Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing


afloat sailing header

Displaying items by tag: Irish National Sailing School

It was about 1 am off the coast of County Kerry when John White came off the helm of Jedi, a J109, competing in the 2018 Round Ireland Yacht Race. Facing 30-knots on the nose and three to four metre seas, as White moved forward, a large wave crashed over the boat, knocking him overboard.

White joined helmsman Kenneth Rumball to share their learnings from the successful recovery of John, a fate that lead to Kenneth being awarded the RORC Seamanship Trophy.

INSS JediThe INSS Jedi competing in the 2018 Round Ireland Race. Photo:

Both describe in detail the key points they think lead to the successful recovery of John, proper preparation, pre-sailing drills, sufficient training for all the crew and ultimately having the right gear, as well as knowing how to use it.

White describes the surreal experience of being away from the boat, and the exemplary Seamanship exploits undertaken to retrieve him safely, and indeed get back racing. Rumball shares his experiences as Skipper but emphasises how the training he provides in the day job as chief instructor at the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School kicked in. A frank and sobering discussion on the good fortune it was to correctly install AIS MOB devices, ensure that everyone had the latest lifesaving kit is undertaken.

This is a must-watch for any skipper or crew member who races offshore but would appeal to a wider audience with an interest in yachting as John and Kenneth recant the compelling story, which thankfully had a happy outcome.


The video (above) is divided into chapters as follows:

  • Preparation - 2 mins 30 seconds
  • Build Up - 14 mins 20 seconds
  • Man Overboard - 20 mins 20 second
  • The water - 30mins 20 seconds
  • Gear - 34 mins 40 seconds
  • Recovery - 51 mins 00 seconds
  • Rest of the Race - 1 hour 10 mins 40 seconds
Published in Round Ireland

The Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School have just teamed up with Quarterdeck & The Yacht Week to provide Irish sailors with a gateway to become skippers and hosts and enter the world of working in the yacht charter industry.

What is Quarterdeck?

Quarterdeck is the recruitment agency for skippers and hosts worldwide. They provide a tailored Academy that polishes your current skills in order to work with their exclusive partner The Yacht Week along with several other private charter partners in destinations such as Croatia, Greece, Montenegro, British Virgin Islands and many more.

What is The Yacht Week?

“The Best Job In The World!” The Yacht Week is known as a flotilla festival, where skippers and hosts can develop their charter skills while working in a friendly environment, with a community that is there to support and help them grow.

Take it to the next level and spend a summer working at The Yacht Week. Meet friends from all over the world and be part of a truly international team. Skipper for a crew of 10 on a yacht in Croatia, Greece or Montenegro, while being a part of The Yacht Week flotilla of up to 100 yachts per week. Make lasting friendships with people from all over the world and get paid to do it. Whether you are looking to work for a couple of weeks or the entire summer, Quarterdeck wants you!

As a skipper or host for QD you are working on yachts with 6-10 guests onboard. The skipper and host are tasked with making the week exceptional for their guests while keeping them safe.

How does it work?

  1. Apply for Quarterdeck academy
  2. Get the required licences. As a partner school of Quarterdeck, the INSS is a recommended choice. The instructors are familiar with the Quarterdeck’s training programme so are the best suited for preparing you for the academy.
  3. Attend the weeklong Quarterdeck Academy (five weeks to choose from in April or May).
  4. After passing the academy, Irish sailors are officially part of the team and can now work for The Yacht Week (June, July, August).

Skipper Requirements?

  • Recognised skipper licence (ideally RYA Yachtmaster)
  • VHF licence
  • First Aid Certificate
  • A love for sailing


Getting an RYA Licence

Contact the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School by email [email protected] or call 01 2844195.

Joining Quarterdeck Academy

The Academy applications are now open for Spring of 2020. Interested sailors should email [email protected] for any queries.

