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Cora to Celebrate Her 100th Birthday at the Irish 12 foot Dinghy Nationals at Dun Laoghaire

20th July 2021
12 foot Dinghies lined up and ready to race
12 foot Dinghies lined up and ready to race. Cora then known as Gadget is on the right in this photo taken at Seaview on the Isle of Wight in 1921. 

In 1955, Irish Olympian Dr Alf Delany bought an International 12-foot dinghy called Cora. She is now owned by his daughter Margaret Delany and Cora is again racing. Gerry Murray, who races her with Margaret has been looking into Cora's history and discovered that she was built in 1921. The class is holding a 100th birthday party for Cora at the Irish 12-foot Nationals in Dun Laoghaire on 29th August.

Cora was built by Camper and Nicholsons in Gosport. She was commissioned for Lt Col The Hon Claud Brabazon and he called her Gadget with sail number K29. Gadget is on the right in the photo above taken at Seaview on the Isle of Wight in 1921. 

In 1928 Claud Brabazon retired to Wicklow and brought Gadget to Seapoint Boat Club where she became No 8. After the club moved to Dun Laoghaire, he continued to race her until at least 1933. He suffered from arthritis so in 1935/36, he had a Mermaid called Delphis (sail number 2) built by Michael Mahony in Dun Laoghaire, and he became the Mermaid class captain in 1938.

In the meantime, no 8 reappeared in Howth SC as Cora and was sailed by Dr Tom Lane in 1935 and 1936. Dr Lane was a well-respected urologist at the Meath hospital who lived in Howth. In 1937 she was raced by P. Corbett, who we believe to be Peggy Corbett. JM Hickey sailed her in 1938 and D Dixon in 1942. Cora was also sailed by Tom Stewart, Ted Croxon and Sean Hooper in the years around 1945 when she won the Edmond Johnson Cup.

In 1944 she was raced by Norman Ross in Skerries, and he was noted as the owner by Sutton Dinghy Club in 1945. I really hope so because he sold her to Alf Delany in 1955. Here is the bill of sale.

Cora's bill of saleCora's bill of sale from 1955

Norman Ross was an interesting character who owned the Royal Hotel on Valentia Island. Previously he started a successful barber's shop in Suffolk Street for a bet. Notes from Aidan Henry at SDC implies that he owned Cora in 1941. Cora was scratch 12 foot dinghy in DBSC in 1944 though Aidan thinks she was sailed by Sean Hooper that year before he went on to race Ean Gaile. Norman Ross also presented the Cora Trophy which is now the Irish National l2 foot Trophy.

Alf Delany raced successfully in Cora in 1954 before he bought her and used her at Sutton and Clontarf for the next few years. The next generation of Delany's learned to sail in her before the 12 foot dinghy class lost out to newer designs. She was re-rigged as a DBSC 12 foot although she did not suffer the foredeck. She was then mostly used for family holidays and as a tender to Camblyn but Cora did feature in the Irish Nationals in 1963.

In 2006 Margaret Delany inherited her and Cora was rejuvenated. A rebuild at the International Boat Building College in Lowestoft and much more work by Doughal MacMahon brought her back to full racing trim in her original configuration. Since 2013 she has competed in West Kirby, Loosdtrecht, De Kaag, Lowestoft, Oulton Broad, Rutland Water and she has been at every Irish 12-foot Nationals in Dun Laoghaire since 2015.

Cora holding off the Dutch at Rutland in July 2019Cora holding off the Dutch at Rutland in July 2019

I am hoping that some readers will be able to fill in some of the gaps in Cora's history. Any information would be helpful to understand who owned and raced Cora at any time but especially between 1933 and 1955. We would like to know how her name was chosen and as much as possible about Norman Ross.

If you have any memories of Cora, we would be delighted to hear from you. Her email is [email protected]

Gerry Murray lives in Reading and is an active sailor at Cowes and on the Shannon. With Margaret Delany, he has been privileged to care for and race Cora for the last 15 years. He is currently researching her history and the fascinating people that have sailed her. Team

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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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