters had taken over from schooners as the premier racing class, but here too the Royal St George was to set the pace with John Jameson and his legendary Irex. The Jameson family had been moderately prosperous whiskey distillers in Dublin since 1780, but in 1864 phylloxera wiped out the vines in the brandy districts of France. With brandy supplies dwindling, Irish whiskey and soda soon became such a fashionable drink internationally that the entire Jameson family entered the ranks of the mega-rich.
John Jameson's 1884-built cutter Irex was the most successful racing yacht of her era. She is seen here after winning the annual regatta of the Royal Harwich YC on England's east coast
John Jameson himself, while an extremely able businessman and talented sailor, was personally rather shy. However, his younger brother Willie was anything but, and the Jameson brothers with the 1884-built Irex were enthusiastic campaigners on all coasts with John the backroom boy, while Willie was front of house. And the fact that every time Irex won a regatta, the name John Jameson appeared in the newspapers was no harm at all for their whiskey sales. Then at Cowes Week after a spectacular race in heavy weather in which the Irex won by half a boatslength, as the brothers were anchoring afterwards, the rowing gig from the royal yacht arrived alongside and a written message was passed on board: "The Prince of Wales compliments and congratulations. His Royal Highness would be very pleased if Mr Jameson could join him for drinks before dinner".
John Jameson became hyper-shy, and said to Willie he couldn't be dealing with a situation like that at all. But Willie said not to worry, he was Mr Jameson too. So off he went to the party and got on so well he stayed to dinner. And when the Prince of Wales was planning the building of the superb Watson cutter Britannia a few years later, he asked Willie to be owner's representative during the building and commissioning, and subsequent racing.
The day Britannia came to call. The new royal cutter Britannia in Dun Laoghaire harbour in 1893 on her delivery voyage from the Clyde to the Solent, "and Mr Willie Jameson was seen on board". Note that a boomless gaff trisail is set instead of the full main.
Needless to say, nobody really believed it back in Dublin, so when the brand new Britannia was being sailed south to the Solent from the Clyde in 1893, Willie Jameson made damned sure she called to Dublin Bay, and the local papers duly reported that "Mr Willie Jameson was indeed seen on board". But while he was a great man for a party, Willie could be cussed enough. When the Britannia was being scuttled in 1936 in accordance with the recently-deceased George V's will, the Royal Family sent Willie Jameson her steering wheel as a memento of his time on board in a key role. But he promptly sent it back with a curt note saying that when he sailed the Britannia, she was tiller steered....
The Jameson standing in sailing was such that when Lord Dunraven decided it was time he took up sailing in the mid-1880s, it was as a member of the Royal St George and aboard Irex that he got his first taste of the sport, an experience which followed with his two increasingly acrimonious America's Cup challenges in the 1890s which, mercifully for the George, were made through the Royal Yacht Squadron to which the County Limerick peer had transferred his allegiances.
Back in Dublin Bay meanwhile, it was a very active and successful Royal St George sailing member, wine merchant George Black Thompson, who was one of the sailing men involved in codifying yacht racing through the Royal Alfred YC's pioneering work. But G B Thompson was primarily a George man, and just as it is with the club nowadays, he was keen to encourage promising newcomers. Thus in 1892 when his 5 Rater Shulah was becoming out-classed competitively but had the ability to become a fast cruiser, he was more than happy to sell her to two young brothers who had been teaching themselves to sail with a Water Wag dinghy up on Lough Dan in the Wicklow mountains, and now wanted to cruise.
G B Thompson, a leading member of the Royal St George YC for many years, introduced Erskine Childers to the possibilities of cruising in 1892. He succeeded Lord Dunleath as Vice Commodore in 1895.
Shulah's new owners were Erskine and Henry Childers. They soon took Shulah away from Dublin Bay with a cruise to the west of Scotland, where they laid the boat up and cruised the Hebrides again the following summer. After that, Erskine Childers began his career in London. He decided Shulah was too deep for his new cruising area in the Thames Estuary, and acquired the Vixen which, after a cruise to the Friesian islands and the Baltic, became the fictional Dulcibella, "heroine" of his best-seller novel Riddle of the Sands.
Published in 1903, the Riddle of the Sands hinted at the possibility of war between Germany and Britain, which duly came in 1914. But at the same time many of the Royal St George members were facing their own problems with the breaking up of Ireland's largest estates under the Land Acts. That and the Easter Rising of 1916 and the establishment of the Irish Fee State in 1922 meant that in the space of just three decades, the club had gone from affluence to a relatively sparse existence.
