Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Irish Sailing Classes. Yacht, One Design & Dinghy Racing News, Class by Class
15 boats are contesting the Flying Fifteen Western Championships in Connemara
National Champions Niall and Ronan O'Briain of Flying Fifteen Chonamara lead the 15-boat Flying Fifteen Western Championships after two races sailed in overcast and cool conditions with intermittent rain off the Galway coast. The National Yacht Club's Shane McCarthy and…
David Evan and William Draper, the 2024 GP14 O'Tiarnaigh Challenge winners, with their trophy at Mullingar Sailing Club
The GP14 O'Tiarnaigh Challenge at Mullingar Sailing Club proved to be a thrilling event with 30 entries and 29 boats competing on the start line. The competition served as excellent preparation for the upcoming World Championships in Pla Heli in…
Squib racing at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on the southern shore of Belfast Lough
Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on the southern shore of Belfast Lough has a long-established Squib fleet, and this weekend (25th/26th May), will host the Northern Championships. The entry list (download as a PDF below) is a respectable 22…
Denis Bergin's  Dublin Bay Dragon crew head upwind off the Old Head of Kinsale. Kinsale Yacht Club will host the 2024 Dragon Gold Cup this September
The anticipation for the 2024 Dragon Gold Cup at Kinsale Yacht Club is building as some of the biggest names in Dragon sailing have already confirmed their participation in the upcoming event, sponsored by Astra Construction Services Ltd. With almost…
The 2024 J24 Western Championships underway at Foynes on the Shannon Estuary
Irish J24 competitors gathered at Foynes Yacht Club this past weekend for the Western Championships on the Shannon Estuary. Saturday's races saw challenging conditions, with four races completed in 10 to 12 knots of breeze. Anticipating calm conditions on Sunday,…
A female Fireball dinghy duo sailing at Dun Laoghaire
This weekend's Women at the Helm Regatta 2024, hosted by the National Yacht Club and supported by Sia Partners and Irish Sailing, begins on Friday, May 24th, with a motivational panel featuring Olympic sailing silver medallist Annalise Murphy, solo offshore…
Dubin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) Water Wag racing is cancelled at Dun Laoghaire Harbour
Dubin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) Water Wag racing tonight (May 22) is cancelled due to gusty north-to-northwest winds reaching over 26 knots inside Dun Laoghaire Harbour.
Eight Cape 31s compete against the backdrop of the stunning Island of Porquerolles in the Côte d'Azur
Eight Cape 31s raced on the Côte d'Azur last week. The four days of racing in Porquerolles mixed windward-leeward racing with coastal racing — a welcome challenge from the usual windward-leeward format. The teams had quite light, tricky conditions to contend…
Volvo Cork Week will host a round of the RS21 UK & Ireland Cup in 2024 for the first time
Royal Cork Yacht Club (RCYC) has partnered with the Irish RS agent, the Irish National Sailing School (INSS) and RS Sailing to provide a special opportunity for those challenged by time or crew availability or find themselves otherwise unable to…
The new fleet of 12 Melges 15 dinghies arrives in Howth ready for their first race on Thursday evening
Christmas presents were opened early at Howth Yacht Club when the much-anticipated container of 12 new Melges 15 dinghies arrived on Tuesday, just days ahead of Howth Yacht Club's biennial Wave Regatta at the north Dublin port. This new fleet…
Eve McMahon, pictured here racing in 2022, was named Sportsperson of the Year at the UCD Athletic Union Council Sports Awards on Thursday 16 May
Howth Yacht Club’s Eve McMahon is UCD’s 2024 Sportsperson of the Year, as announced at the UCD Athletic Union Council Sports Awards last Thursday (16 May). The BComm International student and ILCA 6 sailor receives the award for her phenomenal…
The fourth Irish RS Aero National Championships will be held at Howth Yacht Club on the 15th & 16th of June
Two US-based sailors will add an international flavour to the fourth Irish RS Aero National Championships on the 15th & 16th of June at Howth Yacht Club. Paul McMahon of the host club is the defending champion and will be…
Victorious Team Ireland with at the Royal St. George Yacht Club prizegiving from left to right: Ronan Murphy, Alistair Kissane, John O Connor, Neil Hegarty, holding the Cannonball Trophy, John O Driscoll, Tim Pearson and Peter Bowring
Dublin Bay was once again the venue for the Cannonball Trophy. Travelling Dragon keelboat sailors from the South Coast of the UK and the Netherlands came together to sail against The Royal St George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. A misty bay…
Irish Fireball dinghies taking part in a day-long coaching session with Thomas Chaix at Dun Laoghaire Harbour
Eight Fireballs took part in a day-long coaching session with Thomas Chaix at the DMYC in Dun Laoghaire Harbour on Sunday (May 19th). With extremely light winds forecast the fleet were pleasantly surprised by a decent 8 knots of breeze…
13 1720s are competing for East Coast Honours as part of the Royal Irish Yacht Club's Dun Laoghaire Cup with reigning European Champion Rope Dock Atara from Howth Yacht Club leading after day one of two
Homeport sportsboats led in three of the competing classes after the first day of racing on Saturday (May 18) at the Royal Irish Yacht Club (RIYC), which hosted the Dun Laoghaire Cup 2024 on Dublin Bay. Three East Coast and…
The 2023 Irish Champions, IRL3809, helmed by Michael O'Connor from the Royal St. George Yacht Club (RStGYC), will compete at this weekend's Dun Laoghaire Cup 2024, incorporating the SB20 Eastern championships at the Royal Irish Yacht Club
This weekend's Royal Irish Yacht Club hosted Dun Laoghaire Cup 2024, incorporating the SB20 Eastern championships, marks the first test for SB20 crews in the current season. Thirteen crews, including the national top tier, will be on the starting line.…

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