#dbsc – The country's largest yacht racing club is surveying members on dinghy sailing requirements and has also moved to correct a perception that it operates an 'age bar'.
Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) Commodore Pat Shannon says that the perception the club does not cater for under 18s has taken hold but it is not the case.
Writing on the DBSC website Shannon says 'The DBSC committee would like to make it clear to members, potential members, junior organisers and the wider community generally that such emphatically is not the case. It's a perception but an incorrect one.'
Shannon points to the fact that many boats on the DBSC register (of which there are over 300 and 1200 members) are crewed and sailed by young people under 18. At least three members of the current DBSC committee have sailed on DBSC keelboats since childhood. DBSC activities were recently reviewed by Afloat blogger WM Nixon.
It appears the misapprehension is perhaps understandable though, for while the Club throughout its history has welcomed all comers to membership, regardless of creed, gender or class distinctions, it no longer organises races for juniors. It did so in the past and, when support for this activity declined, joined the Dun Laoghaire clubs in organising the September Sunday series. It still provides logistical support – ribs and access to its results system and web site – but recently it decided not to be classed among the organisers.
This was prompted by the realisation that with the growing emphasis on child protection and parental involvement DBSC was not in a position to accept legal responsibility for an activity which was outside their competence and remit. The feeling was that the waterfront clubs, which were more closely and personally involved in the formation of young sailors, were in a better position to accept this responsibility.
Where some issues might arise with its present programme is with the Club's PY class. In recent times it has provided racing for a variety of Lasers (including Radials and 4.7s), OK Dinghies, RS200s and RS400s, Wayfarers and GP14s. Boats that are sailed uniquely by juniors such as Optimists and Toppers don't easily fit this particular mix. Not for reasons of safety, exactly, but because of potential race management and course setting problems on courses on which they would have to race alongside high performing boats like Flying 15s and Fireballs.
Shannon adds: 'I should add that DBSC, in common with sailing clubs everywhere, is having to review its dinghy programme. As part of this process, dinghy boat owners and others who might be concerned are currently receiving an on-line questionnaire asking for feed-back on the service provided'. The questionnaire is here.
Another dimension is that, with continuing austerity and the need to control its cost base, DBSC committee early this year decided to undertake a long-term strategic review of its racing programme – aiming perhaps for a consolidation of courses, with keelboats and dinghies racing from the a single committee vessel on adjoining or perhaps concentric circuits.