Displaying items by tag: Dun Laoghaire to Dingle
Day #2 - 7 pm While the current boat is bigger, everyone on the 94ft Windfall knew that the conditions were exceptionally favourable when Mick Cotter’s 78ft Whisper established the 1 day and 48 minutes course record for the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race in 2009.
After a frustrating day’s sailing, it was touch and go whether they would manage to get any better in 2019, but this evening Windfall did it. Only just, admittedly – the word is the gap was about 20 seconds. But after a challenging sail in demanding conditions, that 24 seconds was a pearl beyond price, and tonight’s celebrations will be mighty.
Read all the D2D Race News in one handy link here
The largest boat entered for Wednesday's Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race run by the National Yacht Club has arrived into the marina at Dun Laoghaire, dwarfing all others in the 43-boat fleet now assembling at the Dublin suburb.
Skipper Mick Cotter is looking to topple the course record he established with the 78ft Whisper in 2009 as Afloat reported here.
Normally, Windfall is working assiduously for her living on the charter yacht circuit. But the D2D has enough unfinished personal business about it for Cotter to give his Superyacht a break, and take her racing himself along the wayward coasts of his home island. Windfall’s crew will include a top young sailor from Dingle Sailing Club for the 280-miler.
Read the race 2019 D2D race preview by WM Nixon here
Will the Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race next Wednesday find itself sailing with mostly fair winds asks W M Nixon. Will the presence of lows to the west of them, and other lows to the southeast, provide a line of favourable higher pressure down the course to give fair nor’easters in the early stages, and nothing too totally contrary thereafter?
It seems just possible, and would be very welcome. For there have been occasions racing to Dingle in conditions so obtuse that some easier ways of getting from Dublin Bay to West Kerry other than via the National Yacht Club’s biennial D2D have come to mind, such as walking backwards the whole way in your bare feet…….
On the other hand, it’s a race in which at some stage the sailing is inevitably sublime, yet even with the unsettled weather that Ireland is currently experiencing, as of this morning there are 43 sound boats signed up for next Wednesday’s 1800hrs start immediately eastwards Dun Laoghaire’s East Pier. And they include a goodly number of boats and sailors who are busy this weekend in dealing with the sometimes wayward weather which is making the 2019 ICRA Nationals hosted by the Royal St George YC such a fascinating challenge.
"this healthy increase by 33% is good going by anyone’s standards"
So whatever the weather, it looks as though enthusiasm is back in vogue. For when we last took a look at the potential D2D fleet in mid-May, confirmed entries stood at just 32 boats. But Race Chairman Adam Winkelmann was quietly confident that his fleet would be approaching the 40 mark as the race got nearer the top of the agenda in this extraordinarily crowded first half of the 2019 season. His instincts were right - this healthy increase by 33% is good going by anyone’s standards.
That said, the increased fleet size makes predictions even more difficult, for although there were good reasons to hope the weather will have settled down a bit by next Wednesday, the predictions change by the hour and the general instability of the Atlantic airmass could throw all sorts of optimistic expectations haywire.
But we take hope from the fact that, for some of the race, the indications are that the Jetstream will be to the north, whereas in recent days it has been sitting directly overhead, and in a particularly malignant mood too. However, more benign weather will tend to bring lighter winds, and while the fleet’s big one, Mick Cottter’s 94ft Windfall, will likely take line honours, the fact that the rest of the fleet might find the next weather deterioration is preceded by livelier breezes will see any chance of Windfall holding to her lead on handicap as no more than a very long shot.
But Windfall’s speed could be such that she’ll carry the mid-week nor’easters (should they arrive as currently predicted) all of the 280 miles crisply to the finish, leaving smaller craft still at sea dealing with the increasing likelihood of nor’westers on the nose in their latter stages of racing.
However, defending champion Paul O’Higgins (RIYC) with the JPK 1080 Rockabill VI is muted in his enthusiasm for any suggestions there might be benign weather on the way, as he has no doubt that his much-admired boat is at her best in a bit of a breeze.
“We don’t really do benign breezes,” he tells Afloat.ie. “We’re looking for good firm to brisk winds”. Certainly they had no lack of them in 2017’s race, and with regular shipmates including Mark Pettit, Kieran Tarbett and Ian O’Meara on the strength, Rockabill’s firepower is further beefed by Australian James Gunne, who has become a significant force in Dublin Bay sailing.
