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Displaying items by tag: Dun Laoghaire Harbour

It has been said here before, but it's worth saying again – on Thursday evenings in normal times in summer, the Dublin Bay Sailing Club programme is so popular that the fleet out racing would be considered a splendid turnout for a major regatta at many other sailing centres.

And even though we're not in normal times, this week's breaking of the 140-plus boats racing barrier on Thursday evening was a remarkable achievement by any standards, and particularly so in a time of uncertainty and shoreside restrictions.

In keeping with the "weekly regatta" theme, in pre-pandemic time the Thursday après sailing spreading across Dun Laoghaire's four yacht clubs had such a unique buzz that it's not surprising that some people with multiple sporting and recreational interests packed their entire weekly sailing experience - and its social aspects - into that one very intense six-hour period on the Thursday evenings when the DBSC programme is almost totally underway.

Normally on Saturdays, it's a different state of affairs. For though there is racing available for most DBSC classes of cruiser-racers, one-design keelboats, and dinghies, modern attitudes and values mean that "quality time with the family" is central to many people's lives on Saturday.

Home winner. Peter Carroll's B211 Yikes! Of the Royal Irish YC is winner of the 2021 B211 Championship – hosted by the RIYC. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'BrienHome winner. Peter Carroll's B211 Yikes! Of the Royal Irish YC is winner of the 2021 B211 Championship – hosted by the RIYC. Photo: Afloat.ie

At least that's what they say is their reason for being unavailable. But those gaining the top of a hill in Wicklow or Kerry might find themselves meeting up with someone they know to be a Thursday night foredeck ace on Dublin Bay, someone who is clearly convinced that a lifestyle of balanced interests and activities is the best way to mental and physical health.

BAY FULL OF SAILS

Yet last Saturday off Dun Laoghaire, you'd have been forgiven for thinking that somehow the Thursday sailfest and the Saturday duty tour had all been run together, for despite a certain amount of fog and as much southeast wind as anyone could want, it was evident the bay was unusually full of sails. In fact, the spookiness of fog wasn't entirely inappropriate, as the Ghost of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta was haunting the bay.

If 2021's programme had gone according to pre-pandemic plan, we'd be in the heart of the VDLR 2021 right now. But as it's a regatta in the great Dun Laoghaire tradition of being divided equally between a seagoing sporting interest and an energetic shoreside socialising focus, even with some restrictions eased there was no way the VDLR could be staged in any meaningful way, and it was rightly cancelled in a timely manner.

Ted, the East Coast SB20 Champion for 2021, showing how it's done – crew weight at optimum position amidships, and all lines neatly tidied away. Photo: Afloat.ieTed, the East Coast SB20 Champion for 2021, showing how it's done – crew weight at optimum position amidships, and all lines neatly tidied away. Photo: Afloat.ie

Yet ever since socially-distanced racing events became permissible in July 2020 as the first COVID-19 wave declined, an enormous amount of experience has been built up in running compliant racing afloat, in tandem with carefully socially-distanced open-air socializing ashore, with crew bubbles becoming all-important.

For some crews admittedly, this was all just too much hassle, and while the more extreme didn't bother with racing at all in 2020, others went racing but then went straight home immediately afterwards, and some have continued that approach this year.

THE MYSTERIOUS DLCC

However, manageable patterns were emerging, and that intriguing body, the Dun Laoghaire Combined Clubs chaired by Barry MacNeaney, did a spot of lateral thinking and combined it with notable diplomacy and persuasion. They came up with the idea that if the four clubs could each be persuaded to take on the hosting of at least two of the major One Design Championships which are such a feature of a normal VDLR, then an ordinary weekend could be turned into a manageable sailing extravaganza. For although the bay would be crowded with sail as DBSC's cruiser-racers would be having a routine outing on Saturday afternoon, in so doing, they'd be over-lapping with seven One-Design Classes continuing their multi-race championship programmes.

