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A Sigma 33 One Design keelboat racing on Dublin Bay Photo: AfloatA Sigma 33 One Design keelboat racing on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat

Displaying items by tag: Ballyholme Bay

Two Ballyholme Bay yachts, which would make a great match-racing pair, need a new home (or homes).

They are 22 ft plank-built sloops which were built on the Clyde in approximately 1939 for members of Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough, where a fleet raced until recently.

"They need some restoration. One has a couple of sprung planks, and the stem head on the other needs to be replaced", explains owner Ruan O'Tiarnaigh. 

Probably, decks need to be replaced on both, which would allow for the interior to be repainted, any issues below addressed, and the rudders re-stepped.

We are very keen to find new homes for these lovely boats as we don't want to see them lost. Free to a good home, they are available to view in Bangor, County Down.

"Lovely projects for Men's Shed or other teams. Please help find new homes for these lovely boats. Thank you", says O'Tiarnaigh. 

Read more about the Ballyholme Bay class here

For more information, please email [email protected].

Published in Historic Boats
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A Viking burial site was discovered at Ballyholme Bay on the North Down coast in 1903 suggesting that the Vikings landed there. Although the Belfast Kayak Club landed there, too last weekend on their Christmas outing, they certainly didn’t grab land or take any slaves. And their method of transport in the ninth century was very different from those Viking ships and Santa hats hadn’t been invented.

Belfast Kayak Club at GroomsportBelfast Kayak Club at Groomsport

Thirty-five paddlers turned out for the Christmas paddle from Groomsport, just a couple of miles east of the landing site at Ballyholme. The wind was just enough north of west to give a bit of a swell but that didn’t bother the raiding fleet. On arrival at the eastern end of the Bay, the paddlers enjoyed their lunch and hot mulled wine on a very cold day. The return paddle was somewhat easier with a following wind and tide.

The kayakers form a sunflower during their paddle to Ballyholme Photo: Billy CarnduffThe kayakers form a sunflower during their paddle to Ballyholme Photo: Billy Carnduff

Belfast Kayak Club was founded by John Napier and Mike Totten in early 2000 and became a charity in 2003. However, in many respects, the Club is significantly older, dating back some 12 years when Paddy Boyle and Brian Maguire ran canoeing sessions in the Robinson Centre in East Belfast, since renamed the Lisnansharragh Leisure Centre. It now has 192 members. BKC has storage facilities at Shaws Bridge on the River Lagan in Belfast and Groomsport.

The kayakers come ashore The kayakers come ashore 

Kayak events are held throughout the year, and the first in the 2023 calendar is a Coastal Navigation and Tide Planning course on Saturday, 14th January at Groomsport.

Belfast Kayak Club prepare the mulled wine on the shore at Ballyholme Photo: BKCBelfast Kayak Club prepare the mulled wine on the shore at Ballyholme Photo: BKC

Published in Belfast Lough
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That Scottish word dreich aptly described the weather at Ballyholme Bay on Belfast Lough the last weekend in October – wet, dull and dreary – but livened up by the colourful windsurfers and wingfoils.They were there for the Ulster Windsurfing Championships – an Irish Windsurfing Association-ranked event.

The event was run in association with the Irish Windsurfing Association and sponsored by Boardwise, OTC, Energia Group and Wild Atlantic Surf Co. It was billed as being made up of the Ulster Championships and Coastal

Windsurf/Wing foiling on the Saturday and Novice Windsurfing on Sunday, 23rd October 2022, but the absence of novices did cut the entry considerably.

Ulster Windsurfing Championships on Ballyholme BayUlster Windsurfing Championships on Ballyholme Bay

The light winds on the first day curtailed the excitement, but the Sunday brought a better breeze with some challenging conditions, especially to the east of the headland called Ballymacormick Point.

Ulster Windsurfing Championships on Ballyholme Bay

On the podium on Saturday were Hannes Louet-Feisser from Carlingford in first place, who won overall last year, and the runner-up was the far-travelled Martin Pelican from Cork. Third was the local man, Richard Honeyford.

Sunday saw the Coastal Foil Race in more testing conditions, open to windfoils (foiling windsurfers) and wing foils (foiling boards with inflatable wing sails).

