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Displaying items by tag: Dun Laoghaire Regatta

'ISORA is at the cutting edge of race management' said ISORA Chairman Peter Ryan in the 2016 ISORA AGM and dinner which was held in the National Yacht Club, Dún Laoghaire on Saturday 12th November.

The offshore body is on a high after a record season and a post season survey gave a thumbs–up to the Irish Sea scene. As Afloat.ie reported, more than half of survey respondents are regular offshore racers.

At the AGM it was agreed that the ISORA 2017 race schedule would star the Classics 'Dun Laoghaire to Dingle' Race in June.

The 'RORC Lyver Trophy' race will form part of the Royal Dee Yacht Club's Offshore Championship with the coastal races in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta in July whilst the race from Dun Laoghaire to Pwllheli would be a great feeder race for the IRC Welsh National Championships hosted in Pwllheli in August.

The AGM also confirmed the use of auto helms in ISORA races and that the race schedule is designed to encourage new participants into the Irish Sea offshore scene from both sides of the channel with two coastal series and a good mix of race ports. Peter also confirmed that 'Virtual marks, combined with the latest Avery Crest YB Trakers would provide exciting and imaginative courses which could also feature virtual start lines and finishes'

At the spectacular prize-giving Sgrech, skippered by Afloat's Sailor of the Month for September Stephen Tudor, was confirmed the Offshore Champions for the third time and collected the prestigeous RDYC Wolf's Head Trophy.

Published in ISORA

The only non-elitist thing about the Olympic Games is the fact that all countries – however large or small – are treated equally. A small country like Ireland is entitled to exactly the same number of places in competition as the superstates like the US or China. But apart from that, if any country’s national authority in any Olympic discipline is not treating its selected athletes as a pampered elite as an Olympic year arrives, then it is wasting everyone’s time. That’s how it should be in an Olympic year. But things definitely aren’t the same in the three clear years between each Olympiad. W M Nixon looks ahead to a completely different type of season in 2017.

Irish sailing had a good 2016 Olympics. Our waterborne elite did well - they did us proud. And the Irish national sailing season of 2016 – as we saw in last weekend’s review here – was special in many ways, for on top of Olympic success we staged two major world dinghy championships, witnessed perhaps the best ever Volvo Round Ireland Race, and brought home both silver and bronze medals from world youth championships.

That was how it was in 2016. But for 2017, we look forward to a very different kind of sailing year, in which everyone has the chance to be a star at local level, and our Olympic achievers and international medallists will be sailing as ordinary competitors along with everyone else.

Annalise Murphy Moth Dinghy Olympic Silver Medallist Annalise Murphy racing her foiling Moth, with which she is expected to compete in the Cork Dinghy Fest at the end of June. Photo: VDLR

In these circumstances, it’s intriguing to look at some of the events which will set the tone for the coming year. And if by some chance you’re feeling jaded as we sink into the depths of winter, rest assured that it’s an absolute tonic to talk with the voluntary organisers who are heading up the groups which are putting together the various packages which will provide sailing happenings of all sizes from one end of the country to the other.

These people have a level of infectious enthusiasm which, if you could bottle it, would make you a fortune. Their zest in our sport, and their joy in boats and the sailing of them, is a wonder to behold. And they’re so keen on it that they’re prepared to put in so very many hours of their free time – hours beyond measure, in fact – in administrative effort, that it would put many professional organisers to shame.

Such enthusiasm can bring its own special problems. Every sailing centre round the coast and on the lakes will expect its share of the action. So inevitably there will be a clashing of dates which will make for difficult choices for crews who had specific programmes in mind. But this morning, we’re not in the mood to beat the drum about ruthlessly rationalising the national programme. Let’s just tell you what’s happening, and you can draw your own conclusions and plan out your own season.

That said, the big one is undoubtedly the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta from the 6th to 9th July. 2015’s staging of this biennial festival experienced a quantum leap in the scale and scope of the event. Somehow, it moved onto a new plane. Under the chairmanship of Tim Goodbody, the organising committee built on the efforts of previous years, and the resulting myriad of sailing became a wonder to behold, and a joy to take part in. The plan for 2017 is to make it even better.

This outline hints at the scale of the event which will take place in July:

Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017

Racing open to 30 Classes.

Incorporating the following Championships:-

· Royal Dee Yacht Club Irish Sea Offshore Championship
· Sigma 33 and Wayfarer National Championships
· Beneteau 211 Irish Championship
· GP14 and 420 Leinster Championships
· SB20 Southern Championship
· J24 & Squib East Coast Championships

Celebrating 200 years of Dun Laoghaire Harbour:

The Kingstown 200 Trophy for the best classic keelboat/dinghy.

NOR and Online Entry will open mid November (Monday November 14th).

Super Early Bird Entry Prize Draw: All entries received and paid for in full by 31 December 2016 will automatically be entered into a Super Early Bird Prize Draw and 10% of these lucky people will have their Entry Fee refunded.

To get the flavour of it, a chat with Organising Chairman Tim Goodbody at mid-week brought everything to life. That said, he was in a thoughtful mood, as that morning he had sold his much-loved Sigma 33 White Mischief after seventeen very happy and successful years. This enthusiasm in talking about their boats was found to be a shared characteristic of all the voluntary organisers, something which those who think the future of sailing lies in group-owned professionally-maintained boats might like to ponder.

Be that as it may, the J/109 class in Ireland will be taking on board the fact that their newest star entrant Tim Goodbody is now a hundred per cent J/109 man. For until he was comfortable in the knowledge that his Sigma 33 White Mischief had gone to a good home (she has found a lucky owner in Arklow), you had the feeling that a tiny bit of his mind was elsewhere as he campaigned the new White Mischief, a J/109.

Tim Goodbody J109No longer a fleet owner…..Tim Goodbody’s J/109 White Mishcief is now his only racing steed. Photo: Afloat.ie
That said, he was frequently on the podium in the new class, but for Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017 the rest of his crew will have to race as best they can without him, for he throws himself so thoroughly into heading up the large army of VDLR volunteers – with Ciara Dowling as an awesomely effective Executive Secretary – that there simply isn’t the time to think of campaigning in one of the hottest of the 30 classes as well.

A look at the heights of the 2017 programme shows how it is quite an achievement for the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017 to be the peak event at home, and it also reveals the difficulty for planning a programme for your boat and crew which will keep everyone – including the Commodore of your home club – in a happy frame of mind.

Dun Laoghaire Regatta PrizegivingPrize winners at the conclusion of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2015. Adrian Yeates, CEO Volvo Car Ireland, is at centre, overall winner George Sisk is left centre, and Tim Goodbody, Chairman Organising Committee, is second right. Photo VDLR

This list is by no means complete, but if you haven’t firmed up your club or association schedule by November, you’re not going to be taken seriously, as November is traditionally the month when the next year’s Corinthian crewing programmes take shape.

2017 Preliminary Programme

March 25th Horizon Energy Group PY1000 in Owenabue River at Crosshaven (RCYC)

May 26th – May 29th Scottish Series (Clyde Cruising Club)

June 3rd Lambay Races (Howth)

June 9th- June 11th ICRA Nats (Royal Cork)

June 14th Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race (National YC)

June 21st to 24th Sovereigns Cup (Kinsale)

June 30th – July 2nd Cork Dinghy Fest 2017

July 6th to 9th Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta

July 6th to 8th WIORA Championship, Aran Islands

July 23rd to 28th Glandore Classics

August 1st to 4th Calves Week (Schull)

August 6th 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race

August 14th – 18th Half Ton Classic Worlds (Kinsale)

October 21st Rolex Middle Sea Race

We happen to know about the first rather esoteric major event on the programme, the PY 1000 dinghy race in the Owenabue River at Crosshaven on March 25th, thanks to the enthusiasm of Nicholas O’Leary of Royal Cork. He’s back on home ground and busy with being the third generation of his family in the energetic and imaginative organisation and promotion of sailing.

