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Irish Sailing Classes. Yacht, One Design & Dinghy Racing News, Class by Class
Rocco Wright with his trophies and other top Oppie salors in Torrevieja, Alicante after taking second overall in a total fleet of 401 Optimists in the XIII Trofeo Euromarina Optimist
Howth Optimist ace Rocco Wright barely had time to gather breath - other than getting a haircut somewhere along the way - after taking second overall in the 225-boat Optimist fleet in Sail Melbourne 2020 in Australia before he was…
Aisling Keller on her way to qualifying Ireland in the Women’s Laser Radial for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Lough Derg Yacht Club’s Laser Radial contender Aisling Keller has been named in the shortlist for Her Sport’s Young Athlete Of The Year gong, voted on by the website’s readers. She joins a list with nine other remarkable Irish sportswomen…
Tide dragging Lasers over the MBSC line
On Saturday 25th of January, the Monkstown Bay Laser Frostbite league rolled around for day two of the month-long Cork Harbour series. A mixed bag of weather conditions was in store for the competitors, with a dull sky and black…
International Laser Class Association Announces List Of New Builder Applicants
The International Laser Class Association (ILCA) has announced its provisional list of new builder applicants for Laser class boats amid a process that began last autumn. Manufacturers that have been approved to move forward in the application process are, in alphabetical…
Monkstown Bay Laser sailors - (from left to right)  Alan Fehily, Philip Doherty, Ronan Kenneally, William O'Brien, Paul O'Sullivan, Chris Bateman, James Long, Charles Dwyer, Luke Fehily and Richie Harrington
Saturday, January 18th marked the first day of the 2020 Monkstown Laser Frostbite League, with a fleet of Laser sailors gathering to race on the waters of Cork Harbour. A misty-eyed winters morning dawned. The sun shone low in a…
Mermaid sailor, the late Joe Boylan of Skerries

Joe Boylan RIP

23rd January 2020 Mermaid
The DBSC Mermaid Class and Skerries Sailing Club have lost one of their iconic long-standing members when Joe Boylan (88 years of age) died peacefully last Monday surrounded by his family in his home writes Roger Bannon. Joe will be…
Rocco Wright gets his prize in the Australian Optimist National Opens from the Commodore of the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria in Melbourne
It all came down to the eleventh and final race of the Australian Optimist National Opens 2020 in Melbourne, with a total fleet of 255 boats from eight nations racing. Howth Yacht Club's Rocco Wright was overnight leader by just…
Howth's Rocco Wright leads the Optimist fleet in Melbourne
Rocco Wright of Howth Yacht Club holds a one-point lead facing into the final day (January 9th) of the 255-boat Australian International Optimist Championship 2020 at the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria in Melbourne on Port Philip Bay, with the…
Dun Laoghaire Frostbiting Radials fan out downwind
Laser Radials competing in the DMYC Frostbites are now the largest club Laser fleet in Ireland and look likely to surpass last winter’s 37 boat entry, with weekly turnouts in the mid-20s. Not bad, given there were just one or…
Darren Wright (left) with the crew of Mata and the Irish Half Ton Trophy in Kinsale with co-owners Michael Wright (right) and Rick De Neve (second right)
Darren Wright of Howth rounded out an exceptional year of achievement in 2019 with a courageous bareboat charter campaign in the especially challenging 75th Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race. Nearer home, his year had already seen success with the Classic Half Tonner…
The International J24 Class return to Howth Yacht Club in 2021
Howth Yacht Club has been selected to host the J/24 European Championships in 2021. Ireland’s proposal was made at the 2019 World Council Meeting in Miami on 28 October 2019 and voted on by the European NJCA’s with the announcement…
Monkstown Bay Laser racing
Monkstown Bay Sailing Club in Cork Harbour will start its Winter Laser League on Saturday of next week, January 11 and run it on six Saturday mornings until February 15. Organiser Charles Dwyer who puts a lot of effort into…
Paul O'Sullivan (with trophy) is congratulated by competitors at today 's St. Stephen's Day race in Cork Harbour
Monkstown Bay Sailing Club Laser sailors were afloat again today for the annual St. Stephens Day Race in Cork Harbour. In light winds, Paul O’Sullivan was the winner of the Dr Magner Cup. The St Stephen's Day fixture race precedes…
Clipper Race contender Visit Sanya China has Dublin Bay's David FitzPatrick on her crew for current leg from Perth south of Australia and Tasmania to Queensland
Round the World Clipper Race contender Visit Sanya China will be in catch-up mode when she starts the Australian coastal stage (leg 4) on Christmas Day from Fremantle on the west coast to the Whitsundays on the northeast Great Barrier…
Howth Yacht Club's Sienna and Rocco Wright with their trophies in Sydney
Howth Yacht Club Optimist dinghy siblings Sienna and Rocco Wright have struck again Down Under! This time the pair won their respective divisions in Sydney's Optimist Regatta with an extraordinary string of first places in each of their divisions over…
Optimist Spring Training Dates Set For 2020 In Baltimore
16-21 February are the dates to save for Optimist Spring Training at Baltimore Sailing Club in West Cork. This year the class has teamed up with freelance dinghy performance coach Thomas Chaix to work collaboratively on training sessions to kick…

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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