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National Yacht Club's Golden Girl Celebrates With Her Many Friends

23rd May 2017
Golden Girl Carmel Winkelmann with Jack Roy, President Irish Sailing Association, at the National YC dinner on Saturday night celebrating 50 Years of the Junior Section, of which Carmel was founding secretary Golden Girl Carmel Winkelmann with Jack Roy, President Irish Sailing Association, at the National YC dinner on Saturday night celebrating 50 Years of the Junior Section, of which Carmel was founding secretary Photo: Rosemary Roy

Fifty years of enthusiastic service to Irish and international sailing were celebrated in the National Yacht Club at the weekend with a two day event to mark the Golden Jubilee of the Junior Sailing Section in the club writes W M Nixon.

In fact, Carmel Winkelmann, the star of the show, has given much more than fifty years of service to our sport. But it just so happens that when Olympic sailor Johnny Hooper persuaded his fellow NYC members in the Autumn of 1966 that they needed to build a class of Optimist dinghies to cater more directly for the encouragement of their junior sailors, it was abundantly clear that the person to steer the new Junior Section through its formative years from 1967 onwards was the forthright, determined and ever-energetic Carmel Winkelmann, who was already a significant presence – and then some – in the club.

oppie golden2Oppies for ever! Ann Kirwan (left) and Dean McElree racing boats of a type they hadn’t been in for quite some time off the National YC on Sunday

oppie golden3Are the old choppers still up to it? Paddy Boyd re-learning the technique of holding the mainsheet in your teeth.

oppie golden3Gordon Douglas (left) and Ann Kirwan settling into some quite serious racing.

The result was a programme from which the Junior Sailing Syllabus for the entire country developed and evolved. But time has passed so quickly since, with the National YC and many other clubs seeing their rising young stars encouraged to fresh levels of international success, that there was a danger that the Golden Jubilee of it all at the NYC in May 2017 might simply slip by unnoticed.

oppie golden3Paul Kirwan (left) and Paddy Boyd (right), with the latter giving every sign of getting the trim just right

oppie golden3Gordon Douglas left) and Dean McElree

Happily, however, those who benefitted most fully from their time in the programme over the years as it has been reeled out season after season, people such as Ann Kirwan and Paddy Boyd, were keen that the Golden Jubilee should be given total turbo-power, with the Person of Honour (for you can’t be a Guest of Honour in your own beloved club) being Carmel Winkelmann herself.

With the encouragement of NYC Commodore Ronan Beirne, they set up a fun-filled celebratory dinner last Saturday night which attracted an impressive range of “graduates” from over the years. Most heartening of all, the gathering included some keen young people who had emerged from some of the most recent batches, which was inter-generational enthusiasm of a high order.

oppie golden3Paddy Boyd and Michael Horgan Jnr with a bit of bite to the breeze

Carmel herself made a marvellous no-holds-barred speech to set the tone of the evening and night. And then on Sunday, an eclectic collection of graduates – some from a very long time ago indeed – gathered to race in a brisk enough breeze in trainee Optimists (quite a tight fit in some cases) generously provided by Alistair Rumball of the Irish National Sailing School.

And the result? Everybody won. It’s as simple as that.

oppie golden3Ann Kirwan comes to the weather mark, well settled back into Optimist racing by this stage

Published in National YC
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Founded on loyal membership, the National Yacht Club at the East Pier in Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay enjoys a family ethos and a strong fellowship which binds members in a relaxed atmosphere of support and friendship.

Bathing in the gentle waterfront ambience of Dun Laoghaire on the edge of South County Dublin, the National Yacht Club has graced the waters of the Irish Sea and far beyond for more than a century and in 2020 celebrates its sesquicentennial.  

The club is particularly active in dinghy and keelboat one-design racing and has hosted three World Championships in recent years including the Flying Fifteen Worlds in 2003, 2019 and the SB3 Worlds in 2008. The ISAF Youth Worlds was co-hosted with our neighbouring club the Royal St. George Yacht Club in 2012...

