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Displaying items by tag: Dublin Bay

The 'mystery' to local observers of just who was behind the impressive 15-boat strong RIB raid fleet powering across Dublin Bay last Sunday morning was answered this week on social media when it emerged the boats, ranging from 5 to 8 metres in length, were freshwater visitors from the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) Powerboat Branch.

The River Shannon ribbers, which included three jet skis, took in a River Liffey spin via Grand Canal Dock in the city centre as well as heading out into the Bay to Dun Laoghaire Harbour, followed by a 12km run in some bumpy southerly conditions down to Greystones Harbour in County Wicklow.

"We waited so long to do our first RIB run with the IWAI Powerboat Branch, and it was FANTASTIC! After seeing Dun Laoghaire, Greystones and Dublin city from these new perspectives, I wouldn't wish to live anywhere else but beautiful Éire", said one of the RIB crews online.

Published in RIBs
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1st May 2022

Dublin is Sinking

If you’re a coastal Dub doing a Marie Kondo on the shoe cupboard, and you’re thinking of heaving out the Cuban heels and the platform soles, just hang on a minute. Despite their exotic fashion origins, that fancy footwear might have a practical application in the near future.

For according to an authoritative report in last Thursday’s Irish Times here, sea levels in Dublin have been rising at twice the global rate for the past eight decades.

This clearly bothered some readers, so yesterday (Saturday) the paper carried a reassurance from “Dublin City Council’s most senior flooding expert” that Dublin’s flood defences are designed to protect the capital “to the end of the Century”.

But neither report seemed to make anything of the fact that the accumulated Dublin rise of 130ml over the past 20 years, when set against the global average of sea level rise of 70ml, can only mean that the Fair City and its surrounding area is sinking – or subsiding if you prefer - at about 3.5ml per year. For any notion of “localized sea level rises” flies in the face of the fact that water always finds its own level.

“It’s no more than they deserve” is probably the robust response of citizens elsewhere on the island. But for Dubs in the coastal lowlands, it means more than finally learning what the accountancy term Sinking Fund means in all those incomprehensible balance sheets presented at club AGMs.

For the fact is that barometric pressure and regional wind direction can have a very real effect on day-to-day tidal levels, something which is exacerbated at times of extreme high Spring tides with the excessive rains of a period of bad weather

Thus in present circumstances, despite the precautions and defences in place, all that is needed is very low pressure and much rain over Ireland with the cyclonic centre to the westward, a Spring tide imminent, and a prolonged period of southwesterly gales persisting in the Celtic Sea and St George’s Channel to push the surging water towards Dublin Bay to meet the extra rainwater coming down to Dodder, Liffey and Tolka valleys.

Then we’ll really learn about water finding its own level. And maybe we’ll also learn why the Dutch have evolved into being the tallest people in Europe……

Published in Dublin Bay
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Some people find saying "sorry" very difficult, but DBSC's Winter Wunderkind Fintan Cairns has given us a graceful example of how to do it with his re-setting of the final results for the latest Spring Chicken Series, which concluded at the weekend.

Fintan's a busy man, but next thing we'll know is he will add an Etiquette & Courtesy Module to any Race officer Training Programme he's involved in, as his exemplary announcement of yesterday evening states:

"Attached are revised results and Overalls for last Sunday. In the rush to have results for the prizegiving, I made a mistake on the finish time for George 5, and Fred Tottenham of G5 kindly pointed it out despite it being to his own disadvantage.

The rightful Spring Chicken Supreme for 2022 is - SIROCCO! Congratulations, and my apologies, to SIROCCO and her crew. Teddy, trophy on its way from Fred. Welcome to Mermaid V to the podium. My effort to take the mickey out of Teddy and Sirocco - 2 line honours and Overall win - badly bounced back on me! Teddy can now wear his gold ribbon sash to bed with distinction!

Final thanks to our sponsor AIB, our weekly sponsors Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin/The Shed Distillery(Pat Rigney), North Sails (Prof O'Connell), Solas Marine (Tommy Whelan), UK McWilliams Sailmakers (Barry Hayes), Viking Marine (Ian O'Meara), our supporter Afloat.ie (David O'Brien), and our hosts National Yacht Club (John O'Grady and bar
staff). They are all open for business - support them!

Hope you enjoyed the series, have a good summer, see you beginning November."

Revised results below

Published in DBSC
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A final race win in the four-race DBSC Spring Chicken Series handed the 2022 trophy to the George 5 J/80 crew (Fred Tottenham, Will Prendergast, Joe Doyle and Ian Croxon) who won by three points overall. 

There was a joint second finish in the 50-boat fleet with the J/109 Dear Prudence and the Jeanneau 36 Sirocco who both tied on 20 points.

The final race (that doubled as a #Ukrainian fundraiser at the National Yacht Club) got away despite some early strong southeasterly breezes on Dublin Bay on Sunday morning.

