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Rush Sailing Club Gets a Boost with Refurbished J/24 Keelboats

26th May 2021
David Kelly Jnr, Sailing Secretary (left) and Lauren O'Hare, committee member and Senior Instructor with the newly refurbished club J/24s at Rush Sailing Club
David Kelly Jnr, Sailing Secretary (left) and Lauren O'Hare, committee member and Senior Instructor with the newly refurbished club J/24s at Rush Sailing Club

Every sport sees it happen. Young enthusiastic kids who can't get enough training, competing, fitness, drills, and dreams of making it big writes Paul O'Hare of Rush Sailing Club.

Many then drift away from the sport they loved as they get into their late teens and 20's. Sport gets replaced with studies, college, travel, partners, new careers, marriage, family, and maybe realising that they are not the next Cluxton, Keane, O'Driscoll, or Murphy. Finally, after 10 or 15 years, they get back to the sport they once loved, but now with their own kids.

In sailing, this is an all too familiar story as young sailors, tossed about on the seas of Ireland in single-handed Oppies, Toppers and Lasers, give up the sport during their adolescence. It's hard then to get back into a small dinghy when they are older, so many give up sailing altogether.

Well, the fine people at Rush Sailing Club in North County Dublin have watched this happen throughout the generations, from the club's inception in 1954 to the modern day. They've put together a plan to keep these young adults in the sport by making it exciting, inclusive, competitive and fun. Central to this drive is the club's acquisition of two J/24 racing keelboats. The club chose this popular and competitive boat with 5,500 boats sailing in 165 fleets throughout 110 countries. Crews range from four to six people, and the boat is an ideal all-rounder, offering exciting racing to experienced sailors but a safe introduction to novices (that's right, it has a keel so it won't capsize! Mostly). The boat can be trailered to events and is suitable for all kinds of weather.

The new Rush Sailing Club J/24's look fast with their new paint jobThe new Rush Sailing Club J/24's look fast with their new paint job

The team in Rush are lead by two 20-year old committee members, David Kelly (Sailing Sec) and Lauren O'Hare (Senior Instructor, SI). They are putting together a team racing schedule with the new boats and some other multi-crewed boats that the club own. Team racing draws in members of all ages as Rush family dynasties are pitted against each other. Novices will sail alongside seasoned veterans in a winner-takes-all season. In addition, young crews aim to compete around Ireland & the UK against other clubs in this highly competitive class. The club aims to boost sailing with competition on the water, enhancing the membership experience for all.

Rush Sailing Club members collecting the boats in Southampton before their renovation Rush Sailing Club members collecting the boats in Southampton before their renovation 

The boats are aptly named 'Juvenile Delinquent' and 'Out of Control'. They were purchased second hand in Southampton at the start of the lockdown, and in typical RSC fashion, they were sourced, collected, gutted and restored by the club's members under the stewardship of Commodore David Kelly (senior). Sponsorship provided by local businesses and members allowed the club to put the boats on the water with zero cost to the membership!

So, if you've never sailed but would love to give it a try, or if you want to get back to sailing, or if you fancy a bit of high-octane competitive fun, then contact RSC, where a new sport, hobby and obsession awaits you.

Afloat.ie Team

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