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Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Irish Sailing Classes. Yacht, One Design & Dinghy Racing News, Class by Class
Aoife Hopkins
Howth Yacht Club’s Aoife Hopkins has announced her retirement from Olympic campaigning. The ILCA 6 (Laser Radial) sailor and former U21 European Champion had been readying for the Paris 2024 qualifying campaign, following the disappointment of missing out on Ireland’s…
The Royal Yacht Squadron team is gearing up to run the event alongside the Cape 31 Class. With 21 teams on the start line for nine windward-leeward races, it’s shaping up to be an awesome three days
Four travelling Irish boats are lined up for the Cape 31 National Championship, which will kick off on Friday with the largest ever Cape 31 fleet to date! The Royal Yacht Squadron team is gearing up to run the event…
Tom Gillard and Andy Thompson were the 2022 winners of the Fireball World Championships on Lough Derg. Read how they prepared for the event in the Q and A below
The GUL Fireball World Championship 2022 took place last month at Lough Derg Yacht Club. The event was a huge success, with 79 boats from eleven countries competing. While the Irish Nationals pre-event was distinctly windy, with gusts of over…
The Flying Fifteen Frostbite Winter Sailing Series 2022 starts on Saturday, October 8th
A four-week Flying Fifteen Frostbite Winter Sailing Series 2022 will take place in the National Yacht Club starting on Saturday, October 8th.  Up to 30 of the 20-foot keelboats are racing on Dublin Bay, most NYC-based, so a strong entry…
East Antrim Boat Club in Larne is a haven of peace and quiet in busy commercial town, manufacturing centre and ferryport
East Antrim Boat Club is a haven of almost rural peace and quiet on the point of land with the remains of historic Olderfleet Castle at the south side of this commercial town. For Larne is a bustling manufacturing centre…
Charlie Frize on his Corby 33 Banshee
The 2022 Vantage Health and Life RC35 Championships is a wrap! Another very close season with tight racing in a great variety of locations and conditions.  The season started with a great turnout of 10 boats at Kip Regatta, where one…
RS Feva sailing at Monkstown Bay Sailing Club
At Monkstown Bay Sailing Club in Cork Harbour on Sunday, RS Feva dinghies raced their club championships. There were six races, with five to count, allowing for one discard. Ten Fexa XLs raced. Ben and Charles Dwyer won the first…
Optimist dinghies racing at Royal Cork Yacht Club in Cork Harbour
The Optimist dinghy Cobbler League will take place across the first Sundays in October; 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd at Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven in Cork Harbour. Racing will take place for Junior and Senior fleets with separate…
RStGYC's Kate Flood (208735) and Malahide Yacht Club's Glenda Gallagher (191325) compete in the 4.7 Fleet Under 30 racing at the Royal St. George's ILCA/Laser End of Season Championship on Dublin Bay
The Royal St George Yacht Club hosted the last of this season's ILCA/Laser championship events, the aptly named ‘2022 End of Season’, this past weekend. This event had previously been hosted in Kinsale Yacht Club for the last two years.…
Ante Razmilovic’s Swedish Blue (GBR 1438) is the 2022 International Etchells World Champion with crew Brian Hammersley and Dubliner Noel Drennan
The new Etchells World Champions are Ante Razmilovic’s Swedish Blue, with the Irish-born Australian Noel Drennan a member of the three-man crew. Three races were completed on the final day, with results still provisional. The five-day racing was organised by…
Dragon racing at the Régates Royales, in Cannes
Martin Byrne’s Jaguar Sailing Team dropped to tenth overall after the final day of Dragon class racing at the Régates Royales, in Cannes on Friday. Byrne’s Jaguar Sailing Team from the Royal St. George, Dun Laoghaire and Daniel Murphy’s Fortitude from…
Off the start line at the GP14 Leinsters at Mullingar Sailing Club
With the GP14 World Championships less than a month behind us, many of the Irish sailors would be forgiven for taking their foot off the gas writes Andy Johnston. But with the arrival of autumn, the GP14 Ireland fleet moved to…
The Dublin Bay 21 Garavogue (number 4) is one of three competing in the 28km annual Kish Race
Barry Cunningham's new fast Cape 31 'Blast' from the Royal Irish Yacht Club will no doubt cut a dash in Sunday's Leinster Boats sponsored DMYC Kish Race on Dublin Bay.  With entries approaching 45 boats, organisers are hoping for good weather…
Dragon racing at Régates Royale in Cannes
Two of the leading British Dragons teams moved up the at Régates Royales rankings today in declining breezes in Cannes. Chris Brittain on GBR 818 scored a 2nd and 7th to move up to 4th overall, while Gavia Wilkinson Cox on GBR…
The Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School crews that participated at the RS Feva Easterns at Dun Laoghaire
The RS Feva Class is on the rebound in Dún Laoghaire thanks to the determined efforts of a small group of parents from the waterfront clubs and collaboration with RS Sailing agent MarineServices.ie. Last winter, plans were laid to see…
Royal Cork Yacht Club's red hulled Antix skippered by Anthony O'Leary starts a race in the Cape 31, RTYC Round 5 off Cowes
Seventeen Cape 31’s were on the start line at the Royal Thames Invitational at the weekend, which marked Round Five of the 31 Race Circuit. Following a big week of 'orienteering' at Cowes Week, the Cape fleet had eight windward-leeward…

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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