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Optimist Team Had 'Weather Window Providing Reasonable Conditions for Such Activity' – Irish Sailing Statement

23rd October 2017
A RIB attempts a rescue of an Optimist Team Dinghy in Dun Laoghaire Harbour during Storm Brian on Saturday. A person on the pier holds a lifebuoy. Two capsized Optimists are just visible in the top right of the picture A RIB attempts a rescue of an Optimist Team Dinghy in Dun Laoghaire Harbour during Storm Brian on Saturday. A person on the pier holds a lifebuoy. Two capsized Optimists are just visible in the top right of the picture Photo: courtesy Stephen Collins/Collins Picture Agency

Irish Sailing, the national governing body for the sport in Ireland, has issued a statement following the rescue of its 16-boat National Optimist Squad during Storm Brian on Saturday lunchtime in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. In the statement, released yesterday, the association says 'all usual risk assessments were undertaken before launching and the forecast was for a weather window providing reasonable conditions for such activity'. 

Irish Sailing also says it is 'now investigating what protocols and assessments may need to be reviewed and/or revised so that we maintain all safety standards'. Read the full statement below.

The rescue, reported by Afloat.ie here, involved local yacht club RIBs, Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard and RNLI inshore boats. The incident was widely reported in the weekend media and attracted significant social media comment. Joe Mag Raollaigh of RTE News captured video of one of the Oppy dinghies being wrecked against the harbour wall as north-westerly winds reached over 40–knots.

Storm Brian Scenes90379644Big breeze for training in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. Photo: Stephen Collins of Collins Picture Agency

Stephen Collins of Collins Picture Agency captured some dramatic pictures of the training session and the rescue and these appeared on Dublin Live here and the Irish Times. The Irish Independent ran a story here.

The ISA Statement reads:  

UPDATE ON OPTIMISTS IN DUN LAOGHAIRE YESTERDAY
'Sixteen Optimists were launched yesterday morning (Saturday 21 October) inside Dun Laoghaire Harbour as part of a routine high-performance training programme, along with the safety boats which are present at all training events. All usual risk assessments were undertaken before launching and the forecast was for a weather window providing reasonable conditions for such activity. A squall came in and the decision was made to send the sailors to shore immediately. The Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard and RNLI inshore boats were launched as a precaution but at that stage all the sailors were onshore. No sailor was harmed.

In circumstances like this, there are tried and tested protocols that come into effect with all bodies working together for a safe outcome. The safety of the sailors was prioritised over equipment. We are now investigating what protocols and assessments may need to be reviewed and/or revised so that we maintain all safety standards'

Following the rescue a number of the children's dinghies were left abandoned overnight in the harbour then picked up the following morning.

oppy recoverA Royal Cork Optimist dinghy is recovered into a RIB off the East Pier at Dun Laoghaire on Sunday

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