Download the overall and race four results below

UPDATE (17/3/22)DBSC Spring Chicken Feathers Ruffled But Now Reset And Smoothed In Final Results

Published in DBSC

With just weeks to go to the start of summer racing at the country's largest yacht racing club, Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) has unveiled some of its plans for the 2022 AIB DBSC racing programme, which will run from April 23 to October 1 and will include new Saturday courses.

The DBSC Flag Officers, Committee, and Racing Sub-Committee, have been working hard over the winter months on producing the enhanced racing programme.

The DBSC Hut

The DBSC Hut will be back in position on the West Pier for the entire season and used for Tuesday and Saturday keelboat racing.

The DBSC Hut on the West PierThe DBSC hut on the West Pier

There will be one additional fleet racing on a Saturday due to the return of the Hut to the Saturday Racing Programme.

Racing Programme

First Race: Saturday, April 23
Last Tuesday Race: Tuesday, August 30
Last Thursday Race: Thursday, August 25
Last Wednesday Race: Wednesday, September 21
Last Saturday Race: Saturday, October 1

Classes will alternate between starting and finishing from the Hut or from a committee boat – see the racing programme below, which indicates which fleet will begin from the Hut and which will start from a committee boat for each Saturday in the DBSC race programme. It also details which keelboat classes form each fleet on the different race days.

DBSC Race Programme 2022DBSC Race Programme 2022

Dublin Bay 21 Footers

The Dublin Bay 21 Footers will always start from the Hut to be closer to their racing area as they don't use engines. This will also provide pier walkers with a good view of these magnificent yachts under sail. The 4th DB21, Geraldine, will be in Dun Laoghaire in June, and all four will race in DBSC this summer.

Dublin Bay 21 Footers will start from the DBSC Hut on the West PierDublin Bay 21 Footers will start their races from the DBSC Hut on the West Pier Photo: Afloat

Cruisers 0 & 1

Cruisers 0 and 1 will always start from a committee boat due to their size and speed, and also in the case of Cruisers 1 due to the high number of participants.

Cruisers One entry Raptor from the Royal Irish Yacht ClubCruisers One entry Raptor from the Royal Irish Yacht Club Photo: Afloat

There is a provision to start all keelboat fleets from the Hut in very exceptional circumstances – see start times for details.

RS Aeros racing in Scotsman's Bay RS Aeros racing in Scotsman's Bay Photo: Afloat

Dinghy racing will be run outside the harbour on Tuesdays and Saturdays when there are sufficient ribs and patrol crews to meet the required safety ratios. The DBSC dinghy fleet consists of Lasers (standard, radial and 4.7 rigs), RS Aeros (7s, 6s, and 5s), Fireballs, IDRA 14s, and a Finn, and is open to anybody aged 16 and over.

DBSC Race Times 2022DBSC Race Times 2022 Photo: Afloat

Note that fleets' start times and makeup may need to be adjusted depending on the number of entries in each class.

DBSC Laser racingDBSC Laser racing Photo: Afloat

Regattas

There will be no DBSC racing on the days of the four waterfront club regattas – June 11, 18, 25, and July 2. Nor will there be DBSC racing on Saturday, August 27, in support of the Women at the Helm regatta, which takes place on August 27th and 28th. DBSC is signed up to the 20x20 charter, which promotes the participation of women in all sports. DBSC proudly displays the 20x20 banner on its committee boat MacLir.

DBSC Commitee Boat Mac LirDBSC Committee Boat Mac Lir Photo: Afloat

To make up some additional race dates, DBSC is commencing Saturday racing one week earlier than normal on April 23 and finishing one week later than normal on October 1.

The Flying Fifteen one design keelboat is one of DBSC's most popular classes Photo:  AfloatThe Flying Fifteen one-design keelboat is one of DBSC's most popular classes Photo: Afloat

Nine Separate Race Courses Each Week

With the addition of the Hut for Saturday racing, there will be nine separate DBSC courses provided each week. Each of these nine courses will have a Race Officer, a Committee Boat Driver and a Race Management team with timers, flaggers, sound signals, and recorders. DBSC says it is extremely fortunate to have a very experienced pool of race officers, many with Local, Regional, National and even International Race Officer qualifications. In addition, we have a pool of 50+ very willing volunteers who operate the committee boats for each of these nine separate DBSC race events, which take place over four days of the week, namely:

Tuesdays
• Keelboats racing from the Hut on fixed mark courses
• Dinghies racing from a committee boat on laid mark courses

Wednesdays
• Water Wags racing from a committee boat on windward / leeward courses

Thursdays
• Blue fleet keelboats (the larger ones) racing from a committee boat on fixed mark courses
• Red fleet keelboats racing from a committee boat with a combination of fixed mark and windward/leeward courses

Saturdays
• Blue or Red fleet racing from a committee boat (including Cruisers 0 and 1) on fixed mark courses
• Blue or Red fleet racing from the Hut (including DB21s) on fixed mark courses
• Green fleet racing on laid mark windward / leeward or triangular courses
• Dinghies racing on laid mark courses

Under 18s

As DBSC have under 18s both racing and doing patrol crew and mark laying duties, DBSC are required to have a Children's Officer and to undergo Garda vetting for a number of people who interact with the U18s. This process is currently underway for the DBSC Race Officers, patrol crew organisers, and patrol crews who are aged 18+.

