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Royal St George Win Cumberland Cup

17th May 2010

With a close to perfect score, Andrew Fowler's team of Sam Hurst, Brendan Fafliani, John Sheehy, Nick Smyth, Guy O'Leary, Peter Bailey and Phil Lawton from Royal St George YC in Dublin, won the 2010 Royal Thames Cumberland Cup from Ian Ilsley's team from Yacht Club de Monaco writes Malcolm McKeag. Firm friend and arch-rival of the home side the Southern Yacht Club of New Orleans was third, claiming by dint of that result the Bourgne Cup, contested on each and every occasion the clubs meet, in whatever larger competition..

Over three days at Queen Mary Water hard by Heathrow airport the seven teams sailed a total of 54 races in the international yacht club contest, ferried to and fro from the RTYC's Knightsbridge clubhouse in that iconic symbol of London, a bright scarlet Routemaster double-decker omnibus.

Sailing in a fleet of eight carefully-matched modified J80s the competition began with a two-day double round-robin in which each team raced each other team twice. St George topped the league, winning 11 out of their 12 matches and losing only to the hosts and current holders, Royal Thames, and thus apparently setting the scene for the finals. It was a scene dramatically re-shaped by the winner-take-all nature of the Cumberland Cup's competition structure.

With teams travelling from across the globe to compete in this regatta, the organisers deliberately eschew a competition format that eliminates teams early from the competition, espousing instead a format that keeps every team sailing into the final round. The result is The Ladder, which as some teams including the hosts found to their cost might be better termed The Greasy Pole. On The Ladder, a win carries the double bonus of promotion to the next rung – but every loss earns the double-penalty of relegation. On The Ladder, it is just possible by dint of really good sailing to redeem a disappointing result in the round-robin and climb all the way to the top – as did the Monegasques – while the series leaders – in this case the Irish – must not put a foot wrong if they are to retain their fingertip grip on the crown.

Thus on Sunday The Ladder's first and lowest rung saw the Germans face-off against the Kiwis for a chance for stardom, while Royal St George had to wait patiently to see which of the Yanks (and it's not often the team from New Orleans are called Yankees!) and the Brits would be first to step up to try and knock them off their perch. As matters transpired, it was Royal Thames who beat the Southerners to race against the champs: to no avail.  Royal St George won.

After Round One, the Brits began what turned out to be their slide down The Ladder, while the visitors from the Mediterranean climbed ever higher. The Southern, meanwhile, had to dispose of Royal Port Nicholson if they were to have a chance, in Round Three and the final round of The Ladder, of another crack at the leaders.  

With Port Nich out of the way, the crunch race in Round Three was that between the Southern – highly vocal as always – and Monaco, who had quietly beaten Royal Thames when Ben Clothier of the host club earned a penalty for inadvertently but illegally 'sculling' the boat with the rudder while trying to slow down to block his rival.  Given that in the round-robin YCdeM had lost almost as many races as they had won (and then been penalised a further point for a violent T-bone collision in their early race against St George) it is not unkind to suggest that their presence, by Round Three, on the top rung of The Ladder had been predicted by few. But Ian Ilsley, their team captain who by his own admission 'hadn't team raced for years' had by now earned both the respect of his rivals and the nickname 'the Old Fox'.  

Southern, in blue jackets, began by blowing the yellows away at the start to be a comfortable and apparently safe 1-2 at the windward end of the course – but somehow one of the YCM team managed to get close enough on the long run to engage a blue boat and suddenly it was Game On again. On the final beat all four boats were mixed together and the denouement came – as so often in this two-boat team racing where the crucial factor is that the team with the boat in last place loses the match – at, beyond, above and back round again to the finishing line, with a Southern boat blocking out one Monaco boat only to find his own way back blocked by the other Monaco boat.  And vice versa. Finally a Southern boat crossed the finish line – only to cop a penalty by blocking the path of the last returning Monaco boat under the rule that says a boat no longer racing must not interfere with one that is still racing.

And so it was a Monaco-Ireland final. If anyone thought this would be a walk-over for the Irish, they were wrong.  Monaco had their tails up and no mistake. Once again it was their down-wind sailing that kept them engaged and it was not until the final mark, when the Monaco boat in second earned a penalty, that it really was Game Over.

Monaco were justly pleased with their Ladder climb from 4th place after the Round Robin – but none could nay-say the Irish for their win. 15 matches sailed and only one of them lost.

Photos below and on our gallery by Ingrid Abery

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More photos here on our gallery.

Published in RStGYC
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Royal St. George Yacht Club

The Royal St George Yacht Club was founded in Dun Laoghaire (then Kingstown) Harbour in 1838 by a small number of like-minded individuals who liked to go rowing and sailing together. The club gradually gathered pace and has become, with the passage of time and the unstinting efforts of its Flag Officers, committees and members, a world-class yacht club.