The overall first prize and 1st windfoil went to Andrew Gallagher, with Martin Pelican runner up. In third slot was Chris Loughridge from Belfast.

Published in Kitesurfing

Ballyholme Bay in Bangor on Belfast Lough is a Jekyll-&-Hyde sort of place. For much of the time, it’s serene, with excellent sailing waters off a neat urban waterfront above a tidy esplanade on its western shoreline, while the eastern part is bounded by the unspoilt rural peace and quiet beauty of Ballymacormick Point.

Indeed, so sheltered is the usual mood in summer that for years it was the main yacht anchorage in the area, until the total year-round shelter of the Marina was created in Bangor Bay in the late 1980s. Now, all Ballyholme-based racing boats are dinghies, hauled after sailing.

Yet the chart suggests good anchorage in the bay. But that most assuredly is only when the wind is in the southern arc. For as the brisk onshore breezes of the National Youth Championship of the last four days at Ballyholme YC reminded us, when the wind’s a strong nor’easterly and low tide is approaching, Ballyholme Bay can give a passable impression of Sydney’s Bondi Beach.

The chart may suggest an anchorage, but it can become “uncomfortable” in anything other than a southerlyThe chart may suggest an anchorage, but it can become “uncomfortable” in anything other than a southerly.

And in a real nor’east gale, in those busy multiple-moorings days pre-1989, Ballyholme’s wicked Mr Hyde took over from the benign Dr Jekyll, with the anchorage becoming a maelstrom while the beach became a boats’ graveyard. But thanks to local ingenuity, even when a boat came ashore and seemed irretrievable, the situation could sometimes still be saved, and our header photo is a reminder of one happy outcome.

It’s 1935, and the boat on Ballyholme Beach as a nor’east gale pauses for breath before its next blast is R E Workman’s hefty gaff ketch Morna. Normally the Queen of the Fleet towards the head of Belfast Lough at Cultra, where R E Workman had Godlike status in Royal North of Ireland YC, Morna was too large to be hauled on the RNIYC slip. So as usual at season’s end, she had been left down-lough to overnight on a Ballyholme mooring, before Bertie Slater and his men in Bangor Shipyard beside Ballyholme YC hauled her on the next day’s high tide.

But a sneaky little deepening low pressure area swept up northwards into the Dover Straits from Biscay, and by the small hours an unforecast full nor’east gale was blowing into Ballyholme Bay. In the morning, there was Morna, the fine yacht of Bangor Shipyard’s most prized client, on the beach with no hope of hauling off towards the next high water as the nor’easter was now expected to increase again.

The Ballyholme Bay waterfront at its most sereneThe Ballyholme Bay waterfront at its most serene

Thus the prospect was that the rising tide and increasing breakers would sweep Morna towards destruction - battered by the surf, pounded on the beach, and then finally smashed against the stone face of the Esplanade. But Bertie Slater, a quietly tough man who successfully ran the yard for many years, was having none of it. He and his men stripped Morna of everything removable, laid out a fan of anchors towards the sea to hold her in place, and then drilled some substantial holes in her hull so that she would fill as the tide came in, making her as immovable as a half-tide rock.

The gale was finally abating as the tide ebbed, and there was Morna next day, seaweed-draped and very sandy perhaps, but largely unharmed. Bertie and his men quickly sealed off the holes they’d drilled, and she floated in near calm conditions to be immediately hauled. Although the winter fit-out involved an exceptional amount of cleaning and engine re-conditioning, Morna was launched as good as new in 1936, and still sails the seas, an award-winning classic.

The alternative – and fortunately rare – face of Ballyholme as a vigorous nor’easter does its stuff at high water.Ballyholme as a vigorous nor’easter does its stuff at high water

But not all Ballyholme beachings has such a happy outcome, and the local sailors developed thin skins when the subject of their exposed anchorage arose. Thus when Ronald Green, the Commodore of the recently-formed Strangford Lough Yacht Club, was Guest of Honour at a BYC Annual Dinner in the late 1930s, he induced an immediate frost with opening his speech by saying how much he enjoyed being at Ballyholme, “with its wonderful anchorage, sheltered as it is to the northeast by Ailsa Craig”.