Pre-Season Race Officer Briefing and Q&A Session

PRO Ed Totterdell briefed the race officers and race management team leads on the new courses that will be introduced for the 2022 season at a session on March 8. Tim Goodbody has done a lot of work on designing new Saturday fixed mark courses for the keelboat fleets starting from both the Hut and the committee boat. These are currently being finalised and will be available on the DBSC website shortly. Ed took the group through any changes in the SIs which are available on the DBSC website along with the racing programme and the race start times.

Presentation of the Viking Trophy to the DBSC Volunteers

The DBSC volunteers were awarded the Viking award, one of DBSC's premier trophies, for their 'Outstanding Contribution' during the 2021 season, at a gathering in the National Yacht Club on March 8. This band of 50+ volunteers make DBSC racing possible by giving generously and willingly of their time and experience week after week, whatever the weather. DBSC presented this award at the annual prize-giving which took place in the magnificent setting of the National Maritime Museum in November but due to the rise in Covid cases, very few of the volunteers were able to attend. DBSC were very pleased to be able to re-present the trophy and it was happily received on behalf of all the volunteers by race management team leads Ida Kiernan and Rosemary Roy. 

DBSC race management team leads Ida Kiernan (centre) and Rosemary Roy (left) accept the DBSC Viking Trophy on behalf of all the club volunteers from Commodore Ann KirwanDBSC race management team leads Ida Kiernan (centre) and Rosemary Roy (left) accept the DBSC Viking Trophy on behalf of all the club volunteers from Commodore Ann Kirwan

New Results System

Commodore Ann Kirwan thanked Colin McMullen for his tireless work on DBSC over the past number of years. Colin is stepping back from his role as DBSC Results Secretary in order to spend more time racing his Ruffian and doing some race officer duties in Mayo.

The DBSC results will move from its current system, YR3, to HalSail and DBSC are delighted to announce that Therese Tyrrell is taking on the role of Results Secretary.

Published in DBSC
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In recent years we’ve become accustomed to the handsome blue mini-cruise-liner St Bridget plying her day-excursion trade along the coasts around Dublin Bay between Dublin Port, Howth and Dun Laoghaire. She’s now a welcome and integral part of the summer scene, and appropriately will begin her 2022 service on St Patrick’s Day, March 17th.

This occasion will provide an instant topic of conversation among passengers as to whether St Patrick deserves to be our patron saint, when St Bridget (or more accurately Brigid) has equally strong claims. And if there happen to be Waterford folk on board, they’ll close the discussion by claiming that St Declan of The Decies was there before the lot of them.

The St Bridget from Galway Bay is now a popular part of the Dublin Bay sceneThe St Bridget from Galway Bay is now a popular part of the Dublin Bay scene

Another possible topic of conversation is the story – which may or may not be true – that we only have St Bridget operating in Dublin Bay because a major re-vamp job on the pier at Doolin in County Clare beside the Cliffs of Moher meant that for at least one trading year, she’d no base in Ireland for her ferry service out to the Aran Islands. There was no way the County Galway-based ferries at Rossaveal were going to welcome a Clare boat like St Bridget onto their pitch, so she went east across Ireland looking for business

Which way will she go? Erin’s King was a matter of continuing debate among Dublin’s quayside pundits. Photo: Courtesy Cormac LowthWhich way will she go? Erin’s King was a matter of continuing debate among Dublin’s quayside pundits. Photo: Courtesy Cormac Lowth

But having come to Dublin for a season in order to get by, St Bridget’s owners found they were doing better than merely breaking even, and now their company Dublin Bay Cruises is well established. Yet they continue with the same rugged vessel, which has acquired the personality of a character ship in contrast to the latest ferries operating on Galway Bay, some of which look more like waterborne space-ships.

Days of wine and roses……a newspaper ad for the Erin’s King activities in her Dublin prime suggests a very busy ship, although the late-night return voyage from Wicklow Regatta might have been a decidedly mixed experience. Image Courtesy Cormac LowthDays of wine and roses……a newspaper ad for the Erin’s King activities in her Dublin prime suggests a very busy ship, although the late-night return voyage from Wicklow Regatta might have been a decidedly mixed experience. Image Courtesy Cormac Lowth

And in being a vintage classic, St Bridget is in line with the traditional of Dublin’s coastal cruisers, which have long had the reputation of operating in a precarious market, as coastal railways with excursion trains, and quickly-accessed scenic roads with cars and buses, are always eating into their share of the seaside tourism trade. Thus while I’m more than willing to be corrected, the feeling is that all of Dublin’s coastal cruising vessels have started life as something else – there have been few if any purpose-built for the seemingly tenuous Dublin Bay business.

As ever, it was that one-man maritime museum known as Cormac Lowth who revived this line of thought. By now, Cormac can only be living in his garden shed, as every room in his house must be packed to the ceiling with his maritime memorabilia, with so many ancient photos that from time to time he’s able to test his inner group of aficionados by circulating ancient nautical images as a knowledge test.

