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Displaying items by tag: Dun Laoghaire Regatta

When the Earl of Kildare - subsequently the Duke of Leinster – commissioned the building of his fine new townhouse in 1745 in what was then the unfashionable south side of Dublin, he can scarcely have imagined that nearly three centuries later, the building and its name would be synonymous with the exercise of democratic government in Ireland, based moreover on the notion – probably totally inconceivable at the time - of universal suffrage writes W M Nixon.

The current role of Leinster House is a classic case of an unintended consequence and one which is largely beneficial. Democracy seems a more natural way of government when its beating heart is in a building which is comfortably located as an integral and elegant yet not-too-grand part of the fabric of the centre of the capital city.

The contemporary configuration and role of Dun Laoghaire Harbour is another interesting unintended consequence. Half a century after Leinster House was built, a maritime movement was getting underway for another major building project – a public one this time - which eventually had several results, the main one being the construction of Dun Laoghaire Harbour in the unchanged overall shape we still know today.

original harbour plan2The original suggestion was for one breakwater almost a mile to the east of the little fishing port of Dunleary

east pier only3The idea develops, and the title of “Asylum Harbour” goes public
The increasing loss of life in shipwrecks which resulted from onshore gales in Dublin Bay as vessels tried to enter or leave the shallow port of Dublin led to a growing body of opinion in favour of the construction of a substantial asylum anchorage immediately east of the little creek of Dunleary. The basic requirements were very basic indeed. The initial idea was that there would be just one enormous breakwater pointing approximately northeastward, and then curving northwest at its outer end. The thinking was that in heavy onshore weather, ships could anchor in some safety in its lee until conditions improved.

It couldn’t have been simpler, for there was no mention of any shoreside infrastructure to go with it. The idea was that it would only be used by ships in severe conditions and for the shortest possible period. But by the time the construction was underway in 1817, it seemed more sensible to include a West Pier to make it more of an enclosed harbour, and after a Royal visit in 1821, little old Dunleary – still only a fishing village of limited facilities – had become Kingstown, and the massive new port of refuge became known as The Royal Harbour.

first dublin bay regatta4The first regatta at Kingston was staged in 1828

The originators of the project had thought only of providing temporary shelter for merchant and military ships in the most basic possible facility. But other minds and interests saw it in different ways. By 1828 the first regatta had been staged, and at the same time, the first steam and sail-driven ferry boats were running an unofficial occasional cross-channel service from Kingstown to Holyhead and the River Dee.

Kingstown Harbour plan5The authorities were eventually persuaded to include Dunleary within the new harbour, but essentially it meant the end of an ancient coastal community living around its own creek
Old Map HarbourThe “Game-Changer” – the opening of the Dublin-Kingstown Railway in 1834 was the real beginning of the harbour town’s progression towards becoming a fashionable residential area and a ferry port.

Then in 1834 the pioneering Dublin to Kingstown railway opened for business. This was the real game-changer in the history of Dun Laoghaire Harbour, which is a long litany of unintended consequences. The railway provided rapid accessibility which led to fashionable if notoriously uncoordinated shoreside residential developments, and the recreational use increased with waterfront yacht clubs. Then as the railway network increased all over Ireland, special boat trains were able to deliver people direct to cross-channel ferries berthed on either side of the new Carlisle Pier.

It was all on a modest scale as the ships were still relatively small, yet by this stage, we were a long way from the original Asylum Harbour concept, as the entrance to Dublin Port had been substantially dredged and steam had taken over as the main motive power for ships.

riyc plans7Shoreside recreational facilities developed in tandem with the harbour’s increasing popularity – the plans for the Royal Irish Yacht Club by John Skipton Mulvany. Opened in 1850, it is the world’s oldest complete purpose-designed yacht club building

RIYC 0061The Royal Irish Yacht Club today

There was a sort of golden era when ships of the Royal Navy were still small enough to find Dun Laoghaire a convenient port which was secure from shoreside troubles, such that it is said that a crew change from a naval ship temporarily in Kingstown could be effectively arranged by putting the entire ship’s complement on a closed train which would then travel unhindered across Ireland to the main naval base at Cobh without the public being any the wiser, for these could be restless times.

As long as the main means of access to the ships was by train, Dun Laoghaire worked very well as a ferry port which – thanks to the modest size of the ships – was minimally intrusive both to other harbour users and to those who lived by the harbour.

