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Donal Walsh of Dungarvan – his 3,450 mile circuit voyage of northwest Europe is recognised as cruising at its best
Cruising and its organisations move at their own serene speed, and when Donal Walsh of Dungarvan received Irish Cruising’s supreme trophy - the Faulkner Cup - in February, it was recognition by his peers of an outstanding and seamanlike achievement…
The Water Club of the Harbour of Cork on fleet manoeuvres at sea in 1738, as recorded by Dutch artist Peter Monamy. Today, the flags may have changed, the boats may be different, and it is now the Royal Cork Yacht Club. But the spirit of 1720 lives on with its Tricentenary next year. Image courtesy RCYC
Sailing in Ireland is a sport of long-lived organisations, writes W M Nixon. It’s a vehicle sport in which a significant number of the sailing vehicles are cherished classics, sometimes passed down from one generation to the next. Like it…
Finn Lynch became the first Irishman to make a World Cup Laser Medal Race in Miami this month
World Sailing and the IOC have finally concluded the Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualification system, including continental qualification. The basic qualification system is one spot in each event for the host nation, then 40% of the national spots were awarded at…
From June 26-29 Dragons will sail at the Sovereigns Cup
For the first time, Dragons will sail in the Sovereigns Cup at Kinsale this June, even though they have been part of the club for over 20 years. “Yes, it’s surprising that they haven’t been in it before, but they…
Tracy Edwards and crew celebrate on the deck of Maiden, as featured in the new documentary which opens on Friday 8 March
The Irish Film Institute in Dublin joins the list of locations for a special screening of Alex Holmes’ Tracy Edwards documentary Maiden on Thursday 7 March. As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Cork’s Gate Cinemas will also host the preview followed…
Gregor McGuckin
An American philanthropist with a taste for Irish whiskey has stepped in to support the salvage operation to recover Gregor McGuckin’s yacht Hanley Energy Endurance drifting some 1,200 miles west of Perth, Australia. Speaking from Fremantle overnight, American tug boat…
Topper racing at the third Winter Regatta on Dublin Bay
As Afloat.ie previously reported, fifty keen junior sailors from all four provinces took to the waters of Dubin Bay over the weekend as the National Yacht Club, with the support of Viking Marine, hosted Topper Ireland’s third annual Winter Regatta…
The INSS 1720 is second overall at the DBSC Spring Chicken Series with two races left to sail
With two races left to sail, a variety of boats occupy the top ten of the DBSC Spring Chicken Series leaderboard at the National Yacht Club. When the discard was applied after Sunday's race four, White Knight leads the 40–boat fleet…
Fireballers Noel Butler and Stephen Oram
Sunday, February 24th was more akin to the opening lines of John Keats’ “Ode to Autumn” “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom friend of the maturing sun, Conspiring with him how to load and bless With fruit, the…
The Ilen with sails set at Limerick Docks
After an eleven year rebuild, last Saturday offered a first opportunity for sending up ‘Ilen’s’ entire suit of sails, save her square sail - a headwind at Limerick Docks precluded its participation. It might be observed how ‘Ilen’ seems to…
The class of 1959 was the real start of junior sailing in Dun Laoghaire - before juniors or junior sections were part of the waterfront yacht club scene
Remember all those happy summer days and friendships made at the DBSC Junior Section at the West Pier in Dun Laoghaire? Seeing that it is 60 years ago when it all started in that summer of 1959, a group of…
420 Gold fleet prizewinners in Schull. See results below
The Schull half term 420 sailing week is the longest of the Irish 420 open training events and the training days are often followed by the Munster Regional Championships as was the case this year. The four days of training…
Toppers ready to go afloat at the NYC
The Viking Marine sponsored Topper Winter Regatta at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire attracted a record turnout for a four-race, one discard event. As Afloat.ie previously reported, sailors attended from across Ireland.  In the 43-boat Topper Full rig class, Royal…
 Howth Yacht Club Laser sailors found themselves having to contend with fog
For the first time during the series, the 18 boat turnout for the penultimate race of Howth Yacht Club Laser Frostbite event found themselves having to contend with fog. Adding to the challenge conditions were a strong tide and wind…
Sarah ‘Skinny’ Dwyer Is DBSC’s SB20 Class Captain For 2019
Sarah ‘Skinny’ Dwyer has been appointed the SB20 class captain in Dublin Bay Sailing Club for 2019. Originally set to take up the post of vice captain to Pat O’Brien, Dwyer has been promoted as other commitments will keep O’Brien in Bahrain…
Last Sunday's DBSC Spring Chicken Series in Scotsman's Bay
At the halfway point of the DBSC Spring Chicken Series, it is the Irish National Sailing School 1720 that leads the 40–boat fleet overall.  Another exciting and breezy race last Sunday saw one dismasting as the fleet raced a tough course…

How to sail, sailing clubs and sailing boats plus news on the wide range of sailing events on Irish waters forms the backbone of Afloat's sailing coverage.

We aim to encompass the widest range of activities undertaken on Irish lakes, rivers and coastal waters. This page describes those sailing activites in more detail and provides links and breakdowns of what you can expect from our sailing pages. We aim to bring jargon free reports separated in to popular categories to promote the sport of sailing in Ireland.

