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Irish Sailing Classes. Yacht, One Design & Dinghy Racing News, Class by Class
Kinsale Dragon Week will be sailed in September
Kinsale Yacht Club has announced Cantor Fitzgerald is the headline sponsor for Dragon Week 2020 which will be held in Kinsale from the 5th to 12th of September 2020 After the unfortunate cancellation of September's Gold Cup, the Kinsale fleet…
File image of Ireland’s Optimist fleet racing
The Royal Cork Yacht Club has confirmed that its hosting of this year’s Optimist Nationals will proceed as planned next month, and the Notice of Race is now available. The AIB Optimist Irish National Championships 2020 run from 13-16 August…
An Australian competitor at the 2019 Subaru Flying Fifteen World Championships on Dublin Bay
The 2021 Flying Fifteen International World Championship that was scheduled to be sailed at the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in Western Australia next February has been cancelled, according to Afloat sources. There is no official news of the cancellation…
Flying Fifteens return to Dunmore East in August
After the excitement of the Subaru Flying Fifteen World Championships on Dublin Bay last year there is a renewed interest in the keelboat class with some famous names teams to spice things up in 2020. Both 1992 Olympian Peter Kennedy…
SB20 sportsboats sailing on Dublin Bay - the class wil lrace for regional honours on the Bay on August 8th at a Royal St. George hosted championships
Given the busy schedule of events set between now and the end of the season in October, it looks like the Irish SB20 class is not letting COVID-19 push it too far off course. According to its revised fixtures calendar…
Laser racing at Strangford Sailing Club
Strangford Sailing Club enjoys a stunning location on the northern shore of Strangford Lough Narrows in the Castleward Estate and has occupied that site for about 40 years. After the long layoff due to COVID 19, members have been back…
“I only do it to keep fit, y’know”. Bus-pass sailor Frank Larkin with his latest Laser at Killaloe
Senior sailor and noted offshore veteran Frank Larkin of Limerick claims he only got his latest Laser a year or so ago as a present for himself for his 73rd birthday, and for “just the occasional sail to keep in…
Frank Miller with crew Grattan Donnelly
Four Fireballs made it to the start line of the long-awaited first Tuesday DBSC races since lockdown. The forecast was not promising much more than 2 knots but actually sailors were greeted with a very decent force 2-3 southerly. On…
The DBSC Laser 4.7 fleet race past Dun Laoghaire's East Pier
Tuesday evening Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) dinghy racing got off to a great start in Dun Laoghaire Harbour tonight with a bumper Laser fleet competing. As Laser Class Captain Gavan Murphy predicted on Afloat a fortnight ago, there was a…
35 years later: (from left) Michael Cotter deploys a two metre paddle to belatedly present prizes to John Kidney, Dan O’Connor and Ailbe Millerick (representing the Grays) for the 1985 Dragon East Coast Championships held in COVID times this week
During a “COVID 19” garage clean out recently, a box of unclaimed prizes was found for the Irish Dragon keelboat class. These, according to the inscriptions thereon, were to be awarded at the prize-giving for the East Coast Dragon Championships…
Tom Higgins has received a prestigious Ad Astra Elite Sports Scholarship from UCD
Irish Sailing has congratulated its Academy athlete Tom Higgins, who has received one of the prestigious Ad Astra Elite Sports Scholarships from UCD. Nearly 400 school-leavers applied for the 15 Ad Astra Scholarship programme places. The programme looks for “exceptional,…
DBSC Laser dinghy racing moves inside Dun Laoghaire Harbour this season
As was announced today, the Dublin Bay Sailing Club has taken the extraordinary decision to shift dinghy racing to inside Dun Laoghaire harbour DBSC writes Laser Class Captain Gavan Murphy. However, these are extraordinary times we live in and require…
Toppers at the Royal Cork in late 2018
The 2021 International Topper World Championships come to Cork Harbour next year when they’re hosted by the Royal Cork Yacht Club from 24-30 July 2021. With over 200 sailors from around the world expected, organisers say it will be a…
National 18 Shuck’em racing at the Royal Cork
The National 18ft Class Association has very reluctantly concluded that they must cancel the 2020 UK & Irish Championships sponsored by AIB. The event was due to be held in the Royal Cork Yacht Club this August as part of…
Last of the early-season sunshine – the 1896-originating Colleen Class Colleen Deas (Dermot Flynn & David Williams) in south Dublin Bay yesterday (Tuesday)
Although West Cork is home to several clusters of classic boats and the boatyards of the master-craftsmen who build and maintain them, they’re at scattered locations. Thus it can take quite a bit of encouragement and persuasion, plus much pre-planning…
RS Aeros in Dublin Bay
The Irish RS Aero dinghy fleet grew by six over the last week and a half. The class now stands at over 20 boats and the Irish National Marine Services team handed over one of the demo boats for a…

Irish Sailing Classes and Association – There’s no shortage of one-design classes from which to choose and each gives its enthusiasts great competition, fun and camaraderie, writes Graham Smith in this review of the classes. 

One-design racing is where it all starts. It is, after all, where all the top sailors earned their stripes, battling away for line honours without a thought for a handicapper’s calculator wiping away a hard-fought victory!

Indeed, you could count on less than one hand the number of top Irish sailors who didn’t cut their teeth in a one-design dinghy! Just think of Cudmore, Barrington, Watson, Wilkins, Hennessy and Dix to name a few and you realise that they honed their skills in everything from Enterprises to Lasers and a lot in between.

At present count, there are a little over 30 one-design classes in Ireland, split almost evenly between dinghies and keelboats, a statistic which might raise a few eyebrows. They range from the long-established Mermaids, IDRA14s and Dragons to the newer additions like Fevas, Topaz and RS Elite. They all fill a particular need and give their owners and crews considerable enjoyment.

Many have attracted their World or European Championships to Irish waters over the years and while 2009 is notable for a lack of such events here, the following year will see the Etchells Worlds at Howth and perhaps a few other international regattas too.

In addition to the review, we asked each class to complete a questionnaire giving details of their fleet numbers, whether they were on a growth pattern or holding their own, so we could highlight those ‘on the up’ and those remaining static in terms of numbers. The older traditional designs, as you might imagine, fall into the latter category, although that’s not a negative!

CLASS REVIEW  The State of the Classes – League Table (as at February 2009)

S = Static; U = Up/growing

275     Optimist   U

200+   Laser   S

189     Mermaid   S

160     Flying Fifteen   S

130     RS Feva   U

115     Shannon One Design    U

100+   Mirror   S

100+   Topper   U

99       Topaz   U

94       Laser SB3   U

87       GP14   U

85       Squib   S

70       Fireball   S

70       Ruffian   S

60       J24   S

60       Shipman   S

52       Dragon   S

50       RS400/200   S

50       420    U

43       Multihulls    U

42       Dragon    S

40       Water Wags    U

40       Wayfarer    S

34       IDRA14    U

33       Puppeteer    U

28       Etchells    S

27       E-Boat    U

26       Glen    S

25       Enterprise    S

18       Sigma 33    S

18       Howth 17    U

13       RS Elite    U

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