But the next transport change, trying to deal with Ro-Ro vehicles arriving by road, was much more problematic. For sure, things could be done on the waterfront in the harbour to accommodate Ro-Ro ships without excessive intrusion. But even this apparently simple challenge proved too much during the 1950s – in Dun Laoghaire they built new ramps to accommodate the current generation of vehicle transport ships, but meanwhile Sealink as it then was had commissioned a new larger ship, and somehow omitted to tell them in Dun Laoghaire that this vessel would need a different sort of ramp…..

It was sorted out in a bodged-together sort of way, and as long as the cargo was mostly cars and vans, it was manageable ashore. But Kingstown/Dun Laoghaire’s ad hoc township development in the 19th Century meant that away from the waterfront, it was a maze of narrow roads and streets, and harbour access with the new super-trucks was a real headache.

So although a new Ferry Terminal for the HSS (High Speed Service) was built in the 1990s, to function smoothly it really would have required direct access of semi-motorway quality to the new M50.

unused ferry terminal9The currently unused Ferry Terminal (right foreground) includes an extensive area originally intended for waiting vehicles. Photo Courtesy Barrow Coakley/Simon Coate

There are many other reasons why the HSS and indeed all ferry services out of Dun Laoghaire ended in 2015. But the unintended consequence is that for nearly five years now, Dun Laoghaire Harbour has been primarily a recreational and residential amenity, which is a long way indeed from that suggestion around 1800 that just one sheltering breakwater should be built. And the ultimate irony is that the lone breakwater in question is now the East Pier which most Dubliners see as being perfect for a stroll, brisk walk or jog – in fact, some reckon that’s what it was designed for.

The suggestion that the Harbour might be quite drastically modified in order to accommodate cruise liners was fiercely resisted, and with the news that even the citizens of Cobh are complaining about the vulgar 24-hour noisiness of the modern cruise liners which berth at their town, we can only imagine the raised levels of indignation in Dun Laoghaire were such a thing to happen in a township where the waterfront is now very much the trendy place to live.

Thus a major sailing event like the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta is important in many ways, and particularly for showing the harbour’s potential as a magic place to have your home. But how can this vitality be given a year-round span? Organisations like the Irish National Sailing School do heroic work in giving the harbour area some vitality on a year round basis, yet as any aerial photos show, the piecemeal development of the waterfront over the years as various uses have arisen, functioned and then died, has left behind much empty space which can surely be better utilised.

dun laoghaire looking north10A challenge with Dun Laoghaire is creating a natural interaction between harbour and town, as they are artificially divided by the intervening waterfront roads and railway. Two possibilities are new communities created around the Coal Harbour (left) and on the parking area of the Ferry Terminal. Photo courtesy Barrow Coakley/Simon Coate

The basic problem with Dun Laoghaire Harbour is that there is no “Vieux Port”, no ancient corner where you can still find ample waterside evidence of the harbour as it was in its earliest days with ancient inns and boatworks and whatnot. Such places must have existed in old Dunleary, but the roads and the railway have cut them off from the harbour, and they have long since disappeared underneath new developments.

So maybe after we’ve recovered from Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2019, we might get some fresh thinking on how to keep the harbour quietly yet genuinely alive all year round. For instance, surely an imaginative town planner/architect could think of ways of giving the area around the Coal Harbour more of a sense of community?

coal harbour11The inner harbour (still known as the Coal Harbour) is all that remains of the ancient coastal community of Dunleary. With some radical thinking, it might be possible to create a proper little maritime community around it
Equally, that vast empty area which used to be the waiting area for the HSS Ferry – even with some space taken up by the Ferry terminal building - is still so large that it is going to take a real leap of vision to find some genuinely valid use for it.

The problem is that Dun Laoghaire is such a rare case. There are very few other comparable ports and seaside towns from which it can learn the way forward. And as it is, many people are perfectly happy with the harbour as it is. But surely it could give a better sense of itself, a real feeling of identity?

That said, the way it is today is largely as a result of unintended consequences, with people who like it as it is fighting their corner with utter determination. So maybe it would be flying in the face of experience to try to plan anything which might have longterm and worthwhile intended consequences. Maybe if everyone just continues to KBO, it’ll be all right in the end, thanks to continuing the long tradition of beneficial unintended consequences.