Published in INSS

What is the Irish National Sailing School at Dun Laoghaire Harbour up to now? The answer to that question is: "We're off to film Iceland", School Principal Alistair Rumball told Afloat as his film services division was packed on to trailers this week.

The intrepid Dublin sailing school and film services company have a much sought after marine expertise and that means the INSS crew are often travelling far and wide with plenty of equipment including RIBS, trailers and props such as Viking ships.

Rumball wouldn't be drawn on the name of the next blockbuster, such is the level of confidentiality on these matters, but he did tell Afloat the INSS is heading to Reykjavik on a special assignment. 

Rumball has developed a busy marine services division for film and television, with titles such as “Saving Private Ryan”, “Robin Hood”, “PS I Love You” and “The Guard” part of the INSS show reel.

INSS trailerThe INSS trailer

The largest and most recent project was the TV series “Vikings” filmed in Ireland at locations including Lugala, Loch Dan and off Wicklow head. Alistair not only provides marine co-ordination for up to 200 cast and crew on the water but also organises all the logistics of getting countless craft, including 50ft Viking Ships, onto location.

Check out a few of the videos for a flavour of this work here

Published in INSS

Last weekend over 60 international skippers and boaters were welcomed to the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School at Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

The West Pier venue hosted Quarterdeck Academy’s annual Skipper and Host Regatta, which saw close, lively and enjoyable racing from Dun Laoghaire aboard twelve 1720s. Crews comprised people from all over the globe, with the many European countries, the United States, Canada and South Africa particularly well represented.

Racing commenced on Sunday morning and Race Officer Kenneth Rumball got five races in for the day. Racing was facilitated by teamwork from a variety of Dun Laoghaire sailing establishments, with INSS boats, joined by RIYC and RSGYC fleets. This close cooperation happens every week of the Summer months, and it is a testament to all these organisations committed to facilitating participation on the bay.

Check out a video of the racing action…

Monday’s programme was lost to 35-40 knot gusts, however, the international guests more used to Sunnier climes of Croatia, Greece and the British Virgin Island took to the water to experience and Irish Sea South Easterly in the school’s fleet of large passenger RIBs.

Chief Instructor Kenneth Rumball was thrilled to see so many familiar faces, both former instructors in the school now making a living in the marine industry as well as graduates of the school’s yachting courses. “The weekend was particularly rewarding, seeing skills and training put to use. This is what the school is all about, allowing people to live out their boating dreams”.

In total, over 100 Quarterdeck Academy members spent a long weekend in Dublin, with the itinerary including a trip to the Guinness Storehouse on Saturday, Dinner in the CHQ on Sunday evening, and plenty of time to sample the Dublin nightlife too. The draw for all of this tourist group was well organised and fun racing on the ideal training ground of Dublin Bay – drawing over 200 bed nights on the weekend alone. Both why come to Ireland for a weekend, when you can tour the country for the rest of the week? One Irish Skipper turned tour guide, encouraged a large crew to travel the length and breadth of the country seeing all it is Ireland has to offer, after of course, seeing what in the school’s humble opinion is Ireland’s best offering, it's sailing!

The event has served as an excellent trial run for this style of activity, and plans are already afoot to build on the success of the weekend with a similar programme tailored to introducing more people to racing on Dublin Bay.

Published in INSS

The Irish National Sailing School (INSS) is seeking a full-time Instructor and co-ordinator. The successful candidate will also provide coordination assistance for the operation of a busy watersports centre.

Role Description

  • Role: Full Time Sailing Instructor / Operations Coordinator
  • Duration: 1-year contract starting immediately
  • Salary: Based on Experience
  • Hours: Wednesday to Sunday from September to May, Monday to Friday from June to August. Some flexibility is required.

  • Role Pre-requisites and Training Scope
  • Irish Sailing/RYA Dinghy Instructor Certificate
  • Irish Sailing/RYA Powerboat Level 2 Certificate
  • Applications are also welcome for candidates who hold senior instructor qualifications.