For readers outside Ireland, we should point out that the conspicuous Scottish mountain islet of Ailsa Craig is all of forty miles away on the other side of the North Channel. Thus nor’easters really were quite the problem in Ballyholme when the moorings were in use, as there’d always be days when it was fresh enough to prevent sailing, but not so fresh as to have the inaccessible boats in the anchorage in danger.

For our bunch of frustrated sailing-mad feral youths at BYC, this problem was an opportunity. With no sailing possible, with any luck the club boatman would go home early. This gave us access to the club punt, a humble workboat of around 15ft which happened to have beautiful lines and three sets of rowing positions.

In those days the support film in the Bangor cinemas would often be about the surf-rescue boats of Bondi Beach in Sydney, so we knew the form. We’d liberate the club punt and borrow at least two sets of oars and go surfing on Ballyholme Beach in optimal tide conditions.

“We’d seen the Bondi Beach surfboat documentaries in the local cinema, so we knew the form….”“We’d seen the Bondi Beach surfboat documentaries in the local cinema, so we knew the form….”

Quite why we thought nobody would notice, heaven only knows, for inevitably somebody did. But as we had the club punt, they couldn’t get at us, and of course, we couldn’t hear them roaring from the beach above the noise of the surf.

It’s the best surfing I’ve ever had, and I speak as the Body-Surfing Champion (Ultra-Senior Hearing-Impaired Division) of Pollurian Cove in Cornwall. So next time you go to Ballyholme and there’s a northeasterly surf coming in on the launching slip, just remember that once upon a time, such conditions weren’t a problem - they were an opportunity.

Happy outcome – the ketch Morna in Bangor Marina in modern times. Photo: W M NixonHappy outcome – the ketch Morna in Bangor Marina in modern times. Photo: W M Nixon

Published in Belfast Lough
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Coming as it does from David Tasker - an Afloat.ie reader from the Isle of Wight - a typically Autumnal query received a day or two ago from this new owner of an interesting and much-loved vintage boat is one of those gems that could well trigger lines of enquiry which will still be trundling along at Christmas, such that before you know it, the days will be getting longer, and it will be time to think of fitting-out, with the Boat History File consigned for the summer to the top shelf - as it should be.

He attaches three photos, and tells us:

"I have just purchased what I believe to be a Dublin Bay 21. I understand she was bought back from Ireland in the 80s and restored around about 1994. I am trying to find her earlier history and wondered if you could help please".

It emerges that a previous owner, an English sailing enthusiast based for a while in Northern Ireland in the 1980s, had spotted the boat in a run-down state in Killyleagh on the shores of Strangford Lough. He fell in love as one does, and in trying to buy her, was assured by the owner that she was a Dublin Bay 21.

A Ballyholme Bay OD in another guise – Iolanthe on the slipway in the Isle of Wight in 2021. Photo courtesy David TaskerA Ballyholme Bay OD in another guise – Iolanthe on the slipway in the Isle of Wight in 2021. Photo courtesy David Tasker

The boat – Iolanthe is her name – was indeed just over 21ft long. And the members of Dublin Bay SC can be rightly proud that their time-honoured reputation for setting the gold standard in One-Designs as visualised by creative legends of the calibre of William Fife and Alfred Mylne is such that the "Dublin Bay" name was invoked as redolent of quality in a place like Killyleagh.

For in normal circumstances, a favourable attitude to Dublin is emphatically not part of the Killyleagh mind-set. This is despite the fact that the little town is indirectly but tangibly linked to William Rowan Hamilton (1805-1865). He's the astronomer and mathematical genius who, during a stroll along the Royal Canal in Dublin in 1843, had such a flash of insight into a solution to the problem of quaternions that he immediately scratched his new formula into the stonework of Broom Bridge in Cabra.

Eureka Killyleagh style….Broom Bridge on the Royal Canal in Dublin, where William Rowan Hamilton inscribed his new theory……Eureka Killyleagh style….Broom Bridge on the Royal Canal in Dublin, where William Rowan Hamilton inscribed his new theory……

…..a piece of inspired graffiti which has now been given retrospective respectability through proper commemoration.…..a piece of inspired graffiti which has now been given retrospective respectability through proper commemoration.

