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Dun Laoghaire Regatta News

Dublin sailor Damien Corcoran, a crew member on a competing boat captured the moment of impact when two White Sail Division 1 yachts, a First 36.7 and an Elan 37, crashed shortly after the start of a race at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta.

See the photos below.

Collison VDLR 2T-bone Photo: Damien Corcoran

Collision VDLR

Published in Volvo Regatta

The Howth Seventeens have survived and prospered for 121 years by doing things their own way, so for the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2019, eight of them packed a lot of sailing miles into a compact programme by racing across the bay from their home port on the Friday afternoon, joining in the Dun Laoghaire parties through Friday night, then they’d three great races in the bay in the sunshine of Super Saturday with partying to follow, and today they rounded it all out by racing back home around the Baily and into Howth Harbour.

Howth17 Sheila2The Howth 17 Sheila is one of the newer boats, with hull built by Charlie Featherstone in Wicklow and completion by Dougal MacMahon in Offaly. Owned by David Mulligan & Andy Johnston, she finished fifth in class in VDLR 2019. Photo O’Brien

Conor & Brian Turvey with the 1988-built Isobel put down a marker with a win in the passage race across the bay to Dun Laoghaire, with second going to third-generation Howth 17 sailor Peter Courtney with Oona, while Ian & Judith Malcolm with Aura (one of the original 1898 boats) were third.

It was Aura which roared into form on Saturday, logging two firsts and a third, and though John Curley & Marcus Lynch won today’s passage race home to Howth in another of the originals, Rita No 1, Aura was second and thus took the overall title with 7 points, with Isobel getting second overall with 8 points while Oonagh took third on a total of 11.

Howth17 start3Howth17 start with (left to right) Rita, Isobel, Gladys, Erica and overall winner Aura. Photo: O’Brien

Published in Volvo Regatta

While the ancient Howth 17s may have started racing in 1898 a year earlier than the Seabird Half Raters on the other side of the Irish Sea, the Warden-Owen family of Treardur Bay reckon their Seabird class Scoter is all of 121 years old.

She was certainly far and away the oldest of the eight Seabirds which were brought across from Treardur Bay in Anglesey for Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2019. But age has not withered her. On the contrary, Scoter flew at speed like the duck she’s named after, and having achieved nine races, she was able to claim a clean sweep of wins after discarding a third from the first race.

seabird action2Jonty Straw’s Gannet (No 68) with overall winner Scoter crossing ahead of her. Photo:’Brien

That third may have been the result of everything involved in her being in Dun Laoghaire at all, for co-owner Eddie Warden-Owen is CEO of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, and his week might have been a bit fraught through the fact that the ultra-calm conditions in the Atlantic had delayed finishers in the Transatlantic Race co-sponsored by the RORC and the New York Yacht Club.

But by Thursday the heavy metal had got to Cowes and an overall winner had been declared, and it was time for Eddie to have a bit of downtime racing Scoter with his brother David in Dublin Bay. And what better downtime is there than racing with your brother in the family’s long-loved boat against a group of friends you’ve known since Noah was a lad?

The best down time of all is doing a bit of quiet winning while you’re at it. Scoter (No 6) had herself a ball to win overall, second OA was Chris Neil with Harlequin (106) and third Tringa (76) Richard Nash.

Eddie Warden Owen3A man refreshed. Eddie Warden-Owen (centre) after a successful Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta 2019 in the 121-year-old Scoter. Photo: O’Brien

Published in Volvo Regatta

We knew that Colm Bermingham's Elan 33 Bite the Bullet from Howth was already winner of Non-spin 1 going into today’s Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta race, but he won it anyway and with a discarded 2nd he thus finishes on the absolute minimum of six points. Terry Fair’s Sigma 33 Cariad from Ballyholme stayed in touch with a third today to maintain her second overall, while Eamonn Doyle and Peter O’Toole (RStGYC) with the Dehler 36 Shearwater notched second today, but stay in third overall.

IRC Non-spin 2: Cevantes wins on style and performance

Paul Conway’s handsomely modified Contessa 32 Cevantes (RStGYC) maintained her winning ways in IRC Non-spin 2, and with a discard of a second in an otherwise clean sweep, she’s another boat on the minimum of six points. The fixed-keel Super Sea 26 Gung-Ho (Grainne & Sean O’Shea, RIYC) holds second, while third continues to be the UFO 31 Menapia (James & Due McSweeney, RStGYC)

Published in Volvo Regatta

It was the Quarter Tonners and associated sparring partners in IRC 3 which really got their moneys worth with ten races completed at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, but with 18 boats and white-hot competition, understandably there were times when the race results information emanating from this eclectic bunch was subsequently modified.