Barry MacNeaney of the Dun Laoghaire Combined Clubs. Photo: Michael ChesterBarry MacNeaney of the Dun Laoghaire Combined Clubs. Photo: Michael Chester

To put the whole ambitious project into action, the powers-that-be knew they would be putting even greater reliance on the many experienced on-water administrative volunteers who keep the Dun Laoghaire sailing scene going, but there's nothing like putting up an "impossible challenge" to get people to give of their best.

SEVEN ONE-DESIGN CHAMPIONSHIPS

In such circumstances, the racing area in Dublin Bay can sometimes seem quite restricted, and certainly, there were cases where more boats than was healthy were arriving at some marks together. But generally, a spirit of goodwill prevailed in recognition that it was all a very gallant attempt to provide as much regatta atmosphere as was possible, and as a result, the following events were all involved:

  • Beneteau First 31.7 National Championships
  • Beneteau First 21.7 National Championships
  • Dragon East Coast Championships
  • RS Aero National Championships
  • Ruffian National Championships
  • SB20 East Coast Championship
  • Shipman 28 National Championship
  • DBSC Saturday Series
  • ISORA Offshore Race

To that list, we could reasonably add a "J/109 Saturday Special", as almost all of DBSC Class 1 was made up of that now-vintage J Boats classic which has proven so suitable for Irish needs, and though unlike the other One Designs they'd only their one routine Saturday race, it was a cracker and the Goodbody family added another win with White Mischief.

Cameron Good's Little Fella from Kinsale has now added the 2021 East Coast Dragon Championship to her 2021 South Coast title. Photo: Afloat.ieCameron Good's Little Fella from Kinsale has now added the 2021 East Coast Dragon Championship to her 2021 South Coast title. Photo: Afloat.ie

But with the added appeal of the "Championship" designation and the addition of a programme of several races, four classes – the First 31.7s, the International Dragons with what was named as their East Coast Championship, the SB20s and the RS Aeros – were able to attract travel regulation-compliant entries from elsewhere in Ireland.

VISITORS DO WELL

And in three cases, their journey was well rewarded, with John Minnis's beautifully-presented Final Call (RUYC) taking the First 31.7s (hosted by the National YC) with a clean sweep, while another northerner, Hammy Baker, was tops in the Royal St George YC-hosted RS Aeros, and the Dragons (also hosted by The George) went to Cameron Good of Kinsale with Little Fella, with which he also won the South Coast Championship at Glandore last month.

However, the host fleets managed to take the titles in the Beneteau 21s (hosted by the RIYC and won by their own Peter Carroll with Yikes!) and in the Ruffian 23s, sailing from the National YC and won by DBSC Commodore Ann Kirwan with Bandit, while the DMYC-hosted Shipman 28s were won by John Masterson's Curaglas (NYC).

There was a further element of in-harbour cross-club interaction in the SB20s, now well buoyed up by the prospect of the 2022 Worlds being in Dun Laoghaire, with last weekend's Easterns hosted by the RIYC being won by the RStGYC crew of Michael O'Connor, Davy Taylor and John O'Driscoll.

Despite Saturday afternoon's sometimes difficult weather, the jig-saw puzzle of a pandemic-compliant regatta was put together afloat in Dublin Bay. In fact, being afloat and racing hard was what it was all about, which is distinctly at variance with the classic Kingstown regattas of yore, when a relatively small number of yachts going racing sometimes seemed to be simply the excuse for an across-the-board social gathering ashore, which developed to such an extent that the sailing occasionally appeared almost incidental.

WHEN TURNING MARKS WERE IN THE HARBOUR

Thus it was up to the race officers of that era to devise a course which had a turning mark boat in the harbour – as brilliantly illustrated by Richard Brydges Beechey in 1871 – if the noisily gossiping socialites on the club veranda were going to take the slightest notice of on-water activity. And regardless of the size of the boat, the finish had to be right at the club, even if it involved the finishing racers weaving their way through an anchored fleet of large cruising craft and steam yachts.