Published in Volvo Regatta
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In the hotly contested Division 2 (A) of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, Michael and Darren Wright continue their strong form on the Dublin Bay Race track by leading the 20-boat fleet in their Andrieu Half Tonner, Mata. The Class Two ICRA National Champions, who were crowned on the same race track a month ago and Irish Half Ton Cup winners in Kinsale a fortnight ago, are one of five tricked-up Half Tonners from Howth Yacht Club contesting the division.

Sovereign's Cup Class Two winner, Nigel Biggs is second in the customised Half Tonner Checkmate XVIII and third is the Royal Cork modified 1720 sportsboat skippered by Anthony O'Leary.

In what is perhaps a sign of what is to come over the weekend, Howth Yacht Club and Royal Cork Yacht Club entries control the top seven overall after the single race sailed on Thursday. 

Fergal Noonan's Corby 25 Impetuous is fifth with a new J97 campaign, The 'Jeneral Lee' (Colin and Kathy Kavanagh) in sixth.

Published in Howth YC

In one of the biggest one design fleets of the massive 500-boat of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, John O'Sullivan's Rhubarb leads the Flying Fifteens after two races.

In some neat sailing on the Salthill Course, O'Sullivan of the National Yacht Club scored a 1 and a 4 to lead club mates and FF National Champions David Gorman and Chris Doorly but they are tied on the same 5 points in the 24-boat fleet. Third is Peter Murphy in Hera, also from the NYC.

The One Design keelboat class is in warm-up mode for its Subaru-sponsored World Championships that will be staged on Dublin Bay in two months time.

Racing continues on Friday.

Tom Galvin 0866Tom and Eamonn Galvin lead at the first mark of Race Two Photo: Afloat

Flying Fifteen 0899Tom Murphy and Carel La Roux lead a bunch of boats at the weather mark Photo: Afloat

Ben Mulligan and Cormac BradleyBen Mulligan and Cormac Bradley set the pole Photo: Afloat

Neil Colin FF 0990DMYC's Neil Colin at the front of a pack of FFs downwind Photo: Afloat

Published in Flying Fifteen

None other than Mark Mansfield predicted that the Scottish Series would prove an important warm-up for Irish raiders, and it certainly seems to be the case for Beneteau 31.7 owner John Minnis.

The Royal Ulster sailor struggled to make an impact at Tarbert in an IRC3 class dominated by the upgraded Half Tonners of Johnny Swan and the Wrights of Howth. 

But in this week’s standalone Beneteau 31.7 class, his ‘Final Call’ crew finished Day 1 of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta at the top of a 14-boat fleet.

‘Crazy Horse’ duo Frank Heath and Ivan Schuster, who finished third in the National Championships on the same waters 11 months ago, couldn’t take up the invitation that was staring them in the face at the Race 1 finish line.

Royal St George’s Michael Blaney finished ahead of them in second place at the helm of ‘After You Too’.

First 211s

Meanwhile the bijou Beneteaus - the First 211s - were engaged in the opening round of their Irish Championships.

Andrew Bradley’s ‘Chinook’ and Scottish duo Stu and Deb Spence were narrowly beaten to the title during VDLR17.

Two years on and rivalry between the Royal Irish and Clyde Cruising Club boats is just as keen.

But again they find themselves chasing first place, which this time is being held by Pete and Anne Evans on their Greystones entry, Anemos 2.

Published in Volvo Regatta

After an opening race win in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta SB20 Division today, the All-Ireland Sailing Champion Peter Kennedy helming Team Ridgeway could only manage sixth in the second race to place third overall in the 16-boat sportsboats fleet.

The lead is held by Jerry Dowling's Bad Kilcullen who scored 3, 1 In May, the on-form Dowling crew also won the class Northern title on Strangford Lough. Second overall is Alert Packaging, (Chris Helme, Justin Burke & Alan Claffey) of the National YC on five points. 

The 16-boat turnout at Dun Laoghaire is a shot in the arm for the class that last month was forced to cancel its Sprint Series due to lack of numbers. 

Alert Packaging 0803Justin Burke's Alert Packaging lies second Photo: Afloat

Published in SB20

First round in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta battle of the sportsboats was won decisively by the 1720s - and the Royal Irish.

David Ryan’s 'Big Bad Wolf' took the first bullet in a mixed series that is being fought out by a 22-strong fleet.