Erin’s King at the Customs House – she might not have been the first choice for an excursion steamer to serve the Dublin Bay trade, but she was available at the right price after 25 years hard service in the Mersey. Photo courtesy Cormac LowthErin’s King at the Customs House – she might not have been the first choice for an excursion steamer to serve the Dublin Bay trade, but she was available at the right price after 25 years hard service in the Mersey. Photo courtesy Cormac Lowth

Thus at the weekend, we found ourselves grappling with some photos of a small passenger paddle steamer obviously operating out of Dublin at a time when smoke emission controls weren’t even thought of. But the point about this mystery ship was that she was very clearly double-ended, bow-shaped at both ends and the steering positions apparently two-faced.

So she was a push-me pull-you, as able in astern as ahead, even if this meant a disconcerting float-free moment as the engines were shifted as quickly as possible into reverse rotation.

In the Liffey and Dublin Bay, the little ship’s name was Erin’s King - though Classicists might have preferred Janus - and she was very much part of Dublin life for the entire 1890s. But before that, she’d been built in 1865 by Vernon’s of Liverpool as the Heather Belle, a Mersey ferry which shuttled back and forth with maximum efficiency between Liverpool and Birkenhead. (She'd been previously mentioned on Afloat here)

Is she coming or going? Dublin in the rare old times, when smoke was good for you, and the Erin’s King looked as though she was coming up-river when she was heading seawards. Photo: Courtesy Cormac LowthIs she coming or going? Dublin in the rare old times, when smoke was good for you, and the Erin’s King looked as though she was coming up-river when she was heading seawards. Photo: Courtesy Cormac Lowth

So by the time she started operating in 1891 as the “Dublin Bay and Environs” excursion steamer Erin’s King, she was well stricken in years. And although the Mersey can be quite rugged going with wind over tide, it must have been interesting to try to run a profitable excursion with the Erin’s King when a real easterly was sweeping into Dublin Bay, as was recorded in one of the recollections in Ulysses:

Leopold Bloom in 1904 in Ulysses recalls an outing some years previously in the Erin’s KingLeopold Bloom in 1904 in Ulysses recalls an outing some years previously in the Erin’s King

Nevertheless, she became a much-loved and familiar part of Dublin life, her daily routine a matter of general knowledge as this little notice from the Freeman’s Journal suggests, with its hint of the end of an era:

End of the line? There’s a hint of adieu in this Autumn ad for the Erin’s King in the Freeman’s Journal. Courtesy Cormac LowthEnd of the line? There’s a hint of adieu in this Autumn ad for the Erin’s King in the Freeman’s Journal. Courtesy Cormac Lowth

For by 1900, the Erin’s King was literally gasping her last, and she was broken up at the end of that season. Others have followed, after originally serving elsewhere like the Erin’s King as the Heather Belle, and the St Bridget is in that tradition while being an Atlantic-capable vessel. But then, when you’re pushing the envelope a bit by taking tourists to sea in a Dublin Bay easterly, it’s good to have a proper little ship under you, rather than some floating spacecraft.

Published in Dublin Bay
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Blustery southerly winds on Dublin Bay could not prevent the DBSC Spring Chicken mixed cruiser fleet from venturing out for the fourth race of the series on Sunday morning.

Race Officer Brian Matthews chose Seapoint Bay to avoid the worst of the Bay's big seas to set a windward/leeward course.

A small turn out of about 20 boats (from a 50 boat entry) had three rounds with 18 finishers. Results to follow on Afloat.

Racing in the AIB sponsored series continues each Sunday at 10.10 am until 13th March 2022 inclusive.

DMYC Frostbites

In the afternoon at the same venue, the Dun Laoghaire mixed dinghy fleet was not as fortunate for its racing at the DMYC Frostbite Series.

Yet again wind conditions forced the in-harbour racing to be cancelled, with the Dublin Bay buoy recording 12 - 37 knots of breeze.

It is the third consecutive cancellation of the Viking Marine sponsored series for strong winds.

"In truth, the wind has been touch and go for the latter part of the week and I suppose the delay in making the call is due to consecutive Sundays being lost, " Race Officer Cormac Bradley told Afloat.

Racing continues next Sunday afternoon.

Published in DBSC
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The debate about the future form of Dublin Port moved up a gear or two in mid-February with the revelation of the existence of the Docklands Business Forum, and its enthusiasm for moving the working docks elsewhere. With 200 or so members, and more than a few of them from the heavy hitters among the docklands-headquartered global hi-tech communications companies, it has all the makings of a nice little earner, coming complete with a Chief Executive and supportive quotes from some universally-recognised corporate names.

Fair play to all involved, it seems to have struck a viable chord at a time when marketable new business ideas are strenuously sought. That said, knowing the hidden difficulties of a mega-project like port re-location (particularly in the constrained circumstances of the East Coast of Ireland), we can’t help but wonder if it’s just an attractive and marketable idea rather than a viable concept.