Yet somehow it adapted, and in time the club was back in the forefront of sailing in an Ireland which may have seemed changed. But was it really? As a member of the new Free State Government put it, "we are the most conservative revolutionaries ever seen". So, far from the relics of ould decency like the old royal yacht clubs being wiped out, in time they began to thrive again, and by the mid-1930s the George was extending its forecourt to accommodate sailing dinghies such as the Water Wags, while members also were involved in forming the new 17ft Mermaid class
Billy Mooney, who had sailed from Howth between 1919 and 1943, then moved to live in Sandycove and became very active in the Royal St George, of which he had already been a member for many years. A founder member of the Irish Cruising Club, he is seen here at the age of 74 when he was still to be seen sailing as a member of the George squad in Firefly Team racing, another area of sailing in which the club played a pioneering role.
As World War II ended in 1945 and international sailing resumed, the club was right in there, with a leading member, Billy Mooney, winning his class in the 1947 Fastnet with his 43ft ketch Aideen. The Mooney family – Billy and his son Jimmy - were a formidable force in sailing, and were also in the forefront of the establishment of the Irish Dinghy Racing Association. It was a fellow dinghy enthusiast, Douglas Heard, who was to become the first "commoner" to be Commodore of the Royal St George, succeeding the Earl of Iveagh, one of the Guinness family, in 1960.
Douglas Heard (left) and designer Uffa Fox discussing the new Huff of Arklow on the club veranda in 1950
Well ahead of her time. Douglas Heard's Flying Thirty Huff of Arklow, designed by Uffa Fox and built by Jack Tyrrell, incorporated design features which were not generally adopted in offshore racing boats for another thirty-five years. Photo: W M Nixon
There was of course nothing common about Douglas Heard, who somehow found time to record the Irish sailing and boating scene on film while at the same time being an active participant, as his interests encompassed just about every branch of sea sailing, while his passions included the preservation and restoration of Ireland's inland waterways. Offshore racing and distance cruising were among his activities, and in 1950 he had his friend the innovative designer Uffa Fox create the plans for a Flying Thirty racer/cruiser. In effect a double size Flying Fifteen, this very advanced boat was built by Jack Tyrrell in Arklow, and though she was so far ahead of her time as to inevitably have weaknesses on some point of sailing, off the wind she was unbeatable while her seagoing credentials were amply demonstrated by cruises to Iceland and the Azores.
Three stages of development in the Royal St George YC premises. The clubhouse (right) in the 1880s. when there was much more in the way of green spaces on the Dun Laoghaire waterfront.......
.....and in 1934 shortly before the forecourt was extended to provide improved dinghy space and better access to deep water....
......and the Royal St George Yacht Club today, providing full facilities for all branches of sailing. Photo: David O'Brien
In compiling the first provisional list of the George's significant sailing award winners which currently goes back only to 1946, the organisers of the upcoming 175th Anniversary celebrations have produced 12 pages of data, many of them very tightly packed with names. The word is that this list will soon be available to members so that anyone who thinks that he or she (or an ancestor) has been overlooked can have their claims to inclusion considered. Outsiders seeing it may note names which are better known for their associations with other clubs, but the fact that they are George members, or were at the time of their achievement, is inescapable.
As it stands, it's a formidable data-base. You get the flavour of it by the listing of Olympic sailors. Since 1948, when Alf Delany and Hugh Allen raced in the Olympics two-handed class, members of the Royal St George YC have been involved more often than not, the only post World War II Olympics in which they haven't sailed for Ireland being 1956, 1968, 1984, and 2000, with the supreme achievement being the Silver Medal won by David Wilkins in 1980.
The Irish Helmsman's Championship has also been a happy hunting ground, with Douglas Heard winning an early staging in 1947 while the most recent was Tom Fitzpatrick in 1998 in a lineup of 16 winners. But such achievements are only the peaks of a broad swathe of success which has encompassed an extraordinary range of members and boats going right back to 1838. So it is timely that the club should be celebrating its own achievers in this the year of its 175th birthday, as the Club of the Year trophy was mainly in recognition of the Royal St George Yacht Club's achievement in staging the hnyper-successful Youth Worlds in 2012, and providing support and encouragement for the University College Dublin team as they underwent their rigorous buildup towards runaway success in the Student Yachting Worlds just eleven short months ago.
It will be quite a gathering, this cheering of the champions. All things considered, we can surely agree that the seagoing section of the Pembroke Rowing Club has done rather well.
#cluboftheyear – The Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire was saluted last night with the Mitsubishi Motors Sailing Club of the Year award for its staging of last year's ISAF Youth Worlds, just one event in a packed 2012 season for the Dun Laoghaire waterfront club.
The presentation of the famous Ship's Wheel Trophy was made by Frank Keane, Chairman of Mitsubishi Motors Ireland to Royal St. George commodore, Liam O'Rourke in the Club.
Speaking at the Royal St. George, Frank Keane said, "Mitsubishi vehicles are often found in sailing surrounds, pulling boats of all shapes and sizes around the Country. So we have a great affinity with the sport and are delighted to be able to support it through our sponsorship of this award."
