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Dun Laoghaire Regatta News
Rory Fekkes' Beneteau First 8 from Carrickfergus
Just in case you hadn’t noticed, it’s the glorious Twelfth of July through all classes, and northern boats at VDLR 19 have been celebrating with particular style in Class 3, where Rory Fekkes' souped-up Beneteau First 8 from Carrickfergus was…
Mata drops to sixth in Class 2a after five races sailed
Nigel Biggs was in top form among the Half Tonners to register 2,4, 1 with Checkmate XVIII, while Ronan and John Downing from Royal Cork were feeling their journey was very well worthwhile through now lying second overall with Miss…
Debbie Aitken with the First 36.7 Animal found the fresher wind to her liking to take a 2nd and a 3rd
Pat Kelly’s J/109 Storm continues to hold the lead in the RC 35 class at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, but John Stamp’s Corby 33 Jacob VII from Port Edgar YC on Scotland's East Coast was in good form to move…
Class One leader at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta is Howth J/109 Outrajeous
With a gently rising barometer and a nor’west breeze coming out of a soft grey sky (fifty shades and counting), most folk expected that the wind would fade on Day 2 of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2019 writes W…
Eleuthera in perfect balance on the reach to the finish of race four this morning
Frank Whelan’s Grand Soleil 44 Eleuthera from Greystones is making hay among the biggies in the second day of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, helped no doubt by the presence on board of sailmaker Shane Hughes, and they had 2,1,2 today with a…
John Minnis's Royal Ulster Yacht Club entry, Final Call leads the Beneteau 31.7 scratch fleet at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta
Frank Heath's local entry Crazy Horse of the Royal Irish YC and Royal St George YC leads the Dublin Bay challenge to overcome the leading visitors in the Beneteau 31.7 scratch fleet at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta. Heath is only two points off…
Deep Helder - not a new VDLR Finishing Vessel
So keen were Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta organisers to attract the historic Howth 17s across the Bay to Ireland's biggest sailing event today that when the 65-metre 'Deep Helder' moved into er, a prominent position in the leisure harbour it so…
Great breeze on day two of the Sigma National Championships as part of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta
Scottish crews are in command at the 20-boat Sigma 33 Irish National Championships hosted as part of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta.  After four races sailed and one discard, James Miller's Mayrise of Helensburgh Sailing Club leads Leaky Roof 2 (Alan Harper/Robertson, Eric Robertson &…
David Gorman and Chris Doorly lead the Flying Fifteens at Dun Laoghaire
After five races sailed at the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, Flying Fifteen National Champions David Gorman and Chris Doorly clearly broke the overnight points tie in their favour today when they won all three races to stamp their authority on…
A long way from the original very basic idea of an “Asylum Harbour” with just one breakwater at Dun Laoghaire. Richard Brydges Beechey’s painting of the Royal St George YC Regatta in Kingstown Royal Harbour in 1874 captures the essence of a Golden Era. Although most of the course was in the bay and out to the Kish, even the largest yachts were expected to round a markboats in the harbour close off the Clubhouse, and the finish was in the harbour
When the Earl of Kildare - subsequently the Duke of Leinster – commissioned the building of his fine new townhouse in 1745 in what was then the unfashionable south side of Dublin, he can scarcely have imagined that nearly three…
The O’Leary family’s “cruiserfied” 1720 Antix Beag from Crosshaven
In the hotly contested Division 2 (A) of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, Michael and Darren Wright continue their strong form on the Dublin Bay Race track by leading the 20-boat fleet in their Andrieu Half Tonner, Mata. The Class Two ICRA…
Flying Fifteens got the best of yesterday's breeze on the Salthill course situated in the northwest of Dublin Bay
In one of the biggest one design fleets of the massive 500-boat of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, John O'Sullivan's Rhubarb leads the Flying Fifteens after two races. In some neat sailing on the Salthill Course, O'Sullivan of the National Yacht…
Connor McGuckin's RS Elite Skaddy flies the flag for Ballyronan Boat Club during opening day of the UK Nationals in Dun Laoghaire
Former Olympic champion Mike McIntyre showed why he is favourite to retain his current crown this week as he got his defence of the RS Elite UK National title off to a flying start on Dublin Bay. The three-hander class,…
Rowan Fogerty's crew on Ventuno struggle with their chute during the opening race of the Beneteau 211 Nationals
None other than Mark Mansfield predicted that the Scottish Series would prove an important warm-up for Irish raiders, and it certainly seems to be the case for Beneteau 31.7 owner John Minnis. The Royal Ulster sailor struggled to make an…
Sam Shiels sailing 'Helen' from Skerries Sailing Club is currently 9th at Dun Laoghaire Regatta
Paul Smith and Pat Mangan sailing 'Jill' from the Royal Irish Yacht Club lead the 15-boat Dublin Bay Mermaid clinker class after two races of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta that incorporates the Clinker class Leinster Championships.  The RIYC duo lead former…
Team Ridgeway is third in the SB20s
After an opening race win in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta SB20 Division today, the All-Ireland Sailing Champion Peter Kennedy helming Team Ridgeway could only manage sixth in the second race to place third overall in the 16-boat sportsboats fleet. The lead is…

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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