Major ports are three-dimensional entities, and the most important dimension is the one you can’t see – the depth of the water. Yet most of mankind tends to see the sea as no more than a watery surface. Thus this new movement’s current central theme is slightly reminiscent of the Boris Bridge across the North Channel, whose proponents argued that as the shortest sensible distance – between Donaghadee in Ireland and Portpatrick in Scotland – is only 19 miles, then it should be perfectly possible to build a bridge, as there already is a 37-mile long bridge in China.

But as it happens, many miles of the Chinese Bridge were built across water so shallow it could have been a causeway. Making it an impressive bridge was something of a vanity project. By contrast, where the tide-riven storm-tossed North Channel isn’t already quite deep, it is instead very deep indeed, with those ultra-depths filled with dumped World War II explosives for an added construction challenge.

Dublin Port’s situation is – in the broadest sense – unique, and it has to find its own solutions instead of expecting to draw on “international best practice”.Dublin Port’s situation is – in the broadest sense – unique, and it has to find its own solutions instead of expecting to draw on “international best practice”

So the idea was quietly discarded (after a Feasibility Study costing more than €1 million), and those attracted to grandiose infrastructural projects will probably have turned their attention elsewhere, such as towards the Let’s Cover Ireland With An Astrodome Movement, or the Dublin Airport Should Be Underground Project.

But enough of that. Let’s be clear that in Dublin, the Docklands Business Forum is putting forward serious ideas in promoting the re-location of Dublin Port’s activities regardless of the problem of depth requirement elsewhere, and the Forum is doing so in the genuine belief that their ideas will improve and enhance the city’s waterfront environment.

If implemented, their ideas would certainly improve and enhance the already large collection of fine old banknotes held by certain high-profile property developers. But we’ll set that aside for now, and respect the fact that despite the highly-regarded skill with which Dublin Port is managed within its constrained activities space, powerful spokesmen for the DBF demand that Dublin follow “international best practice” elsewhere, and move the port, even if it involves the dispersing of its activities to several locations.

By so doing, they argue, space would be created in the former docklands estate to build much-needed accommodation for their expanding staff. Occasionally the word “housing” comes in, but it’s difficult to escape the feeling that they’re talking of apartment blocks, and in Ireland apartment blocks aren’t housing, let alone homes - they’re flats, which are fine for couples, but few families like them.

Dublin Port have already identified Bremore north of Balbriggan as the best possible location for an alternative port, but to function successfully its construction would have to be a “mega-project” of incalculable expense, unjustifiable for the foreseeable future.Dublin Port have already identified Bremore north of Balbriggan as the best possible location for an alternative port, but to function successfully its construction would have to be a “mega-project” of incalculable expense, unjustifiable for the foreseeable future.

In their promotion of this, we’re surely justified in asking why - if they’re really so enthusiastic to radically change the nature of the port area - why were they so keen to build their shiny new HQ blocks in the dockland area in the first place? Why didn’t they cluster their glass cities out in agreeable business parks up towards the Dublin Mountains where they’ll be able to create a sense of remoteness from the nitty-gritty of real life, which is currently to be found in the contemporary dockland scene where ships come and go with frequency every day, and there’s a continuous and invigorating sense of visible commerce and trade.

For of course they were drawn to the Docklands because of the fascinating sense of colourful character about the place, energised by its sense of everyday dynamic interaction with the sea and shipping with a vibrant maritime culture which the Dublin Port authority actively encourages in a laudable and visionary way. Yet in hoping to move the port activities elsewhere, they would be tearing the living beating heart out of it all.

If the corporate office tenants in the Dublin Docklands find shipping and its activities so difficult to live with, then why did they choose to locate there in the first place?If the corporate office tenants in the Dublin Docklands find shipping and its activities so difficult to live with, then why did they choose to locate there in the first place?

If they have their way on this potentially trendy idea, Dublin Port would become no more than Port Disneyland, and the short coastline at Bremore close north of Balbriggan would become the location of a hugely expensive yet totally soul-less ships’ cargo handling installation run by minimal staff, an Orwellian setup with little organic connection to its hinterland.

An Orwellian monster….. if the possible alternative port at exposed Bremore was built to standards of “international best practice”, its cost would be prohibitively expensiveAn Orwellian monster….. if the possible alternative port at exposed Bremore was built to standards of “international best practice”, its cost would be prohibitively expensive

Yet in its favour, we’ll hear that cliché about “following best international practice”. As Dublin generally manages to be a moderately entertaining and liveable place by quite often not following best international practice, that’s a statement which deserves examination, and where better to see the result of leading and very trend-setting international practice than in New York?

Admittedly the significant visit was 25 years ago, but the Big Apple being what it is, even in 1997 New York was a glimpse of today’s possible future in Dublin. Needless to say, it was a sailing-related business, as we’d been down at Annapolis for the 75th Anniversary Ball in the Naval College for the Cruising Club of America’s Blue Water Medal, and we arrived in New York high on the adrenalin of having been shooting the breeze with such Blue Water medallists as Carleton Mitchell, John Guzzwell, Tim Curtis and our own Paddy Barry.