The Royal St George YC regatta course of 1871 included a turning mark – in this case one of the large racing cutters – within the harbour for the entertainment of spectators. From the painting by Richard Brydges Beechey, courtesy RStGYC.The Royal St George YC regatta course of 1871 included a turning mark – in this case one of the large racing cutters – within the harbour for the entertainment of spectators. From the painting by Richard Brydges Beechey, courtesy RStGYC.

The Dublin Bay 25 Fodhla winning a Kingstown Regatta in 1900 after threading her way to the finish through an intriguing anchored selection of large Victorian yachts.The Dublin Bay 25 Fodhla winning a Kingstown Regatta in 1900 after threading her way to the finish through an intriguing anchored selection of large Victorian yachts.

This was manageable with smaller boats such as the Dublin Bay 25s, but with larger vessels such as John Mulholland's all-conquering schooner Egeria in the late 1860s and through the 1870s, it could be problematic, and on one long-remembered occasion, Egeria came roaring in the lead through the harbour mouth, and found her course to the finish at the Royal Irish apparently completely blocked by anchored craft.

But Mulholland told his skipper to go for it, so they put down the enormous tiller to head towards the clubhouse, and somehow found a route through the anchored fleet while the crew took in the many and enormous sails at record speed, and the big boat carried her way so well she arrived at the line with only her mainsail and jib still set, but continuing well in the lead. Egeria had just enough steerage way left to cross the line amidst much cheering, following which the spectators returned to their strawberries and cream and champagne and scandal-mongering.

John Mulholland's schooner, the "wonderful Egeria", was built in 1865, and a couple of years later, she became the talk of the town after threading her way through a very crowded harbour to win the Royal Irish regatta when the finish was right in at the clubhouse.John Mulholland's schooner, the "wonderful Egeria", was built in 1865, and a couple of years later, she became the talk of the town after threading her way through a very crowded harbour to win the Royal Irish regatta when the finish was right in at the clubhouse.

When considered against that colourful drama, our current circumstances - with all the sport far at sea, and the outdoor prize-giving ceremonies with their restricted numbers apparently taking place outside the clubhouse boiler-room doors – we are certainly reminded of how totally this pandemic has invaded our lives. But nevertheless, the secret power of the DLCC and DBSC manifested themselves with brilliance last weekend, a brilliance which may well have been part of the inspiration in getting such a splendid turnout on Thursday night.

Published in W M Nixon

Belgian fishing trawlers continue to use the convenience of Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Irish east coast to land their Irish Sea catches since Brexit.

The latest arrivals follow four big Belgian vessels using the port in May, more than doubling the sporadic arrival of such visits into Dun Laoghaire last year.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour’s strategic location as an EU port in the middle of the Irish Sea may have been overlooked by commercial fishing fleets for years but since Brexit, it appears Belgian fishermen have been quick to see the advantage of the Dublin Bay port. 

(Abov and below) A Belgium beam trawler at Dun Laoghaire Harbour (Aobve and below) A Belgium beam trawler at Dun Laoghaire Harbour

Dun Laoghaire Harbour is proving a convenient and well-serviced location for the Belgian fishing trawler fleet that totals 25 in number.

As Afloat reported previously, the trawlers, that catch Whitefish on Cardigan Bay off the Welsh coast, used to land in Liverpool but current Brexit arrangements are causing difficulties leading to the requirement for deepwater alternatives.

The six-metre draft of the trawlers is just too deep for other east coast ports (other than Dublin) so Dun Laoghaire Harbour is proving a convenient and well-serviced location.

The Carlisle Pier provides easy access for trucks to take the catch to market. And it's not the only port the Belgians are accessing, they are also landing fish in Cork, according to local sources.

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Another fine fleet of vintage Water Wag dinghies raced in light winds inside Dun Laoghaire Harbour as part of the class's regular Dublin Bay Sailing Club Wednesday night series.

27 turned out for racing eclipsing the fleets own Bloomsday high of 26 boats for last Wednesday's race.