What is absolutely clear, however, is that Rory Fekkes from Carrickfergus with his souped-up turbo-charged Beneteau First 8 F’n Gr8 has won it outright going away – he discards a 5th and a 7th, and finishes up on 9 points from a second and seven (repeat 7) firsts to give him a total of 9.

Second overall on 23 points after an increasingly consistent performance are Brendan and Sarah Foley from RStGYC with the optimised Impala 28 Running Wild, while Ken Lawless (RIYC) is third on 31 points with the Quarter Tonner Cartoon.

IRC 4 She Too Ousts Asterix

Jonathan Fawcett’s vintage S&S-designed She 31B She Too from Abersoch was on form with a first and second today in another class which managed ten races over the series, and a re-arrangement of discards and some placing corrections saw the Welsh boat slip back into the overall lead ahead of the Sonata Asterix (Frazer Meredith & partners) while the Trapper 300 Eleint (Michal Matulka) remains in third OA.

Published in Volvo Regatta

The Half Tonners are so blatantly in a league of their own in IRC 2 that a Division B has been formed within the class, and here the X302 Dux (Caroline Gore-Grimes HYC) finished Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta with a string of firsts which enabled her to discard a 7th to be clear overall winner, sister-ship Maximus (Paddy Kyne) taking second while Fergal Noonan with the Corby 25 Impetuous was third.

Published in Howth YC

The Half Tonners in IRC 2 rival the J/109s in IRC1 in their cut-throat competition at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, and for the final contest it was Jonny Swan (HYC) with Harmony who found his mojo to sail a dream race to take the win, but overall it was Nigel Biggs (RIYC & HYC) who stayed out of sight ahead, 10 points to the 20 of second-placed Dave Cullen (HYC) with Checkmate XV, while Harmony’s final blast of glory saw her move into third overall ahead of Cork’s Ronan & John Downing in Miss Whiplash.

Published in Royal Irish Yacht Club

It was with the numerous J/109s in IRC 1 that blood was on the bay today at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, with the narrow overnight lead of Outrajeous (Richard Colwell & John Murphy) snatched away by a final win by John Maybury’s Joker 2, where the input from Killian Collins of Crosshaven was clearly no hindrance.

Outrajeous had a day to forget as quickly as possible, as she slipped to 10th and thus had to carry a previously discarded 9th from the first race on Thursday. Thus she found herself back in 4th overall - just one sneeze in this red-hot class knocks your placing awry. The Goodbody family in White Mischief took second overall with 15 points while Joker 2 had 12, making it Top Two for the RIYC, and Pat Kelly’s Storm slipped past Outrajeous to grab third OA on 16.

Storm also held onto the lead in the RC35 division, well clear of the Hall family in Something Else (NYC) at second, while Debbie & Kevin Aitken in the First 36.7 Animal from Scotland took third.

In a summer of achievements for John Maybury, his Class One defence follows four consecutive class wins of IRC National Championship victories, the 2019 win coming on Dublin Bay last month. Today's victory was Maybury's fifth VDLR class win in a row winning first in 2011.

Published in Royal Irish Yacht Club

Seamus Fitzpatrick’s elegant First 50 Mermaid IV (RIYC) was back on form today to win the IRC Coastal Division of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta today and thus was able to discard yesterday’s unwelcome 11th to put her into the overall lead and first in Division A with three bullets. Peter Dunlop from Pwllheli with the J/109 Mojito has discarded today’s sixth to place him second overall in the complete class, and he remains as leader in Division B.

In Division A, George Sisk’s Xp 44 WOW is second and Glynn Sheffield’s Farr 40 Espresso Martine Too from West Lancs YC is third while in Div B Mojito leads from sister-ship Jet Stream (Nigel Ingrams, Holyhead SC) with the J/97 Windjammer (Lindsay Casey & Denis Power, RStGYC) in third.

There were coastal fleet grumblings following today's coastal course when 17 in the fleet, mostly lower-rated boats, timed out and didn't get a finish due to the prevailing light airs.

It means today's coastal race counts for the first 11 but 17 boats counted maximum points for race four.

Published in Royal Irish Yacht Club

Jamie McWilliam's Ker 40 Signal 8 from Hong Kong may have found all the pieces were falling into place on this last outing at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta today as she took her first win of the series in IRC Zero but Frank Whelan’s Grand Soleil 44 from Greystones with Shane Hughes on the strength was never far off the pace, and took a useful second to have her first overall on 7 points to the 12 of Jay Colvillle’s First 40 Forty Licks (East Down YC), while Signal took third OA on 14.

Published in Volvo Regatta
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Dun Laoghaire Regatta –  From the Baily lighthouse to Dalkey island, the bay accommodates eight separate courses for 25 different classes racing every two years for the Dun Laoghaire Regatta.

In assembling its record-breaking armada, Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta (VDLR) became, at its second staging, not only the country's biggest sailing event, with 3,500 sailors competing, but also one of its largest participant sporting events.