All skyline and no shipping nor sense of the sea nearby – New York’s example would be a mistake for Dublin. Photo: W M NixonAll skyline and no shipping nor sense of the sea nearby – New York’s example would be a mistake for Dublin. Photo: W M Nixon

But you need to be in full fighting trim as you hit New York, otherwise it will hit you first. We happened to be staying in the NYYC which has its little formalities, and in the morning when our bull-necked Commodore arrived down for breakfast with an open-neck shirt, he was politely requested to wear a neck-tie. He stumped off to his room and returned – still steaming - wearing his Royal Cork tie, loudly informing the waiter that he was wearing the tie of a club which had been in existence for more than a hundred years when the site of his little club was still marshland. So thereafter we had our casual breakfasts in Joe’s Diner or some such place next door, while close beyond it was the wonderful Algonquin Hotel to provide an added alternative should the Commodore find further NYYC house rules irksome.

Personally I found the NYYC enchanting, as sailors are my tribe, our clubhouses are our temples, and the NYYC in New York is one of the best of them, while also providing the most convenient of bases for a two-and-a-half day blitz on Manhattan. Even in only that short time space, one day runs into another, but on sunny days in May such as we experienced, I can recommend an early visit to Wall Street and the Stock Exchange, as the smell of serious money first thing in the morning sets you up for the day.

Then maybe a cross-river jaunt on one of the ferries to savour the skyline, for in those long-gone days the Twin Towers still set the tone. Then as it was getting near the thirsty time of day, when the Commodore said he’d go anywhere except McSorley’s expletive-deleted saloon, I suggested Fraunce’s down near The Battery, Fraunce’s being the historic Tavern where George Washington took farewell of his troops on December 4th 1783 after their final War of Independence victory.

We bellied up to the bar in accepted New York style, and the barman took one look at the Commodore and threw the top of the gin bottle into the bin. Apparently Fraunce’s can get crowded later in the day, so we were having the best of it in terms of attention, friendliness and generosity, such that we concluded that it’s not only a wonder that George Washington could get back on his horse after savouring the Fraunce’s experience, but it’s a miracle that once in the saddle, he was actually facing the right way…..

The QE2 starts her stately progress down the empty Hudson RiverThe QE2 starts her stately progress down the empty Hudson River

To clear your head after Fraunce’s Tavern, zoom straight to the very top of the Empire State building. It’s one of those special life experiences that don’t disappoint, like arriving with the dawn into Venice on a cruising boat, or seeing the mighty botafumeiro whoosh across the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela after you’ve had a decidedly brisk sail southwards across Biscay.

And yet it was atop the Empire State Building on a sunny May afternoon that we finally fully grasped the real meaning of what happens when a great port moves its ship movements elsewhere. For although the city buzzed far below as only New York can, all around the edge was the dead skeleton of a port, and utterly empty were nearly all the berths which had previously heaved with life to give New Yorkers the feeling that they interacted with the wonders of the sea every bit as much as they very clearly interacted with the pure beauty of money.

Of course, with our luck, there were actually two ships berthed among the many vacant berths, and one of them slowly emerged stern-first into the Hudson and headed downriver. She was the QE2. She was the only vessel moving in the entire visible waterway.

With the World Trade Center Twin Towers still standing in 1997, the QE 2’s solitary seaward departure past the Statue of Liberty was perfectly framed. Photo: W M NixonWith the World Trade Center Twin Towers still standing in 1997, the QE 2’s solitary seaward departure past the Statue of Liberty was perfectly framed. Photo: W M Nixon

We watched her head seaward past the Statue of Liberty, and then remembered that somewhere far below us in the empty docks, there was one basin temporarily occupied by a small fleet of sailing superyachts preparing for the NYYC’s Transatlantic Challenge. We found them, and among them we found Peter Metcalfe from Strangford Lough as skipper aboard an enormous purple machine, while just across the way was an extremely good replica of the schooner America, looking as wonderful as ever.

Skipper Peter Metcalfe of Strangford Lough aboard “some big purple yoke” in New York as the fleet of superyachts prepare for the NYYC Transatlantic Challenge 1997, with the replica schooner America in background. Photo: W M NixonSkipper Peter Metcalfe of Strangford Lough aboard “some big purple yoke” in New York as the fleet of superyachts prepare for the NYYC Transatlantic Challenge 1997, with the replica schooner America in background. Photo: W M Nixon

Hello New York – the schooner America and the Empire State Building beyond made for a faint maritime link in ManhattanHello New York – the schooner America and the Empire State Building beyond made for a faint maritime link in Manhattan

But that was it as far as direct interaction is now to be found between New York and the sea which created it in the first place. Manhattan has enclosed itself in a stockade of skyscrapers, and if you move into the city for only a hundred yards, the sea behind you might just as well not be there.

