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Displaying items by tag: Learn To Sail

As the last of the summer racing series in Dublin Bay come to a close, thoughts soon turn to the winter racing series of the DBSC Turkey Shoot & DMYC Frostbite series. Buoyed up by demand, the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School in Dun Laoghaire Harbour is offering sailors who may not always have the opportunity or access to boats to charter dinghies and keelboats from the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat Schools fleet writes Sailing Shool Principal Kenneth Rumball.

We're delighted to offer our meticulously maintained and race readied 1720s for charter during the DBSC Turkey Shoot and DBSC Spring Chicken Series to past course attendees allowing them to take the next step and race without one of our Team Skippers on board. In addition to the charter, we will also be providing some pre-series coaching to help the team come together and iron out any kinks that may slow you down. More information is available here

In addition, we will also still be racing our 1720 race boat that is represented at the 1720 class events around the country with spaces available on this boat for those who are less experienced to charter a boat and really want to experience a full on sports-boat raced as hard as possible towards the top end of the fleet.

For the DMYC Frostbite Series we are offering junior and adult sailors alike the opportunity to Charter our fleet of Laser dinghies and Topaz Vibe double handed dinghies.

Uniquely the charter also comes with training weekend before the series to ensure you are fully familiar with your boat prior to racing and pre and post race coaching on the spot. The coaching will primarily be focused on pre and post-race briefings and de-briefings as the racing will be “live”, coaching cannot be delivered during the race. Team skippers will themselves be racing on the very same course. A comprehensive review of the weather forecast and other relevant factors will be covered, with a view as to what tactics can be employed to give each competitor the best advantage. After the race we will review the course, the decisions that the skippers made. In addition, sailors will be asked to share any of their specific experiences from the race.

Full information and pricing is available here


Published in How To Sail
Tagged under

2015 was a busy year for the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School and the school is hoping to be even busier in 2016 writes school principal Kenneth Rumball.

2015 was a huge year of change for the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School. With thousands of sailors introduced to the sports of both sailing and powerboating at all levels. 2015 saw us invest hugely with the addition of LYNX our first yacht and new powerboats including a 9m and 6.5m RIB. We were delighted to be successful in all areas teaching new persons to sail and introducing old clients to the thrills and spills of dinghy, keelboat and yacht racing.

2016 is already looking to be just as challenging with LYNX currently undergoing a refit ahead of the Round Ireland Yacht race where we have already nearly sold all the places available for the trip around. 2016 will see us invest further in our dinghy fleet with new purchases already underway.

We look forward to helping you in 2016 with whatever course you need.

Published in Sailing Schools

Dun Laoghaire's Irish National Sailing School has declared 'Summer 2015 a blast' – despite the weather. In fact, the country's biggest sailing school says the summer's weather was great for sailing. The video clip made by the school's Instructors shows just some of the INSS's 3,500 students enjoying the harbour under sail.

But with the Summer drawing to a close it doesn't mean the end of Children's Sailing, according to School Principal Alistair Rumball. The INSS Junior Club starts back on Saturday, 5th of September and runs thoughout the school term.

Published in How To Sail

#trysailing – Alistair Rumball's Irish National Sailing School is holding its first Open Day this month at its base on Dun Laoghaire's West Pier with the aim of introducing newcomers to the sport. The Irish National Sailing and Powerboat School and the newly formed Irish National Sailing Club, will be opening its centre to the public on June 21st and you can try out Sailing, Kayaking, Paddle-boarding or Powerboating for just €10.

'We want everyone to be able to share in a sport that we love, sailing after all is a skill for life' Rumball told

Rumball, who featured recently in WM Nixon's Sailing on Saturday Blog, says he spent the winter 'investing in our fleet of boats and revamping our teaching syllabus, so much so that we are planning to put it all on display'.

The initative is part of the National Water Safety Awareness Week 2015 from Irish Water Safety, and in association with The Irish Sailing Association's Try Sailing initiative. Galway Bay Sailing Club held the West of Ireland's first " Try Sailing " launching in May, with up to 400 people getting on the water.

The Irish National Sailing Club will be on hand with its members and instructors to get as many people as possible on the water so they can experience a number of different water sports.

More information on the poster downloadable below or by emailing [email protected] or phoning 01 2844195.

Published in Sailing Schools

#howtosail – This page is prompted by a suggestion by Dingle Sailing Club in County Kerry for a listing of places where you can learn to sail in Ireland without the need for club membership.