The school is also happy to take on a candidate with a dinghy instructor qualification, who will be mentored by a team of experienced senior instructors with a view to undertaking a senior instructor qualification during the contract.

Additional training in all aspects of boating may be made available with significant potential for advancement in the marine sector.


All parties with interest should send their CV to [email protected], using the reference "Full Time Sailing Instructor / Operations Coordinator" in the subject title. Interviews will be happening immediately.

Published in Jobs

170 adults and children took to the waters of Dun Laoghaire Harbour and Dublin Bay last Sunday 5th May to try sailing, kayaking and paddleboarding at the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School Open Day.

New sailors got to grips with the schools 1720 fleet exploring the bay while kayakers and paddleboarders traversed the sheltered inner harbour areas. The school held its annual open day in partnership with the Irish National Sailing Club, established to allow graduates of the courses to continue sailing in a relaxed and friendly manner. Many club members joined sailors out on the various boats, sharing information about a simple continuous pathway for the new sailor to follow from an introductory course through to regular participant.

"The model developed by the school and club has proved successful in getting adults who have never sailed before to become regular sailors"

The model developed by the school and club has proved successful in getting adults who have never sailed before to become regular sailors. This was on show in force and everyone is hopeful for new this year's latest batch of new regular sailors to come from the initiative. 

Speaking about the event Glyn Williams, Marketing & Communications Manager from the INSS was delighted with attendance. “With 170 people out enjoying Dun Laoghaire Harbour and Dublin Bay, we’ve had our busiest open day ever. It was brilliant to see so many people meeting instructors from the school and INSC members, who were in the exact same place as them recently”.

All participants will now be encouraged to keep up their newfound skill, with the objective to have a new group of regular water users out before the end of the Summer.

“We’ve reoriented all our programmes to provide the most simple and streamlined route for both adults and children to become regular participants on the water. We’ve had no choice but to respond to potential sailors needs, and that’s the secret of the success”.

Published in INSS

Irish National Marine Services have announced a demonstration day of RS Sailing craft on Sunday 28th April at the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School in Dun Laoghaire. Included in the line up will be the new RS21 keelboat, with opportunities to get sailing on this exciting design.

There’ll also be a selection of RS Sailing’s training fleet of RS Quests and RS Zests. A demo RS Aero will also be on the water for trials.

"Included in the line up will be the new RS21 keelboat"

The Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School’s office will manage bookings for time slots to ensure everyone gets out on their chosen boat for a test sail of between an hour and an hour and a half. Full changing and clubhouse facilities will be provided by the INSS ashore, and the RS Sailing Agent Kenneth Rumball will be afloat to chat about the boats and help out with the demos.

Irish National Marine Services are looking forward to welcoming all on the 28th of April. 

Enquiries about time slots to 01 2844195 or email [email protected]

Published in INSS

The Irish National Sailing Club hosts the RS Super Series for the 2018/19 Winter season. Racing takes place on 6 Saturday mornings beginning on Saturday 6th October and running 17th November, 15th December, 19th January, 23rd February and 23rd March. Entry for the series is €60.

Simple windward-leeward courses with a spreader at the top mark and leeward gate are in order, designed to maximise the fun from the full range of RS boats. It’s planned to hold starts for RS 200s, RS 400s, Fevas and an RS PY fleet, which will feature new Irish RS dealer Kenneth Rumball sailing an RS Aero. First gun is shortly before 10 am and with the aim to complete 5-8 races per Saturday morning.

Racing is being supported by the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School, with participants welcome to make use of the school’s facilities before and after racing. Boats can be trailered to coal harbour car park and launch off public slip or from one of the local clubs if you prefer.

"It’s planned to hold starts for RS 200s, RS 400s, Fevas and an RS PY fleet"

The Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School is making its fleet of 8 RS Fevas available for charter for the series, allowing young crews the opportunity to try out the boat in a race environment. The charter fee is €150. Kenneth Rumball also has an RS400 available for charter too.