The Horizon Energy Group PY 1000 is a come-all-ye for dinghies using the Portsmouth Yardstick handicap. And they don’t mess about with prizes – there’s €1,000 on it. As the tides suit, they’ll be using the full available length and breadth of the Owenabue River between Crosser and Carrigaline in a crazy sailing project to blow the winter cobwebs away, and it will be a useful training for ogranisational energy levels as young O’Leary puts his team through their paces in training for the Cork Dinghy Fest at the end of June.

Feva dinghy racingRS Fevas in a National Championship on Lough Ree. They’ll be gathering with other classes in Cork at the end of June 2017
Like Tim Goodbody, he can be slightly sentimental about his boats – in his case, it was seeing an old and much-loved Optimist he’d once raced which fired him up to spread the news. An email from him this week gets the flavour of Nicholas O’Leary’s approach to sailing:

“Top of the organisational agenda is taking on the Dinghy Festival at the end of June on behalf of the Royal Cork Yacht Club and the dinghy fraternity of Ireland and beyond. My good friend Marty O’Leary is chairman of the RS Class in Ireland, and we will again welcome three fleets from under his wing - The RS200 for their Nationals and the RS400 and Feva Southerns.

The array of dinghy classes within Ireland concentrate on doing their own calendar year after year. This is a huge undertaking and requires massive dedication by class captains, regional reps and the clubs that host. The Dinghy Fest takes the stress off such class reps for one of many events they would normally have to organise, and brings together the masses into one harbour to enjoy great racing and great craic ashore, particularly as it provides socialising with friends they haven’t seen due to other class commitments.

We are working on connections within the variety of classes nationwide, and one exciting grouping that we’re planning is an Extreme Fleet. To see one 49er screaming across Cork Harbour is a sight, but we plan to have one race course dedicated to an entire fleet of fast dinghies, with the foiling Moths - where we hope to see Olympic Silver Medallist Annalise Murphy racing against her coach Rory Fitzpatrick - as well as 29ers and 49ers, and the Cat class, with the Catamarans demonstrating their viable concept of mixed craft racing on the one race track, and results divided thereafter.

I know this Extreme Fleet will open the eyes of young sailors to see that there is life after an Optimist, 420, Laser or whatever fleet they are currently in, and that fast fun boats are accessible classes, alive within Irish waters. I sincerely think it’s very important for the future of youth sailing that they enjoy it, finding a class they are happy in rather than being marched up to the gates of a pathway and pushed through. Those who enjoy the sport will stay in the sport. If they excel to greater heights, then so much the better, but that shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all for everyone.

I don’t believe the success of an event is within its number of entries, but in its quality of racing provided. That is why my old housemate and current ISA Champion of Champions Alex Barry is joining our team in an advisory role to keep the high standard of racing up to scratch, and in line with what we would expect when racing Worldwide. I look forward to developments in the months to come, and will of course keep everyone updated with sailing news from near and far.”

29er in flight. Nicholas O’Leary, organiser for Cork Dinghy Fest 2017, hopes that the presence of 29ers will encourage more young sailors to realize that boats like this aren’t only for the elite29er in flight. Nicholas O’Leary, organiser for Cork Dinghy Fest 2017, hopes that the presence of 29ers will encourage more young sailors to realize that boats like this aren’t only for the elite

So the dinghies of Ireland have the good example of somebody thinking in a far-sighted and coherent way. But with the offshore racers, the picture is as ever more complex. Yet it’s for sure we’re interested in the Scottish Series out on its own in May, as we provide the ex-Pat overall winner Dara O’Malley (originally from Westport, he’s Edinburgh-based) with his Hunter 707 Seaword in 2016, while regular contender John Hall from the National YC won Class 2 with his J/109 Something Else.

But in June things get mighty complicated, as there are two major cruiser-racer championships in Cork with a clear fortnight between them, yet during that fortnight the biennial Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race gets under way.

However, if you talk with the enthusiasts involved in organising any of these events, it all seems very manageable. Paul Tingle who is chairman to organise the ICRA Nats at Royal Cork from June 9th to 11th has recently moved from campaigning a Corby 25 with family and friends to the comparatively luxurious yet equally competitive surrounds of an X 34 which will also be called Alpaca. He sees the ICRA Nats at Crosshaven from June 9th to 11th as offering the special cachet of a National Championship in a manageable package. And at the end of it your boat is conveniently placed to be moved to Kinsale the following weekend for the time-honoured Sovereign’s Cup series the weekend after (June 21st-24th)

kinsale marina Kinsale is pulling out all the stops to make the Sovereign’s Cup fleet welcome from June 21st to 24th.
In fact, Paul Tingle and his counterpart at the Sovereign’s, Kevin Murray of Kinsale, are coming up with all sorts of ingenious suggestions for getting the boats from Crosshaven to Kinsale, ranging from a passage race to a simple offer to provide voluntary delivery crews. The thinking is that some crews and owners will welcome the opportunity for a weekend off to score some brownie points on the home front. But however they get to Kinsale, the participants in the Sovereign’s will find that the entire town is behind the event, which is very much aimed at being a fun happening.

Freed from the constraints of the IRC limitations within ICRA, Kinsale YC can open the door to sportsboats and even inshore keelboat classes, should they be so interested, and the emphasis is going to be very much on a regatta atmosphere rather than the more serious mood of a national championship.

Meanwhile, take note that the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race is on a Wednesday evening – June 14th – not the Friday evening as in 2015. The feeling is that in these demanding times, it make more sense to slip away from business cares on a Thursday and Friday to get comfortably finished racing by Sunday and probably earlier, rather than arrive in the office exhausted on a Tuesday after a 380-mile race which finished in the small hours of Monday morning. Last time round, it was J boats of several sizes which dominated, with the Shanahan family’s J/109 Ruth winning from sister-ship Mojito, but maybe in 2017 some other marque will get a look in.

For July, an east-west divide arose in planning the programme, when the fascinating concept of a West of Ireland Offshore Racing Association Championship on the Aran islands made the discovery that out in Kilronan, each summer weekend is spoken for in terms of hosting some major island festival. Thus the only clear one they could offer hyper-keen Atlantic Way sailor Cormac MacDonnacha of WIORA was July 8th & 9th, and as his fleet will be wanting to make their way home along the Atlantic seaboard on the Sunday, the WIORA Championship 2017 is July 6th to 8th. It will make for a painful decision for some crews who had hoped to go east for the big one in Dun Laoghaire taking place at exactly the same time.

The Rolex Fastnet Race next year is earlier in August than it has been for some time, going off on Sunday August 6th. And among the fleet will be an Irish boat defending a trophy won in 2015, the Jeanneau 37 Desert Star skippered by Ronan O Siochru of Irish Offshore Sailing of Dun Laoghaire. Desert Star was right on the podium among the many Irish boats in the previous race, and she was also overall winner of the Sailing Schools trophy, besting 32 other boats.

Fastnet rock yachtsDesert Start round the rock during the Rolex Fastnet Race of 2015, on her way to winning the Sailing Schools Division in a fleet of 33 yachts. Photo: Rolex

This was a notable success which underlined just how significant the concept of Fastnet Race experience has become in the definition of genuine seagoing ability. The camaraderie which developed among Desert Star’s crew of rookies from an extraordinary variety of backgrounds was heart-warming to behold, and it’s something which many wish to experience and share.