As ever, Rockabill’s closest battles will be with the J/109s, of which there are six with boats from Holyhead, Pwllheli, Dun Laoghaire, Poolbeg and Howth. One of them, Mojito (Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox, Pwllheli) was runner-up to Rockabill VI last time out, and her form in this year’s ISORA shows she’s still up for it, while another, the Shanahan family’s Ruth (NYC), was overall winner in 2015.
But the more recent additions to the thriving J/109 fleet around Dublin Bay are champing at the bit, and last weekend in Howth’s annual Lambay Race, it was the home club’s Richard Colwell and Johnny Murphy’s Outrajeous which led the pack in Class 1 from Rockabill VI by 1 minute and 49 seconds, though Rockabill VI was back on top in DBSC racing on Thursday night.
The Lambay crew lineup on Outrajeous included Mark Mansfield, but for the D2D, the formidable Cork sailor is moving across to John O’Gorman’s Sun Fast 3600 Hot Cooky (NYC), and he’s keen for some offwind flying that will suit his 2019 mount very well indeed.
Meanwhile Ireland’s former best-known campaigner of Sun Fast 3600s. OSTAR winner and 2017 “Sailor of the Year” Conor Fogerty of Howth, has been battling against time in France with a team including Shane Hughes of North Sails to prepare his very new foiling Beneteau Figaro 3 Raw for the Dingle Dash, which he’ll be racing 2-handed with Susan Glenny.
The race is a key element in his buildup to the Rolex Fastnet Race 2019 in August, and the word is Raw is on her way from the Bay of Biscay, but current conditions off western France and Land’s End have become decidedly rugged with Storm Miguel - having swept in close past northwest Spain with mayhem at sea including the rescue of five from the Irish boat Loa Zour 80 miles off the Galician coast - now moved into northwest Europe to further stir the meteorological witch’s brew.
Thus Raw will be well tested, but this same adverse weather may make it difficult for the oldest boat in the race, Paul Moxon of the UK’s classic yawl 50ft Amokura (a handsome 1938 Fred Shepherd design) to make the passage from Falmouth today – we keep our fingers crossed for him, he plans to leave Falmouth later this afternoon as conditions start to relent, and has set Tuesday at the NYC as his target.
Having completed the recent RORC Myth of Malham Race, the beautifully-restored Amokura is getting double value from the D2D 2-handed division, as her crew want to do the event in its own right, and it also adds up points to facilitate their Fastnet Race participation in pursuit of the Iolaire Cup presented for classics way back in 1975 (the Fastnet Race Golden Jubilee) by our own national nautical treasure, Don Street of Glandore.
While Raw and Amokura represent the extremes in age and type in the Dingle Race and the J/109s are far and away the most numerous class type, the rest of the fleet are of so many different marques that it’s something of an active boat show afloat.
All of which is another way of saying that any one of at least a dozen craft is in with a good chance, and one to watch in particular is Chris and Patanne Power Smith’s J/122 Aurelia, which won her class and placed third overall in last year’s Round Ireland during a notably consistent season in which she also came within a ace of winning the ISORA Championship.
Aboard for that round Ireland success was Maurice ‘The Prof’ O’Connell, and he’s re-joining the ship for the Dingle Race. Aurelia is an excellent all-rounder which is almost always in the frame, so maybe the 2019 Dingle Race is her long overdue turn in the gold spot. Either way it’s yet another chapter in the Mark Mansfield/Maurice O’Connell contest, last seen as recently as a fortnight ago in the Scottish Series when O’Connell won out on Andrew Craig’s Chimaera against the Ker 32 Hijacker with Mansfield on board.
Yet getting them on the same team can sometimes be achieved, as was seen to such good effect in 2016’s Round Ireland when Dave Cullen chartered the Kelly family’s superstar J/109 Storm, turned her into Euro Car Parks, and inveigled both Mansfield and O’Connell on board to share the tent and get the only class win by an Irish boat in that mighty staging of the big one.