The packed 2013 sailing season sees the usual regular summer leagues and there are regular weekly race reports from Dublin Bay Sailing Club, Howth and Cork Harbour on Afloat.ie. This season and last also featured an array of top class events coming to these shores. Each year there is ICRA's Cruiser Nationals starts and every other year the Round Ireland Yacht Race starts and ends in Wicklow and all this action before July. Crosshaven's Cork Week kicks off on in early July every other year. in 2012 Ireland hosted some big international events too,  the ISAF Youth Worlds in Dun Laoghaire and in August the Tall Ships Race sailed into Dublin on its final leg. In that year the Dragon Gold Cup set sail in Kinsale in too.

2013 is also packed with Kinsale hosting the IFDS diabled world sailing championships in Kinsale and the same port is also hosting the Sovereign's Cup. The action moves to the east coast in July with the staging of the country's biggest regatta, the Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta from July 11.

Our coverage though is not restricted to the Republic of Ireland but encompasses Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Irish Sea area too. In this section you'll find information on the Irish Sailing Association and Irish sailors. There's sailing reports on regattas, racing, training, cruising, dinghies and keelboat classes, windsurfers, disabled sailing, sailing cruisers, Olympic sailing and Tall Ships sections plus youth sailing, match racing and team racing coverage too.

Sailing Club News

There is a network of over 70 sailing clubs in Ireland and we invite all clubs to submit details of their activities for inclusion in our daily website updates. There are dedicated sections given over to the big Irish clubs such as  the waterfront clubs in Dun Laoghaire; Dublin Bay Sailing Club, the Royal Saint George Yacht Club,  the Royal Irish Yacht Club and the National Yacht Club. In Munster we regularly feature the work of Kinsale Yacht Club and Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven.  Abroad Irish sailors compete in Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) racing in the UK and this club is covered too. Click here for Afloat's full list of sailing club information. We are keen to increase our coverage on the network of clubs from around the coast so if you would like to send us news and views of a local interest please let us have it by sending an email to [email protected]

Sailing Boats and Classes

Over 20 active dinghy and one design classes race in Irish waters and fleet sizes range from just a dozen or so right up to over 100 boats in the case of some of the biggest classes such as the Laser or Optimist dinghies for national and regional championships. Afloat has dedicated pages for each class: Dragons, Etchells, Fireball, Flying Fifteen, GP14, J24's, J80's, Laser, Sigma 33, RS Sailing, Star, Squibs, TopperMirror, Mermaids, National 18, Optimist, Puppeteers, SB3's, and Wayfarers. For more resources on Irish classes go to our dedicated sailing classes page.

The big boat scene represents up to 60% of the sail boat racing in these waters and Afloat carries updates from the Irish Cruiser Racer Association (ICRA), the body responsible for administering cruiser racing in Ireland and the popular annual ICRA National Championships. In 2010 an Irish team won the RORC Commodore's Cup putting Irish cruiser racing at an all time high. Popular cruiser fleets in Ireland are raced right around the coast but naturally the biggest fleets are in the biggest sailing centres in Cork Harbour and Dublin Bay. Cruisers race from a modest 20 feet or so right up to 50'. Racing is typically divided in to Cruisers Zero, Cruisers One, Cruisers Two, Cruisers Three and Cruisers Four. A current trend over the past few seasons has been the introduction of a White Sail division that is attracting big fleets.

Traditionally sailing in northern Europe and Ireland used to occur only in some months but now thanks to the advent of a network of marinas around the coast (and some would say milder winters) there are a number of popular winter leagues running right over the Christmas and winter periods.

Sailing Events

Punching well above its weight Irish sailing has staged some of the world's top events including the Volvo Ocean Race Galway Stopover, Tall Ships visits as well as dozens of class world and European Championships including the Laser Worlds, the Fireball Worlds in both Dun Laoghaire and Sligo.

Some of these events are no longer pure sailing regattas and have become major public maritime festivals some are the biggest of all public staged events. In the past few seasons Ireland has hosted events such as La Solitaire du Figaro and the ISAF Dublin Bay 2012 Youth Worlds.

There is a lively domestic racing scene for both inshore and offshore sailing. A national sailing calendar of summer fixtures is published annually and it includes old favorites such as Sovereign's Cup, Calves Week, Dun Laoghaire to Dingle, All Ireland Sailing Championships as well as new events with international appeal such as the Round Britain and Ireland Race and the Clipper Round the World Race, both of which have visited Ireland.

The bulk of the work on running events though is carried out by the network of sailing clubs around the coast and this is mostly a voluntary effort by people committed to the sport of sailing. For example Wicklow Sailing Club's Round Ireland yacht race run in association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club has been operating for over 30 years. Similarly the international Cork Week regatta has attracted over 500 boats in past editions and has also been running for over 30 years.  In recent years Dublin Bay has revived its own regatta called Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta and can claim to be the country's biggest event with over 550 boats entered in 2009.

On the international stage Afloat carries news of Irish and UK interest on Olympics 2012, Sydney to Hobart, Volvo Ocean Race, Cowes Week and the Fastnet Race.

We're always aiming to build on our sailing content. We're keen to build on areas such as online guides on learning to sail in Irish sailing schools, navigation and sailing holidays. If you have ideas for our pages we'd love to hear from you. Please email us at [email protected]

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