Last year's ISAF championship on Dublin Bay was described at the closing ceremony by ISAF's Fiona Kidd as truly the best ISAF Youth World Sailing Championship that she had ever attended".
Upon receiving the Ship's Wheel, Commodore O'Rourke said, "I am honoured to accept this distinguished award on behalf of the Club surrounded by members and friends of the Royal St. George."
To mark the achievement members and guests of the club gathered to celebrate the award which recognised an outstanding 12 months of success including the co-hosting of the ISAF Youths; an event that welcomed 350 sailors aged 14-19 years old from 63 nations, plus their coaches and team leaders to Dun Laoghaire for a week of world class competition and festivities.
The Royal St. George Yacht Club, which is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year, last won this award in 2010. This award was devised in 1979 to encourage and recognise the efforts of sailing clubs and associations nationwide.
#schoolsailing – 120 school children who participated in Dun Laoghaire's Sailing in the Community Programme were presented with their certificates of completion by Liam O'Rourke, Commodore Royal St George Yacht Club and Mr. Richard Shakespeare, Director Services, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, at an awards reception in the Royal St George Yacht Club yesterday afternoon.
The Sailing in the Community Programme is a five year initiative by the Royal St George Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to introduce primary school children to the sport. The aim being to teach children from the schools participating in the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown After schools Fun Through Sports (DRAFTS) programme how to sail.
The purpose is to create a culture of sport and active recreation through sailing and foster a continued interest in sport.
The course was run from the Royal St George Yacht Club who partnered with the Irish National Sailing School to provide the participants with quality coaching, facilities and equipment. During the pilot scheme participants attended five weeks of coaching.
The participating schools were Holy Cross, St Joseph's, Our Lady's, St Kevin's, Dominican National School and St Colmcilles.
The winners of the coveted scholarships for 2013 were: Killian Kane & Lauren Maguire (Holy Cross), Erin McDonald & Vlarie Stirane (St Joseph's), Emma Murphy & Lyndsey Gregg (Our Lady's), Dan Connors & Chantelle Lee (St Kevin's), Curtis Clack & Kate McMullan (Dominican NS) and Dillon Mulligan & Sarah McDonald (St Colmcilles).
Speaking at the presentation of the awards Mr. Richard Shakespeare "congratulated all the participants on their achievements and welcomed the support of the schools and teachers for the DRAFTS programme. The project he said has been a great success; he was very pleased to be partnering with the Royal St George in this important initiative for the county and thanked all those involved in the organisation"
The inspiration for the Dinghy Summit came from Owen Laverty's experience with the Tech world's Web Summit where busy attendees were given quick and informative information dense sessions on a number of different topics related to web businesses. Here Laverty reviews the first ever dinghy summit held at the Royal St. George YC
Applying the same principles to sailing didn't require too much of a stretch, just some great speakers. The summit recognises that many senior dinghy sailors are busy and receive little or no training thus keep making the same mistakes. Without the learning they potentially lose interest. It aims to deliver rich, relevant content in a short space of time.
Held in the George last Saturday morning, first up was Graham Elmes with an excellent talk on starting and the first beat. Graham has a very strong history representing Ireland in many classes at international level and coaches at this level also. Graham spoke about general readiness for a race, planning your start and the three categories of wind patterns which may be in effect on the course. He discussed how to recognise them and the best tactics for each. The crowd of 35 senior dinghy sailors were all heard to say that it all seemed very simple!
Next up was Noel butler. Noel started sailing sailing at 25 (and ended up winning a World Championship in the laser II dinghy and eight national titles) with the initial thought that no one trains so early progress with a good training plan will ensure a good level of success. Noel spoke about how a 1% difference could mean a 100 meter lead in the average race.
Discussions focussed how this 1% could be gained in many areas encompassing fitness, hydration, boat speed, gear etc. Something that not many people consider is aligning your aims for the year with those of your crew, partner, work and family! A very convincing 45 minutes with some great take home tips!
Finally James Espey provided the Laser sailors with some great tips on getting the most out of a Laser. James shared lots of go fast tips involving crew dynamics, wave techniques, fitness and finished off with a very telling exercise showing how to trim a Laser sail for all conditions. I don't think there were many in the audience who knew to start de-powering at 8 knots! The good news for those that missed it is that this is the first talk in the George Sailing Summit series and we expect to run more though the season - consider this the CPD of the Dunlaoghaire dinghy world!
#rsgyc – The Royal St George YC celebrates its annual all classes regatta night in Dun Laoghaire on Saturday. All types of yachts are entered from wooden Mermaids to Squibs to dinghies to racing SB20s and Flying 15s to cruisers from zero to class four.
This year, the Frank Keane BMW George Yacht Regatta 12, promises to be the best ever regatta and a fabulous fun filled family day out for young and old. From the piers, spectators can watch boats leaving Dun Laoghaire Harbour mouth from 10.30 onwards for racing starting at 11.30 until 3pm in Dublin Bay.
