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Displaying items by tag: Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta

With light to moderate breezes anticipated for much of this year’s Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017 which starts tomorrow afternoon, savvy sailors will be cognisant that the Full Moon, which occurs early in the morning of Sunday July 9th, will be playing a role in their activities writes W M Nixon.

A Full Moon means we’re into the rising cycle towards Spring Tides, but fortunately most of the regatta will be taking place in relatively modest tidal ranges. Thus High Water at 1249hrs on Sunday July 9th has risen to just 3.70 metres, and it’s less on all the preceding four days.

However, were the Regatta a fortnight later on July 23rd with the New Moon on Sunday July 23rd, High Water would be pushing towards 4.25 metres, which would certainly make for sporty tides.

But as it is, clued-in competitors will realise that during the progress of this event, tides are going to be that little bit stronger with each succeeding day, and will adapt their tactics accordingly. And in this age of computer analysis of just about everything, Dublin Port Company have produced this very useful live chart of tidal activity in Dublin Bay.

Even if you’re not going racing, it makes for fascinating viewing.
HW Thursday is 1058hrs, Height 3.63 metres. Friday: 1139hrs, 3.66m. Saturday 1200hrs, 3.68m. Sunday 1249hrs, 3.70m.

 

 

Published in Volvo Regatta

Next week's Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta has 88 IRC entries so far, of which 18 have yet to provide rating certs. Of the remainder, figuring out the handicap breaks to make up five good IRC classes is no easy task. Afloat.ie sticks its neck out to give a best guess on the breaks, numbers and top performers at Ireland's biggest regatta.

A big problem in setting the rating breaks is the lack of larger Class Zero boats and the very large number of Class One boats. 

So far there are only five large yachts, rating around 1.100 and higher. Many of the normal class zero yachts seem, for whatever reason (maybe not enough crew, feel they can’t compete in Class Zero or prefer to do longer races), have opted for the Coastal Division. This includes the likes of Wow, Lively Lady, Aurelia, Aqualina. Therefore VDLR organisers will likely need to extend Class Zero to include yachts right down to 1.039 to get the entry numbers in Class Zero up to say, nine. The low number turnout of traditional sized Class Zero boats at this regatta is nothing new, it continues from the very low turnouts of Class Zero boats also at the ICRA Championships (two competed) and the Sovereign's Cup (four competed). As previously mentioned on Afloat.ie, Class Zero in Dublin Bay – and elsewhere – is continuing to dwindle and providing separate class racing for such low numbers is hard for regatta organisers to justify. 

The very high number of Class One yachts, including 13 x J109’s will make up a 24–boat fleet from a rating of 1.035 to 1.000.

Splitting Classes Two, Three and Four appear more straight forward, with natural breaks occurring and giving decent numbers in each class.

So here is Afloat.ie's guess on the breaks, numbers and top performers. Bear in mind, the 18 boats with no ratings yet may well change these figures.

Jump juice DLRoyal Cork's Ker 39 Jump Juice (Conor Phelan) Photo: Bob Bateman

Class 0 (rating 1.036 and above—9 entries) Eala of Rhu, a very well sailed Swan 45 from Scotland, won her class at Scottish series, and will be very competitive in this class where she will be out ahead and be able to sail her own race. Behind her are three very similar good boats (Dark Angel, Jump Juice and Aurora (ex Blondie). Dark Angel has had the better of Jump Juice in her last three Regattas and this will likely continue. Aurora will likely be competitive also. Paul O'Higgins Rockabill VI, recent winner of the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race, if there are strong conditions, will be well to the fore, but in a mixed regatta, expect Eala of Rhu to take it from Dark Angel.

Sovereigns cup ds 1751J109 Joker II (John Maybury) – a triple ICRA winner and Tim Goodbody's White Mischief sistership below Photos: Bob Bateman

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsale

Class 1 (rating 1.035 to 1.000 – 24 entries) This is likely where the best racing will be in the IRC divisions. 13 J 109’s including the three times ICRA National Champion, John Maybury's Joker II. It will be interesting to see how Andrew Algeos Juggerknot and Andrew Craig's Chimera fare against her. Tim Goodbody's White Mischief will also be in the mix. Other notable Dublin entries are Colin Byrne's Bon Exemple and Anthony Fox’s Archambault 35, Gringo. There are a numer of Good Scottish boats of this size and one to watch out for would be Kevin Aitken's Animal which was very competitive in this years Scottish Series. Of course, if Olympian Mark Mansfield is aboard Joker II as tactician, expect it to take it with at least one other J109 on the podium.

Sovereigns cup df 2087Ross McDonald's ICRA Class Two Champion Equinox, an X332 from Howth Yacht Club Photo: Bob Bateman

Class 2 (rating .999 to .959 – 11 entries) This is likely to be a straight shootout between Ross McDonald's X332 Equinox who just won the 2017 ICRA Nationals in Cork and Stephen Quinn's J/97 Lambay Rules which recently won their class at the Scottish Series. If conditions are lighter, we would put our money on Lambay Rules, while if there is breeze, Equinox will be hard to beat. With the present long range forecast of mixed conditions we will just edge it to Lambay Rules.

