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Looking Back on the 2021 Dublin Bay Sailing Club Season

12th December 2021
DBSC held 698 races over the season - 483 keelboat races on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, (including the Ruffian 23 class above) 198 dinghy races on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and 17 Water Wag races on Wednesdays.
DBSC held 698 races over the season - 483 keelboat races on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, (including the Ruffian 23 class above) 198 dinghy races on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and 17 Water Wag races on Wednesdays. Credit: Afloat

DBSC Commodore Ann Kirwan addressed members of the country's biggest sailing club at its 2021 online AGM last Friday. It was an opportunity to review the many champagne sailing days of the summer and some great turnouts for the 698 club races held on Dublin Bay

2021 started with great news in early January when it was announced via Afloat that DBSC had been named as the Mitsubishi Sailing Club of the Year. Jonathan Nicholson, Commodore in 2020, and I were presented with the coveted ship’s wheel in August. We are very proud of this achievement and we now include the ‘Sailing Club of the Year’ logo on all our email communications.

Jonathan Nicholson, Commodore in 2020, and Ann Kirwan with the Mitsubishi Motors Club of the Year Ship's Wheel trophyIn January, Jonathan Nicholson (DBSC Commodore in 2020) and Commodore Ann Kirwan were presented with the Mitsubishi Motors Club of the Year Ship's Wheel trophy

I want to pay tribute to two of our long-standing volunteers who sadly passed away in 2021. Our dear friend Carmel Winkelmann, who gave generously, tirelessly and enthusiastically of her time to her beloved sport of sailing for well over 50 years, sadly passed away on June 12th. Carmel was a DBSC volunteer for much of that time, well known for being a regular in the hut, and was still keeping us on the straight and narrow right up until May this year with her wisdom, experience and incredibly sharp mind.

We also lost another valued volunteer, Larry Martin, who sadly passed away on March 22nd this year. Larry was a regular volunteer in the hut over the years, and more recently was a ‘Flagger’ on the Green Fleet team right up until the summer of 2020.

Highlights of the AIB DBSC 2021 Summer Sailing Season

The season started with a 3-week race training series from mid-May and our full racing programme commenced on June 8th some 6 weeks earlier than last season. We enjoyed many champagne sailing days with moderate winds and lots of warm sunshine. We lost just 1 Saturday due to heavy winds, and 2 Thursdays and 1 Wednesday due to light winds. We held 698 races over the season - 483 keelboat races on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 198 dinghy races on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and 17 Water Wag races on Wednesdays.

The DBSC Race Hut was back on station on the West Pier in 2021After being stored on the Coal Quay (above) in 2020, the DBSC Race Hut was back on station on the West Pier in July (below)

The Royal St. George Georgette sportsboat team

The iconic DBSC hut returned to its rightful position on the west pier on July 10th and we ran the last 8 Tuesday keelboat races from it. Pier walkers and DBSC members were delighted to see its return after a year’s absence.

It was a great pleasure to welcome 3 of the magnificently restored Dublin Bay 21 Footers, Naneen, Estelle, and Garavogue back to Dun Laoghaire in July. The 21s raced on Tuesdays towards the end of the season, and we expect to see more of them joining the fleet for a full 2022 season.

Dublin Bay 21 Footer Naneen at Dun Laoghaire's East PierDublin Bay 21 Footer Naneen at Dun Laoghaire's East Pier in July

Entries were roughly the same as 2020 but were still well down on 2019. However, turnout was strong with many of you commenting on how great it was to be back on the water after a long and difficult winter. On average 120 boats raced on Thursdays and Saturdays and we had 31 Wags competing for the Captain’s prize on September 1st.

A team of 50 volunteers are required to run DBSC racing each seasonAIB Private Banking are on board as DBSC title sponsors

The summer sailing season came to a close on Saturday, September 25th. The Turkey Shoot commenced its 7-race series on November 7th and all competing have enjoyed great racing so far. A reminder that the Spring Chicken series starts on Sunday, February 5th.