Today, the ‘George’, as it is known by everyone, maybe one of the world’s oldest sailing clubs, but it has a very contemporary friendly outlook that is in touch with the demands of today and offers world-class facilities for all forms of water sports

Royal St. George Yacht Club FAQs

The Royal St George Yacht Club — often abbreviated as RStGYC and affectionately known as ‘the George’ — is one of the world’s oldest sailing clubs, and one of a number that ring Dublin Bay on the East Coast of Ireland.

The Royal St George Yacht Club is based at the harbour of Dun Laoghaire, a suburban coastal town in south Co Dublin around 11km south-east of Dublin city centre and with a population of some 26,000. The Royal St George is one of the four Dun Laoghaire Waterfront Clubs, along with the National Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club (RIYC) and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club (DMYC).

The Royal St George was founded by members of the Pembroke Rowing Club in 1838 and was originally known as Kingstown Boat Club, as Kingstown was what Dun Laoghaire was named at the time. The club obtained royal patronage in 1845 and became known as Royal Kingstown Yacht Club. After 1847 the club took on its current name.

The George is first and foremost an active yacht club with a strong commitment to and involvement with all aspects of the sport of sailing, whether racing your one design on Dublin Bay, to offshore racing in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, to junior sailing, to cruising and all that can loosely be described as “messing about in boats”.

As of November 2020, the Commodore of the Royal St George Yacht Club is Peter Bowring, with Richard O’Connor as Vice-Commodore. The club has two Rear-Commodores, Mark Hennessy for Sailing and Derek Ryan for Social.

As of November 2020, the Royal St George has around 1,900 members.

The Royal St George’s burgee is a red pennant with a white cross which has a crown at its centre. The club’s ensign has a blue field with the Irish tricolour in its top left corner and a crown towards the bottom right corner.

Yes, the club hosts regular weekly racing for dinghies and keelboats as well as a number of national and international sailing events each season. Major annual events include the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, hosted in conjunction with the three other Dun Laoghaire Waterfront Clubs.

Yes, the Royal St George has a vibrant junior sailing section that organises training and events throughout the year.

Sail training is a core part of what the George does, and training programmes start with the Sea Squirts aged 5 to 8, continuing through its Irish Sailing Youth Training Scheme for ages 8 to 18, with adult sail training a new feature since 2009. The George runs probably the largest and most comprehensive programme each summer with upwards of 500 children participating. This junior focus continues at competitive level, with coaching programmes run for aspiring young racers from Optimist through to Lasers, 420s and Skiffs.

 

The most popular boats raced at the club are one-design keelboats such as the Dragon, Shipman 28, Ruffian, SB20, Squib and J80; dinghy classes including the Laser, RS200 and RS400; junior classes the 420, Optimist and Laser Radial; and heritage wooden boats including the Water Wags, the oldest one-design dinghy class in the world. The club also has a large group of cruising yachts.

The Royal St George is based in a Victorian-style clubhouse that dates from 1843 and adjoins the harbour’s Watering Pier. The clubhouse was conceived as a miniature classical Palladian Villa, a feature which has been faithfully maintained despite a series of extensions, and a 1919 fire that destroyed all but four rooms. Additionally, the club has a substantial forecourt with space for more than 50 boats dry sailing, as well as its entire dinghy fleet. There is also a dry dock, four cranes (limit 12 tonnes) and a dedicated lift=out facility enabling members keep their boats in ready to race condition at all times. The George also has a floating dock for short stays and can supply fuel, power and water to visitors.

Yes, the Royal St George’s clubhouse offers a full bar and catering service for members, visitors and guests. Currently the bar is closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The Royal St George boathouse is open daily from 9.30am to 5.30pm during the winter. The office and reception are open Tuesdays to Fridays from 10am to 5pm. The bar is currently closed due to Covid-19 restrictions. Lunch is served on Wednesdays and Fridays from 12.30pm to 2.30pm, with brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 3pm.

Yes, the Royal St George regularly hosts weddings and family celebrations from birthdays to christenings, and offers a unique and prestigious location to celebrate your day. The club also hosts corporate meetings, sailing workshops and company celebrations with a choice of rooms. From small private meetings to work parties and celebrations hosting up to 150 guests, the club can professionally and successfully manage your corporate requirements. In addition, team building events can utilise its fleet of club boats and highly trained instructors. For enquiries contact Laura Smart at [email protected] or phone 01 280 1811.

The George is delighted to welcome new members. It may look traditional — and is proud of its heritage — but behind the facade is a lively and friendly club, steeped in history but not stuck in it. It is a strongly held belief that new members bring new ideas, new skills and new contacts on both the sailing and social sides.

No — members can avail of the club’s own fleet of watercraft.

There is currently no joining fee for new members of the Royal St George. The introductory ordinary membership subscription fee is €775 annually for the first two years. A full list of membership categories and related annual subscriptions is available.

Membership subscriptions are renewed on an annual basis

Full contact details for the club and its staff can be found at the top of this page

©Afloat 2020

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