National Yacht Club Facilities

Facilities include a slipway directly accessing Dun Laoghaire Harbour, over eighty club moorings, platform parking, pontoons, fuelling, watering and crane-lifting ensure that the NYC is excellently equipped to cater for all the needs of the contemporary sailor. Berths with diesel, water, power and overnight facilities are available to cruising yachtsmen with shopping facilities being a short walk away. The club is active throughout the year with full dining and bar facilities and winter activities include bridge, snooker, quiz nights, wine tasting and special events.

National Yacht Club History

Although there are references to an active “club” prior to 1870, history records that the present clubhouse was erected in 1870 at a cost of £4,000 to a design by William Sterling and the Kingstown Royal Harbour Boat Club was registered with Lloyds in the same year. By 1872 the name had been changed to the Kingston Harbour Boat Club and this change was registered at Lloyds.

In 1881. the premises were purchased by a Captain Peacocke and others who formed a proprietary club called the Kingstown Harbour Yacht Club again registered at Lloyds. Some six years later in 1877 the building again changed hands being bought by a Mr Charles Barrington. and between 1877 and 1901 the club was very active and operated for a while as the “Absolute Club” although this change of name was never registered.

In 1901, the lease was purchased by three trustees who registered it as the Edward Yacht Club. In 1930 at a time when the Edward Yacht Club was relatively inactive, a committee including The Earl of Granard approached the trustees with a proposition to form the National Yacht Club. The Earl of Granard had been Commodore of the North Shannon Y.C. and was a senator in the W.T.Cosgrave government. An agreement was reached, the National Yacht Club was registered at Lloyds. The club burgee was created, red cross of Saint George with blue and white quarters being sky cloud, sea and surf. The Earl of Granard became the first Commodore.

In July of 1950, a warrant was issued to the National Yacht Club by the Government under the Merchant Shipping Act authorising members to hoist a club ensign in lieu of the National Flag. The new ensign to include a representation of the harp. This privilege is unique and specific to members of the National Yacht Club. Sterling’s design for the exterior of the club was a hybrid French Chateau and eighteenth century Garden Pavilion and today as a Class A restricted building it continues to provide elegant dining and bar facilities.

An early drawing of the building shows viewing balconies on the roof and the waterfront façade. Subsequent additions of platforms and a new slip to the seaward side and most recently the construction of new changing rooms, offices and boathouse provide state of the art facilities, capable of coping with major international and world championship events. The club provides a wide range of sailing facilities, from Junior training to family cruising, dinghy sailing to offshore racing and caters for most major classes of dinghies, one design keelboats, sports boats and cruiser racers. It provides training facilities within the ISA Youth Sailing Scheme and National Power Boat Schemes.

Past Commodores

1931 – 42 Earl of Granard 1942 – 45 T.J. Hamilton 1945 – 47 P.M. Purcell 1947 – 50 J.J. O’Leary 1950 – 55 A.A. Murphy 1955 – 60 J.J. O’Leary 1960 – 64 F. Lemass 1964 – 69 J.C. McConnell 1969 – 72 P.J. Johnston 1972 – 74 L. Boyd 1974 – 76 F.C. Winkelmann 1976 – 79 P.A. Browne 1979 – 83 W.A. Maguire 1983 – 87 F.J. Cooney 1987 – 88 J.J. Byrne 1988 – 91 M.F. Muldoon 1991 – 94 B.D. Barry 1994 – 97 M.P.B. Horgan 1997 – 00 B. MacNeaney 2000 – 02 I.E. Kiernan 2002 – 05 C.N.I. Moore 2005 – 08 C.J. Murphy 2008 – 11 P.D. Ryan 2011 – P. Barrington 2011-2014 Larry Power 2014-2017 Ronan Beirne 2017 – 2019

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