And waterfront clubmate Ian Cummins worked his magic in 'Merlin' - avoiding a repeat of her fate in the 1720 East Coast championships to take second place.

Former Helmsman Champion Robert Dix has been tipped to shine among the J80 fleet this week, but the veteran competitor couldn’t make his experience tell in the light and shifty airs of Dublin Bay's northern reaches.

Instead, it was Howth sailmaker Philip Watson who salvaged some honour for the class in 'Jam Jar', pipping Conall O’Halloran’s 'Jitterbug' for third.

Royal St George sailor Conall fared better in the standalone J80 event, topping the Day 1 league table ahead of Annemarie Murphy’s National crew in 'Jay Z' and the Howth-based 'Red Cloud', helmed by Norbert Reilly.

Published in Volvo Regatta
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It was ultra-high summer, and it was difficult sailing in Dublin Bay for the hugely varied fleet starting their racing in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2019 writes W M Nixon. Today’s opening racing started with so much promise – a sparkling sunlit westerly and the race area enlivened by the flood tide. But as the afternoon settled in, the breeze went to sleep, and when a new easterly finally decided to come creeping in under a soft grey sky, it did so in a very uneven way, as was shown in the results for the IRC Classes.

For although the glamour boats of Classes 0, 1 and 2 were in the Race Area nearest the smooth opulence of Dublin Bay’s southeast coast, it was the smaller craft exiled to the middle of the bay – virtually the Northside as some true blue Dun Laoghaire types saw it – who had the best of the day’s sailing, as the new wind nipped in round the Baily with some determination, whereas it was decidedly languid as it wandered in past the Muglins and Dalkey Island.

Outrajeous kite beat 0602The J109 Outrajeous is the first to set her kite on the opening 'beat' when the wind shifts just minutes into race one. The race was abandoned. Photo: Afloat

In other words, the biggies completed just one race, but the little ‘uns got in two. In Class 0, Jamie McWilliam’s Ker 40 Signal 8 from Hong Kong looked like she could fly given a wind, but for some time there weren’t no wind at all at all to ruffle the hair-styles of Dalkey, and it was Frank Whelan’s achingly consistent Grand Soleil 44 Eleuthera from Greystones which started from where she’d left off at Kinsale by taking the bullet, while second went to Conor Phelan’s Ker 36 Jump Juice from Crosser, but Signal 8 still made the podium with the third.

Signal 8 0647Jamie McWilliam's Ker 40, Signal 8 Photo: Afloat

Zero Bullock 0724A tightly grouped Class Zero off Bulloch Harbour just before the wind died in aborted race one Photo: Afloat

IRC 1 was a truly awesome turnout in terms of number, but as far as wind speeds were concerned, the numbers suited the J/109s very well indeed, thank you, and they took eight of the first ten places, with the John Maybury’s Joker 2 (RIYC) getting the best of it from clubmates Tim & Richard Goodbody in White Mischief, third place going to Pat Kelly’s Storm from Howth and Rush while longtime J/109 advocates Brian & John Hall (NYC) were fourth with Something Else.

Class One Start 0572A Class One Start Photo: Afloat

The RC 35 Division was within IRC 1, and here the winner was Storm with Something Else second and Robin Young’s Jings from Scotland – yet another J/109 – taking third.

Coastal Division

Mermaid Beneteau 50 0289Seamus Fitzpatrick’s big Beneteau First 50 Mermaid IV clears the harbour mouth at the start of the race Photo: Afloat

Coastal Class 0302The start of the coastal class race with Fintan Cairns's Raptor closest to camera Photo: Afloat

Meanwhile the 30 boats which had gone offshore in the coastal race finally managed to find their way to a finish, and it was Seamus Fitzpatrick’s handsome big Beneteau First 50 Mermaid IV (RIYC) – with former All-Ireland Sailing Champion Ben Duncan as tactician - which managed to stave off the challenge of Andrew Hall’s slippery J/125 Jackknife from Pwllheli in second, third place going to George Sisk (RIYC) with his Xp44 WOW.

