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After the first two races of the first day of the Youth World Championships in Malaysia two of three Irish boats are in the top ten of their respective fleets. Howth Yacht Club's Doug Elmes and Colin O'Sullivan counted a 3,13 and are lying 7 out of 33. Ballyholme's Lase sailor Liam Glynn took an 8 and 11 and are lying 8th out of 65. Aisling Keller from Lough Derg Yacht Club in Tipperary has 19, 15 and is lying 16 out of 48.

Day one began with a full on wind to greet the sailors for the first races of the 45th Youth Sailing World Championships.
Laser radial and RS:X were the first fleets back ashore after facing the gusting wind that was hitting 20 knots on the race areas.

With everyone trying to get off to a flyer to set up their tilt at a gold medal, today was reserved for the few who liked the stronger winds that Langkawi had to offer for it's first racing day.

Laser Radial

Returning to the Youth Worlds after finishing fifth in Tavira, Portugal last year, Australia's Alistair Young got off to a great start with a bullet in the first race and a fourth in the second to sit on top of the leaderboard after the first day of racing.

Obviously wanting to push in to the medal places, the Aussie was happy to have strong wind to start of the regatta, conditions which the youngster enjoys, "It started off pretty windy, about 20 knots in the first race and pretty choppy. I managed to do alright though. I picked the shifts and sailed fast and won the race which was great to calm the nerves first race in."

Calm the nerves it has as he looks at the days to follow and the possible drop in knots that could come, "We may get some lighter winds so it will be shiftier so we will all get some bigger scores, so the drops will be needed later on. I prefer the stronger winds but I don't mind to be honest. What you get is what you get so you just have to go out there and do what you can in the conditions that are there."

The second winner of the day was Finland's Oskari Muhonen, who was also at Tavira with Young, so experience in the regatta came to the fore. The Finnish sailor's bullet followed a ninth and leaves him laying in fourth overall.

Ecuador's Matias Dyck must have been feeling happy and confident going in to the second race after finishing just behind Young in race one. That was short lived though when he was one of nine sailors to be black flagged out of race two. The Ecuadorian will be looking to drop that from his scorecard with some good sailing for the rest of the regatta.

USA's Nicholas Baird and New Zealand's George Gautrey finished near the top of the order in both races to sit in second and third respectively.

In the girl's section, the top five is held by Europe with Poland's Magdalena Kwasna currently in pole position on six points thanks to a bullet and fifth place. With a ninth place finish in Tavira, Portugal, it would seem that just like the boy's fleet, experience in this event is paying off on the first day.

Sitting just behind in second is Hungary's Maria Erdi who somehow seems to defy her age with an attitude and outlook of a seasoned competitor. Despite making mistakes throughout both races, Erdi never let it get to her as she says with her ever present smile, "I'm happy with my results but I did make some mistakes. I was leading in the first race quite a lot in the first upwind and then I capsized twice in the first downwind so I dropped back to fifth. But I managed to come back to finish third.

"In the second race it was quite tricky, I think I was about tenth around the first mark but managed to move up and finished fifth."

So how does a sailor at the Youth Worlds handle the mistakes? Simply it would seem for the young Hungarian, "I tried to forget about the first race at the second start and I had a clear head. But it's only the first day so anything can happen."

Even with self-confessed mistakes, Erdi sits in second, joint on eight points with Germany's Hannah Anderssohn who had a steady day with two fourth place finishes.

Taking the first bullet of the day was New Zealand's Alexandra Nightingale who couldn't carry the form through to the second race where she finished 19th. Nightingale currently sits in tenth place overall with those two results.

The 45th edition of the Youth Sailing World Championships has been declared open by World Sailing Vice President Chris Atkins at the opening ceremony in Langkawi, Malaysia.

During the ceremony, 425 sailors, 125 coaches and officials from a record 76 countries paraded towards the Astaka of the Lagenda Park with their national flags waving for all to see.

The event breaks all previous numbers in terms of participation and number of nations. The previous best of 67, achieved at the 2014 event in Tavira, Portugal, was easily surpassed with a number of new and returning nations in Malaysia.

Racing continues through to 3 January 2016 where nine Youth World Sailing Champions will be crowned.