There are three boats from the X Yachts stable in the lineup, Kinsale YC’s Cian McCarthy being the smallest one with the X362 EOS, while considerable distinction comes in the form of Conor Doyle’s Xp50 Freya from Kinsale, and George Sisk’s Xp44 WOW from Dun Laoghaire, with the latter’s crew becoming accustomed to the sad business of racing without their longtime shipmate the late and much-lamented Tom Power, whose contribution to so many aspects of Irish sailing spanned more than forty active years.
Classic Beneteaus are well represented, with Paddy Cronin of Malahide skippering the First 40.7 Encore with which he and his father Dermot won the two-handed division in the 2015 Rolex Middle Sea Race, while there are two of those grand old war-horses, the First 44.7 in the form of the Martin brothers’ Lively Lady (RIYC) and Barry O’Donovan’s Black Magic which shares her home port between Dunmore East and Howth.
The newer range of J Boats has interesting representation with a couple of J/112Es – James Tyrrell’s Aquelina from Arklow and Frank Doyle’s very new Cara from Crosshaven - while Andrew Algeo’s recently acquired new J/99 Juggerknot 2 will be observed with special interest, for although she’s smaller than his previous J/109 of the same name, Juggerknot 2’s rating of 1.014 puts her towards the top of the rating band shared by the J/109s.
In fact, the 1.000 to 1.020 rating band is going to see its own in-built competition, as it has many hot boats including one of the south coast’s most successful all-rounders, Denis Murphy’s family-campaigned Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo from the Royal Cork, and Tom Roche’s Salona 40 Meridian from Kinsale.
"The sailing clubs of the southwest and western seaboards are making their pitch"
The sailing clubs of the southwest and western seaboards are making their pitch, with Noel Coleman’s Oyster 37 Blue Oyster racing for Schull, Kenneth Cunnane’s Swan 46 Mynx representing Dingle, Derek & Conor Dillon;s Dehler 34 The Big Deal sailing for Foynes, and Liam Burke’s Farr 31 Tribal from Galway Bay SC racing - like The Big Deal - in the two-handed division.
Also from the west are the two Minis 6.50s, Louis Mulloy’s Blackshell Farm from Mayo SC, and Yannick Lemonnier and Dan Mill’s Port of Galway (GBSC). Small they may be, but they can’t half shift, and their rating of 1.052 reflects this.
Which makes it interesting to round out this inevitably incomplete review with the lowest-rated boats, whose crews can always envisage a wind pattern developing to make it their day at the end. They include Keith Miller’s Yamaha 36 Andante from Kilmore Quay at 0.937, Finbarr O’Regan’s Elan 33 Artful Dodger from Kinsale at 0.957, Peter Coad’s 1988-vintage Pocock 38 Blackjack from Dunmore East at 0.917, Irish Offshore Sailing’s Sunfast 37 Desert Start, skippered by Ronan O Siochru, on 0.952, Joe Conway’s Sigma 33 Elandra (RIYC) on 0.912, Ruper Barry’s JOD Red Alert from Greystones on 0.933, another Sigma 33, Ian Bowring’s Springer (RStGYC), on 0.912, top of the bunch Mark & Jo Thompson’s Sunfast 3200i Jac Y Do at 0.997, and lowest rated of all, David Bolger’s Sadler 34 Lady Rowena (RStGYC) on 0.906.
Most encouraging of all, perhaps, is the range of clubs taking part, as they run from Carlingford (Declan Murphy, Hanse 370e Zuri) all the way round to Mayo SC (Louis Mulloy), with boats from the Welsh coast as well. It’s a cracker of a fleet - Adam Winkelmann’s quiet faith in his support base is fully justified. It’s going to get very interesting towards 1800hrs on Wednesday, June 12th.
Details of entries here
Two youth sailors from the race finish port of Dingle in County Kerry will be onboard two entries in this month's 320-mile Volvo Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race (D2D) as part of a race promotion to encourage more young people to try their hand at offshore sailing.
One of the boats taking the novice crew is the largest in the expected 45-boat fleet, Michael Cotter's Windfall, a SouthWind 94. Cotter of the Royal St. George Yacht Club will be looking to topple the course record he established with the 78ft Whisper in 2009.
Read the D2D race update in Afloat's recent blog by WM Nixon here.