Check out some of the previous series action below:

For Entry and Sailing Instructions here

Published in INSS

The Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School based in Dun Laoghaire Harbour in County Dublin is keen to help develop careers and opportunities within the marine industry.

There is a resurgence of interest in getting out and enjoying the water in Ireland and the demand for excellent sailing and powerboating instructors is on the increase. INSS say they understand that for many the job of training people on the water is something they have viewed as a weekend or summer job throughout college but the demographics have shifted, and no longer can training in these areas be considered something only for a couple of months in the summer, evidenced by our busy year-round schedule of teaching.

INSS optimistsINSS Optimist dinghies are used for junior sailing instruction

To help grow the talent pool, the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School has opened an internship programme for the period of September – May. To begin with, INSS are looking for two interns to join us for this training/internship programme. No prior instructing experience is required by any candidates, as all training will be provided as part of the internship programme. 

"The ideal candidates need only have a ‘can-do’ attitude"

While the main sailing season gets quieter after the busy summer months, the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School is still busy with schools group, yachting and much more. With a diverse fleet of nearly 300 craft, there is also a considerable maintenance schedule that cannot be underestimated. The ideal candidates need only have a ‘can-do’ attitude with an appetite for work in the sailing & powerboating industry.

The internships offered will give hands-on experience in all areas of a sailing & powerboat school. Experience is guaranteed in everything from office duties, to teaching both sailing and powerboating and will also include maintenance experience on all aspects of our fleet. The Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School has grown to be one of the largest sailing and powerboat training centres on the British Isles and candidates will benefit immensely from the experience gained here.

Alongside all of this, INSS are offering professional qualifications including;

• Irish Sailing National Powerboat Certificate
• Irish Sailing Safety Boat Certificate
• Department of the Marine VHF SRC Certification
• First Aid at Sea Certification
• RYA Yachtmaster Theory Certification
• RYA Dayskipper Practical Certification
• RYA Dinghy Instructor Pre-Entry
• RYA Dinghy Instructor Certification

Other courses may be considered such as;
• ISAF Offshore Safety Certification
• Irish Sailing Advanced Powerboat Certification

Applications are now open, a cover letter and current CV should be emailed to [email protected] Please note places will be limited.

Published in INSS

To say that Dun Laoghaire Harbour is facing a period of administrative flux is an under-statement. This exceptionally complete and totally artificial haven, for so long such an integral part of Dublin Bay that people perceive it as a natural feature of the coastline, finds itself today in the throes of functional change writes W M Nixon.

It is moving on at last from being a commercial working ferry port, with a very strong recreational side, to a new identity as a leisure facility providing for multiple activities afloat and ashore. This arguably unique and undoubtedly massive granite structure is finally beginning the keenly-anticipated process of officially becoming a public amenity and a marine sport and general recreational area, with all the myriad challenges of finance, user priorities, accessibility, responsibility and day-to-day running and maintenance requiring a fresh way of thinking.

In the midst of this radical change, one noted Dun Laoghaire commercial recreational business – an operation which in its earlier days had something of a maverick reputation - is increasingly seen as a pillar of the new arrangements which will have to be developed to secure the Harbour’s future.

The Irish National Sailing School is celebrating forty years of existence in 2018. Yet it still seems to operate with that special energy of the new game-changers who are determined that their vision of a properly developed sailing future for Dun Laoghaire – and for Dublin Bay and Ireland too – is seen as one of the right ways to go.

dun laoghaire harbour2Powerpoint for training – from its premises (lower right foreground) in the inner recesses of Dun Laoghaire Harbour, the activities of the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat school radiate successfully seawards. Photo: Peter Barrow

So there’s a certain surprise in realising that founder Alistair Rumball has been involved in running the school for all of those forty years - and he was in other marine teaching enterprises even before that. And it speaks volumes for the dynamics of the Rumball family that he has had the full-hearted and often actively involved support of his wife Muriel, who in shore life also found the time to be a primary school teacher who went on to be a principal.