Sovereigns cup df 2087Dave Cullen's Checkmate, a Half–Tonner from Howth Yacht Club Photo: Bob Bateman

Class 3 (rating .958 to .922 – 10 entries) Likely to be a battle of the Half Tonners, David Cullen's Checkmate V, Johnny Swan’s Harmony, and from Scotland, Roddy Angus’s Trastada. Trastada faired very well at Scottish Series, finishing ahead of Harmony before eventually being beaten by Lambay Rules. If the breeze is strong, expect the X302’s (Maximus, Dux and Xebec) to be to the front but in a mixed wind event we will put our money on Trastada to take it from Checkmate by a nose.

Sovereigns cup df 2087The Quarter Tonner Cartoon (Ken Lawless) Photo: Bob Bateman

Class 4 (rating .922 and below –16 entries) A mixed bag including the three quarter tonners, Ken Lawless in Cartoon, Paul Colton’s Cri Cri and Jim Monaghan's Enigma. We would expect the winner to come from these three and with Cartoon finishing ahead of Enigma last week at Sovereign's we will go for Cartoon to win this class. Paul Colton Cri Cri could be a wild card, however, as he has done a lot of work to her over the winter and it is not fully known how this will effect her performance.

Published in Volvo Regatta

The Collen Cup is a new perpetual trophy which has been in the Collen family since 1907 and will be awarded to the overall winner of the Water Wag Class within the Classic section of this and subsequent Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regattas.

The Trophy will be presented by Pamela Collen, on this, the 207th year of the Collen families’ Construction business and on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the Dun Laoghaire construction commencement.

The Collen Family has had a long association with The Royal Irish Yacht Club. Lyal Collen who married Euphemia Adelaide Falkiner (a daughter of past Commodore Dr. Ninian Falkiner) was an active member throughout his life. The Collen Cup is in honour of Euphemia Adelaide Falkiner, mother of Neil Collen, current Chairman of the firm, who sailed in the Water Wag fleet on Shindilla in the 1950s and 1960s.

Sharing a bicentenary with Dun Laoghaire Harbour, Collen is a main sponsor of the 2017 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta.

Published in Water Wag

With its focus on quality over quantity, next week's Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta has grown over 12 years into one of Ireland’s premiere sporting events, let alone sailing – and is now competing with the best in Europe.

If you want a snapshot of the sport of sailing in Ireland, Scotland and Wales in 2017, where would you go? Dun Laoghaire is the answer.

The pages of this year's 2017 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta programme detail over 450 boats in 35 classes, and in so doing they provide the most accurate picture of the Irish Sea sailing scene.

Over four days in July, 300 volunteers will stage 290 races for a mix of cruiser–racers, one-design keelboats and dinghies, plus a unique classics division, all wrapped up in one Irish Sea sail-fest – with Dun Laoghaire as its centre.

In assembling such an armada, Dun Laoghaire Regatta (VDLR) has become, at its seventh staging, not only the country’s biggest sailing event — with over 2,500 sailors competing — but also one of Ireland’s largest participant sporting happenings.

X 302 equinoxRecently crowned ICRA class two champion, Equinox, skippered by Ross McDonald, is one of 27 entries from Howth Yacht Club. Photo: Bob Bateman

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

It’s a big achievement for the capital’s waters, given so many other regattas are struggling for numbers.

Focus on quality

‘Never mind the quality, feel the width’ has been a criticism of modern-day regattas where organisers mistakenly focus on being the biggest in an effort to be the best. 

And at a time when regatta fleets have collapsed, there is some irony in the fact that Dun Laoghaire, with its own local fleet of 300 boats, never set out to be the biggest yet nevertheless has emerged as the yacht racing hub for the Irish Sea, from the Clyde to Lands End.

web map irelandThe bulk of entries are Dublin based but the regatta has a growing reach across the Irish Sea

Dublin Bay’s priority focussed instead on quality racing, even after it got off to a spectacularly bad start in 2005 when the event was becalmed for four days.

The idea to rekindle a combined Dublin Bay event had resurfaced after an absence of almost 40 years, mostly because of the persistence of a band of passionate Dun Laoghaire sailors who believed that their home could become the ‘Cowes of the Irish Sea’ if the town and the local clubs worked together.

2004 VDLR BeginningsVDLR Beginnings – In 2004, the then Rear Commodores of RStGYC, Owen McNally, (left) RIYC, Timothy Goodbody (centre) and NYC's Ronan Beirne were tasked by the Combined Clubs Committee, chaired by Phil Smith , to submit a proposed format for a combined regatta involving all four waterfront clubs. This they did over a very enjoyable dinner and submitted their proposals which were subsequently adopted by the all four waterfront clubs (Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club, National Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Royal St George Yacht Club, and the inaugural event was chaired by Brian Craig in 2005. Thirteen years on from that, the same, now ex- Rear Commodores, met again to reflect on the development of this great regatta over a very social and enjoyable lunch. Today, the biennial Dun Laoghaire Regatta is a firm fixture on the sailing calendar and run under Dublin Bay Regattas Limited, under the Chairmanship of Dermot Reidy (DMYC).