Yet Manhattan is a fortress island, whereas Dublin is an inclusive estuary. Our city embraces the sea. With great ingenuity, the port engineers over the centuries have created massive bull walls which guide the ebb tide to scour the significant dredged depths which provide access to a transport hub for large ships and their many cargoes. Dublin Port, in short, is a work of genius. It behoves us to respect this by keeping it active, instead of turning it into some sort of residential, commercial and hospitality theme park.

For our experience had shown us that if you wanted off-the-wall entertainment for a couple of days, then New York was tops. But as somewhere to live and work and have a connection with real life by land and sea, Dublin is in a league of its own.

Manhattan project for Dublin Port 2050? That could almost be the Ferryman Inn….. Photo: W. M.NixonManhattan project for Dublin Port 2050? That could almost be the Ferryman Inn….. Photo: W. M.Nixon

Published in W M Nixon
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Aware, the national charity supporting people impacted by depression and bipolar disorder, has announced the live return of its annual Harbour2Harbour Walk. A popular and successful fundraising event for over 15 years, the walk takes place on St. Patrick’s Day and follows a beautifully scenic route around Dublin Bay. Registration for the walk costs €25 and can be done at www.aware.ie/harbourtoharbour. All participants will receive a t-shirt as part of their registration and are encouraged to wear these while taking part in the walk to increase awareness.

The event’s return comes following a two-year break in live fundraising events due to Covid-19. The Harbour2Harbour Walk offers an alternative outdoor activity on Ireland’s national holiday and is an opportunity for the public to engage with Aware and support its important work. People taking part in the event posting to social media are asked to share using the hashtag #WeAreAware.

Over the last year, close to 30,000 people have directly engaged with Aware’s support services and a further 8,000 people took part in education programmes facilitated by Aware. The Covid-19 pandemic has further fuelled the need for such supports, with Aware expecting sustained high levels of demand during 2022.

Speaking about the 2022 Harbour2Harbour Walk, Dominic Layden, Aware CEO, said, “The return to live events gives us a chance to come together on St. Patrick’s Day to enjoy a rewarding walk around Dublin Bay and also to reflect on the last two years.

“We are encouraging as many people as possible to take part in our Harbour to Harbour Walk to help raise funds for our vital services. It promises to be a great day out, and an opportunity to take part in something special that can make a real difference in the lives of people experiencing depression or bipolar disorder. I would like to sincerely thank our sponsor Dublin Port Company for their continued partnership which makes this event possible.”

The event is a 26km walk around Dublin Bay from Dún Laoghaire to Howth or vice versa and aims to raise funds and draw attention to the important work done by Aware. It last took place in 2019, when it attracted almost 2,000 participants. People taking part can begin their walk at either end of the route at approximately 10.30 am, although this start time is flexible. The walk is suitable for all levels of fitness and takes approximately four and a half hours to complete.

At the halfway point of the walk, Dublin Port Company will host the Halfway Gathering at Dublin Port Plaza, where fundraisers have an opportunity to take a break, grab a refreshment, and enjoy some of the entertainment on show, including a magician and a DJ. Participants can also take a moment to themselves by visiting the Reflection Tree at the Plaza. Under the Reflection Tree, participants can leave a personal message, or thought, about their experience during the pandemic. Aware will share some of these anonymous messages on social media.

The Director of Services at Aware, Stephen McBride, said, “This event and other fundraisers help to ensure that individuals across Ireland experiencing mental health difficulties know they are not alone and are provided with the knowledge, advice and tools they need to improve their wellbeing. We couldn’t do this without the support of the public and we are so happy to back hosting Harbour2Harbour again.”

Eamonn O’Reilly, Chief Executive at Dublin Port Company said, “Dublin Port Company is happy to be in a position to support Aware with this important fundraising event. We look forward to welcoming walkers to Port Centre’s public plaza at the Halfway Gathering and our team will be on hand with refreshments and plenty of support to all taking part in this great cause.

To further mark St. Patrick’s Day, the Port will be going green again this year by lighting up Port Centre, Crane 292, Odlums and the Diving Bell.”

Published in Dublin Bay
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If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Dublin Bay sailors can walk very tall indeed. Their selections over the years of various One Design concepts have spread worldwide among discerning owners, who appreciated that the Dublin Bay sailors’ ability to coax designs out of international names such as William Fife III and Alfred Mylne provided ready access to genuine gold standard plans for construction anywhere in the world by capable shipwrights.

And in truth it didn’t stop with the boat designs for DBSC by Fife and Mylne in the 1890s and early 1900s. The 1900-version of the world’s 1887-founded oldest One-Design class, the 14ft Dublin Bay Water Wags by Dun Laoghaire boatbuilder J E Doyle’s talented daughter Maimie, was the blueprint for an able boat which was taken up elsewhere, some of them in very distant sailing centres.

The Maimie Doyle Water Wag design of 1900 spread from Dun Laoghaire to North Wales and other much more distant sailing centres. They are seen here racing on Lough Ree.The Maimie Doyle Water Wag design of 1900 spread from Dun Laoghaire to North Wales and other much more distant sailing centres. They are seen here racing on Lough Ree.