It’s very much what we hope for 2017, as it’s the perfect example of sailing for more ordinary folk rather than top level competition for superstars. So as we snuggle down into winter with just the special Frostbite, Brass Monkey and Turkey Shoot races available for those who want the occasional quick taste of sailing all year round, spare a thought for those dedicated souls who are so keen to get involved that they’ll go to sea just whenever they can, and that includes going offshore in the depths of winter.

For those dreamily contemplating next season from a comfortable armchair in front of a roaring fire, here’s a thought-provoking email I received last Sunday from Ronan O Siochru:

“We are flying downwind with a poled-out headsail
and double reefed main, 30 knots behind us in absolutely glorious sunshine
from Kilkeel back to Dun Laoghaire.
The guys are after sailing 500 miles in six days, and have been to Wales, the Isle
of Man, England, and Northern Ireland. We have also experienced the raw energy
of the North Channel and the Scottish sea state in November as we headed up to
Cambeltown on the Mull of Kintyre.

They are getting some of the most intense, gruelling training in difficult
conditions - cold, 16 hours of darkness each day, and sometimes very fast-changing weather. We haven’t seen another sailing boat in 500 miles, as we
 left Dun Laoghaire in the dark and haven’t been back since.

They are doing serious training, and are learning so fast they are
really closing in on many so called 'experienced’ sailors who have been
sailing for decades.

They are an interesting group coming from a variety of backgrounds, a
totally international crew, and all guys on this occasion - Irish, French, English, Italian and a Canadian. Their reasons for being here range from a Canadian naval architect looking to learn to
sail, to a Frenchman taking early retirement with a dream to cash in his
pension to buy a catamaran and do charters in the Caribbean.
And there are a few young bucks
keen to avoid university, and instead sink their teeth into a grittier more active
career……The course has been running since 3rd September, and culminates in the RYA
 Yachtmaster Offshore exam on the 26th November. Meanwhile, roll on 2017. The Fastnet calls.”

Yacht CrewA selfie by Fastnet Race class winner Ronan o Siochru with his crew of trainee yachtmasters as they experience their first easy sailing on the final leg last Sunday from Kilkeel to Dun Laoghaire.

Published in W M Nixon

It could be argued that Dun Laoghaire Harbour has never been completely finished writes W M Nixon. To varying degrees, it has always been Work in Progress. Construction started in 1817, yet it was maybe all of twenty or even thirty years before the basic shape of the harbour as we know it today had been finally created. But in 1821 there was enough of a new pier in existence for King George IV to visit and re-name it the Royal Harbour of Kingstown.

By 1828 there was enough shelter available to provide the setting for the first staging of a regatta, and by 1834 the pioneering railway line to Dublin was in existence to accelerate Kingstown’s development as a seaside town and ferry port. Initially, it had been envisaged solely as an Asylum Harbour for Royal Navy and other government vessels seeking shelter in southeasterly gales in Dublin Bay. The ferry port and the rapid growth of a town had not been in the original plan. But ship-owners and property developers had other notions, as they usually do, and the ferries were there from the start.

 The first regatta in Kingstown Harbour in 1828 The first regatta in Kingstown Harbour in 1828

By 1850, both the Royal St George and Royal Irish Yacht Clubs were in existence on the waterfront to provide focal points for the development of sport afloat, and then the cross-channel ferries – which had been making do as best they could with berths along the East Pier – were in 1859 provided with proper berths at the new Carlisle Pier, with direct rail connections.

The Edward Yacht Club – now the National Yacht Club – came into being in 1870 between the Carlisle Pier and the East Pier. However, although the overall outer shape of the harbour was by now finalised, as an 1870s plan to put an extra island breakwater across the rather exposed northeast-facing entrance was never implemented, within the harbour re-shaping of the waterfront continued.

dun laoghaire harbour victorian times It has been suggested that temporary moorings for a fleet of Classics could best be laid in this area – seen here around 1895 – off the National Yacht Club

dublin_bay_24Last of the glory days. The Dublin Bay 24s in their final season in Dun Laoghaire in 1997. Photo: W M Nixon
With this week’s news that transitional teams are already working on the practical issues of transferring the semi-governmental Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company into the overall control of Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council, a new chapter is opening in the history of this extraordinary place, and eventually it will mean further infrastructural work, which in turn validates our claim that Dun Laoghaire Harbour is almost always to some extent Work in Progress.

So when we have to put a date on the harbour, the only one beyond argument is that work started in 1817 under the direction of the great engineer John Rennie. Thus in the absence of any other date of comparable exactitude, 2017 marks the Bicentenary of Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

It was “the new Dunleary harbour” only from 1817 to 1821, then it was Kingstown Harbour for the next 99 years, and ever since it has been Dun Laoghaire Harbour. But if the organisers of next year’s Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017 from July 6th to 9th 2017 achieve just some of their more visionary ideas to attract extra sailing visitors, we may even see a movement to return to the original user-friendly Dunleary Harbour spelling. You’d be surprised how many first-time visitors to the harbour and marina still make an absolute meal out of the pronunciation. And even within the ranks of the Gaelgoirs, there are several opinions as to what is correct.

vdlr 175The restored Huff of Arklow was one of the stars of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2015 – and she won her class. Photo VDLR

But simplifying the name to Dunleary Harbour is another day’s work. Top of the agenda this weekend is something else altogether - the growing sense of excitement over the fact that Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017 provides the perfect opportunity to celebrate the Harbour’s Bicentenary in magnificent style, and the VDLR 2017 Organising Committee under the chairmanship of Tim Goodbody have been beavering away for some time now on making VDLR 2017 even better than VDLR 2015, which will take a bit of doing.

water wagThe Water Wags started as 13ft double-enders in 1887, but then changed to transom-sterned 14-footers in 1901, and are seen here around 1905

water wagStill going strong…..the Water Wags would play an important role in a Bicentenary Classic Boat regatta within Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017.

Apart from all the other standard-setters, last year saw Volvo Cork Week 2016 having something very special within it with the staging of the inaugural series for the new Beaufort Cup, an international event raced between crews from the Defence Forces from home and abroad, together with marine-related Emergency Services.

It was won by an Irish Defence Forces crew skippered by Commandant Barry Byrne, sailing John Maybury’s J/109 Joker. And one story which emerged afterwards was that it was hoped to make the Beaufort series an annual event, with the expectation of the holders that it could possibly be made part of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017. But the problem with this might be that the Beaufort is going to become such a major happening that it could seriously deplete other fleets in Dublin Bay, particularly the J/109s.

However, in view of upcoming Bicentenary and its celebration, an important aspect of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2015 which was mentioned in one of our Afloat.ie reports at the time was the number of classics taking part. Most obvious were the Howth 17s of 1898 and the Water Wags of 1901 and 1887. But also racing were the Mermaids of 1932, the IDRA 14s of 1946, and the Glens of 1947, while a much-admired presence was the very special superbly-restored Flying Thirty Huff of Arklow.

Designed by Uffa Fox and built by Jack Tyrrell of Arklow in 1950, Huff of Arklow won her class overall under the visionary Progressive ECHO handicap system. In addition, the dinghy adjudged best overall was Ian and Judith Malcolm’s hundred-years-old Water Wag Barbara.

Taking a general look at all this, we suggested that in effect there was an excellent Classic Yacht Regatta hidden in plain sight in the midst of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, and it might be something worth remembering for future plans. Now the word on the waterfront is that there’ll be a significant upgrade in interest in the Classics at the VDLR 2017, and there’ll be special attention given to enticing historic boats which have direct links to Dun Laoghaire.

Obviously heading the agenda are the great Dublin Bay One Designs, and the whisper is that things are now looking healthier for the Dublin Bay 24s which ended up in an ambitious restoration plan in South Brittany which failed to reach fruition. So it’s not unreasonable to hope that the already restored DB24 Periwinkle might be persuaded home.

dublin Bay 25 The only surviving Dublin Bay 25 is Iona, originally built as Nance in 1899. Currently Dutch-owned and based in the south of France, she is seen here setting her Bermudan cutter rig, but she also has a gaff rig.