Although fickle winds conspired against them in 2005, the support since then from all four Dun Laoghaire waterfront yacht clubs – the Dun Laoghaire Motor YC, National YC, Royal Irish YC and Royal St George YC – in association with the two racing clubs of Dublin Bay SC and Royal Alfred YC, gave them the momentum to carry on.

Numbers peaked in 2007 with over 480 entries, and while that figure remains a record, it is this year’s turnout – matching 2005 – that shows the event is now a confirmed highlight on the British and Irish yachting calendar.

J109s racingOf the six cruiser classes there is a strong argument that not only is the 27–boat VDLR Cruisers One division the class of the event but it’s also the class of the year. 11 J109s (pictured above) will race as part of the red hot fleet. Photo: Afloat.ie

Stronger than expected

If success is measured by fleet size, then the VDLR has looked on course for a buoyant seventh edition since April, when half of its massive fleet had already signed up.

More than 2,500 sailors and 800 visitors will race across 35 classes, so outgoing Irish Sailing Association (ISA) President David Lovegrove rightly noted at the regatta launch that it will be one of Ireland’s biggest sporting events when the first gun fires on July 6.

Only once since its inaugural outing in 2005 have numbers dipped below 400, and that was in the teeth of recession in 2013. But even then the fleet only dropped to 393, just 93 lower than 2007’s record year. In 2017 the numbers are tantalisingly close to matching that peak.

Dublin Bay Mermaids foynes 2016 12The Dublin Bay Mermaid (above) will have a strong 15–boat turnout. A strong Skerries Sailing Club contingent has swelled the classic clinker fleet that includes national champion Sam Shiels at the helm of number 189 Azeezy

Entries this year are also stronger than expected, as all four Dun Laoghaire clubs bang the drum for the harbour’s bicentenary year.

Well over half of all entries – 60% in fact – come from the locality, with the Royal Irish and National YCs providing half of that number between them.

In keeping with the local celebratory mood, this year a special Kingstown 200 Cup, kindly presented by Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company, will be awarded to the ‘Most Outstanding Classic Boat of Regatta’.

Flying Fifteen dbscDublin Bay’s Flying Fifteen fleet has been a mainstay of the regatta since 2005. A 17–boat fleet is entered this year

Unique facilities

Tim Goodbody, chairman of the VDLR in 2015 and 2017 (and a Cruisers One contender in his own right), believes the regatta owed its prominence in European sailing events to a number of factors.

“One of the reasons it attracts so many entrants is that it is one of the least expensive sailing events in Europe, thanks to generous sponsorship and support,” he said.

Another reason is certainly Dun Laoghaire’s unique facilities. This is the place where the modern rules of sailing were framed over 150 years ago. The Victorians built the best of yachting venues on Dublin’s south shore so that the sailors of today, four generations later, get to enjoy the fruit of their labours.

GP 14 DL regtattaNot only is the 26-boat GP14 fleet one of the largest of the ten competing dinghy classes it also has participation across the country from Moville in Donegal to Youghal in Couty Cork. The boats to watch, of course, in this Leinster Championship fleet will undoubtably be the match between Greystones Sailing Club’s Shane MacCarthy in 14203, the current World Champion and Olympian Ger Owens in 14076. Owens, sailing with Mel Morris, ended MacCarthy’s unbeaten run (on the World Champions) home waters at the Purcell Trophy in May.

Dun Laoghaire is a beautiful working and residential seaside town about 12 km (7.5 miles) south of Dublin city centre and 20 km (12 miles) from the Irish capital’s international airport.

Even from mainland Britain, it’s closer than many might think. Sailors from the Ribble, Mersey, Menai Strait, Anglesey, Cardigan Bay and Isle of Man have to travel three times the distance to the Solent as they do to Dublin Bay.

This is one of the major selling points of the Irish event, and explains the range of entries from 69 different clubs around Ireland, including 28 boats from Northern Ireland.

Across the Irish Sea, two boats are coming from the Isle of Man, 18 from Wales, 10 from Scotland and 14 from England. In a nod to organisers that a European market might be worth looking at for 2019, there is a single entry from Holland. 

Dun Laoghaire Harbour Aerial Dun Laoghaire Harbour's compact site has world class sailing clubs and race areas adjacent to a modern town with a Five Gold Anchor marina of 820 berths at its heart Photo: Michael Chester

Dun Laoghaire is also unique in sailing terms because there is only a short sail to the race areas from a Five Gold Anchor marina of 820 berths. Rapid transport links, local hotels, bars and restaurants, and four unique clubs positions it as a strong rival to any other European venue 

And let’s not forget the social side. The regatta has built up an enviable reputation ashore for exciting live music and entertainment, and this year’s full social programme promises to be no different.

