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Maples Group Announced as Title Sponsor for the RORC IRC European Championship at Royal Irish Yacht Club

9th May 2024
Dun Laoghaire's new Ker 46 'Tonnerre de Breskens 3' will contest the Mals Group RORC IRC European Championships under skipper Pete Smyth
Dun Laoghaire's new Ker 46 'Tonnerre de Breskens 3' will contest the Maples Group RORC IRC European Championships under skipper Pete Smyth Credit: Carlo Borlenghi

The Royal Irish Yacht Club (RIYC) has announced that Dublin law firm Maples Group will be the title sponsor of the upcoming IRC European Championship sailing regatta. Taking place on the Irish capital's waters of Dublin Bay, the Maples Group RORC IRC Europeans will bring together some of the best Grand Prix cruisers racers in Europe for a thrilling nine-race championship over three days of competition from September 12th to 15th.

The sponsorship announcement follows this week's news of the imminent arrival of a top new racing yacht for the RIYC fleet that is expected to contest the Euros.

The event marks the climax of three weeks of keelboat racing in the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Club this summer. The action-packed summer starts with the 2024 ICRA national championships in August, followed by the J/Boat Cup, which incorporates the J/109 Europeans and finishes with the Maples Group RORC IRC European Championship. The event website is here

In a special partnership with the London-headquartered Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), the sixth edition of the championships promise to be an unforgettable week of top-class sailing. According to the Royal Irish Yacht Club Regatta organiser, Fintan Cairns, “We have introduced a number of innovations this year to make the event more attractive to smaller-rated boats, right down to Quarter Tonners, and, given the right conditions, a lower-rated boat may well take the overall prize!”

Quarter Ton Cup Champion Ian Southworth in his vintage yacht Protis from England is entered in the 2024 Maples Group IRC European ChampionshipsQuarter Ton Cup Champion Ian Southworth in his vintage yacht Protis from England is entered in the 2024 Maples Group IRC European Championships

Peter Stapleton, Managing Partner of Maples and Calder, the Maples Group's law firm in Dublin said, “We are delighted to support the IRC European Championship on its return to Ireland for the first time since 2016. As an island, Ireland's beautiful coastline provides many wonderful places to sail, and I have no doubt Dublin Bay will prove to be a wonderful venue for an unforgettable week of top-class sailing. At the Maples Group, we are committed to fostering strong relationships and making a positive impact in the communities where we operate. In addition to sailing, the Maples Group in Ireland has a proud history of partnering with sporting organisations in rugby, football and the Special Olympics. We wish the Royal Irish Yacht Club and all domestic and international crews the very best of success for this year's championships".

With 120 days to the first gun, the excitement is already building, with over 20 boats having registered expressions of interest, including some notable top campaigns from the UK, such as Quarter Ton Cup Champion Ian Southworth in his vintage yacht Protis from England. Host country boats are also expected to make a strong showing, with Cork Harbour campaigns among the early entries.

The IRC European Championship, which alternates between the North and South of Europe (the Channel and the Mediterranean Sea), is a flagship event of the RORC.

The fifth edition of the IRC European Championship took place in Hyères in 2021, France and followed Cork Week in 2016, Marseille in 2017, Cowes in the UK in 2018, and San Remo, Italy in 2019.

Check out the IRC Europeans website here Team

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Royal Irish Yacht Club - Frequently Asked Questions

The Royal Irish Yacht Club is situated in a central location in Dun Laoghaire Harbour with excellent access and visiting sailors can be sure of a special welcome. The clubhouse is located in the prime middle ground of the harbour in front of the town marina and it is Dun Laoghaire's oldest yacht club. 

What's a brief history of the Royal Irish Yacht Club?

The yacht club was founded in 1831, with the Marquess of Anglesey, who commanded the cavalry at the Battle of Waterloo being its first Commodore. 

John Skipton Mulvany designed the clubhouse, which still retains a number of original architectural features since being opened in 1851.

It was granted an ensign by the Admiralty of a white ensign with the Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Ireland beneath the Union Jack in canton.

Many prominent names feature among the past members of the Club. The first Duke of Wellington was elected in 1833, followed by other illustrious men including the eccentric Admiral Sir Charles Napier, Sir Dominic Corrigan the distinguished physician, Sir Thomas Lipton, novelist, George A. Birmingham, yachtsman and author, Conor O'Brien, and famous naval historian and author, Patrick O Brian. 

In the club's constitution, it was unique among yacht clubs in that it required yacht owners to provide the club's commodore with information about the coast and any deep-sea fisheries they encountered on all of their voyages.