The underlying strength of the family is underlined by the fact their son Kenneth (30), is now fully in charge of the process of taking the INSS into the new era, developing its products and widening the already extensive scope of its operations as the largest sailing school in Ireland, and probably Britain too.

Yet Kenneth is by no means just an inheriting successor. He may have been working full-time with the school for eight years with the priceless talent of being a good teacher, but he is very much his own man, and is a leading figure in sailing far beyond the routine boundaries of a basic sailing school, with a string of international offshore racing successes in his CV both as crew and skipper. 

alistair muriel kenneth rumball3Alistair, Muriel and Kenneth Rumball in 2015, when the INSS was putting increasing emphasis on having racing in its curriculum. Photo: W M Nixon

This reached a new peak last August when the INSS’s J/109 Jedi, skippered by Rumball and crewed by INSS trainees and alumni, won both her class in the Rolex Fastnet Race in the Open Division, and the Roger Justice Trophy for the highest-placed sailing school boat from a total of 33 entrants.

The glamour of the sunny Solent during the hectic summer day of a Fastnet start seemed like another planet when your columnist visited the INSS on a wet afternoon this week. Yet the school’s shoreside premises in that snug southwest corner of the innermost reaches of Dun Laoghaire Harbour were busy with people coming and going and early season courses under way, with Kenneth Rumball himself a bundle of energy and enthusiasm, actively involved at every level on and off the water.

jedi fastnet4A long way from Dun Laoghaire on a wet April afternoon……..the INSS J/109 Jedi (left) making a cracking start in the Rolex Fastnet Race 2017 with Kenneth Rumball on the helm. Photo Rolex

Although other waterfront organisations in Dun Laoghaire may still be warily assessing the new situation in port administration, the INSS is busily moving ahead. Just the previous week, they’d signed on to acquire the keys to the upper floor of the marine training building where for years they’ve had to make do with crowded facilities on the ground floor. Their now self-contained and very extended premises have been given a mighty facelift in record time, and this week, the feeling of potential, the sense of newly available and much-needed space, and the reassuring aroma of fresh paint, would have put anyone in an optimistic frame of mind.

"The Irish National Sailing School is celebrating forty years of existence in 2018. Yet it still seems to operate with that special energy of the new game-changers"

Yet this building with its re-born vitality is only the centre for a spread-out sort of shore base, with the INSS having had to create sailor and boat facilities as and where they could find them in the Inner Harbour area. Ideally, they’d have liked to move to one of the quays in the former Coal Harbour and set up a larger and more centralized base there. But the INSS has survived and thrived through being fleet-footed and flexible, and when the possibility came up less than two months ago of taking over the upper floor of their then-shared premises, they entered negotiations and moved in last week upstairs to set to work on renovating the place.

inss building5As of last week, the Irish National Sailing School now occupies all of this building, originally the premises of the Irish Nautical College in the 1950s. Photo: W M Nixon

inss squibs6The INSS has modified standard Squib keelboats to make them into a very useful flotilla of basic training workhorses Photo: W M Nixon

inss floating boatpark7Space can become so restricted that, to expand activities, the INSS uses its pontoons as floating boatparks

inss starter fleet8The range of training offered by the INSS is total – from these first tentative steps afloat, right up to major offshore race competition.

On Saturday May 12th they’ll hold an Open Day when everyone can get some sense of the extraordinary range of services and courses which the INSS offers for potential sailing enthusiasts of “all ages from 4 to 84”, and for powerboat fans too. They’ve a fulltime staff of 8, and at the summer’s peak will have an extra 65 seasonal instructors using a fleet of 250 boats. Mostly these are small craft, but they also have a fleet of special training Squibs and six 1720s while the main development introduced by Kenneth while he was still running the school in tandem with Alistair was particularly into offshore racing, and he also got the more competitive trainees into involvement with the local racing fleet.

rumball 1720 yoke9The INSS have projected the services they provide in several ways – this is how they offered full-on 1720 racing

Like everyone else, the INSS felt the pain during the recession years, but the show was kept on the road by carefully managed cutbacks and a continuing profitable dalliance with Tinseltown. Yes, the film business. In addition to his demanding sailing school duties, for years Alistair Rumball had been the man to go to if you wanted anything to do with boats, ships and the sea for movies being made in Dublin and up at the big studios in Wicklow.