But long before the Mylne-designed 24s came into being in 1947, there were the Fife-designed Dublin Bay 25s in 1898, and one of them still exists. These days she’s called Iona, but originally she was called Nance, owned by a man called Cosby Burrows from Cavan, who had her built in 1899 at the Fife yard in Fairlie in Scotland.

That in itself is historic, as the other Dublin Bay 25s – around a dozen in all – were built in the Dublin Bay region. Be that as it may, Nance still survives as Iona, and she’s under Dutch ownership but living in the south of France, restored with such enthusiasm that she can set either a gaff or a Bermudan cutter rig.

belfast lough 25Tern is one of only two surviving Belfast Lough 25s of 1897, and she is the one with the closest links to Dun Laoghaire.

The Dublin Bay 25s were in turn based on the Belfast Lough 25s of 1897, all of them built by John Hilditch of Carrickfergus. But after that class was wound up in 1909, one of them – Tern – was in Dublin Bay from 1912 until 1919, and again from 1944 to 1954. Thus of all the Belfast Lough boats, Tern has the strongest Dublin Bay links, so who knows, as she has recently had a major restoration, she too might be a candidate for the Bicentenary Classics regatta in Dublin Bay.

Soon after John Hilditch finished the eight Belfast Lough 25s, he built the first five Howth 17s in 1898, and they all survive, while the class has expanded far beyond the original five. In fact a new boat – the nineteenth – is now being built for Ian and Judith Malcolm at the remarkable Skol ar Mor in southern Brittany, and as the Howth 17s have been a mainstay of the VDLR in times past, they should be encouraged to participate in 2017.

howth 17The Howth 17s racing in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta. Photo: VDLR

Howth 17 under construction at Skol ar Mor in southern BrittanyThe backbone of the new Howth 17 under construction at Skol ar Mor in southern Brittany

IDRA_14A real classic. Gerry Sargent (on helm) and Ian McCormick sailing the 1962-built IDRA 14 Starfish to victory in the class’s 70th Anniversary Race, September 2016.

After the great success of their 70th Anniversary season through the summer of 2016, the IDRA 14s have themselves a new lease of life, and they always seem to achieve their best turnouts in the Dun Laoghaire regatta, so they’ll be looking to excel themselves, particularly after being seen to extremely good effect on TV this week……

Another historic class which has possibilities is the Colleens, where Hal Sisk led a movement to re-create the old 1890s design in fibreglass. With a bit of encouragement, owners like Dermot O’Flynn might be persuaded to return to Dublin Bay after this year’s cruising in West Cork, and maybe race against Hal himself. However, this tireless promoter of sailing heritage has other boats which he might sail, including a Water Wag and the famous Peggy Bawn, though she is currently very actively for sale.

vdlr 1713 Dermot O’Flynn’s Colleen in Crosshaven

We don’t consider the Dragons at first thought as Classics, but their design goes back to 1929, and one of the best classic Dragon fleets in the world is to be found in Ireland, in Glandore in West Cork, where that seasoned campaigner Don Street sets a cracking pace. They’ll be beating the drum for everyone to go to the Glandore Classics in the last week of July 2017, so maybe some of the Glandore Classics might see their way to heading for Dun Laoghaire to strut their stuff between the 6th and 9th of July.

In the classic cruiser end of things, one of the most popular boats around Dublin Bay is Darryl Hughes’ beautifully-restored 1937 Tyrrell ketch Maybird. Though he has entered for the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race on June 14th, his love of maritime history is such that he finds the idea of being in Dun Laoghaire – where Maybird’s sister-ship Aideen was based for many years – a very enticing prospect for the Bicentenary in July.

vdlr 1714Darryl Hughes’ 1937 Tyrrell ketch Maybird

There are many other superb classic boats not too distant from Dublin Bay. But if they’re going to be invited to the Bicentenary Regatta in Dun Laoghaire, it has to be remembered that these aren’t rough and tumble modern boats which can be left to their own devices. On the contrary, they need pampered attention.

For starters, most of them find it much easier to come to a mooring than struggle into a marina berth. So one suggestion which has already arisen is that temporary additional moorings for Classics should be laid off the National Yacht Club, where there’s most space available, and it would have the bonus of putting these fascinating craft where they’d be most conveniently visible from shore.

So many and varied are the needs of true classics that they need special treatment. Ideally, each boat - and certainly each class - should have a designated minder complete with RIB and crew to look after their needs. When you learn of the effort that is needed to bring an old classic back up to first class order, genuine care and attention for boat and crew should be a natural priority at any port they visit.

It’s not unreasonable to suggest that after the turmoil of the past two Centuries, there is much to celebrate in the fact that, in 2017, the 200 year old Dun Laoghaire Harbour seems at last to be finding an equitable system of management and administration. But if people are going to be invited to bring their cherished classics to Dublin Bay to celebrate this, then it’s only right and proper that the most thoughtful Irish hospitality should be extended to them in every way.

#Joker2 - John Maybury's Joker 2 has had an impressive run of form since June, with big wins in both the ICRA Nationals/Sovereign's Cup week and more recently in the J/109 Nationals at the Dun Laoghaire Regatta.

The first of these victories for the Royal Irish YC boat came on Saturday 27 June in the hotly contested Class 1 at Kinsale, with Joker 2 squaring off against Ian Nagle's Jelly Baby – off the back of a win at the UK J/109 Nationals, and with Olympian Killian Collins on tactics, no less – and Pat Kelly's Storm from Rush.

In addition to the J109s, there were other very well-prepared boats such as Rockabill (Paul O'Higgins, with Mel Collins steering and Mark Pettitt calling tactics), Bon Exemple (with Ben Duncan calling the shots) and Fools Gold (Rob McConnell), which had just won the Scottish Series overall.

On the lighter first day, Jelly Baby, sporting a larger jib than the other J/109s, excelled with a first and a second, but Joker 2 kept in touch with a 1,3 scoreline. On the Archambault 35, Rob McConnell and crew found the lighter conditions less to their liking with a 7,2 scoreline, but they were to improve as the wind increased on later days.

Indeed, days 2 and 3 had much stronger conditions, with winds around 20 knots, and Joker 2 started to take control with a 2,1,4,1 scoreline. Fools Gold also showed strong with a score of 2,1,3,1 to keep them just just three points off the lead after discard, with Jelly Baby a further two points behind.

Roll on the final day at Kinsale, and Joker 2 took control of the first race to win by over a minute on corrected time, giving Maybury and crew (including Olympic sailor Mark Mansfield) the championship with a race to spare. Fools Gold would later take a win in the final race to end up second overall, with Jelly Baby taking third – meaning two J/109s placed in the top three. 

Joker 2 and Storm would also dominate next big event for the J/109s, their Nationals as part of the Dun Laoghaire Regatta – racing as a separate class but with the same courses in most races as Class 1.

What's more, a glance at the finishing times would have had the J/109s winning most of the Div 1 races had they sailed as a single group.

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This race was abandoned at VDLR after a starting sequence error

After a faltering start on the Thursday (9 July), with racing abandoned after an early starting gun, the boats were flying in strong winds on day 2, held mainly in and around Howth.

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Storm won both heavy air races on Day two of VDLR

Pat Kelly's Storm was the star of the show here, excelling in the conditions to win both races, though Joker 2 was a close second, with Something Else taking third overall.

Day 3 was sailed in 15 to 17 knots, and ended with a 1,2 scoreline for Joker 2 and a 1,4 for Storm, putting the latter ahead after discard by two points.

The next day would be the decider, and going in fleet was unsure whether the race committee would field a restart of Thursday's abandoned race as well as the final.