JackKnife Wow 0342JackKnife follows Wow out of Dublin Bay at the start of an 18-mile coastal race Photo: Afloat

By comparison with the frustrated big fellows, IRC 3 out in mid-bay had themselves a heady time of it with two races completed, and it was Charlie McAllister’s Starflash Quarter Tonner Fait Accompli from Antrim Boat Club on Lough Neagh which took to the salty sea with relish, and emerged top of the day’s racing with a 1st and a 3rd, Ger O’Sullivan’s Formula 28 Animal from Howth being next best with a 5th and a 1st, while third overall was taken by Ken Lawless’s Quarter Tonner Cartoon (RIYC) with a 4th and 2nd.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the IRC racing is the sheer size of the class numbers involved. If the fates decide to give us enough breeze tomorrow to provide racing, we’ll look in more detail at some other sides to this varied and complex story. But for now, the miracle is that with the awkward wind pattern, the Race Officers still managed to get in a programme, we have results, and tomorrow is another day.

Division 2a details are here

Checkmate XVDave Cullen's Checkmate XV is competing in class Two Photo: Afloat

Published in ICRA
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There is no doubt about it that 500 entries – so far – for Thursday's Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta is a great indication of the state of yacht racing in Ireland, especially when so many other regattas struggle for numbers.

There are six IRC spinnaker classes bucking this trend plus a further 27 One Design and White Sail classes competing, making up this massive 500–boat fleet.

Download the Class Splits for Dun Laoghaire Regatta's IRC Classes below as a PDF file.

Based on these divisions, Afloat takes a shot at naming some likely winners in each of these six IRC classes. At the Sovereigns Cup in Kinsale, a fortnight ago, we did likewise and were successful in three of our four IRC class picks.

Light Wind Forecast

Weather conditions, as always will have a big bearing on who wins, with some designs clearly favouring lighter winds and some strong winds. With three days to go, it is possible to get a fairly decent steer of what the wind conditions will be like. It appears Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2019 will be a very light air affair unless some thermal winds appear, but with cloudy conditions expected for three of the four days, the chances of these thermals coming in are lessened. Therefore our picks for likely winners take this into account.

Offshore Class—28 Entries

In reality, though officially described as an 'Offshore' Class, it is effectively a 'Coastal' Class.

Jackknife D2D Race start 2497Jackknife, the J125 of Andrew Hall from Pwllheli Sailing Club

Jackknife, the J125 of Andrew Hall from Pwllheli Sailing Club is leading the ISORA Series overall and is a potent performer, particularly when she can get planing. Likewise, the two Jeanneau Sunfast 3600s from Dun Laoghaire, Yoyo (Brendan Coughlan) and Hot Cookie (John O'Gorman). Hot Cookie had an impressive third place overall result at the recent Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race, while Yoyo features well also on the ISORA Circuit.

Rockabill D2D Race start 2191Paul O'Higgins's Rockabill VI from the Royal Irish Yacht Club

Paul O'Higgins's Rockabill VI from the Royal Irish has already won D2D overall and the Coastal class at ICRAs but may not like the light air conditions much. Even still, she will compete hard and if a bit of breeze builds, she will perform well.

WOW D2D Race start 2087George Sisk's new XP44 WOW from the Royal Irish Yacht Club

All these boats will need some breeze and some good reaching conditions to shine. George Sisk's new XP44 from the Royal Irish took a clean sweep in the Coastal Class at the Sovereign's Cup just two weeks ago and is known to be particularly swift in light airs. In addition, she seems to possess a good selection of offwind sails, so she must be the favourite for this class. The two boats that might upset this, however, are the J109’s, Jaydreamer, owned by Paul Sutton from Liverpool, Peter Dunlop's Mojito from Pwllheli and Nigel Ingram's Jetstream from Holyhead. The J109 is a particularly potent performer in light airs, and with their asymmetric spinnakers will likely be well suited for this class.

Class 0: Six entries

The Offshore Class has pulled many of the larger boats, leaving just the hardcore of top IRC big boats here. 

Signal 8 Ker 40 Jamie McWilliamJamie McWilliam's Signal 8, a Ker 40, sailing under the burgee of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club

The highest rated will be Jamie McWilliam's Ker 40, Signal 8 from Hong Kong. Signal 8 won last years Wave Regatta at Howth in light airs, from Jump Juice from Royal Cork owned by Conor Phelan. Jump will be in the mix this year as well.