In 1846, the club was granted permission to use the Royal prefix by Queen Victoria. The club built a new clubhouse in 1851. Despite the Republic of Ireland breaking away from the United Kingdom, the Royal Irish Yacht Club elected to retain its Royal title.

In 1848, a yachting trophy called "Her Majesty's Plate" was established by Queen Victoria to be contested at Kingstown where the Royal Irish Yacht Club is based. The Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland at the time, George Villiers, 4th Earl of Clarendon suggested it should be contested by the Royal Irish Yacht Club and the Royal St. George Yacht Club in an annual regatta, a suggestion that was approved by both clubs with the Royal St. George hosting the first competitive regatta.

The RIYC celebrated its 185th Anniversary in 2016 with the staging of several special events in addition to being well represented afloat, both nationally and internationally. It was the year the club was also awarded Irish Yacht Club of the Year as Afloat's W M Nixon details here.

The building is now a listed structure and retains to this day all its original architectural features combined with state of the art facilities for sailors both ashore and afloat.

What is the Royal Irish Yacht Club's emblem?

The Club's emblem shows a harp with the figure of Nice, the Greek winged goddess of victory, surmounted by a crown. This emblem has remained unchanged since the foundation of the Club; a symbol of continuity and respect for the history and tradition of the Royal Irish Yacht Club.

What is the Royal Irish Yacht Club's ensign?

The RIYC's original white ensign was granted by Royal Warrant in 1831. Though the Royal Irish Yacht Club later changed the ensign to remove the St George's Cross and replace the Union Jack with the tricolour of the Republic of Ireland, the original ensign may still be used by British members of the Royal Irish Yacht Club

Who is the Commodore of the Royal Irish Yacht Club?

The current Commodore is Jerry Dowling, and the Vice-Commodore is Tim Carpenter.

The RIYC Flag Officers are: 

What reciprocal club arrangements does the Royal Irish Yacht Club have?  

As one of Ireland's leading club's, the Royal Irish Yacht Club has significant reciprocal arrangements with yacht clubs across Ireland and the UK, Europe, USA and Canada and the rest of the World. If you are visiting from another Club, please have with a letter of introduction from your Club or introduce yourself to the Club Secretary or to a member of management staff, who will show you the Club's facilities.

What car parking does the Royal Irish Yacht Club have at its Dun Laoghaire clubhouse?

The RIYC has car parking outside of its clubhouse for the use of its members. Paid public car parking is available next door to the club at the marina car park. There is also paid parking on offer within the harbour area at the Coatl Harbour (a 5-minute walk) and at an underground car park adjacent to the Royal St. George Yacht Club (a 3-minute walk). Look for parking signs. Clamping is in operation in the harbour area.

What facilities does the Royal Irish Yacht Clubhouse offer? 

The Royal Irish Yacht Club offers a relaxed, warm and welcoming atmosphere in one of the best situated and appointed clubhouses in these islands. Its prestige in yachting circles is high and its annual regatta remains one of the most attractive events in the sailing calendar. It offers both casual and formal dining with an extensive wine list and full bar facilities. The Club caters for parties, informal events, educational seminars, themed dinners and all occasions. The RIYC has a number of venues within the Club each of which provides a different ambience to match particular needs.

What are the Royal Irish Yacht Club's Boathouse facilities?

The RIYC boathouse team run the launch service to the club's swinging moorings, provide lifting for dry-sailed boats, lift and scrub boats, as well as maintaining the fabric of the deck, pontoon infrastructure, and swinging moorings. They also maintain the club crane, the only such mobile crane of the Dun Laoghaire Yacht Clubs.

What facilities are offered for junior sailing at the Royal Irish Yacht Club?

One of the missions of the Royal Irish Yacht Club is to promote sailing as a passion for life by encouraging children and young adults to learn how to sail through its summer courses and class-specific training throughout the year. 

RIYC has an active junior section. Its summer sailing courses are very popular and the club regularly has over 50 children attending courses in any week. The aim is for those children to develop lifelong friendships through sailing with other children in the club, and across the other clubs in the bay.
Many RIYC children go on to compete for the club at regional and national championships and some have gone on to represent Ireland at international competitions and the Olympic Regatta itself.
In supporting its young sailors and the wider sailing community, the RIYC regularly hosts junior sailing events including national and regional championships in classes such as the Optmist, Feva and 29er.
Competition is not everything though and as the club website states:  "Many of our junior sailors have gone on the become sailing instructors and enjoy teaching both in Ireland and abroad.  Ultimately, we take most pleasure from the number of junior sailors who become adult sailors and enjoy a lifetime of sailing with the club". 

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