Making people aware of the opportunity to learn to sail without the need for boat ownership and/or club membership fees was highlighted by's Tom MacSweeney as an important part of growing the sport of sailing. The point was clearly illustrated when MacSweeney was approached by a man who wanted his son to learn to sail in Cork but could not afford the relevant club membership fees.

If you offer learn to sail tuition in dinghies, keelboats, kitesurfers or windsurfers without the need for club membership fee please add your details in the comment box below: 

Published in How To Sail

#mayosailingclub – For two weeks in a row, Mayo Sailing Club has exposed loads of new people to sailing and fun on the water in the west of Ireland. If the smiles and peals of laughter are any gauge, the effort has been quite the success.

At the May Bank Holiday weekend, a number of the club's boats sailed off to Inishturk to visit this very special island for the weekend. They brought with them a fleet of sailing dinghies and a rescue rib, along with life jackets, and instructors – everything needed to get the islanders safely out on the water.

Despite dire forecasts, the weather cooperated with the winds decreasing and rain holding off through the afternoon on Saturday. As the sailboats anchored and moored in the harbour, the dinghies were brought over on a trailer by ferry. The dinghies were rigged around noon and Inishturk resident children and adults were given the opportunity to try sailing under the supervision of experienced sailors in the magnificent harbour.

Mayo Sailing Club Commodore Eoghan Cunningham ran a tight programme and operated the rib, which facilitated crew changes out on the water and allowed him to keep a close eye on the sailors and assist when needed. The buzz in the Community Club house afterwards was electric. Exuberant young sailors told their stories to parents and friends while the cruisers listened in and rejoiced over the new passion instilled.

The success of this inaugural venture means that the dinghies will be brought out to other islands scheduled as stopovers for the Mayo Sailing Club fleet during the course of the summer. The next cruise in company is to Clare Island and takes place June Bank Holiday weekend. As always, non-members are very welcome to join in.

On Sunday 11 May, Mayo Sailing Club opened its doors in Rosmoney to welcome non-members for a day of family fun out on the water. The dinghy fleet was once again brought out and rigged allowing guests to try sailing for the first time with experienced sailors at the helm. This time, the larger cruising sailboats were also at the ready on the pontoon and took anyone interested in sailing on a 'big' boat out onto Clew Bay. Fast ribs were also available to take visitors on a thrilling spin. Adventure Islands provided lessons in their new archery offering on club grounds. A free barbeque meal and hot showers ended the day on a high note. Once again the weather gods cooperated with (mostly) sunshine and (mostly) gentle breezes after a week of high winds and heavy rains.

Liam Mac Réamoinn, Junior Organiser, expressed his thanks to all those who helped make the sailing initiative such a success. The exciting day prompted the Committee to decide to open the sailing club to its members every Sunday afternoon at 3 pm for dinghy sailing. The fleet of dinghies will be available for rental to club members at nominal hourly rates to cover the cost of repairs. Mayo Sailing Club now have more ways you can join and get out on the water without even owning a boat.

Mayo Sailing Club members have been very active and successful on the racing and cruising circuit and have been attracting attention on a nationwide and global scale. This year, the Western Sailing Championships are coming to MSC and will be sailed on magnificent Clew Bay the last week of July.

This is a big event and will provide quite a spectacle on the Bay. Mayo Sailing Club is honoured to be the host of such a prestigious event. Visit the Mayo Sailing Club website 

Published in Sailing Clubs

The Irish National Sailing School (INSS) is based at the West Pier in Dun Laoghaire, and it is the largest sailboat training provider in Ireland.

INSS has been introducing people to sailing and boating since 1972. 


The school provides all the essential gear, boats and buoyancy aids, while wetsuits can be hired by the week.

Instructors are very experienced, and are fully insured.

The school has a long tradition of teaching children in a pressure free, relaxed environment and works a lot with local community groups and schools.

Courses are either RYA (Royal Yachting Association) or ISA (Irish Sailing Association) certified.