Forty Licks 1581Jay Colville's First 40, Forty Licks from East Down Yacht Club
Jay Colville's First 40, Forty Licks from East Down Yacht Club always performs well in all conditions, and will likely finish in the top three, as likely will Jonathan Anderson's J122e from the Clyde.

eleuthera racing14Frank Whelan's Grand Soleil 44, Eleuthera from Greystones Photo: Bob Bateman

For the overall win, however, you cannot go beyond Frank Whelan's Grand Soleil 44, Eleuthera from Greystones. Second at the ICRAs and a clear winner at the Sovereign Cup last month, she is a noted light air performer, and with Shane Hughes from North Sails aboard, must be the bookies favourite in this class.

Class 1: 27 entries

This is likely to be the most competitive and hardest class to pick a winner this year. The normal Irish and Welsh boats in this class will be joined by the Scottish RC 35 Class who are using Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta as one of the Celtic Cup events, so six of this class have travelled to the hub of Irish Sea yachting.

16 x J109s feature in this class and are known to be potent in light airs, so it is likely that two or three of the podium results will go to a J109. So far this year, a J109 has won the Scottish Series, the ICRAs and the Sovereign's Cup, in varying conditions.

Animal KipKevin and Debbie Aitken's Beneteau 36.7, Animal, from the Clyde

Apart from the J109s, there are a few others that will feature. If it stays light for all four days, Kevin and Debbie Aitken's Beneteau 36.7, Animal, from the Clyde is a potent performer in light airs and has already won the RC35 Class Nationals this year. One windier day, however, could be her undoing as if she cannot keep up with the J109’s on a moderate day, she will end up with a couple of high numbers. This is what happened at the Scottish Series back in May.

Bon Exemple 2627Colin Byrne's Xp33, Bon Exemple from the Royal Irish Yacht Club

Colin Byrne's Xp33, Bon Exemple has been going particularly well in Dublin Bay Sailing Club racing until she had to do some mast repairs. She is a great all-round boat and will be to the front of the fleet. Andrew Algeo's new J99, Juggerknot 2 from the Royal Irish has shown some flashes of speed and will likely be in the mix.

J99 2688Andrew Algeo's new J99, Juggerknot 2 from the Royal Irish Yacht Club

Getting back to the J109s, the four that took the top four results at this year's ICRAs are all back, and all have good tacticians aboard. John Maybury's Joker 2, From the Royal Irish, who was the 2017 Dun Laoghaire Regatta winner will have Olympian Killian Collins aboard. Jelly Baby, owned by Brian Jones from the Royal Cork has Killian's brother Mel on tactics. Storm 2, owned by the Kelly family from Rush has North Sails Nigel Young aboard, and Outrajeous, owned by John Murphy and Richard Colwell from Howth, has Olympian Mark Mansfield aboard. Outrajeous just won the Sovereigns Cup two weeks ago in Kinsale. Other top J109s likely to do well will be Tim Goodbody's locally-based White Mischief from the Royal Irish, Brian and John Hall's Something else from the National Yacht Club and Andrew Craig's Scottish Series winner, Chimaera from the Royal Irish.

White Mischief J109 0359Tim Goodbody's J109 White Mischief from the Royal Irish Yacht Club

Jelly Baby 2022Brian Jones's J109 Jelly Baby from Royal Cork Yacht Club

Outrajeous 2934Outrajeous, owned by John Murphy and Richard Colwell from Howth

Who to pick from this lot? Were it moderate conditions, it likely would be Outrageous, Joker 2 and Storm to fight it out. However, both Storm and Outrageous have opted for symmetrical spinnaker configuration this year and in light airs an asymmetrical spinnaker has an advantage. As a result, we suggest Joker 2 will take it by a nose.

Class 2: 23 entries

Were it moderate conditions we could talk about one of the J97s having a good chance, or perhaps Anthony O'Leary's converted 1720, Antix Beag, from Cork or the newly crowned ICRA Class Three champion, the X302 Dux (Anthony Gore Grimes) from Howth

Antix Beag 2437Anthony O'Leary's modified 1720, Antix Beag, from Cork

However in light airs, the modernised Half Tonners are flyers and so, one of these five must be likely to take the spoils.

The Wright brothers Mata from Howth has won the ICRAs this year and also won the Irish Half Ton Cup at the Sovereigns Cup. She has been going particularly well, but unlike the other events, she does not have a pro for this regatta.