Race Officer Harry Gallagher only managed one race in the fickle breeze. The wind died and only nine of them finished the race.

Race Officer Harry Gallagher finishes one of nine Water Wags that completed the in harbour courseRace Officer Harry Gallagher finishes one of nine Water Wags that completed the in harbour course

Meanwhile, the National Yacht Club has welcomed a beautiful new Water Wag, Shindilla to the East Pier Club.

Shindilla was commissioned by Neil and Pam Collen and takes its name and sail number from the original Shindilla that Neil’s grandfather Ninian Falkiner commissioned in 1932 and sailed and later his mother Effie sailed for many years.

Last Wednesday it was sailed for the first time by Alistair Kissane and Annalise Murphy. Shindilla finished a close second in the 26 boat Bloomsday fleet in the first race and then went on to win the second race.

Olympic silver medalist Annalise Murphy (left) toasts the arrival of new Water Wag Shindilla to the National Yacht Club Photo: NYCOlympic silver medalist Annalise Murphy (left) toasts the arrival of new Water Wag Shindilla to the National Yacht Club Photo: NYC

Published in Water Wag

Although Ireland's biggest regatta was cancelled next month due to the ongoing uncertainty over Covid, some positive news for Dublin Bay sailing is that eight of the 11 regional and national championships that were to run as part of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta will be going ahead as scheduled in July.

Barry MacNeaney, the Chairperson of the Dun Laoghaire Combined Yacht Clubs (DLCC), reports that in the "usual spirit of cooperation between all the Dun Laoghaire Clubs", the championships will be proceeding with two hosted by each of the waterfront clubs.

Barry MacNeaney, the Chairperson of the Dun Laoghaire Combined Yacht Clubs  (pictured right) says the clubs will proceed with eight separate championships salvaged from July's cancelled Volvo Dun Laoghaire RegattaBarry MacNeaney, the Chairperson of the Dun Laoghaire Combined Yacht Clubs (pictured right) says the waterfront clubs at Dun Laoghaire will proceed with eight separate sailing championships that have been salvaged from July's cancelled Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta

"Whilst understanding and agreeing 100% with the decision to cancel the Dun Laoghaire Volvo regatta it did mean that up to the DLCC held a meeting within days of the decision and it was agreed to contact the Class Captains, Club sailing Secretaries and the Club sailing managers to see could anything be salvaged from the cancellation", MacNeaney told Afloat.

It is understood agreement was reached following numerous zoom meetings and phone calls.

The Championships now running from Dun Laoghaire Harbour are: 

RStGYC

Dragons 2nd -4th July
R.S. Aero 2nd-4th July

DMYC

Shipmans 9th-10th July
Fireballs 23-25th July

RIYC

SB20 2nd-4th July

B21.1 2nd-4th July

National Yacht Club

Beneteau 31.7 2nd -4th July

Ruffians 2nd-4th July

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26 Water Wag dinghies turned out last night for two Bloomsday races inside Dun Laoghaire Harbour on Dublin Bay.

Dublin Bay Sailing Club Race Officer Tadgh Donnelly ran two races for the fleet that included an on the water tribute to the late DBSC Race official Carmel Winkelmann, who died last Saturday.

DBSC Water Wag Results for Wednesday, June 16th

Race 1: 1. Hilda, 2. Shindilla, 3. Mariposa

Race 2: 1. Shindilla, 2. Swift, 3. Mariposa

Published in Water Wag

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council has launched a new safety patrol boat service in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

It follows an initial trial period as Afloat reported back in April due to anti-social behaviour in the 250-acre harbour.

This week DLR Council also erected new signs at the town's marina breakwaters (above) advising paddleboarders there is no entry into the marina for safety reasons.

DLRCoCo recently issued a notice to Kayak and Stand Up Paddleboarders highlighting 'areas to explore' and 'no entry' areas inside Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

It follows a number of infringements where kayakers and SUPs have become involved with boating traffic in the harbour fairways. 

