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The Mediterranean’s premier 600-mile offshore classic looks well set for October
COVID-19With six months to go to the start of the 42nd Rolex Middle Sea Race on Saturday, 23 October, the Mediterranean’s premier 600-mile offshore classic looks well set. Some 47 yachts from 17 countries have entered, currently ranging in size…
The 42nd Rolex Middle Sea Race will start on Saturday, 23 October 2021
All being well, the 42nd Rolex Middle Sea Race will start on Saturday, 23 October 2021. The Notice of Race is available online and yachts may already register to participate. Given the ongoing global pandemic causing so much disruption, there…
Appropriately named Elusive is the first yacht in 40 years for a boat to repeat success in consecutive years in the Middle Sea Race
1700 CEST: It is the year that just keeps on giving. By midnight on Wednesday, 15 of the 50-boat fleet had completed the course. Ten of those were competing under IRC for the overall Rolex Middle Sea Race Trophy and…
Elusive 2 arrives into port after winning the 2020 Middle Sea Race
At 15:00 CEST today (Thursday, 22 October 2020) the winner of the 41st edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race was announced as the Maltese First 45 Elusive 2, skippered by Aaron, Christoph and Maya Podesta. As Afloat reported earlier,…
The Podesta family's First 45 looks set to make it two in a row in the annual Rolex Middle Sea Race
A strengthening breeze from the southeast has brought the key middle group of top handicap win contenders in the 41st Rolex Middle Sea Race from Lampedusa through the night and the early hours of this morning to the finish at…
The First 45 Elusive 2 (left) and the xP44 Expresso dicing for it shortly after the start of the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Their fates could not have been more different – Expresso was an early retiral with a broken forestay, while the Podesta family's Elusive 2 has just taken over the overall IRC lead at the Lampedusa turn
After an excellent Pantellaria to Lampedusa leg, Middle Sea Race defending champion Elusive 2 (Podesta family, Royal Malta YC) has just corrected into the overall lead, and up ahead the Volvo 70 I Love Poland (Konrad Lipski) has finally made…
I Love Poland (POL), skippered by Grzegorz Baranowski
I Love Poland (POL), skippered by Grzegorz Baranowski crossed the finish line of the 2020 Rolex Middle Sea Race at the Royal Malta Yacht Club to take Monohull Line Honours at 11:58:05 CEST today (Wednesday 21st October) in an elapsed…
Mana (ITA), owned by Riccardo Pavoncelli
Bangor's Mikey Ferguson has come a long way since he learned to sail at a young age in Ballyholme on Belfast Lough. Racing with the MOD70 experts, Brian Thompson and Peter Cummings on board the Riccardo Pavoncelli owned MOD70 Mana…
Middle Sea Race multihull handicap winner Mana (foreground) hanging in with the slightly higher-rated Maserati. Maserati's narrow win on the water converted into a handicap win for Mana by just 4 minutes and 23 seconds
If you know it's going to be a light airs Middle Sea offshore race, you'd reckon a stripped out and race-proven TP52 would be a good all-round bet, with her ability to comfortably outsail anything smaller, yet with an uncanny…
Giovanni Soldini's Multi70 Maserati
Maserati Multi70 (ITA), skippered by Giovanni Soldini, crossed the finish line of the 2020 Rolex Middle Sea Race at the Royal Malta Yacht Club to take Multihull Line Honours at 20:41:31 CEST on Monday 19th October in an elapsed time…
The Rolex Middle Sea Race mono-hull leader, I Love Poland, a Volvo 70, comes past Stromboli at a safe distance not to avoid volcanic eruptions, but to stay out of the notorious inshore calms
Racing offshore in the Mediterranean is usually quite a quirky experience, but although the 606-mile 41st Rolex Middle Sea Race has been in progress for just a few hours over two days, it is already excelling many of its predecessors…
Tacks-free zone……the R-P/Marteen 72 Aragon leads the Rolex Middle Sea Race start out of Valetta Harbour with Nin O'Leary on the helm in an exemplary tacking-free exit
Nice one, Nin. With a sailing rockstar recruited into your crew, it's reasonable to expect a 22-carat gold rockstar introduction to the on-stage performance. And Crosshaven super-helm Nin O'Leary certainly came up with the goods at the start of the…
The start of the Middle Sea Race at Grand Harbour, Valetta
Day One: (17.00 CEST) Even with a reduced fleet, half the size of recent years, it was hard to not get sucked into the emotion and atmosphere of today’s Rolex Middle Sea Race start. The 41st edition got underway, as…
Mikey Ferguson is racing on the Mana MOD70 crew
Mikey Ferguson from Bangor on Belfast Lough was looking forward yesterday (16th) to getting going on the MOD70 Mana in the 41st Edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race which started today from the historic Grand Harbour in Malta's capital…
Handsome is as handsome does – the uncompromising Lombard 45 Pata Negra – used for several Howth YC successes – has been chartered by ISORA's Andrew Hall of Pwllheli for today's (Saturday) 41st Rolex Middle Sea Race from Malta
People have been unobtrusively getting on with sailing in many places during the pandemic, determinedly maintaining social distance afloat and ashore, reducing their interaction with outsiders to such a minimum it's almost non-existent, and doing it all thoughtfully, with properly-located…
41st Middle Sea Offshore Race is Ready to Roll
Famed for its magnificent offshore race course and revered for the scale of the challenge it presents, the Rolex Middle Sea Race is one of the most prominent events on the international yachting calendar. The 41st edition of the race…

How to sail, sailing clubs and sailing boats plus news on the wide range of sailing events on Irish waters forms the backbone of Afloat's sailing coverage.

