Representatives from clubs, schools and centres have been working tirelessly throughout the winter to develop a calendar of events for Team Racing throughout Ireland. The first schools’ event is to be held on 12th February where teams from around the country will compete in the hotly contested Shanahan Cup. Now in its second year, the team racing event is growing in popularity amongst local schools. Organised by Gonzaga College and hosted at the Irish National Sailing and Powerboating School the event will be sailed in Topaz’s in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.
The Inaugural event won by Gonzaga College in 2019 is sponsored by the Shanahan family from the National Yacht Club. The family have a long sailing history and a close association with Gonzaga College, the organising school. The event is intended to promote the sport of team racing in schools. It particularly aims to attract less experienced sailors with all schools encouraged to “give it a go” as Fiachra Etchingham – Event Organiser suggests; “We had 9 teams from 6 Dublin schools and 54 competitors braving the cooler weather last year which is a great turnout for any inaugural event. We hope to build on that this year and have had interest from some of the North Dublin schools as well. It was great to see some recently formed teams at the last event just getting started in team racing. It’s important that we continue to increase participation in such a fun and social sport.”
Indeed, the first event welcomed participants from Holy Child, Blackrock College, Loreto on the Green, Gonzaga College, St Gerard's and Loreto Foxrock. However, interest in Team Racing is increasing as Rory Martin – Irish Sailing’s Team Racing contractor highlights “Irish Sailing is rolling out the BIM FLAG (Bord Iascaigh Mhara) funded Team Racing Roadshow where clubs, centres and schools can avail of free Team Racing coaching. With interest from 37 venues to date, interest is building nationwide. We have spoken to several local schools and hope to get some more programmes delivered in the coming weeks as a lead up to the event.”
Dublin Bay is often considered the home of Team Racing in Ireland. With many of the local clubs and training centres purchasing boats and organising training courses and events. The family-run Irish National Sailing and Powerboat School welcomes 8000 participants per year on training courses and is delighted to be hosting the event as Kenneth Rumball – Chief Instructor explains;
“We offer the ideal venue for Team Racing with all the equipment, support and facilities to run a successful event. Last year the kids enjoyed the great racing on the water and the social in between races on our Mothership the ‘Lula Belle’. We’ll be offering Hot Chocolate and tasty treats to all competitors and have enlisted the help of a great race team including umpires, race officer and volunteers”
The event is the first in the calendar of schools’ events in 2020. Provisional dates for The Leinster and National Schools Team Racing Championships were released for March and April respectively.