If there was just the one race, Joker 2 needed a win – and needed Storm no better than fourth place – to clinch the title. Two races would give Maybury a better opportunity to make up the deficit.

Sunday came and brought lighter winds. Joker 2 had the better of the start and tacked on Storm a number of times up the first beat, before breaking through to lead on the first downwind, with Storm yo-yoing between fifth and sixth.

However, that lead evaporated after the bottom mark when a left-degree shift with extra pressure brought Jigamaree, Something Else  and Jalapeno into the top three, with Joker 2 now fourth.

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Close racing in the J109s

It took until the very final mark for Maybury and company to overhaul that trio, taking the gun from Jalapeno by 30 seconds. With Storm coming in fifth and trailing by a point, with Joker 2 also having the better discard, the RIYC boat had done the necessary, provided no more racing was in order. 

With the wind disappearing, race officer Jack Roy decided there was insufficient breeze to complete another race, and that was that: Joker 2 took the overall win and the J/109 National title for 2015 from Storm, with Jalapeno taking third on countback from Something Else due to her fine second place in the last race. 

Continuing to grow in Dublin and elsewhere, J/109s have shown that they are not only a very well constructed and designed cruiser racer, they are also extremely competitive in IRC and have now won the last 2 IRC Nationals in Class 1.

Published in Racing

#fireball – The Clancy's aka Conor and James were deserved winners of the Fireball main prize in the four day biennial Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta.

The brothers sailed consistently well through the lively and varied winds of the regatta. In second and giving the Clancys a good run for their money were Tedz (Brian Byrne) sailing with Stephen Campion. This marriage of convenience (due to Kenny Rumball's temporary departure to a larger vessel) proved to be very compatible with Tedz jumping from the role of crew to helm and Stephen, a former Laser 2 world champion, using his excellent crewing skills to maximum advantage.

Third place went to Louis Smyth with Joe O'Reilly returning to the crewing position. This duo were up and down the placings during racing but consistently managed to come back from difficult positions to post high average scores. In fact one of the features of the regatta was the amount of place changing throughout the fleet, especially in the Salthill course where a shifting offshore wind and tidal changes provided many puzzles to be solved. At different times the race lead by the overall winners were shared by those further back.

This was a most successful regatta with lively, varied and challenging winds which tested the brain and the body. The eight Fireballs who competed shared starts with the smaller RS 400 turnout, a mix that worked quite well despite the different downwind optimum angles needed by each. Wind strengths ranged from about 8 knots to well over 20 with dinghies racing in the harbour one day. Courses varied but PRO Harry Gallagher and his team provided excellent race management and fleet separation on their inner/outer trapezoid courses. What Fireballs may have missed in exciting close reaches was compensated for with the tactical challenges of longer beats and runs. The final day was lighter and shifty leading to even more place changing but the Clancys did enough to maintain their very credible lead and take first place.

Overall this event has been a huge success, full marks to all those whose hard work created another great Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta..

Published in Fireball

#dlregatta –  Dublin Yacht Club's shared the bulk of the overall prizes at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2015 this afternoon, winning 22 of the 29 classes including the coveted 'Boat of the Week' Trophy. 

Veteran big boat campaigner George Sisk's Farr 42 WOW from the Royal Irish Yacht Club was named top boat after winning three of four challenging IRC Coastal races in a buoyant turnout of 25 boats in the offshore class.

Regatta Chairman Tim Goodbody's reminder that 'Volvo Dun Laoghaire is a fun regatta, not a championship' did little to stem the fierce competition for the coveted Volvo prizes in 29 classes as the last race of the event concluded in the lightest winds of the series.

Three national championship titles were decided as part of the regatta programme for more than 3,000 sailors. Joker II (John Maybury) took the 11-boat J109 Irish title after a series long fight with Pat Kelly's Storm from Rush and a Clyde Cruising Club entry, Leaky Roof 2, (Alan Harper) won the Sigma 33 championships. The Beneteau 21 title went to Séamus Storan's Capilano of the Royal Irish Yacht Club in a 13-boat fleet.

The biennial regatta is being hailed an enormous success both afloat and ashore for a combined fleet of 415 boats, the biggest on the Irish Sea. Over 250 races on five different courses were staged in a range of light to very heavy conditions since racing began last Thursday.

Although 180 visiting boats, made up nearly half the fleet, yachts from outside the bay area took away only seven trophies. The bulk of the silverware – 17 titles – have stayed on Dun Laoghaire's waterfront.

Trophies were awarded in each of the 29 competing classes plus several premier awards at a special National Yacht Club ceremony this afternoon bringing the curtain down on one of the most successful stagings of Ireland's biggest sailing event.

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The massive Volvo prizegiving at the National Yacht Club this afternoon

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The IRC Coastal fleet start race four this morning under race officer David Lovegrove from Howth

In a summer of achievements for George Sisk the boat of the week award follows his IRC National Championship victory in Kinsale last month.The premier award for top visiting boat went to Harper's Leaky Roof 2. The best IRC yacht award went to Paul Colton's quarter tonner Cri-Cri from the Royal Irish. The best one design keelboat award went to the Ruffian 23 Diane II skippered by Chris Helme of the Royal St. George YC.

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Rush Sailing Club's Storm (the Kelly family) held the early lead in the J109 Irish National championships won by John Maybury's Joker II (below) this afternoon

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Scotland's Clyde Cruising Club took a win in the Sigma 33 class and very nearly in the Beneteau 21 class. Howth Yacht Club took wins in IRC three, the Howth 17s, J24s (including the class Leinster Championship title) and the Water Wags but outside of that there was only single wins for Belfast Lough in the RS Elite. Cullaun Sailing Club in County Clare won the Wayfarers.

In Dun Laoghaire, The Royal Irish topped the leaderboard with eight wins across IRC and one design including: IRC One, IRC Four, J109, White Sails Two, Dragon, Beneteau 21 and Mermaid. Royal St. George YC yachts won in seven classes of one designs from Beneteau 31.7 keelboats to GP14 dinghies.The National Yacht Club had five victories; White Sails one, Flying Fifteen, SB20, Shipman and Moth. 

In the IRC divisions although Royal Cork's Jump Juice, Howth's Dux and the Royal Irish's Cri–Cri held their leads in Divisions zero, three and four respectively today's final race brought changes to the leaderboard in both IRC one and two. South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club in Wales looked sure of IRC Two with a fine performance by The J97 Injenious (Mike and Graham Crompton & Hallworth) until a last race comeback by Howth's modified Half–Tonner Harmony.

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The J97 Injenious (Mike and Graham Crompton & Hallworth) from South Caernarvonshire Yacht (above) led Class two for most of the regatta but not everything went to plan on the last day leaving Johnny Swan's modified Harmony (below) to top the leaderboard

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The National Yacht Club's A35 Gringo lost its overall lead of class one to Paul O'Higgin's Corby 33 Rockabill. O'Higgins won by three clear points in a class that had a number of different leaders since Thursday.

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Paul O'Higgins Corby 33 Rockabill V from the Royal Irish Yacht Club won the 16–boat class zero fleet.

In the one designs there were plaudits for many consistent performers including John Masterson's National Yacht Club based Shipman 28, Curraglas. Winners of the GP14 series, Gerard Owens and Melanie Morris were eight points clear at the top with six results from eight in the top three. Likewsie in the Squib keelboats, Vincent Delany took the overall prize with six race wins from nine starts.

