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Irish Sailing Classes. Yacht, One Design & Dinghy Racing News, Class by Class
West Cork's David Harte discussing the setting of realistic goals at the inaugural youth sailing symposium at Lough Ree Yacht Club
Garrett Leech reports on the inaugural Youth Double Handed Sailing Symposium was held at Lough Ree Yacht Club last weekend. Just over 60 sailors from all over Ireland descended on the Club Saturday morning for this anticipated event, many not…
The new Cape 31 one designs are coming to Ireland in 2022
With the news that up to four of the new Cape 31 one designs are heading for Irish waters in 2022, there are now reports that Dun Laoghaire is joining Howth and Cork Harbour in the Cape race, with the latest news…
Kinsale Yacht Club is planning to acquire a suitable yacht (most likely a J/24 like the Royal Cork club boat (pictured above) for its new under 25 team
Kinsale Yacht Club plans for an Under 25 sailing team are progressing in West Cork.  The plan is to acquire a suitable yacht (most likely a J/24) that will compete on the under 25 keelboat circuit around Ireland. It follows expressions…
Michael Beckett, 26, from Solva in Pembrokeshire has become the third Brit in as many years to claim the ILCA 7/Laser class European title
Michael Beckett has become the third Brit in as many years to claim the ILCA 7/Laser class European title. Beckett, who has twice come runner up at the Euros, in 2018 and 2020, led the week-long regatta in Varna, Bulgaria,…
File image of Toppers at the Dun Laoghaire waterfront
The National Yacht Club’s Topper winter training programme got under way with its first session today (Sunday 10 October) at the Dun Laoghaire waterfront club. Training continues every Sunday until the end of November, with sessions for beginner (9.30am-12.30pm), intermediate…
Laser dinghy sailors prepare for a race start at the Grant Thornton Sprint  2021 in Dun Laoghaire Harbour
Dun Laoghaire Harbour's Laser dinghy class ended their summer season with a bang, hosting over 80-boats in a five-race one-day regatta where some exciting new talent emerged. 80 Lasers racing in Dublin Bay on a sunny Saturday afternoon in October…
Seventh heaven - Finn Lynch sails into the top ten at the Laser Europeans
The National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch got his Laser/ILCA 7 campaign for Paris 2024 off to a flying start in Bulgaria this week by taking seventh overall – a personal best – at the European Championships in Varna today. Lynch's rivals…
Finn Lynch powered up the overall rankings at the Laser European Championships in Bulgaria today to lie eighth overall going into the final day
The National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch moved up to eighth overall at the 2021 Laser European Championships in Bulgaria today, having scored two vital fifth places in final races three and four. After six races sailed in the gold fleet and…
Powering to a race win - Howth youth Eve McMahon takes her first ever race win at a Laser European Championships in Bulgaria today
Irish youth sailor Eve McMahon from Howth took a well-earned win in a breezy race eight of the 2021 Women's ILCA 6 (Laser Radial) Senior European Championships & Open European Trophy in Varna, Bulgaria today. After nine races sailed, McMahon, who…
The The 1938-founded Ballyholme Bay Class when still going strong in 1970, with Bobby Swanston's Eileen leading from Frank Humphreys' Penelope. While the class in Bangor is now largely defunct, an active sister-ship has emerged in Isle of Wight ownership
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…
Fireballs at LDYC earlier this year
As a promotion for the Fireball Worlds 2022 in Lough Derg YC Dromineer, the Irish Fireball Association has mobilised two loan boats to give young teams a chance to assess the high-performance two-hander. One boat has already been loaned to…
Wasps in breeze on Dublin Bay for the Irish National Championships
15 Waszp foiling dinghies, including with three from the UK, contested last weekend's National Championships on Dublin Bay. As Afloat reported earlier here,  it was hard, fast sailing in heavy winds and choppy conditions at the Royal St George Yacht…
Multi-class champion, the late Gerry Donleavy of the National Yacht Club
The National Yacht Club and the Irish dinghy and one design scene are mourning the loss of sailing stalwart Gerry Donleavy of Dun Laoghaire Harbour, who died at the weekend. Donleavy, a long-standing member of the NYC, won the 1988…
Lough Derg Yacht Club is expecting a fleet of 30 Squibs for its Keelboat Regatta on October 15th
Lough Derg Yacht Club in County Tipperary will welcome one design visitors back to Dromineer for the Keelboat regatta on the weekend of 15th to 17th of October. Four fleets are expected to the lake, with the biggest likely to…
The Cape 31 North Star 2 was an IRC winner in St Tropez
The first Cape 31 in France, Peter Dubens’ North Star 2 set an unbeatable pace by dominating their 27-boat IRC D class with a scoresheet of 3,1,1,1,1 in perfect St Tropez conditions at Frances most significant IRC event, Les Voiles…
Races at the Waszp Nationals were typically over a .6 nautical mile Windward Leeward course. There were three laps of 20 to 25-minute duration. Downwind legs took about three minutes for the leaders. Pictured is RStGYC's Elysia O'Leary
The Waszp National Championships were held at the Royal St George Yacht Club at the weekend and 15 sailors participated, with three from the UK travelling over to race at the Dun Laoghaire Harbour venue. It was hard fast sailing…

Irish Sailing Classes and Association – There’s no shortage of one-design classes from which to choose and each gives its enthusiasts great competition, fun and camaraderie, writes Graham Smith in this review of the classes. 

One-design racing is where it all starts. It is, after all, where all the top sailors earned their stripes, battling away for line honours without a thought for a handicapper’s calculator wiping away a hard-fought victory!

Indeed, you could count on less than one hand the number of top Irish sailors who didn’t cut their teeth in a one-design dinghy! Just think of Cudmore, Barrington, Watson, Wilkins, Hennessy and Dix to name a few and you realise that they honed their skills in everything from Enterprises to Lasers and a lot in between.

At present count, there are a little over 30 one-design classes in Ireland, split almost evenly between dinghies and keelboats, a statistic which might raise a few eyebrows. They range from the long-established Mermaids, IDRA14s and Dragons to the newer additions like Fevas, Topaz and RS Elite. They all fill a particular need and give their owners and crews considerable enjoyment.

Many have attracted their World or European Championships to Irish waters over the years and while 2009 is notable for a lack of such events here, the following year will see the Etchells Worlds at Howth and perhaps a few other international regattas too.

In addition to the review, we asked each class to complete a questionnaire giving details of their fleet numbers, whether they were on a growth pattern or holding their own, so we could highlight those ‘on the up’ and those remaining static in terms of numbers. The older traditional designs, as you might imagine, fall into the latter category, although that’s not a negative!

CLASS REVIEW  The State of the Classes – League Table (as at February 2009)

S = Static; U = Up/growing

275     Optimist   U

200+   Laser   S

189     Mermaid   S

160     Flying Fifteen   S

130     RS Feva   U

115     Shannon One Design    U

100+   Mirror   S

100+   Topper   U

99       Topaz   U

94       Laser SB3   U

87       GP14   U

85       Squib   S

70       Fireball   S

70       Ruffian   S

60       J24   S

60       Shipman   S

52       Dragon   S

50       RS400/200   S

50       420    U

43       Multihulls    U

42       Dragon    S

40       Water Wags    U

40       Wayfarer    S

34       IDRA14    U

33       Puppeteer    U

28       Etchells    S

27       E-Boat    U

26       Glen    S

25       Enterprise    S

18       Sigma 33    S

18       Howth 17    U

13       RS Elite    U

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