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Dublin Bay Sailing Club's 2019 Racing Season: Commodore's Report

2nd December 2019
Andrew Algeo's top performing DBSC cruiser Juggerknot II is a brand new J99 design from J-Boats Andrew Algeo's top performing DBSC cruiser Juggerknot II is a brand new J99 design from J-Boats Photo: Afloat

Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) Commodore Jonathan Nicholson delivered the following report to the club's AGM last month describing the activities and achievements of the country's biggest yacht racing club.

Once again at the start of the 2019 season, DBSC found itself in a challenging situation. Following the introduction of a fairway and temporary anchorage beside it by Dublin Port, two marks, Zebra and Harbour were removed and a further seven marks on the west side of the bay replaced with new design marks having both radar reflectors and lights.

These new marks and tackle were sourced and a new contractor was found to deploy the larger marks and paraphernalia all in time for the start of the sailing season. A huge thanks to those involved as there was a very considerable effort undertaken in a short time to ensure that the appropriate equipment was available for the first race.

New Ross Buoy 2887DBSC's new style 'New Ross' Buoy Photo: Afloat

There have been comments that the new marks are hard to distinguish from each other. Due to the composition of the marks, there is no effective way to change their inherent yellow colour, so each mark will bear only the designated letter next season.

DBSC Committee Boats

As with all boats problems always arise. This year we have been fortunate as both committee boats have operated without serious issue. This can be attributed to the care and attention given to both the boats throughout the year and the preventative maintenance programme that has been undertaken.

Freebird 0448DBSC Committee Boat Freebird in action Photo: Afloat

The need for both committee boats cannot be understated. In the club, we are fortunate to have two world-class platforms from which the race management team can operate and provide the high-quality racing we have become accustomed too.

Race Management

The Club’s key resource has to be its panel of race management personnel. These teams are the reason we have racing. Running racing is not trivial and is often demanding, needing the ability to think on your feet when unexpected situations emerge, a detailed knowledge of the extraordinary complex rules of sailing, an insight into the Bay’s variable (and sometimes vexatious) wind pattern, and the characteristics of the club’s various, all done in unison.

Gorman 6691George Arthur Newsom Cup winners were Flying Fifteen duo Betty David and Chris Doorly Photo: Afloat

Boat Fees and subscriptions

This year boat entries and subscriptions amounted to 340 and 1220, compared to 314 and 1235 respectively in 2018. Boat and subscription income has been hovering at this level for some time. Despite the economic upturn, DBSC (and, it seems, sailing in general) shows no sign of returning to the peaks of the halcyon days when our boat entries topped 400 and membership 1700.


The rapid entry and hence presentation of the results has continued again this year. It should be noted that on a Thursday night up to 150 boats may compete, which would be the envy of many international regattas. I would be surprised if many organisations could compare to the speed and quality of the output from our results secretary Colin McMullan.

There is a huge challenge at the start of each season as boats still enter late and, in some instances, have provided incorrect data, particularly sail numbers and email addresses. With this in mind, we are updating the club’s membership database to integrate with the results system to streamline the operation.

Online Entry

For the 2020 season, DBSC will move towards an online-only entry policy. There are numerous reasons, including improving data integratory, easier system integration and removal of any liability associated with handling cash and cheques.


The beautiful balmy weather during the summer of 2018 was not replicated this year and as such we had, not unexpectedly, more race cancellations. There were two Saturdays, two Wednesday’s and one Thursday’s racing lost due to excess wind. On the other hand, four Thursday’s, three Tuesday’s and one Wednesday’s racing lost because of no wind whatsoever.


This year the club made a very modest profit thanks to close management of the accounts and an accurate budget. As mentioned in last year’s report the search for sponsorship continues. Extra income is essential to ensure the future viability of the club.


A special thanks to our supports MGM Boats, Viking Marine, Citroen South, Dublin Port, Killen Marine, Sage Pay, Gunpowder Gin and most recently Dun Laoghaire Marina.


Again this year the number of protests was much reduced compared to other years. Time was when the Protest Committee had to deal with up to forty protests in the season. This year they amounted to just under a dozen.


Firstly, there are the various flag-officers and committee members who to an extent not suspected by the general membership have devoted an extraordinary amount of their free time to DBSC’s affairs. We are all deeply in their debt.

I should mention particularly Brendan Finucane, who leaves the committee at the AGM, after many years dedicated service to DBSC. Brendan’s particular sphere of interest has been the West Pier hut along with health and safety. Also leaving us is Chris Corrigan, whose help with the dinghy section has been much appreciated.

DBSC Donal The Viking Award went to the former Hon Sec of the club, Donal O'Sullivan (left) for his notable contribution to DBSC Sailing and was presented by Commodore Jonathan Nicholson

As mentioned above this year we replaced seven marks. This would not have happened without the combined efforts of Committee member Phillip Ferguson and our Honorary Secretary Chris Moore. I would also like to mention Brendan Dalton who helped both Chris and Phillip prepare the marks for launch.

Then there are the many volunteers who, whatever the weather and personal inconvenience, have manned the West Pier hut and Club’s committee vessels. Without volunteers we do not have a club. We cannot say this often enough

I would also like to mention the rib crews who are skilfully supported by our Bosun and Patrol officer Declan Traynor. Special note must be given to Joanne Sheehan who has co-ordinated the rib teams for over a decade.

I should not forget, either, Fintan Cairns, Race Officer Henry Leonard and the teams of the Turkey Shoot and Spring Chicken series, who provide most enjoyable, popular winter sailing and plenty of après-sail entertainment.

I thank, also, the management and staffs of the waterfront Clubs, Irish Sailing and the harbour masters of Dun Laoghaire harbour, Captains Simon Coate and Tim Ryan, as well as Dublin Port Harbour Master, Captain Michael McKenna.

Finally, I would like to express my deep gratitude to my predecessor and our current Honorary Secretary Chris Moore. Following Donal O’Sullivan’s departure after twenty-seven years in the role and a further thirteen on committee I was wondering how we could survive without him.

I need not have worried. Chris has worked tirelessly throughout the year, far exceeding the role of honorary secretary. Be it maintaining the committee boats, supporting member’s enquiries, compiling the yearbook, I could go on, he has ensured the smooth running of the club.

As commodore, I have been given the proverbial armchair ride and I am truly thankful as I am sure are, we all.

Jonathan Nicholson,

See Afloat's report on the 2019 DBSC Prizegiving here

Published in DBSC Team

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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 Jonathan Nicholson of the Royal St. George 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 a 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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