Published in Youth Sailing

Although a record number of 76 nations have registered to sail at the 45th Youth Sailing World Championships in Langkawi, Malaysia but today's opening ceremony looks set to be marred by a dispute over Israeli participation that has hit the international news headlines.

Ireland is represented in the boys 420 dinghy and also in the male and female laser class.

A statement from the Israel Sailing Federation says organisers of the competition in Malaysia conditioned the participation of Israeli athletes at the World Championships for Youth compete without an Israeli flag without symbols associated with the state of Israel on clothing and sailboards and forbid playing the Israeli national anthem on the podium of winning medals in the event, as well as the imposition of confidential communications on Israel's participation in the event.

Gili Amir added, "Malaysian demands are unacceptable and since that we did not get the Visas we decided not to participate. We condemn the anti-athlete conduct of the organizing committee of the competition. We will not accept being humiliated and we look to make a claim against the Malaysian Yachting Authority in coordination with the IOC Israel."

* Statement from ISAF

World Sailing is aware of recent news articles regarding Israel's attendance at the upcoming Youth Sailing World Championships in Langkawi, Malaysia.

World Sailing has been in liaison with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Malaysian Olympic Committee, the Israel Sailing Federation and the Organising Authority of the 2015 Youth Sailing World Championships to grant Israeli sailors and coaches entry into Malaysia for the event.

Israeli sailors were granted entry by the Malaysian Authorities under certain conditions that competitors sailing in Langkawi have to adhere to. World Sailing were informed on 24 December by the Israeli Sailing Federation of their decision not to send representatives in the Boys and Girls windsurfing events in Langkawi.

A total of 425 sailors will compete across the nine fleets at the Youth Worlds with racing scheduled to commence at 10:00 local time on 29 December following tonight's (28 December) Opening Ceremony at Lagenda Park.

The Youth Worlds Continues until 3 January.

Published in Youth Sailing
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There are two meanings of the word open when it comes to sailing writes Richard Aspland. You have 'open' which is both male and female in the same fleet racing against each other. Then you have the kind of open that we have in the 420 at the 2015 Youth Sailing World Championships. Wide open.

Usually in a regatta you can hedge your bets and say who will give you a good show and be up and around the medals. In Langkawi, Malaysia we have been previewing the other classes and we have done it ourselves. But the 420 is really going to be an opportunity for someone to throw their hand up and say 'that medal is ours'.

Ireland will be represented by boys team Douglas Elmes and Colin O'Sullivan who are in flying form.

From the 24 girls teams competing, there are very few returning competitors. Looking back through the Tavira, Portugal 2014 Youth Worlds 420 results, you have to head down to sixth to find a girls returnee. Carmina Malsch from Chile will be looking to better her finish last time out with new helm Renatta Parodi.

2014 winners Spain and silver medallists Israel don't have a team attending this year in the 420 girls but the third placed Polish team do. In the guise of Julia Szmit and Hanna Dzik, they would need to carry on where their predecessors Ewa Romaniuk and Katarzyna Goralska left off.

The only full pair to return to the girls 420 fleet are Australian's Nia Jerwood and Lisa Smith. Australia left Cyprus 2013 with a gold medal in the bag, but Jerwood and Smith couldn't quite hit those heights and finished ninth in their 2014 Youth Worlds outing. Surely they will be determined to improve on that result and using their experience must fancy their chances against a field of Youth World newcomers.

In home waters, Malaysian pair Khairun Hanna Afendy and Siti Nur Norulakhairi will be looking to use their local knowledge as they try to break in to the top 10 following an 11th place finish in Tavira 2014.

Historically, France have won the most 420 medals at the Youth Worlds, but it will be up to girls Jessie Kampman and Anael Ponthieu to continue that tradition as there is no French boys team entered.

And to the boys section, there is a little bit more to go on than the girls. Current Youth Worlds gold medallist Singapore's Jia Yi Loh will be looking to keep up his winning ways, but will have to do it with new crew Matthew Lau in the 32 boat fleet.

Winning their first ever 420 medal in the last edition, Malaysia will be hoping to go one better, and have pinned their hopes on new pair Muhamad Mohd Yusof and Naquib Shahrin. Again the duo will be hoping home waters tip the balance in their favour and they can keep one of the nine gold medals in Langkawi in their home nation at the end of the competition.