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John Masterson's Curraglas (left) from the National Yacht Club was in the running for the boat of the week trophy with five race wins from six in the Shipman class

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A crowded pin end start for the last race of the GP14s

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Femme Fatale (Vincent Delany and Joe O'Byrne) of the Royal St George Yacht Club look up the course prior to today's final start at South Bull. Femme Fatale went on to win the nine race event with six race wins  and 12 points clear

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True Belle (Gerard Owens and Melanie Morris) of the Royal St George YC and East Antrim BC were seven points clear in the 30–boat GP14 fleet

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 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Premier prizewinners 2015

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Published in Volvo Regatta

#vdlr –  As Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2015 reaches its halfway stage, leaderboards are shaping up across 29 classes. The strong wind sixth edition of Ireland's biggest sailing event has produced some impressive performances on the water. 

With a strong wind warning there was alway going to be gear damage on day two of the massive 415-boat regatta. Battered sailors returned to harbour tonight with plenty of stories from the race course of retirals, torn sails, crews overboard, capsizes and dismastings. A lifeboat call–out and worrying stories of yachts straying into the Dublin Port shipping lanes only added to the drama of day two.

It marked a busy day for both for competitors and the race committee who were forced to postpone racing for the dinghies and one designs until lunch time as southerly winds touched 30-knots yesterday morning.

With all classes aiming for either two or three races today, results in the 415-boat fleet were still being computed in some classes at 7pm partly due to the late start of the one designs.

Racing started with the bumper 25–boat IRC offshore class and a start close to the Dun Laoghaire shoreline. Adrian Lee's canting keel Cookson 50 Lee Overlay took an immediate advantage in the heavy airs to lead the fleet south and now leads the division from George Sisk's Farr 42 WOW from the Royal Irish Yacht Club. Third is Kinsale visitor Freya, an X–442, skippered by Conor Doyle.

The offshore race was not without incident and in the closing stages in the afternoon the Dun Laoghaire lifeboat was called to render assistance to a man overboard from the Arklow J122 Aquelina with winds reaching 25 knots in choppy seas.

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Mobile phone footage gives a glimpse of the strong wind start to this morning's IRC offshore race

Three straight wins for Royal Cork Yacht Jump Juice puts skipper Conor Phelan in the running for the top overall performance in the regatta so far. The former Commodore's Cupper is now five points clear of the Clyde's Corby 37 Auora  (R Stuart B Ram) in the seven boat fleet. Struggling to perform so far, however, in this big boat class, is the new C&C 30 Checkmate XVI under skipper Nigel Biggs from the Royal Irish.

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The Ker 37 Jump Juice (Conor Phelan) took wins in the first three races of the series in Class Zero

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Bon Exemple (XP33) owned by X Yachts GB from the Royal Irish Yacht Club leads Class one

In class one, two Royal Irish yachts, Bon Exemple, an XP33 and Paul O'Higgins' Corby 33 Rockabill V are separated by a single point at the top of the 16–boat fleet. Third is another Dublin Bay boat, the A35 Gringo skippered by Tony Fox of the National Yacht Club.

South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club Injenious J97 is the leader of class two from Howth Half–Tonner Checkmate XV. Third is Craig Latimer's J/92 Wildebeest V  from the Clyde Cruising Club.

The Howth X 302 Dux (Anthony Gore-Grimes) is counting two wins and a second to lead clubmate Paddy Kyne's sistership by a single point in the 11–boat class three. Third is another Howth boat, the Corby 25 Fusion (Richard Colwell/Ronan Cobbe).

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The battle of the Howth X 302s  – Dux (Anthony Gore-Grimes) leads  Maximus (Paddy Kyne) below

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After three races sailed Royal Irish yachts have taken the lead in cruiser class four. Paul Colton's Quarter Tonner Cri Cri has the same five points as the Royal Ulster Yacht Club and Ballyholme entry Starflash (Alan Morrison and John Simms)but leads by virtue of her two race wins today. 

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The Royal Ulster Yacht Club and Ballyholme entry Starflash (Alan Morrison and John Simms) is on the same points as cruisers four leader Cri-Cri

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Quarter–tonner Quest  (Barry Cunningham/Jonathon Skerritt) from the Royal Irish Yacht Club looks in great shape on the upwind leg of race two in Cruisers four... 

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...until a dismasting only moments later 

Pat Kelly's first race advantage in the J109 National Championships, being sailed as part of the regatta, turned out to be short–lived when Thursday's race was scrubbed due to an error in the starting sequence. The aim is to re-run the race tomorrow. Kelly, however, did not let the setback deter him and took two further wins today. It puts the Howth boat at the top of the leaderboard and ahead of pre-regatta favourites, John Maybury's Joker II, who counts two seconds.

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An error in the starting sequence in race one (above) for the J109s caused the race to be scrubbed on Thursday night

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Alan Harper's  Leaky Roof 2 from the Clyde takes a second race win to lead the Sigma 33s

In a fine turn out of 16 Sigma 33s Alan Harper's Leaky Roof 2 from the Clyde Cruising Club leads Belfast lough rival Squawk (Paul Prentice). Third is local yacht Popje skippered by Ted McCourt of the National Yacht Club.

Three race wins gives Ian Mathews and Keith Poole the lead in the 20–boat Flying Fifteen class. 

According to forecasters, it looks like there will be more blustery south-westerlies for racing tomorrow, moderating slightly for the final races on Sunday morning.

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The vintage wooden Huff of Arklow raced by Cremyll Charity is sailing under the Royal St George Yacht Club burgee. Read more on Huff's participation in VDLR 2015 in WM Nixon's blog tomorrow on Afloat.ie here

Published in Volvo Regatta
Tagged under

#dlregatta – There's white water across Dublin Bay this morning and as sailors will tell you it's enough to blow dogs off chains. Curiously though the wind speed readings from the Dublin Bay Buoy in the middle of five Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta races areas only show a fraction of that. It's led to comment on twitter (see below) that calls into question the accuracy of the current readings of the Dublin Bay buoy. Twitter users have been able to live track live weather updates from a buoy in the middle of Dublin Bay since last May. The @DublinBayBuoy account is tweeting at regular intervals with the average wind speed, gust speed and wind direction on the bay, as well as the current wave height and water temperature. And it's all been made possible thanks to an array of sensors installed on the buoy by the Commissioners of Irish Lights to record live meteorological ocean data. The Twitter bot should come in especially handy at this weekend's 409-boat regatta among some of the Irish Seas top sailing talent but only if the information is accurate.

 

Published in Dublin Bay

#dlregatta – With the Kinsale ICRA Nats/Sovereigns Trophy 2015 very successfully concluded last weekend, and a classic Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race put stylishly in place before that, the feeling of another sailing summer busily in progress is all-pervasive. But while the image projected may well be one of stately progress by the cruiser-racer fleets along the Irish coast, taking in an offshore race here and a regatta there with much leisurely cruising in between, the reality is usually otherwise. For those boats doing significant segments of the programme, it's a case of fitting chosen events into the usual hectic early summer life of work and family commitments and exams and everything else, with the re-location of boats to the next venue being a hurried task undertaken by delivery crews.

Next week sees the mid-season peak of the sailing summer, with the four day Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2015 in Dublin Bay from Thursday July 9th to Sunday July 12th. In a way it is an amalgamation of all that has has already occurred in this year's season, together with new elements to make it a unique sailfest which celebrates the fact that the citizens of Ireland's capital city and their guests can be conveniently sailing and racing within a very short distance of the heart of town. W M Nixon sets the scene

In the dozen or so years since its inception, the biennial Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta has settled itself firmly into the sailing scene as an exceptionally varied event in terms of the boats and classes taking part. There are five regular cruiser-racer classes, plus an offshore division, fourteen one design keelboat classes, and nine dinghy classes. And although there are contenders from Ireland's north coast and from the Cork area and south coast too, together with one gallant entry from Galway, it is essentially an Irish Sea Sailfest, though with a remarkably strong Scottish presence.