Lively ladyNow firmly established as part of the VDLR mix after its 2015 introduction, the 26-boat offshore class includes many regular ISORA competitors including Derek Martin’s Beneteau 44.7 Lively Lady (pictured) from the Royal Irish Yacht Club

Sigma 33 leaky roofThe Sigma 33 is one of the biggest one design cruiser fleets with 20 entries. The long established Dublin Bay class merged with class two for local DBSC racing this year but will hold a special One Design Dun Laoghaire bicentennial Race Day on Friday, 7th July. Pictured is Alan Harper’s Scottish entry Leaky Roof 2 from the Clyde

Top quality racing

But the action on the water is what it’s all about. From the Baily Lighthouse at the northern entrance to Dublin Bay across to Dalkey Island in the south, there will be seven separate courses laid out for top quality racing. 

Indeed, 10 classes have included the regatta as part of their championship calendar in 2017: GP14s, 420s and Mermaid dinghies are racing for Leinster honours, while SB20s, J24s and Squibs will decide East Coast titles, and the Sigma 33s, Beneteau 21s and the Wayfarers will race for national trophies. The vintage Water Wag class will race for a new trophy, The Collen Cup.

B21 VDLRThe 15–boat Beneteau 211s are holding the Irish championships as part of VDLR 2017

Championships running as part of VDLR 2017

Royal Dee Yacht Club Irish Sea Offshore Championship
Irish Sigma 33 National Championship
Irish Wayfarer National Championship
Beneteau 211 Irish Championship
GP14 Leinster Championship
420 Leinster Championship
Mermaid Leinster Championships
SB20 Southern Championships
J24 East Coast Championship
Squib East Coast Championship

Read the entry list class by class starting here

Published in Volvo Regatta

The Sigma 33 may yet be the biggest one design cruiser fleet at July's Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regtta with 16 entries so far. 

The long established Dublin Bay class merged with class two for local DBSC racing this year but plans to hold a special One Design Dun Laoghaire bicentennial Race Day during the four day regatta on Friday, 7th July.

Results will be based on all races sailed at the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta on Friday 7th with no discards.

The prize giving will take place in the Royal Irish Yacht Club and includes a Sigma 33 class regatta dinner.

Published in Sigma

For the summer of 2017 at least, it looks as though Dun Laoghaire Harbour is going to remain free of the threat of the installation of a new liner berth. W M Nixon reckons this provides a unique opportunity for town and harbour to come together as they may have done once upon a time, but have failed to replicate for many years. He provides the background, and makes some suggestions.

The trouble with Dun Laoghaire is that there’s nowhere else quite like it. There isn’t really a truly comparable totally artificial harbour anywhere else on this scale set on the edge of a city, in the midst of an area of general affluence and recreational expectations. It is arguably unique. Nowhere in the world is there a similar setup from which those who hope to manage Dun Laoghaire Harbour effectively might learn lessons on how to make a viable proposition of their port and its future.

Although the original asylum harbour was built by engineer John Rennie and others in majestic style, at the time it had only one simple purpose – to provide shelter for unwieldy sailing ships when Dublin Bay was storm-beset and Dublin Port with its very shallow bar entrance was inaccessible.

The original plans show a sublime indifference to the existence of the little old harbour of Dunleary immediately to the west of the proposed location of the vast new structure. And the little port there has long since disappeared under high value property development to an extent which the early harbour planners cannot have begun to imagine.

dun laoghaire old plan2The original plan for the new harbour deliberately excluded the little old harbour of Dunleary to the west, as the new harbour was not intended to provide ship to shore access.

For the idea was not that this would be a port. On the contrary, it would only be a place of temporary shelter in which vessels of importance – particularly those on British government business - would be secure until conditions improved. It was not envisaged that there would be any significant shoreside contact during their short time in what very quickly became Kingstown Harbour.

For of course, no sooner was a harbour under construction, than a town began to develop beside it. It was notoriously un-planned, so much so that fifty years later a critic mocked its name of Kingstown – conferred with a Royal visit in 1821 – by pointing out that far from being a King’s town, it was rather more of a republic of selfish building anarchy.

At the beginning – which we now date to 200 years ago, with the first stone officially laid on May 31st 1817 - significant shoreside development had not been intended. As historian Hal Sisk has pointed out, at no time did the official plans include anything so basic to a proper port town such as warehouses, let alone shipyards or even boatyards. But the basic existence of the harbour in its earliest form by the late 1820s saw the first regatta being staged in 1828. Recreational sailing and the harbour have been intertwined ever since. And the irresistible growth impulse of Kingstown was underlined by the arrival of the railway from Dublin in 1834.

carlisle pier area3The eastern part of Kingstown harbour at its Victorian high point as a ferry port. The area in the centre, immediately east of Carlisle Pier, will be used for berthing Classic and Traditional Vessels in July during the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017.
We take that date of 1834 for granted, but in terms of world railway history, it was very early indeed. And it in turn roped Kingstown into other unplanned developments. As long as the entrance to Dublin port remained dangerously shallow, Kingstown had all the advantages for the rapid development of the cross channel ferry trade. It was all done initially on an ad hoc basis, but it worked for the ferries, while the already proven attractions of the place as an innovative recreational sailing location made it central to world sailing development by the 1860s and 1870s.

