Dublin Bay Sailing Club has taken the decision to support the formation of a mixed sportsboat class to join the twenty other classes racing under the Club’s burgee in Dublin Bay. The decision follows a meeting of the Bay's sportsboats interests earlier this month.
The class will race every Saturday on primarily windward leeward courses, with committee boat starts, throughout the 2016 season. Also racing on this course will be the SB20, Flying Fifteen and Dragon fleets. Racing will also be provided for the new class on DBSC’s midweek courses on Thursday and Tuesday evenings.
The mixed sportsboat class will consist of 1720s, J80s, J70s, Melges 24, Bachman 21s and similar such craft.
There was a wide variety of opinion at the recent meeting at the Royal Irish Yacht Club.
With such a disparate range of views it is not easy to put together a cohesive summary of what was said. Here are the major themes that emerged:
- There exists a certain cohort of potential DBSC sailors not being catered for within the existing class structure.
- These would be people not interested in the traditional DBSC keel boat, favouring instead a less expensive smaller, lighter, more venturesome model.
- Abroad, all new production boats are of the asymmetric variety. DBSC will have to move with this new world. Sailors coming through the junior sections all look to race in this new type of craft.
- Some concern that the mixed sports boat class might adversely affect the existing SB20 class – a view that effort should be directed instead to driving forward the SB20s.
- Repeated assurances that DBSC will continue to support the SB20s.
- Demand for the new class must come from the membership or potential new members. Obviously DBSC is concerned to arrest the decline of income and entries and must find revenue streams to support its race management superstructure.
- The nucleus of the new class would come from the existing stock of 1720s in the waterfront clubs and in private possession. They are of varying configurations and sail condition and could not be rated as one-design. An Echo-type results system would be required.
- Finally, an acceptance that the mixed sportboat model is the way to go and a many expressions of goodwill towards DBSC in its efforts to find the way forward.