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Dublin Bay Sailing Club to Trial Robotic Marks in April and May

22nd April 2024
Having been successfully deployed at the Irish Sailing League, Dublin Bay Sailing Club will trial robotic marks in its summer racing in April and May
Having been successfully deployed at the Irish Sailing League, Dublin Bay Sailing Club will trial robotic marks in its summer racing in April and May Credit: Afloat

Not content to bask in its 140th-anniversary glory, Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) will experiment with using the latest yacht race technology this season to deliver the largest racing programme in Ireland.

DBSC Commodore and Race Officer Ed Totterdell, who has used these marks in the USA and elsewhere, believes that while the technology is new and the logistics need to be examined, DBSC should take the lead and trial what could be a big step forward in mark laying.

The marks were successfully deployed at the weekend for the inaugural Irish Sailing League, also held on Dublin Bay.

“Having met several clubs and ROs during the winter, I set up a meeting where all could come together and discuss the options for events and clubs to consider using robotic marks in 2024. As a result of these meetings, Kenny Rumball has organised a low-cost trial rental for 6-8 weeks, which will involve clubs across Dublin Bay and potentially further afield to see if they would benefit from using them.

 Robotic marks will make adjustments to DBSC start and finish lines possible Photo: Afloat Robotic marks will make adjustments to DBSC start and finish lines possible Photo: Afloat

"In DBSC, forty minutes is an eternity when hoping that the line stays square, given the vagaries of Dublin Bay wind. We also need a 300-metre start line for Cruisers One division, but this is reduced to 150 metres for some smaller classes", Totterdell explains.

"Using our standard marks, making adjustments to the line is not an option once the sequence has started for the first class. Shock waves will now reverberate as the line swiftly moves up/down or in and out!", he says.

"Having used these marks most recently in Kenny Rumball’s hugely successful Irish Sailing League last weekend I am really excited to start the trial, which I intend to do on our first Thursday race of 2024," Totterdell said.

"After the trial, we will be better placed to judge whether the cost and logistics would justify making these marks a permanent feature for future seasons, ” he added.

In addition, DBSC has also unveiled a new chart of marks for 2024, as Afloat reports here. are Irish agents for the robotic marks and can supply/rent the buoys for use around Ireland.

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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 Eddie Totterdell of the National 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.