In those days, female yacht designers were rare, and in the claustrophobic world of Kingstown sailing, Doyle used to get mocked for the fact that his daughter created elegant designs from his own original rough ideas. In fact, he was so riled by it all that he refused to allow the designs to be published unless they were credited to J E Doyle. But sailing journos were as contrary a bunch in those days as they are now, so they always found a way of letting everyone know that it was Maimie’s creation, regardless of what was said in the official records.

Thus when one of our secret agents in Australia - Lee Condell, originally of Limerick – came up with the news that the 52ft Granuaile of 1905 Dun Laoghaire origins was up for sale Down Under, all bells rang and all lights flashed to remind us that this was one of Maimie Doyle’s finest creations.

A masterpiece. The lines of the currently Australian-based 52ft Granuaile, designed in 1905 by Maimie Doyle and built by her father J E Doyle in Dun Laoghaire   A masterpiece. The lines of the currently Australian-based 52ft Granuaile, designed in 1905 by Maimie Doyle and built by her father J E Doyle in Dun Laoghaire  

But a recent search for something else altogether revealed that in 1948, a shrewd Australian owner secured the Alfred Mylne plans from 1938 for the Dublin Bay 24, and the result was Wathara. And in her early days, Wathara was much the same as the standard DB24, as spectacularly revealed in this photo of the Martin brothers with Adastra doing a spot of showing off as they head seaward into the gusty westerly curling round the end of the West Pier in Dun Laoghaire.

The DB24 Adastra showing all she’s got as the Martin brothers drive her through a gust of wind curling round the end of Dun Laoghaire’s West Pier.The DB24 Adastra showing all she’s got as the Martin brothers drive her through a gust of wind curling round the end of Dun Laoghaire’s West Pier.

But over the years, Wathara has been up-dated with mods, including a cute little retroussé transom which might well have been inspired by the 12 Metres of Australia’s great America’s Cup-challenging days. The coachroof has been replaced and lengthened, and she has been given a more modern fractional rig, while the owner has been unable to resist demonstrating that he knows a very skilled stainless steel fabricator, as the formerly elegant stemhead has been given an unsightly shiny protective snout, though thankfully that could be disguised by a lick of white paint.

Vintage parade in Sydney Harbour – Wathara (foreground) with (left) an Arthur Robb-designed Lion Class sloop (twice winners of Sydney-Hobart Race), while beyond is one of those Oz flyers which made Rolly Tasker famous.Vintage parade in Sydney Harbour – Wathara (foreground) with (left) an Arthur Robb-designed Lion Class sloop (twice winners of Sydney-Hobart Race), while beyond is one of those Oz flyers which made Rolly Tasker famous.

Wathara is for sale at Aust $30,000, which is a very modest €19,000, and it suggests she may not be worth bringing back to Ireland. But why bring her to Ireland? After all, these days you’ll find many of the classiest new Irish boats in Croatia. So why not acquire the only DB24 in Australia, and keep her there. For in these WFH days, you can work from anywhere, and avoiding the depths of the Irish winter with two or three months of sailing your own little bit of Dublin Bay in Australia might be just the ticket.

Be warned, however, that it isn’t always sunny. In searching out some images of Wathara, we came across this one of her in a boat-hoist being overseen by the owner, who is sheltering from a Sydney downpour under an umbrella. Is this climate change? It’s certainly the first time we’ve seen a photo of the Australian sailing scene in which an umbrella is actually being used as a shield against rain.

Wathara in the boat-hoist clearly reveals that she’s a Dublin Bay 24. And it is also revealed that – just sometimes - it rains in Oz.Wathara in the boat-hoist clearly reveals that she’s a Dublin Bay 24. And it is also revealed that – just sometimes - it rains in Oz.

In fairness to the other great Scottish designer who was used by Dublin Bay sailors, it has to be said that the designs of William Fife for DBSC were also re-purposed, although the best-known DBSC re-purposing was the Mylne-designed Zanetta, which was built in Scotland in 1918 and was a DB21 with a simpler rig – she ended her days as a Bermuda-rigged cruising sloop in the Clyde in the 1960s.

But it has only recently been revealed that the lovely Rosemary III, a Fife-designed Bermuda-rigged 9-ton cruiser built by Fife of Fairlie in 1925, is basically the hull of a Dublin Bay 25 with a plank added to the topsides, and the long classic counter finishing with a more clearly-defined and elegantly-curved little transom. She’s lovely. Those Dublin Bay sailors of around 1900, they certainly had an eye for a boat.

The Scottish-built Zanetta of 1918 was a 1902-designed DB21 with a simpler rigThe Scottish-built Zanetta of 1918 was a 1902-designed DB21 with a simpler rig

The classic 1925-vintage 9-ton Fife cruiser Rosemary III is actually the 1898-vintage DB25 design with a plank added, and the counter stern slightly modified in the curved transom.The classic 1925-vintage 9-ton Fife cruiser Rosemary III is actually the 1898-vintage DB25 design with a plank added, and the counter stern slightly modified in the curved transom.

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