However, it was on the coast of Wales at 8.0pm last night that this sailing celebration began, with an ISORA Race starting in Holyhead and heading for Dun Laoghaire to set this large and complex programme into action towards a culmination on Dublin Bay in eight days time with the conclusion of VDLR2015.

2015 marks the Bicentennial of the Royal Dee YC, which was founded in 1815 on the Cheshire shores of the River Dee estuary where northwest England marches with northeast Wales. Originally the Dee Yacht Club (and founded, it's said, a month or two before the Royal Yacht Squadron came into being in the south of England, making the RDYC the second-oldest Royal yacht club in England after the Royal Thames), the Cheshire club became the Royal Dee YC in 1847.

Although the great prosperity of Liverpool in the 19th century saw the club's fleet of substantial yachts gathered in the Dee and then increasingly in the Mersey, by the late 1900s it was looking to the Menai Straits area as the focus of its keelboat events. As well, the completion of Holyhead breakwater in 1873 added a new and important harbour to its list of possible big boat sailing locations, and there was an increase in the number of cross-channel "matches" which the Royal Dee and the Royal Mersey, in conjunction with the Dublin Bay clubs, had already been running for some years.

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A Royal Alfred YC cross-channel match from Dublin Bay to Holyhead gets under way in 1888. Cross-channel links were strong in the latter half of the 19th Century, and with the new breakwater completed at Holyhead in 1873, a new venue was available both for the Irish clubs and those on the other side such as the Royal Dee and the Royal Mersey

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The bicentenary logo of the Royal Dee YC. In 1815, this club on the Cheshire coast was founded shortly before the Royal Yacht Squadron in the souh of England, whose Bicentennial is being celebrated at the end of July.

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Dun Laoghaire saw its first regatta staged in 1828, and participation by yachts from the northwest of England and North Wales was regularly recorded. This is the Royal St George YC regatta of 1871.

So when we say that the Royal Dee has always been a stalwart of offshore racing in the Irish Sea, we're not referring to a story spanning only the 20th and 21st Centuries. On the contrary, it goes well back into the 1800s. And now, with the revival of keelboat sailing in the Mersey with several of Liverpool's myriad docks being given over to recreational use, we have in a sense come full circle with enthusiastic Dublin Bay support of the Bicentennial celebrations reflecting sailing links which go back almost 200 years

The Lyver Trophy is the Royal Dee's premier offshore challenge, and this year it is special, as it's a fully-accredited RORC event counting for points in the annual championship, and a highlight of the ISORA Programme 2015. It's start scheduled for yesterday evening in Holyhead will see the fleet – mostly regular ISORA contenders – sail a course of at least a hundred miles before finishing in Dun Laoghaire. Then as VDLR 2015 gets under way, races in it, combined with the Lyver Trophy results, will count as part of a series towards finding an overall winner of the RDYC Bicentennial Trophy.

Only entrants in the Lyver Trophy race are eligible, and for that race itself – which can be followed on the Averycrest Yellowbrick Tracker - the favourite has to be the Shanahan family's J/109 Ruth, still buoyed up by her great victory in the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race three weeks ago.

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Back in The Bay – the Shanahan family's J/109 Ruth will be back in her home waters of Dublin Bay after winning the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race and completing the Lyver Trophy Race from Holyhead which started last night. Photo: David O'Brien

At the other end of the size scale, the VDLR2015 Dublin Bay programme includes several dinghy classes, and the biggest fleet will be mustered by the International GP 14s, who have designated the racing in Dublin Bay as their Leinster Championship. In an interview with Sailing on Saturday in March, VDLR Chairman Tim Goodbody emphasised that, overall, the event should be seen as a regatta rather than a championship, and for most boats that's just what it will be. But the GP 14s with their great esprit de corps have always done things their own way, and with their compact boat size – albeit comprising a large fleet of dinghies – they reckon they can get in a proper championship while sharing in the fun of the event.

v6.jpgThe brothers John and Donal McGuinness of Moville Sailing Club in Donegal are expected to be among the pace-setters in the GP 14 class with their superb Alistair Duffin-built boat. Photo: W M Nixon

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The GP 14 Ulsters 2015 were recently won on Lough Erne by Shane MacCarthy & Damian Bracken of Greystones

As to who is favourite, the McGuinness brothers – Donal and John - from Moville in Donegal, with their top-of-the-line Duffin boat built in Northern Ireland, have to be in the reckoning after being top Irish at last year's Worlds on Strangford Lough, but there's fresh blood in the fleet with the newest class developing at Youghal, while this year's recent Ulster Championship on Lough Erne was won by the Greystones duo of Shane MacCarthy and Damian Bracken.

The dozen and more boats coming south from Scotland, most of them substantial cruiser-racers, are testimony to a growing trend in sailing on Europe's Atlantic seaboard. Given a choice of venues, your average yachtie on this long coastline will incline to head south if at all possible. Other things being equal, it's reckoned the further south you go the warmer it is likely to be. And from the upper reaches of the Firth of Clyde, there are times when Dublin Bay might seem like the distant and sunny Mediterranean.

Maybe so, but we'd caution that much depends on the moods and location of that all-powerful weather determinant, the northern Polar Jetstream. In July, so long as it's well clear of Ireland -whether to the north or the south - we will have glorious high summer, and that occurred for the previous VDLR back in 2013, where the photos speak for themselves.

So we hope for the best in looking forward to welcoming a fleet of around 415 boats to Dun Laoghaire between July 9th and 12th, with all four of our in-harbour yacht clubs extending the hand of hospitality in a regatta tradition that goes right back to 1828. But while heritage and ceremonial are all very well in their place, it's the prospect of good sport which energises the participants and their sailing, and with several major contests already logged in 2015, what can we expect on the leaderboards next week?

At the top of the tree, Class 0 has formidable competition, including former Scottish champion Jonathan Anderson racing his XP38i Roxstar against the Royal Cork's Conor Phelan with the Ker 37 Jump Juice, which was one of the best performers in last year's ICRA Nationals at the same venue, and this year again became a force to be reckoned with as the breeze sharpened in the four day Kinsale ICRA Nats 2015/Sovereigns Cup a week ago.

v8.jpgFreshly squeezed – her storming finish to last weekend's final race of the ICRA Nats/Sovereigns Cup at Kinsale makes Conor Phelan's Ker 37 Jump Juice one of the top contenders in the VDLR2015. Photo: David O'Brien

With a win in the final race, Jump Juice came in second to seasoned campaigner George Sisk's class overall winning Farr 42 WOW (RIYC), the pair of them in turn displacing the early leader, lightweight flyer Mills 36 Crazy Horse (ICRA Commodore Nobby Reilly & Alan Chambers, HYC) down to third in the final day's racing, so Crazy Horse will be hoping for a return of lighter breezes when racing starts next Thursday on Dublin Bay.

In the previous Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta in 2013, the most successful boat in was Nigel Biggs' much-modified Humphreys Half Tonner Checkmate XV, but this year the Biggs team is racing as Checkmate Sailing with the newest boat in the fleet, the Mark Mills-designed American-built C & C 30 OD Checkmate XVI. She may be only 30ft LOA, but she's such a hot piece of work with so many go-fast bells and whistles that she has a rating of 1.140 to put her in Class 0.

The oldest boat in the cruiser-racer fleets will be found in Class 3, where the 44ft Huff of Arklow is making an historic return to Dublin Bay racing. Originally built in 1951 by Jack Tyrrell of Arklow to a design by dinghy genius Uffa Fox, Huff is so-called because her concept is reckoned three-quarters Uffa Fox and one quarter Douglas Heard. The latter was the founding President of the Irish Dinghy Racing Association in 1946, and he later went onto to become Commodore of the Royal St George YC and a noted cruising and offshore racing enthusiast with this unusual boat, which is like a very enlarged Fying Fifteen with a lid – in fact, with her 30ft-plus waterline, she was described as a Flying Thirty. In recent years she has undergone a total restoration with Cremyll Keelboats near Plymouth in Devon, and Dominic Bridgeman of the Cremyll group will be racing her with trainee crews in her old home waters of Dublin Bay.