There has also been a number of complaints about kayakers at the harbour's four shipping berths and also kayaking in and around moored pleasure craft in the town marina. 

The DLR map shows the 550 berth marina as a 'no-entry area'. Ship berths and three of the waterfront yacht clubs are also marked in read as a no entry zone.

The map also displays the bulk of the harbour's 250 acres in green as an area 'open to explore'. 

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Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council has issued a notice to Kayak and Stand Up Paddleboarders highlighting 'areas to explore' and 'no entry' areas inside Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

It follows a number of infringements where kayakers and SUPs have become involved with boating traffic in the harbour fairways. 

There has also been a number of complaints about kayakers at the harbour's four shipping berths and also kayaking in and around moored pleasure craft in the town marina. 

The DLR map shows the 550 berth marina as a 'no-entry area'. Ship berths and three of the waterfront yacht clubs are also marked in read as a no entry zone.

The map also displays the bulk of the harbour's 250 acres in green as an area 'open to explore'.

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A Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI volunteer crew of three assisted a person on Saturday evening with a suspected broken leg near Whiterock beach in Killiney.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were contacted by the Coast Guard after a request from its Dun Laoghaire Unit that lifeboat assistance was needed at Whiterock beach.

The inshore lifeboat was launched immediately at 3.33 pm and made its way to the scene arriving at 3.45 pm.

Weather conditions at the time were described as good with a calm sea, light wind, and very good visibility.

On arrival, the lifeboat crew assessed the situation and with help from Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard Unit and the National Ambulance Service the casualty was quickly transferred onboard the lifeboat accompanied by the paramedic who was on the scene. The casualty was then transferred to land at nearby Colliemore Harbour.

Speaking following the call out, Gary Hayes, Dun Laoghaire RNLI Lifeboat Helm at the time said: ‘The teamwork within our volunteer crew and the agencies on scene was amazing and has been all weekend. It has been a very busy few days along the Dublin coast with our lifeboat crew having had five call outs in 48 hours’

‘I would like to remind everyone to never underestimate conditions along our coast even with the nice weather passing through. When you head to the coast always try to have a plan in place that ensures you can access help if you need it. If you ever get into difficulty or see someone getting into difficulty to dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Irish Coast Guard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

May’s low water Spring tides have revealed deterioration of Dun Laoghaire Harbour's famous East Pier.

Visibly damaged stonework lies below the waterline close to the East Pier roundhead.

Large holes in the foundations of the base of the pier wall area are visible. The massive original granite stones are now out of place.

The damage to the East Pier is visible at low water springs (Above and below) The damage to the East Pier is visible at low water springs 

 The damage to the East Pier is visible at low water springs 

As Afloat readers will know, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council recently completed works after a significant amount of damage to both the East and West Piers caused by Storm Emma in 2018.

Large areas were damaged by the storm as Afloat reported here including areas of the West Pier roundhead revetment.

The damage was surveyed and repaired in 2020 according to DLRCoCo.

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Yet another Belgian fishing trawler arrived into Dun Laoghaire Harbour today, tripling the sporadic arrival of such visits last year. 

The trawlers are using the town's Carlisle Pier, a wharf that has seen very little shipping in recent times.

Seven of the 38-metre European boats have now made use of Dun Laoghaire's relatively deepwater berths (of approximately six metres depth) in the past fortnight.

As Afloat reported previously, the trawlers, that catch Whitefish, on Cardigan Bay off the Welsh coast used to land in Liverpool but current Brexit arrangements are causing difficulties leading to the requirement for deepwater alternatives.

The six-metre draft of the trawlers is just too deep for other east coast ports (other than Dublin) so Dun Laoghaire Harbour is proving a convenient and well-serviced location.

The Carlisle Pier provides easy access for trucks to take the catch to market. 

The main fishing grounds of the Belgians are the southern and central North Sea, accounting for 44 per cent of total catches. Other important fishing grounds are the English Channel (26 per cent), the Celtic Sea (18 per cent) and the Irish Sea (8 per cent).

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