So for most of the two hundred years whose history we’ll be celebrating in July, Dun Laoghaire/Kingtown has been struggling with the fact that the basic concept of the harbour - which by its monumental and historic scale still dictates what can be done with it today – was planned with virtually no attention paid to the sea/land interface.

rstgyc regatta 1870s4Despite the restrictions on waterfront space, Kingstown Harbour had become a leading sailing centre by the latter half of the 19th century, as shown in this painting by Richard Brydges Beechey of a Royal St George YC regatta in the 1870s. Courtesy RStGYC

Ideally, when the harbour was being built, at least as large an area ashore should have been set aside on the adjacent land to provide for a proper harbour town. But nothing remotely like this was done, and the railway was brought in by the easiest possible shoreside route, thereby putting another barrier between the growing town and the harbor. As a result, the town/harbour relationship has always been problematic. This is particularly so when allied to the fact that areas of conspicuous affluence are almost cheek by jowl with what seem like semi-deprived areas by comparison.

On top of all this, there’s the eternal problem of paying for the harbour’s maintenance. It was superbly built in the first place, but it would be an insult to those early engineers, and their incredibly industrious workers labouring under dangerous conditions, if we failed to maintain the harbour properly in a manner which respects its original concept, while continuing to give it validity for contemporary life.

viceroy wins5The good old days……..It is the summer of 1901, and the Viceroy Lord Dudley is finishing in-harbour after threading his course through moored yachts to take the win with his new Dublin Bay 25 Fodhla in company with some boats of the new version of the Water Wag class. In second place in the DB 25s is Nepenthe (No 4, Sir H Robinson). Both Dublin Bay 25s were built in Dun Laoghaire by J E Doyle. Photo courtesy Theo Harris

Since the ferries pulled out to re-locate entirely in Dublin Port, taking their guaranteed income stream with them, the struggle has gone on between those who wish to develop any potential the harbour might have for a cruise-liner port of call, and those who feel it should be seen more as a sort of maritime version of the Phoenix Park. They envisage it as a vast breathing space, ultimately maintained by public funds if there’s a shortfall between the income generated by recreational use, and the routine maintenance and administration expenses.

But for the moment, any further development has been postponed awaiting a court case. In it, the point is to be made that making the harbour accessible to functioning liners, with emission-spewing machinery working on a 24/7 basis, will have the effect of polluting the atmosphere in and around the harbour - particularly along the East Pier, the regular promenade for thousands of Dubliners in search of fresh air.

Apparently this point had not been made in the original hearings, so the result is that for the summer of 2017, Dun Laoghaire Harbour will continue as it is at present, with new areas of open sailing space available following the removal of the Stena installations.

dun laoghaire6Dun Laoghaire Harbour as it is at present, offering ample space for finishing races. Photo Peter Barrow

In the circumstances, surely this is a golden opportunity for the organisers of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017 to take a look at any section of their enormous and very varied entry list, and select classes which could be given the treat of having at least one of their races finish within the harbour?

Increased ferry traffic was just one of the reasons why the racing for larger craft was obliged to take place outside the harbour. For national and international events, the obsession with committee boat starts and finishes further dictated the move seaward. In Dun Laoghaire, it meant that the connection between the town and active highly-visible sailing became more tenuous than ever.

Yet if we look back to old photos of Dun Laoghaire when it was in the full pomp of its years of Kingstown yachting glory, it was the action in the harbour which brought the whole show to life, and gave everyone a sense of involvement. So let’s hope that the powers-that-be realize that the deferring – permanently we hope – of the proposed liner berth offers an opportunity. Liners Out, Sailboats Back In – that could be the slogan for 2017.

national yc7The accessible area off the National YC (photo pre-Lexicon) will provide berthing for Classics and Traditional craft Photo: Peter Barrow

Of course we don’t expect that the really hot classes will agree to finish in-harbour. But there’s something about the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta which attracts a significant segment of participants for whom a bit of fun is central to the sport, and indeed there are many who think that the real sport would be in having to make an in-harbour finish.

The Classics and Traditional Craft will be playing a significant role in this special year. In addition to a dedicated berth with lots of pontoon length being provided for them in the area off the National Yacht Club, the word is that on one day at least, they will have their start in the harbour, highly visible from the East Pier in the area immediately beyond the Carlisle Pier.

temp pontoon8Plan of the proposed pontoon location off the National YC to berth “boats with bowsprits”.