We aim to encompass the widest range of activities undertaken on Irish lakes, rivers and coastal waters. This page describes those sailing activites in more detail and provides links and breakdowns of what you can expect from our sailing pages. We aim to bring jargon free reports separated in to popular categories to promote the sport of sailing in Ireland.

The packed 2013 sailing season sees the usual regular summer leagues and there are regular weekly race reports from Dublin Bay Sailing Club, Howth and Cork Harbour on Afloat.ie. This season and last also featured an array of top class events coming to these shores. Each year there is ICRA's Cruiser Nationals starts and every other year the Round Ireland Yacht Race starts and ends in Wicklow and all this action before July. Crosshaven's Cork Week kicks off on in early July every other year. in 2012 Ireland hosted some big international events too,  the ISAF Youth Worlds in Dun Laoghaire and in August the Tall Ships Race sailed into Dublin on its final leg. In that year the Dragon Gold Cup set sail in Kinsale in too.

2013 is also packed with Kinsale hosting the IFDS diabled world sailing championships in Kinsale and the same port is also hosting the Sovereign's Cup. The action moves to the east coast in July with the staging of the country's biggest regatta, the Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta from July 11.

Our coverage though is not restricted to the Republic of Ireland but encompasses Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Irish Sea area too. In this section you'll find information on the Irish Sailing Association and Irish sailors. There's sailing reports on regattas, racing, training, cruising, dinghies and keelboat classes, windsurfers, disabled sailing, sailing cruisers, Olympic sailing and Tall Ships sections plus youth sailing, match racing and team racing coverage too.

Sailing Club News

There is a network of over 70 sailing clubs in Ireland and we invite all clubs to submit details of their activities for inclusion in our daily website updates. There are dedicated sections given over to the big Irish clubs such as  the waterfront clubs in Dun Laoghaire; Dublin Bay Sailing Club, the Royal Saint George Yacht Club,  the Royal Irish Yacht Club and the National Yacht Club. In Munster we regularly feature the work of Kinsale Yacht Club and Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven.  Abroad Irish sailors compete in Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) racing in the UK and this club is covered too. Click here for Afloat's full list of sailing club information. We are keen to increase our coverage on the network of clubs from around the coast so if you would like to send us news and views of a local interest please let us have it by sending an email to [email protected]

Sailing Boats and Classes

Over 20 active dinghy and one design classes race in Irish waters and fleet sizes range from just a dozen or so right up to over 100 boats in the case of some of the biggest classes such as the Laser or Optimist dinghies for national and regional championships. Afloat has dedicated pages for each class: Dragons, Etchells, Fireball, Flying Fifteen, GP14, J24's, J80's, Laser, Sigma 33, RS Sailing, Star, Squibs, TopperMirror, Mermaids, National 18, Optimist, Puppeteers, SB3's, and Wayfarers. For more resources on Irish classes go to our dedicated sailing classes page.

The big boat scene represents up to 60% of the sail boat racing in these waters and Afloat carries updates from the Irish Cruiser Racer Association (ICRA), the body responsible for administering cruiser racing in Ireland and the popular annual ICRA National Championships. In 2010 an Irish team won the RORC Commodore's Cup putting Irish cruiser racing at an all time high. Popular cruiser fleets in Ireland are raced right around the coast but naturally the biggest fleets are in the biggest sailing centres in Cork Harbour and Dublin Bay. Cruisers race from a modest 20 feet or so right up to 50'. Racing is typically divided in to Cruisers Zero, Cruisers One, Cruisers Two, Cruisers Three and Cruisers Four. A current trend over the past few seasons has been the introduction of a White Sail division that is attracting big fleets.

Traditionally sailing in northern Europe and Ireland used to occur only in some months but now thanks to the advent of a network of marinas around the coast (and some would say milder winters) there are a number of popular winter leagues running right over the Christmas and winter periods.

Sailing Events

Punching well above its weight Irish sailing has staged some of the world's top events including the Volvo Ocean Race Galway Stopover, Tall Ships visits as well as dozens of class world and European Championships including the Laser Worlds, the Fireball Worlds in both Dun Laoghaire and Sligo.

Some of these events are no longer pure sailing regattas and have become major public maritime festivals some are the biggest of all public staged events. In the past few seasons Ireland has hosted events such as La Solitaire du Figaro and the ISAF Dublin Bay 2012 Youth Worlds.

There is a lively domestic racing scene for both inshore and offshore sailing. A national sailing calendar of summer fixtures is published annually and it includes old favorites such as Sovereign's Cup, Calves Week, Dun Laoghaire to Dingle, All Ireland Sailing Championships as well as new events with international appeal such as the Round Britain and Ireland Race and the Clipper Round the World Race, both of which have visited Ireland.

The bulk of the work on running events though is carried out by the network of sailing clubs around the coast and this is mostly a voluntary effort by people committed to the sport of sailing. For example Wicklow Sailing Club's Round Ireland yacht race run in association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club has been operating for over 30 years. Similarly the international Cork Week regatta has attracted over 500 boats in past editions and has also been running for over 30 years.  In recent years Dublin Bay has revived its own regatta called Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta and can claim to be the country's biggest event with over 550 boats entered in 2009.

On the international stage Afloat carries news of Irish and UK interest on Olympics 2012, Sydney to Hobart, Volvo Ocean Race, Cowes Week and the Fastnet Race.

We're always aiming to build on our sailing content. We're keen to build on areas such as online guides on learning to sail in Irish sailing schools, navigation and sailing holidays. If you have ideas for our pages we'd love to hear from you. Please email us at [email protected]

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