The race will have approximately 45 boats racing varying in size between 30 and 100 feet long with crews of between 2 and 20 sailors on board. The first D2D race took place in 1993 and the race has grown to become one of the great mini offshore sailing challenges in the UK and Irish waters. Underlining this growth in status is the fact that the D2D race now forms part of both the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association's 2019 series.
"The race starts from Dun Laoghaire on June 12th"
The Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Yacht Race starts from Dun Laoghaire on June 12th and is scheduled to arrive into Dingle Harbour over the weekend of June 15th and 16th. Volvo Car Ireland is the title sponsor of this offshore race that takes place every two years. They are supported by the Tralee based dealer Billy Naughton Motors who represents Volvo Cars in the region. The race has also had a long association with the Dingle Skellig Hotel where the gala prizegiving will take place on the evening of Saturday, June 15th.
The race will test crews’ skills in terms of fast sailing, accurate navigation and tactics and great teamwork. Crews include both male and female top sailors and there is a separate prize to encourage this growth of women in the race which mirrors the Volvo Ocean Race ethos. “We are delighted to be involved with and support the Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race in 2019, as we did two years ago. We wish all participating sailors safe sailing and encourage all supporters to visit Dingle and enjoy the great atmosphere surrounding the finish in the town.”
The National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire is the race organiser and provides the starting and finishing teams for the race management. The yachts can be tracked live online using the YB Tracking system which can be found both through the www.d2drace.ie or through www.afloat.ie from the start on Wednesday, June 12th.
It may only be 280 miles or so in length. But the D2D19 – which starts on Wednesday June 12th – will as ever be punching way above its weight with its complexities of strategy and tactics in early dealings with tides, the sheer varieties of the coastlines you have to race along, and the fact that while the final stage may be along one of the most magnificent seaboards in Europe, you’re now in the open Atlantic where the ocean-generated swell can acquire an extra dimension of confusion through the underlying backwash from the unforgiving cliffs.
By the finish, you’ll almost inevitably have sailed more than 300 miles - often by quite a substantial amount. So when you get the final impressive turning mark of Skellig Michael astern to head on into Dingle Bay and through the welcoming arms of Dingle’s fine natural harbour, you’ll know you’re within a few minutes reach of a convenient fully-facilitated port with its own specially Irish yet cosmopolitan flavour, and a palpable sense of reward for anyone who has sailed all the way from Dublin Bay.
This sense of achievement is reinforced by the way that Dun Laoghaire and Dingle both contrast and complement each other.
Dun Laoghaire is “Official Dublin comes to the Sea”. But Dingle is the independent spirit of the far southwest, and to some extent the essence of Kerry. Yet not totally so. For Dingle is so completely and utterly its own wonderfully entertaining and hospitable self that it defies categorization. Dingle is Dingle, that’s really all we need to know about it – and you have to experience it personally (and preferably at leisure) before trying to fully understand what being Dingle means.
The way that the race from Dun Laoghaire brings finishers into port with their senses heightened provides exactly the right mood to appreciate the hospitality Dingle has on offer. And the National Yacht Club’s Race Organisers – with Adam Winkelmann (himself a veteran of four D2D and six Round Ireland races) as Chairman, while Con Murphy is Race Director – are particularly keen to develop this vital aspect of the race’s continuing success.
They make the point that without the added local support of Dingle Skellig Hotel, Dingle Harbour & Marina, Dingle Crystal, Dick Mack’s Brewhouse, and Murphy’s Ice Cream – plus Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin and the Bretzel Bakery – then the overall package wouldn’t be so attractive for would-be challengers.
But they’re also emphasising the fact that Dingle itself continues to develop as a sailing centre in its own right, and they’re ensuring that young sailors coming up through Dingle Sailing Club’s Junior Programme are going to get a chance to take part in this remarkable race.
Their means of doing so are greatly increased by the astonishing variety of the 2019 fleet. At the moment, with just three-and-a-half weeks to go to the start, there’s a solid entry of 32 boats. But with the compressed nature of 2019’s early season fixtures and the inevitable element of last-minutism, it’s strongly reckoned they could be looking at 40 boats lining up for the start on Wednesday, June 12th immediately east of Dun Laoghaire’s East Pier and highly visible in Scotsman’s Bay.