Another one to watch will be Japan's Kataro Matsuo. He finished third as crew last time out, but has now made the switch to helm. His new crew Takumi Miura will be looking to his partner for encouragement and experience of the event, and both will be hoping a change medal of colour is on the horizon.

Sailors will start to arrive at the Langkawi venue on 27 December where they will receive the supplied equipment from Ovington, UpMarine, Nautivela, Sirena Voile, Neil Pryde and Laser Performance/Maclaren.

From there, the ceremony on 28 December will signal the start of the Youth Worlds before racing commences on 29 December. Racing will run through to Sunday 3 January with Friday 1 January a lay day for the sailors.

Published in 420
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Irish 420 dinghy youth pairing Douglas Elmes and Colin O' Sullivan got an ISAF Youth Worlds boost at the weekend when they won the UK 420 End of Season regatta at Grafham Water Sailing Club.

As Afloat reported previously, Elmes and O'Sullivan lead by four points from Max Clapp and Ross Banham after the first day. The series was cut short when strong winds cancelled the second day of racing yesterday. Eight Irish boats travelled to the Huntingdon venue for the 2015 420 End of Season event. 

The UK Association generously wished the pair luck in the Youth Worlds Elmes and O' Sullivan head off on 23 December.

Published in 420
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Douglas Elmes and Colin O' Sullivan lead a 40–Boat British 420 dinghy fleet at Grafham Water Sailing Club. Elmes and O'Sullivan lead by four points from Max Clapp and Ross Banham. Eight Irish boats travelled to the Huntingdon venue for the 2015 420 End of Season event. Download results below.

Published in 420
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Fourteeen 420s travelled to Lough Derg Yacht Club this weekend to take part in the Connacht Championships.

Three races were completed in Day one in windy but predominantly dry conditions on Saturday. Three firsts placed Douglas Elmes / Colin O’Sullivan (HYC), who recently took the National championships in Cork, in first place overnight. After the day’s racing the fleet was split into Gold and Silver.

A good call by the race officer meant that despite extremely light conditions on Sunday morning, racing began as scheduled, with the first general recall of the event in Race 4. Race 4 was shortened as the light conditions persisted but by race 5 the breeze had picked up slightly.

Elmes / O’Sullivan took race 4, but Cliodhna ni Shuilleabhain / Niamh Doran (KYC) gave them a run for their money in the subsequent two races, taking two firsts.

Overall, the results were Elmes / O’Sullivan first, Ni Shuilleabhain / Doran second and Kate Lyttle / Niamh Henry (RSGYC) who sailed a consistent series being placed third overall.

Silver fleet was won by Alix Buckley / Emma Parker (SSC).

The event saw a great turnout from the 420 fleet, with boats attending from the home club LDYC, from Northern Ireland and from Galway and Wexford, as well as Dublin and Cork clubs, all sailing in a challenging set of weather conditions.

Holding the event in conjunction with the Fireball Munster Championships meant a busy weekend in Lough Derg.

Published in 420
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#420 – The 420 Munster Championships in Dunmore East was sailed with a fleet of nine boats. The sailors enjoyed a fantastic weekend sailing alongside Fireballs and Flying 15s under the watchful eye of Race Officers Con Murphy and Cathy McAleavey at Waterford Harbour Sailing Club.

Dougie Elmes/Colin O'Sullivan finished the series with six race wins to take first place in the gold fleet. Despite some close finishes Lizzy & Cara McDowell were unable to break the boys domination at thee front of the fleet, but they finished with five seconds to secure second place in the Gold Fleet. Bill Staunton sailing with James McCann from RCYC completed the podium places.

Shane McLaughlin/Tim Coyne saw all their hard work training over the winter pay off when they secured first place in the Silver fleet. They were followed home by the fast improving Alex & Jamie O'Grady in second place.

Howth Yacht Club was represented by nine sailors at the event.

Published in 420

#fireball – Racing has been postponed for two hours this morning at Dunmore East in County Waterford for a combined fleet of Fireballs, Flying Fifteens and 420s. Race Officer Con Murphy says big seas running outside the harbour suggests competitior safety may be an issue. Wind is in the high teens. 

Published in Fireball
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#youthsailing – Youth sailors Peter McCann and Harry Whitaker from Royal Cork took third overall in the 420 dinghy at Kiel week, Germany at the weekend. Douglas Elmes and Colin O'Sullivan of Howth finished fifth overall in the same 154–boat fleet. As Afloat.ie reported earlier, there was also early success for new 29er skiff duo Harry and Johnny Durcan, also of Royal Cork, who finished 11th in their 86–boat fleet.

The youth sailors are returning to Ireland today after the exceptional results at Kieler Woche, one of the largest international regattas in the world with 39 classes and 5000 sailors competing in the week-long event.

Four Irish 420 crews took part in the event, with all four achieving top 10 results over the four days of racing, in the 154-boat fleet.

A nail-biting final two days saw two Irish crews, McCann and  Whitaker (RCYC) and Elmes and O'Sullivan (HYC/MYC) swapping places at the top of the fleet, until a disappointing final race for both boats gave Ireland third (McCann/Whitaker) and 5th (Elmes/O'Sullivan) overall.

The event was won by the USA, with France taking second place, and GBR fourth.

For a number of years the Irish Laser sailors have been achieving impressive international results, but in recent years the 420 standard has steadily improved and the Kiel results are being described as a  'major breakthrough' for Irish 420 sailing.

The 420 Munster Championship takes place in Dunmore East next weekend, 4th and 5th July.

Published in Youth Sailing
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#inss – Last week, Sailing on Saturday featured the Royal Cork Yacht Club, the oldest in the world, as it comfortably donned the mantle of the ISA/Mitsubishi Motors Sailing Club of the Year 2015. This morning, we find ourselves involved with what may well be the newest sailing club in the world, the Irish National Sailing Club. It is certainly, thanks to being inaugurated nearly three months after Youghal SC was founded on 28th October 2014, the newest in Ireland. W M Nixon tries to explain it all as he finds himself in the world of Irish sailing's most complete dynamo.

Alistair Rumball is a Life Member of the Awkward Squad. Cage-rattling and pot-stirring are second nature to him. But it's not because of experiencing an unhappy childhood. On the contrary, while growing up in Malahide, his boyhood summers were bliss. He and his brother Arthur had as much sailing as they could want, fitted in between part-time jobs raising pocket-money with a morning picking potatoes at Dermot Dickie's farm along the Broadmeadow Estuary, followed by an afternoon of sailing the sea with the sun always shining, and then maybe an evening of club racing followed by the easy camaraderie among kids who are comfortable with boats.

It was an idyllic maritime environment which, over the years, has produced some of Ireland's top racing and cruising sailors. But while the young Rumball was no slouch on the race-course, the strongest feeling he had about sailing was the sheer fun of it all, the totally absorbing wonder of being in a boat and hauling on ropes to make sails change shape and help you along your chosen course over the always interesting sea.

Although he graduated from Trinity College Dublin as an engineer, he increasingly had this almost evangelical attitude to spreading the good news about the fun of sailing. And while he has something of a reputation – to say the least - for being confrontational, it's central to his contradictory character that he's an extremely good teacher. If somebody shows the slightest genuine enthusiasm about wanting to learn to sail, Alistair Rumball has been prepared to go to endless lengths to teach him or her to do so, and to do so with enjoyment.

Underlying that, we find the first of his gripes about the modern sailing scene. He reckons that it has become far too serious. Don't think for a moment, though, that he believes in a frivolous approach to boats and sailing. He's deadly serious about having everything just right as regards safety and function.

But once that's sorted, then he firmly believes that you should go out and enjoy it. He waxes lyrical about moments of sheer sailing ecstasy he has enjoyed in a wide variety of boats in many sailing locations worldwide. And whatever he may have formally set out to be in a professional career, his working life has been spent in and around boats, getting people introduced to boats and out afloat, sometimes on an almost industrial scale.

Time was when sailing skills were something you acquired by a sort of osmosis through family tradition, club opportunities, and friendship examples. That's mostly how Rumball himself learned to handle a sailing boat. But he seems to have this almost messianic zeal to teach people to sail, and he became convinced that the future lay in more structured training with a proper syllabus.

Having taken a long hard look at the population distribution of the Greater Dublin area and where they might best get afloat in worthwhile numbers, in 1978 he acquired the assets of a moribund organisation, the Dun Laoghaire Sailing School, and soon found himself giving his first lessons to two pupils using a fibreglass-clinker Darragh 14 knockabout sailing dinghy which they'd launched from the public slipway in the Coal Harbour in Dun Laoghaire. The long journey had started towards an organisation whose activities today today include top-of-the-line race training in 1720s in winning mode:

The majestic granite harbour of Dun Laoghaire was a cold place in 1978 for any young enthusiasts trying to set up an independent sailing school on a commercial basis. For the powers that be, sailing was something to be learned through family and clubs under the Junior Training Programme of the Irish Yachting Association. If you were a young person or adult from a non-sailing background but keen to learn, unless you'd an obliging and patient friend from within the sailing establishment, the expectation was that you'd take yourself off to somewhere far away like the Glenans Ireland bases in Baltimore and Bere Island and Clew Bay, and eventually reappear after a decent interval with enough experience, newfound ability and contacts to make the grade in the Dublin Bay sailing scene, where the very thought of a raw in-harbour sailing school for outsiders seemed distasteful to the establishment.

Yet hidden away in the southwest corner of Dun Laoghaire harbour, here was this gadfly of the sailing scene, Can–do Alistair with his rough and ready sailing school enthusiastically recruiting pupils anywhere and everywhere, and taking them afloat in boats which may not have been in the most pristine condition, and certainly set sails which would not be winners on the race course, yet they were safe and able, and so were he and his instructors.

Over the years, an entire cohort of people, mainly from Dublin but also from all over Ireland with a useful smattering of pupils from abroad, came to boats and sailing thanks to this wild-haired character whose love of his demanding work shone through everything he did.

Gradually the fleet expanded, and so too did the "Rumball Group's" activities, even though the very limited availability of premises on the Dun Laoghaire waterfront meant that every little square foot they had always seemed to serve at least three different purposes. But they were getting there, they opened a retail outlet in the town to sell boat gear and equipment which became Viking Marine, the school promoted itself to being the Irish National Sailing School, and they were well settled in place, using every inch of space on the ground floor of the interesting little building on the southwest corner of the harbour which used to be the Nautical College.

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The man and his machines – Alistair Rumball and his chariot outside the Irish National Sailing School's HQ in Dun Laoghaire. Photo: W M Nixon

Centuries ago, seafaring education was given a significant role in Irish life in the late 1700s, the 1800s, and the early 1900s with the old Marine School a fine building on the south quays in Dublin. But its premises were re-allocated for development purposes and the school itself had its final home in Clontarf before being absorbed only as a vague memory into what is now Mount Temple Comprehensive school.

These days, the marine education focus has moved to Cork with the fabulous new National Maritime College in Ringaskiddy, but for that low period in Irish maritime life in the mid 20th century, one of the few keepers of the flame was Captain Tom Walsh who operated the little Nautical College in this fairly inconspicuous Office of Public Works building now hidden away behind the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club.

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Captain Tom Walsh in teaching mode in 1957 in the INSS building when it was the Nautical College.

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The 110ft barquentine which Jack Tyrrell designed for Captain Tom Walsh's Nautical College in 1954 in the hope that it would inspire the building of an Irish Tall Ship

It was the gallant Captain Walsh who in 1954 commissioned Jack Tyrrell of Arklow to design a 110ft sailing ship – a barquentine – to be Ireland's very own tall ship, our first sailing training vessel. God bless the good captain, but he was convinced that if he could just get someone in Government to see these inspiring plans, then such a ship would be on the way.

You can imagine just how far such a visionary idea travelled in the deadly dull Ireland of the 1950s. Far from getting a proper training ship built, Captain Walsh had enough trouble keeping his college in being. Yet he was a gentleman and enthusiast to the end, and after retirement he augmented his pension by testing compasses in yachts, which I remember well as he did it for me with a little cruiser in 1981. The only mutually convenient time it could be done was on a Saturday evening, and I'd to get the boat from Howth to Dun Laoghaire to do it, but the actual swinging of the compass by Tom Walsh was such a pleasant and educational experience that any thoughts of being at some Saturday night party were entirely banished.