With boat types such as Drascombes coming as a fleet, the notion of the potential accessibility of sailing could be given an enormous boost. What could seem more approachable than the presence of Drascombe man Jack O’Keefe and his mates in friendly competition within the harbour, along with all sorts of other exotic craft such as the Shannon One Designs?

jack okeeffe9Jack O’Keeffe’s Drascombe is usually seen in distant ports of the west… .Photo: Pierce Purcell

Jack OKeeffe10….but in July 2017 he and his fellow enthusiasts are headed for Dun Laoghaire’s Bicentenary. Photo: Pierce PurcellNot least of such exotica will be the Water Wags, more than ever a part of Dun Laoghaire sailing and Dun Laoghaire Harbour. At this week’s launching of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta ing of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017 in the National Maritime Museum, there was something very touching about the way that the only surviving boat of the original Water Wag class of 1887, the world’s first One Design, had been moved to the centre of the former Mariners Church. The little boat was there in pride of place as the great and the good of Irish sailing networked with each other as plans were revealed of the remarkable amount of behind-the-scenes work that goes into ensuring that this largest of all Irish sailing events runs smoothly.

In the 1890s, there must more than a hundred of these little boats in and around the Greater Dublin area. Even Erskine Childers, with part of the summer of 1894 unfilled in his plans, arranged to have one carted up into the Wicklow Hills to the mountain lake of Lough Dan near the house of his mother’s family, so that he could go sailing when the mood took him.

Yet with the new larger boats introduced in 1900, the little old double-enders just faded away. Fortunately, someone noticed that an odd-looking little canoe-sterned dinghy with a centreplate case on the beach at Malahide was one of the original Water Wags. She was being used for the occasional fishing trip, and it had been a long time since the centreplate had been used for sailing.

She was saved in the nick of time, and is now kept fully rigged in the Maritime Museum. But as the Wag Class historian Vincent Delany assured me at the Volvo reception, she really is absolutely the only surviving original example of a boat which was once so numerous, and fundamental to the global development of sailing.

water wags11The original Water Wags of 1887, the world’s first One Design class. Despite being numerous in the 1890s, the original boat on display in the National Maritime Museum in Dun Laoghaire is now thought to be the only survivor of this historic type.

Wag Mariners churchAt the heart of things. The sole surviving Dublin Bay Water Wag of 1887 in the midst of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017 launch reception in the National Maritime Museum on Wednesday night.

Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta will be among the biggest sporting participation events in Ireland in July, eclipsed only by the city marathons, when a massive fleet of over 400 boats sets sail from Dun Laoghaire Harbour. As Afloat.ie previously reported, the massive regatta was launched in the town's Maritime Museum last night with representatives of all 22 sailng classes involved. 

Over 2,500 sailors will race from 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). Already over 230 yachts are entered and coming from all four coasts of Ireland and from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man, and more locally from all the four Dun Laoghaire based yacht clubs.

Speaking at the launch event, David Lovegrove, President, Irish Sailing Association (ISA) said “The VDLR is now firmly established in Ireland’s major sporting calendar and is the biggest participant sporting event in the country, after the city marathons. We are also proud that the VDLR continues to grow and build upon Ireland's international reputation as a quality sports and sailing destination and cements Ireland's reputation as a location for a major international regatta. In addition, local area businesses will benefit considerably from the influx of visitors as they enjoy the superb sailing action in Dublin Bay and a fantastic array of family oriented activities that have been set up on shore.”

Published in Volvo Regatta

The 2017 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta (VDLR) which is now established as the biggest sailing event in Ireland was launched this evening at the Maritime Museum in Dun Laoghaire. This biennial fixture which is organised 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) will take place across four days in early July and attracts yachts from all four coasts of Ireland and from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man, and more locally from all the four Dun Laoghaire based yacht clubs.

Speaking at the launch event, David Lovegrove, President, Irish Sailing Association (ISA) said “The VDLR is now firmly established in Ireland’s major sporting calendar and is the biggest participant sporting event in the country, after the city marathons. We are also proud that the VDLR continues to grow and build upon Ireland's international reputation as a quality sports and sailing destination and cements Ireland's reputation as a location for a major international regatta. In addition, local area businesses will benefit considerably from the influx of visitors as they enjoy the superb sailing action in Dublin Bay and a fantastic array of family oriented activities that have been set up on shore.”

The key classes of yachts that will attract the most attention and competition during the Regatta will be the IRC Class 0, Class 1, Class 2, Class 3 and the IRC Offshore Class, who all, already have strong noteworthy entries. In addition, other ‘one design’ classes will include the Beneteau 31.7s, Beneteau 211, Sigma 33, Ruffian 23s, Dragon, RS Elite and the Shipman 28. The dinghy classes will include the GP14, Wayfarer, Squib, Mermaid, Flying Fifteen, Fireball, and single-handed Lasers and Moths.

Most notably this year there will be a Classics division in VDLR 2017 comprising a ‘Kingstown 200’ Anniversary Cup as part of the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Bicentenary Festival from July 6th to 9th 2017.

A monument on the Dún Laoghaire sea front commemorates the first stone of the eastern pier laid by his Excellency Charles Earl Whitworth Lord Lieutenant General and General Governor of Ireland on 31st May 1817, and the visit of King George IV in 1821 (Asylum Harbour of Dunleary was named Kingstown in 1821 and renamed Dun Laoghaire in 1920).

