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The 'Jeorgettes': A New J/80 Race Team at the Royal St George Yacht Club

22nd July 2021
The Jeorgettes J/80 is an entry pathway for women sailors wanting to develop their racing skills
The Jeorgettes J/80 is an entry pathway for women sailors wanting to develop their racing skills" title="Jeorgettes J/80

There is a new addition to the small but highly competitive J/80 Dublin Bay race fleet. Supported by their club the Royal Saint George in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, the 'Jeorgettes' are an all-female crew competing in their first season in the 2021 DBSC racing series writes Ali Robinson.

"It's exciting for the club," says Sailing Manager Ronan Adams, "it's imperative we ensure an entry pathway for women sailors wanting to develop their racing skills, and we are supporting our female club members and sailors, by providing a J80 for the season".

A competitive group of 16 RStGYC sailors have come together to compete head to head with the other Dublin Bay J80s in the Sportsboat & Dragon class, which is an exciting fleet and growing in size every year.

Training began back in May when the Jeorgettes entered the DBSC race training series, and they have gone from strength to strength training on Wednesdays and racing on Thursdays.

The George is a very successful and active club with many of the sports top sailors competing at junior, national and master's levels across a number of fleets. Last year, the club, along with a few female sailors recognised the number of female members at either beginner or improver levels who had an interest in crewing and developing their skills on the water, so after a few conversations, a plan was put in place to meet this demand and provide a springboard platform from which to encourage and develop female club members into the world of racing.
"Approximately 10% of the entire DBSC series are female skippers" says helm Ali Robinson who feels this initiative is a really great opportunity to get out there and mix it up with the guys.

The J/80 Jeorgette team from the Royal St. George Yacht Club out training in their home waters of Dun Laoghaire HarbourThe J/80 Jeorgette team from the Royal St. George Yacht Club out training in their home waters of Dun Laoghaire Harbour

"The best way to improve as a sailor is to go racing, buts it's also important not to over face anyone and to recognise different skills and abilities needed to balance the boat with a mix of experience and energy. We have a pool of sailors ranging from beginners, cruisers, laser masters and transatlantic offshore sailors! The aim is to build resilience in the group this season. We do this by rotating crew positions each week so no one is stuck on any one job all the time. We already have a core of racing fit crew with more and more getting their racing toes wet each week which is brilliant! "

Team Manager Joanne Shelly was successful in securing additional sponsorship, which was very kindly provided by Grant Thornton, which helps to ensure the costs of managing a racing team are not prohibitive. Joanne says, "this is a gateway for women who want to experience the sport in an inclusive and encouraging environment where it's not just about winning, its about the joy of sailing and spending time on the water, understanding the weather and tides and how a boat works. We are really looking forward to continuing this into next year".

The Royal St. George J/80 fleetThe Royal St. George J/80 fleet is supported by Grant Thornton

Sailing can be perceived as requiring strength and power, but its not just about that, sailing and particularly racing requires intelligent tactics, strategy, teamwork, knowledge of the winds and tides, boat handling, seamanship and most importantly, teamwork that utilises different skills across the boat which makes it a perfect forum to bring together female sailors from all experience levels.

Kate Fogarty, Rear Commodore (Sailing) in the RStGYC, is "delighted to support our female members on the water and are proud to have such an enthusiastic group of fellow members representing the club". Many of the newer members have learnt to sail through the RSGYC USail Programme, the RStGYC dedicated Adult Sailing Programme, which provides an exciting introduction to the sport for beginners and is open to members and non-members alike.

Halfway into the season, the Jeorgettes have had good results and aim to continue improving. With their mid-summer Jeorgettes sailing dinner this Thursday and plans to compete in the Irish J/80 Nationals in Howth later this year, it sounds like champagne sailing all round! Good luck girls.

Published in RStGYC, Women in Sailing
Afloat.ie 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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