One of the reasons for this, ironically, is that competitors across Europe have become jaded by well-worn venue claims attempting to replicate Cowes and Cork Week.

'Never mind the quality, feel the width' has been a criticism of modern-day regattas where organisers mistakenly focus on being the biggest to be the best.

Dun Laoghaire, with its local fleet of 300 boats, never set out to be the biggest. Its priority focussed instead on quality racing even after it got off to a spectacularly wrong start when the event was becalmed for four days at its first attempt.

The idea to rekindle a combined Dublin bay event resurfaced after an absence of almost 40 years, mostly because of the persistence of a passionate race officer Brian Craig who believed that Dun Laoghaire could become the Cowes of the Irish Sea if the town and the local clubs worked together.

Although fickle winds conspired against him in 2005, the support of all four Dun Laoghaire waterfront yacht clubs since then (made up of Dun Laoghaire Motor YC, National YC, Royal Irish YC and Royal St GYC), in association with the two racing clubs of Dublin Bay SC and Royal Alfred YC, gave him the momentum to carry on.

There is no doubt that sailors have also responded with their support from all four coasts. Entries closed last Friday with 520 boats in 25 classes, roughly doubling the size of any previous regatta held on the Bay.

Running for four days, the regatta is (after the large mini-marathons) the single most significant participant sports event in the country, requiring the services of 280 volunteers on and off the water, as well as top international race officers and an international jury, to resolve racing disputes representing five countries.

Craig went to some lengths to achieve his aims including the appointment of a Cork man, Alan Crosbie, to run the racing team; a decision that has raised more than an eyebrow along the waterfront.

A flotilla of 25 boats has raced from the Royal Dee near Liverpool to Dublin for the Lyver Trophy to coincide with the event. The race also doubles as a RORC qualifying race for the Fastnet.

Sailors from the Ribble, Mersey, the Menai Straits, Anglesey, Cardigan Bay and the Isle of Man have to travel three times the distance to the Solent as they do to Dublin Bay. This, claims Craig, is one of the major selling points of the Irish event and explains the range of entries from marinas as far away as Yorkshire's Whitby YC and the Isle of Wight.

Until now, no other regatta in the Irish Sea area could claim to have such a reach. Dublin Bay weeks such as this petered out in the 1960s, and it has taken almost four decades for the waterfront clubs to come together to produce a spectacle on and off the water to rival Cowes.

"The fact that we are getting such numbers means it is inevitable that it is compared with Cowes," said Craig. However, there the comparison ends.

"We're doing our own thing here. Dun Laoghaire is unique, and we are making an extraordinary effort to welcome visitors from abroad," he added.

The busiest shipping lane in the country – across the bay to Dublin port – is to close temporarily to facilitate the regatta and the placing of eight separate courses each day.

A fleet total of this size represents something of an unknown quantity on the bay as it is more than double the size of any other regatta ever held there.

The decision to alter the path of ships into the port was taken in 2005 when a Dublin Port control radar image showed an estimated fleet of over 400 yachts sailing across the closed southern shipping channel.

Ships coming into the bay, including the high-speed service to the port, will use the northern lane instead.

With 3,500 people afloat at any one time, a mandatory safety tally system for all skippers to sign in and out will also operate.

The main attraction is undoubtedly the appearance of four Super Zero class yachts, with Dun Laoghaire's Colm Barrington's TP52 'Flash Glove' expected to head the 'big boat' fleet. At the other end of the technology scale, the traditional clinker-built Water Wags will compete just as they did at a similar regatta over 100 years ago.

The arrival of three TP 52s and a Rogers 46 to Dun Laoghaire regatta is a feather in the cap of organisers because it brings Grand Prix racing to Dublin bay and the prospect of future prominent boat fixtures on the East Coast.

With 38 entries, the new Laser SB3s are set to make a significant impact although the White Sail Class five almost rivals them numerically. The Fireball is the biggest dinghy class, with 27 entries, while there are 25 entries for the Ecover Half Ton Classics Cup which began on Monday.

Class 0 is expected to be the most hotly contested, if the recent Saab IRC Nationals, Scottish Series and Sovereign's Cup are any indication. Three Cork boats ­- Jump Juice (Conor and Denise Phelan), Antix Dubh (Anthony O'Leary) and Blondie (Eamonn Rohan) - are expected to lead the fleet.

(First published in 2009)

Who: All four Dun Laoghaire Waterfront Yacht clubs

What: Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta

Why: A combined regatta to make Dun Laoghaire the Cowes of the Irish Sea.

Where: Ashore at Dun Laoghaire and afloat at eight separate race courses on Dublin Bay. Excellent views from both Dun Laoghaire piers, Sandycove and Seapoint.

Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2021

The 2021 Regatta runs from 8-11 July

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