The club celebrates its 174th regatta proudly sponsorsed by Frank Keane BMW of Blackrock. Since the construction of this fine Victorian harbour in 1820, Dun Laoghaire with itswaterfront yacht clubs has been a focal point for yacht racing & sailing in Dublin. The first recorded Kingtown Regatta was in 1828.
All types of boats can enter from wooden mermaids to squibs to dinghies to racing SB3s and flying 15s to cruisers little and large. Ashore, at the Royal St George YC, family fun begins at 12 midday on the quarterdeck with a bucking Rodeo Bull, Face-painting and bouncy castle? Summer Jazz by Stedfast marks the sailors return ashore and the start of the Pig on the spit BBQ. Prize Giving will be at 6pm by Frank Keane BMW.
Family Day out 2.45pm to 3.15 pm by the Rodeo Bull & Face Painting, The Quarter Deck. PRiZE Giving The QuarterDeck: 6 to 7pm..
The first-ever RStGYC J80 Family Regatta took place on Sunday June 19. The wind and weather Gods smiled on us for a change as a big gathering of families congregated on the new Quarterdeck for Briefing and boat allocation. PHOTOS BELOW.
It was super to see such a great turnout (17 familes) and an extraordinary span of ages from about one year up to the elderberry Kirwan, Captain Paddy. Indeed, the Kirwan team had no less than four generations onboard!
Racing was in two flights in the 8 ISA Sailfleet J80s, with changeover by RIB co-ordinated by our Junior Organiser Adrian Eggers. Younger sailors ashore were kept busy by the inflatable bungee-run whilst the adults and youths nattered, drank coffee and chilled out. After racing, all enjoyed one of those increasingly popular Quarterdeck BBQs.
The first flight set off from the Marina's West Bight and turned left into Seapoint Bay. There was a nice Force 3-4 with flattish water, vital for those on-the-water changeovers! We tucked the course in a bit to leave plenty of room for the Flying Fifteen Nationals taking place further up towards Sandymount and to give the SB3s the rest of the Bay for their afternoon racing. The short course helped keep things interesting.
Each flight had three races and all six had really close racing. The standard was prety hot too, with the fleet hitting the start line pretty much bang-on and up to 6 boats rounding certain marks together. The ISA bosun was with us onboard the Flagship and while he definitely looked away a few times, he was very impressed with the boathandling on display. Indeed the skills shown by some of our young sailors, whether on the helm or crewing for their "old pairs" was really great to watch. Such naturals !!
A few prizes were dished out afterwards but the old cliché was never truer ; everybody who took part was a winner. Many thanks to the RIB crews and staff who helped make things run smoothly both on and off the water, especially Ronan Adams, our Sailing Manager. Let's not forget the 8 generous sponsors of the J80s too ; The Examiner, Smyths Toys, KPMG, McCann Fitzgerald, Smart Telecom, DynoRod, Dun Laoghaire Marina and O'Leary Insurances. The Royal St George YC is proud to be a Sailfleet founder member club. It's also only fair to mention that these boats are kept in fantastic condition, despite four years of heavy use up and down the country. Shame there aren't any big grants left !
The 17 RStGYC families sailing the J80s were (in no particular order) ; MacManus, Lyttle, O'Beirne, O'Connor (John), Hyland, O'Keefe-Pettitt, O'Connor (Gerry), Gilmer, Deladienee, Fogarty, O'Connell, Kirwan, Foley, Cahill, Walsh, Cooke, O'Connor (Richard).
"The way this works is that the Clyde Cruising Club are offering a 25% rebate for boats from the 4 Dun Laoghaire Clubs (DMYC, NYC, RIYC, RStGYC) that enter the Brewin Dolphin Scottish series before the expiration of the early bird discount period which expires on April 22nd explained Dun Laoghaire event secretary, Ciara Dowling.
As a reciprocal arrangement the committee of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta are offering a discount of 50% from the full entry fee to all boats that enter both regattas. To avail of this, boats must register for the early bird entry fee in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta prior to 2 May 2011. Note the 50% discount will be applied to the full entry fee rate and not the early bird rate.
To avail of this arrangement for the Scottish Series contact the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series office for details, [email protected] 0044141 221 2774.
The Scottish Series takes place from 27–30 May and the Dun Laoghaire regatta from July 7th–10th 2011.
In a further boost for Dun Laoghaire sailors heading north the feeder race from Bangor to Tarbert has been re-instated.
Troon and Largs Marinas are offering competitors berthing rate discounts around Scottish Series.
Competitors from Scotland coming to Dun Laoghaire are reminded that the entry fee to the regatta includes free berthing for the duration of the event.
The official Notice of Race and Online Entry are now available at www.dlregatta.org