Published in How To Sail
#AQUATIC TOURISM - Charter yacht trip firm is weathering the recession, as the Sunday Business Post reports.
The venture - which provides daily and corporate yacht excursions since setting up in 2000 - reacted to a shortfall in customers due to the changing ecomonic climate by relocating from Westport to Dun Laoghaire marina, where business has been brisk.
Aaron O'Grady, a veteran of the Irish Olympic sailing squad, started the business with his father Pauric, the duo investing in a 54-foot yacht The Explorer to run sailing trips off the Mayo coast, helping novices learn to sail.
They later teamed up with business manager Bref Kennedy, who says that the recreational sailing business has plenty of room to grow.
"Our main goals are trying to break the perception of sailing that pervades in Ireland and also to introduce people to the exciting world of sailing on the extremely under-used and beautiful coastline that exists right on our doorstep," said Kennedy.
GoSailing is also the only company providing a charter yacht service on the east coast, according to Kennedy, which is "amazing considering we are an island nation".
Charter yachting trips around Dublin Bay, Killiney Bay and Dalkey Sound typically go for around €35 a head for groups of 12. For more details visit

#LEARN TO SAIL - Charter yacht trip firm is weathering the recession, as the Sunday Business Post reports.

The venture - which provides daily and corporate yacht excursions since setting up in 2000 - reacted to a shortfall in customers due to the changing ecomonic climate by relocating from Westport to Dun Laoghaire marina, where business has been brisk.

Aaron O'Grady, a veteran of the Irish Olympic sailing squad, started the business with his father Pauric, the duo investing in a 54-foot yacht The Explorer to run sailing trips off the Mayo coast, helping novices learn to sail.

They later teamed up with business manager Bref Kennedy, who says that the recreational sailing business has plenty of room to grow.

"Our main goals are trying to break the perception of sailing that pervades in Ireland and also to introduce people to the exciting world of sailing on the extremely under-used and beautiful coastline that exists right on our doorstep," said Kennedy.

GoSailing is also the only company providing a charter yacht service on the east coast, according to Kennedy, which is "amazing considering we are an island nation".

Charter yachting trips around Dublin Bay, Killiney Bay and Dalkey Sound typically go for around €35 a head for groups of 12. For more details visit

Published in Aquatic Tourism
4th November 2009

Learn to Sail

Cruise with confidence

Push the boat out with a training course under the ISA’s cruising scheme

Have you found that your cruising is being restricted by your lack of knowledge and confidence? 

Would you like to go a longer cruise next year or to feel more confident and relaxed when you are supposed to be on your holidays?

Are you tired of just crewing, want to be able to skipper the boat, but never get a look-in because the skipper always does the navigation?

Would you like to charter a boat in Ireland, or even in the sun, but don’t have any of the certificates that charter companies demand?

Have you always wanted to go sailing on a yacht and didn’t know how to get involved?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, you should consider brushing up your skills with one of the ISA’s training courses aimed at cruising sailors.

The ISA’s National Cruising Scheme has been developed over many years to assist sailors in learning and developing their skills from absolute beginner to those required to skipper a yacht on ocean passages. The courses are offered in either sailing or motor yachts according to what you think you will be sailing on, and are run right around the country all year around. This article aims to identify the courses and certificates that are available and to help you choose a course that will make your cruising more fun and enjoyable, wherever you are doing it and on whatever you are doing it. Courses are run on sailing yachts and on motor yachts.

Sea-based Training

There are a number of 'sea-based' training courses in the scheme. These are all run at sea, aboard cruising yachts. On the lower level course such as Competent Crew, you will learn how to sail or handle the boat under sail and engine as well as simply getting to grips with living aboard a cruising yacht. On the more advanced courses, you will act as skipper and navigator for the boat while on passage and when entering and leaving harbours, marinas and anchorages. Of course, all this is done under the watchful eye and guidance of your instructor. You will be amazed at how fast you pick up the skills and find out how easy all those daunting passage plans and calculations really are.

Shore-based Training

The shore-based training courses in the Cruising Scheme compliment the sea-based training by allowing participants to learn and develop skills in the relative comfort of a classroom and by allowing time to absorb and practice the course material away from a boat and all its distractions. On the three shorebased courses, sailors will learn how to plan and implement passages, working up from short coastal hops on the Yachtmaster Coastal Course to extended ocean passages on the Yachtmaster Ocean Course. It covers course plotting, tide calculation, developing passage plans and identifying where you are, as well as the principles of safety. Many of these courses are run over the winter months, often as an evening class.

