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Varian & Johnson Win Royal St. George Yacht Club Hosted 10th Anniversary of Revived Irish 12-Foot Championship

15th September 2020
Gail Varian and Gavin Johnson in 'Albany' who are the 2020 champions Gail Varian and Gavin Johnson in 'Albany' who are the 2020 champions

The Royal St George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire hosted the 2020 Irish 12 Foot Dinghy Championships on 13th September with two alternative rigs permissible, the International 12 Foot Dinghy rig with a single sail and the Dublin Bay Sailing Club rig which permits the same sail area to be distributed between the mainsail and jib. This alternative rig was devised in the 1960s to address the steep waves of Dublin Bay.

The weather forecast seemed to suggest 8 knots of wind from the southwest with gusts of up to 18 knots. The 12 Foot Dinghy Association and OOD communicated with the competitors on the evening before the event asking them to bring reefing equipment with them, so that the event could proceed even if the weather was unkindly. The day dawned with a blue sky and a 2-4 knot wind with occasional gusts of 12 knots.

Race one started with a northeasterly wind and just after the start, it shifted to the north-west. Gavan Johnson in 'Albany' was quick to adapt to the new wind and after a shortened course signal reduced the race to one lap of the course, he won the race from young Andrew Miller in 'Pixie.'

The fleet led by Ian Magowan in 'Sgadan'The fleet led by Ian Magowan in 'Sgadan'

By race two, the wind had shifted to the south-west, but once again shifted to the south-east as Ian Magowan in 'Sgadan' led from 'Albany.' It was quite a battle between these two but 'Albany' had the speed and tactics to lead over the finish line.

The third race started in a delightful 6 knots of breeze from the northeast but just before the dinghies reached the windward mark the wind disappeared and the race was abandoned.

All sailed or paddled ashore for a hearty brunch with a nice pint of Guinness with the hope of better wind in the afternoon. Since all the wet Pubs throughout the country are closed- it is delightful to enjoy a pint with your brunch.

David and Henry Shackleton in 'Scythian'David and Henry Shackleton in 'Scythian'

In the afternoon the wind was initially from the south-west. Halfway up the beat the wind died and came back from the northeast. With one of the turning marks close to the marina breakwater, 'Cora' lost her momentum and when it looked like she could drift onto the rocky breakwater, crew Ruairi Shanahan pulled out an oar to push them off. Due to this illegal propulsion, they retired from this race which was again won by 'Albany.'

In the final race, the wind was back in the northeast, and Vincent Delany took the helm of 'Cora,' but he couldn't touch 'Albany' for speed in the prevailing conditions.

Gail Varian and son-in-law Gavan Johnson won the historic Edmond Johnston Trophy and the Altair Trophy for the crew of the winning boat and Andrew Miller and Iseult Costello who shared the steering of 'Pixie' won the historic Cora Trophy.

Andrew Miller winner of the Irish International 12 Foot Dinghy Championship in 'Pixie'Andrew Miller winner of the Irish International 12 Foot Dinghy Championship in 'Pixie'

Download final results below as an Xcel file.

Next year the 12-foot dinghies move to Lough Ree Yacht Club for their Irish championship.

Downloads

Published in RStGYC
Vincent Delany

About The Author

Vincent Delany

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Sailing historian Vincent Delany is a member of the Association of Yachting Historians, and an active sailor in Water Wag, SOD and Squib classes. He has written a thesis on 'Yachting and yachtsmen on the River Shannon 1830-1930.' He has lectured on the history of The Water Wag Club, Royal St.George Yacht Club, and the Killinure Yacht Club, He has written two sailing books 'The Water Wags 1887-2012' and 'The International 12 foot class in Ireland' both of which are available from blurb.com

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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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