So when the making of the Vikings TV series loomed over the horizon in Wicklow just as the rest of the economy fell off a cliff, Alistair Rumball found himself up to his ears in profitable Viking ships and Norse lore. Meanwhile, down by Dun Laoghaire Harbour, the INSS came through the thin times, and has emerged as a strengthened pace-setter in waterfront potential and the development of Irish sailing.

Dun Laoghaire West Pier 0060Viking ship on a lake in the Wicklow Mountains – few would have guessed the connection to a Dun Laoghaire sailing school

Now it is Kenneth Rumball on the helm, and his personal sailing career goes some way to explain why he is of such significance in the development of Irish sailing in general, and Dun Laoghaire Harbour in particular. The oldest of three – sister Alison is 28 while brother Alexander is 22 – the basics of his background are standard south Dublin, even though his father Alistair was born and bred in Malahide, while his mother Muriel is from a Carlow farming family.

"Now it is Kenneth Rumball on the helm, and his personal sailing career goes some way to explain why he is of such significance in the development of Irish sailing in general"

He went to Sandford Park School and then took a commerce degree in University College Dublin, going on to work briefly as an accountant before deciding at the age of 22 that his life was in sailing. With a less congenial family, you could well imagine that having one’s childhood so dominated by a sailing school that had to be nurtured through some difficult times might have been a turn-off for everything to do with boats and sailing. But Kenneth cheerfully admits that sailing got him completely at the age of five or six, and it has had him ever since.

He can even remember the exact occasion when it happened. His father was experimenting for a season with a second training outlet across Dublin Bay at Sutton Dinghy Club, and the very young Kenneth was brought along one day to see how he would respond to the introduction of beginners Topper sailing. He recalls vividly a growing sense of excitement at personally realising how sailing a Topper worked, and though he’d had his first capsize before the day was out, that sense of excitement has never left him.

He joined the Junior Section in the Royal St George YC, and particularly recalls the enthusiasm of Junior Training officer Peter O’Reilly in keeping a boisterous group of kids on the right sailing track – today, he fondly lists the people who have mentored him in his sailing development, and Peter O’Reilly is right up there with his father and mother in shaping those very early sailing days.

rumball oppy corpus christi11Personal peak of Optimist achievement – Kenneth Rumball aged 14 racing as an Irish Team Member at the Optimist Worlds in July 2002 at Corpus Christi in Texas

He got deeply involved with the Optimists even though his parents’ situation meant they couldn’t do the complete Oppy Parents thing, but he did get in some top level overseas racing, with the highlight being the worlds in Corpus Christi in Texas in 2002, before moving on to the International 420 and a partnership with Dave Moran, whose father Shay had been a noted Fireball and offshore sailor who was to become the Commodore of the RStGYC.

Being in a two-crew situation was much more to Kenneth Rumball’s taste, and he immersed himself even further in competitive sailing, while his first steps towards being a fully-involved teacher/instructor in the INSS had long since been taken. With the 420 racing bringing good results, at the age of 16 he made the decision that all other sports were secondary and only for keep-fit purposes - sailing was his one and only participant sport.

420 youth worlds korea12Dave Moran (right) and Kenneth Rumball, Irish Team Members in 420 Youth Worlds in Korea 2005

He and Dave Moran got involved with the 420 circuit in Ireland and Britain with such enthusiasm that for two winters they used the “nursery waters” of Broadmeadow in Malahide for continuous training, while on the competitive front they not only took the top place ever for an Irish 420 at Kiel Week in 2004, but were top Irish boat that same year in the Euros in Croatia.