Even as it is, the current line-up has to be one of the most comprehensive ever seen in any Irish offshore race, as it ranges from two Mini-Transat 6.50 mighty atoms – both from Connacht – right up to the stylish splendour of Dun Laoghaire owner-skipper Mick Cotter’s 94ft sloop Windfall.
Normally, Windfall is working assiduously for her living on the charter yacht circuit. But the D2D has enough unfinished personal business about it for Mick Cotter to give his Superyacht a break, and take her racing himself along the wayward coasts of his home island.
Back in 2009, he raced his previous biggie, the 78ft Whisper, in the D2D. But though their time still stands as the course record, it was 43 tantalising minutes outside the coveted 24 hours. You might think it no big deal to race a 285-mile course in a 78-footer within the 24 hours, but the Whisper experience shows just how cussed this course can be. Because you can be assured that Whisper was no woofer – later that season, she placed 5th overall and first of the Superyachts in the big-fleet 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race, a placing so good that many commentators latched onto it as one of that Fastnet’s most notable achievements.
Having a 94-footer moves the course record challenge onto a new plane, and this is serious stuff when the crew are dealing with sails of Windfall’s size, as this vid of her racing in the Loro Piana Regatta reveals.
Windfall’s crew will include a top young sailor from Dingle Sailing Club whose roles will include maintaining contact through various media channels to give people ashore - and particularly in Dingle - a flow of information on how the race is progressing, a mission which will be reinforced by having fellow Dingle sailors placed in various boats throughout the fleet, while Afloat.ie will be playing a key role in constant updates.
The fleet includes several previous winners, with the defending champion Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 1080 Rockabill VI (RIYC) - victor of a notably tough race in 2017 - lining up again, while the 2015 winner, the J/109 Ruth of the Shanahan family from the National YC, is also back in the hunt, this time with a third generation entry.
In addition to Dingle crewmen throughout the fleet, there’s a significant Dingle-based entrant in Kenneth Cunnane’s Swan 46 Mynx. Other western entries include father-and-son team of Derek and Conor Dillon of Foynes YC with their much-raced Dehler 34 Big Deal, while the two gallant Connacht Mini 6.5s are Blackshell Farm (Louis Mulloy of Mayo SC) and Port of Galway (Dan Mill & Yannick Lemonnier).
In recent Dingle races, the boat which has most frequently been there or thereabouts at the head of the fleet has been the J/109, and in all there are three of them currently entered for 2019, with Indian (Colm Buckley & Simon Knowles, Howth YC) and Jaydreamer (Paul Sutton, Holyhead SC) going along the sharpen things up for the Shanahans on Ruth.
As an interesting comparison, 2018 J/109 National Champion Andrew Algeo (RIYC) has thrown his hat into the ring with his new J/99 Juggerknot 2, while comparisons in another direction can be made the presence of James Tyrrell’s J/112E Aquelina from Arklow and sister-ship Cara (Frank Doyle, Royal Cork YC).
The South Coast challenge is strong, with Royal Cork also providing the Murphy family’s notably successful Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo, while Kinsale – with its own Sovereigns Cup series coming up at the end of the month – has a powerful presence with Conor Doyle’s Xp5 Freya, Thomas Roche’s Salona 42 Meridian, and Finnbarr O’Regan’s Elan 333 Artful Dodger.
Still on the south coast but well to the east, Waterford Harbour SC at Dunmore East is flexing its Dingle muscles with Peter Coad’s veteran Pocock 38 Blackjack, and the O’Donovans’ First 44.7 Black Magic (co-registered with Howth), while we have another of those tried and trusted First 44.7s from Dun Laoghaire in the form of Rodney and Keith Martin’s Lively Lady (RIYC).
The constantly updating entry list is available here
Whichever way you look at it, the newest boat of all is undoubtedly 2017 “Sailor of the Year” Conor Fogerty of Howth’s foiling Beneteau Figaro 3. She’s so new that at the time of writing she has yet to go afloat, making her name of Raw all-too-appropriate. Her debut has been delayed for a couple of weeks by the glitch in the Figaro 3 production programme, caused by specialist energies having to be re-directed to sorting the mast and rigging problems in the new Solitaire Urgo Figaro fleet, tense enough as the 50th Anniversary Figaro itself gets underway from Nantes on June 2nd, and will be in Kinsale from June 6th to 9th.