It has to be said that the Killyleagh owner of Iolanthe back in the 1980s had a flash of best Rowan Hamilton-quality inspiration in describing Iolanthe as a Dublin Bay 21. The DB21s – now in process of restoration through Hal Sisk and Fionan de Barra working with Steve Morris of Kilrush Boatyard – are unmistakably an Alfred Mylne design, 21ft on the waterline and 31ft in hull overall length. But Iolanthe is none of these things.

Classic Mylne…..the restored Dublin Bay 21 Garavogue racing in the Royal Irish YC end-of-season Pursuit Race 2021. Photo: Gilly GoodbodyClassic Mylne…..the restored Dublin Bay 21 Garavogue racing in the Royal Irish YC end-of-season Pursuit Race 2021. Photo: Gilly Goodbody

For she, on the other hand, may potentially be a little sit-in weekend cruiser. But at 21.75ft LOA, 15.5ft LWL, 5.75ft beam and 3ft draft, her dimensions are put in perspective when we realise they aren't that much larger than those of a Flying Fifteen, which is a very sit-on sort of boat, but comes with the aura of being an Uffa Fox design.

It was far from the exalted world of Uffa Fox and William Fife and Alfred Mylne that the design of the little Iolanthe emerged, but it's an intriguing story nevertheless. That said, it's told here from memory and inference while we let various researchers do things in their own time.

Thus we're winging it, and not for the first time. But it is a fact that in the latter half of the 1930s the British Royal Family was going through some turmoil, and when a reasonably normal couple saved the dynasty by having their Coronation as King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937, the marine industry celebrated with some boatbuilders describing their broadly standard products as the Coronation Class.

One such was a little Scottish firm in the Firth of Clyde called James Colhoun & Co, who are recalled as being based in Dunoon, but nobody remembers them there, so it may have been Troon. That they existed there's no doubt, for in Lloyds Register of 1964 they're listed as having become Colhoun & Sons, but without an address – they're only in the Register because the greatest success of their own-designed new Coronation OD was as the Ballyholme Bay Class.

In 1938, Ballyholme YC on Belfast Lough took an option on 12 of the boats, eventually reduced to nine which successful raced as the Ballyholme Bay Class for many years. With understandable pride in their new senior keelboat OD class, they emphatically described them first as the Bay Class, and later as the Ballyholme Bay class.

The Ballyholme Bay ODs shaping up for some club racing – the design origins as the Coronation OD by Colhoun & Co were submerged in local pride. Photo: W M NixonThe Ballyholme Bay ODs shaping up for some club racing – the design origins as the Coronation OD by Colhoun & Co were submerged in local pride. Photo: W M Nixon

Thus when two or three of the Coronation Class (possible originally intended for Balyholme) found their way to Strangford Lough as individual boats, the thriving Ballyholme Class ignored their existence as they put through their own hectic annual programme on Belfast Lough.

A highlight was their annual visit to the Regatta at Carrickergus, where the Bay Class provided some of the strength for an informal but brutal rugby match between Bangor and Carrick sailors on the green between the Anchor Inn and the historic castle, while the social pace in the Inn itself was set by the Bay Class's most heroic toper, a gnarled character of magnificently colourful nasal architecture whose day job was the sacred task of supplying and tuning the finest church organs in Northern Ireland.

It's difficult to say exactly why the Ballyholme Bay class are either defunct or at the very least in mothballs, though some would argue that their surviving rivals of the Waverley Class had deeper local roots, as they were designed by John Wylie of Whitehead, and built at yards on the shores of Belfast Lough.

Yet the 29ft River Class on Strangford Lough are – like the Ballyholme Bays - entirely Scottish in origin, having been designed by Alfred Mylne and all twelve built either at his own yard at Ardmaleish on Bute, or in the boatyard next door. But this has in no way hindered the Rivers' increasing good health in recent years, with all twelve in action for the class's Centenary in 2021.