2005 was their best year, with progress through the season taking in Kiel Week, the Volvo Youth Worlds in Korea, and the European Juniors on Lake Garda, where they found themselves winning races and finishing equal second at the end, but the countback put them in the Bronze Medal position.

rumball lake garda13Supreme moment for Kenneth Rumball and Dave Moran in International 420 competition – winning a race in the Euro Juniors Championship on Lake Garda in 2005. They went on to take the Bronze Medal

Throughout this International 420 campaigning, they were notably meticulous in analysing performance and equipment functioning, an approach which has provided longterm benefit in all subsequent boats both for the school and personal campaigns, and particularly with the offshore racers.

"Rumball first moved into offshore racing in 2006 aged 18 – that awkward age in sailing when the support of the highly-structured youth sailing scene suddenly falls away"

Rumball first moved into offshore racing in 2006 aged 18 – that awkward age in sailing when the support of the highly-structured youth sailing scene suddenly falls away. He became tactician and helm on the Half Tonner Blue Berret Pi both inshore and offshore. But he and Dave Moran had far from forsaken the dinghy scene - in 2007 they took delivery of a custom-built Fireball which they campaigned with success at home and abroad over several seasons until they exited in style by winning the Irish Nationals at Sligo in 2013.

rumball fireball exit14Kenneth Rumball and Dave Moran exiting the International Fireball Class by winning the Irish Nationals at Sligo in 2013. Photo Gareth Craig/fotosail

By this time his readiness to commit with total dedication to any sailing campaign when time was available had brought him into the orbit of offshore star Barry Hurley, another of his key mentors whose range of contacts saw young Rumball gain experience of the offshore majors such as the Fastnet, Middle Sea, and Sydney-Hobart Races and drawing on the wisdom of the calibre of Jochem Visser, while at home he soon found himself shaping up for the Round Ireland.

Their most notable success abroad was second overall in the 2014 Middle Sea Race, by which time Kenneth Rumball was a recognized offshore racing professional. And even though after his first decidedly rough Fastnet Race in 2011 he had promised himself he wouldn’t do it again, and he definitely wouldn’t do it in a “little” J/109, his seemingly unquenchable enthusiasm for sailing revived itself, and his most notable success to date is the 2017 class win in that selfsame Fastnet Race, achieved in……well, what else but a J/109?

jedi at fastnet rock15Supreme moment – with the Fasnet Rock astern in 2017’s race, the INSS’s J/109 Jedi – crewed entirely by INSS instructors and trainees – is in the lead.

His level of enthusiasm for sailing would be understandable in someone who works in an intensive job deep in some financial district, far out of sight or sound of the sea. Yet this level of activity is maintained by a man who spends much of his time teaching people to sail and handle powerboats at all levels from absolute beginner to top standard.

This it was altogether typical that on the day I met him he’d first been afloat at 7.30 am, and between further classes afloat and ashore, he didn’t expect to leave the premises until about 9.30pm.

He exudes energy, but relaxes a bit when he talks of the people who have mentored him, and the great specialists who make the sometimes awkward Dun Laoghaire waterfront work in their own private way, despite the fact that shore-oriented planners and rule-makers tend to think totally in a land-based mindset.

Realising that he needed to know about sails, at an early stage he go himself a six week job with Des McWilliam in Crosshaven. “Des was a one-man sail-making academy” he fondly recalls, “and I have seldom enjoyed an intensive learning course so much. You couldn’t have a better or more entertaining sail mentor than Des’.

des mcwilliam16Sailmaker Des McWilliam of Crosshaven – one of Kenneth Rumball’s most helpful mentors

As to how today’s plastic boats are repaired or modified, he had his own in-house teacher – his late uncle Arthur Rumball had made it his speciality to maintain the INSS’s hugely varied fleet, and in Arthur’s crowded and busy workshop, there was much to be learned about working with glassfibre in all its forms.

