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First Gun for Dublin Bay Sailing Club's 2017 Season This Month

7th April 2017
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Mac Lir, one of two DBSC Committee Boats used to run yacht racing on Dublin Bay Mac Lir, one of two DBSC Committee Boats used to run yacht racing on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat.ie

Dublin Bay Sailing Club Commodore Chris Moore outlines the club's 2017 season programme that gets underway on April 25th and includes new coastal races and a 'grand finale' planned for September

It was in July 2012, with wide stretches of the Bay unavailable to us because of the ISAF worlds, that the Club first introduced coastal racing into its programme. Its objective was modest enough – to leave the Bay clear for a major world sailing event while not depriving DBSC sailors of their customary Saturday afternoons’ sailing.

As it happened, the innovation proved very popular with most of the membership, even though the courses involved no more than a race to the Burford Bank and or a run down to Killiney Bay through the Muglins Sound.

This year, the Bay being thankfully free of international competitions, there is an opportunity to present the Club’s keelboat fleets with much more extensive and varied coastal courses. Many DBSC boats, in fact, are ocean races racers capable of more challenging racing than what they are normally experience inshore. Accordingly, Tim Goodbody, with the Committee’s support, has built on the former coastal racing courses and planned for this season a set of three really ambitious coastal races, extending to the outfall buoys on the Kish bank and down to the Moulditch bank south-east of Greystones.

dbsc yearbookThe 2017 DBSC Yearbook features the ICRA Boat of the Year, Joker II on the front cover

Races will start from a committee vessel and boats will round DBSC marks before proceeding out of the normal racing area. There will be a range of courses for boats of various size and characteristics and, of course, if conditions prove overly challenging, there can always be a fall-back on platonic courses. The new coastal races will be shown on a separate course card. We’re designating them “DBSC Royal Alfred Courses.” Prizes will be Royal Alfred cups or to be awarded at the usual November prize giving.

We don’t intend to print the course card and include it in the usual membership pack. Instead, it will be shown on the Club’s web site and distributed to members through e-mail to the class captains. It’s a foretaste of how things are likely to develop in the future. Printing and distributing course cards is not cheap- the paper used is horrendously expensive- and obviously we’ll have to go like the rest of the world and depend on the internet for most of our communications. We appreciate that there are people who regard the membership pack as a physical link with DBSC - or, indeed, as a marketing tool, as someone put it - but there are no plans to abandon the yearbook. Quite the reverse. In fact we might endeavour to expand it.

Coastal race start times will be more than an hour earlier than is customary and we may extend the time limit, depending on weather forecasts.

On ECHO handicaps, about which we talked to the classes over the winter, current plans are to use the Progressive ECHO version for the 2017 season. Various studies have shown that, effectively, there is no little or no difference in outcome between the “Progressive” and the “classical” versions, but the former has the merit of increased transparency: people will be able to see much earlier any change in a boat’s performance

There have been problems with dinghy week-end racing. Last year we tried, with no success, running races on Sundays. We have talked to dinghy representatives and another proposal emerged - to run dinghy races on the Water Wag model, inside the Harbour, on twelve nominated Saturday afternoons. Race management will be from a rib. They’ll be regular, official DBSC races, funded by the Club but controlled by the dinghies themselves.

In conclusion, may I draw attention to the last Saturday races? This will be a sort of grand finale to the season, with earlier starts and special prizes presented after racing in one of the Clubs. All classes will be catered for, including dinghies. Plans are not yet complete but we hope to make an occasion of it.

That said, I wish members fair winds and enjoyable racing in 2017.

Chris Moore, Commodore

This article was first published as a foreword to the 2017 DBSC Yearbook 

Published in DBSC

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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