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Eddie Totterdell Takes the Helm at Dublin Bay Sailing Club

8th December 2022
Changing of the DBSC guard - Outgoing Commodore Ann Kirwan hands over to Eddie Totterdell at last night's AGM at Dun Laoghaire Harbour
Changing of the DBSC guard - Outgoing Commodore Ann Kirwan hands over to Eddie Totterdell at last night's AGM at the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire Harbour Credit: DBSC

After two years as Commodore of Ireland's largest yacht racing club that runs over 1,000 races each summer, Ann Kirwan completed her term in office last night at Dublin Bay Sailing Club and handed over the tiller to Eddie Totterdell after his election. Here Afloat publishes Kirwan's AGM farewell to members

It has been such an honour and a privilege to act as Commodore of DBSC for the past two years and for a total of 10 years on the committee. It’s been busy, and there have been some ups and downs, but it has been very enjoyable and rewarding. The past three years have been particularly challenging with Covid, but I think that has brought out the best of DBSC’s strengths. I’d now like to run through some of the highlights of the two years:

I covered 2021 in my address at last year’s AGM; however, here’s a recap of some of the main highlights:

  • We were awarded the Mitsubishi Sailing Club of the year 2021.
  • We revamped our website early in 2021 and have been refreshing its content regularly since.
  • Our 2021 programme commenced in early June after a 3-week training period.
  • We held 3 separate prize-giving functions in the summer to present the 2020 prizes.
  • The hut returned to its rightful position in July after a year’s absence.
  • The magnificently restored DB21s returned to Dun Laoghaire in July and raced on Tuesdays.
  • The Turkey shoot and Spring Chicken series were run last winter after a Covid-enforced year off.
  • We moved our prize-giving to the National Maritime Museum in November.
  • We rounded off 2021 with our AGM last December – on Zoom for the second year in a row.

Tribute to those we lost

Before moving on to a review of 2022, I want to pay tribute to some of our long-standing volunteers who sadly passed away during my term as Commodore. Larry Martin, Pat McGloughlin, and more recently Ben Mulligan, all DBSC volunteers. And to 3-of our long-standing stalwarts who gave so much to DBSC – Carmel in June 2021, Jack in December 2021 and just three months ago, our beloved Ida Kiernan. All three were contributing to DBSC right to the end – Carmel keeping us on the straight and narrow, Jack redesigning courses and acting as Red Fleet RO on Thursdays, and Ida commanding the keelboat volunteer forces with her unique sense of fun, enthusiasm and efficiency. They are all sorely missed.

Now to the 2022 season

We spent last winter planning for what we hoped would be a full season in 2022. Our sailing committee redesigned some of the courses to cater for the hut coming back for Saturdays in the 2022 season. Thanks in particular to Tim Goodbody who led the redesign of the Blue and Red fleet Saturday courses.

Following the two years of curtailed racing we started our season on schedule at the end of April and ran right through to October 1st. It took 22 race officers, nine committee boat drivers, and a team of over 50 race management volunteers to work together during our 23-week season, to provide you our members with more than 1,000 races. Heartfelt thanks to the DBSC Committee and to all our fabulous volunteers for making this happen. We are lucky to have such a large pool of volunteers – it is them that make DBSC what it is. Providing 1000-plus races in a single summer sailing season could not be done without them giving so generously of their time and experience. Incidentally, yesterday was International Volunteers Day.

 It took 22 race officers, nine committee boat drivers, and a team of over 50 race management volunteers to work together during our 23-week season, to provide DBSC members with more than 1,000 races It took 22 race officers, nine committee boat drivers, and a team of over 50 race management volunteers to work together during our 23-week season, to provide DBSC members with more than 1,000 races Photo: Afloat

We enjoyed some great racing in warm sunny weather in what was generally a season of light airs and it was great to see the hut back in use on Saturdays.

As well as our 1,000 plus DBSC races, there was a full schedule of events around the bay in which included the Dun Laoghaire waterfront club regattas, the SB20 World Championships as well as many regional and national championships, and the Women at the Helm regatta. Well done to the Dun Laoghaire waterfront clubs for successfully hosting all of these challenging events.