Meanwhile, Conor Fogerty stays remarkably calm despite the narrowing window and the importance of taking part in the Dingle Race, for apart from the attraction of the challenge of the D2D in itself, it is also his qualifier for August’s Rolex Fastnet Race, where his entry has already been accepted. But then, when you’ve been an OSTAR winner, keeping calm while battling on is an integral part of the psychological makeup.
Based on input from competitors and intending entrants to the Volvo D2D Race 2019 the organising committee in the National Yacht Club have decided that the course for the 2019 race shall be changed back to the traditional course of previous races. That will be Dun Laoghaire to Dingle leaving all islands to Starboard including Muglins, Tuskar Rock, Barrells Bouy, Coninbeg, Fastnet Rock and The Washerwoman.
The Sailing Instructions when published will override the Notice of Race in this regard and the SI’s will clarify in more detail the course to be sailed but it will be based on the traditional course layout.
"The change of mind reflects the strong body of opinion expressed by participants that the course as published was unfair to craft of different size and draughts"
The change of mind reflects the strong body of opinion expressed by participants in this and previous races that the course as published in the NOR was felt to be unfair to crafts of different size and draughts, Race Chairman, Adam Winkelmann told Afloat.ie
Entries are now open and the Early Bird entry fee of €275 is available on or before March 29th.
The 2019 Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle “D2D” Race starts from the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire on Wednesday, June 12th 2019.
The 300-mile race along the Irish coastline is a great mini-offshore challenge for Cruisers and Racing boats racing in separate divisions under IRC.
Dingle provides a wonderful finishing location for crews and visiting friends and families.
The 2019 race is also on the RORC and ISORA race calendars and offers boats in those series to accumulate qualifying offshore racing experience for crews participating in the RORC Fastnet Race in August.
The timing of the 2019 race is designed so boats participating in the ICRA Nationals in Dun Laoghaire (June 7 – 9) can use the race to get south in time for Sovereigns Week in Kinsale (June 26 – 29) and then be back in Dun Laoghaire for the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta (July 11 -14).
The 300–mile race along the Irish coastline is a great mini-offshore challenge for cruisers and racing boats racing in separate divisions under IRC. Dingle provides a wonderful finishing location for crews and visiting friends and families.
The 2019 race is also on the RORC and ISORA race calendars and offers boats in those series to accumulate qualifying offshore racing experience for crews participating in the RORC Fastnet Race in August.
"The 2019 race is on the RORC and ISORA race calendars"
The timing of the 2019 race is designed so boats participating in the ICRA IRC Nationals in Dun Laoghaire (June 7 – 9) can use the race to get south in time for Sovereigns Week in Kinsale (June 26 – 29) and then be back in Dun Laoghaire for the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta (July 11 -14).
The Notice of Race is now available to download at www.d2drace.ie and entries can be made online via the website here.
The 2019 mini offshore race, that is also a fixture on the international RORC calendar, will start on Wednesday, 12th June off Dun Laoghaire Harbour.
At almost 300 miles, the race has proved popular with offshore crews because, say the organisers, it is the 'perfect length', typically taking the whole fleet between 30 and 50 hours to get to Dingle in County Kerry.
It is the second headline 2019 sailing event to announce dates this week. Earlier, Kinsale Yacht Club announced it will stage its 2019 Sovereign's Cup regatta from June 26th to 29th.
And he gallantly campaigns the DBSC Turkey Shoot as a front runner on the water, but carrying a stratospheric handicap.
Martin Crotty of the National Yacht Club, one of the great enhancers both of our sport and of life itself, has been taken from among us all too soon, and the thoughts of the Irish sailing community – and a broader community beyond it at home and abroad – are very much with his family, his many friends and his clubmates in a sad loss in which we all share.
He started sailing at an early age, and became a stalwart of the Dun Laoghaire Flying Fifteen class in partnership with Jim Gorman, father of current Flying Fifteen pace-setter David Gorman. But Martin’s intellectual curiosity, and interest in a more complex form of sailing with a broader scope, then led to a partnership with Peter Cullen in the Everitt-designed Half Tonner Eliminator, which they campaigned very actively with increasing success.