He has learned about rigging with the one and only Gerry Doyle, in fact the only area where he hasn’t had hands-on experience is in spar-making, but doubtless that will happen in due course. Meanwhile, his thoughts switch to The Brotherhood, the Dun Laoghaire Mafia as his father calls them, the real people who keep the waterfront functioning effectively and who - like Kenneth Rumball himself - seem to maintain an eternal affection for boats and the sea.

mark mcgibneyMark McGibney, Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat Cox’n and Sailing Manager of the Royal Irish YC, is one of the key people who make Dun Laoghaire’s intricate waterfront function effectively.

He could make a long list of them, but says that if you wanted to name somebody who symbolizes the real Dun Laoghaire waterfront spirit, you can find no-one better than Mark McGibney, the fulltime Sailing Manager of the Royal Irish Yacht Club who is also the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat Cox’n.

In this private world, Kenneth Rumball is happy and at home, a key member of a very special community. Yet he transcends the limits of a sailing school with the direct links he gives his hundreds of trainees to the bigger world of international sailing and top-level offshore racing.

phelan and boyd18Race organiser Theo Phelan of Wicklow and RORC Commodore Michael Boyd immediately after the latter had finished the 2016 Volvo Round Ireland Race to become highest-placed Irish boat. Michael Boyd, the overall winner of the 1996 Round Ireland Race with the J/35 Big Ears, will be skippering the INSS’s J/109 Jedi in the Volvo Round Ireland Race 2018

As we head into the weekend, it can be confirmed that Jedi is still very much on the strength, and for the Volvo Round Ireland Race on 30th June, she and Kenneth Rumball have been chartered as a complete package by former RORC Commodore Michael Boyd, who not only was top-placed Irish skipper in the 2016 Round Ireland, but he won it overall in 1996 in the J/35 Big Ears, which will add some intriguing connections this year when Jedi starts the 704-mile course this year at Wicklow

The INSS’s pioneering offshore flagship, the veteran Reflex 38 Lynx, has been sold to David O’Connor’s outfit Wild West Sailing at Mullaghmore in Sligo, and she has been replaced by an ideal all-rounder, the First 36.7 Lula Belle formerly owned by Liam Coyne, and overall winner of the two-handed division and much else in the Round Britain and Ireland race.

lula belle19The First 36.7 Lula Belle at the start of the 2014 RORC Round Britain and Ireland Race, in which she won the Two-handed Division for owner Liam Coyne sailing with Brian Flahive. This week, Lula Belle has become the latest addition to the INSS fleet. Photo: Rick Tomlinson

As for the INSS’s in-house club, the Irish National Sailing Club, its inshore keelboat campaigning options have been broadened by the acquisition of an SB20, and the INSC will be very much in contention in Greystones this weekend in the SB20 Westerns.

We’ll leave it to the SB20 class to explain how their Westerns are being held in that most easterly of sailing centres. For now, it’s enough to know that with their extended clubhouse coming on stream this weekend and a recruiting drive under way for extra instructors as trainee bookings are very much on the up-and-up, the INSS in Dun Laoghaire is on a real roll of success in every area of sailing and powerboat instruction, from absolute beginners to top level competition inshore and offshore.

Once upon a time, the Irish National Sailing School was seen by the sailing establishment as being the outsiders, the rebellious new boys on the block. But now, with the entire future of Dun Laoghaire Harbour’s administration in a state of flux, it is the old sailing establishment which finds itself having to adjust to new and changing circumstances.

In this new world on the waterfront, it is the expanding, confident and high-achieving Irish National Sailing School which finds itself in the unlikely role of being seen by some percipient observers as a key part of the new sailing establishment of Dun Laoghaire - the real pace-setter. Truly, we live in interesting times……

Published in W M Nixon
Page 1 of 3

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 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]


Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2020

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating