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Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

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Sailing in Ireland. Sailors, Yachting, Clubs, Regattas
The National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch was Ireland’s youngest Olympic helmsman when he competed at the Rio Games in 2016 at the age of 20 and, along with four other Irish sailors, is seeking a second Olympics at the final qualifier in Vilamoura
Ireland is hoping a five-man team in Portugal can take one of two final nation places in the final men's Laser Olympic qualifier in Vilamoura starting on Monday. Vilamoura International Regatta is the last chance for the Laser sailors to…
The Finn class dinghy has been an Olympic boat since 1952 and has been used at every Olympic Games since. However, it has been dropped from the Paris 2024 line up and is making fresh proposals for it to be reintroduced should the mixed offshore keelboat be rejected as sailing's tenth medal
As speculation continues to mount over the status of Sailing's tenth medal for Paris 2024 and whether or not the Mixed offshore keelboat will be approved, the following letter from the Finn and Europ dinghy classes was sent to World…
Kenny Rumball and Pamela Lee who have moved up to 13th place in this week's 21-boat Sardinha Cup offshore race are one of three Irish mixed keelboat campaigns aiming for Paris 2024, a new Olympic class awaiting IOC approval in May
Speculation is mounting that sailing's highly anticipated mixed offshore keelboat for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games may not be approved by the International Olympic Council (IOC) at its meeting next month. When World Sailing received feedback from the International Olympic Committee…
Celebrated Australian yachtsman Peter Warner has died aged 90
Celebrated Australian sailor Peter Warner, who won three won three Sydney Hobart Races in the 1960s, has died after his yacht capsized in rough seas off eastern Australia early yesterday (Tuesday 13 April). The incident came amid warnings of dangerous…
Foyle Search and Rescue receives £39000 donation for drones
Last month Foyle Search and Rescue announced the refresh and upgrade of its drone programme following a £39,000 donation from supporters in the local video games industry. It operates on the River Foyle, which flows through the City of Derry…
Antigua Sailing Week Goes Virtual
Having cancelled its Antigua Sailing Week, the Caribbean organisers have announced a Sailing Week Sunday – a virtual event with stories, interviews and entertainment, transmitting from Antigua on April 25, 2021. Annually the international coverage of Antigua Sailing Week places…
Ireland's Oisin McClelland on Day two of the Finn European Championships in Portugal
Donaghadee's Olympic campaigner Oisin McClelland has had a difficult start to the opening four races of the 2021 Open and U23 Finn European Championship in Vilamoura, Portugal and is currently placed in the bottom quarter of his 49-boat fleet. The…
The J80 National Championships will race at Howth Yacht Club this October
The J80 National Championships returns this autumn to Howth Yacht Club. A fleet of 14 boats contested the 2020 Championships at Dun Laoghaire with Howth's Pat O'Neill emerging as Irish Champion. Previously the fledgeling championships sailed at Howth in 2019 and 2018…
New programme for the 68th edition of the offshore Rolex Giraglia race
Uncertainty due to COVID 19 means a new format for the 68th edition of the classic offshore Giraglia race in June. Organisers Yacht Club Italiano say particular difficulties on the French south coast which would prevent 'adequate organisation' of the event in…
Bill O'Hara represented Ireland in the Finn class in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and the '88 games in Seoul
In anticipation of an eagerly awaited easing of the Lockdown in Northern Ireland, and looking forward to a return to racing, the Royal Ulster Yacht Club Sailing Committee has arranged for Bill O'Hara, OBE, to lead a Zoom session to…
The newly-built Ilen at Foynes on 22nd July 1926, as recorded in his own highly personal style by Harbour Master Hugh O’Brien
Global circumnavigator and sailing ship designer Conor O’Brien (1880-1952) inevitably saw his most noted vessels, the 42ft world-girdler Saoirse and the 56ft trading ketch Ilen, being closely associated by the rest of the world with their birthplace in Baltimore. But…
Bloodhound racing in Cowes Week, Duke of Edinburgh on helm. In theory she was the Royal Yacht, in reality she was the People's Boat
When the Duke of Edinburgh died aged 99 on Friday, it took a while before the hundreds of public appreciations of his remarkable life began to mention the fact that sailing played a very important role in it. Yet although…
The dog entered the water to chase seagulls
Yesterday afternoon (11th April) Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Team had what turned out to be an Accident Prevention call out. At Cloughey on the east coast of the Ards Peninsula in Co Down, a dog had entered the water to chase…
The late Clare Hogan brought joy and skill to Irish sailing

Clare Hogan RIP

12th April 2021 RStGYC
It is with the greatest regret that we report the death of Clare Hogan, an extremely talented sailor - particularly in the International Dragon Class - who also gave much to sailing administration, having served as Commodore of the Royal Alfred…
Prince Philip and Uffa Fox sailing Coweslip
Tim O'Brien, President of the UK Flying Fifteen Association, paid tribute to HRH Prince Philip, a former FF helmsman By now many will have read and seen the sad news that HRH Prince Philip has died - much will be…
Oisin McClelland of Donaghadee in Northern Ireland is hoping to secure the last European Finn berth next month at the Gold Cup
Tokyo Olympic solo sailor campaigner Oisin McClelland of Donaghadee in Northern Ireland is among the entries for the 2021 Open and U23 Finn European Championship that gets underway in Vilamoura, Portugal, this morning with around 49 sailors from 29 nations competing. Over the…

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]

Featured Sailing School

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Featured Clubs

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Howth Yacht Club
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Featured Events 2021

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