DBSC Volunteers

We are extremely fortunate to have such experienced and skilled personnel running DBSC racing. A team of 50+ volunteers including race officers, committee boat drivers and race management teams, as well a further 50 patrol crews, all worked together to ensure you received the great standard of racing that you expect. Our extensive racing programme would not have been possible without their efforts, and many of them turned out multiple times each week.

This AIB DBSC summer sailing season was run with 18 race officers, eight committee boat drivers, 30 race management personnel (timers, sounds signallers, flaggers, and recorders), as well as rib drivers and mark layers, and many others who worked behind the scenes to deliver our racing programme. Our committee boats MacLir and Freebird were very well looked after by Ian Meldon, Brendan Dalton and Chris Moore.

It was an easy decision to honour our esteemed volunteers with the DBSC Premier award, the Viking Trophy for a notable contribution to sailing, for a second successive season. Well done and thank you to the DBSC volunteers.

Annual Prize-Giving

We presented our AIB DBSC 2020 Summer Sailing Season prizes to the winners in the waterfront clubs in June/July, as we had been unable to hold our prize giving in November 2020.

The 2020 DBSC Summer Sailing Season prizes were presented to winners in the waterfront clubs outdoorsThe 2020 DBSC Summer Sailing Season prizes were presented to winners  outdoors (including Ken Dumpleton of the Flying Fifteen class above)  in the waterfront clubs 

We held 2021 prize giving in the wonderful setting of the National Maritime Museum on Friday, November 12th.

The array of DBSC silverware at prizegiving 2021 Photo: Michael ChesterThe array of DBSC silverware at prizegiving 2021 Photo: Michael Chester

It was great to see so many of you there and we got some really positive feedback on the location. Photos of the prize-winners can be found on our website.

With Gratitude

We are extremely fortunate to have AIB Private Banking on board as our title sponsors. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to AIB, and to our supporters Gunpowder Gin, Killen Marine, Viking Marine, MGM Boats and Facet Jewellers.

Thanks also to the Commodores and the management and staff of the Dun Laoghaire waterfront clubs, to Irish Sailing, to the Harbour Masters of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Captains Simon Coate and Tim Ryan, and to Dublin Port Harbour Master Captain Michael McKenna for their support throughout the season.

Thanks also to Afloat for great coverage of DBSC racing and events throughout the season.

Thanks to my fellow committee members:

Ed Totterdell – Vice Commodore & PRO, Jacqueline McStay – Rear Commodore, Chris Moore - Hon. Secretary, Peter Fleming – Hon. Treasurer, Philip Ferguson - Marks, Gerry Jones & Suzi Roy - Sponsorship, Louise McKenna - Dinghies, Ian Bowring - Results, Declan Traynor - Bosun & Covid Officer, Sabrina Mahony – Children’s Officer, Debbie Horan – Admin, Brian Matthews - Technical Director

A special thanks to three of our committee members who are stepping down tonight having served DBSC so well for a number of years: Peter Fleming, Debbie Horan, and Brian Mathews. And to Colin McMullan who is retiring from his role as Results Secretary after a number of years making sure our results were available promptly after each race.

Welcome aboard to our new committee members - incoming Treasurer Jonathan Skerritt, and Kevin Byrne who will serve on our sailing sub-committee.

And finally, a very special and heartfelt thanks to my fellow Flag Officers Ed (Vice Commodore) and Jacqueline (Rear Commodore). Ed as PRO has done a huge amount of work on the racing front both throughout last winter and during the summer racing season, as well as being a rock of sense and great support to me. And to Jacqueline who upgraded our website - I hope you will agree that Jacqueline’s efforts have brought big improvements which have enabled us to communicate with you our members more effectively.

DBSC Commodore Ann Kirwan addresses the annual prizegiving at the National Maritime MuseumDBSC Commodore Ann Kirwan addresses the annual prizegiving at the National Maritime Museum

Final Comments

Finally, I wish you and your families a very healthy and happy Christmas and the very best for 2022. We look forward to seeing you on the water for the AIB DBSC 2022 Summer Sailing Season.

Thank you,
Ann Kirwan, Commodore

Published in DBSC
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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