Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Garavaogue Wins DMYC Regatta Dublin Bay Twentyones Race

10th June 2024
The black-hulled Dublin Bay 21 Garavogue (No 4) was the winner of the 2024 DMYC Regatta pictured above, with fourth-placed Geraldine (number 7) off Dun Laoghaire's East Pier
The black-hulled Dublin Bay 21 Garavogue (No 4) was the winner of the 2024 DMYC Regatta pictured above, with fourth placed Geraldine (number 7) off Dun Laoghaire's East Pier Credit: Afloat

Saturday, June 8th, brought the first of the 2024 waterfront regattas, which was hosted by the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club. All four Dun Laoghaire clubs agree on the format, and the sailing instruction is standard to all clubs. This year, the Dublin Bay Twentyones form part of the one-design keelboat schedule, which is windward/leeward courses.

Prior to the event, there was some concern at the weather forecast; however, by Thursday, the conditions looked to be favourable, albeit at the mid to upper end of the Twentyones range. As the day dawned the winds were North Westerly 14 – 16 kts gusting to 19 - 20 kts. Prior to embarking the four skippers agreed that reefing was the order of the day and following some teething issues soon all boats were reefed and ready for an exciting day on the water ahead.

The committee boat was on station out between Island and Poldy racing marks with the upwind marks laid between Pier and Molly. High spring tide was 13.48 and with a warning signal close to 12 noon there was still 2 hours of flood tide to factor in. The Twentyones were scheduled to have a combined start with Ruffians and Shipmans and a 3-minute warning system was in use which might have affected some starting tactics.

Ideal sailing conditions on Dublin Bay in the 2024 DMYC Regatta as pictured from the cockpit of a Dublin Bay TwentyoneIdeal sailing conditions on Dublin Bay in the 2024 DMYC Regatta as pictured from the cockpit of a Dublin Bay Twentyone

At the start of the first race Garavogue had the best start but still had to work hard to make the pin end on starboard. Garavogue chose to stay on starboard, heading ashore to take advantage of the flood tide while Estelle and Geraldine went out to sea. Having had such a clean start, Garavogue was feeling smug until, on tacking back to port, saw that both Estelle and Geraldine were powering away ahead. Approaching the windward mark, Estelle had the lead, followed by Garavogue, with Geraldine close behind and Naneen some way back. Downwind places remained unchanged, and all boats took the port hand gate back up the port side of the course.

Garavogue soon tacked inshore, seeking a tide advantage and, arriving at the windward mark, swapped places with Geraldine in front. On this downwind leg Estelle held her lead while Garavogue, sailing a little higher and gybing before reaching the gate, just managed to keep in front of Geraldine. On the next beat, Garavogue steadily increased their lead on Geraldine and was reeling in Estelle, but still no change in positions. At this stage, Naneen was a full leg behind the rest of the fleet but gamely sailing on in very enjoyable, albeit shifty, conditions.

At the downwind finish Estelle held on to the lead for the last round although Garavogue had closed the gap somewhat. Geraldine was third and Naneen the back marker.

The race officer confirmed that a 2nd race would be held; however, they would relocate the finish to the windward mark to facilitate a shorter journey home. A 3 round course was set with the Committee boat then proceeding to station to the outer windward mark used for the Sportsboats, SB20, and Flying Fifteens while a rib would be on station at the inner windward mark to finish the fleets using that mark, including the Twentyones.

The start of race 2 saw Estelle having a superb start with power and pace while Garavogue just about made the pin end. By now the tide had turned so different tactics were needed with wind over tide on the beat. On the first beat Estelle held the lead, closely followed by Garavogue and Geraldine I that order with Naneen some way behind similar to first race.
Downwind and the 2nd beat brought no change, but the lead boats were keeping in close contact. Approaching the windward mark for the 2nd time there was a radio announcement that the course was being shortened such that the finish would be at the end of the 3rd beat instead of 3 rounds and a beat to finish as originally called. At the windward mark a rib was on station with flag S on display confirming the radio announcement.

