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Glen Keelboat Class Fleet Celebrate Fifty Years of Sailing

11th November 2014
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The Dun Laoghaire Glen fleet on their harbour moorings. Illustration by Pete Hogan
Glen Keelboat Class Fleet Celebrate Fifty Years of Sailing

#glensailing – The Glens are celebrating 50 years sailing and racing together as a class in Dublin Bay Sailing Clubwrites 'Glenshane' skipper Pete Hogan. As a very successful season draws to a close for the 12 or so Glens in Dublin Bay there seems all prospects that the fleet can continue for a further 50 years.

The story of the Glens is worth repeating. Designed by the celebrated Scottish Marine architect Alfred Milne in 1945 the Glens were built by the Bangor boatyard over the following 20 years. Possibly 39 Glens, at least, were built which gives them claim to be Milne's most successful design and also one of the last of Alfred Milne Senior's designs. The firm still exists. He also designed the Dublin Bay 21's and the 24's which were recently in the news on Afloat.ie

At first the Glens were confined to the North but started appearing in Dublin over 50 years ago. Glenluce G67 celebrated last year being 50 years in the sole ownership of the O'Connor family. They started racing together as a class under DBSC organisation in 1964 and have been racing ever since.

Glens are classic little yachts, retaining their looks up to today as reminders of what sailing boats looked like before the era of plastic mouldings, high freeboards and self-draining cockpits. 25 ft. long with a full keel and sensible sail plan they represent state of the art pocket cruisers of the period.

Glens were often compared to Dragons. They are heavier, shorter and carry a bit more sail. But they were never allowed to become the development class which the Dragons became and never made the seismic shift into fibreglass construction. Their handy size however, has allowed them to survive just as the 17's in Howth survive and thrive. There is a mini wooden boat building fraternity centred on the Glens and their needs. The Brennan boatbuilding family in Dun Laoghaire, all three generations of it, being its mainstay.

Moored out in front of the Royal St George YC and each painted a distinctive different colour, the Glens have become as iconic a fixture in Dun Laoghaire as the bandstand, Teddy's ice cream shop or the fishermen casting their lines from the pier. Long may they continue.

glen.jpg

The Glen keelboat. Illustration by Pete Hogan

Anyone interested in getting involved in the Glen Class in Dublin could contact Pete on 087 930 9559 or click HERE

 

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Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) is one of Europe's biggest yacht racing clubs. It has almost sixteen hundred elected members. It presents more than 100 perpetual trophies each season some dating back to 1884. It provides weekly racing for upwards of 360 yachts, ranging from ocean-going forty footers to small dinghies for juniors.

Undaunted by austerity and encircling gloom, Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC), supported by an institutional memory of one hundred and twenty nine years of racing and having survived two world wars, a civil war and not to mention the nineteen thirties depression, it continues to present its racing programme year after year as a cherished Dublin sporting institution.

The DBSC formula that, over the years, has worked very well for Dun Laoghaire sailors. As ever DBSC start racing at the end of April and finish at the end of September. The current commodore is Chris Moore of the National Yacht Club.

The character of racing remains broadly the same in recent times, with starts and finishes at Club's two committee boats, one of them DBSC's new flagship, the Freebird. The latter will also service dinghy racing on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Having more in the way of creature comfort than the John T. Biggs, it has enabled the dinghy sub-committee to attract regular team to manage its races, very much as happened in the case of MacLir and more recently with the Spirit of the Irish. The expectation is that this will raise the quality of dinghy race management, which, operating as it did on a class quota system, had tended to suffer from a lack of continuity.

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