Certificates of Competency

Those successfully completing the Competent Crew, Helmsman Certificate and Day Skipper Courses all receive their certificate of competency at the end of the course. If you want one of the ISA’s Yachtmaster Coastal, Offshore or Ocean certificates, you need to apply to the ISA to be assessed by one of the ISA’s Yachtmaster Examiners. The Coastal and Offshore assessments can usually be arranged on your own boat, if you have one, otherwise the ISA will slot you in on an assessment with a boat owner. The assessments vary in duration according to the level and number of candidates on board and are an opportunity for you to demonstrate to the examiner that you can manoeuvre, pilot and take charge of a yacht at the level required. The examiners have all been trained by the ISA and, as sailors themselves, know that you go boating for fun so while being professional and thorough, your examiner will do his or her best to ensure that you enjoy the assessment. The ISA’s Yachtmaster certificates are recognised and approved by the Department of Transport.


What to expect

Competent Crew

The ISA Competent Crew course provides the beginner with an introduction to the world of sail cruising. As well as learning to sail your boat, you will get to grips with living aboard a cruising boat and by the end of the course you will be able to take your place as a competent, safe member of crew aboard a sailing yacht. No previous experience or knowledge of sailing is required for this five-day training course, which may be run together or split up over weekends.

Helmsman’s Certificate

The ISA Helmsman’s provides the basic boat handling and seamanship skills necessary to safely and effectively handle and manoeuvre your motor yacht both at sea and within harbours and marinas. No previous experience or knowledge of boating is required for this course which may be completed in as little as two days.

Day Skipper

The ISA Day Skipper course is a sea-based training course provides participants with the basic skills and knowledge necessary to skipper a sailing yacht by day in waters with which they are familiar or, in other words, local day trips from your home harbour or moorings. It’s a five-day course which may be broken up over weekends. Participants should have some boating experience, equivalent to the skills and knowledge covered in the Competent Crew course if you are sailing and Helmsman’s Certificate if you are using a motor yacht. During the course you will be developing your boat handling skills as well as starting to get to grips with basic weather, navigation and pilotage.

ISA Yachtmaster Coastal

Holders of the ISA Yachtmaster Coastal certificate have proven their ability to skipper a sailing or motor yacht on coastal passages during daylight and at night. In order to do so, you will be comfortably devising passage plans, calculating tides for primary ports, plotting a course to steer and estimated positions as well as filling the role of skipper and crew when taking your boat into (and out of) a wide range of conditions and situations.

There three elements to the certificate. The shore-based training course (45 hours), the sea-based training course (five days) and then the assessment. You may complete any one of these on their own.

ISA Yachtmaster Offshore

Holders of the ISA Yachtmaster Offshore certificate have shown that they can skipper a sailing or motor yacht on coastal and offshore passages and crossings by day and night. In doing so, you will need to complete tidal calculations for secondary ports, offshore passage planning and boat stability.

There two elements to the certificate. The shore-based training course (45 hours) and then the assessment. You may complete any one of these on their own.

ISA Yachtmaster Ocean Shore-based Course

The ISA Yachtmaster Ocean Certificates shows that a sailor can skipper a sail or motor yacht on ocean passages without the use of electronic aids, where they are out of sight of land for extended periods. This will include the use of a sextant for position fixing, offshore communications, world weather and great circle routes. There two elements to the certificate. The shore-based training course (45 hours) and then the assessment. You may complete any one of these on their own.

What does it all cost?

A five-day sea-based training course will cost between €650 and €840. This will include your accommodation (on-board) and food.  Extras usually only include meals and drinks consumed ashore.

Shore-based training courses cost between €400 and €600. This includes all of your course materials.

A Yachtmaster assessment with the ISA will cost between €155 and €310, depending on whether it is for coastal, offshore or ocean and whether you are willing to be assessed alongside other candidates.

Where to get more information

More details on the National Cruising scheme are available on the ISA’s website including a full list of all the courses being run around the country with dates and venues. Your local cruising school will be able to help with any technical enquires, their contact details are included here and on the website. Of course, all this information is also available from the ISA Office who may be contacted on 01 28 00 239 or [email protected]



Take the plunge

Feedback from a range of Yachtmaster course participants

Shorebased Courses

When I received an ISA Yachtmaster navigation course as a Christmas present from my wife, I was a little apprehensive to say the least. After all, it was ten years since we sold our yacht which we sailed extensively in the Clyde and around the Scottish Islands. I always wanted to study the rudiments of navigation but got by mostly keeping land in sight except for a few occasions in fog when I had wished I knew more to ensure the safety of my crew. As the course material began to arrive in my inbox, I began to think that I had taken on more than I had bargained for. I was signed up to the very intensive eight-day course, with material which is normally set out over a more relaxed 22 week at 2½ hours per night.