At the last downwind gate Estelle was still leading but with Geraldine hot on her tail. Both headed out on port tack dualling with each other. Garavogue, initially following, soon tacked to starboard to go up the middle of the course and got advantage of a significant lift on that tack. Approaching the windward finish mark, Garavogue was now in good position against the other two who were still on port tack some way out and surprisingly not yet tacked for the lay line.

Garavogue tacked for the mark and was delighted with being 1st across the line in race 2. Meanwhile It was soon evident that Estelle and Geraldine were continuing upwind obviously heading for the Committee boat stationed on the outer windward mark. Naneen followed Garavogue example and completed her race taking second place. Over the radio came an announcement from the Committee boat of “this is not your finish” Geraldine still behind Estelle had the advantage of shorter distance sailed back to the correct finish line first claiming 3rd to Estelle’s 4th place.

Overall results from the 2 races at the 2024 DMYC Regatta

1. Garvogue 3pts
2. Estelle 5 Pts
3. Naneen 6 Pts*
4. Geraldine 6 pts
*Naneen is ahead of Geraldine by virtue of better result in 2nd race.

Many of the crew repaired to the DMYC for their regatta entertainment where excellent music, food and drinks were laid on. There was even a “Melody Boat” a wooden traditional sailing boat beautifully varnished from where an accomplished mandolinist accompanied by a fantastic singer performed for all assembled.

At the prize giving the Garavogue Crew were awarded 1st place and there being less than 5 boats in the fleet no other prize was awarded.

Many thanks to the DMYC organising committee led by Cormac Bradley and the host of Race officers and support volunteers for all the hard work which goes into making such events happen a superb job achieved by all!

All agreed that it was a great day on the water. The wind provided superb close racing and the reefed Twentyone fleet performed very well indeed, even revelling in the conditions. All look forward to the National YC Regatta next Saturday and the two Royals on 29 June and 6th July, with normal DBSC racing on 22 June.

DMYC Regata Garavogue winning crew

  • •Aybike Tombak
  • Fionnuala Rogerson
  • Jane McGowan
  • John Parker
  • John Sugars
  • Sean Doyle
Published in Dublin Bay 21, DMYC Team

About The Author Team

Email The Author is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven't put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open. is Ireland's only full-time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Dublin Bay 21s

An exciting new project to breathe life into six defunct 120-year-old Irish yachts that happen to be the oldest intact one-design keelboat class in the world has captured the imagination of sailors at Ireland's biggest sailing centre. The birthplace of the original Dublin Bay 21 class is getting ready to welcome home the six restored craft after 40 years thanks to an ambitious boat building project was completed on the Shannon Estuary that saved them from completely rotting away.

Dublin Bay 21 FAQs

The Dublin Bay 21 is a vintage one-design wooden yacht designed for sailing in Dublin Bay.

Seven were built between 1903 and 1906.

As of 2020, the yachts are 117 years old.

Alfred Mylne designed the seven yachts.

The total voting population in the Republic's inhabited islands is just over 2,600 people, according to the Department of Housing.

Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) commissioned the boat to encourage inexpensive one-design racing to recognise the success of the Water Wag one-design dinghy of 1887 and the Colleen keelboat class of 1897.

Estelle built by Hollwey, 1903; Garavogue built by Kelly, 1903; Innisfallen built by Hollwey, 1903.; Maureen built by Hollwey, 1903.; Oola built by Kelly, 1905; Naneen built by Clancy, 1905.

Overall length- 32'-6', Beam- 7'-6", Keel lead- 2 tons Sail area - 600sq.ft

The first race took place on 19 June 1903 in Dublin Bay.

They may be the oldest intact class of racing keelboat yacht in the world. Sailing together in a fleet, they are one of the loveliest sights to be seen on any sailing waters in the world, according to many Dublin Bay aficionados.