Also speaking at the launch event, Tim Goodbody, Chairman, VDLR 2017 said “The VDLR owes its prominence in European sailing events to a number of factors. One of the core attributes to attracting so many entrants is that it is one of the least expensive sailing events in Europe, thanks to generous sponsorship and support, so providing great value for money for all in the lovely waters of Dublin Bay” .

We also have more than 300 volunteers who give their time and energy to ensure the regatta runs smoothly, as well as the active cooperation of local area businesses and the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. And of course the support from the thousands of visitors who come to watch the spectacle and take part in all the family oriented activities in and around Dun Laoghaire.”

“In addition the Regatta brings a significant amount to the local economy. Using the Irish tourism multiplier, the average expenditure per competitor will be €60 per day which for 2,500 competitors will be €150,000 per day and €600,000 for the four day event” added Tim Goodbody.

The VDLR is kindly supported by
• Volvo Car Ireland in partnership with Spirit Motor Group (Title sponsor)
• Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council
• Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company
• Failte Ireland
• Collen Construction – New Sponsor
• Helly Hansen
• Royal Marine Hotel
• Bretzel Bakery
• Dubarry

With just over six weeks to the Sherry Fitzgerald sponsored Dublin Bay Sailing Club season the stand–out class of the year looks like Cruisers One where a 20–boat fleet has 13 J/109s among its number. It's an impressive result that bodes well for a very competitive season but in the neighbouring big boat class should something be done to assist falling numbers in Cruisers Zero?

A story this week on Afloat.ie shows George Sisk's Wow from the Royal Irish Yacht Club is on the market. With only four other entries presently in DBSC Cruisers Zero is it now time to dispense with a Cruisers Zero class on Dublin Bay and rearrange the bands to take some lower–rated Cruisers One boats back into Cruisers Two?

Such a scenario is unlikely with the news that Sisk's WOW will be campaigned fully this season and a new Sisk forty footer is in the wings. In fact, there is also the possibility that Cruisers Zero could reach six boats this season with another new boat – yet to be announced – coming into the Bay. 

There is also talk of DBSC moving the Cruisers One band lower to move some Cruisers One boats into Cruisers Zero but is that the answer?

Cruisers Zero was never that particularly strong in Dublin Bay and generally came about to ensure they got decent length races as the Cruisers One boats were considerably slower. However with the ever increasing speed of Cruisers One boats the gap in elapsed time between Cruisers Zero and Cruisers One has been reducing considerably.

WOW Farr 42Cruisers Zero Farr 42 Wow is for sale but will be replaced with a similar sized boat Photo: Afloat.ie

Cruisers One, spearheaded by the J109 designs, is clearly the strongest class in DBSC and likely in the country. Since the J109 class moved to non–overlapping jibs and consistently updated their sail wardrobes with the latest in sail technologies, they have been getting quicker and quicker.

Joker 2 J109ICRA Boat of the Year, Joker 2, a J109 from the Royal Irish Yacht Club. Photo: Afloat.ie

Three of the last four ICRA championships in Cruisers One have been won by J109’s including the last two years (Joker II) and the 2016 ICRA Boat of the Year is also a J109 (Joker II). A J109 also was a class winner in the Round Ireland race 2016 (Storm). The J109 class has pushed others in Cruisers One to up their game and now we see both the Archambault 35s Gringo and Adrenalin becoming much more competitive, along with the XP33 Bon Exemple that has gone through many changes over the last few year (symmetric to Asymmetric and back again, lowering their rating). Add to this Paul O'Higgins mighty Rockabill VI, the JPK 10.80, and Cruisers One is the strongest it has ever been.

Rockabill VI JPK10.80Paul O'Higgins mighty Rockabill VI, the JPK 10.80 design will be unstoppable in heavy airs. Photo: Afloat.ie

At the start of last season Tim Goodbody brought in the J109 White Mischief and two further J109’s have entered the fleet in the last six months, Andrew Algeo's Juggerknot and Andrew Craig's Chimeara. All three are seasoned campaigners and will surely drive the fleet further.

White Mischief J109Recent arrival – Tim Goodbody's White Mischief J109 was immediately competitive Photo: Afloat.ie

Gringo A35The A35 Gringo has a flatter stern and quick dead downwind. Photo: Afloat.ie

So who will be on the DBSC podiums this year in Cruisers One and also Cruisers One at ICRAs? With 13 J109’s competing surely the podium will be stacked with these 15–year–old designs? They are extremely competitive in lighter airs and can hold their own when the breeze gets up. Their only weakness is running in stronger winds where the lighter, and flatter sterned modern designs, like the A 35’s and XP 33’s can pull their poles back and go straight downwind, whereas the asymmetric J109’s have to do higher angles.

Bon Exemple XP33XP33 Bon Exemple – different spinnaker configurations. Photo: Afloat.ie

If, however, the winds stay stronger for a whole series, like ICRA's 2015, it will be very hard to beat Rockabill VI. This boat is extremely powerful and will go upwind and downwind much faster than the rest of the fleet in a breeze, even taking into account her higher handicap. However it appears she has a weakness in light airs and one day of these conditions in a series might be a problem for her.