The first day at the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, 15 enthusiastic ‘would-be navigators’ introduced themselves to the tutor, John Leahy. He said he would explain the reasoning but it was down to us to take it in and do the homework. The feeling of being in the trenches created an ‘esprit de corps’ and ensured they were no laggards over the eight weeks. John was good to arrange additional classes to ensure we all got across the line and we enjoyed a well deserved celebratory dinner in the club with our partners/spouses to commemorate our achievement. I’m glad I did it!

Damien O’Sullivan (Damien completed a Yachtmaster Offshore Shorebased training course with Oceanmaster Sail Training)


I found the course intensity ideal for keeping up the momentum of interest in learning which was greatly enhanced by the teaching style of John Leahy. John's style suited the various levels of experience of the students in the class and by arranging the students to working together in small groups and assisting each other with the course work exercises. The students were not only varied in experience but also in age and gender and the competition and friendly banter made the course that much more enjoyable.

Overall, a great learning experience.

John Davies (John completed a Yachtmaster Offshore Shorebased training Course with Oceanmaster Sail Training)


Seabased Training

Jane and I completed the ISA Competent Crew course with Richard and Eady McGoveren at Malahide Sail Training on their Hallberg-Rassy 34. The course ran over  two weekends earlier this July. We attended the Lombard On the Water Boat Show in Malahide in April, where Malahide Sail Training had a stand.

Having booked the dates, the only variable that was a cause of concern was the Easterly wind that were forecast on the first weekend of the course. Both weekends turned out well with 15–20 knots winds and only a little rain.

While we covered the various comptencies over the two weekends it never felt like work. We learned a lot of sailing theory and how to begin to put it into practice. We enjoyed several days of good sailing, a particular highlight was sailing across Dublin Bay to Dalkey on a beam reach with 15 knots breeze, both of us taking turns on the tiller. We are already planning to do our Day Skipper certificate with Richard and Eady when we have gained more experience crewing.

David and Jane Browne (David and Jane completed an ISA Competent Crew course with Malahide Sail Training)


After recovering from a serious operation on his back, which almost left him paralyzed, my dad Tony said he wanted to take up an active sport, something he had never tried before. So for his 60th birthday in 2007 I decided to buy him some sailing lessons, logged onto and found details for South East Cruising School run by Charlie Kavanagh.

We boarded the Saltee Dog in Wicklow town for six days (three weekends) sailing up and down the east coast of Ireland. Our main aim was to get an introduction to sailing but it soon became much more than that. In our first few hours at sea we were tacking our way up the east coast, past Bray, Killiney and Dalkey, across Dublin Bay and on our way to Howth Marina.

My dad finished the course with a Competent Crew Cert while I went on to receive the ICC certification. Completing this course with Charlie gave us the passion and confidence to take newfound love of the sport to the next level. In August last year, we made the decision to purchase our own boat Shamrogue.

We are now full members of Arklow Sailing Club and just this summer we competed in the Kilmichael Challenge and won our first race on board Shamrogue. This should prove to everyone that, even at 60 years of age, it’s never too late to take up sailing. Just book yourself on a course and get out there!

Ken and Tony O’Toole (Ken and Tony completed an ISA Competent Crew Course with South East Cruising School)

I did the ISA Day Skipper course along with a group of friends with Oceanmaster Sail Training on board their Rival 41. We all really enjoyed it. It helps when you are staying on a beautiful yacht and eating excellent meals for the five days. We sailed around Dublin Bay (Dun Laoghaire, Dalkey Island, Ringsend, and Howth) for the week and were amazed at how we felt like tourists in our hometown because we were seeing it from a completely different perspective. It felt like a holiday.

John makes his courses very enjoyable and also worthwhile – he does take his teaching seriously, so you can't switch off your brain for any length of time, even while having your sandwich at lunchtime. He has a way of explaining sailing theory that is second to none and he even managed to enlighten us regarding the dark art of navigation.

I can thoroughly recommend the course, having since skippered a yacht on a number of occasions without any (major) mishaps, including one on a trip in Australia.

Dee Carroll (Dee completed an ISA Day Skipper course with Oceanmaster Sail Training)


Published in How To Sail

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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