By going into the Eliminator partnership, Martin began a dynamic boat-owning linkup with Peter Cullen which was to last the entire 38 years until his death on Saturday. Peter Cullen and Martin Crotty were much more than just a boat-owning duo – they were close friends, they complemented each other, their different abilities and personality traits were mutually beneficial, and they fairly crackled with ideas for the development and improvement of sailing.
Their partnership progressed through three more boats – the David Thomas-designed Bolero 35 Nyala (“rather over-canvased, but great sport and unbeatable in her special conditions”), and then another but very different David Thomas design, the hefty yet speedy Sigma 41 Koala which they campaigned and cruised from 1991 to 1999 through nine very active seasons, with thousands of miles logged.
They then “settled down a bit” with the handsome dark blue Beneteau 50 Zig Zag, which in fifteen and more seasons has cruised extensively to many parts of Ireland, but France and Spain – particularly northwest Spain – have also been much favoured. A couple of years ago, to mark Martin’s 70th birthday, he and Peter made what was to become their last extensive cruise together, out to northwest Spain and back again, two crossings of the Bay of Biscay.
Ashore, Martin was a surprisingly private person for one who played so many key roles across a wide range of interests, some of them highly visible. He was actually qualified as a barrister, yet never practised, for despite his never-failing politeness and tendency to be a backroom operator, he was fascinated by the world of corporate business, and achieved notable success and fulfillment in his career in Corporate Design.
As for his input into sailing, his best-known innovation was the introduction, with the full backing of Peter Cullen, of the biennial Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race in 1993. This really was totally new. Many people had thought of a non-stop Round Ireland Race long before Wicklow Sailing Club finally bit the bullet with total dedication in 1980. But absolutely no-one had thought of anything like a 280-mile race from the stately harbour of Dun Laoghaire in all its style on Dublin Bay, all the way to one of the most westerly fishing ports in Ireland, a place so redolent of the majesty of the Atlantic seaboard that it could have been on a different Continent. Yet thanks to the Crotty-Cullen initiative, the two very different ports were brought together and have maintained this unique, wonderful and growing seafaring and sporting bond ever since.
However, even an event as strong as this suffered from some numbers depletion during the Economic Recession. But although he had been running it for more than 15 dedicated years, Martin was determined to see the D2D back to full health before finally handing it over. In the Spring of 2017, with entries for the up-coming race in June already at record levels, he finally made the full administation handover to Adam Winkelmann, whom he had recruited to shadow his staging of the race in 2013, when signs of recovery were already beginning to become evident.
But although the hugely popular Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race is Martin Crotty’s most tangible legacy in Irish sailing, he should be remembered for much else. He was himself an excellent sailor, with that perfect combination of courage, ability and good sense which provides the perfect shipmate. He was fascinated by traditional navigation – he was a skilled hand with the classic sextant – yet he was equally adept with the most modern technology, and as Peter Cullen puts it, “There was no better man to have around when the electronics were acting up – he was better than many professionals”.
Another aspect of his wide-ranging personality was an encyclopaedic knowledge of flag etiquette. Quite how he managed to find the brain space for this arcane subject in his already well-furnished mind is a matter of wonder, yet the way of thinking which this indicates made him a formidable committee man, and he rose through the ranks to become Vice Commodore of his beloved National YC.
It was his final role with the NYC which perhaps best defined Martin Crotty. Upwards of three years ago he was appointed a Trustee of the Club. Some club Trustees are sometimes no more than names at the top of headed notepaper. But at a difficult time for yacht club life throughout Ireland as we struggled out of recession, Martin Corry was a Trustee that the Commodore and every committee in the National Yacht Club knew they could readily call on for the most sage and useful advice for each and every difficult decision.
Speaking today in fond remembrance of his friend Martin Crotty, National Yacht Club Commodore Ronan Beirne remembered his many services to sailing, but he spoke in particular of his solid reliability in his final role as a Trustee: “He was our rock. He would be completely measured, sound and considered in his deliberations, and his advice would be proven right. We will miss him for so many things. And we will miss him for his excellent company.”