MATA Half TonThe Wright brothers Mata from Howth Photo: Bob Bateman

Nigel Biggs's Checkmate XVIII from Howth won her class in Sovereigns and was close also at ICRAs. Her tactician, Neil Mackley from North Sails, will, Afloat understands, be with her again for Dun Laoghaire Week and this must make her one of the main contenders.

Nigel BiggsNigel Biggs's Checkmate XVIII from Howth Photo: Bob Bateman

Finally, Dave Cullen from Howth has not featured of late in his champion Half Tonner, Checkmate XV. For this event, he has brought in well known one design pro, Ruairidh Scott from the UK to call tactics and this will likely bring him well into contention. So, it likely will be between these three. We will tip Nigel Biggs to take it from Dave Cullen, but it will all be pretty close.

Cullen checkmate 0385Dave Cullen's Half Tonner, Checkmate XV from Howth

Dux X302 3304ICRA champion X302 Dux (Anthony Gore-Grimes) from Howth

Class 3: 19 entries

Were it moderate to fresh, the four J24s would likely be in the frame. The Quarter Tonners, however, love this light stuff and chief among them will likely be Ken Lawless and Sybil McCormack's Cartoon from the Royal Irish. Other Quarter Tonners that will like the conditions will be Paul Colton's Cri Cri from the Royal Irish and John Hasson and Neil Doherty's Panic from Lough Swilly Yacht Club.

CrI Cri 3430Paul Colton's Cri Cri from the Royal Irish Yacht Club

Fngr8 1982FNGr8, the optimised First Class 8 skippered by Rory Fekkes from Carrickfergus Sailing Club

Brendan Foley's highly optimised Impala, Running Wild from the Royal St George, complete with fat head main, will also love these light airs. Finally, runner up to Dux at the ICRA Nationals this year was FNGr8, the optimised First Class 8 of Rory Fekkes from Carrickfergus Sailing Club. Rory won his class easily at the Scottish Series and was overall winner at 2018 Cork Week. We will tip him to add a Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta crown to these titles, likely with Cartoon or Running Wild in second.

Running Wild Impala 3287Brendan Foley's highly optimised Impala, Running Wild from the Royal St George Yacht Club

Class 4: 16 entries

Hard to know who will take this one. Philip Dwyer's Supernova, who won his class at ICRAs has been moved up to Class 3, as has Dubious, the First 28 of Peter Richardson from the Royal St George.
The Sonata, Asterix, of Frazer Meredith is always sailed well and never goes away, despite her low handicap. In these conditions, she will always be in contention. We will tip her to win.

Asterix sonata 7 3213Local boat Asterix (Frazer Meredith & John Counihan) of the DMYC

Download the class splits below. Read W M Nixon's VDLR 2019 Regatta preview here.

Published in ISORA
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When the starting gun sounds off Dun Laoghaire’s famous harbour on Thursday, Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta will not only surpass 2017’s fleet with a fleet this morning of 498 but it is likely to come close to breaking 2007's all time record of 528 entries.

A regatta of this scale brings key benefits to both the sport and the east coast town.

It is a marine tourism boost and one that underpins Dun Laoghaire's place as Ireland’s largest sailing centre and also the venue of one of Ireland’s largest participant sporting events with over 2,500 competitors on the water.

But what’s even more satisfying for the Dun Laoghaire organisers this week is that nearly half the entries for 2019 are visiting boats – an indication of the future international prospects of the regatta.

The 2019 regatta is previewed here by W M Nixon. Sailing Instructions are here and Afloat will carry a review of the 2019 VDLR Runners and Riders when final IRC class splits are published on Monday.

Published in Volvo Regatta
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Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta organisers have published the Sailing Instructions document for Ireland's biggest regatta next month on Dublin Bay.

Five race tracks across Dublin Bay will cater for 2,500 sailors in 480 boats across 34 classes when the first gun sounds on July 11.

The 24-page document contains the official rules and regulations of the regatta as well as the programme of races for the four-day biennial event.

The Sailing Instructions are downloadable below as a PDF file

As Afloat previously reported here, more than 92 different sailing clubs will be represented, including the Channel Islands, Isle of Man, UK, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, from which there are currently 111 entries, and across Ireland. 

The fixture is organised jointly by the four Dun Laoghaire waterfront yacht clubs (the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club (DMYC), the National Yacht Club (NYC), the Royal Irish Yacht Club (RIYC) and the Royal St George Yacht Club (RSGYC).

Published in Volvo Regatta
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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.


The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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