As for Iolanthe, by 1997 the enchanted owner who had bought her in Killyleagh had brought her home to the Isle of Wight for a very thorough restoration with Will Squibb and Eddie Wade at Bembridge in one of those workshops which are mini-temples to the arts and crafts of the shipwright.

A mini-temple to the arts and crafts of the shipwright – Iolanthe being restored in the Bembridge workshop. Photo courtesy David TaskerA mini-temple to the arts and crafts of the shipwright – Iolanthe being restored in the Bembridge workshop. Photo courtesy David Tasker

And since then, Iolanthe has proven her seaworthy credentials by cruising down channel as far as Dartmouth in Devon, which is rather further and more exposed than the passage to the Narrows Regatta in Strangford Lough occasionally achieved by the Ballyholme Bay Class.

Iolanthe's latest owner may have to accept that he doesn't have a Dublin Bay 21, or a Dublin Bay anything. But in fact, he may have something rather more special, as there's now a charming corner of the Isle of Wight that is forever Ballyholme.

A little corner of the Isle of Wight which is forever Ballyholme – with an enlarged headsail, Iolanthe is providing improved performance. Photo courtesy David TaskerA little corner of the Isle of Wight which is forever Ballyholme – with an enlarged headsail, Iolanthe is providing improved performance. Photo courtesy David Tasker

Published in W M Nixon

The yacht Aries has been sheltering in Ballyholme Bay from the strong southerly and while Bangor Marina is closed due to COVID-19.

Aries is a one-off 43 ft steel ketch owned by Simon Layton, a former UKSA instructor and friend of David Bridges whose project this is, a fundraising effort for Veterans Outreach Support. VOS is a drop-in service for ex-members of the British Armed Forces, the Merchant Navy and their partners.

The original aim was to sail around the UK in an anti-clockwise direction hoping that before stopovers they would radio ahead and see if anyone from VOS who would like to join them on the next leg. They had hoped to do some speaking at clubs along the way. But by the time they passed Cape Wrath the lockdown had started so unfortunately for the fund-raising effort, there would be no interaction ashore or additional crew.

David Bridges and Simon Layton with yacht AriesDavid Bridges (left) and Simon Layton with yacht Aries

David from the Isle of Wight is a former member of the Armed Forces who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He served several tours in Northern Ireland and Bosnia and after military service was a finance director of a bank in Jersey but took early retirement after the onset of PTSD and moving to the Island.

He said: "PTSD is a mental condition which affects the brain. It makes me hyper-observant and I'm always looking around to see if I am going to be affected by any trouble around me. It's caused through combat, or what I have seen doing my duty. It gradually hit me ten years after leaving the army and I slipped into depression. I see a psychiatrist who thinks this challenge will give me an objective and will be a calming influence on me."

The pair set off from Yarmouth (IOW) and having picked up a crew member in Portsmouth, continued along the English Channel and then north via Scarborough and Wick, round the north of Scotland followed by Cape Wrath and southwards taking in Kinlochbervie, Skye and Tobermory before entering Belfast Lough.

David's sponsors include the car dealership Esplanade, and IT Specialists, RDS Global. The fundraising page for VOS is here

Published in Belfast Lough

#RNLI - RNLI Bangor's lifeboat launched at 4pm on Friday (12 July) to assist with the medical evacuation of an unconscious sailor from a 26ft yacht.

Within minutes of the rescue pagers being activated, volunteer crew had the lifeboat launched and quickly located the yacht in Ballyholme Bay, on the southern shores of Belfast Lough.

Crews from other vessels in the vicinity also quickly responded to the Mayday call; they had been able to come alongside the yacht and had administered first aid to the injured sailor. Once medically stabilised, the sailor was taken onboard the Bangor lifeboat.

Fine weather conditions allowed the lifeboat to proceed at full speed back to Bangor, were the injured sailor was transferred into the care of waiting paramedics.

Dr Iain Dobie, a volunteer crewman with RNLI Bangor, praised the actions of all crews involved.

"When the call for help went out we are pleased that crews from other vessels close by had quickly responded and provided vital medical assistance. They did a fantastic job, by the time we arrived the gentleman was conscious."

He added: "We all wish him a full and speedy recovery."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

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]