Dun Laoghaire Harbour did not emerge unscathed from the winter storms and neither did the Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) starting hut on the back of the town's West Pier.
The concrete walled plinth which has been supporting the West Pier Hut since DBSC moved to that location in 1968, was demolished during the first week-end of March and totally swept into the sea by the force of the great storm and blizzard. Not one solitary concrete block was left behind. DBSC are enormously glad they didn’t leave the Hut on station last winter, as they have occasionally had to do in the past for financial reasons.
DBSC's first Tuesday race is a bare fortnight away, on the 24th April, and the first Thursday race on the 26th and the first Saturday race on the 28th April so the race is on to get the hut back in situ as soon as possible.
The club is one of the largest yacht racing club's in Europe catering for over 320 boats in 22 different classes every week from April to September.
Photos below illustrate what has happened.
Plans were immediately drawn up for a replacement but getting it all in place takes time. What the weight of engineering opinion tells the club is that we should replace it with an open-work steel frame that would more easily stand up to the impact of the waves. It would be a temporary structure and removable if needs be.
With the start of the season just a fortnight away DBSC are resigned to accept that all will not be in position for racing on the last week of April. 'Perhaps so, but we have plans in place if it’s not' Club Commodore Chris Moore told a meeting of DBSC Class Captains this week.
Moore also informed the gathering: 'We don’t foresee at this stage any insuperable problem in starting the season. Thursday racing will be fine because we don’t use the Hut on Thursdays. For Tuesday racing there would be no problem either because we can avail of MacLir, put the volunteers and the race officer on board and use platonic courses. .. Which, often as not, she does anyway.
The situation on Saturday racing is more complicated. The programme usually envisages three starting locations – that of the Green fleet, to which the Freebird is allotted, and the Hut and MacLir, between which the Red and Blue fleets alternate. With the Hut not available, we could lease the RIYC committee boat, moor it near where the Hut would normally be and carry on as before. There are one or two complicating factor here and it might be preferable to use another option: start and finish both the red and blue fleets together from Maclir, using the Blue fleet Saturday course card.
We don’t consider that this would impose an undue burden on committee boat personnel – just three starts more than what they are accustomed to".