Three in a Row for Joker II at ICRAs?

Among the J109’s the top performer from 2016, John Maybury's Joker 2 is going for three in a row at ICRA's having won in 2015 and 2016. She will not have it all her own way however as Tim Goodbody's White Mischief and Pat Kelly's Storm are always very competitive. The newly arrived Chimeara and Juggerknot might also have something to say. The A35 Gringo has shown a lot of form as has Bon Exemple. At ICRAs you will also likely be seeing the A35 Fools Gold of Rob O'Connell in contention as he has done in the last two events.

Packed Season

2017 is set to be a very interesting year for this ever strengthening class with 3 large events in Ireland for them to battle it out. The ICRA Championships in Cork Harbour in June, ten days later, Sovereigns Cup in Kinsale, and a few weeks after that Dun Laoghaire Regatta Some may also venture to Tarbert in Late May, Calves Week in Early August and Abersoch week in Late August. There are plenty of good events available and some great racing ahead. Allied to all of this a great regular racing scene in Cruisers One in the DBSC series.

Published in DBSC

The Irish Cruiser Racer Association must be applauded for providing a platform under the theme: 'we need to talk about cruiser racing' at tomorrow's conference in Limerick. Like an elephant in–the–room, the overcrowded Summer fixtures needs to be urgently addressed because it's not only the hosting clubs and competitors that suffer but the sport itself.

Between June 9 and July 9 Irish cruiser–racers have – in date order – the ICRA Nationals in Royal Cork YC (June 9–11), Sovereigns Cup at Kinsale Yacht Club, (June 21-24) Dun Laoghaire Regatta on Dublin Bay from (July 6-9) and Galway's WIORA on the Aran Islands from July 5–8.

On top of this, the biennial Dun Laoghaire to Dingle offshore race sets sail from the National Yacht Club for a three–day race on June 14.

These major events are icons of Summer sailing but how much do we lose by having them all within one month?

With a total available racing fleet of say up to 150 keelboats in Ireland, very few boats will do all five events, not least because WIORA and Dun Laoghaire regatta dates clash.

For many skippers, getting enough crew to do even two of these events will be an achievement in itself.

And, in what is becoming a well identified problem at club level, the successive nature of these events will certainly have a knock–on effect in crew availability for local racing.

Already Dublin Bay Sailing Club has taken a pragmatic approach and scrubbed its own long standing DBSC Cruiser Challenge because of this congestion.

It may seem blindingly obvious but it needs to be said, the Irish keelboat sailing calendar has just too many events for the times that are in it.

Does such congestion best showcase our sport? Attract sponsors or discourage them? And most importantly does it suit the sailors?

It's not the first time Water Rat has mentioned it. He raised it back in 2013 when one senior organiser saw fit to deny the situation and gave poor Water Rat a good talking to into the bargain. Unfortunately, the officer subsequently added that his muscular comments were off–the–record.

Four years later, nothing it appears, has changed except that new ICRA commodore Simon McGibney has invited all to the Limerick gabfest to talk about the future of cruiser racing.

Everyone supports the notion of the ICRA National Championships because it is an extremely worthy event that has, since its inception, done so much to raise the profile of cruiser-racing, an aspect of the sport hitherto poorly represented.

But in the current environment could this event not be included within a Sovereigns Week/Dun Laoghaire Week/Cork Week scenario thus reducing:

  • crew demands
  • volunteer fatigue within clubs,
  • resources and logistics
  • costs

At the same time, such a rejig would give a much needed boost to the regatta that would now include a 'National Championships'.

ICRA National Championship Must Keep its Own Identity

Equally, in such a set–up, it is essential the ICRA championship keeps its own identity. After all, it is a national championships, and that's the formula that proves popular with competitors, so it is vital it is not subsumed by any regatta.

ICRA could consider four year cycles. All the events to run from, say, a Wednesday to Saturday to maximise club takings. If it started next year then it could go to Cork Week, Dun Laoghaire in 2019, Howth 2020, Sovereign's in 2021 or some other rotation of this. A review could take place in year three of four to see if other venues wanted a piece of the action. Belfast, anyone? Existing venues also might want to drop out or change dates to fit the recast schedule.

This would not mean the ICRA Nationals concept falls away. On the contrary, ICRA instead works with the existing regatta committees to deliver it's goal of providing quality racing for IRC and ECHO boats and to enable the growth of the sport and to maximise the numbers of people afloat. This all happens. ICRA are merely using existing regattas as their vehicle to deliver. ICRA becomes more overseer than organiser and the regattas benefit from the additional UK exposure that ICRA manages to attract.

ICRA should be applauded for bringing everyone together to discuss this subject. Lets see what overhaul comes out of round table discussions at Castletroy.

Water Rat

Published in Water Rat
Page 4 of 9

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.

Competitions

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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