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Dublin Bay Sailing Club COVID-19 Members Survey Reveals 'Overwhelming Support' for Racing

4th May 2020
A J109 Class One yacht passes DBSC's East Mark in 2019. A club survey revealed large support for racing on the Bay this season A J109 Class One yacht passes DBSC's East Mark in 2019. A club survey revealed large support for racing on the Bay this season Photo: Afloat

There has been overwhelming support from a Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) survey to going racing this season despite the problems posed by COVID-19.

The anonymous survey got a response from over half of DBSC's 1,200 members There showed 'huge support for extending the season and reformatted Tuesday racing for the keelboat and cruiser fleets'.

Following the government roadmap announcement last Friday (1st of May), DBSC says it is 'encouraged but needs to wait for formal guidance from Irish Sailing'.

White sails option

Club Commodore Jonathan Nicholson says the survey also showed a white sails option to reduce crew numbers was popular. 

'This and other options need further consideration along with a dialogue with the DBSC class captains' Nicholson says, for the massive 250-boat fleet.

Support for running two DBSC races on Saturdays was less clear cut but maybe considered based on the season start date.

Adapting the DBSC format

There was near-unanimous support for adapting the race formats given the new constraints that DBSC will be operating under.

The responses are summarised below by DBSC on its website as follows: 

Intentions to race this season?

This question was posed a number of times, albeit with a different perspective. Of particular note is the response to the question “Having spent time thinking about this and looking at some of the options DBSC is thinking about how likely are you now to join this season”. 75% of responses were either likely or very likely to join. There is also considerable support for entering regardless of the start date of the season.

What facilities are needed to race?

There is a need for changing rooms etc. to be addressed especially for dinghy and smaller keelboat classes, whilst access to food and bar was considered a nice to have, this was not deemed a deterrent to racing.

Given the nature of this season what revisions to the programme would be welcome?

There was huge support for extending the season and reformatted Tuesday racing for the keelboat and cruiser fleets. Support for running two races on Saturdays was less clear cut but maybe considered based on the season start date. The white sails option to reduce crew numbers was popular. This and other options need further consideration along with a dialogue with the class captains. There was near-unanimous support for adapting the race formats given the new constraints that we will be operating under.

Interpreting the comments is more complex. While many people identified themselves, the survey remains anonymous. All feedback, which was overwhelmingly positive, was considered.

We absolutely recognise there is a concern about personal safety and we will only run racing when the government and Irish Sailing have given their approval and the waterfront clubs are ready to support this activity in a safe and responsible manner. Moreover, rest assured that DBSC will prioritise the safety of all the volunteers who make our racing possible. We acknowledge we may have a reduced number of entries this year as unfortunately, it will not be possible for all members of our club and community to race this summer.

In summary, there is a very clear appetite to go racing.

Afloat.ie 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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