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GP14s contest a start at July's Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta
The final event of the Irish GP14 year sees the national fleet travel to Lough Erne Yacht Club this weekend. The closing event of 2019 follows Shane MacCarthy & Damien Bracken's emphatic win of August's National Championships at Skerries Sailing Club.…
Rear View: Sharkbait with Team Ted hunting Martin McNamara, Luke Groarke & Jude Kilmartin
There was fun on and off the water for SB20s at the Freshwater Keelboat Regatta season finale in Lough Derg Yacht Club last weekend writes Class President John Malone. Fabulous weather, great race management lead by Geoff O'Donoghue and legendary…
Tough going for a classic – in the very varied weather for the 160-boat fleet at the 90h Anniversary International Dragon Regattta at San Remo, the large classics division had to take the rough with the smooth along with the rest of the fleet
The stupendous 90th Anniversary International Dragon Class Regatta at San Remo in Italy has concluded with overall victory going to Jens Christensen of Denmark, crewed by Anders Bagger and Thomas Schmidt. But the most special celebration at the prize-giving was…
Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta racing in Sanremo
The Irish team are still celebrating on Day three of the Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta in Sanremo, Italy this week. After opening success from Kinsale team Daniel Murphy and Brian Goggin on Tuesday, Howth Yacht Club's Laura Dillon helming GBR770 ‘Storm’ picked up…
Lough Erne winners – Gold Fleet Winners Il Riccio and Silver Fleet Winner Yachtzee
JP McCaldin and his Lough Erne Yacht Club crew were victorious at last weekend’s J24 Western Championships hosted by Lough Ree Yacht Club. A 13 strong fleet defied the aftermath of Hurricane Lorenzo to return Lough Ree for a re-run…
Daniel Murphy and Brian Goggin from Kinsale have an early lead at the massive 150-boat Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta in Sanremo
Ireland's Daniel Murphy and Brian Goggin head Fleet B after the opening two races of the Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta in Sanremo, Italy. It's the perfect start for the Kinsale entry who are in Italy as part of a nine-boat Irish…
John Maybury steers Joker II to overall victory at the J109 Irish Championships on Dublin Bay
The J109 Irish Championship saw a competitive fleet on 10 entries come together on 5/6 October in Dublin Bay to race in the aftermath of Hurricane Lorenzo. As Afloat previously reported, the full programme of six races was completed. Saturday…
Rocco Wright racing towards a silver medal in the Bahamas last week
Ireland had reason to celebrate at the Optimist North American Championship this past week with a podium finish among two top-five places. Howth Yacht Club’s bright Oppy star Rocco Wright finished second just two points behind winner Gustavo Campos from…
Big gusts  for the second day of racing at the J109 Nationals on Dublin Bay
John Maybury's consistent Joker 2 has won the J109 National Championships after six races sailed at the Royal Irish Yacht Club today.  Maybury won half of the six races in the series but counted all six results in the top three.…
Joker 2 skippered by John Maybury leads the J109 National Championships
The host club's Joker 2 skippered by John Maybury leads the J109 National Championships after the first three races sailed from the Royal Irish Yacht Club today.  Racing in southerly winds gusting to 20-knots, poor visibility on Dublin Bay kept crews…
Olympian Cathy MacAleavey (left) with her daughter Claudine racing their Dublin Bay Water Wag on the Shannon. Cathy will be the only woman helm in this weekend’s All-Ireland Sailing Championship at Dun Laoghaire, crewed by her husband Con Murphy
Only in Ireland could it be like this. We hear that of many things in this curious island of ours. But the varying sailing, location and personal backgrounds of the sixteen helmspersons competing in this weekend’s All-Ireland Helmsmans Championship at…
  The Dragon was designed by Johan Anker in 1929 as an entry for a competition run by the Royal Yacht Club of Gothenburg, to find a small keel-boat that could be used for simple weekend cruising among the islands and fjords of the Scandinavian seaboard.
Some 160 Dragons from 26 nations – including nine from Ireland – are gathering at the Yacht Club San Remo, Italy, for the International Dragon 90th Anniversary Regatta, which takes place from Monday 7th to Friday 11th October 2019. Teams…
Vintage Star racing
The third annual Vintage Star Gold Cup will officially open tonight on Gull Lake, Michigan, USA. With 26 entries, seven nations and five gold stars on the main sails, the regatta is hosted by the Gull Lake Yacht Club and…
Fireball sailing is a passion
Fireball sailors are passionate about their boats to the point of not being able to "let go" when due to work, family or life distractions they park their dinghy boots. This passion is both a blessing and a curse for…
Stephen Oram (left) and Noel Butler with the Fireball Munster Trophy
Thirteen Fireballs gathered at Killaloe SC for the Fireball Munster Championships at the weekend. Initial indications were for a very wet and windy weekend but happily the fleet was rewarded with excellent sailing conditions on both days. While extremely wet…
The Laser standard rig, which could soon be available for class-legal racing from a range of builders internationally in the wake of new ILCA rule changes
With the selection of the Laser class for the Olympic men’s and women’s single-handed dinghy events from Paris 2024 comes significant change to align with new class requirements, as Scuttlebutt Sailing News reports. Previously restricted to a handful of licensed…

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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