So when you go into the main premises of the Irish National Sailing School today, it's natural to remember Captain Tom Walsh, and I like to think that he would thoroughly approve of the old building's current usage, for Alistair Rumball and his team are mighty busy during what must sometimes be an 18-hour day, and just this week – before the sailing season is really fully under way – Monday was typical, with 185 schoolkids bussed down from Maynooth for a day's coaching afloat, followed by all sorts of gatherings including a committee meeting of the newly-formed Irish National Sailing Club.

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Space is so constrained that a floating dinghy park has to be used to store the smaller craft. Photo: W M Nixon

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Thanks to the special INSS fendering devised by Arthur Rumball, this 35-year-old Squib has survived many seasons of tough teaching in good order. Photo: W M Nixon

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To economise on space, the Squibs berthed here, with the INSS building in the background, are double-moored. Photo: W M Nixon

Of which more anon, for this bare outline gives only a hint of the INSS's complex programme. The Rumball theme is that you have to keep operations and facilities flexible to cope with fluctuating demand, for at the height of the season the school is operating a fleet of 200 boats ranging from kayaks through sailing dinghies of increasing size, then on into keelboats of which some well-fendered Squibs are the workhorses while 1720s provide the glamour input, and finally at the top of the tree there's the Reflex 38 Lynx, bought from Galway this past winter, and becoming part of a programme headed by Alistair's son Kenneth – a Silver Youth Medallist in the 420 – who is now a fully-qualified offshore racing pro teacher, but also races the 1720s while being main operations director of a school which has five full–time employees, but in all has sixty staff at the height of the season.

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The latest addition to the INSS fleet is the Reflex 38 Lynx, seen here racing for NUI Galway during the Round Ireland. In 2015, Lynx has already scored a second overall in ISORA racing skippered by Kenneth Rumball.

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Brothers in business – seen here with his brother Alistair, Arthur Rumball (left) runs the often very busy INSS boat maintenance facility. Photo: W M Nixon

As to shoreside facilities, each summer they set up an additional seasonal summer base to the west of the West Pier with top-of the-line Portakabins at Salthill to provide facilities for those sailing dinghies and kayaks, and in addition the INSS have their own boat-maintenance unit under Arthur Rumball beside the boatyard in the Coal Harbour.

So an impressive amount of things have happened since 1978, the best of them surely being that Alistair persuaded Muriel, a country girl from one of the most beautiful parts of County Carlow, to marry him. For Muriel is a teacher by profession, and adept at being the peace-maker who smooths the waters after Alistair has been making waves, which even now still seems to be just about all the time.

That said, he gives the impression of having so many chips on his shoulder about the perceived opposition to his ventures by those in authority that you begin to think it might be just a bit of an act, for underneath it all he has a heart of gold, yet with the spirit of a lion who will fight the good fight to defend his territory and the interests of his family, friends, trainees and businesses.

The quality of the man was well revealed when the economic recession struck. At the height of the boom years, the Irish National Sailing School had a throughput of more than 2,500 people per month coming new to sailing, and it had become a vibrant and trendy part of the recreational fabric of good-time Dublin. Then around 2008, the economy went into free-fall. But the INSS survived both by making severe cutbacks in everything, and utilising another string in Alistair's bow.

Because of his ready enthusiasm to undertake just about everything and anything to do with boats, back in 1982 he'd looked after some waterborne scenes with classic small craft for the Channel 4 TV comedy-drama series The Irish RM, starring Peter Bowles and Bryan Murray, which went out between 1983 and 1985. It was grand at the time, but thirty years down the line it now seems to have a dose and more of the Paddywhackery about it. However, that was neither here nor there for Alistair Rumball in 1982, for it gave him a lucrative little sideline, and over the years since he has been the man to go to if you want to set up boats and sailing ship scenes in the Irish movie-making business.

So it's ironic, when we remember that Malahide was where the rather mouldy old Vikings of Dublin made their last base after their city had been captured by the Normans in 1171, that it should be a Malahide boy who has emerged as the behind-the-scenes captain of ships for the filming of the blockbuster series Vikings.

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When you've spent most of your working life teaching people to sail, tutoring Thespian Viking crewmen on a Wicklow lake is just an ordinary part of another day at the office.

It has all been happening for some years now up in the Wicklow mountains and out on the Wicklow lakes, which have passed themselves off very well as Norwegian fjords, yet can double quite effectively as the coastal and riverside scenery of the many places where the Norwegian Vikings wreaked mayhem.