DBSC Results

We implemented a new DBSC results system using HalSail in 2022. It has proved very successful in its first year thanks to Ian Bowring’s meticulous planning and set-up work in advance of the season. Thanks to Therese and Jen for making sure the results were available in a timely manner each race day.

Inaugural End of Season Dinner

We held the inaugural DBSC end-of-season dinner in the National Yacht club in early October. It was a sell-out and thoroughly enjoyed by all 110 who attended and was a great way for boat crews to round off the season. I hope that this becomes an annual event.

The Flying Fifteen keelboat is one DBSC's 22 racing classes on Dublin Bay Photo: AfloatThe Flying Fifteen keelboat is one DBSC's 22 racing classes on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat

Prize-giving

Following the success of our prize-giving in 2021 and the positive feedback we received from you our members on the location, we held our 2022 prize-giving in the wonderful setting of the National Maritime Museum again a few weeks ago. We presented over 100 beautiful trophies to the many worthy winners. Michael Chester’s photos of the prize winners are available on our website and on Afloat. Thanks to Pat Shannon, who looks after all our magnificent trophies - without Pat, we would struggle to hold the prize giving.

Turkey Shoot and Spring Chicken

The AIB DBSC Turkey Shoot is going well and finishes on December 18th. The Spring Chicken will be run in February and March. Thanks to Fintan Cairns and his team for running these two winter series.

DBSC Committee

A very special word of thanks to DBSC Flag Officers Ed and Jacqueline and to all who have served with me on the DBSC Committee for the past 2 years. Thanks to Chris Moore, who retired as Honorary Secretary in June, and to Rosemary Roy, who has taken on this mammoth since then. Thanks to Philip Ferguson, who has organised the deployment, retrieval, storage, and maintenance of marks for the past number of years – it’s no mean feat. Thank you, Philip.

DBSC Committee from left: Honorary Secretary Rosemary Roy, Vice Commodore Keith Poole was elected Rear Commodore, outgoing Commodore Ann Kirwan, newly elected Commodore Eddie Totterdell, Jacqueline McStay was elected as Vice Commodore and Jonathan Skerritt remains as Honorary TreasurerDBSC Committee from left: Honorary Secretary Rosemary Roy, Vice Commodore Keith Poole was elected Rear Commodore, outgoing Commodore Ann Kirwan, newly elected Commodore Eddie Totterdell, Jacqueline McStay was elected as Vice Commodore and Jonathan Skerritt remains as Honorary Treasurer

As well as our experienced Race Officers and Committee boat teams who turn out many times each week to run our racing, other volunteers work behind the scenes to make the DBSC machine run smoothly. Thanks to Declan Traynor and Joanne Sheehan, who look after the rib crews, to Gerry and Suzi who look after sponsorship, to Ian on results, to Louise on dinghy matters, to Sabrina, our children’s officer who manages the Garda vetting process, to Jonathan Skerritt who looks after our finances, to Keith and Kevin who serve on the sailing sub-committee, to Jacqueline who looks after the website and of course to Rosemary who sends all the emails and did such a great job at the prize giving. Thanks to Brian, Brendan and Chris for looking after our committee boats, to Declan for looking after our ribs, to Michael for looking after protests, and to Jonathan O’Rourke, who works on the grant application process on our behalf. Sincere thanks to all of you for your efforts in the many aspects of running DBSC, I’ve really enjoyed working alongside you over the past two years.

A very special thank you to our PRO and incoming Commodore Ed, who heads up the sailing sub-committee and is the Race Officer for the Blue Fleet on Thursdays. Ed has been a rock of sense and great support to me over the past two years and we’ve had some laughs along the way.

With Gratitude

We are extremely fortunate and very grateful to have AIB on board as our title sponsor. Thanks also to our supporters Viking Marine, MGM Boats, Facet Jewellers, Killen Marine and Gunpowder Gin.

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 and Dublin Port – thanks for your support throughout my term as Commodore. Thanks also to Afloat for great coverage of DBSC racing and events.

Final Comments

Finally, I am confident in the knowledge that DBSC is in very safe hands with Ed taking over as Commodore and the strong committee and band of race management volunteers who will work with him.

I wish you and your families a very healthy and happy Christmas and the very best for 2023 and I look forward to seeing you on the water next season.

Race Results

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Published in DBSC
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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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