In 1964, some of the owners thought that the boats were outdated, and needed a new breath of fresh air. After extensive discussions between all the owners, the gaff rig and timber mast was abandoned in favour of a more fashionable Bermudan rig with an aluminium mast. Unfortunately, this rig put previously unseen loads on the hulls, resulting in some permanent damage.

The fleet was taken out of the water in 1986 after Hurricane Charlie ruined active Dublin Bay 21 fleet racing in August of that year. Two 21s sank in the storm, suffering the same fate as their sister ship Estelle four years earlier. The class then became defunct. In 1988, master shipwright Jack Tyrrell of Arklow inspected the fleet and considered the state of the hulls as vulnerable, describing them as 'still restorable even if some would need a virtual rebuild'. The fleet then lay rotting in a farmyard in Arklow until 2019 and the pioneering project of Dun Laoghaire sailors Fionan De Barra and Hal Sisk who decided to bring them back to their former glory.

Hurricane Charlie finally ruined active Dublin Bay 21 fleet racing in August 1986. Two 21s sank in the storm, suffering the same fate as a sister ship four years earlier; Estelle sank twice, once on her moorings and once in a near-tragic downwind capsize. Despite their collective salvage from the sea bed, the class decided the ancient boats should not be allowed suffer anymore. To avoid further deterioration and risk to the rare craft all seven 21s were put into storage in 1989 under the direction of the naval architect Jack Tyrrell at his yard in Arklow.

While two of the fleet, Garavogue and Geraldine sailed to their current home, the other five, in various states of disrepair, were carried the 50-odd miles to Arklow by road.

To revive the legendary Dublin Bay 21 class, the famous Mylne design of 1902-03. Hal Sisk and Fionan de Barra are developing ideas to retain the class's spirit while making the boats more appropriate to today's needs in Dun Laoghaire harbour, with its many other rival sailing attractions. The Dublin Bay 21-foot class's fate represents far more than the loss of a single class; it is bad news for the Bay's yachting heritage at large. Although Dún Laoghaire turned a blind eye to the plight of the oldest intact one-design keelboat fleet in the world for 30 years or more they are now fully restored.

The Dublin Bay 21 Restoration team includes Steve Morris, James Madigan, Hal Sisk, Fionan de Barra, Fintan Ryan and Dan Mill.

Retaining the pure Mylne-designed hull was essential, but the project has new laminated cold-moulded hulls which are being built inverted but will, when finished and upright, be fitted on the original ballast keels, thereby maintaining the boat’s continuity of existence, the presence of the true spirit of the ship.

It will be a gunter-rigged sloop. It was decided a simpler yet clearly vintage rig was needed for the time-constrained sailors of the 21st Century. So, far from bringing the original and almost-mythical gaff cutter rig with jackyard topsail back to life above a traditionally-constructed hull, the project is content to have an attractive gunter-rigged sloop – “American gaff” some would call it.

The first DB 21 to get the treatment was Naneen, originally built in 1905 by Clancy of Dun Laoghaire for T. Cosby Burrowes, a serial boat owner from Cavan.

On Dublin Bay. Dublin Bay Sailing Club granted a racing start for 2020 Tuesday evening racing starting in 2020, but it was deferred due to COVID-19.
Initially, two Dublin Bay 21s will race then three as the boat building project based in Kilrush on the Shannon Estuary completes the six-boat project.
The restored boats will be welcomed back to the Bay in a special DBSC gun salute from committee boat Mac Lir at the start of the season.
In a recollection for Afloat, well known Dun Laoghaire one-design sailor Roger Bannon said: "They were complete bitches of boats to sail, over-canvassed and fundamentally badly balanced. Their construction and design was also seriously flawed which meant that they constantly leaked and required endless expensive maintenance. They suffered from unbelievable lee helm which led to regular swamping's and indeed several sinkings.

©Afloat 2020