Who knows, but maybe with the passage of time the epic Vikings series will come to be seen as the epitome of Scandiwhackery, but for now, it certainly does the business . For as the Irish economy fell off a cliff, Alistair Rumball soared aloft in creating, managing, and manoeuvring a very authentic and substantial Viking longship flotilla which has provided a proper Tinseltown income to make all things possible, while helping underwrite the future of the Irish National Sailing School.

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Lough Dan in County Wicklow - where Erskine Childers first sailed around 1890 – has proved remarkably versatile in providing backgrounds for the Vikings which could either be Norway itself, or else the shores of places they are raiding

But it's extraordinarily demanding and time-consuming work, even if he has a staff of 150 specialists up in the Wicklow hills, and after a year or two it became clear that he was trying to do too much. So four years ago his son Kenneth, who is now 27 and was at the time working as an accountant, moved in to take over the direction of the sailing school, and as the recession has started to recede – last year they had monthly numbers pushing back towards the 2,000 mark - Kenneth's energetic and all-encompassing input is seeing the school increasing the scale of its operations, particularly in what might be called the post-graduate side with the development of 1720s at top race level. Now the acquisition of Lynx has developed things further - she has already made what was a rather hasty debut in the first ISORA of the year, but despite being only minutes out of the box, they placed second overall, and that only by six minutes.

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Alistair, Muriel and Kenneth Rumball. Photo: W M Nixon

This placing of racing as a natural part of the INSS syllabus has in turn led to the need for an officially-constituted club to comply with race entry requirements. But in reality the INSS has had a genuine club atmosphere for years, indeed it has more of a truly club-like atmosphere than many a historically-constituted old yacht club. So it was only a formality to bring the Irish National Sailing Club into being in January 201, but it's for real, here's a pic of the Committee of the new club meeting in the old Tom Walsh building on Monday, and if you want to join, it will cost you the outrageous sum of €10.

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The committee and school management of the newly-formed Irish National Sailing Club are (left to right) Glyn Williams (foreground), Muriel Rumball, Joan Sheffield, Caroline Herron, Robin Jones, Alistair Rumball, Kenneth Rumball, Garrett O'Malley, Dermot Igoe, Heather Blay and Mary Beck. Photo: W M Nixon

As to how Alistair Rumball views the impending possible re-structuring of Dun Laoghaire as a cruise liner port, with inevitable limitations on the amount of sailing which can take place within the harbour, he is both an idealist and a realist.

Like many of us, he dearly wishes that this splendid granite creation could be seen as a cherished part of our heritage, not as something to be used to generate income to turn a crude profit or even just to pay its own maintenance costs. Rather, we'd ideally like to see it treated as a national asset to provide vital recreational space for everyone afloat and ashore.

But Alistair Rumball senses that the government's determination to use just about everything in public ownership to generate income will win the day, and he is already being realistic about what the regular if summer-emphasised arrival of cruise liners will mean.

In fact, he may even derive a certain sardonic satisfaction from seeing the Dun Laoghaire sailing establishment having to contemplate accepting conditions with which his school has complied ever since he began operating it.

"People should realise" he asserts, "that there are already two clearly-define shipping channels in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. One is from the harbour entrance to St Michael's Wharf, which will simply be retained if the cruise liners come. The other, much less widely known, is supposed to be from the harbour entrance to the berth at the Band Stand on the East Pier. Even at present, you are not meant to operate under sail in either of those channels, but an awful lot of boats do so."

"However, as we are a commercial operation, we have a strict policy of complying with regulations and carrying out our sail training and teaching operations in the western part of the harbour, clear of the main channel. So a cruise liner should not affect our in-harbour activities, while our larger craft going out into the bay will have to comply with shipping regulations in the entrance like everyone else".

Whatever happens, we may be sure that the Irish National Sailing School and the Irish National Sailing Club - and their splendid founder - will continue to be a thorn in the side of those who take themselves too seriously and have an inflated idea of their own importance. But if you've never been in a boat before and know nobody in sailing, yet feel a growing enthusiasm to go sailing in Dun Laoghaire, you now know where to go to experience the real thing.

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The other side of the INSS show – a Viking ship looking good on Lough Dan

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Featured Events 2020

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Featured Sailmakers

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Featured Chandleries

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https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

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Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
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