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Dun Laoghaire Harbour Laser Dinghy Class Thank DBSC Race Officer Team

11th October 2020
Suzanne McGarry with past and outgoing Laser class captains Sean Craig (left), Gavan Murphy and Ross O’Leary (right) Suzanne McGarry with past and outgoing Laser class captains Sean Craig (left), Gavan Murphy and Ross O’Leary (right)

It’s no secret that the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Laser fleet is in good shape. Anybody strolling the piers or looking out on club forecourts will have seen that for themselves. DBSC (Dublin Bay Sailing Club) in 2020 drew a huge entry of 92 Laser 4.7s, Radials and Standards, with regular turnouts of 60-70 boats, with sailors of all ages. Likewise, numerous pods go out training once or twice a week, sharpening race skills and getting newer or returning sailors up to scratch for the real deal.

Everybody in this local Laser community just gets on with it in a great spirit of co-operation and camaraderie. We will get the sailors on the water for racing, but that’s where experienced DBSC Race Officer Suzanne McGarry steps in, aided by a wonderful flagship team. DBSC delivered a wonderful programme from late June to mid September, despite all the challenges of this annus horribilis. Until Level 3 kicked in, organizers squeezed in 24 great Saturday Laser races, as well as a comprehensive Tuesday night series. The funny thing now as we all reflect is that many of us can’t remember a more enjoyable sailing season, even with no showers, outdoor changing at times and all the very necessary protocols. I suppose it was all about local sailing again and people got into a really nice rhythm, uninterrupted by regattas, Championships or foreign holidays! The class captains for the last six years were, therefore, delighted to meet Suzanne at the RStGYC yesterday to present a token of our appreciation for her and the whole team. She went to great lengths to explain about the importance and dedication of everybody involved in the race management team and it’s striking so many have worked together for so many years.

It was in 2015 that Lasers really came out from the shadows in Dun Laoghaire after the fleet had dwindled to 3 or 4 stalwarts, by then subsumed into the Mixed PY division. DBSC had the foresight to listen, giving us our own class again, more shorter races and low entry fees (especially for Under 25s). We were immediately up over 30 boats by 2015 and we’ve basically added 10 regular racers each season since then, even more this year with the push into solo sailing.

Tuesday DBSC night Laser racing in 2020 Photo: Rob WalkerTuesday DBSC night Laser racing in 2020 Photo: Rob Walker

Excellent race management has been a massive contribution to the growth of the class. We estimate that Suzanne has presided over more than 80% of the hundreds of races staged in the last six years. Start lines are square, beats and runs are true and results are gathered efficiently. But remember, we’re talking about very tricky conditions here. Racing is within the shifty confines of our wonderful harbour, or outside in Scotsman’s Bay, often in a fickle evening breeze, with a strong tide. Despite being in that characteristic, steely “zone” up on the foredeck, Suzanne is very approachable and receptive to feedback onshore. Indeed, this season, after only a few races, she quickly introduced an innovative tweak to the starting procedure, to give the big Radial fleet more time to digest course changes between races. Incidentally, the 53 boat Laser Radial entry is almost definitely the largest local racing Radial fleet in the world, just now.

Laser thank you trophy

The 2020 season was an amazing effort by all DBSC Officers and volunteers. Suzanne and her team got dinghies out competing on June 30th as Afloat reported here. This was at the earliest possible opportunity given government guidelines and well before DBSC keelboat racing started.

Undoubtedly, the Laser turnout that day of 60 boats was the biggest one-design racing staged anywhere in Ireland since the Pandemic began. We hope we encouraged others up and down the country. 

From all Dun Laoghaire Laser sailors, thank you, Suzanne and colleagues, for all your support and service down the years.

Below are the names of the core people who help Suzanne and keep the show on the road;

Barbara Conway. Ros Bremner. Caroline Liddy. Brendan Dalton, Declan Traynor, Dara Traynor, James Traynor, Dave Coleman, Liz Aylmer, Sharon Moylan, Ian Mathews, Ben Mulligan, Niki Wheatley, Susan Spain, Caitriona O’Brien Michael Costelloe and Joanne Sheehan

Sean Craig

About The Author

Sean Craig

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Sean started sailing when he was 8 years old. He has competed actively in many classes including the Mirror, 420, Fireball, Enterprise, Laser 2, J-24, Flying Fifteen, SB20, RS200, RS Aero and Laser Full and Radial rigs.  Some time ago he was also active in team-racing and match-racing and he was the All-Ireland/Helmsmans Champion (raced in GP14s) in 1993. He has been an Irish and British National Champion in a number of classes and has also had dozens of top-10 European and World Championships results. His transition to single-hander sailing has been late, but he seems to have found his "spiritual" home. This is either due to passing years and crews getting sick of him or, alternatively, a fresh passion for perhaps the purest of all types of sailboat racing.

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At A Glance – Laser Dinghy Specifications

Designer Bruce Kirby & Ian Bruce

Year 1969

Crew 1
Draft 0.787 m (2 ft 7.0 in)
Hull weight 58.97 kg (130.0 lb)
LOA 4.2 m (13 ft 9 in)
LWL 3.81 m (12 ft 6 in)
Beam 1.39 m (4 ft 7 in)
Mainsail area 7.06 m2 (76.0 sq ft)

Racing D-PN 91.1 RYA PN 1088 PHRF 217

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