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The Flying Thirty Huff of Arklow racing off Dublin Bay while under Douglas Heard's ownership in the 1950s. Built by Tyrrell's of Arklow in 1951, the hugely innovative Huff has recently had a major restoration, and will be making her return to Dublin Bay to take part in VDLR2015.

Among the newer boats on the bay, the 2013 champion Checkmate XV is still very much in the picture, but now she's owned by Howth's Dave Cullen, and took second overall in class in the Kinsale series a week ago. In Dun Laoghaire next week, she's with other Half Tonners at the lower end of the Class 2 rating band on 0.944, almost 200 rating points below the new Biggs boat. Class 2 also includes the Division 3 winner at Kinsale, Richard Colwell & Ronan Cobbe's Corby 25 Fusion (HYC) which bested VDLR 205 Chairman's Sigma 33 White Mischief in a real duel after they went into the final day's racing equal on points, while another Kinsale success story in the Class 2 lineup is Paddy Kyne's X302 Maximus from Howth, overall winner of the Portcullis Trophy for top ECHO boat.

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Dave Cullen's modified Half Tonner Checkmate XV will be looking to take the top slot on Dublin Bay after being runner-up in Kinsale. Photo: David O'Brien

In between the two Checkmates on ratings, we find most of the cruiser-racer fleet, with Class 1 shaping up some interesting competition between the likes of Paul O'Higgins Corby 33 Rockabill (RIYC), Kenneth Rumball skippering the Irish National Sailing School's Reflex 38 Lynx, and two very sharp First 35s, Prima Luce (Burke, Lemass & Flynn, NYC & RIYC) and another former Scottish Series champion, John Corson (Clyde Cr C) with Salamander XXI.

This year's Scottish Series Champion and the Afloat.ie "Sailor of the Month" for May, Rob McConnell of Dunmore East, will certainly be racing in the VDLR 2015, but whether or not it's with his all-conquering A35 Fool's Gold (second in class at Kinsale) or aboard another boat (a Flying Fifteen) remains to be seen. And the Top Sailor Count doesn't end there, as there'll be at least four Olympic sailors involved in four different classes, with Robin Hennessy racing in what has all the marks of a quality International Dragon fleet against the likes of former Edinburgh Cup winner Martin Byrne, Annalise Murphy racing in the Moths which will surely be a change from the Water Wag which she raced with her mother Cathy MacAleavy (also another ex-Olympian) last time round, and Mark Mansfield helming John Maybury's J/109 Joker 2. After Joker 2's class overall win in Kinsale, we can expect a battle royal in the J/109s with boats of the calibre of Ruth for the National title fight.

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The Shipman 28s find that the sport and socializing which the VDLR guarantees will provide some of their best racing of the year. Photo: VDLR

The J/109s are the queens of an impressive array of One Design keelboats which includes Sigma 33s (where VDLR 2015 Chairman Tim Goodbody's White Mischief is racing under the command of Paul McCarthy), Beneteau First 31.7s, Shipman 28s having one of their best gatherings of the year, Ruffian 23s with a good turnout, the attractive First 21s which are steadily gaining traction as a Dublin Bay class, and best OD keelboat turnout of all is by the Flying Fifteens, nearly all of them under the NYC flag.

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Olympians all – in VDLR2013, Olympic sailors Cathy MacAleavey (1988) and her daughter Annalise Murphy (2012) raced the family Water Wag Mollie. But while Cathy will be sailing Mollie again this year, Annalise will be on her own racing a foiling International Moth.

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Newest of the oldest – Adam Winkelmann and Doug Smith's new French built Water Wag No.46, Madameoiselle, has been launched in time for the regatta. Photo: Owen McNally

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The Howth 17s of 1898 vintage will be the oldest class racing. Photo: David Branigan

Veteran classes include the IDRA 14s from 1946, the Glens from 1945, the Howth 17s of 1898 which pre-date the 1902 Water Wags, and the 1932 Mermaids, the latter being in the interesting position of no longer having an official division in Dun Laoghaire, yet it's a Dun Laoghaire skipper, Jonathan O'Rourke of the National, who continues to dominate the class both at home and away.

With large fleet numbers afloat guaranteed, the shoreside programme is appropriately busy, with the official side of each day's racing concluded by the evening's daily prize-giving at one of the four waterfront clubs. But with so many sailors involved, there'll be action in all the clubs – and at other establishments in Dun Laoghaire - throughout the week. The scene is set, let the party begin at a venue which has been staging regattas since 1828.

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When the summer comes, the après sailing at the VDLR is world class. Photo: VDLR

Further reading:

Download the full entry list for Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2015 class by class below

Download the Sailing Instrcutions for Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2015 HERE

 

Published in W M Nixon

#isora – The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) in London and Dublin's headquartered Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association (ISORA) have joined forces to offer a unique offshore offering to Irish Sea sailors in July. 

ISORA boats can look forward to the cache of RORC medallions for their next race across the Irish Sea too!

The Lyver Race from Liverpool on Friday 3rd July  forms part of the Offshore Series of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta and kick starts another intense peiod of offshore racing in the Irish Sea that follows on from May's frustrating but enjoyable Isle of Man offshore weekend and the just finished Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race.

In effect July's Lyver Race is "four races in one" – Liverpool Yacht Club's Lyver Cup, ISORA Series, RORC Race and the part of the Royal Dee YC Offshore Championship.

RORC medallions will be presented by the Commodore of RORC, Dubliner Michael Boyd, in the National Yacht Club immediately after race results are issued. 

The Lyver Race is also part of the inaugural Royal Dee YC 200th Anniversary Offshore Championship that consists of five races – Lyver Race and the four Offshore Series in the VDLR on the following week in Dun Laoghaire.

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RORC Commodore Michael Boyd

Published in ISORA
Page 7 of 8

Irish Sailing

The Irish Sailing Association, also known as Irish Sailing, is the national governing body for sailing, powerboating and windsurfing in Ireland.

Founded in 1945 as the Irish Dinghy Racing Association, it became the Irish Yachting Association in 1964 and the Irish Sailing Association in 1992.

Irish Sailing is a Member National Authority (MNA) of World Sailing and a member of the Olympic Federation of Ireland.

The Association is governed by a volunteer board, elected by the member clubs. Policy Groups provide the link with members and stakeholders while advising the Board on specialist areas. There is a professional administration and performance staff, based at the headquarters in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.

Core functions include the regulation of sailing education, administering racing and selection of Irish sailors for international competition. It is the body recognised by the Olympic Federation of Ireland for nominating Irish qualified sailors to be considered for selection to represent Ireland at the Olympic Games. Irish sailors have medalled twice at the Olympics – David Wilkins and Jamie Wikinson at the 1980 games, and Annalise Murphy at the 2016 games.

The Association, through its network of clubs and centres, offers curriculum-based training in the various sailing, windsurfing and powerboating disciplines. Irish Sailing qualifications are recognised by Irish and European Authorities. Most prominent of these are the Yachtmaster and the International Certificate of Competency.

It runs the annual All-Ireland Championships (formerly the Helmsman’s Championship) for senior and junior sailors.

The Association has been led by leading lights in the sailing and business communities. These include Douglas Heard, Clayton Love Junior, John Burke and Robert Dix.

Close to 100 sailors have represented Ireland at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Membership of Irish Sailing is either by direct application or through membership of an affiliated organisation. The annual membership fee ranges from €75 for families, down to €20 for Seniors and Juniors.

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